Saturday, April 30, 2011

Seeing Spots

There are two things that never fail to make me feel happy and smiley--the color RED and POLKA DOTS.  Who couldn't help but feel uplifted by those two, especially when they're combined!
Jean Desses One Shoulder Evening Dress  
March 1955 

Jean Dessès (6 August 1904 – 2 August 1970), was a world leading fashion designer in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. His designs reflected the influences of his travels, specializing in creating draped evening gowns in chiffon and mousseline, based on early Greek and Egyptian robes.

His work was influenced by his travels, creating draped evening gowns in chiffon, embroidered dresses, sheath dresses with tight jackets and flowing skirts. His fashion was very popular with European royalty and movie stars. Among his clientele were the Queen and royal princesses of Greece, the Duchess of Windsor, Madame Jean (Lilia) Ralli, the first Mrs. Aristotle Onassis and society hostess Elsa Maxwell. In 1962, he designed the wedding gown worn by Princess Sophia of Greece (later Queen Sofia of Spain) for her marriage to the future King Juan Carlos of Spain. Valentino worked with Desses for several years in the 1950s and gained much hands-on experience, as did Guy Laroche, who in the 1950s was Desses' assistant.
Jeanne Lanvin Castillo Silk Taffeta Cocktail Dress
March 1955 

Jeanne-Marie Lanvin (January 1867, Paris – 6 July 1946, Paris) was a French fashion designer and the founder of the Lanvin fashion house.

One of the most influential designers of the 1920s and '30s, Jeanne Lanvin's skillful use of intricate trimmings, virtuoso embroideries and beaded decorations in clear, light, floral colors became a Lanvin trademark. When Lanvin died in 1946, ownership of the firm was naturally ceded to the designer's daughter, Marguerite di Pietro.
Adele Simpson Two Piece Copper Polka Dot Two-Piece Suit
Harpers Bazaar
April 1952

Adele Smithline Simpson was born in New York, USA, in 1903. She studied at the Pratt Institute of Design, in Brooklyn, New York. She was married to Herbert Sondheim. In her 20's, she was reputedly one of the highest paid designers in America. In 1927, she was appointed head designer at Ben Gershel's, a ready-to-wear company. She then moved to Mary Lee Fashions, where she designed under her own name. 

Subsequently she bought out this business in 1944, changing the name to Adele Simpson Inc. She designed jewellery for a short period in the 1950's which is now much sought after at vintage jewellery stores.  In 1964 the company made Givenchy's special collection for Bloomingdales Store in New York. Simpson designed practical clothes, outfits which could be worn in layers and discarded to reveal evening wear under day wear.
Her blouse and suit, dress and jacket or coat and suit ensembles were extremely popular, especially with the wives of US politicians. Mrs Eisenhower and Mrs Jimmy Carter, along with many other First Ladies, were among her clientele.
She was the first American designer to treat cotton as a serious fashion fabric, using it for day dresses as well as full-skirted evening gowns. In the 1950's, she produced a cotton Chemise Dress with belts attached, which could be tied at the front or back.  The dresses which Adele Simpson made are still treasured and snapped up when they appear on vintage sale.

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