Claire McCardell Wearing Amazing Dresses of Her Own Creation (1945)

Claire McCardell (May 24, 1905 – 1958) was an American fashion designer in the arena of ready-to-wear clothing in the 20th century. She is credited with the creation of American sportswear.

In 1942, McCardell created her famed “Popover Dress.” It was a response to a Harper’s Bazaar challenge to create something fashionable you could wear to clean the house and then wear to a cocktail party. The simple grey dress came with a matching potholder which fit into the dress’s pocket. The “Popover Dress” sold for $6.95 and over 75,000 were sold in the first season alone.

These dresses became a staple of McCardells collections and over time she made version in different lengths and fabrics. The “Popover Dress” received a citation from the American Fashion Critics Association and in 1943, McCardell won a Coty Award.

Beginning in 1945, McCardell was featured as an “American Look” designer by Lord & Taylor’s department store.  In 1946, McCardell won the Best Sportswear Designer Award and in 1948 she won the Neiman-Marcus Award.

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Claire McCardell in a Dress of her creation, 1945 via

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Claire McCardell in a Dress of her creation, 1945 via

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Claire McCardell in her Futuristic Dress (cut only of triangles), photographed by Erwin Blumenfeld, 1945 via

Amazing Vintage Photos of Fashion’s First Supermodel Lisa Fonssagrives

Swedish fashion model Lisa Fonssagrives (1911 – 1992) is widely credited as the world´s first supermodel. She was born Lisa Birgitta Bernstone and was  raised in Uddevalla.

She went to Mary Wigman’s school in Berlin and studied art and dance. After returning to Sweden, she opened a dance school.  She moved from Sweden to Paris to train for ballet and worked as a private dance teacher with Photographer Fernand Fonssagrives, which then led to a modeling career.

She married Fonssagrives in 1935; they divorced and she later married fashion photographer, Irving Penn, in 1950.

The Elton John photography collection auction held by Christie’s on October 15, 2004 sold a 1950 Irving Penn photograph of his wife, Lisa Fonssagrives, for $57,360.

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VOGUE Cover, Lisa Fonssagrives by Horst P. Horst, 1940 via

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Lisa Fonssagrives by Irving Penn, 1949

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Lisa Fonssagrives by Lillian Bassman via

 

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Lisa Fonssagrives by Irving Penn via

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Lisa Fonssagrives, 1940’s via

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Lisa Fonssagrives on the Eiffel Tower by Erwin Blumenfeld, Vogue, 1939 via

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Lisa Fonssagrives Le Modele by Fernand Fonssagrives, 1942 via

Vintage Photos of Russian Prima Ballerina Alexandra Danilova

Aleksandra Dionisyevna Danilova (1903 – 1997) was a Russian-born prima ballerina, who became an American citizen. In 1989, she was recognized for lifetime achievements in ballet as a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Born in Peterhof, Russia on November 20, 1903, she trained at the Russian Imperial Ballet School in Leningrad (formerly and currently St. Petersburg). She was one of the few Russian-trained ballerinas to tour outside Russia. Her first professional post was as a member of St. Petersburg’s Imperial Ballet.

In 1924, she and George Balanchine left Russia. They were soon picked up by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes; Danilova as a dancer, Balanchine as a choreographer. Danilova toured for years with the Ballets Russes under Sergei Diaghilev, then with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo after Diaghilev’s death.[1] With the latter company, Danilova andFrederic Franklin created one of the legendary ballet partnerships of the twentieth century. Danilova became known for her glamour and beautiful legs, as well as her work ethic and professionalism.

Danilova made her Broadway debut in 1944’s Song of Norway; her last ballet performance was in 1957.

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Alexandra Danilova photographed by George Platt Lynes, c. 1930s via

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 Alexandra Danilova as a star of Colonel de Basil’s Ballet Russe  (1936)  by Maurice Seymour. Courtesy of Ronald Seymour/Maurice Seymour Archive via

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Alexandra Danilova in Ballet Russe’s Nutcracker via

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F. Franklin and Alexandra Danilova by Irving Penn, 1948 via

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The Legs of Danilova, New York by Erwin Blumenfeld, 1950 via

Alexandra Danilova dances in Gaite Parisienne

Amazing Vintage Photos of Barbara “Babe” Paley

Barbara “Babe” Cushing Mortimer Paley (1915 – 1978) was an American socialite and style icon, whose second husband was the founder of CBS, William S. Paley. She was known by the popular nickname “Babe” for most of her life. She was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1958.

Long after her death, Babe Paley remains an icon in the world of fashion and style. “Babe Paley had only one fault,” commented her one-time friend Truman Capote.

“She was perfect. Otherwise, she was perfect.”

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Richard Avedon, Portrait of Barbara “Babe” Paley, 1960’s via

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Babe Paley by Erwin Blumenfeld via

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Clifford Coffin, Portrait of Barbara “Babe” Paley, British Vogue, 1946 via

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John Rawlings, Portrait of Barbara “Babe” Cushing Mortimer Paley, Vogue, February 1946 via

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Babe Paley  in 1940 Wedding Gown by Mabel McIlvain Downs via