Thursday, June 6, 2013


Curiously, World War II provided an opportunity for American designers (and designers working in America) to show their colors. With the Paris fashion world in limbo, Pauline Trigère fled Paris and opened a house in New York where she made crisp, tailored, classic clothes and pioneered the wool evening dress.

Cape from Cloak-and-Dagger collection. Image from Life magazine, 1947.
 Gray flannel suit skirt, 1949.


Wool suite, 1946 and Cocktail dress, 1955.
Images courtesy of Pinterest.

Norman Norell, who once designed movie costumes for Gloria Swanson, was hailed for the chemise, dolman sleeves, and glittery drop-dead all-sequined sheath dresses, still popular today.
Evening dress, 1949. Image courtesy of Pinterest.
Coats, circa 1955. Images courtesy of Pinterest.

Mermaid dress, 1962. Image courtesy of Pinterest.

Englishman Charles James first came to American in 1927. He used the States as his base from 1939 to 1947, and then alternated between the two continents. Best remembered for his lavish sculpted evening gowns, he also designed culottes for Lord & Taylor in 1932 that were still being sold in the 1950's. 

Charles James with model, 1943. Image courtesy of Pinterest.

Gown 1948 and Petal gown, 1951. Images courtesy of Pinterest.
Pouff dress, 1952 and Tree dress, 1955. Images courtesy of Pinterest.

Silk taffeta and net "Butterfly" ball gown (back detail), 1954. Image courtesy of Pinterest.
And probably the most famous of all was Claire McCardell, the Parsons graduate who invented "American Sportswear".
 Romper, 1942. Image courtesy of Pinterest.

Sundresses, 1950's. Images courtesy of Pinterest.

Suimsuits, early 1950's. Images courtesy of Pinterst.
1955. Image courtesy of Pinterest.

Text courtesy of Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger.


  1. Awesome post! All of the dresses are gorgeous, but those coats! I love those coats. So feminine! Love it =)

    1. Thanks, Nat! I adore the fashions of this era, especially the coats. The ladies back then looked so chic. =)

  2. Replies
    1. Carrie - YES! I wish I had one. ;)