FrouFrou 4 YouYou

Chicago Millinery History: Mandel Bros Department Store February 5, 2017

Filed under: Chicago,Chicago Millinery History,fashion,hat,Uncategorized — froufrou4youyou @ 2:00 pm
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Mandel Brothers started in Chicago in 1855 and has a well documented history.

Much of the information provided here came from online archived Chicago Tribune newspapers. One might think looking for advertisements from Mandels that year would be enlightening. Would be if any could be found. In the four page newspaper the ads perhaps comprised a total of one page, mostly small boxes of tiny print. Carpets, curtains and cod liver oil are likely grouped with menswear and embroideries. Advertising was yet to come into it’s own. For trendsetting, Carson, and Pirie, before Scott and Co, and then Marshall Field had great faith in news advertising; others followed suit.

With a presence on State Street, they ultimately gained even more success and stature, when located in a shopping area known for the retail leader, Field and Leiter, later known as Marshall Field and Co.

The obituary of Leon Mandel in 1911 shares the story of his arrival here from Germany in 1851 at the age of 10, leaving school at 13. He went to work at a large dry goods store, Ross and Foster, for $2/week. Five years later Leon and his brother were assisted by Ross in opening their first store, at Clark and Monroe.http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1911/11/05/page/5/article/leon-mandel

If one consults the Chicago History Museum account, based upon the part of the Encyclopedia’s Dictionary of Leading Chicago Businesses (1820-2000), the story is somewhat different. “This retail enterprise, which would become one of Chicago’s leading department stores, was founded in 1855 by Bavarian immigrants Solomon Mandel and his uncle Simon Klein. Their first store was located on Clark Street. In 1865, after Solomon’s brothers Leon and Emanuel joined the firm, its name became Mandel Bros.” http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/2755.html

The newspaper article on the death of Mr. Klein indicates that after the Chicago fire of 1871 that Klein opens his own store, and the Mandels opened their own store. What is actually the truth is hard to pick out from such diverse records. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1895/12/12/page/3/article/simon-klein-expires-suddenly

The first major hurdle to survival for the fledgling entrepreneurs was the Panic of 1857. It seems Leon and Emanuel likely left school to earn money when times were challenging.

Mandels survived two fires, in 1871, the great Chicago Fire, and one in 1874.

During the weeks preceding the 1871 fire, the advertisements were primarily on the front  page of the still four page Chicago Daily Tribune paper. In the month following the fire, more advertising appears as still somewhat intact, tho relocated, stores wanted customers desperate for lost goods to find them, bumping the editions to six pages.

Oct 11 is the day after the fire, and the paper is only two pages. DB. Fisk announces opening at 57 W. Washington about Oct. 17. Hayes, GIbbons and Co had a tiny ad and would reopen within the week on State St. Keith Bros will be at 916 Prarie, which was their home.

Oct. 12, Gage (misspelled Gace, but it seems likely proofreading was sparse just then) has an ad with offices open at 419 Michigan ave, and states they will open at 961 Indiana, about Oct 20. As wholesalers they stocked stores in far away places as well as here.

H. W. and J. M. Wetherell, was advertising wholesale millinery to reopen, and they later did at 369 Wabash. Hard to believe this was so essential, but those were the days no women went out of the house without a hat.

In Nov 1871 Carsons also had reopened south of the burned out center of the city, at 138 22nd St. Mandels opened Nov 6, and was close by at 22nd and Michigan Ave. The fire had burned out both their original store, and the soon to open new store at Harrison and State.

A 1901 account of the life of the youngest brother, Emanuel, credits him with the discovery of the new site, and his successful effort to stock it. He had departed for NY in search of goods, but many others had as well. Instead he went to Detroit and purchased from their wholesale district, having the goods shipped back to Chicago. This allowed the store to reopen a week after the fire. That location was under his guidance for five more years.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1901/06/16/page/42/article/gallery-of-local-celebrities-no-lxxi-emanuel-mandel

“Within two days they had secured funds for reconstructing the State St building and were underway again when another fire in 1874 ruined the new structure.”

Nov 16, 1883 brought a lesser fire, confined to the 4th floor, which was the top floor, and shattered glass and water caused significant stock damage, fortunately insured. This fire was thought to be caused by overheated steam pipes.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1883/11/16/page/3/article/the-winds-work

Just when Mandels was fire free, on Feb 23. 1899 a massive fire at an adjoining store created a flood of their entire basement, with loss of mostly carpets and rugs. Manels had just opened a tea room in 1898, so they had plans to stay where they were. Perhaps there was a silver lining to the tragedy of the McClurg store, after all. Mandels purchased the land and had a new store ready to be occupied the start of 1901.

In 1911 Leon Madel’s death was marked by a small box ad in the Tribune on page 3. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1911/11/05/page/3

The store published their own newspaper for employees. The Chicago History Museum had three issues, from June 26, 1912, Sept 18, 1912, and April 16, 1913. In a column they wrote called Personal Mention there were only three millinery staff included. In June 1912 we learn that Miss Frances Watkins of basement millinery would leave July 2 for a month in Kenosha, WI, and Miss Lee Mohr, “a faithful worker in basement millinery,” leaves July 2 for a month rest. She would be traveling to Canada and also her home in Buffalo, NY. In Sept the good news was shared that Miss Catherine Cornwall married George LeMeiux and left for a NY honeymoon. They would return after Oct. 15, to reside at 1035 N. Lawndale. These extended time off periods are a bit of a mystery. It is highly doubtful these were paid vacation times. Perhaps slow seasons allowed staff to take time off on their own. The April 1913 issue had rankings of the store departments for March sales leaders. Of 148 depts millinery came in number 41, and another millinery group came in 62. Spring sales of Easter wear would have accounted for their success.

On Sept. 21, 1930 the death of Fred Mandel, Leon’s son, was covered in an article. Before he left for Paris he had cut the cake back in March to celebrate the 75th anniversary. Most stores close upon the death of the founder, but this was a founder’s son, so the show had to go on. In this situation there was a 6 page ad running for the 75th anniversary. Hats were $10, and in the Subway Store, the bargain basement, the values were at $3.50.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1930/09/21/page/85

A centennial celebration for the enterprise in 1955 was covered with an article, mentioning the original brothers Soloman, Leon, Simon and Emanuel joined in 1865, to carry forward the store of Simon Klein, their uncle, which had changed into Klein & Mandel in 1855. 1http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1929/09/11/page/42

Mandels was a leader in many ways, with the first live models for fashions, and in 1934, a unique shopping experience for a niche group, nuns.

“From the perspective of the secular world, one effect of religious practices and identities has been to define potential markets. Mandel Brothers, a downtown department store, took out a full-page ad in a 1934 publication of the Archdiocese of Chicago to announce the existence of private shopping accommodations for nuns.”

http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/11285.html

In 1929 a ladies life included the essential pastime of bridge. Mandel Bros was not to miss a marketing opportunity. They held presentations by a bridge authority in the new Bridge Shop in the Foreign Shop on the 9th floor. Ladies were encouraged to select tallies, prizes, even bridge tables to impress their friends.

Of course one could also shop for a stunning new hat to wear to the favorite bridge game. The KNOX “Piquant” felt hat could be fitted to your head in a choice of four colors for $15. Then again the newspaper reader may already have been even far more impressed by the full page ad from Marshall Field and Co that day. They offered a 2 hour commitment to make your hat, also fitted to your head, for a mere $11, but in SEVENTY-FIVE colors! Not everyone may have been tempted by those options. There was an ad for Charles A. Stevens with a clearance of 200 hats for $2.50, with values to $25.

For the careful reader of the page of school advertisements, there is one tiny box at the bottom of the Vogue School, for fashion. It is listed as held at Millinery Modes 116 S. Michigan Ave. One wonders how many customers thought it would be a swell idea to learn to make their own hats, and perhaps have a career as well. This might be a good idea if you did not love bridge.

The Vogue School was successful, an entity of the The Commercial Art School, started in 1916, and evolved into the Ray-Vogue School of Design. It lastly became the Illinois Institute of Art. (Not to be confused with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois_Institute_of_Art_–_Chicago

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1929/09/10/page/14/article/display-ad-12-no

The lives of the Mandel Bros were anything but dull. If fire did not cause havoc, crime had an impact.

In December 1935, the father Leon and  son Frederick, with their wives, were returning from the Stevens Hotel to the yacht, which was the home of  the Leon Mandels. Gunmen accosted their car, and a shootout ensued. The shootout was on the part of the robbers, the watchman from the yacht, and Mr. Mandel as well. Since the robbers had grabbed Mrs. Mandel as a shield, Mr. Mandel pulled a pistol from the car’s glove box. No one was caught, and fortunately no one died.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1935/12/01/page/1/article/mandel-party-routs-robbers-in-gun-battle

Certainly one would hope never to experience another gun battle, but such was not the case. At the top of this blog is one front page from the Chicago Tribune from Apr. 1957. A planned major burglary of the store was tipped off to the police and an undercover operation was in place. It had an ugly outcome.  http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1957/04/19/page/1

What remains of buildings which held hats for Mandels? Perhaps only a warehouse at 3254 N. Halstead, where the name is in granite. http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM50JF_Mandel_Brothers_Warehouse_Building_Chicago_IL

For an excellent overview of the company, this blog tells much the same as included above, plus far more. https://jazzagechicago.wordpress.com/mandel-brothers/

Perhaps you wonder what the Mandels did with their wealth? Plenty of things, many philanthropic, but also fun related. In 1940 Fred Mandel, director of Mandel Bros. department store bought the Detroit Lions. (Since today is SuperBowl Sunday, it seemed fitting to add that timely tidbit.)

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1940/01/17/page/21/article/fred-mandel-purchases-detroit-lions-for-200-000

 

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Chicago Millinery History: Marshall Field and Co. and Millinery Part 2 March 18, 2016

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Marshall Filed and Co was cutting edge in the world of fashion. Millinery was no exception.

Hat selection was a fun tho perhaps time consuming process in the early years. Since there were so many choices a woman would be tempted by many, and in some situations, went home with more than one hat at a time.

Once the hat was selected, the transaction proceeded with cash or credit.

Cash or a check was a quick way to finalize a transaction. When the final “new” building at State and Washington was completed it made getting  your change a high tech event.”An extensive pneumatic-tube system, consisting of over 125,000 feet of tubing and 4,500 carriers, whisked customers’ money to the cashiering department where change was made and sent back to the originating sales counter.” http://web.archive.org/web/20110927065743/http://chicago.urban-history.org/ven/dss/fields.shtml

The Field’s approach to credit was very forward thinking early on in the history of the company. “It was the first store to offer revolving credit.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Field%27s

Who is to be credited with this credit approach is sometimes murky. Harry Gordon Selfridge was a leading man in the retail operation. “He greatly increased the store’s advertising budget, expanded its package delivery system, and established a bargain basement to broaden the store’s appeal among less wealthy Chicagoans. He also promised customers complete satisfaction, offering easy credit, the right to return merchandise for a full refund, and numerous in-store amenities such as a personal shopping service and ladies’ tearoom, one of the first of its kind in the nation.” http://web.archive.org/web/20110927065743/http://chicago.urban-history.org/ven/dss/fields.shtml

Credit cards, or charge cards as they could be called, were issued by the store. There was also another approach locally. The Chicago Credit Plate Service, Inc. These Charga cards were a cardboard form slid into the metal embossed on the back frame. The cards were placed into a machine to run over the embossed part with carbon paper between the multi-layer form to transfer the owner info on the receipts.

This credit card was one where a customer could make purchases at several downtown stores, Marshall Field and Co, Mandel Bros, The Fair, Carson, Pirie, Scott and Co, and  Charles A. Stevens. http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-METAL-CHARGE-CARD-CHICAGO-CREDIT-PLATE-SERVICE-MARSHALL-FIELD-CO-EUC-/141887202637?hash=item210922e54d:g:H2wAAOSwKtlWpn7y

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Later on the credit card had a different look. For the gold Rewards card of the 1990s, housed at the Smithsonian, an explanation is provided. “This Marshall Field’s Regards credit card belonged to Ms. Joanne Klein during the 1990s. While a store-issued charge card was once a way to extend credit to reputable customers, by the 1990s they became an avenue for department stores to encourage repeat shoppers and store loyalty by providing perks through store credit cards. For instance, Marshall Field’s Regards card granted the holder a free cup of coffee at the stores’ coffee bar. Store issued cards also gave the store insight into the consumer’s purchasing patterns and shopping behavior.”http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_1450048

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One in the corporate color of green was a late issue:

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Marshall Field and Co did not entirely endorse just using credit. They had banks that looked like earlier cards to save money. (Money one might imagine they hoped you would bring back to the store and spend there.)

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Once the transaction was complete the hat went into a hat box. The most often found ones,on the market these days, are round tan/grey wood-look boxes. Some have a same paper as of the box gummed Fields name label. The gummed backing does not stay on well anymore.

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If you need one of these boxes, here is one on Etsy:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/244080310/50-off-easter-sale-vintage-marshall?ref=shop_home_active_9&ga_search_query=Hat%2Bbox

They have a twisted cord handle, far better than later boxes with a string handle. The green shallow lid square boxes did not even have  a handle.  The oldest box is the one shown at the top of this blog. It is 18″round from the French Room, most likely back in the day when the big hat at a big price could be found in that most elite section of the store. The 28 Shop opened in  1941.

More info on the 28 Shop can be found in another post here, as well as on another blog, by Couture Allure:http://coutureallure.blogspot.com/2012/08/marshall-fields-28-shop.html

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This square hatbox is available with a hat from Fields by an Etsy seller, from Indiana. One wonders if the original owner made a trip to State Street to the Mecca of stores, Marshall Field and Co, or had the hat shipped.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/244080310/50-off-easter-sale-vintage-marshall?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field%20hat%20box&ref=sr_gallery_3

 

Chicago Millinery History: Marshall Field and Co, and Millinery Part 1 March 10, 2016

The store of greatest reknown in Chicago is definitely Marshall Field and Co. It’s history as a shopping Mecca for Chicagoans and many millions of visitors is told in many ways. There are magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books which have been written about the man, Marshall Field, as well as the store. There is an online entry for both on Wikipedia. There are postcards through the decades. There are U-Tube films, the best of which should not be missed. Rebecca V. Larkin does more for the image of the man and the store than any other media out there.

Fashion was a top focus for the store. As Marshall Field V tells Ms. Larkin in her interview of him, “The men made the money, and the women spent it.” http://www.pdxhistory.com/html/marshall_fields.html

Those women spent plenty of it on hats. One enjoyable way to look back in time is through the newspaper advertisements placed by Marshall Field and Co in the Chicago Tribune. The ads go back to 1871. The Chicago Tribune began in 1871.

The first spring following the Chicago Fire of 1871 has advertising in March to tempt people to shop. This March 1, 1872 front page ad collection has none from Marshall Fields in all of the entire 6 page issue. (For ease of reading look at bar on bottom of page for + sign to click to enlarge enough to read.)
http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1872/03/01/page/1/article/display-ad-1-no-title
John V. Farwell, a former partner of Marshall Field has his own enterprise, and he has an ad for his April 1 reopening at Monroe and Franklin.

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Should one worry that Field’s store is not active? No, it has reopened in a barn that was renovated quickly just weeks after the fire. The news reports at that time indicated women were lined up around the block to get in. It may be that word of mouth, and reputation was good enough to have enough trade without advertising.

What the hat salespeople of Field’s might be concerned a bit about are two ads on March 3, 1872. On the front page Walsh and Hutchinson is making it known their wholesale house is operating, and will even provide hotel accommodations for the out of town buyers. Since so many structures burned with the fire, it seems lodging would have been at a prime.

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The other ad is even more concerning for millinery competition. On page 5 the ad shows the opening of the first millinery concern in the former burned area, 258 Wabash, at Jackson. Hewes and Prescott reestablished themselves, but it is not known for how long, as no other documentation of them shows up outside of newspaper ads. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1872/03/03/page/5

The Field’s and Leiter store, as it was still a partnership of Marshall Field and L. Leiter back then, were advertising on March 4 about special fabric goods, so women could get on track to make some summer gowns. Love the part of the ad at the bottom where one could find Butterick patterns on the second floor. They were still at State and 22nd St, in the barn. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1872/03/04/page/1

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By Mar 1, 1900 the Field’s ad was about 3/4 of a page in the 12 page newspaper. The big deal was the Silver Sale. Field’s had moved back to the Sate St location in 18__. What lady who went in search of silver would not have been tempted to look at hats as well?http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1900/03/01/page/7/article/display-ad-4-no-title

 

On March 5, tho, the ad was one entire back page. Lots of temptations again for any woman of means to create some dresses, and trim their own hats. Veilings, previously to $.85, were available for $.25/yd. The ribbon choices were extensive. Tho feathers were not mentioned, they certainly would have been in stock, too.http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1900/03/05/page/12/article/display-ad-5-no-title

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A decade later ads were still used, but even better is a drawing of what is being espoused as the latest, a green sailor hat:http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1910/03/01/page/10/article/health-and-beauty

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By 1920 the ads make note in a full page ad that Easter is approaching, and Fields has hats in five departments; French Salon, American Room, Sport Room, English Room, and Hat Shapes and Trimmings.

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Finding hats sold at Fields in the vintage market is not too difficult in the Chicago area. Here are some hats from several vintage sellers showing hats:

Frocks and Frills in Wheaton,IL also is online at Etsy:

Pink beaded hat by Amy

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Lilac floral hat by Marshall Field and Co.

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Black hat by Leslie James

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Straw hat by Mr. John

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Sweet Ginger Vintage in Mayfield, WI, and also online on Etsy:

Straw trilby hat by Marshal Field and Co

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FrouFrou4YouYou on Etsy:

Blue floral hat by Marshall Field & Co.

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Red satin hat by Lemington

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Black feather headband by Marshall Field and Co

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Frocks and Frills hats:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/169741860/on-sale-1950s-pink-sequins-hat-amy-for?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_22

https://www.etsy.com/listing/267792272/on-sale-1960s-lilac-floral-hat-marshall?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_7

https://www.etsy.com/listing/161224109/on-sale-1960s-black-straw-hat-leslie?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_38

https://www.etsy.com/listing/238791047/on-sale-1950s-mr-john-straw-hat-taupe?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_21

Sweet Ginger Vintage:
Straw trilby hat: https://www.etsy.com/listing/258037025/on-sale-fab-ladies-straw-trilby-by?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_35

FrouFrou4YouYou hats:https://www.etsy.com/listing/203180249/blue-floral-hat-with-green-leaves-and?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_38

https://www.etsy.com/listing/190984065/vintage-red-satin-with-rose-cocktail-hat?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_27

https://www.etsy.com/listing/258843480/black-feather-headband-with-shimmering?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_3

 

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.