Pert and pretty and definitely green, this 1950s cocktail dress would be perfect for a St. Patrick’s Day party. Jade green chiffon over green taffeta, the full skirt has a green net petticoat for the stylish bouffant look of the day. The boat neckline softly drapes over the shoulders, echoing the cummerbund-style waistband. The ballerina length was popular in the 1950s as was the V-style back neckline. It has a label: Lorrie Deb / San Francisco, a clothing line first launched in November 1950.

This dress was worn by a daughter of Alvin Arthur & Frances Cains Burbage of Charleston, probably Mary Frances, who was born around 1940.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

For March – Women’s History Month – we have chosen this incredible appliqué panel, probably made by Martha Cannon Webb Logan around 1840. She, of course, may have worked on it for a number of years. The long panel (17 inches by over 17 feet long) depicts Charleston as a seaport city, from detailed sailing ships, carriages, goods and animals, to stately houses. It was undoubtedly planned in a different format (a bed quilt perhaps), but was cut apart and portions reassembled by a later family member. The original maker’s use of fabrics and appliqué combine to create a fascinating folk art montage.  

Martha (1783-1843) was the daughter of William Webb and Margaret D’Oyley.  She married William Logan in 1819. The quilt pieces passed to her granddaughter, Martha Webb “Patty” Logan and then to her niece, Alice Logan Wright who gave it to the Museum in 1977, in memory of the many generations of Logans who have served the town, the province, and the country.

In 1990, Sandi Fox at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art included this piece in her exhibition and book, Wrapped in Glory: Figurative Quilts & Bedcovers 1700-1900, in which she postulates both the maker of the quilt piece and her sources for many of the individual motifs. Just recently, a new study has been taken on by Brenda Rousseau of Colonial Williamsburg and Kathleen Staples, an independent researcher, to try to figure out what might have been the original format for this intriguing piece.

Need to zoom in a little closer? Click here for a bit larger view.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

Fashions of the 1970s were definitely over the top, as evidenced by this stunning aqua evening dress. It is overlaid with aqua chiffon covered with large abstract floral designs – some painted, some appliquéd colored taffeta (pin, blue, purple, yellow and lime green) edged with gold metallic embroidery and embellished with gold sequins and rhinestones. It has a high corded waistline, popular for the period, with a slightly gathered long skirt. The bodice is only partially lined, leaving the long sleeves and upper bodice sheer. It has a zipper closure in back and bears a label: “Elinor Simmons / for Malcolm Starr® / Made in The British Crown Colony of Hong Kong.”

This amazing dress was worn by Alice LeMacks Patrick here in Charleston to the wedding of Robert Lockwood and Jean Louise Schill on August 22, 1970. Alice had been given this dress by Blossom Krawcheck, of Krawcheck’s Ladies Companion Shop at 313 King Street. This was part of the fashionable Jack Krawcheck men’s clothing business, originally opened in 1922 and closing in 1995, long after his death.

Malcolm Starr (1924-2008) was head of the popular American ready-to-wear company started by his father in the 1940s. He was one of the first to lease factories in India and China for manufacturing and operated boutiques in Hong Kong and Japan. After his father’s death in 1969, Malcolm ran the business until 1976. One of the designer names associated with Malcolm Starr was Elinor (Rizkallah) Simmons from the early 1960s until 1972. Their simple lines were often enhanced by elaborate beading and embroidery, the work done in Hong Kong.

This dress is currently on exhibit in Fashion Flashback: 1970s (January 18 to April 27, 2014)

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

These two designer bags were made in 2003 and signed by Charleston designer, Mary K. Norton. They were retailed under her Moo Roo / Charleston label at her shop at 316 King Street. 

The black satin purse with three fabric magnolias is entitled Southern Lady. The stiff fabric bag has a flap over the font, closing with a magnetic button. It is lined with black satin. 

The flamboyant ostrich feather bag is entitled Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The flowing feather extend beyond the bottom of the bag. It is open at the top with a small flap to close with a magnetic button and the bag is lined with black satin.

Mary K. Norton founded her company in 1998; within eight years it grew to international proportions and locations. She created handbags and shoes for the stars. Her whimsical yet sophisticated designs appealed on many levels and found favor with both red carpet stars and stylish clients. Her boutiques were forced to close in 2009, but in 2010 she restarted her Moo Roo brand and is now even back on King Street at Art Mecca of Charleston.

Both bags are on exhibit in Fashion Accessories: Purses January 25 – April 27, 2014

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

This stylish early 20th century purse or handbag is luscious red velvet with red leather side and bottom gussets. The front scalloped pocket is ornamented with red leather pointed ovals studded with steel beads. The bag has a steel frame with knob clasp and the red velvet handle attaches to the frame with steel fittings shaped like hands grasping the frame. Elegant but also practical, it is lined with tan cotton.
The purse came to the Museum in 2007 from the granddaughter of Eulalie Northrop Wall, Marion, S.C. It was found in a trunk of her things, including her wedding dress from 1912. Helen Eulalie Northrop was born in Idaho in 1891 but married John Furman Wall, a Marion, S.C. native. His military service took him around the globe during and after World War I. She died in 1964 and they are both buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Perhaps this wonderful purse dates to around the time of her marriage.
See this purse and many more in our exhibit Fashion Accessories: Purses!
TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

This stylish early 20th century purse or handbag is luscious red velvet with red leather side and bottom gussets. The front scalloped pocket is ornamented with red leather pointed ovals studded with steel beads. The bag has a steel frame with knob clasp and the red velvet handle attaches to the frame with steel fittings shaped like hands grasping the frame. Elegant but also practical, it is lined with tan cotton.

The purse came to the Museum in 2007 from the granddaughter of Eulalie Northrop Wall, Marion, S.C. It was found in a trunk of her things, including her wedding dress from 1912. Helen Eulalie Northrop was born in Idaho in 1891 but married John Furman Wall, a Marion, S.C. native. His military service took him around the globe during and after World War I. She died in 1964 and they are both buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Perhaps this wonderful purse dates to around the time of her marriage.

See this purse and many more in our exhibit Fashion Accessories: Purses!

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

Bill Blass designed this timely dress which Alison Harwood wore to a wedding around 1971. The black silk crepe has a wonderful pink, orange and white tie-dye design, bringing it right in line with the wild and crazy 1970s fashions. It has a round neckline with back zipper, long sleeves gathered to cuffs with covered buttons, black silk lining, a cummerbund waistband and a matching triangular scarf.
Mrs. Harwood (1915-1991) was a senior editor at Vogue magazine in New York City and a frequent visitor to Charleston. She, with Richard H. Jenrette, founded Historic Charleston Foundation’s tremendously successful Historic Reproductions program in 1972. She moved to Charleston full time in 1977, where she continued to be the epitome of style. In 1982, she gave the Charleston Museum a number of her fashionable clothing items from her days with Vogue.
This lovely dress is currently on exhibit in Fashion Flashback: 1970s, the first installment of our journey backwards through time in a decade-by-decade look at clothing styles. The 1970s will be up until April 27, 2014.
TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

Bill Blass designed this timely dress which Alison Harwood wore to a wedding around 1971. The black silk crepe has a wonderful pink, orange and white tie-dye design, bringing it right in line with the wild and crazy 1970s fashions. It has a round neckline with back zipper, long sleeves gathered to cuffs with covered buttons, black silk lining, a cummerbund waistband and a matching triangular scarf.

Mrs. Harwood (1915-1991) was a senior editor at Vogue magazine in New York City and a frequent visitor to Charleston. She, with Richard H. Jenrette, founded Historic Charleston Foundation’s tremendously successful Historic Reproductions program in 1972. She moved to Charleston full time in 1977, where she continued to be the epitome of style. In 1982, she gave the Charleston Museum a number of her fashionable clothing items from her days with Vogue.

This lovely dress is currently on exhibit in Fashion Flashback: 1970s, the first installment of our journey backwards through time in a decade-by-decade look at clothing styles. The 1970s will be up until April 27, 2014.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

Hats can be stunning fashion statements while keeping the wearer warm. These two hats, perfect for a chilly winter day, are currently in Fashion Accessories: Hats, on exhibit until January 19, 2014.

This man’s brown beaver fedora was purchased by the donor’s husband, Dr. Herbert Ulysses Seabrook in 1930 for $32.50. Dr. Seabrook (1884-1941) was an African American physician practicing in Charleston on Spring Street. He also worked as the director for the Hospital & Training School for Nurses. Born in Charleston, he was the son of Williams and Amerintha Alston Seabrook. He married Miriam DeCosta in 1923. Their papers are housed at the Avery Research Center, College of Charleston. 

The fedora, invented in 1891, features a wide brim, a hat band or ribbon and a pinched and indented crown. It was enormously popular in the 1930s when almost every man owned at least one. The style actually started out as a woman’s fashion, but by the 1920s, men had adopted this practical and attractive hat.

Our warm choice for women is this amazing hat, c. 1912, black velvet covered with iridescent feathers and a stuffed bird. It bears a Stern Brothers / Paris New York label, a company founded in 1867 by Isaac, Louis and Benjamin Stern. They built several impressive locations, including an enormous cast-iron façade store on West 23rd Street. It was an elegant store noted for its fashionable clothes; ladies from all over New York came to Stern Brothers for their Paris fashions. Doormen wearing top hats greeted customers as they entered.

This luxurious hat was worn by Lucy Robertson Garden (1845-1930), the wife of Hugh Richardson Garden of Sumter.

Both of these hats are currently on exhibit in Fashion Accessories: Hats (June 19, 2013 - January 19, 2014). 

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

There is nothing like a fabulous red outfit for Christmas Eve. This stylish red matelasse suit was designed by Gustave Tassell and worn by June Mohler around 1962. June was the director of the Rodgers & Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Kent State University. Their fashion library is now named after her.

The suit consists of a sheath dress, sleeveless with a waistline seam, bustline darts and a barely flared skirt constructed in seven gores. It has a metal zipper in back and is lined with black silk. The matching coat has ¾ raglan sleeves and wonderful black coiled composite buttons in front. It is similar to a Gustave Tassell ribbed red matelasse dress and coat worn by Jacqueline Kennedy during her arrival in Rajasthan, India on March 18, 1962. She also wore the dress for a camel ride with her sister at the residence of President Mohammad Avub Khan in Karachi.

Gustave Tassell was born in 1926 in Philadelphia. After moving to New York, he worked in the advertising and display department for Hattie Carnegie. In the early 1950s, he moved to Europe and worked with Geneviéve Fath and James Galanos. He began his own business in 1956 in California, receiving the prestigious Coty Award in 1961.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

Rose silk faille dress, 1870s. Labeled Mme Gabrielle / Robes & Confections / 205 Rue St. Honoré, this elegant creation was designed by one of the premier couturiers of the 1860s and 1870s. The floral embroidery ornaments the bodice and the skirt, with its bustle and train. It was most likely worn by Gertrude Ellen Dupuy (1841-1902) who married Henry Shelton Sanford in 1864, both of wealthy American families. Gertrude was born in Philadelphia; they married in Paris and then lived in Brussels for a time. The dress was given to the museum in 1979 by her granddaughter, Gertrude Sanford Legendre.

A few weeks ago, we shared another Mme Gabrielle dress, also from the 1870s. The one today is perhaps even more luscious, adorned with magnificent floral embroidery. Parisian designers used embroidery ateliers or workshops to complete this kind of work, designed specifically to fit the cut of the gown. The bodice has 3/4 sleeves and a squared neckline, trimmed with white net lace. The buttons are covered to match the dress. It is lined with white silk and has encased stays, silk covered “bust improvers” and an inside waistband that bears the maker’s name and address. The long flowing skirt has a pleated front panel of cream satin; the back fits over a bustle and extends into a fairly long train, reinforced with pleated, stiffened gauze.

This dress came to the museum with a few extra pieces. Two are very obviously belts – one appears to have been cut from another piece that we just can’t figure out. It’s an odd rectangle, but is finished nicely (except for the cut-out) and even has two weights sewn into the hem. Any suggestions? The other piece is large and embroidered – could it be an alternate front skirt panel? Perhaps Mrs. Sanford thought it was too much and switched it out for the pleated satin. Email us at info@charlestonmuseum.org if you have a good idea!

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

Fashions for a relaxing Thanksgiving morning – These two dressing gowns, both from the late 19th century, are currently on exhibit at the Museum. Our man’s dressing gown is black silk with braid ornamentation at the neckline and flared cuffs. The front buttons are crochet-covered with thread loops for closure. It is shown in our Fashion in Fiction exhibit, along with a black velvet smoking cap, evoking an image of Sherlock Holmes pondering over a difficult case in his rooms at 221B Baker Street. The cap is embroidered with gold thread and lined with gold silk.

The woman’s dressing gown is in Positively Paisley, an exhibit featuring the ever-popular boteh motif in shawls and garments. This striking gown has printed bands of paisley designs. The back of the gown has a gathered waistline and a small train, presumably to accommodate a bustle. It was worn by the donor’s mother, Jane Arabella Perry Jackson (1834-1922) probably in the 1870s.

Both of these dressing gowns would have been worn in the privacy of one’s home, amidst family and intimate friends only. Women could enjoy some hours of freedom before donning the restrictive corsets and bustles required of day or evening wear. And men could wear their dressing gowns over street clothes (without their jackets), in comfort and knowing they were protecting their clothing and hair from tobacco smoke aromas.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday