Black History Month: Ruth Ella Moore

Every February, the US celebrates Black History Month. It is a special time to recognize and honor famous African Americans who have made a significant impact in the past and present. The Historic Costume & Textiles Collection was the recipient of a donation of several garments made by a talented seamstress who also had a larger claim to fame. Dr. Ruth Ella Moore was an alumna of The Ohio State University, and the first African American woman to earn a PhD in the natural sciences.

Image of Ruth Ella Moore in cap and gown circa 1926

Born in 1903 in Columbus, Ohio, to William E. and Margaret Moore, Ruth Ella Moore was the daughter of an accomplished artist. Her mother had graduated from the Columbus State College of Art and Design. She had encouraged Ruth from a young age to pursue a higher degree of education. Ruth and her two older brothers, Donovan L and William E. Moore, were educated in the public schools in Columbus, Ohio. Ruth Moore attended the Ohio State University for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. In 1925, she graduated from the university and then went on to receive a Masters of Science Degree in 1927. She continued to further her education by earning her PhD in bacteriology from the Ohio State University.

After receiving her doctorate in 1933, she officially became the first African American woman to earn a graduate degree in the natural sciences. Howard University quickly hired her in 1940 as an assistant professor in the medical college, where she would stay until her retirement in 1973. Throughout her time at Howard, she managed to move up as chairperson for the Bacteriology Department, became associate professor, and conducted research in bacteriology. Moore was also a member of the American Association of Science, American Society of Immunology, American Society of Microbiology, and the American Public Health Association. She earned two additional honorary degrees as well. They included a doctorate in Literature from Oberlin College and a Doctor of Philosophy from Gettysburg University in 1973.

 

Besides being a well known scientist, Ruth Ella Moore was also a seamstress. She received a love of fashion and an elegant, classic style from her mother, the artist. Moore was known to sew much of what she wore. In fact, she made a great majority of her entire wardrobe without having any type of degree in clothing design and construction. Keeping with the latest style and fashion, she was known to carefully select her patterns and materials for crafting the outfits. Several of her garments were featured in The Sewer’s Art: Quality, Fashion and Economy, in 2009. Ruth Ella Moore died July 19, 1994.

 

Ruth Ella Moore garments from The Sewer’s Art:

Dr. Moore made her garments for all occasions, from day to evening wear, and tailored to draped constructions.

 

Two piece woman’s off white long sleeve jacket and black skirt, suit. The jacket has two black triangular inset sections below the shoulders and a black-notched collar. Five, large covered buttons form the front closure.

The black and white color scheme is carried over into the asymmetrical hat, pieced with black and white felt swirling shapes. It’s stand-up style is reminiscent of the crowns worn by Nefertiti in ancient Egypt.

This red-violet velvet floor length evening dress is part of an ensemble. Cut on the bias grain, it’s bodice has gathered inset sections at the side-fronts. Not shown in the picture is the second piece to the ensemble, a long green velvet jacket with padded and extended shoulders and a shaped hemline.

 

A long taffeta dress with pink, blue, yellow, and green floral pattern has short draped sleeves with gathering at their sides. The draped bodice molds the body to the hips where it joins the floor length circular, four-piece skirt on a shaped line. The seam below the V-shaped neckline confines the fullness at center-front.

 

Sports & Fashion Exhibit:

One of Ruth Ella Moore’s swimsuits is currently on display in HCTC’s Sports & Fashion exhibition. It is not certain if she crafted the bathing suit herself or if it was bought ready-made. It has no manufacturers’ labels and dates from the 1930s either during the years she was pursuing her PhD or shortly thereafter.

SOURCES:

Ruth Ella Moore

Ruth Ella Moore

Ruth Ella Moore (1903–1994)

 

The Future of Fashion Told by the Past

Making predictions for the future is like trying to pierce a veil; we can keep jabbing at the possibilities, but predictions do not often yield realistic results. This can be seen in our modern age of uncertainty, as well as in the past. Such an example can be seen in the “Past Dictates of Fashion,” an article by Cromwell Q. Snyder, a “Vestamentorum Doctor,” which is a fancy man’s lingo for a “fashion doctor”. In this article written in 1893, Snyder predicts the future of fashion over the next 100 years, ending with 1990. His predictions may seem laughable, but the logic behind the influence of each decade is not as far-fetched as his designs. Perhaps he missed the mark on the streamlined designs we’ve come to know of the 20th century, but the lunacy of his designs expresses the uncertainty and evolving nature of the human condition as well as fashion.
We begin this epic with the present: 1893. Besides the cuffed pants this image is accurate of current styles. More curious is the dramatic change that will occur in the next 10 years at the turn of the century. Snyder credits his predictions through the “immutable laws of fashion.” Snyder believes fashion is a whim, a sort of shuttlecock for the weak-minded of both sexes, bound and rebound by social influence.

Certainly, all prejudice aside, this does hold some truth. We can trace the trends of fashion in the 20th century with the trends in the political, economic, and social environment. In regards to this article, people were not putting on whacky hats and adorning their pantaloons to be perceived as ridiculous, but to express the social expectations and movements of the predicted future. Additionally, Snyder thinks that fashion is cyclical in a sense, which is why most of his designs draw from earlier centuries, particularly the Renaissance and Tudor Era. According to Snyder, the new century, at its birth, saw black relegated to the past and the affection for color will return with a fierce vengeance. Men will wear purple and blues, while the women will range from pink to green to everything in between. For men, we can see a bit of gender-bending, as accessories such as silk bows can be worn on different parts of the body, such as the shoes or wrists, as flashy haberdashery becomes the new status quo.

As for women, female costume seems to have always been regulated by the same waves and rules which governed male costume, but in a different degree. Women would find new freedom of expression through hat-ware, while the accentuation of the waist remains steadfast throughout female fashion. Indeed, some of these costumes are quite scandalous, with the 1920’s presenting alarmingly short skirts that show off a woman’s calves (a trend we see in reality for 1920). The designs labeled 1920’s are embodied around the idea of novelty and the desire to find new ways to push the fashion envelope. As for the male model on the left, we are told that the upper portion was of crimson plush, and the lower part of a delicate pink, with white stockings and orange boots. Though it may seemed inspired by a French clown or a court jester, this outfit expresses the future interpretation of masculinity in fashion. Meaning, less black and more bravery when it comes to the color palette.
Moving forward, we see a cyclical revival during the 1930’s to combat the novelty of the 1920’s. Women accentuated past fashions with over-sized bonnets and bows, while crinoline is used to create large skirts. Though we still see the fashion of the future with the combination of these ageless styles with new, daring patterns such as polka dots and pin stripes. Men will look even farther back, reviving trends common for the Tudor period.
Interestingly enough, as we move towards the 1940’s, we see a revolution paralleled to that of the feminist rise during the WWII era. In Snyder’s future, trousers seem to have been adopted by the women at the same time that they were discarded by the men. The prosperity of the female cannot be defined by the rising and falling of skirts, so pants are the logical next step. Additionally, we begin to see a strong Oriental influence in Snyder’s designs, particularly in the adornment of tunics and inflated, untailored pants. However, since pushback is only natural, we see a colonial fashion revival as we move into the 1950’s.

 

The 1950’s sparked a revolution in fashion for both men and women, causing a throwback to the “glory days” of England. We can see influences from the Tudor and Imperialist Eras with cloaks, heeled shoes for men and women, as well as lace collars. Today we may see these items as inherently feminine, but in Snyder’s vision, the men were the only ones stern enough to enforce such a brave trend. In this society, masculinity is flaunted by the man’s ability to wear flashy clothing and still look masculine. Like a contest with oneself, it is a constant struggle to one-up yourself with even more daring and colorful clothing. It also demonstrates and equality of the sexes in a way, as competition in fashion was no longer reserved just for wealthy women, but was a possibility for the common man and woman as fashion between men and women became more similar and comparable to one another.

The examples provided for 1960 differ from previous because they depicted working men, rather than fashionistas of the future age. The policeman shown in the drawing for 1960 seems to have a very easy time of it, for no man’s person can be considered in danger from the mob with officers to protect them that habitually offer as many spikes and accessories as this policeman’s head displays. We may likewise suspect the military gentleman depicted in the image for 1965. It is not customary in the present day for army officers to affect umbrellas, but seventy years hence it may be found necessary to protect one’s head-dress. As government officials, it seems only logical to keep the trend of revival going, nodding to the renaissance era. This renaissance style is will begin trending in the 1960’s during the rebirth of society, Snyder predicts. This age of rebirth continues into the 1970’s as we see a turn for the better. Though, none of us are likely to be caught dead wearing neckties of this magnitude. We see a return to the streamlined trouser, as well as a new, feminine spin to the tail coat with its long, exaggerated train perfect for strutting it on the runway or to the grocery store. There is even a militaristic aspect to these suits, but with an edge of hilarity common of our new age.

 

 

 

After the 1970’s, only two images remain. Perhaps Snyder’s imagination grew tired, but this did not keep him from holding back on these last two designs. All that can be said of the male figure from 1984 is the continuation of accessories for men, which seem to grow larger and larger as the century goes on. However, the women of the 1980’s show a new kind of silhouette that contours women’s bodies, something that has been absent from the collection until now. This emergence of bodycon was seen prior to 1980 in reality, but Snyder’s expectation is still significant in his interpretation of the future of females and their rights. Additionally, we again see the common theme of revived haberdashery, combining styles from three different centuries into one grotesquely amazing hat.
The final image brings us into the 1990’s and thus, the end of the century. The male design is clearly influenced by the East, marking the beginning of the global age. Snyder predicted that as time continues, fashion will become more and more cohesive globally. Trends will go beyond the bounds of country and will be found in different corners of the world. The man in the photo is quite pensive as he thinks intensely and puffs on his pipe, but we can only guess if he knew what he looked like he might be thinking a little less about the state of the global economy and more about his reputation in fashion.
At the end of the article Snyder notes his general prediction and logic for the future of fashion: “The 17th century is famous as the brown century; the 18th is with us the yellow century; and the 19th we term the black century. I am asked my opinion of the 20th century. It is motley. It has seen the apotheosis of color. Yet in worshiping color we do not confound the order of things. As is the 20th, so was the 15th.” From a glance, Snyder’s predictions look like a French clown’s dreamscape, but in reality this circus of fashion is based on logical claims about the future. The idea that fashion is often recycled with a combination of current, revolutionary ideals is not a new one, but it goes to show the difficulty in applying theory to practice and predictions to reality.

February: The Month of Red

February is the month of red. Valentines Day, Chinese New year, and heart health month are all focused around this very particular color. Why is it so popular? What is its meaning behind each of the celebrations? How has the color impacted the fashion world as well?

Valentine’s Day is full of big red, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, stuffed bears with red and pink bows, and vibrant red roses. In the case of this holiday, red can be seen as a symbol of love and a way of expressing it. The holiday became big in the 1840s after the exchange of valentine cards and gifts began. Soon after, February 14th became a major consumer holiday. Today, over 20 million dollars is spent on Valentine’s Day alone. According to science, red has a psychological effect on our minds. It makes us appear to be more confident and happier.  The color is also associated with beating hearts and the rushing of blood. When attraction occurs, chemical reactions take place, causing the heart to pump faster and our face to turn a rosy red.

The other holiday in February is Chinese New Year. There are two color of the Chinese New Year: Red and Gold. However, today we will focus on red only. It stands for happiness and good fortune in the forth coming year. One tradition is to place red signs or paint on doors and windows before the holiday takes place. Red also helps to scare away any spirits in the Chinese culture. So, they will have fire, which color symbol is red, and dress completely in red to keep the spirits away. It is also very common to pass out red envelopes, also called “Lai See”. They are given to young single individuals, employees, and children and filled with money of an even number. An even number is for good luck, but an odd number would signify a funeral, which would not quite a symbol of good luck.

The American Heart Association created an initiative called “Go Red for Women” in order to increase the awareness of heart health in women. With this movement, it is more than wearing red or learning about heart health. It is about women taking control of their life and  health and creating an incentive for women everywhere to take their own life’s health into consideration. Why red? Well once again, red is often associated with the color of our beating heart.

Red has also made it in the heart of fashion everywhere. It is a sign of elegance and sophistication and is perhaps the largest used color in all of fashion and cinema. Unforgettable actresses like Elizabeth Taylor or Sophia Loren made it even more popular in the mid 20th century. It was even the favorite color of the ever so famous designer – Arnold Scaasi.

The Historic Clothing and Textile Collection here at Ohio State has several pieces within storage worthy of showcasing this February.

To the right a red Christian Dior wool tweed dress from 1961. Christian Dior talked about the color red. “A very energetic and beneficial color. It is the color of life. I love red and i think it suits almost every complexion. It is good for any time, too. There is definitely red for everyone.”

 

To the left is red polkda dot dress form 1953-1959. It is a silk shantung zip front dress with white circle dot and stiff non-woven underlying in full circle gored skirt.

 

 

 

 

1987 red Arnold Scaasi cocktail dress. Red was Scaasi’s Favorite color.

 

Charles Kleibacker silk taffeta dress. 1980-1984

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCES:

Manoharan, Thulaise.(2016). Retrieved from www.herculture.com

Hoylen, Julie. Retrieved from www.sensationalcolor.com

https://goredforwomen.org

 

 

Leopard Skins and Prints: The Good and the Bad

 

Thoughts on Leopard skins and prints have been wide spread since the early 20th century. It has either been a highly valued, luxurious and sophisticated item among the upper class or a rather trashy sign. It has been worn by president’s wives, royalty, and even rock stars.

Leopard skin coats and other clothing and accessory items became especially popular in the 1920s after movie stars like Joan Crawford strutted through Hollywood movies in the skin. One fashion designer of the time, Christian Dior, kept the trend going for the most glamorous of women. He was quoted, ” If you are fair and sweet, don’t wear it.” In the 1950s and 60s, this gave way to the idea that a woman who wore leopard was a trophy wife. In other words, the print represented a rather “undomesticated” woman.

The print that was once seen as sophisticated now became a trashy symbol. It made itself into a racy Hollywood catalog, Fredericks of Hollywood. When the 1970s and 80s rolled around, it evolved even further into a must have piece for rock and roll performers and fans everywhere, however as a print and not a skin. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 kept leopards from being slaughtered for their skin.

As time went on, leopard print became popular among women for representing not only their feminine sexuality, but also a more powerful symbol for them not so much being a predator, but them not being a prey in society. The leopard stood for independence, power, and courage, making an ideal symbol.

The Historic Clothing and Textiles collection is home to many clothing items such as hats, coats, bags, and shoes that have the leopard print or skin, as well a snow leopard long sleeve coat for women dating back to 1965-1975.

These shoes to the left are dated from 1965-1970. They are leopard fur skin pumps with a square toe and chunky heel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCES:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/72549/history-leopard-print

https://www.racked.com/2018/3/7/17053964/leopard-print-history

Ringing The New Year In Style

Christmas has come and gone, the presents have been opened, the laughter has been shared, and now it is time to ring in the new year. We have turned from red and green to sparkling silver and gold.

The celebration of the new year began over four millennia ago in Babylon. Babylonians chimed in the new year in march with the first new moon following the vernal equinox. Every year, a new king would be renewed or his throne would stay in place. It was a process on history to reach the calendar we have today. The Roman Calendar originally had 10 months and 304 days. Numa Pompilius, a king in the eighth century, added Januarius and Februarius. However, Julius Caesar changed it to the Julian Calendar when he saw that the stars and moons were not aligning. Astronomers and mathematicians were called to fix this problem and eventually his calendar, which resembles the modern Gregorian calendar that we use today. January 1st became the official start of the new year to honor Janus, the Roman god of new beginnings. For medieval European Christians, the official date became January 1st for a different reason. It followed and preceded certain religious holidays such as December 25, the birth of Jesus, and arch 25, the Feast of the Annunciation.

While the Romans celebrated the new year with sacrifices to their god, Janus, and decorating their homes in laurel branches, today’s celebrations look different. The celebration vary in different parts of the world in present date. For example, the people of Spain eat 12 grapes in the moments before the new year. In the United States, the biggest celebration is in Times Square, New York. The music, fireworks, and dropping of the ball all are all part of the celebration. Millions of people watch this moment on TV. It has been a tradition ever since 1907. What you wear on new years is dependent on how you plan to celebrate. Some occasions call for black tie when a dinner with family only calls for a casual fit.

Here are two dresses perfect for ringing in the new year. To the left is a ladies short feathered evening dress. The aqua tulle is accompanied by a slightly fitted straight silhouette. It has a high rounded neckline and is sleeveless with bias banding. the entire dress is hand beaded and embroidered with aqua and gold metallic thread with tiny seed pearls, various shaped crystal bugle beads, small gold balls, clusters of iridescent rhinestones and flower heads. The aqua feathers ae applied on the beading creating a glimmer shimmering affect. The dress ranges from 1964-1965 and was designed by Pierre Balmain in in Paris, France.

Pierre Balmain was born on March 18, 1914 in Paris, France. his father was a drapery salesman and died when Pierre was only seven years old, and his mother owned a fashion boutique with her sisters. He founded his company, Balmain, in 1947. His post-war looks were very feminine for the day, making his designs stand out. He loved richly embroidered fabrics, nipped in waists, and long, fuller skirts. He said dressmaking was “the architecture in movement.”

 

The next dress is a long pink silk dress with gold an silver sparkles. It ranges from 1980-1989. the creator is unknown, but the dress is perfect for new years because of its silver and gold sparkles.

 

 

 

RESOURCES:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Balmain

history.com Editors. (February 16, 2010). New Year’s. Lasted updated September 12, 2018. Accessed on December 10, 2018. https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/new-years

 

A Blue Christmas

Feeling blue? As Christmas rolls around, we are normally filled with Christmas cheer, joyous music, and street lights lit up with red and green décor as far as the eye can see. However, the recognition of blue during December is often forgotten. Blue is a symbol for both the Christian and Jewish tradition around December. Have you ever heard the song “Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley? It is a pretty popular Christmas song from the late 1950s. Elvis brought us Christmas from a different viewpoint. A sad, depressing one; quite the opposite of what we picture Christmas to look like. Blue is also a symbolic color for the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah. Blue is a part of the Israeli flag. The blue stripes on their flag are also the color found on a tallitot, which are Jewish prayer shawls worn for special occasions such as Jewish weddings, in synagogues, and bar mitzvahs.

So why is blue relevant at Christmas time? Blue often evokes a feeling of sadness and just simply joylessness. We hear it in songs like Elvis’s blue Christmas, but this can be a real feeling for many people around Christmas time, especially in the cold winter. In the mid 1990s, many Christian congregations began to hold another service in addition to the four main Advent services. It takes place in the late Advent season, around the 21st. It is a form of worship for those dealing with sadness, depression, loss, etc. Everything is not always well. In the mid 1990s, the Protestant church adapted this and literally calls it “Blue Christmas”.  The special service is actually helping spread the love of Christmas. They are said to help save lives every year because they are a place for the poor in spirit to go.

In honor of today’s “Blue Christmas” and the overall talk of blue in December, we are going to be focusing on a few fashionable ensembles that are blue, of course.

A close up of a Malcom Starr coat sleeve. The company was well known for the simplistic style, yet elaborated beaded and sequined additions.

To the right is a Malcolm Starr light blue wool short evening dress and coat with a silver braid along with beading on the dress neckline and coat sleeves. It ranges in date from 1965-1970 and actually originates from Hong Kong. The designer, Malcolm Starr, was made popular in the 1960s and 1970s because of his evening dresses. What made them special? He usually stuck with a very simple design, however there would always be very detailed beading and sequin work, making it attractive to the eye. As well as evening dresses, the company was well known for suit jackets and coats. Our featured Malcolm Starr is a great example of his finest work.

 

 

Next up is a royal blue wool knit cardigan that would fall slightly below the waist. The neckline, closure, and sleeves have six rows of gold sequins giving quite the sparkle. The lower half is a royal blue silk chiffon with a woven-in angular pattern. The blouse is a sleeveless silk crepe. On the front of the blouse, it has rows of 5 rows of gold sequins. It dates back to 1980 and was made by the designer, Adolfo. The story if Adolfo Sardina is a very interesting one. He actually got his start in Paris, like many other famous designers such as Scaasi. Adolfo was an apprentice to the very famous Balenciaga. He was admired from all around, but was mainly persuaded to leave Paris for New York.  He worked for Emme in 1953, and two years later won his first Coty Award. The Coty Award is “Coty American fashion Critics’ Award”, which started in 1942 under the company Coty. In 1962, he opened his own business. His confidence and determination paid it forward because in 1969 he received another Coty Award. This one was special, however. His “head to toe” designs were admired greatly. he had developed his own theory that if he could design a hat well, then he could do anything. The same was true for men’s clothing. By 1976 he was producing men’s clothing for Leon of Paris, and then in 1977 got nominated once again for a Coty Award.

Adolfo truly believed in fashion from “head to toe”. He came out with even more than just a gown or a hat. He introduced swimwear, luggage, shirts,  neckwear, boy pants, men’s slacks, and even more beyond that.

He mentioned, “A person can look put together without appearing too rigid or too extravagant…If people are astute enough to combine different clothes with flair and style, they can create their own fashion. We all must maintain the freedom to show off individuality. Fashion should be revolutionary, but always in the direction of good taste.” His love for fashion and good taste went hand in hand, that is one ting that made his work so special.

If you’re feeling sad this Christmas, just know that there’s always a place for you to go. “Blue Christmas” is a term many people can sing about in a song, but it is an actual part of life and there is always hope. So, spread the love this Christmas season no matter who you are, and don’t forget to help other people out. On a happy note, we were able to showcase some of the best work by designer Adolfo and the company Malcolm Starr. Both were special in there own way. Malcolm Starr made simplistic styles stand out with elaborate beading and sequinning and Adolfo used his love of fashion from “head to toe” to create a sense of good taste in clothing.

SOURCES:
http://adolfo.com/history/

https://vintagefashionguild.org/label-resource/starr-malcolm/

Why Is It That Blue Christmas Services Make Me A Little Blue?

Why Are Blue and White Hanukkah Colors?

http://mentalfloss.com/article/31820/why-are-blue-and-white-hanukkah-colors

http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/advent-quiz-why-are-many-blue-christmas-or-longest-night-services-held-on-d

 

A Charles Dickens Christmas

 

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol entered the hearts of many in 1843. It was a story of a selfish man who was able to see the evil of his ways and in turn became good. Redemption is a key theme throughout the entire novella. The story shows that no matter who you are, we are all the same. Because of Dickens’ upbringing he was fully able to understand the situation which the poor faced in England during the nineteenth century. The wealthy people were enlightened after reading his work. Dickens’ work opened people up to the idea that class is only defined by your wealth and not who you are as a person.

Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 in Landport, England. he was the second child of eight born to Elizabeth and John Dickens. His parents were said to be very social people; his mother attended a ball the day he was born. However, his father John found it very hard to pay for entertainment and the necessities of life. His family faced financial hardship during his younger years. At just four months old, his family moved to a smaller house in order to make the financial struggle less of a burden. But eventually his father was placed in debtor’s prison. to make money, Charles Dickens decided to work for a factory, and in return, he never received a formal education. However, despite his lack of education, he was able to wrote 15 novels, edit a journal for 20 years, write 5 novellas, hundreds of short stories, and even campaign for education, children’s rights, and social reforms.

As he grew older, he became increasingly confident. Despite not knowing what he directly wanted to do with his life, he knew he desired to be famous. He was also very interested in theatre. Dickens made it so close to an audition, but missed it due to illness. he went on to write stories and plays. in 1842. he moved to America with his wife. As his works became increasingly plagiarized in America, he set out to give a petition to Congress to make his works safe.

His literary success first came in 1836 with his release of The Paperwick Papers. Then later on in 1843 as his works were becoming gaining attention and fame increasing, he released A Christmas Carol. Not only did it become a classic, heart warming story for Christmas, but, as mentioned above, it touched the hearts of every social class at the time. It opened the eyes of the rich and showed them that the poor were just like them , if even more humble and deserving of a good life. Dickens’ works were revolutionary, making him arguably the greatest writer of the Victorian Era.

His theatrical productions became so well known, that attendees had to be invited, making it the utmost special event, especially when Queen Victoria attended. The two had a great deal of respect for one another. They had even exchanged each other’s autographed works to one another.

Dickens’ novella, A Christmas Carol, has adapted over the years countless times, but most of us remember it for the original adaptation written by Dickens himself. One thing that sticks out are the characters’ costumes. Because of the 18403 time period it was released in, we picture the characters to be wearing the stereotypical top hat with a cane, a somewhat puffy dresses. Well, this mostly fits correctly with the time period, but there are certain things about men and women’s clothing that make it truly 1840s.

A dark brown silk satin damask gown with rose motif. 1840-1849

A woman’s dress tended to have low, sloping shoulders. The bodice of the dress came low on the waist and somewhat looked like a “v”. The sleeves of a dress were bell-shaped and there would be layers upon layers of petticoats underneath the skirt portion of the dress. Women also tended to carry small handbags with them. They were typically white with embroidery or a painted design when women stayed at home, but once they went outside they used green or white tasseled bags. The accessory was made of crocheted linens, the same material used to male their shoes surprisingly. Bonnets as headwear were also popular, and their  hair was typically parted in the middle.

Men’s fashion at the time was greatly influenced by Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. He cared a great deal for his appearance, was young at the time of marriage to Queen Victoria, and being the husband of England’s number one celebrity didn’t hurt. The suit jacket clenched at the waist and flared out from there, giving them an slight hour glass figure, and some even wore a corset. Shirts were made with a high collar and ties were worn. Men also wore tight waist pants and trousers. Facial hair was very popular during this time also. Most had mustaches and sideburns. Top hair was worn long and was swept to the side. This entire look was very typical of upper class.

Clothing for the poor and clothing for the rich were probably he number one way to tell the difference between socioeconomic class in the Victorian Era. During this time period, men held most of the power. It was “a man’s world.” The wealthy husband would have a beautiful home, good standing in society, and a adoring wife, along with a few children. There were also servants for every job. The woman of the family were given an abundance of opportunities for travel and fine living. Their clothes were made with the best materials. They wore frivolous dresses and had an array to choose from. Everything from bonnets to the petticoats were made to impress. One of the main reasons for such expensive clothing was to directly divide the rich from the working class. The poor woman’s outfit was made of rag cloth, definitely not the most expensive or lavish material  available.

Top hat ~ 1840-1850 It is made with dark brown felt amd has a narrow black petersham edging brim. the side are straight and the brim curves up on either side.

One of the biggest determinants of a man’s class was his hat. A man who had a quality top hat was said to be well off and respectable. It was normally made of silk on a felt base. When the production of top hats began, the felt was normally taken from a beaver. A beaver’s felt would help the hat keep its shape when it rained and was overall more durable. A cheaper alternative was rabbit, but he high social class wanted the best. A top hat like the one pictured is typical of what you may see the notorious Ebenezer Scrooge wear in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. 

If you watch Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol this Christmas, make sure to pay extra attention to what the characters are wearing. A lot can be said about a person by the clothes they wear, this was very prevalent during the Victorian Era. However, with theme is Dickens’ story, we are able to be reminded that class is not what makes us human. We are all capable of good cheer, love, and joy this Christmas season no matter who we are.

 

 

“You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

 

SOURCES:

Men’s Portrait Gallery 1840. Accessed on December 3, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.historicalemporium.com/1840-victorian-photo-gallery.php

(May 7, 2014). The Story..of the Top Hat. Accessed on December 3, 2018. retrieved from http://theconversation.com/the-story-of-the-top-hat-26215

(December 9, 2003). Accessed on December 3, 2018. Retrieved from http://www.funtrivia.com/askft/Question42767.html

Accessed on December 3, 2018. Retrieved from http://www.historyisnowmagazine.com/blog/2014/4/21/how-the-other-half-lived-rich-and-poor-women-in-victorian-britain#.XAWXf7pFwdU=

Accessed on December 3, 2018. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Dickens

(August 20, 2018). 1840-1849, 19th Century, Decade Overview. Retrieved from https://fashionhistory.fitnyc.edu/1840-1849/

Justice For Christmas

It’s almost Christmas and what more could a 7-12 year old want more than a whole wardrobe filled with piles of Justice clothing? Justice has become so popular and the number one tween clothing and accessory retailer in the world. Although their company still exists today with over 1,000 stores through the US, Canada, and a few extra international  countries, its presence in the fashion industry has made an impact on the current fashion for tweens everywhere. It transformed the future of tween fashion into a world of glitter, gems, unique patterns, and creative colors for all girls.  Today we are featuring two ensembles that are currently within the Historic Clothing and Textiles Collection here at Ohio State.

The dress to the right is decorated with emoji faces with Santa Claus hats. This unique pattern screams 2010s fashion for tweens. This particular dress is actually from 2016. So, just two years ago, this item was on sale to hundreds and thousands of young girls on the lookout for their perfect Christmas outfit. Would you have worn this when you were 7-12 years old? Its hard to imagine how much fashion has changed just from the early 2000s to the 2010s. This dress and the ensemble to the right, are made for everyday wear, but are also athliesure wear. What once was met for the gym has become everyday street wear, especially in the past decade. The dress is made with the same stretchy material you may see used to make leggings. The 2014-2016 outfit to the right is a pair of leggings decorated with images of snowflakes and reindeer-dogs in presents, and a grey t-shirt with a matching reindeer-dog on it. It also comes with a little scarf to add for decoration. A popular theme in Justice is unique patterns, such as the Santa emoji and the reindeer-dog.

Tween Brands, Inc. opened in 1986. It operated stores like Justice geared toward tween girl clothing and accessories. However, Ascena Retail group created Justice in 2009 to what it is today. It is common to see these type of stores in shopping centers and malls. Overall, they sell apparel, sleepwear, underwear, accessories, swimwear, lifestyle products, and personal care products. They currently do have more than 1,000 stores spread across the US, Canada, and few other international countries. They continue to bring unique style. Justice claims to bring individuality and self-confidence to all its young customers. Their employees are also said to work in a creative and collaborative environment in order to create the best designs for their tween girls. The company beat out the big names like target and Walmart for affordable tween clothing in 2012.

Justice has definitely made its way into the hearts of tween girls everywhere who love fun fashion. Their unique patterns, sparkles, sequins, and color combos gives each design a sense of childhood. The tween fashion is perhaps one of the most interesting categories because it is the time in life that a girl is transitioning into a young woman. The fashion within this period is carefree, fun, and individualistic. I wonder what fashion critics will think of Justice’s style in a hundred years?

 

SOURCES:

Accessed on November 30, 2018. Retrieved from http://justiceretail.com/our-brands-leaders/

Accessed on November 30, 2018. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tween_Brands

Christmas With Arnold Scaasi

In 2015, HCTC did an blog post about Arnold Scaasi’s red and green dresses. Today we give you an updated article with more information about Scassi, the mastermind behind the detailed, bold, and creative designs of the “Scassi girls”. From his early days to his last, Arnold Scassi became well known for his looks like no other. How did he get his start? Why are his clothes so special to so many people? Why are we celebrating his designs this Christmas season? There’s so much to one man’s life. Scassi’s passion for creativity has a special place in the world of fashion and continues to excite us with his looks from the past.

Arnold Scassi was actually born Arnold Issacs in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on May 8, 1930. He received a natural talent for fashion from his father, a furrier, and his Aunt Ida, a stylish individual whom he visited in Australia just at the age of 14. After the visit with his aunt, he felt a calling to the fashion and design industry. He attended Cotnoir-Capponi School of Design. Later on, he completed his education in Paris and went on to apprentice with House of Paquin. He began his next journey by moving to New York City. Well known designer, Christian Dior urged him to go back to the United States and work with Charles James, a designer best known for his ball gowns who influenced many designers with his aesthetic style. Scassi listened to Dior and went to work with James.

He started to receive recognition for his talent through General Motors after they placed his work in an ad. Through advertisement and photoshoots of his work, he met a man named Robert Denning. He persuaded Scassi to reverse his then last name “Issacs” to “Scassi”. It gave it an Italian flair. By 1955, his name appeared on the front cover of Vogue Magazine. As time went on, he received awards and climbed the ladder of fashion world. Eventually, he opened his own store selling to celebrities and socialites. His work was unique, bold, and fabulous. Dresses were trimmed with feathers and fur, sequins and more.

Then, the moment came when he basically became famous overnight. In 1968, Barbera Streisand tied for best actress along with Kathrine Hepburn. However, Streisand’s outfit was perhaps the star of the night. She wore a sheer over blouse and pants ensemble. It caught the attention of fashion world that night.

His career led him down an even greater path. He went on to design for the biggest names in celebrities and socialites. These included Joan rivers, Joan Crawford, Mary Tyler Moore, Barbera Bush and four other president’s wives. He made his mark especially in the eighties. His big bold looks, flamboyant colors, and big accessories made is work even more special. One publicist, Jody Donohue, said, “He was able to make clothes that made a woman feel very femimine and he had a number of splendid clients who just adored him and who insisted on working with him. “Scassi learned a great deal of his ideas through the influence of Charles James. A “nonapologetic color sense” is one idea Scassi took from him. One of his biggest flaws, however, was his demanding, sometimes snappy, personality. However, this is part of what made Scaasi Scassi. Donohue later added, “No matter how aggressive he could be, he always rallied people.”

To the left is one of  Scaasi’s. It is a long green silk taffeta sheath gown from 1988. It is a wonderful representation of his designs at the time with the bold color, large shoulders, feminine cut, and over-the-top look. This was eventually featured in a book by Bernadine Morris and Liz Smith entitled A Cut Above. It is also perfect for the Christmas season. Red and Green are the two most popular colors at Christmas time. The green color comes form the idea of evergreens, mistletoe, and ivy in the winter. They often stand for eternal life, a new life,  longevity, or regeneration. Red has a much more religious background. The color is a symbol of he fall of man an their salvation. St. Nicholas, the historical figure that influenced our modern Santa Claus, was also said to have worn a red robe.

The next dress to the right is also one of Scaasi’s. It is a short red lace taffeta and long sleeve cocktail dress. This one is perfect for that special holiday party this season. Again, it is also a perfect representation being from 1987. The detailed lace, added sparkle, shoulder padding, and bold colors are all Scaasi. For even more information about these two dresses plus 2 more, check out the blog post from 2015! http://u.osu.edu/clotheslines/2015/12/

 

SOURCES:
Feitelberg, Rosemary; Koski, Lorna.(Augus 4, 2015).Arnold Scaasi, American Designer and Confident First Ladies, Dies at 85. Retrievend from  https://wwd.com/fashion-news/designer-luxury/arnold-scaasi-dies-at-10196546/

(August 31, 2018). Arnold Scaasi. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Scaasi

 

 

 

Christmas Jewelry and Fashion History

Shiny green Christmas trees, perfectly unique snowflakes, jolly Santa faces, and button-nosed snowmen are among the most popular Christmas jewelry designs. Decorations for your clothing at Christmas time has been popular ever since the Victorian age but became very popular in the 1950s after Stanley Hagler created a business as a jewelry designer selling Christmas jewelry. The clothing décor became more complex and beautiful as time went on and other designers such as Larry Vrba, Trifari, and Eisenberg came out with Chirstmas jewelry as well. Everyone was wearing small Christmas trees adorned in little gems of green and red on their clothing. This post will explain the growing industry of Christmas Jewelry in the 1950s and what designers made the look famous. Where did we get red and green as the primary Christmas colors? Where did we get an idea of Christmas trees? Keep reading to find out!

Christmas Jewelry was stated in the Victorian era. The people of those days were known to decorate both their homes and their clothing rather extravagantly. Although the first known use of a Christmas tree was during the 1500s, the Victorian people were the first to make the Christmas tree famous. They thought bringing a large tree in your house, decorating it with fragile ornaments, and laying presents beneath I would be a good idea. Who knew it would become such a staple for the holiday?

But where did the idea of red and green come from? Well, the constant use of evergreen, holly, ivy, and mistletoe was frequent during the winter times. It was a way to brighten up the freezing winter wonderland that occurred every year. It was found that the Romans used to exchange evergreen during the winter time as a way to wish luck to someone. The Chinese culture sees it as a symbol for longevity and the Christian world sees it as a symbol for eternal life. And in the Egyptian culture, the color green is seen as a way to new life and regeneration. Overall, the color green was most likely adopted because of its popularity among evergreen, ivy, and mistletoe during the holidays. It is a way to celebrate the winter but also welcome the spring. Red on the other hand was a symbol of original sin coming from the red apples of the Paradise tree. Also, red holly berries were a symbol for Jesus Christ’s blood. So, this represents the fall of man and his salvation. Red was also the color of St. Nicholas, which influenced the modern Santa Claus’ red suit.

When Christmas jewelry became famous in the 1940s, the most famous design of all was the Christmas tree. It was mainly crafted with red and green rhinestones and gilt metal. They became both a way to express your Christmas joy as well as a way to showcase your style. The man who made the Christmas tree pin famous was Stanley Hagler. A once business advisor, he left his job with Miriam Haskell to start his own jewelry business on a whim. He was described as “Picasso” of jewelry. His work could be called colorful and maybe a little outrageous at times. His unique talent gained him the attention of many rich and famous at the time. Although he used faux pearls, he often strung them individually in order to showcase their beauty while many other designers clumped them together to hide any flaws. Hagler loved to combine both the modern style with an antique twist.  However, the thing that set Hagler’s jewelry above everyone else’s was that he created multipurpose designs. A clasp of a necklace could be used as a pin. his innovating thinking an use of good materials are what made him go far. He went on to create jeweled swimming flappers, wigs, and luggage.

Another designer famous for his Christmas tree pins was Larry Vrba. He was also employed at Miriam Haskell Jewelry in the 1970s, a while after Stanley Hagler. However, he quickly became an asset to the company. His work was bold and much like Hagler’s, slightly outrageous. One company, Trifari, was known for its more traditional pins. It was started by Gustavo Trifari in 1910 after entering from Italy onto Ellis Island in 1904. He originally started the company with his uncle, calling it “Trifari and Trifari”, but later broke away to only be known as “Trifari”. His tree pins were quite minimal at times, compared to the bold outlook of Vrba and Hagler.

Overall, Christmas buttons/jewelry has been used since the Victorian era for both fashion and showing the Christmas spirit. The people in this day and age were known for their excessive decorating of both their homes for Christmas and their clothing. They were the era to familiarize the popular practice of cutting down Christmas trees. We often see the colors red and green everywhere around Christmas time because of their origins. Green is from the popular evergreen, ivy, and mistletoes that are hung with care around the holiday season. They are a symbol of eternal life for Christians, longevivity in the Chinese Culture, and new life and regeneration in the Egyptian culture. Red is a symbol for the fall and salvation of man. St. Nicholas, which Santa Claus is based off, wore a red robe, also influencing the color red around the holidays. Designers like Stanley Hagler and Larry Vrba made Christmas jewelry popular again from the 1940s-1970s. They were most famous for the Christmas tree design, one of the staple traditions of the holiday season.

SOURCES:

Dean, Tonya. (Why Red and Green? The History of Holiday Jewelry Colors). ThingsGrandmaKept. Accessed on November 26, 2018. Retrieved from https://thingsgrandmakept.com/holiday-jewelry-colors/