Jul 25, 2012

Mary Brooks Picken

Not too long ago, Lizzie at The Vintage Traveler wrote up a post on prolific author Mary Brooks Picken. Picken wrote many, many texts on sewing techinques and fashion from the Teens into the 1950s. My favorites are her texts on style. She was adamant about colors one could and could not wear, and she was quite strict on proper dress for the occasion. The charts are amazing. Sort of a What to Wear and What  Not to Wear in box chart form. As Lizzie said, she was on a crusade to stamp out Ugly.

Lizzie's post made me go to the bookshelf and get out my copy of Picken's 1918 Secrets of Distinctive Dress. And lo and behold , here is Ms. Picken herself: 
The text is sprinkled with photos of young film actresses, some of them not more than starlets, and a few opera singers of the day as examples of  beautiful dress and desired feminine qualities of  the time. One of the prettiest ensembles is on Marion Davies. She is about 21 years old  and had made perhaps 2 or 3 films at this point. I wonder if her inclusion was part of the big Hearst build up of her career?


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