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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Supermodels: 1914

Supermodels: 1914

"National Style Show models, Washington, 1914." These girls were born 80 years too early if you ask me. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Recolored

I thought I would try my hand at recoloring this photo. Since I'm only allowed 490px, this is smaller than the original.

Hits and Misses

The "ugly" dress is actually a Misses teenage style, while the fancier gown is for a lady who is "out." I hope that helps.

Frills and furbelows

The poor unfortunate girl on the left! I'm no fashionista exactly, but I'm an enthusiast and I do design clothes (of a sort). I'm not sure exactly what could "save" her outfit. On the bright side, she does have lovely lace and beads to work with.

Her more fortunate friend has a beautiful top. I adore that lace! The underskirt is similarly fabulous. I wish I had a front view of her dress to decide what I think about the overskirt. But while I'm wishing -- I might as well wish for color as well.

Mirror, You're Lovely

I love the woman's self-regard in the mirror; she's imagining herself anew in her finery, and liking what she sees. I do too. It's an interesting contrast to the other girl, wistful and perhaps feeling less beautiful. That hideous curtain-skirt can't help. A bit of a bridesmaid/bride dynamic here.

Beau....tiful

Avec un BEAU un sourire sur le visage de la personne de gauche cela aurait donné un meilleur aspect à cette robe d'un autre temps, c'est évident..

The Art of Fashion

I'm no judge of dressing -- women or windows -- but how did John Singer Sargent make the women of this era look so stunning in these clothes? Different kind of women, different kind of fashion I suppose.

Beau Monde on View

The National Style Show was planned as a nationwide venture to benefit the Red Cross European war fund. It appears that there was some emphasis on European styling - or at least what Americans believed European style to be.

Style Show Interests

Many Attend Opening Exhibit of Gowns at Rauscher's

With the last word in about everything pertaining to the beau monde on view, the National Style Show opened a three-day exhibition yesterday afternoon at Rauscher's ballrooms.

Dancing, the piece de resistance of society these days, is a feature of the show. From the esthetic tao-to to the maxixe, they are all being done by the talented society amateurs and instructors. Miss Blanche Vincent and Russell Mack, visiting Washington from New York, gave the latest interpretations yesterday afternoon, while Miss Mildred Anderson contributed the "Swan Song" and "The Fairy in the Cobweb" in classic costume. At the evening session Miss Edith Baker held a large audience.

The sober cause of this gay convention of fashion is recalled to visitors by a miniature battle scene in one corner, representing a wounded soldier being cared for by Red Cross nurses. On either side are numerous garments made by Washington women to be shipped to foreign hospitals and camps. Mrs. John McLoughlin, Mrs. Allen Boyd, president of the District Red Cross, and Mrs. A.G. McClintock, assisted by Miss Charlotte Campbell, are in charge. Two Red Cross nurses are also present in costume.

Washington Post, Oct 27, 1914

Laudanum Chic

The model on the left looks like she's drugged herself into a stupor so she can forget she ever wore that monstrosity.

Always a Bridesmaid

"Some dresses never go out of fashion because they were never in!" Paul Poiret's famous snipe at the House of Worth certainly applies to the concoction on the left, but in its day the audience would not have laughed the poor girl off the runway. The 1910-1915 period was highly experimental, and complicated new shapes and ways of draping materials were greeted with eager interest, even though some of them baffle us now. The evening gown on the right is more classical, and its divided overskirt (a sparkling metallic fabric) provides the narrow hobbleskirt silhouette then in fashion but still allows the wearer to use a staircase without having to hop. Filmy, off-the-shoulder tops like this one provoked one-liners such as "That's a lovely gown she's almost wearing."

Feed sack

I'd be unhappy too if someone made a feed sack out of velvet, cut open and hemmed the bottom, and cinched up the drawstring around my hips just to humiliate me by making me wear it in a fashion show.

"Style"?

Perhaps, but one would hope the designers of the dresses has long since passed on. One is ugly and the other hopeless! I'd hardly call these classics.

To quote Alvy in Annie Hall:

To quote Alvy in Annie Hall: "What I wouldn't give for a large sock with horse manure in it."

Auf wiedersehen

I normally love clothes from the 'teens, but the dress on the left looks like a slapdash "Project Runway" reject. Maybe that's why the model's so glum - she's the only one who had to wear curtains.

The Girl On The Left

The girl on the left looks as unhappy as any runway model of today, except that she has twice the girth.

A glimpse of stocking

In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking
Now heaven knows, anything goes
--Cole Porter

 
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