Thursday, February 26, 2009

26 February 1955 "Movies, Sewing, and the Jean Myth"

Here is a preview I would probably start seeing in theatres, as this movie will come out this summer.
In 1955, 20th Century Fox released this film adaptation directed by Billy Wilder and starring Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell. It was presented in CinemaScope with color by DeLuxe. It's often cited as one of the great comedies of its time, having won critical acclaim and become the biggest US box office hit of the summer of 1955. It contains one of the most iconic images of the 20th century–a scene in which Marilyn Monroe, standing on a subway grate, has her dress blown up above her waist by a passing train. Her line when this happens, "Isn't it delicious?", has since become famous.
Another interesting thing about this film, is it's title :Seven Year Itch. This term was coined for this movie as a psychological condition where in after Seven years of marriage one partner becomes 'itchy' to have an affair. It was not an actual psychological term, but since this film this term has entered popular culture and has even been used by psychologists.

This was first done as a play in 1952 at the Fulton Theatre in New York

I was told the Oscars aired recently. The Oscars in 1955 were not until March, but I think a list of the winners now is still relevant, as any of you who watch them or know of them might find it interesting information now.

Best Picture- Marty
Best Director- Delbert Mann, Marty
Best Actor- Ernest Borgnine, Marty
Best Actor (in a leading role)-Marlon Brando, On the Waterfront.
Best Supporting Actor- Jack Lemmon, Mister Roberts Best
Actress- Anna Magnani, The Rose Tattoo Best Supporting
Actress- Jo Van Fleet, East of Eden

The film that won for 1955 (Marty) is really a good film and I suggest watching it. This preview is nice as well as it shows some good examples of 'average people's daily wardrobe' in the scene of the New York City crowds.

Speaking of clothing, I think the 1950's really are making a comeback in the clothing world. The lines and body conscious look seem to becoming more the norm. Although an Oscar dress is hardly, 'normal daily clothes', this dress Oscar Dress of
Anne Hathaways (one of my friends told me I had to see a picture of it) is very 1950's don't you?
This is a Givenchy of 1955 and I think the top is very close to this dress. Though the skirt is full, the sleek mermaid style of Hathaway's would be as appropriate in 1955 as 2009.

As we are speaking of clothes, I thought I would show the next phase of the dress I am working on. I have decided to trim it in this lovely robin's egg blue bias tape. I like how it picks up the color in the fabric. I have a lot of this color in my wardrobe and I think, since I am now making many of my clothes, to try and have this theme tie through my wardrobe. Just as in interior design you want an element of similiar color in every room to give each part of the whole a cohesion, I think this makes sense in your wardrobe as well. I like this color and think it really works well in all seasons, for example in Autumn with deeper oranges and browns it is lovely as well as with yellows in spring.
While buying the trim for this dress, of course I had to have a quick saunter over to the pattern books. I have seen this pattern before and my vintage friend has used it with much success, so I had to get my own, of course. As you can see by the picture of the dress layout, it could not be simpler. It is literally sewn into one piece with no zipper and then wraps around and ties and buttons. I have seen it on and it is adorable. I think the only draw back to it, is you cannot wear a crinoline with it. I think this would actually make a great set of 'house dresses' for me. I am going to try this pattern before the vintage house dress pattern I recently found on ebay. I bought this lovely turquoise quilting cotton, which has such a nice weight and satiny feel. I am going to make the dress this solid color with the robins egg blue trim.

It was only $4.99 a yard and I had a 50% off coupon. In 1955 that would have been .32 cents a yard or .64 cents at normal price. That seems comparable to todays cotton pricing. I found this image at Hearts Cottage Quilts . Here you can see that the the cost listed in this 1952 Sears catalog for a similiar cotton is .56 cents. Another example that many things today are similiar or cheaper than 1955 in comarrison with the exception of housing. Our housing market is so over-inflated it is ridiculous, but that can be another post.

I thought I would end this post with some interesting images I found in one of my Womans Home Companion magazine from 1953. I think there has been some debate and misconception, thanks to Hollywood, about what a 1950's woman would wear casually or when working. As much as tv and Hollywood wanted to protray the June Cleaver stereotype, the actuality was much different. As you can see, this article on a womans wardrobe was rather enlightening. The jeans and shirt are this womans housecleaning outfit. No pearls and heels and hose here.

Here the same woman is enjoying her yard with her family, who are all sporting jeans.

This shows how a good sturdy rubber soled shoe is the perfect paring with your jeans to clean and work in the yard.

And, even if you are having company for a 'television night' or going shopping, this outfit of slacks is appropriate. Now when I am doing basic marketing or running to the local store, dress slacks are appropriate. If I were to meet for lunch with friends or shop in the city, I believe a dress and hose would be more appropriate. This is going to change my entire view for the dressing of this project.

I am slowly uncovering that mysterious creature: the 1950's woman, and really finding an interesting creature there.

I had mentioned the other day that an Australian morning radio show interviewed me for my project. They are going to send me a link to the finished show and I will post it when I get it.
Also, I had some trouble the other day with blogger and one of my blogs dissapeared. I reslisted it and it is back in numerical order by date. Here it is, if you didn't see it before.

So, until tomorrow, happy homemaking!

 Search The Apron Revolution