Vogue: Zara of 1950s fashion


Vogue readers today want to know where to buy the latest Dior or Lanvin, but a previous generation wanted to sew them.

Before the Zara-era, the only way for most women to access haute couture was making it themselves.

Reading an October 1951 British Vogue given by a cousin, I was struck by the detailed fashion lexicon that would confuse most readers of today’s magazine.

Captions include technical details written in seamstress language: “The waist is under the armpits, marked by a martingale” or “The waist is around the hops, clasped in a middly line”.

Personally, I appreciate the guide when reproducing clothes from the era. Sad that future generations will not have these clear guides to help them to reproduce their own Zara-era fashion.

A few further examples, of construction for the Paris collection:

Skirts: “back buttoning overskirt: Desses”, “Centre-back pleat open to waist: Dior”, “Widely flared from widely belted waist: Fath”,

Sleeves: “Straight, loose from drop shoulder: Balenciaga”, “Centre seam, running up-to-neck: Castillo at Lanvin”

Jackets: “Scooped-out jacket, bulky scarf muff-ends: Schiaparelli”

Neck-bodies: “Double breasted high-waist: Schiaparelli”

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