Sunday, January 8, 2012

The richness and splendor of the East - 1956 Fashions

This 1956 article from Woman's Home Companion is titled "A New Simplicity touches our lives today". They show the new influences in room decor and what you should be wearing in these rooms.
"This new simplicity all around us comes from many sources-one of the most important is our new awareness of the restraint and beauty in Eastern design. Each generation since Marco Polo has rediscovered the Orient in its own way, drawing from it the ideas and qualities which suited its needs and which cave sparkle to its life. Our own generation is no exception. For us, the discovery has been vibrant colors on the one hand, serene monotones on the other. We reach out for the restraint, the simplicity of line, the lightness of scale-for everything, in fact, that brings a sense of space or that seems uncluttered to our extremely cluttered lives.

The richness and splendor of the East, which have always appealed to earlier generations, are for us only implicit in the materials we choose. For instance, you may see an evening dress this season made of beautiful brocade but its effect usually depends entirely on its line-the material its only ornament.

How does all this affect you and me-in our homes, in our lives? Consciously or unconsciously, we find ourselves desiring certain things that stem from the East - light sliding screens to separate two rooms or throw them together, low light furniture, simple lighting fixtures, simple uninsistent backgrounds. In clothes, we admire the slim column-like line of a dress translated from the Chinese; in hairdos and makeup we try out an Oriental effect..."

"In the Eastern fashion, B. H. Wragge's beautiful interpretation of the slit Chinese robe, The tunic shirt of printed silk Honan shown here over a beige skirt of spun rayon, could also be worn over shorts."

"Claire McCardell's modest jersey suit in the pencil-slim but graceful Chinese silhouette. The suit jacket is lined to match the turquoise pull-over blouse, fastened along Chinese lines with small buttons and fabric loops."

"A Chinese dress of Pink Poppy silk damask, imported by Dynasty of Hong Kong. In the classical tradition it is sleeveless, with the standing collar and side-slit skirt. Its functional lines focus attention on the elegant woven pattern of the fabric."

"Another striking example of this year's Chinese trend is this dress and jacket ensemble of orange silk linen. Note the jacket's stand-away collar and sloping shoulders. This illustrates how the Chinese influence can be adapted in an essentially Western fashion. From Talmack."


  1. "Hey, Mum Look, that lady's got a salad bowl on her head!"

  2. I have to tell a story. Last week I found a flower pot hat at the thrift store and bought it to put in the dress up box. Now this thing is really a flower pot, with flowers growing out of the top (I think it was from Ikea). So I put this goofy thing on when my SIL came home and he finally looked my way...and didn't react at all! Apparently seeing Grandma wearing silly hats is just the norm around here.
    It might be time to hit the road. ;-)

  3. Gotta say that the Claire McCardell suit is really timeless, even with the distracting flowerpot hat! (does she hear an echo when she speaks?)

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