FrouFrou 4 YouYou

Chicago Millinery History: Conventions in Chicago; 1800s February 26, 2016

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Political conventions have been held in Chicago since 1860. The fourteen Republican and eleven Democratic conventions held here beats the closest city of Baltimore with a distant total of ten conventions.

What people wore to conventions has changed over the century plus of events. We shall give lip service to men, then jump into women’s fashions, particularly hats.

The male attendees have changed from waistcoats, and powdered wig of the 1700’s to the current business casual or just casual wear. If you are a candidate hopeful or scheduled speaker, then wearing the traditional tailored suit and tie is now the norm. For headwear the synthetic foam boater hat still exists to a degree, but the baseball cap has gained a foothold. Small metal pins and doodads or paper signs are sometimes added to these hats.

What women wore is a shorter history. Few women attend conventions for the majority of the years from our country’s beginning. In 1876 Miss Phobe Couzins addressed the group. As a lawyer and supporter of suffrage, she was allowed 10 minutes to speak to that hotbed topic.

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https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoebe_Couzins
https://books.google.com/books?id=h4A0AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Women delegates were not part of conventions until? Some digging may still reveal that tidbit of information. Even the wives of candidates were not always present. With the exception of Jackie Kennedy, who was pregnant and due in Dec, since then hopeful presidents and vice presidents have had their wives present.

NBC was first to broadcast a convention, the Republican convention in 1940. Before that time movie shorts, the newsreels sufficed for some. Chauncey Depew, Senator Perkins, and Governor Whitman of New York are shown at GOP Convention, 1916, Chicago, Il, which ran 2 min. http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/newsreels.html

Primarily word of conventions came from newspapers. Although Chicago has a rich history of newspapers, much was lost in the fire of 1871, the year the Chicago Tribune started publication.

WIGWAM, 1860
Chicago has been the nation’s most popular political convention city, in part because of its geographic centrality. Between 1860 and 1996, Chicago hosted Republican and Democrat presidential nominating conventions, plus one notable Progressive Party assembly. Chicago’s closest competitors for the most presidential conventions are Baltimore with 10, followed by Philadelphia’s 9.

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Wigwam # 1 http://www.ebay.com/itm/Republican-Convention-Headquarters-Chicago-1860-Hand-Colored-/350824132618?hash=item51aebf700a:m:mBvyU0PZdARRUXHKoBiPW0w

Chicago’s first presidential nominating convention, the Republican National Convention of 1860, was held in the “Wigwam,” a temporary two-story wooden structure. Last-minute backroom deals, plus a successful scheme to pack the galleries with holders of counterfeit tickets, brought unexpected victory to Abraham Lincoln. If there were women present, they would have been in the gallery. They would have been wearing bonnets, as a proper woman would not be outside her home without one.

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Democrats convened for the first time in Chicago in 1864, when they nominated General George B. McClellan and passed an antiwar platform. Republicans returned to Chicago in 1868 to unanimously nominate, at the Crosby Opera House, the victorious General Ulysses S. Grant.

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1864 Peterson’s magazine

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In 1880, Republicans convened in the Interstate Industrial Exposition Building on Michigan Avenue to nominate former speaker of the House of Representatives James A. Garfield, on the thirty-sixth ballot. Four years later, Chicago hosted its first double convention in the Interstate Industrial Exposition Building. Republicans nominated James G. Blaine, of Maine, secretary of state for the assassinated Garfield, on the fourth ballot. Democrats nominated New York governor Grover Cleveland, who became president.

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This Harper’s Weekly from June 1880 shows in detail the intensity of the crowd. Drawings by Frank H. Taylor. A big thank you to Mr. Taylor for including those women in their bonnets in the left bottom corner. http://www.ebay.com/itm/CHICAGO-NATIONAL-REPUBLICAN-CONVENTION-1880-DELEGATES-/400126551703?hash=item5d2966a697:m:mKKxawqKrZsOko9kzdduJrA

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The Leslie’s Illustrated magazine June, 1880 drawings by W. Parker Bodfish tell the story almost as well as a photograph.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NATIONAL-REPUBLICAN-CONVENTION-CHICAGO-ILLINOIS-HELD-IN-EXPOSITION-BUILDING-/361257958687?hash=item541ca6fd1f:g:kMMAAOSwqu9VGxwx

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Another drawing by Mr. Bodfish in the Leslie’s Illustrated of June 1884 shows great joy at the nomination. If one looked carefully, in the upper left corner, there is one woman in this picture. She  is holding both a flag and her parasol. She might have been rather dangerous in a crowd.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/CHICAGO-NATIONAL-REPUBLICAN-CONVENTION-CHEERING-FOR-SENATOR-BLAINE-AT-MIDNIGHT-/361257968046?hash=item541ca721ae:g:~UMAAOSwBahVGx7Q

In 1884, Republicans met, but their nomination from Maine, Speaker of the House James G. Blaine was an unsuccessful candidate against Cleveland. Back room bargaining had been taking place at the highly regarded Grand Pacific Hotel, where just the year before, Standard Time had been adopted. Even if everyone was not on the same page politically, at least everyone knew what time it was.

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Harper’sWeekly, June 1884 convention outside at night.

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Harper’s Weekly June 1884 shows  Michigan Ave, outside the convention. Drawn by Schell and Graham, it indicates a parade was of great interest.  The women have the bustle in the back,  dresses with highly corseted waistlines. Parasols are also seen used by girls and women. Keeping the sun off the face helped keep the porcelain complexion, which was highly desirable, long before concerns for sun damage to the skin.

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Another Harper’s Weekly drawing of the Palmer House Hotel lobby.one can still stand in that same space today, and enjoy the lobby for which it has become well known.

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Harper’s Weekly:  Journal of Civilization, June 7, 1884 paid tremendous attention to the convention, with it featured on the cover.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Pacific_Hotel_(Chicago)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1884_Republican_National_Convention

http://www.ebay.com/itm/REPUBLICAN-NATIONAL-CONVENTION-CHICAGO-SERENADE-POLITICS-EXPOSITION-BUILDING-/400732046568?hash=item5d4d7dc4e8:g:9BcAAOSwBvNTqfvz

http://www.ebay.com/itm/REPUBLICAN-NATIONAL-CONVENTION-AT-CHICAGO-MICHIGAN-AVENUE-HORSES-ARCHITECTURE-/400733040344?hash=item5d4d8ceed8:g:myMAAOSwo8hTrFRo

http://www.ebay.com/itm/DEMOCRATIC-CONVENTION-AT-CHICAGO-PALMER-HOUSE-BELLBOY-HOTEL-PORTER-LUGGAGE-BAND-/400765348910?hash=item5d4f79ec2e:g:E74AAOSwq7JUAN7V

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Republican-Convention-Chicago-Delegate-1884-antique-wood-engraved-print-/121906759302?hash=item1c62358686:g:f3wAAOSw~OVW0L-9

In 1888, Republicans met in the still-unfinished Civic Auditorium to nominate Senator Benjamin Harrison, of Indiana, on the eighth ballot. He lost the popular vote in the general election but beat President Cleveland in the Electoral College.

In 1892, Democrats met in a temporary “Wigwam” in Lake Park to nominate Cleveland for a third time. He regained the presidency. (See bottom of page for photo of unused ticket.)

A fine reference exists by R. Craig  Sautter, and Edward M. Burke. Inside the Wigwam: Chicago Presidential Conventions, 1860–1996.

   http://presidentialconventions.com/about.html

The 1896 Democratic convention, held in Chicago’s first Coliseum on 63rd Street, was the most unpredictable of the nineteenth century, next to Lincoln’s. William Jennings Bryan, just 36 years old, captured the hearts of delegates with his spellbinding “Cross of Gold” speech and won the nomination on the fifth ballot. He lost a dramatic election to business-oriented William McKinley

Buildings of the conventions:
Wigwam #1 at Lake and 1860, destroyed between 1860-1871.

Wigwam # 2

Interstate Exposition Building 1884. See blog of February 16, 2016 for more details.https://froufrou4youyou.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/chicago-millinery-history-the-inter-state-exposition-of-1873/

Coliseum:
History: the first Coliseum
The first Coliseum hosted horse shows, boxing matches, and circus acts beginning in 1866. Typical of most nineteenth century cities, Chicago had a flourishing bachelor subculture, which made events at the Coliseum often rowdy affairs. The arena’s history is hazy as there is no knowledge as to when it was opened and when it closed down.[1]

The second Coliseum

The second Coliseum, situated in Woodlawn on the south side, had a difficult history. Initial construction began early in 1895 on a 14-acre (57,000 m2) site of the World’s Columbian Exposition, but in August of that year the incomplete structure collapsed, and builders had to start over. Construction of the 300-by-700 foot building entailed the use of 2.5 million pounds of steel, 3.2 million feet of lumber, and 3 million bricks, and was finally completed in June 1896. The building was impressive in size for its day, twice as large as Madison Square Garden; its interior was supported by 12 massive arches, 100 feet high with a span of 230 feet. There were seven acres of interior floor space.

Not only Democrats and Republicans chose Chicago for their conventions.
Other parties=15 other conventions in Chicago
Greenback 1880=1
Independence 1908=1
Progressive 1912, 1918=2
Farmer Labor 1920,1928=2
Prohibition 1900, 1928, 1940, 1964=4
Socialist 1904, 1908, 1956=3
Libertarian 1992=1
Green 2008=1

Ticket costs back in the day are unknown. Fortunately some have survived, and at times appear for sale online.

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Democratic ticket available in 2016 from 1892= $800 on eBay. The Republican 1884 ticket shown at the top of the page had an opening price for auction on eBay for $175 on Feb. 25, 2016.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/USA-1884-REPUBLICAN-NATIONAL-CONVENTION-TICKET-/371559239809?hash=item5682a81081:g:t4YAAOSwQYZWykql
http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-1892-CHICAGO-NATIONAL-DEMOCRATIC-CONVENTION-Guest-Ticket-/121879215673?hash=item1c60913e39:g:bzwAAOSwJb9Wq3~Y

Democratic ticket available in 2016 for a ticket from 1932=$12 on eBay. Clearly these are not as popular, or many still exist.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/FDR-1932-Mint-Ticket-Stub-Democratic-National-Convention-Chicago-Cermak-/311540379976?hash=item488940f148:g

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Democratic_National_Conventions

Want to know more? Presenting programs on Chicago’s millinery history is a fun experience for Mary Robak, the author of this blog. In 2016 a new topic has been added, Political Conventions and Hats. If you would like more information about such a presentation, please add a comment and let the fun begin.

Coming soon, the blog on Chicago Millinery History:Conventions 1900s 

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Chicago Millinery History: Marshall Field and Co’s Forum of International Fashion February 24, 2016

imageSpring 1946 was the first season post WorldWarII when Amrican women could look forward to fashion without the constraints of rationing and serious shortages of options. Marshall Field and Company was ready and raring to go. Some ingenious planning was bringing seventeen US and international designers to the 28 Shop of the State Street store. The Forum of International Fashion was introduced to the public with a full page advertisement in the Chicago Tribune on April 7, 1946, followed each day with an almost full page ad to announce that day’s designer.

To put things in context, after the Forum ad for each day, several other fashion ads are included. Other retailers were not about to let all the attention and discretionary spending go to Marshall Field and Co.

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The names of some of the famous designers are not very familiar 70 years later. Others have stood the test of time, such as the first designer, Elsa Schiaparelli.

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April 8 Elsa Schiaparelli

Italian designer, working in Paris, known for artistic, out of the box creations, and her legacy of the color Shocking Pink. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elsa_Schiaparelli

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Other ads for April 8:

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April 9 Pauline Trigere
French designer, working in New York, who worked for Hattie Carneige before going solo. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_Trigère

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Others ads for April 9:

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4/10 Alix Gres
French designer, working in Paris, who claimed her greatest accomplishment was finding Rodier jersey. Also known as Madame Gres, tho her name was actually Germaine Emilie Krebs, and known as Alix Barton.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grès

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Other ads for April 10:

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4/11 Nettie Rosenstein
American designer, working in New York, who created the inaugural gown for First Lady Mamie Eisenhower. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nettie_Rosenstein

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Other ads for April 11:

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April 12 Peter Russell
English designer working in London, he was best known for his suits. Sadly a name rarely, if ever, recalled these days.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Russell_(fashion_designer)

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Other ads  for April 12:

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April 13 Omar Kiam

American designer, working in NY and Hollywood, he was known for movie creations till he left in 1941.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Kiam

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Other April 13  ads:

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April 14 Lucien Lelong
French fashion manufacturer, working in Paris. He worked with designer Pierre Balmain.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucien_Lelong

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Other April 14 ads:

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April 15 Norman Norell
New York designer who worked in costuming, then worked for Hattie Carniege from 1928 until 1941. After a partnership business, he went solo with much success. A vintage dress was worn by First Lady Michele Obama in 2010.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Norell

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Other April 15 ads

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April 16 Pierre Balmain
French designer, who worked in Paris, with several fragrances still worn today. He is known for having recognized the talent of Karl Lagerfeld, now head designer for Chanel, as well as Fendi. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Balmain

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Other April 16 ads:

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April 17 Jo Copeland
American designer, who was well regarded for her After Five designs.
http://marybawa.com/historyofashion/copeland.html

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Other April 17 ads:

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April 18 Anthony Blotta
American designer, known for wool suits and coats.
http://vintagefashionguild.org/label-resource/blotta-anthony/

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Other April 18 ads:

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April 19 Germaine Legroux
Nothing is found online.

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Other ads April 19:

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April 20 Angele Delanghe
Belgian designer working in London, known for soft tailoring.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angele_Delanghe

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Other April 20 ads:

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Marshall Field and Co did not take the day off from the Forum, even tho it is Sunday. Easter Sunday, no less, when many of the finest fashions were worn with pride.

4/21 Adrian, just Adrian. He was one of the most legendary American designers.

American designer, working in Hollywood, known for work in films, the red slippers for Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, and his own couture house.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrian_(costume_designer)

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Ads and the magazine cover from the paper April 21:

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April 22 Hardy Amies
London designer, SIR Edwin Hardy Aimes, best known as official dressmaker to Queen ElizabethII.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardy_Amies

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One April 22 ad, and a back page spread of what was worn that Easter Sunday:

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April 23 Hattie Carnegie
Viennese designer, working in New York, known for her head to hem concept of dressing women, as she started as a milliner. She recognized the talents of Norman Norell, Pauline Trigere, and James Galanos.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hattie_Carnegie

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Other April 23 ads:

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April 24 Balenciaga
Spanish designer, working in Paris, known for evening wear. Also noted is Balenciaga brown, introduced by Marshall Field and Co in 1938. One rarely hears of it much in this century, unlike the Shocking Pink of Schiaparelli.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balenciaga

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Other April 24 ads:

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And so we end the Forum of International Fashion from Marshall Field and Co.  Chicago certainly did have a moment in the sun for fashion in 1946.

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Chicago Millinery History: Elsa Schiaparelli February 23, 2016

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Fabulous books on Elsa Schiaparelli add to the allure of all things ELSA. Especially when the person with the largest collection of her creations has put that story into words. BillyBoy is a fashion geru of this day. His first encounter with “Schiap” creations was a hat he found in a Paris flea market when he was 14. The book comes out July, 2016.

 

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Books of the 21st century written on Elsa have totaled 8 since the 2007 reissue of the 1954 Shocking Life: the autobiography of Elsa Schiaparelli by Elsa Schiaparelli.

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My “book report” could never cover all the fine tidbits from those, so the following is just to wet you appetite for more. Besides the soon to be released book, Frocking Life: Searching for Elsa Schiaparelli, by BillyBoy, there was a charming one released in 2015, written for youth, Hot Pink. Susan Goldman Rubin brings out the best of the story, without the hot tidbits of a sometimes off color life. When the term Shocking Pink was coined to describe her signature color, there was also plenty shocking about her life as well.

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It is also nice to read an adult biography with many fine qualities established from the life of one of the worlds most successful fashion designers. Meryle Secrest brings out plenty in her 2014 book, Elsa Schiaparelli: a biography.

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Also out in 2014 was a collection of unseen family photos, by Schiap’s granddaughter, model, Marisa Berenson. Elsa Schiaparelli’s Album adds new meaning to her love of family.

Who was this woman we revere as a fashion icon between the two world wars?

Born 1890-1973 she left Rome for a life spent back and forth from New York to Paris. In Paris she won the fashion world attention with her sweaters, then moved along the fashion continuum to sportswear to all manner of apparel, including hats and other museum worthy designs.

A fascination with Surealism led to oft references as an artist who worked in fabric. She was the leading designer who based inspiration from Jean Cocteau and Salvador Dali on the backs and heads of women. The Chicago History Museum exhibit in 2008-09, CHIC CHICAGO featured one simple beige dress with the well know jacket of a woman’s hair cascading down the sleeve and profile across the chest.

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Schiaparelli made hats to draw attention to herself, as well as others. It is said the lamb chop hat with a white frill at the bone was the first of her hats to gain attention for the absurd.

Famous women wore her hats. Marlene Deitrich is known for a photo among hats with a cigarette and legs outstretched. Mrs. Daisy Fellows, former Harper Bazaar editor, was the one who wore the shoe hat and brought Americans to their knees in awe over her Schiaparelli look. The shoe hat was originally inspired by Salvadore Dali, a Surrealist artist who collaborated on her fashion design.

 

 

Elsa did animal skin hats, with the face of a big cat looking on as she wore this on her own head. Rather distracting, if I say so myself. Mostly Elsa favored wearing turbans.

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She had one design that was the most copied. It was a knit tube with one end closed, called a MadCap. This was copied by Madcaps company founder Mr. Soloman, who retired a millionaire to Florida. Schiap came to despise the design as she came to see it everywhere. Imitations were sold finally at the five and dime and perhaps those worn on the head of each newborn was the tipping point for her dismay. She then had her staff dispose of any of their design and prohibited talking of it again. The part where imitation is the greatest form of flattery did not work for Schiaparelli.

Top Ten Tidbits on Schiaparelli
#1 Born 9/10/1890, died 11/13/1973.
Born in Italy to a mother of aristocracy ( and some Scottish background), and father a professor and scholar of old coins. Her uncle, was an astronomer who found the canals of Mars. Elsa had an older beautiful sister, but Elsa had “beauty marks” on her face referred to as the Big Dipper, by her uncle.

#2 Hated name Elsa, called herself Schiap.
Even in youth the name Elsa was not acceptable to her, and insisted everyone call her Schiap. Her parent were hoping for a boy, and had no name for a girl. At her christening they chose Elsa, the name of her nurse, not your typical choice. Her youth was anything but dull. She was sent by her family to a Swiss boarding convent school, but her wild side did not fit well with expectations. She went on a hunger strike, which resulted in her father coming to bring her back home, ending the 3 month education. Some near miss marriages occurred, one with a much older man, an Arab while she was 13 and visiting in Tunisia, which her father would not allow. An arranged marriage to a wealthy Russian would not be acceptable to Elsa no matter how hard she was persuaded by her family. She may have been enamored by a lower class fellow, who may have really been the love of her life, as she called out his name several times upon her deathbed.
Once on her own she went to attend a fancy event in Paris, but without a suitable gown she was left to create an emergency outfit. She did not know how to sew, but purchased many yards of fabric and kept it together with pins. While dancing a tango the pins were falling out at an astonishing rate to the point she had to be shielded by her escort to depart before a total unveiling.

#3 Moved to NYC in 1922 but divorced when deserted, age 31.
In 1914 she married a man of questionable repute, a “Count” de Kerlor. She had attended a lecture by him on theosophy, but she did not leave the audience when other attendees left. By morning they were engaged. He, tho, was lured away during their marriage by the charms of Isadore Duncan. Isadore died when her long scarf caught in her car’s axle in 1927 and was strangled. He sought fame in some manner as a psychic detective, and writer. Fortune did not follow. He ended up murdered in Mexico at the age of 39.

#4 One daughter, Gogo. Born Maria Luisa, but then her father deserted mother and child, who had Polio. Some felt Schiap was not close to her daughter, but some thought her ingenious with what she did to support her. The blow that led to speculation was when Gogo married in NY while her mother was in Paris, unaware of the marriage.

#5 Initial success was a knit sweater done in 1927, in Paris. She had left NYC in 1922 and found rejection in Paris, closing in 1926. The sweater was of a knit she had seen made by Armenians. She commissioned them to create for her, which became wildly successful.

#6 Long standing disdain for Coco Chanel.
Chanel was established when Schiap came back to Paris. Very different styles. After WWII there was a downward spiral for Schiap, while Chanel reopened in 1954 with ongoing success, heavily based upon American appreciation.

#7 Signature color legacy Shocking Pink.
It embodied her overall philosophy of shocking people with her actions. Her erotic poetry as a teenager is said to have essentially brought her much criticism from family. Accounts vary if this was when she was 14 or 21. Her fashion designs could be just as provocative, as in the Lobster dress for the trousseau of Wallis Simpson, soon to be Mrs. Windsor.
There was a lamb chop hat worn by Gala Dali, Mrs. Salvatore Dali, with a suit of drawers for pockets.
Daisy Fellows, of Harpers Bazaar, wore the shoe hat, based upon the inspiration of Salvatore Dali.

#8 Autobiography “Shocking Life.”
This 1954 book did not receive critical acclaim, mostly based on the manner in which it was written. Some felt if she would have allowed for a collaboration with a writer, things would have been better.
The 2014 biography, Elsa Schiaparelli by M. Secrest also focused on the speculation that Schiap was a WWII German collaborator. Records are reviewed which were kept monthly by the FBI on her for two and a half years.
In 2013 there was an exhibit of designs by Prada and Schiaparelli in NY.That book is a wonderful review of her work; ” Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations.”

#9 Business bankrupt and closed 1954.
Returned from the US after the war to find her business intact, and reopened. The upswing of the Dior New Look in 1947 was the fashion world favorite, leaving the Hard Chic Schiap designs out cold. Closed in 1954, but licensing was an area in which she excelled. Perfume, lingerie, eyewear, and hats seem to be the likely best fit. Endorsements of other companies became an important aspect as well.

#10 Two granddaughters. Berry Berenson Perkins, (Mrs. Tony Perkins, wife of the actor who died in 1996 of AIDS), had two sons, Oz Perkins and Elvis Perkins. Berry had been a photographer who died in 9/11 when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the Twin Towers. The other granddaughter is Marisa Berenson, actress and model, supportive of the revived Schiaparelli label. Marisa lived with Schiap and had a closeness that may have been greater than she had with her own daughter, Gogo. Marisa faced criticism in the 1970s at her short mini skirt wardrobe from Schiap, even tho Schiap was most known for her controversial designs. Marisa was with her till the end. Her legacy? Beyond the designs, there are others who worked for her early in their careers, such as Hubert Givency, and Pierre Cardin. In 2006 Diego Della Villa bought the company name, and in August 2013 brought on Marco Zanini. The first collection appeared in 2014.The revival of the company has pleased Marisa, and it seems the legacy of fashion may live on.

Hats:Lamb chop, Shoe, Hens Nest, Ink Pot, Telephone, Lobster

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Hats in Chicago?

In April 1946 Marshall Field, and Co held a month long event, Forum of International Fashion. They brought in  seventeen designers from the US and abroad. Elsa Schiaparelli was the first designer to present, on April 8, 1946. The ad for the Forum was an entire page, sure to catch the eye of every female reader.

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http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1946/04/08/page/17/

 

For an overview of the entire Forum, the Chicgao Tribune started off with a full page to  introduce the daily stars: http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1946/04/07/page/189/article/display-ad-165-no-title

(For more information on the Forum, see blog entry of Feb. 24, 2016)

It certainly would be wonderful to have seen those fashions, and the hats made for each ensemble.

Back to the present. Some of the books mentioned are in local libraries, but having those photos to savor again and again is easily accomplished. Visit your local independent bookseller and have them order it, if it is not already in stock. Chicagoans can head to Bookends and Beginning, in Evanston. They are more than willing to order, just call, then visit.http://www.bookendsandbeginnings.com

 

 

 

 

Chicago Millinery History: The Chicago Jubilee of 1931

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What was the 1931 Chicago Jubilee?
City Editor of the Chicago Tribune, Mr. Robert M. Lee, had asked the newspaper publisher to be allowed to take a vacation to Europe. The publisher was not quick to agree, but offered instead if Mr. Lee were able to create a large scale event that benefitted the city, he could consider the request.http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1931/05/16/page/2/article/the-real-story-behind-birth-of-chicago-jubilee

Three weeks later the Jubilee was held in downtown Chicago. Mr. Lee accomplished a significant amount of planning in a very short time. The event consisted of merchants and industry creating assorted focal events across one week, starting May 11, 1931. Most events were scheduled in the evening to boost business, and garner more after work attendees.

A parade of 150 floats one day, another day’s events had 1,500 singers in a caravan singing thru the streets. Fireworks display in Grant Park, and carnival in Pilsen another day were a big daw. Other events: A boxing exhibition at Soldier Field; cute baby contest; High School ROTC unit review at Stagg Field; street dancing on Ohio between St. Clair and Michigan Ave. A tournament was held at Washington Park; a dedication of a replica of Fort Dearborn. Last but not least, the chance for a few fortunate Chicagoans to be a bit richer, with a contest with prizes worth $5,000.

Stores had advertised special merchandise and in-store guests.

Although hat advertisements were scattered throughout the week, the
Saturday ads for the culmination of the week indicate retailers made a good effort to clear end of spring season stock, and bolster sales of the new mesh style hat.
Saks Fifth Avenue held a sale on the main floor of millinery for 200 hats at $5, usually priced $25. Junior hats on the third floor were just $3.50 with hats of values to $15 were available.

Milgrim Hats on South Michigan Blvd were marked down to $10 from $35. Marshall Field featured sample hats for $10 on their 5th floor.

Mandels was featuring a $5 mesh hat for summer, a new fabric it seems. Carson Pirie Scott and Co called it a “Rag of a Hat” in 10 colors and charged $5.25.

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Other stores also had bargains, like

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For the woman not looking for a big bargain, but her basic summer hat, a nice Panama straw would be a good investment. Maurice L. Rothschild at State and Jackson had Stetson Pamama straws for $15. Other Panama straws ranged from$7.50-$30.

This is was an ideal time to really advertise for gift giving for Mother’s Day:

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There were probably some shoppers who were not going to get into the city, so Marshall Field added additional full page ads for the Evanston and the Oak Park stores:

 

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A Tribune article on May 31, 1931 indicates merchants found the Jubilee a major success and stimulus for trade. It seems the city had gone through a difficult winter, which was no surprise since this was the Depression. The Tribune publisher, and City Editor Mr. Lee had done well for the city.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1931/05/19/page/14/article/the-lessons-of-the-jubilee

The event for Mr. Lee culminated by taking the trip to Europe, sailing May 16 on the Il de France.

 

Chicago Millinery History: The Inter-State Exposition of 1873. February 16, 2016

The Inter-State Industrial Exposition was held in an elaborate exhibition hall constructed in 1873, on the east side of Michigan Ave. It was torn down for the 1893 construction ultimately of the Art Institute.

“The Art Institute of Chicago Building (1893 structure built as the World’s Congress Auxiliary Building) houses the Art Institute of Chicago… The building was built for the joint purpose of accommodating the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and subsequently the Art Institute… officially opened to the public on December 8, 1893.”https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Institute_of_Chicago_Building

The souvenir program, of 360 pages, exists to share a bit of the glory. The online copy is from the University of Illinois collection. https://archive.org/details/interstateexposi01vana

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The exhibition hall generated much foot traffic, as there were perhaps 600 exhibitors of art work, to carriages, to nails, and coffins. Included, of special fashion interest, were four exhibitors with millinery, and one with furs. The company Gage, Mallory, and Co, perhaps soon to be Gage, later became one of the leading millinery houses of the city. The overwhelming majority of the exhibitors were Chicago based companies, which is an amazing accomplishment since the fire of 1871 had devastated most of the central business district downtown.

Each exhibit was described anywhere from a paragraph to several pages of description and explanation of the items of the exhibit. The millinery ones warranted at most a third of a page. The name most likely thought of from that era and beyond was D. B. Fisk, who had already been in operation for about 25 years.

D. B. Fisk and Co, at Wabash and Washington, had the most extensive description of the millinery exhibitors. Most impressive was their manner of display. A glass case 10 ft tall by 18 ft long, was even more notable, as it was made with one pane of glass from France.

Hotchkin, Palmer and Co., at 137 & 139 State St, featured ladies bonnets. “Trimmed hats, ladies velvet and cloth cloaks.” Also featured were “a case of the celebrated ‘Bazaar’ glove fitting patterns.” This company was perhaps an early applicant to be included as an exhibitor. This exhibition was a major advertising opportunity. Their trade cards used for advertising were so plentiful as to still have been in existence in the past decade for purchase on eBay.

D. Webster, & Co, at 270 & 272 Wabash, featured Ladies and Children’s hats, notions, etc. “This popular firm, who cater to the tastes of all, rich and poor, alike, made a notable display of goods of all qualities, comprising ladies imported bonnets, laces, notions, French flowers, ribbons, velvet, silks, etc, all of which were commendably arranged and bespoke for the exhibitors a replete stock in their line of goods. ”

H.W. Wetherell, & Co., at 45 & 47 Jackson St, featured Millinery Goods,
Trimmed bonnets, etc. “This house was established in 1855…” Also included is the fact that some out of town attendees bought the goods from the display. “They were absolutely compelled to dispose of several trimmed bonnets, forming part of their display…”

While traveling the long exhibit halls, a lady might also have been enticed by the exhibits of several others: J. Cox & Co. Artificial flower; Belding Co sewing silk; Mrs. C.E. Leonard and Dau, feather flowers of 508 Fulton, and John Leber, imitation flowers.

The art work exhibit alone would have taken some serious time to enjoy. It consisted of 167 paintings, 13 sculptures, 20 architecture and design, 7 engravings and chromes, 13 photographs, 10 wax, work, etc. and 3 stained glass.

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The view on Michigan Avenue looking North is very different today, but the same spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and well in Chicago.