Today in Fashion History: October 29

Gentle readers (I always loved that introduction),

I’m toying with the idea of starting a new series within the History of Dress section: ‘Today in (Fashion) History’. Of course, some postings will probably be more significant than others and it won’t be every Wednesday, but I thought it would make for some good visuals.

Those of you looking for last minute Halloween inspiration, might find these useful:

October 29, 1954, Sheffield, England, UK

Original Caption: “Queen Elizabeth II looks her loveliest and most glamorous self in a white fur stole and magnificent gown as she arrives by limousine at a reception in Sheffield. The event, given by the Earl of Scarborough, was held at the Cutler’s Hall.” © Bettmann/CORBIS

October 29, 1956, London, England, UK

Original Caption: “American film actresss Marilyn Monroe attends a film premiere with her husband, American playwright Arthur Miller, at the Empire Theatre, London, England, 1956. The premiere was for the Royal Film Performance of ‘The Battle of the River Plate’.” © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

Of course to counter this opulence, and given the current unsteady economic state, I should remind you that today is the anniversary of the start of the crash that signaled the beginning of the Great Depression. For current fashion inspired by the Depression. Try this.

October 29, 1929, “People Gathering in Front of the New York Stock Exchange”

Original caption: “New York, New York: Wall Street financial stability of the U.S. was toppling for a few minutes on Oct. 29, 1929 when a coalition of bankers and industrial executives and government officials went to the rescue and checked an hysterical shrinkage of stock market prices which, had it continued, would have brought ruin to hundreds of thousands of investors and suffering to millions of homes both in this country and abroad. Photo shows a scene in front of stock exchange jammed throughout the day.” © Bettmann/CORBIS

Despite the impending crash, 1929 saw some members of high society continuing to buy and ware finery. Here are some examples from the MET, Costume Institutes’ collection:

Wrap, Evening, 1929
House of Lanvin (French, founded 1890), Design House; Jeanne Lanvin (French, 1867–1946), Designer
fur; [no dimensions available]
Gift of Madame Lilliana Teruzzi, 1972 (1972.30.13)

Tiara, 1910–1929
American or European
metal, glass; Length: 8 1/4 in. (21 cm)
Gift of Margaret Tasher Smith, 1990 (1990.47.6)

Ensemble, Evening, ca. 1929
House of Patou (French, founded 1919), Design House; Jean Patou (French, 1887 – 1936), Designer
silk; [no dimensions available]
Gift of Madame Lilliana Teruzzi, 1972 (1972.30.17a, b)

Details on Jean Patou here.

Shoes (Pumps), 1928–1929
[no medium available]; [no dimensions available]
Gift of Mrs. Edith Dalmat Katz, 1966 (C.I.66.51a–d

Along with this, I do want to mention that the official publication date for The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Clothing through American History 1900 to the Present [Two Volumes] is set for tomorrow (I contributed the sections on the 1920s and 1930s). Please do request that your library order a copy. Thanks!

Until Next Time,


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