If you're going to be in southern California over the holidays, you may want to take in the costume exhibit: Hollywood Costume, on now through March 2, 2015 at the Academy Museum in the historic May Company building at the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire. They don't permit photos, so this video will have to say it all, and don't miss the website, which has lots of little tidbits about this show that originated at the Victoria and Albert Museum and now includes over 150 costumes in its final exhibition showing.
This is the first of several David Crystal magazine advertisements from 1959 for dresses created in knits. They have such gorgeous illustrations in primary colors that I had to share and a Holiday red seems like the best place to start! (more to come)
p.s. The illustration is original, but the graphics are mine.
This Lilli Ann suit jacket dates from 1958. It's signature fur trimmed bodice drape can be found on several jackets from that era. This one is a soft wool crepe in a pastel mauve color. Dyed to match silver fox fur trims a diagonal drape that crossed the jacket hem with a pearl button detail.
I have a few detail photos to share that fill in any gaps that the general full view misses. What is always interesting about a good Lilli Ann suit jacket are the signature details, going beyond what most jackets of the era show. These jackets tend to appeal to a flamboyant, dramatic and self confidant customer who loves feminine and sexy details to her outfits.
Rather than a simple strip of fabric, the wool has been pleated from a wider shoulder down to a narrow hanging "scarf" with a "pom pom" of fur at the end. A narrow band, like a belted edge, encircles the jacket hem. Where the scarf crosses that band it has an overlapping piece that is fastened with a pearl button in a bound buttonhole.
The swag is accented by the diagonal hemline at high hip level. This diagonal hem continues around the back, creating a well integrated design from all angles that is flattering to many body types. This diagonal is seen in several other Lilli Ann jackets, so it must have been a popular silhouette for that label.
How this jacket was accessorized can be seen in the original magazine advertisement from 1958.
The 3/4 sleeves are designed to be worn with a longer glove proportion. The original skirt was narrow and below knee length, and worn with simple heels. Small pearl earings complete the ensemble, a scale that enhances but does not overpower the pearl button accent at the left hip.
In the early 1960's we can find advertisements for for similar styles from Lilli Ann. Like those shown here, this jacket was probably designed as a cocktail suit, to be worn to formal luncheons or semi-formal evening events where pearls and fur were appropriate. The soft pastel color would be a spring look. The label photo shows the texture of the wool crepe and the type of lining typical for a Lilli Ann jacket.
PS, I have more on this Lilli Ann style in the following other blog posts: