Paper Dresses of the 1960s

Discussion in 'Paper Dresses 2008 By Jonathan Walford' started by Jonathan, Apr 25, 2008.

  1. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

    Firstly I have to apologize for my tardy start. I thought it started tomorrow! Apparently I have been living through a daze today thinking it was Thursday instead of Friday!

    Now! As for my workshop!

    I am here give a little history about the use of paper in the creation of apparel, and especially its use during the 1960s.

    I will also be posting some images, when I figure out how! So bear with me over the next couple of hours while I download pics and upload info. In the meantime get your questions ready about paper clothing!

    Jonathan
     
  2. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

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    Now that I have figured out how to post the pics, I will start with the earliest use of paper in fashionable dress - and that is with fans in the 17th century. The idea of the folding paper fan was brought from the Far East and became a fashionable accessory in the early 1600s!
     
  3. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

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    In the late 18th century a cardboard impressed and glazed to look like fancy straw work was used to make hats and bonnets. This example is from 1812
     
  4. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

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    This image, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a plaited newspaper purse from the 1860s. This was a common craft of the mid 19th century and was used to make bonnets as well as purses.
     
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  5. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

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    It was common to use paper for fancy dress balls beginning in the 1890s when crepe paper was first commercially marketed. This example from the 1895 edition of Fancy Dresses Described, however, uses the theme of a waste paper basket and includes old love letters sewn to the sleeves and crumpled paper to make a hat.
     
  6. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

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    This American emergency raincoat made of brown kraft paper was patented in 1917, but during the First World War, many German citizens wore paper coats because of a lack of textiles which were blockaded from entering the country.
     
  7. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

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    Crepe paper party dresses continued to be popular as cheap and fun costumes until the 1950s. This 1920s Halloween costume was surprisingly resiliant to tears unless it got wet, in which case it lost its strength and colour fastness.
     
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  8. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

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    Using paper for non-costume reasons increased in the 1920s, with the introduction of paper collars and cuffs for men who were travelling and didn't want to deal with laundry. Also, the soda jerk hat, based on the WW1 doughboy Garrison cap but in paper rather than khaki wool, was the first piece of clothing to be used as a billboard for companies to advertise their products.
     
  9. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

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    THe other new development for paper in the 1920s was for hygiene products like facial tissues and tampons. Nobody thought of diapers however until after the Second World War. In about 1950 TWA commissioned Chux disposable diapers for their trans-atlantic passengers with babies.
     
  10. vintageclothesline

    vintageclothesline Trade Member

    Disposable diapers started much earlier than I thought!
     
  11. wyomingvintage

    wyomingvintage Trade Member

    :wow22:
    I learned a lot from this. I had no idea they used paper products so early for clothing.
    Jonathon thanks so much for your time to put this information together what a great asset to the vintage community :USETHUMBUP:
     
  12. cmpollack

    cmpollack Trade Member

    Wow--I had NO idea paper fans were that old, or that paper was used for 19th C hats and purses (seems those "prison art" purses made from cigarette packs had some very genteel predecessors!).

    What an eye-opening start!
     
  13. morning-glorious

    morning-glorious Trade Member

    Super cool info, thanks, Jonathan! :headbang:


    Jen
     
  14. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

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    In 1966 Scott paper offered two different styles of paper dresses as a promotional gimmick. Scott unwittingly set off a fad that would rage for the next few years - paper dresses!
     
  15. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

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    Two major producers of paper clothing were quick to follow up on Scott's success. Mars of Asheville, North Carolina, a hosiery company, bought reams of white paper (consisting of two layers of paper sandwiching a rayon scrim for strength) from Kimberly Stevens and had it printed in colourful stripe, polka-dot and other patterns, and made up 'A' line dresses that were sold inexpensively through department stores and shops. James Sterling produced a slightly higher end product with more complicated patterns including a two piece pant suit with matching hat in 1966.
     
  16. Laura

    Laura Alumni

    This is so neat! Thank you for presenting this workshop, Jonathan.

    Like others, I had no idea about the early uses of paper in fashion. I'm looking forward to the rest of your workshop. :)
     
  17. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

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    Commercially produced paper dresses didn't kill creativity. A paper dress ball held at the Wadsworth Atheneum in the fall of 1966 encouraged party-goers to have designers create couture one-offs for the event; some of the results were pictured in Life Magazine. Mars of Asheville also offered a plain white dress in the fall of 1966 that came with a water colour paint set. To promote this product Mars hired Andy Warhol to design one at a happening. He stencilled 'fragile' onto the dress while a model wore it and signed the dress 'Dali'. The resulting garment, seen here, was donated to the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
     
  18. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

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    By the spring of 1967 paper dresses were a full flung fad. At Expo 67 in Montreal seen above, paper dresses were featured in the pulp and paper pavillion. Hallmark picked up on the trend and produced paper dresses with matching paper plates, gift wrap, napkins, placemats and other party paraphernalia for a complete party theme!
     
  19. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

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    By the end of 1967 the paper fad had expanded to include paper jewellery (including papier mache), shoes, and even duds for dogs!
     
  20. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

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    Designers specializing in paper explored the possibilities of different types of paper garments including Elisa Daggs who was hired to create stewardess uniforms of paper including one in gold foil (a new type of paper recently introduced in the mid 1960s and used widly by fast food restaurants...) for transatlantic service from New York to Paris. The Indian paper sari, also designed by Elisa Daggs, was made for Air India but not for wear by stewardesses, but rather as a promotional item.
     

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