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Paper Dresses of the 1960s

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

  1. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Probably the most famous paper dress ever is this one used as a promotion by Campbell's Soup and called the 'Souper' dress in 1967. It could be purchased with some proofs of purchase of Campell's soup and money for postage. Although the inspiration for the design was taken from Warhol's use of the Campbell's Soup label in his early 60s Graphic Art style works, Warhol did not design this dress or have any involvement in its creation. In fact, Warhol's use of the label for his own artwork and Campbell's use of Warhol's style for their own product would today probably end up in a court battle over copyright infringement -- for both parties!
    Lark Aspen likes this.
  2. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    In the days before T-shirt art, the paper dress became a billboard for advertisers, sometimes very artistically such as in this silk screen print of Hollywood faces to be seen in upcoming film releases in 1968, and sometimes patriotically, as seen in this dress for the democratic campaign of Bobby Kennedy in 1968.
    Lark Aspen likes this.
  3. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member


    Now its your turn to guess!

    These two dresses were made as advertising premiums for specific products... The first to guess correctly which products will win a copy of my book 'Ready to Tear: Paper Fashions of the 60s' Those with a copy of my book (and I know who you are!) are disqualified because you can look up the answer....
  4. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer VFG Member

    What a treat! Claire
  5. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    As early as 1967 there was a serious shortage of paper for making paper garments and alternatives were experimented with including Fibron, a pressed rayon fibre with tiny perforations allover (still made today as J-CLoths and Handi-Wipes). These English made dresses used Fibron instead of paper, however, the market for which they were made was identified as 'disposables', so materials ranged from paper and Fibron to spun polyester Reemay and even light plastic dresses.
    The London Poster series was supposed to be the first of many but with the exception of Bob Dylan, another series was never produced by this company.
  6. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    THe flowered dress is a plasticized reemay, disposable perhaps, but it could take a thousands years to break down!
    Tyvek was the other new wonder 'disposable' material of the age and was used for making bathing suits. These new materials however were symptomatic of the demise of the paper dress trend. By late 1968 paper, fibron, reemay, tyvek and all other disposable material garments were languishing on store shelves and magazines with offers of premiums and give-aways of disposable garments dwindled with each passing month.

    The Hippie movement with its strong anti-pollution message was effectively changing the late 1960s from one of self-consicous space-age modernity into a more planet friendly back to nature awareness -- the conflict between these two extremes persist today!
  7. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    In the late 1970s disposable tyvek bathing suits were once again being offered at hotels which now often had year round heated indoor swimming pools. Travellers not yet used to this luxury would arrive without a bathing suit. Dipsters brand came to the rescue for a few dollars each!
  8. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member


    In the 1980s there was some experimentation with Tyvek. Spearheaded by Issey Miyake, he liked the papery qualities of Tyvek which was similar to the traditional Japanese oiled paper used for making rain capes and parasols. His 1985 coat seen here explored the modern use of Tyvek in fashion but for the most part it was traditionally cut jackets that were the most successful on the market. They were especially popular for those who went to open air concerts or sporting events unprepared for a change in the weather.
  9. The Vintage Merchant

    The Vintage Merchant Administrator Staff Member

    BRAVO!! i'm lovin this! i've got your book, but love this presentation!!

    thanks, Jonathan!!!:cheer:
  10. amandainvermont

    amandainvermont VFG Member

    Man - This is ALL new to me. Thank you so much Jonathan. :drinking2:
  11. BagDiva

    BagDiva Guest

    this is great! well presented succinct, understandable and informative, thanks JOnathan!!
    wish l could guess what the dresses were used for, all l can say is the first one reminds me of a candy stripe, so perhpas sweets, l thought lucky stripe but they were red? and the blue one reminds me of water, so eraly bottled wtare, or 7up some such thing?? duh, l'm probably Sooooo far off!!!

    thanks for doing this , l'm really enjoying it...
  12. frockofages

    frockofages Alumni

    Good stuff. I learned a lot. I'll have to check our your book. Thanks!

  13. amandainvermont

    amandainvermont VFG Member

    Yes Sara - I was trying to guess about those dresses too. If the Campbell Soup one wasn't so famous, I might have thought that was it for the stripes... then I think about some "intimates" like Vanity Fair. I can't see what's on the other one, but somehow I don't imagine a sardine company would come up with paper dresses for advertising. !!!
  14. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    I will give you some hints. The pink stripe dress -- the colour and thickness of the stripes is important to keep in mind. THe other dress is actually little tiny green leaves...
  15. borntoolatevintage

    borntoolatevintage Registered Guest

    Perhaps the green leaves one for Wrigley's spearmint gum? Haven't a clue on the pink one.
  16. vintageclothesline

    vintageclothesline VFG Member VFG Past President

  17. northstarvintage

    northstarvintage Administrator Staff Member

    This is great Jonathan - I had no idea of the range of paper dresses made during the 60's. And I covet the hostess "kit" with the dress that matches the plates.

    I'm drawing a blank for the pink/white striped dress, and am guessing Tetley Tea for the green leaves dress.

  18. Ookoo

    Ookoo Registered Guest

    I remember those Hallmark party sets!
  19. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    In all my years on eBay I have only ever seen one lot for sale that was a Hostess party kit that included a dress, tablecloth, plates, cups, and other stuff. I was sniped in the last 10 seconds! But hey, you can't have it all.
  20. BagDiva

    BagDiva Guest

    thinking that paper dresses originally promoted paper wares, would this be like pink toilet roll stripes? or candy stripes is there a us candy like a candy cane?? or wrigleys gum stripes...and the small leaves, could be writing paper or or similar product or green tea? or marijuana? this is fun actually, strengthens the mind!!:help:

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