The fashion designers of the past ninety-four years all seem to be of one mind when it comes to the subject of the trench coat: it needs to be re-designed every four months. Years have passed, but still the garment has not reached a final state; meanwhile the rest of us only get one shot at a first impression. It is no matter whether the one who wears the trench coat is an actual trench-dweller or simply one who Tweets all day; the designers all have their opinions regarding the fluctuating number of straps and 'D' rings. There has been no end to the amount of cleverness applied to the re-treading of the garment and through the years we have been treated to doggy trench coats and lady's evening gowns cut to resemble trench coats. Yet in the dark days of 1917, when the United States entered the fray, it was not lost on those who glanced at the attached column that too many of these raincoats were already buried in the damp grave yards of France and Belgium.
By 1921 the city of Los Angeles began to seriously grow, and the expansion was not simply due to the arrival of performers and extras and all manner of craftsmen that are required to launch a film production - but the city was also bringing in the sorts necessary to support a wealthy urban environment. Every thriving city needs a support system, and Hollywood imported tailors, milliners, chefs, architects and various other tastemakers who in turn attracted realtors, contractors, merchants and restauranteurs.
Attached is a VANITY FAIR article printed a few months after the LUSITANIA sinking in which the journalist listed the many and myriad explanations as to why this event was such a departure from the traditions of naval warfare set in place by John Paul Jones, Admirals Nelson and Dewey.
Click here to read read a 1919 German condemnation of Admiral Von Tirpitz.
VANITY FAIR's art critic, James Frederick Gregg, had a good deal to say concerning the art of the World War One American poster campaign:
"...Indeed, so ineffective have most of the posters been as art, that it is ridiculous to imagine that they have had any effect whatever in stimulating in us the spiritual side of our share in the war."
"Now our golfing cousins from the land of the Thistle and Rose are sending another pair, who might well be christened the New Mandarins of Golf. One is is George Duncan of Scotland. The other is Abe Mitchell of England. And in addition to giving battle in our in our Open Championship at Columbia, Washington, D.C., they will display their wares in exhibition matches before 250,000 of our golfing citizens in another one of those extended tours that bring in a lot of kale and almost as many blisters."
The legendary sports writer, Grantland Rice (1880 – 1954), had his doubts as to whether tennis champ Bill Tilden (1893 – 1953) could keep his title for a third year in a row (he did; all told, "Big Bill" Tilden won the U.S. Tennis Championship 6 times in succession and 7 times altogether).
"Having seen the international pantry shelf sadly depleted in the way of cups during the stirring campaign of 1921, extended preparations now underway beneath the Union Jack, indicate a counter attack of no slight proportions this coming summer."
The VANITY FAIR sports writer Fred Hawthorne was filled with high praise for tennis star "Molla" Bjurstedt Mallory (1884 – 1959):
"To-day Mrs. Mallory's backhand shots are on par with her famous forehand drive, and her all-around play has improved tremendously. She is a splendid volleryer, too, though not in our typical American style. Mrs. Mallory has won the national singles title five times and last August defeated Mlli. Suzanne Lenglen, of France, probably the most finished woman tennis player in the world."
An illustrated article about the American sculptor Jo Davidson (1883 – 1952) and his creation, FRANCE AROUSED. The Davidson piece, a colossal depiction of France as an outraged warrior queen, was intended for the French village of Senlis to serve as a memorial to that remarkable day in September, 1914, when the German drive on Paris was stopped and driven back. It was at Senlis where the earlier successes of the German Army were reversed.
"To those in America and Europe who believed in the new doctrine of political equality, it was the most thrilling day in her history."
"When France in wrath Her giant - limbs
upreared, And with that oath, Which smote air, Earth and sea Stamped her strong foot and said she Would be free."
The statue, which is twenty feet high, was made in the sculptor's studio in McDougal Alley (NYC), where it was photographed for the pages of VANITY FAIR.
In 1919, Jo Davidson would endeavor to create a number of busts depicting the various entente statesmen who participated in the Peace Treaty.
"One thing is absolutely certain- Europe is economizing. It must. Everything in the motor world points to an enormous increase in the number of 10 h.p., four cylinder cars and in the even smaller 7-8 h.p. two cylinder machines."
Golf star Charles "Chick" Evans, Jr. (1890 - 1979) was not one to sit on his laurels; busy as he was, he sat himself down and penned this whimsical history of golf for the Vanity Fair readers. The essay was titled "The Royal and Ancient Game", which we have broken up into several printable file sizes for your enjoyment. This article appeared not too long after the publication of Chick Evans' Golf Book: The Story of the Sporting Battles of the Greatest of All Amateur Golfers (1921).
Much to his credit, in 1930 Evans had successfully launched a college scholarship program for eligible golf caddies. The Evans Scholarship fund continues to this day and has, up to this writing, sent over 8,000 golf caddies to college.
Click here to read about the American cars of 1922.
"Marion Hall Zinderstein Jessup has one of the most versatile games on the courts. Overhead and off the ground, she possesses virtually all the strokes in tennis, forehand, backhand, lob, smash, volley and block volley, yet she has a weakness, one that has cost her many an important match, and when she met Mrs Mallory in 1920, probably the national championship."
Paying no mind to the continuing unpleasantness that was taking place somewhere around the Somme (ie. W.W. I), the taste-makers of Paris soldiered-on and created garments for mid-summer that were original and feminine and bore the mark of Paris' characteristic opulence.
Legendary fashion designer Christian Dior had a good deal of trouble with people who would illegally copy his designs; click here to read about that part of fashion history.
Five sketches of motor car designs which won cash prizes or honorable mention at the recent  first annual 'Body Builders' Show in New York. In this competition were entered many leading custom body builders.
This cartoon pokes fun at the high cost of being charitable. Throughout much of World War One there was always the problem of what to do with the growing number of refugees and orphans -and the answer was never cheap. This drawing reveals a different Rea Irvin, but the drawing style for which he would be remembered is clearly emerging.
An uncredited interview with the celebrated Russian composer, Sergie Rachmaninoff (1873 - 1943); his education, family and his work at the Moscow Conservatory as well as the Moscow Grand Theater. Attention is paid to his activities in the United States following his flight from the 1917 Russian Revolution.
When the smoke cleared following the close of that dreadful unpleasantness that spanned the years 1914 to 1918, there remained much work to do; bodies to be buried, cities to be rebuilt. Men and nations prepared to face the new realities that came with the new social structure; many weighty subjects had to be addressed that had been ignored for so long a time. The most pressing of these topics was deciding which was the proper combination of white waistcoat and dinner jacket? In an age of industrial slaughter, which was more suitable: double-breasted or single-breasted? and what of ties, shoes and overcoats?
While so many European men were suffering on the Somme and at Verdun, some American fellows were having a swelligant time on the golf links; beautifully attired in linen golf clothes that are pictured in the accompanying attachment.
The unknown author of this article believed deeply that the Paris fashions of 1913 were very much in keeping with the grand traditions established and maintained by that city since the eighteenth century. This critic was very impressed with the recent work of Paul Poiret and Doeuillet and presented a number fashion illustrations to prove the point. Oddly, the article is credited simply to " Worth" which leaves one wondering whether the writer was one of the sons of Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895); Jean Philippe Worth or Gaston Worth, both of whom had inherited their father's great house of fashion.
A look at some of the ready-to-wear golf suits for the spring of 1922. The chic golfer of that year was seen wearing pleated knickers and a smart action-back jacket sporting cargo pockets (formerly known as "billows pockets").
Attached herein, you will find the fashionable coats, suits, shoes and cufflinks for men from the harsh winter of 1919 that had been approved by the Fifth Avenue swells of the VANITY FAIR editorial department.
This article dates to a the dear, dead days when tennis balls were white and landscapers (rather than diesel machinery) were relied upon to make tennis courts; it was also a time when the abilities of a skilled tailor were required for tennis clothing. These court-side stylists would not simply monitor the drape of tennis trousers but they would anticipate the unspoken needs of their tennis dandies - and in so doing, the tennis blazer was born.
The urgent word from Belle Époque Paris on the matter of proper Tango gowns was published in this 1913 article and accompanied by seven illustrations.
"What shall you wear to the Tango Teas? Let me whisper to you a secret, only to be revealed when it is found out, my dear, there is no Tango in America, or, at least in New York. But it is quite different in Paris and it is for Paris and the Tango that the French dance frocks are made."
Click here to read about feminine conversations overheard in the best New York nightclubs of 1937.
One writer's reminiscence of attending a London party and being introduced to Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900) and the object of his affection, John Gray. The author insists, as has been documented in other places, that Gray was the model for Wilde's character "Dorian Gray":
"Once at a Private View in the New Gallery, as I came downstairs, I came on Wilde, in the midst of his admirers, showing more than ever his gift of versatility. Seeing me he made a gesture, and as I went up he introduced me to John Gray, then in what is called 'the zenith' of his youth. The adventure was certainly amusing..."
By the Spring of 1915, the women of Paris, having seen that the Great War was not going away anytime soon, decided that it was time to add some gaiety into their wardrobe. Steadily - since the August of the previous year, there had been such bad news and although the rationing of fabric continued, there was still much available for the asking.
Click to read about the U.S. fabric rationing during W.W. II.
A smartly illustrated review of the the equestrian fashions for the year 1918. Various illustrated equestrian profiles are provided and brief attention is paid to the newest boots available at that time.
If you would like to read another article about men's equestrian attire, please click here.
A leaf torn from the chic pages of VANITY FAIR in which eight snap shots depict various high-profile New Yorkers 'absorbed' in their officer training routine. The journalist opined:
"The Business Man's Camp at Plattsburg has accomplished several of it's avowed objects. It has proved itself practicable. It has demonstrated that men of high standing in business, professional and social affairs are willing to make personal sacrifices for the country's good. It has shown that American officers have made good use of lessons taught by the War, and have adapted their tactics to conform to modern exigencies. Finally, the Plattsburg camp has grounded a large number of intelligent Americans in the rudiments of warfare."
In 1916 Coco Channel was not a household word in American fashion circles yet, but judging by this fashion editorial that appeared in Vanity Fair magazine, one can assume that her presence was being felt.
Throughout the fall of 1918, American golf enthusiast H.B. Martin (Harry Brownlow Martin, 1873 - 1965), who was not one to dally on the links when there are hard questions to be asked, approached the champions of the game with one query in mind:
"What is the ONE essential thing in golf?"
As you will read for yourself, he came away with many different responses.
As early as 1920, the number of automobiles was quickly growing throughout the Western world. In this very brief article, a journalist lays out how rapidly life was changing in the United States as a result of the "horseless carriage".
"The village smithy is no more. In the place of that interesting relic of a bygone day, there stands a substantial concrete building marked 'Garage'..."
Here is a paragraph about the school of dance that was maintained by Isadora Duncan in Rye, New York; the notice is illustrated by three stunning photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864 – 1952) depicting thirteen young girls in Grecian attire.
French war artist Charles Huard (1875 - 1965) produced theses seven illustrations of French Poilus as they once stood guard in the frozen misery of the Soisson trenches during the first winter of the war.
"For tennis, of course, the conventional flannel trousers will continue their popularity this season. But many men will also wear white duck or twill trousers, which has the advantage of great coolness and comparatively easy to launder..." -but wait! the excitement does not stop with such trilling prose! The reader will also find a lovely fashion drawing of some awfully mannly tennis players as well as photographs of the fashions being praised.
The fashion editors who presided over the very young VANITY FAIR MAGAZINE made an effort to keep pace with the dramatic changes taking place in the design of ladies hats and wraps for 1921. The attached article is a case in point.
1916 was a poor year if you happened to be a German sailor off the coast of Denmark; it was a simply awful year if you were in the infantry on the Somme or near Verdun; but if you were an American fellow enjoying his nation's neutrality and you happened at some point to have been shopping for the the perfect riding suit on Madison Avenue, then OldMagazineArticles.com is quite certain that 1916 was a great year for you! Attached, you will find a wonderful article about the 1916 offerings for the horseback riding man.
If you would like to read another article about men's equestrian attire, please click here.
This 1922 men's fashion article is illustrated with seven images and riddled with wise words for all those seeking information regarding 1920s backless vests, patent leather dancing shoes, madras dress shirts and kid suede gloves for semi-dress wear.
British poet and literary critic Arthur Symons (1865 - 1945) wrote about the Nineteenth Century French poet Charles Baudelaire (1821 - 1867) more as a subject of art rather than an influential wordsmith:
"Few modern poets have been more frequently drawn, and few have better repaid drawing, than Charles Baudelaire."
Among the list of artists who created likenesses of the poet were his fellow dandy Edouard Manet (1832 - 1883), the photographer Etienne Carjat (1828 - 1906) and an obscure sculptor named Zachari Astrue, who created the poet's death mask.
In 1918, the London-based American expatriot sculptor Jacob Epstein was living life to the fullest and enjoying all the benefits his talents had provided him. He had no intention of joining the army of his adopted country and had successfully avoided the draft since the outbreak of the war. However in 1918, conscription caught up with him. Epstein hated the idea of joining the colors, believing that the military would kill his creative soul, but this article puts a nice spin on all that.
"When the Five O'Clock Whistle Blows in Hollywood" is attached;
it appeared in VANITY FAIR eight years after Hollywood was declared the film capital of the world.
This single page cartoon was created by one of the great American caricaturists of the Twenties: Ralph Barton, and all the kingpins of the young empire are depicted (among others): Douglas Fairbanks, Marry Pickford, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Bebe Daniels, Bill Hart, Wallace Reed, Gloria Swanson, Nazimova, Charlie Chaplin, Jackie Coogan, Fatty Arbuckle and the writer Rupert Hughes.
Lording above them all, and represented simply by jodhpurs and riding boots, stands the founder of the feast - Cecil B. DeMille (and his brother).
Recognizing the importance of armored vehicles, a group of American millionaires, among them Henry Clay Frick (1849 - 1919), pooled their money and donated a number of such items to the New York National Guard. VANITY FAIR MAGAZINE pursued this story and produced this article as it developed with a thorough review of each of the donated military vehicles. Although the trucks are photographed, few are named.
This is a fun read covering the all too short reign of the dandy. It touches upon those who were the great practitioners of the art (Beau Brummell, Sir Phillip Dormer Chesterfield, "Beau" Nash, Sir Robert Fielding, Count Alfred d'Orsay) and those who came later, but deserving of honorable mention (King Alphonso XIII and Oscar Wilde), as well as the "wannabe" bucks who wished they were dandies but simply came away "well-tailored" (George IV and Edward VII).
A travel article written by the former French fighter pilot Jean Murat (1888 - 1968)-who, one year hence, would commence a fruitful career in film acting that would lead to performances in over ninety movies. Mr. Murat was not terribly impressed with New York at all. Murat found the New Yorker's love for all things French a tad tiresome.
Click here to read about the NYC air-raid wardens of W. W. II...
Ignoring the general unpleasantness taking place outside of town, the taste-makers of Paris soldiered-on as best they could, creating garments for the summer of 1916 that were both original and feminine and bore the mark of Paris' characteristic opulence.
Click here to read about the New York fashions of 1916.
Although the steel tennis racket would not know true glory until Jimmy Connors used his Wilson T2000 in the 1970s, a big splash was made by William A. Larned (1872 - 1926; seven times champion of the U.S. Open) when he designed the Dayton Steel Racket in 1922. It wasn't the first steel racket, but it was an improvement on the existing ones.
Attached you will find some kind words promoting brown linen as the preferred fabric for summer golf, yet what is most striking is the accompanying photo of a young rake in his period golf apparel sporting a pair of putees for his time upon the links. It is rare that one finds a photograph of a golfer in putees and one might get the sense that the look never really caught on.
This is a well-illustrated article in which the fashion journalist recalled a dinner party where the men in attendance were knowledgeable on which forks to use but cared little about the proper etiquette tailoring, shoes and jewelry required as dinner guests
One of the special correspondents writing for VANITY FAIR on the subject of motoring was the British novelist Gerald Biss (1876 - 1922), who contributed similar pieces to THE STRAND, TATLER, DAILY MAIL and EVENING STANDARD. In this review, Biss gave his drink-deprived American readers the straight dope as to what they can expect to see from the European car manufacturers of 1921. References are made to the products of the Voisin and Vauxhall Companies and there was some lose talk about electric starters and high-grade tweleve-cylinder cars.
In the attached VANITY FAIR MAGAZINE article, James Montgomery Flagg (1877 – 1960) had a good laugh at the hand that fed him: the New York advertising establishment.
Better remembered in our own time as the creator of the iconic "I Want You for the U.S. Army" poster (1917), Flagg was a prolific artist and one of the highest paid magazine and advertising illustrators of his day. As the era of mass-media advertising developed, Flagg didn't just have a good seat on the fifty-yard line; he was a player on the field and he saw his work reproduced in all sorts of unlikely venues. In this article, he parodied the language of the advertising copy writer.
"CHEW WIGGLEJAW GUM! Chew it in your own ear! Chew it for dessert! It stimulates conversation. It prevents cholera, bubonic plague, and berri-berri..."
The famed Conde Nast illustrator from days of old, Ann Fish, assumed the nom de guerre, "Hello" in order to impart to her well-fed audience the terror of German Prussianism. In this cartoon, she illustrated what a German invasion of Manhattan would look like.
The Irish playwright St John Ervine (1883 - 1971) wrote this article for VANITY FAIR in an attempt to understand Charlie Chaplin's broad appeal; rich and poor, highbrow and lowbrow, all enjoyed his movies.
"Mr. Chaplin is the small boy realizing his ambitions."
This cartoon was drawn by the artist Reginald Marsh (1898 - 1954), who had a swell time comparing and contrasting the bio-diversity along 1922 Fifth Avenue; from the free-verse poets on Eighth Avenue up to the narrow-nosed society swanks on Sixty-Eighth Street -and everyone else in between.
"There are various reasons for Woodrow Wilson's present preëminence. For one thing he represented, for years, the rights, under International Law, of the nations which were not in the war, and whatever his private opinions may have been as to an attitude of strict legality....Then, further, he is at the head of a nation which had no selfish motives in coming in. America wants for herself no new territory, no new spheres of influence. France wants Alsace and Lorraine. Italy wants 'Italia Irridenta'. England, though she declared war to save France from being overrun through losing the channel ports, has gained incidentally all German Africa and the German islands of the South Seas..."
Shortly before his movie "The Kid" was released, Charlie Chaplin (1889 - 1977) wrote a few "remarks on the discovery of Jack Coogan, and the picture built around him" in the attached VANITY FAIR article, "The Marvelous Boy of the Movies".
With the 1922 American economy as strong as it was, questions regarding what to wear on the links were seen as important queries and were not easily tossed aside. The following article illustrate the best golf jackets offered by the master-tailors at Cohen-Rissman, Fashion Park and The House of Kuppenheimer.
An illustrated article from the chic Conde Nast magazine, VANITY FAIR, regarding one of the great Canadian disappointments of the immediate post-war years: the failure to build the Canadian war memorial building. By the summer of 1919 1,000 paintings and drawings depicting the experiences of the World War had been amassed with the intention of displaying them in a museum that was to serve as a remembrance to the Canadian servicemen of that war.
Throughout the Twenties and Thirties there were numerous advisory groups charged with the task of launching the museum, but they were never able to agree on key issues. With the outbreak of the Second World War the urgency of the project took root - and, finally, the Canadian War Museum was officially established in 1942 (and opend in 1967).
There are two paintings illustrating the article: "Camouflaged Ships" by E. Wadsworth and "Strathcona Horse on the March" by A.J. Munnings.
Numbered among the many Monday-morning-quarterbacks who appeared in print throughout much of the Twenties and Thirties were the old horse soldiers of yore, bemoaning the fact that industrial warfare had deprived their kind of the glory that was their birthright. This was not the case on the Eastern Front, where Imperial Russian generals had seen fit to launch as many as 400 cavalry charges - while American troopers were ordered to dismount (along with most other cavalry units in the West) and suffer postings with the Service of Supply, among other assorted indignities.
Ann Fish, Conde Nast cartoonist and shrewd observer of the social scene, seemed to think that Charlie Chaplin's ability to pull so many young people from the boulevards (where they could be monitored) and placed in dark movie theaters (where they could not) had led to a great many marriages.
Oddly, this essay has more to do with the evolution of golf from a shepherd's pastime to the sport of kings, however there are some references made to the evolution of golf clothing:
"Royalty did, however, dress up the game. It gave us the brilliant garments that golf captains wear in Britain. When I first went abroad I thought that I had never seen more splendid creatures. And the modern golf costume is a thing of mode and cut..."
This article is very broad in it's appeal; the fashion journalist did not simply cover the summer suit options available to the Well-Dressed Man of 1921 but also the tennis apparel, equestrian attire and the apropriate togs for slacking off at your favorite homo-phobic, sexist, anti-semetic and racist club.
For all too few it is understood that fashion need not end in the wilderness: for it is more than likely that that was where the need for fashion was first recognized and it was there, among the toads and the dung, that the Well-Dressed man first crawled out of the muck and civilization
was born. With all this in mind, Robert Lloyd Trevor reviewed the fashions for the enjoyment of camp-life in this 1917 Vanity Fair review. Another vital concern touched upon by the journalist was the clothing available to the yachtsmen at that time:
"Yachting is one of the things that begin at the bottom. That is to say, at the shoes. They are the foundation, as it were, for the rest of life on the rolling deep."
"Motor camping is in it's infancy", observed the shrewd and sure-footed motoring journalist George W. Sutton in this 1921 VANITY FAIR report regarding the evolution of campers. To further illuminate his readers, he provided black and white plans illustrating the interior of two campers mounted on the back of Ford chassis (during the 1920s, Ford Model Ts were by far the most common make of automobile). Although there were a handful of camper-shell manufacturers at the time, the two featured here were custom made.
If you intend to tarry on the links dressed in knickers, or plus fours, you will be needing a sturdy pair of 'Scotch wool' stockings in which to pull the look off; and should the assembled golf ruffians jeer at you from the comfort of the nineteenth hole, you can bludgeon them with your very smart, pleated golf gloves, circa 1915.
Attached herein is a photographic study of the British golf champion Cecil Leitch (1891 - 1977) snapped with a high-speed, stop-motion camera. In nine black and white images depicting her drive from start to finish, we are able to gain an understand as to how she was able to win three British driving championships up until that time. She left the game after having won a total of twelve national titles; at the time of this printing, she was writing her first book: Golf (1922).
Those young bucks who golfed and participated in other field and blood-sports during the early Twentieth Century were the lads who benefited most from the tailor's craft. Pictured here are details of the pivot-sleeve (later to be called the 'action-back'): a four button, deep-vented, self-belted, pleated golf jacket with matching knickers.
Also featured is a terribly natty English cheviot golf hat.
Celebrated columnist Walter Lippmann (1889 - 1974) wrote this piece to mark the end of the Wilson administration (1912 - 1920) and usher-in that of Warren G. Harding (1865 – 1923).
Unlike the ink-slingers in ages to come, Lippmann had pleasant remarks to make regarding his presidency:
"And I firmly believe that the historian who examines the state papers of Wilson up to November, 1918, will say, not only that they are in an unbroken line from Washington's Farewell Address, but that it required something very like genius under the pressure and in the fog of a world war, to keep that line intact."
Click here to read about a dream that President Lincoln had, a dream that anticipated his violent death.
Read a 1951 profile of a future First Lady: the young Nancy Reagan.
The following five page article was written by the World War One poet Siegfried Sassoon (1886 - 1967), in an "attempt to give a rough outline of what the British poets did in the Great War, making every allowance for the fact that they were writing under great difficulty...".
The attached VANITY FAIR art review by Christian Brinton (1870 - 1942) covered the first public exhibition of the British War Artists to be shown on American shores (1919):
"A direct product of war and war conditions, it reflects not only the varied aspects and incidents of the great struggle, but but also the actual state of British artistic taste at the present moment...England has been the first to enlist the services of the artist, and the readiest to grant him the measure of official standing so manifestly his due."
Launched jointly by the British Ministry of Information and the Worcester Art Museum, the exhibit was comprised of almost 250 paintings. This review discusses the art of Paul Nash, Muirhead Bone, Sir John Lavery, James McBey,Sir William Orpen, Augustus John, C.R.W. Nevinson, John Everett, Frank Brangwyn and Eric Kennington.