Category Archives: Fashion History

5 Fab Fashion Illustration Books

Ahh fashion illustrations. Always on my mind. There’s nothing better on a cold winter day than to curl up with a great book, a hot cup of tea and (hopefully) a crackling fire in the fireplace.  If you love fashion drawings, costumes, movies or all of the above, here are 5 books about fashion illustration of all kinds that I highly recommend.



fashion illustration

Obviously #1 on my list.  Just a few years ago,  not in my wildest imagination could I have made the following statement – Here’s a beautiful book all about Mom and her amazing fashion illustrations!  French publisher Larousse has created this extraordinary coffee table book complete with 140 of Hilda’s drawings and a detailed biography written by my very talented cousin, Jennifer Wittes. C’est en francais, but if you can find a copy where you live, it’s a picture book, so the drawings are a language that everyone can read! In France, you can find it in many places including Amazon.  Magnifique!





David Downton, one of the world’s leading fashion illustrator, has created this stunning book which showcases the work and the lives of the 20th century’s most acclaimed fashion artists, including Erté, Boucher, Andy Warhol and concluding with a portfolio of Downton’s work.  More here.






fashion illustration


This book is a comprehensive history of fashion illustration over the last century and how fashion and it’s drawings reflected the larger political and cultural changes in the world. To see some of the 400 images in this wonderful book, go here.






fashion illustration

To quote the blurb, as it says it all, “A chronological account of the evolution of dress which covers 500 years of fashion, as seen through the art of its period. The illustrations range from early woodcuts through the development of fashion plates and the rise of fashion journalism to the use of film, photography and the Internet.” In other words, how we got to here! For more…






fashion illustration

Mom and I were both movie fans.  I have a fond memory of her waking me up at 2 in the morning so we could watch Pride and Prejudice with Laurence Olivier. It was our thing.  So, needless to say, I love this book. Academy Award  nominated costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis shows how the drawing “provides a blueprint for the creation of a costume and a character”. Over 400 previously unpublished illustrations are featured with a rare view of the portfolios of Hollywood’s greatest designers. For more…




That’s my list.  One more thought, it would help me to know if any of you are interested in perhaps purchasing Mom’s book.  I am talking with the publisher to be able to sell them through our site and it would be helpful to see if there is an interest.  You can post a response here.  Thanks everyone! And remember only 38 more days until Spring!

3 Audrey Hepburn Hats That Blow Me Away

I know. There are a million posts about this lovely lady.  But I never tire of looking at her movies, her face, her clothes.  So forgive me this time that I post about this elegant icon.  Here are the 3 Audrey Hepburn hats that blow me away.

From movie "Sabrina" 1954

From movie “Sabrina” 1954

If anyone doesn’t know the story of Sabrina, she starts out as the chauffeur’s daughter, growing up on an estate owned by brothers Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. She’s a tomboy, a jeans and pony tail happy girl. Then she is sent to boarding school in Europe and the “ugly duckling” (yeah, right), turns into the swan with the wardrobe to match.  This is one of the post Europe looks.

Cecil Beaton Maybe


Quite the opposite look here.  This elaborate hat looks like it may have been designed for My Fair Lady by Cecil Beaton, but I can’t say for sure.  What craftsmanship goes into making something like this! And even with the elaborate design and large size, you have to look right at that gorgeous face.

Tassle Hat

And this mod space age number.  Right out of 2001:A Space Odyssey but with tassels. Only she could pull it off.

I could go on and on.  We’ve all seen them.  But it’s always a good start to the New Year to begin with thoughts of a beautiful person, both inside and out with some really terrific taste!

Happy New Year everyone!

Fashion Reflects the Times

Styles change with the decades and fashion reflects the times. The flapper girl of the 1920’s freed herself from the corseted  figure of decades before.  Women had just gotten the vote. Traditionally male occupations like secretaries were being overtaken by the ladies. They cut their hair and wore their dresses short and straight. They started taking on traditionally male jobs, such as a secretary. They appear to be dressing for themselves rather than for the men in their lives. The clothes were comfortable, practical and also fun and sexy.  Miriam Rettich, fellow artist and life long friend of Mom’s, told me that she used to wrap her bosom so she looked flat chested. My Grandpa Lazar was quite shocked when Grandma Cilka, who always had long hair, came home with it all bobbed off. It was a feminist revolution of sorts. Modern times! Alicejoyce1926full_crop The look of the 1950s was quite the opposite. The hourglass figure was in and another version of the corset was the thing to wear.  I call it armor.   I mean, really, take a look.  Now I know where Madonna got here wardrobe ideas. tumblr_mfw2wsXmUt1r5kw6ko1_500 And this is what Mom was drawing in those years.

Gina c. 1960

Gina c. 1960

Sheryl c. 1953

Sheryl c. 1953

Gigi c. 1962

Gigi c. 1962

Marilyn c. 1958

Marilyn c. 1958

Roxanne c. 1953

Roxanne c. 1953

I love Mom’s lingerie drawings. They don’t reveal much, but are still alluring. These were women post World War II. The 1920s saw a start of life outside of home and family. Then with the Depression of the 1930s most were scrambling just to survive. The 1940s brought the war and jobs that needed to get done while all the men were overseas. Women were working in factories and building airplanes. It was a new life of possibilities. The war ended in 1945 and everyone was happy to have the boys back.  They had to give up their jobs and, in the late 1940s and 1950s, once again, for the most part, took up the role of mothers and wives and it’s no coincidence with that shift that the fashion changed to exaggerate the female form. The shapely figure was the ideal woman. These girdles must have been hot and uncomfortable and certainly not for Rosie the Riveter. But, generally speaking, she didn’t exist anymore.

The 1960s revolution went back to a 1920s feel. Boyish figures and haircuts. Short straight dresses. Long, unfussy hair. Bell bottoms. Burning bras! The Pill! The children of the women wearing the all-in-one girdle were rebelling and once again, the fashion reflected the new found freedom.

Twiggy Shift  Dress

Twiggy in the 60’s

Today it seems like anything goes. I don’t know what that says about our society, but I do think that more and more, women can be whoever they want to be. And that is everything.

And if you’re loving Mom’s lingerie drawings, they’ve just been added to our collection of Limited Edition Prints at The White Cabinet. And all sizes are 20% off as an introduction of these lovely ladies.