Spring 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.
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.
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
Other ads for April 8:
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
Others ads for April 9:
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.
Other ads for April 10:
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
Other ads for April 11:
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)
Other ads for April 12:
April 13 Omar Kiam
American designer, working in NY and Hollywood, he was known for movie creations till he left in 1941.
Other April 13 ads:
April 14 Lucien Lelong
French fashion manufacturer, working in Paris. He worked with designer Pierre Balmain.
Other April 14 ads:
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.
Other April 15 ads
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
Other April 16 ads:
April 17 Jo Copeland
American designer, who was well regarded for her After Five designs.
Other April 17 ads:
April 18 Anthony Blotta
American designer, known for wool suits and coats.
Other April 18 ads:
April 19 Germaine Legroux
Nothing is found online.
Other ads April 19:
April 20 Angele Delanghe
Belgian designer working in London, known for soft tailoring.
Other April 20 ads:
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.
Ads and the magazine cover from the paper April 21:
April 22 Hardy Amies
London designer, SIR Edwin Hardy Aimes, best known as official dressmaker to Queen ElizabethII.
One April 22 ad, and a back page spread of what was worn that Easter Sunday:
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.
Other April 23 ads:
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.
Other April 24 ads:
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.