Dec 22, 2010

Jacques Fath & Norman Norell are Here!

They are here! Well, I guess it's better to say they are there! In other words, the Jacques Fath and the Norman Norell dresses are up at Past Perfect Vintage. These are from the same source, and my, wouldn't we all like to see what else was in that closet? Oh yes, we would.

Now I have mentioned Norman Norell quite a bit lately. He and Fath make quite a contrast. Norell was as American as they come. Born Norman Levinson in Noblesville, Indiana, he was a designer who believed in simple clothing for day, glamor for night and who perfected his ideas over a long and very successful career.A Realist and a designer whose perfectly made ready to wear clothing was on a par with couture. Fath on the other hand? An Extravagant. French to the core. Loads of showmanship and swathes of draping and theatricality. A short career, but a grand one.

The Traina -Norell label is Norell's first label, of course. This is the one used when he was backed by Antony Traina until Traina's death in 1960, when Norell became the owner and changed the label to Norman Norell.

Now this Fath label needs more explanation. According to Christian Dior The Man Who Made the World Look New: “ Once a year Fath would go to New York armed with a few sketches, which were them adapted to his licensee’s needs, and the 60 gowns then subsequently produced would carry the label Jacques Fath for Joseph Halpert”. From the Oct. 17, 1949 issue of Life: “…Fath agreed to design 2 special American collections a year in the spring and fall, which Halpert would manufacture and Lord and Taylor would take the lead in merchandising. In short order a whole combine of other high-end outlets was put together, including Neiman-Marcus in Dallas, I. Magnin on the West Coast and ranging down to Gus Blass, the favorite of smart women in Little Rock........The American collections are comparatively small - about 40 dresses in each- and are designed for quantity production and priced for upper-middle-class customers.” I like the " Designed in America" part of this label. Certainly meant to appeal to the American customer.

L., 1949- 50 Traina-Norell black silk Shirtwaist with shirred details & MOP buttons, R. c. 1950 Jacques Fath for Joseph Halpert cinnamon crepe day dress with tucks and belt

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