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A Fashionable Summer ~ Louella Ballerino

Discussion in 'A Fashionable Summer 2005 (Asst. Designers)' started by noir_boudoir, Jul 5, 2005.

  1. artizania

    artizania Alumni + VFG Past President

    I wonder if her 'fading from the scene' might have been down to the move towards Atomic/Modernistic prints and away from the 'ethnic' influence - or perhaps more the move from 'individuality' to mass-production.

    This has been a VERY interesting workshop on a designer previously unknown to me. Many thanks.
  2. noir_boudoir

    noir_boudoir Registered Guest

    It's a thought, Margaret, but somehow the period of her disappearance coincides with a few years of the <i>strengthening</i> of that folksy trend.

    Take this fashion spread from the New York Times of 1951, featuring Tina Leser, Nelly de Grab, Carolyn Schnurer, Rosenfeld and Clifford of del Mar - it's really a massive amplification of things that Ballerino (and, in fact, Leser) started on up to 6 years before:

    <img src="http://worldservice.noirboudoir.com/tinaleser/eastmeetswest1.jpg" width=500>

    <img src="http://worldservice.noirboudoir.com/tinaleser/eastmeetswest2.jpg" width=500>

    A quick glance at Leser's 50s designs shows how much success she continued to have with both authentic and souped up ethnic fabric designs.

    I really think it could have more to to with Lizzie's observation, that Ballerino was no longer offering something unique and different - the whole country had copied her, and a handful of better-backed design houses were selling the premium designs, perhaps more successfully.

    The atomic/modern design influence coming in didn't necessarily eliminate ethnic or world culture motifs, it just used them in a different way: take this late 50s fabric:

    <img src="http://worldservice.noirboudoir.com/orientaliste/persiangardenfull.jpg" width=400 border=2>

    Oriental and Mexican motifs did continue at full strength, just everyone else used them too.

    I think Ballerino used these features in quite a unique way, but with wider use of them in the 50s, her designs will have got a little swamped.

    I'd be really interested to know what she did next. I really wonder if, like Elizabeth Hawes about 15 years earlier, she just upped and transferred her energies elsewhere...

  3. emmapeelpants

    emmapeelpants Alumni

    WOW, this has been a really interesting read from the perspective of someone who had never heard of Louella before. She really did some beautiful work!

  4. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    Maybe she just got "burned out" by the business....the trade shows, negotiating, deadlines, politics....

    just like folks i knew in the theater...some very and truly talented...but reached a point in their lives that they could/would no longer take the transience, the hours, etc, etc.
  5. noir_boudoir

    noir_boudoir Registered Guest

    (Thanks Liz, glad you enjoyed it!)

    re: end dates - I need more documentary info, basically. Things dry up in the 50s.

    Either it's there and my primary material/bibliographic knowledge is not up to showing it, or it's not there, and it would take a family member seeing the website perhaps to find out something.
    She had a son, who may have been born in the early/mid 30s, and a daughter, called Wanda. She apparently took Wanda on one of her research trips with her, and they had fun buying souvenirs...
  6. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    Thank you so much for this Lin, I have really enjoyed this workshop :yay:

    This will remain open for awhile for follow up comments, or if anyone finds a Ballerino before going into archive mode

  7. bartondoll

    bartondoll Guest

    I haven't had a chance to go through all my mags yet, however did find these two in my 46 June Mademoiselle.

    ~HELLO Maggie!~


    The caption beside this full page picture, reads in part:

    Louella Ballerino for Jantzen. Playsuit of Galey & Lord
    plaid gingham, one piece with wraparound dirndl skirt.

    (This retailed at the time for $19.00)

    And an ad for Dan River:


  8. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    My goodness, that is the dress Maggie was wearing!
  9. noir_boudoir

    noir_boudoir Registered Guest

    Fantastic!!!! Well found! Maggie's buyer may want to know about that. I commented on her pics at the time, that she had a really good way of posing like a 'vintage' model - definitely capturing the mood of 40s ads. And you can really see it here. We could put them side by side for comparison.
  10. noir_boudoir

    noir_boudoir Registered Guest


    <img src="http://archive.noirboudoir.com/uslabels/louella/dirndlbeachsetdual.jpg" width=450>
  11. Oh my gosh! Has she seen this yet? It is almost like she had seen that picture before. Eerie, isn't it?
  12. Thanks so much for this Lin!!! Presented so professionally!! This is one of the reasons why the VFG is so great...we learn so much from our members!!

    A job well done!!!!!!! :headbang:
  13. fuzzylizzie

    fuzzylizzie Alumni

    What a lucky find! And Maggie really does have the look, no?:USETHUMBUP:
  14. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG President Staff Member

    I'm just back from a week-long vacation, and though terribly late I just want to applaud and thank Lin for this wonderful exposition! Lin, when are you free to take a car trip through California in a 40s convertible with me, to do research on the whole California fashion design scene?! I feel there is a Unified Field Theory of California Design welling up in you!

    A question: Where did Ballerino teach? You mention her as a student, and you mention her students, but I possibly missed her venue as an instructor. I wonder if that would be another source of information.

    (Now, ~shucks~, I appreciate the compliments on my posing much, but I actually think the 40s model in the same blue plaid set looks more modern than I! I don't know quite how to pose or accessorize, and keep falling back on certain "just plain old" generalities. I wish I had a huge reference library of magazines and books...most of my inspiration is from memory.)

    Once again Lin, BRAVA!
  15. Hattysattic

    Hattysattic VFG Secretary

    wow! yet again i manage to be away for the workshop (sorry..), but that was so interesting!! have just sat and caught up with my cup of tea and notepad, ahem.
    excellent work! :USETHUMBUP:
  16. noir_boudoir

    noir_boudoir Registered Guest

    thanks again, everyone!

    <i>when are you free to take a car trip through California in a 40s convertible with me, to do research on the whole California fashion design scene?! I feel there is a Unified Field Theory of California Design welling up in you!

    haha! Anytime! I got totally sold on the lifestyle as described in the book about the rise of California 'ethnicized' culture in 'The Dream Endures' (book details on the link I provided) and decided that Palm Springs in the 1940s would be a good move...

    Surprisingly for a dour, pale-skinned northerner, I really love this idea of a different, south-western-slanted America, with Spanish and Indian influences influencing people's lifestyle.

    Mojitos on the veranda, anyone?

    I just acquired a fairly early 'Nizonih Studio' souvenir patio shirt and skirt set (made in Albuquerque) which is going to be my effort at having one of these 'tour the pueblo' influenced designs. I'll have to show it here, as I want advice on what kind of Mexican silver jewellry I should aim to accessorize it with.

    Thanks again for everyone's invaluable help and input!

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