Monday, July 30, 2012

Vintage Inspiration: 1940's Hats

For your viewing enjoyment, here are a few 1940's era hats from my private collection modeled by a vintage mannequin display head.  Enjoy!

Labeled "Ere Nouvelle, Paris, New York"

Labeled "The Dayton Company, Minneapolis"

No Label

No Label

Labeled "New York Creation, Original Chapeau by Louise"

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Spectator Sports

The 2000 Ashton Drake Gene Marshall costume "Croquet, Anyone?" is a perfect example of the early 1940's fashion trend called Spectator Sports.  The look is "mannish" in a feminine way, highlighted by tailored garments and accessories in natural fibers.

The original "Croquet, Anyone?" outfit designed by Lynne Day is white linen with powder blue topstitching.  As you may remember in an earlier post, I dyed it a rich charcoal grey.

"Azure Elegance" Madra Lord wears my dyed version of "Croquet, Anyone?".  I designed the hat and purse to go with the new look.  The gloves are from Ashton Drake, and the fabulous shoes are from Integrity.  I was so pleased with the results, I decided to pick up another outfit to dye.  This time I wanted to go lighter in color. 

A restyled "To Have and To Hold" Gene Marshall wears my latest version of "Croquet, Anyone?".  This color was called "wild mink" in the 1940's.  The dress turned out great, the jacket did not!  I guess it pays to be a fabric hoarder, because I found this wonderful vintage fabric in my stash that went perfectly with the new dress color.  I took apart the jacket to make a new pattern resulting in this revised version.  The hat is from Ashton Drake's "Fashion Plot" ensemble, fur drape from PD Root, and gauntlet gloves from The Couture Touch.

Set Credits:
Backdrop from
Table from CED
Phone from Ashton Drake's "Hot Day in Hollywood" Accessory Set

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day Dresses for the 1940's Femme Fatale

I love this dress from Ashton Drake's "Croquet, Anyone?" on its own, and I love it's new color called "wild mink".  Accessories include the dramatic hat from "Fashion Plot", fur drape and purse from PD Root, gauntlet gloves from The Couture Touch, and shoes from D.A.E. Originals.  A restyled "To Have and To Hold" Gene Marshall enhanced with an Integrity articulated body is the femme fatale.

The femme fatale's little black dress.  Gene wears "Dangerous Curves" dress and fur from the 2007 Gene Rare Deal Convention.  Tilt Topper and gauntlet gloves are from The Couture Touch, shoes and purse from Robert Tonner.  Worn by Ashton Drake's "Spring In Central Park" Gene Marshall enhanced with an Integrity articulated body.

A close-up of Gene's new topper with an asymmetric brim designed to be worn at an angle.  Pin from Ashton Drake and earrings from The Couture Touch.

Set Credits: 

CED Table
Backdrop from

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Doll as Mannequin

In "Dictionary of Costume and Fashion", author Mary Brooks Pickens defines the mannequin as a model of the human figure for display of garments, hats, furs, etc.  From early 15th Century "milliners' mannequins" that were used to display the latest fashions for customers to the Theatre de la Mode fashion dolls to the miniature counter display mannequins and sewing kits found in fabric stores of the 1940's and 50's, mannequins have long been a source of fascination.

Sydney Australia, 1947
These wonderful department store mannequins are the big sisters to the miniature mannequin.  They were used to display fashions in an effort to entice the customer into the store to purchase.  Photo courtesy of

Supporting the war effort, this patriotic store window from the 1940's pays homage to the various women's uniforms of WWII.  Photo courtesy of

Love this window display from B. Altman & Company in NYC, circa 1940's.  The impeccably dressed mannequins provided inspiration for my own "window" display.  Photo courtesy of  The T-Cozy

Here's my take on the B. Altman window display with Mel Odom's 15.5 inch Gene Marshall doll as my mannequin.  And a good excuse to utilize the stand!  Details of the dolls and fashions in my next post.


In the Spring of 1945, Paris Couturiers began to rebuild their industry by creating a traveling exhibit of more than 200 miniature 27.5 inch mannequins dressed in designs by such notables as Balenciaga, Lanvin, Balmain, and Worth.  Pictured from left to right:  Marcelle Alix day ensemble, Simone Cange hat; Anny Blatt suit; Henry a la Pensee day ensemble, Jacques Heim hat.  Photo courtesy of

Margit Nilsen, a noted mannequin sculptor, designed this marvelous 22 inch miniature mannequin used by the Traphagen School of Fashion.  Many of her mannequins were also sold to McCall Pattern Company where they were used as counter displays in fabric stores.  Photo courtesy of

Isn't she fabulous!  A 1940's mannequin in original costume.  She is approximately 21" high.  Most of these display mannequins had removable arms for ease of dressing just like their full-size counterparts.  If you would like more information, I highly recommend the following books: 

"Miniature Mannequins, Identification & Price Guide" by Doris Mixon. Published by Hobby House Press, Inc.

"Theatre de la Mode: Fashion Dolls: the Survival of Haute Couture".  Published by Palmer/Pletsch.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Vintage Inspiration: 1940's Frocks

Who doesn't love those fabulous daytime frocks of the 1940's?   Vintage sewing patterns have long been my favorite go to resource for inspiration.  For your viewing enjoyment, here are scans from various McCall's magazines from my personal collection illustrating the latest pattern designs in summer daytime dresses.  And each one accessorized with a marvelous hat!   Enjoy!