Thursday, 12 November 2009

From the 11 July 1955 Life Magazine- Glad tidings about glad rags.

'From all over the prospering U.S., buyers had come into the collections well heeled and expectant. But they were astonished and delighted at the attractiveness of the new clothes.  The wholesalers had sent out their wares confidently.  Still they were dazed by the torrent of orders. But most astonishing of all was the way the boom hit the luxury lines. In dresses that would retail at $100 or over, the business was positively staggering- up 60% from last year. 

In the picture above, Ben Zuckerman, Seventh Avenue high priced coat and suiter, stands with the biggest sale, an I Magnin order representing $70,000.'

From the 28 January, 1957 Life Magazine- Stylish Slouch: Spring suits-and wearers-take on a relaxed look.

'In shopping for a new suit this season, the word to remember is 'relax'. Grown nostalgic for the 1930's, U.S. designers are showing slouch suits influenced by the great Parisian designer Chanel.  Casual and easy fitting- to make the wearer look younger, says Chanel- these suits have pockets to lean on and hipbone-length jackets worn open wide. Blouses, an integral part of the suit, are often specially designed for them.  Made of soft tweed or jersey, the suits are worn with felt hats  which fit the head, or more casual still, with no hat. Women who are used to trim suits may consider the slouch models untidy- and there is real danger that wearers who carry the fashion too far will wind up looking sloppy rather than casual.

Casual outfits for spring are pale tweed suit with a short jacket and dotted blouse (Ben Zuckerman, $245) and a similar suit of wool and silk tweed with a silk blouse (Ben Zuckerman, $235).'

Again we can see that the definition of casual in 1957 is very different from what is considered casual today. The above two suits would be seen as quite formal in our current age.

From the 16 February, 1959 Life Magazine- Hue is the cry for Spring.

'Monotone of pastel lavender coat (Ben Zuckerman, $215) climbs among the multicolour pipes at the Esso Standard Oil Refinery'

'Contrast of red suit and its own hot pink blouse (Ben Zuckerman, $265) is emphasized by a sign on route 22 warning of new construction.'

From the 16 February, 1962 Life Magazine- Better Living.

'Pleated skirt, belted top, are cut like school uniform but are made of silk. Ben Zuckerman, $350.'

From the 1 September, 1961 Life Magazine-

'America's Master Tailor, Ben Zuckerman, anticipated the Paris trend with his snugly tailored suits for fall. This slender green wool has curvy fitted jacket and tiny tailored lapels.'

From the 1 September, 1958 Life Magazine- Win a Shopping Spree from Gleem and Royal Dreen!

Readers could write in for a chance to win all the items pictured above plus $5000 cash. A Ben Zuckerman coat of Vicuna was part of the prize. Vicuna is a South American mammal resembling a llama. It is an endangered species, and is known for its incredibly soft fur.

From the 12 September, 1955 Life Magazine- Red, Red and More Red- Fall Fashions sizzle with Fire Engine look from top to toe.

On the left is a cocktail dress by Galanos ($350) and on the right is a ball gown by Dior ($295). In the centre is a broadcloth suit with satin collar and cuffs by Ben Zuckerman ($195). Once again, we can see that Zuckerman clothing was amongst the very finest available in its day.

From the 5 October, 1953 Life Magazine- Street Shapes.

'Black wool, white fur, a new style for cocktails that appeared simultaneously in the U.S. and Paris, can be worn on the street in late afternoon whereas traditional cocktail dresses cannot. Suit above has slim skirt, sleeveless top and short box jacket with white mink collars and cuffs. By Ben Zuckerman, $385.'

From the 9 February, 1953 Life Magazine- Loose Suits.

'Little boy suit has a shor box jacket fastened with big pearl buttons (Ben Zuckerman, $155). Shoulders are still slim, skirt length remains the same.'

From the 18 February 1952 Life Magazine- Spring Fashions.

'White wool fleece is a popular sport fabric now made into a dressy, fitted coat for spring streetwear (Ben Zuckerman, $310). It is worn with a small, veiled hat (John Fredericks $60) by Mrs Gene Skora, wife of a state department lawyer. Background is one of the National Gallery's garden court where different kinds of flowers bloom all year round a fountain from the park at Versailles.'

From Life Magazine, 11 October, 1954- 'Country and City'.

'Country tweeds, all in black and white, include a suit with a lining of bleached squirrel, Ben Zuckerman, $350.'

It is interesting to see how formally dressed the woman is compared to the man. 60 years ago, people did not dress casually in the manner they do today, and tweed was often seen as a 'sporty' material, rather than a formal one.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

A mid 1950's ad for a Ben Zuckerman coat. The coat has the New Look waist, and has what looks like a fur scarf, probably made from mink.

The coat was made from Anglo Fabrics, a mill owned by Paul and Leo Honig. Anglo Fabrics made very high quality material and were at the forefront of American cloth manufacturing. In 1998, after 52 years in business, the mill was closed, citing the inability to compete with oversea manufacturers.

A mid 1950's ad for a Ben Zuckerman coat, featuring 3/4 length sleeves, a full skirt and half belt to nip the waist in.

The coat appears to be made of a boucle wool, and was probably black.

From the 1 September, 1954 Vogue- The American shirt suit: its gentle new look.

'Ease and casualness of a gentle new brand (and gentleness is the brand mark of the autumn collections): the shirt suit handled now with white doeskin gloves, a white satin bodice, a back-set cap of crushed white velvet. The look at dinner- smart, attractive, unforced: nothing high pressure about it. The Ben Zuckerman suit (its jacket satin-lined) in Forstmann wool doeskin, and the bodice, both, at Saks Fifth Avenue.'

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Another new Zuckerman ensemble- this time featuring a dress in wool with a large waistband, a satin bodice and short sleeves. It also has a jacket with mink trim. Ben Zuckerman often used fur in his clothing, as most designers of that era did. 

The outfit also features a label from Miller & Rhoads, Richmond VA. Miller & Rhoads was a chain of department stores in Virginia and North Carolina. The flagship store was located in Richmond. Various changes of ownership occurred over the years, and the stores were all closed by 1990, a fate that was echoed across America as many other venerable department stores were shut around this time.

The flagship store, where this ensemble was purchased can be seen below:

Photos courtesy of gottagovintage1