Thursday, January 8, 2009

8 January 1955 "some news, some fashion and some bacon fat"

Well, let's start with some news. Here is what hubby and I discussed over breakfast today:
Two Americans return to the free west from a Siberian labor camp and later
report there’s still a third American there. (Pentagon investigators say they have obtained the memoir of a Russian emigre and former prisoner who claims that dozens of American servicemen from World War II and the Korean War were detained in Siberian labor camps in the former Soviet Union. This last bit is from a modern article on it. What is scary is I guess there were some who were never released. Could there still be some there alive now? I shudder to think...)

Chs. Pfizer & Co. announces it has received a patent for the antibiotic drug

Sarah Churchill, daughter of Winston Churchill is jailed briefly in the County jail in Los Angeles. The charge was common drunkenness.

Fashion news – (this I did NOT discuss with hubby)
Christian Dior comes out against knees, elbows and super sophistication, but he thinks sweaters and pleated skirts are fine. “The knee,” he told the American Woman’s Club of Paris, “is the ugliestspot in a woman’s anatomy.”

As you will recall, gals, Dior gave us the NEW LOOK in 47. It was post war, materials were available, and Rosy the rivertor had to lay down her drill press and be feminine again. I have to say, though, that I adore this look. Here is the snippet about this dress:
"Chérie" exemplifies the "New Look" in all its salient elements: sloped shoulder, raised bustline, narrowed waist, and a monumental volume of skirt falling away from a padded hipline to below the calf. The New Look arrived uncompromised and complete, not as a tentative suggestion or stage in evolution. Here, the skirt is made of the full width of the fabric, selvage to selvage, disposed horizontally. Consequently, at the waist the necessary folding-under of the pleated fullness creates a compressed, thirteen-and-a-half-yard seam allowance, the substantial bulk of which pads the hips. This virtuoso achievement in dressmaking was reached by the compression of vast volume into an adjoining sculptural reduction. Dior prided himself on the handwork in his creations."
Some women actually protested the longer skirt, wanting to show their leg. Really the shorter skirts of the 1940's really developed due to rationing and women also needed the ease of movement that wartime elicted. Prior to the war, the 1930's saw a lengthening of hemlines after the above the knee look of 1926. It is funny how military a look the 40's had with their shoulder pads.

This dress is primarily remembered for having been in the wedding trousseau of Olivia de Havilland (who was married in 1955), this gray wool suit is the transfiguration of the man's suit as an expression of the feminine. More importantly, this suit, long anticipated by Dior's interest in tailoring and in menswear fabrics, is poised on the edge of his move away from the New Look's historicism toward a simpler, increasingly reductive, architectonic geometry. [The essential A-line of the 1960s began here. So says my crystal ball. This would be a good redux to do to an old man's suit from a thrift store. I am not sure if I would do that in 1955, though I would be industrious. I am sure I would have seen it in a magazine of the day as showing a movie stars trousseau would have most likely occured. This does look quite modern. As a housewife I would most likely not afford coture, but as an artistic person I would have copied what I could from my Harpers and my Vogue and let the mouths hang at the club and bridge nights!]

I really like the new look. Since wearing a gridle and finding it secretly wonderful (it can pinch, but it gives more than a corset ever has and I have worn a corset) I would LOVE to get one of these little mini corsets some women wore to get the wasp waist. Some of Diors early New Looks had padding at the hips to help thin the waist and also a version of the 1860s hoop skirt, but these did not take on, as unlike the floor length skirts of their victorian couterparts, the bell like movement with a shorter skirt lenght often lead to revealing more than one wanted. What do you think of this little corselette? What do you think of the new look's feminine soft shoulder, full skirt, small waist, longer skirt? Would you have embraced it or picketed for shorter skirts? Although I do not have kids, I can bet it is easier to move about with a full skirt past your knee with kids in public than the micro-minis that are in the future.
So, today I made homemade pancakes. I came to realize that pancake mix is merely the dry ingredients and the just add water most likely has powdered milk. From scrath, pancakes are quite simple. 1 cup flour, 2 TBS baking powder, 2 TBS sugar ( I added cinnamon too), an egg, and here it is gals, as it read in my 50's cook book (2 tbs oil, melted butter, or BACON FAT). Well, guess which one I chose. I mean, the bacon is there right in front of me frying away. It has become a sort of morning companion of mine. Its sizzle, its aroma mingled with the coffee perk perk perculating away, it's intoxicating I tell you. This moment had a sort of hitchcock movie moment for me. The bacon was snapping away happily in the pan, my finger (nice red nails too) slid down the list of ingredients and bam! I read the words "or Bacon Fat" the music crescendos, I look to the bacon, its inticing hot crispness lures me in. I look back, tremulous, my finger shaking a bit. Did I read write? Could it be? Yes, BACON FAT, it says it right there in black and white. I return my gaze and the camera swoops in "Da Da Daaaahhhhhh" I'm doing it. And I did. They were lovely and yummy. My husband said, after his first mouthful, 'are these homemade?' to which I happily replied, "yes they are, honey". "They are really good" and you know he helped himself to a second stack. I had an image of an old commercial I had seen about coffee where the woman is worried to her neighbor that her husband wasn't happy about how she made the coffee. "he never asks for a second cup at home" she says. So, quitely to myself I thought, 'he always asks for a second stack at home'. And, instead of feeling foolish or silly or unliberated, I actually felt kind of proud. It is these little moments like this when I actually feel I am having a genuine 1955 moment. There is so much modern that I cannot get away from, like this computer I am typing on, but sometimes, when I am at my dressing table curlers in, or in the kitchen in the morning, or cleaning with the loud roar of the kirby in my loafers and rolled dungarees and scarfed head, that I have to stop and say, wait, what year is it?
I have to confess, though, that I did spend some time last evening on the computer. I told myself it was like looking at magazines or reading, and it was to veiw other blogs and such. It is hard to not use it. I would not even mind so much, but it sucked me in so, that when I went to bed I hadn't the energy to do the dinner dishes and there they sat, cold and congealed this morning: A symbol of my housewifery failure. But, let me tell you. I love a dinning room. It used to be that unused space that many people were doing without, but when a wife wants to be a little lazy, a clean ordered dinning room with breakfast all set up and lovely can really make up for that dripping cold faucet of cold congealed fat awaiting one in the kitchen. A happy wave goodbye and then the return to my failings. What is a woman to do? I suppose this happened then, too. There were probably many messy kitchens in the evenings, but this is usually when I do the dishes and hubby helps dry, but we wanted to read last night and I to use the computer. I, however, am not going to make a habit out of it. Can you forgive me my failings, dear readers?
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