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A cardboard sea…

July 6, 2010
tags: ,


Gosh, It’s July already. How did that happen. So. Shall we talk about swimsuits?
A lot of photoshoots I see for swimwear in vintage magazines leave me a little… ambivalent. I do love vintage bathing suits, but I’m always amazed how clean and immaculate the models wearing them look. There’s never any wind, every hair is lacquered into place, and full makeup is generally de rigeur. They always look like the closest they will be going to the water is the beachside bar. (Sometimes I wonder if beach life was any fun at all before lycra was invented- it just seemed to involve lying in the sun being fed margaritas. Not that that is entirely bad, mind you.) Let me see if I can find an example of what I mean. Ah, yes, here we go:

That’s from 1959, but you see what I mean? (And that sea- do they think we won’t notice it’s a cardboard fake?!)

But thank goodness for the other images in this post (including the one at the top, which I love)…..

They’re from a 1949 issue of L’Officiel de la Mode, but they could almost be for a modern photoshoot. They realise that beach life is no fun unless there’s rocks to scramble over, seaweed to fling about, and unless you actually get in the water. (And surely there’s nothing that sells a swimsuit- or any other garment- like the promise that you might actually have fun in it!)

The models in this shoot do look exactly like they’re having fun, and I love the minimal styling. Speaking as someone who gets sand all over her and mad hair as soon as she even looks at a beach (and don’t stand too near me when I come out of the sea or you might get shaken all over) I do appreciate the windswept mop-headed models in these shots. Isn’t all this healthy seaside adventure a lot more appealing than poolside posing?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2010 7:14 pm

    Oh! I want that one at the top. Why don’t they make them like that anymore?

  2. July 13, 2010 1:56 am

    As someone who went to the pool last summer in full makeup and a giant rose in her hair, and swam around wearing sunglasses and not putting her head under the water, I’ll have to politely disagree with you there! I used to laugh at my mother, who never put her head under the water, but now I have to say I agree more and more with her sentiments, plus, I always get water in my ears. The splashing around photos are lovely though.

    • glassoffashion permalink
      July 16, 2010 10:40 am

      I suspect that secretly I’m just jealous of anyone who manages to stay looking immaculate in the pool/sea- it’s certainly a knack I haven’t mastered :)

  3. Katherine Grace Evans permalink
    February 14, 2011 8:24 pm

    you’re blog is amazing, but i need a bit of help. for my drama exam, i am doing the costume design. the plot is the tale of four women from completely different social statures each vow to protect a young Jewish girl in Paris in the early 1940s. the four different characters are, a european ambassador’s wife who is by blood french, she is mid thirties and is extremely glamourous but understatedly, not ostentatiously, the second being her sister who is a few years older who owns a bistro in Paris – her character is a mixture of those in ‘Allo ‘Allo – the third is a politically active English novellist who is widowed, and finally the fourth character is a young, fashion forward photographer. in my mind i see the photographer wearing high waisted trousers, but i’m a bit worried that she may not have done at that time. i would really appreciate it if anyone would be able to help by sending links for images which would have been relevant, also any particular vintage stores which specialise in this era in London. thank you

    • glassoffashion permalink
      February 14, 2011 9:16 pm

      I think it would have been unusual to have seen trousers on a woman walking down a street in a big city in the early 40s. Especially Paris, the fashion capital of the world. Trousers were more for “sportswear” and more informal environments, ie. a walk in the country, the beach, etc. Although I suppose it all depends on what your photographer character is doing and where she goes. At home she might wear them. If she’s quite an “eccentric” character it could be a great way to express a little eccentricity.
      Having said all that, I just watched this documentary footage of Paris in the 1940s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9dgVnPDT3U
      and if you skip to 4mins 30secs there’s what looks very much like a woman in trousers on a bench in Montmartre. Mind you- that is in the artist’s quarter of Paris- so that would be very… bohemian. So I guess you could go for it :)
      Check out the other posts on this blog on 1940s fashion for more pics- they’re listed here: https://glassoffashion.wordpress.com/category/1940s-fashion/
      For the novelist you might consider some kind of masculine tailored jacket and skirt? And for the bistro owner, for clothes real life people wore in the 1940s (rather than fashion plates) try looking at sewing pattern pics from the period. Have a look at the Vintage sewing patterns wiki here: http://vintagepatterns.wikia.com/wiki/Category:1940s
      Your ambassador’s wife might have got her clothes at one of the Paris couture houses.
      Hope that helps, and good luck!

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