Mid-century magazine advertising has been a big inspiration for me in my vintage sewing adventures. At first it’s all just ‘old pretty stuff’ but after a few years, you grow to love the names on the labels and the different styles they favoured, both in the silhouette and the way each brand promoted themselves.
This projects is a bit of an adventure in photography and graphic design for me, featuring original vintage pieces that I have tailored to fit me, as well as clothing I have made inspired by the aesthetic of each brand. All the photos and most of the making/tailoring took place during the 2020 Covid-19 Lockdown. For the pieces I made or significantly altered, I put my own twist on the brand's logo. Thankfully midcentury advertising used a lot of solo models against blank walls, and in 2020 my flat contained me and a large blank wall.
My introduction to Rappi came from my favourite vintage seller in LA at Starday Vintage, as the ultimate label for American teens attending proms, balls, and all other formal events in the 1950s. Syd Rappaport, the Austrian-American designer behind this brand, made all of her own clothes as she worked her way up to becoming a designer. I love that she always kept dancing in mind when considering the lines and movement of her evening wear.
Both of the dresses pictured below are original Rappi pieces.
Adolph Schuman was a Hungarian-American fashion designer who named his label for his wife, Lillian Schuman. He worked in San Francisco and Paris, and the brand was known for their exquisite and luxurious tailored ladies suits and coats. Nobody cuts a peplum like Lilli Ann.
On the left is a handmade cranberry cashmere and wool coat, constructed using the Charm Patterns Princess Coat design by Gertie. On the right is an original Lilli Ann skirt suit in flecked grey wool that I tailored to fit me. Jamie Topp helped me recreate the magazine style advertistments.
To me, Horrockses is the quintessential English summer day dress, and I love them. Within the restrictions of post-war Britain, they made ready to wear cotton dresses feel like high fashion using beautiful prints and flattering modern silhouettes.
The checked dress is the first Horrockses dress I ever bought, and the striped dress is a recreation I made to look like a real Horrockses dress from a print ad. I drafted the pattern and designed the fabric myself.