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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

fifties felt and faux fur fads

From: Poodle Skirt

"Juli Lynne [Charlot] didn’t set out to be a clothing designer; she had a beautiful voice and studied for the opera. Along the way she sang with Xavier Cugat’s orchestra, was soprano with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera Company, and played straight 'man' to the Marx Brothers while performing at military bases during WWII.
     As a performer, Juli Lynne had strong ideas about how she wanted to look. She designed her stage wardrobe even though she could not sew. She hired a professional dressmaker to bring her designs to life. As the war came to a close, Juli Lynne met and married Philip Charlot. She gave up performing to be a post-war wife. In 1947 two seemingly unrelated events came together to start her career in fashion.
     First, fashion changed dramatically with the New Look. WWII fabric restrictions were lifted and hemlines dropped and skirts got full. About the same time, Philip Charlot lost his job. Juli Lynne was a young woman who wanted to be in fashion but she had no money for the new styles. So she decided to make her own skirt for Christmas that year. Since she could not sew, she got some felt. It was the only fabric wide enough to cut a full circle skirt without making seams.
     Fortunately, her mother owned a factory which used felt, so she had a free source of it. Juli Lynne added some Christmas motif appliques and the result was so attractive that she made three more which she took to a Beverly Hills boutique. The store put them on the floor, and they quickly sold.
     The store reordered."
The Vintage Traveler

When I was five or six Davy Crockett was hot, even for kids in the U.K. While visiting our relatives in Abertillery, South Wales my brother and I found an old fur coat at the local dump site known as "the tip"; this mountain of coal mine tailings had become a dumping ground for all sorts of discards. We took the threadbare coat back to Aunty Vi's house and coaxed my dad into making Davy Crockett hats out of it. He did such a great job I was offered a part in our school Christmas pageant. I'm sure it was the swell hat that got me the gig and not my singing voice:
          Davy... Davy Crockett.
          King of the wild frontier...
From: Fur Hat World

"[Davy] Crockett's new popularity initiated a fad among boys all over the United States as well as a Davy Crockett craze in the United Kingdom. The look of the cap that was marketed to young boys was typically simplified; it was usually a faux fur lined skull cap with a raccoon tail attached. A variation was marketed to young girls as the Polly Crockett hat. It was similar in style to the boys' cap, including the long tail, but was made of all-white fur (faux or possibly rabbit). At the peak of the fad, coonskin caps sold at a rate of 5,000 caps a day."
— Inner Toob

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