Tag Archives: sixties

Pratt Institute and Groundbreaking Women

Pratt Institute and groundbreaking women. It sounds like right from it’s inception in 1887, Pratt  was a school that encouraged women to fulfill their dreams. I feel sometimes that we’ve been brainwashed into thinking that until recently, women didn’t have our own independent, vital, creative, interesting lives outside of our role as wife and mother.  If not the latter role, then we were cast as spinsters.  As I’ve told you, Mom was seemingly unusual for her time.  Born in 1914, she had a successful career as a fashion illustrator.  Mom attended Pratt  Class of ’33.  I decided to see who else attended there in those days.  In general, I found a lot of famous attendees, if not graduates – actor Robert Redford, playwright Harvey Firestein, fashion designer Norman Norell, painters Milton Resnick and Ellsworth Kelly and even Allen Funt of Candid Camera fame.  The list goes on and on.  Those were the men.   The women blew me away.  Some I had heard of and some not, but reading about their lives reinforced my belief that there have always been  women doing outstanding work in a so called “man’s world”.  Here is a brief overview of 4 fascinating women, all born in the 1800’s.

THE WOMEN OF PRATT INSTITUTE

Djuna Barnes

Djuna Barnes Attended Pratt in 1912

1892-1992. Attended Pratt in 1912

Djuna Barnes was an American poet, playwright, journalist, visual artist and short story writer best know for her novel “Nightwood”.   For more, see here.

Gertrude Käsebier

Gertrude Kasebier attended Pratt in 1889

1852-1934. Attended Pratt in 1889

“Gertrude Käsebier  was one of the most influential American photographers of the early 20th century. She was known for her evocative images of motherhood, her powerful portraits of Native Americans and her promotion of photography as a career for women.” ~Wikipedia. For more, go here

Pamela Colman Smith

Pamela Coleman Smith attended Pratt in 1893

1878-1951. Attended Pratt in 1893

Pamela Colman Smith (16 February 1878 – 18 September 1951), also nicknamed Pixie, was an English American artist, illustrator, and writer. She is best known for designing the Waite-Smith deck of divinatory tarot cards. For more, go here

Sara Louise Delany

Sara Louise Delany attended Pratt in 1916

1889-1999. Attended Pratt in 1916

“Sarah Louise “Sadie” Delany (September 19, 1889 – January 25, 1999) was an African-American educator and civil rights pioneer who was the subject, along with her younger sister Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany, of the New York Times bestselling oral history, Having Our Say, by journalist Amy Hill Hearth. Sadie was the first Black person permitted to teach domestic science at the high-school level in the New York public schools, and became famous, with the publication of the book, at the age of 103.” ~ Wikipedia  For more, go here

Mom was in good company.  I’m sure there are scores more stories to tell.  If any of you can add one, please post in the comments. The world needs to hear!

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.

LIZ’S FAVORITE FASHION ILLUSTRATION BOOKS ARE…

HILDA GLASGOW OU L’ESPRIT DE LA MODE

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!

 

 

MASTERS OF FASHION ILLUSTRATION BY DAVID DOWNTON 

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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.

 

 

 

 

100 YEARS OF FASHION ILLUSTRATION BY CALLY BLACKMAN

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.

 

 

 

 

AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF FASHION:500 YEARS OF FASHION ILLUSTRATIONS BY ALICE MACKRELL

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…

 

 

 

 

HOLLYWOOD SKETCHBOOK:A CENTURY OF COSTUME ILLUSTRATION BY DEBORAH NADOOLMAN LANDIS

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!

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.

Where’s Hilda?

Just for fun, I’ve decided to start a little contest series.  Here’s the first one.

I’m so lucky to have been left many things from my family, including many, many photographs.  My grandparents documented their daughters growing up and then my father, who was a wonderful photographer as well as a painter, took over the position.  I always had a camera pointing at me and honestly, I kind of hated it after a while, but then I became a photographer myself which has a touch of irony.  In any case, now I get to share these photos with all of you.  And from the feedback that I get, it seems that you’re enjoying them.

Here’s a classic from about 1926 or so.  I think it might have been Mom’s graduation picture from Hebrew school.  I seem to remember her telling me this.  Mom’s father, Lazar, was an atheist and Cilka was Orthodox. She kept Kosher.  Whatever made her happy, he’d always say.  And I guess this included sending their daughters to Hebrew school.  Anyway, here’s the photo:

Class Picture001-2and here’s the contest:

Which one of these lovely young ladies is Hilda?  The first 5 people who get it right will receive one of our hand mirrors.  Please post on our Facebook page.  Unfortunately because of the cost of overseas shipping, I can only honor responses from the US.  Sorry to all our fans around the world.

Once a month, I will add another contest, so please keep in touch.  And tell all your friends!

Coloring

I met my friend Joan Rafferty when we both attended the School of Visual Arts as photo majors.  Joan, along with a couple of other women from those days (Katherine Andriotis and Flori Seltzer, fyi), has been a lifelong friend.  She remembers Mom well and has been incredibly enthusiastic about the business.  She came to the first NY Gift Show that I did with Kitchen Papers and stood there quietly looking at all the new products.  She turned and a said “Liz, you have to do a coloring book.”  She remembered all the hours spent with her daughter, Coco, coloring the usual books that were on the market.  She wished there was something more in it for her on a creative level. And so, a coloring book of Mom’s drawings would bridge that divide of playing with a 3 year old, loving how they were growing up, being out of your mind bored and getting to create something fun yourself.   It’s an adult coloring book, so to speak.  But in a clean way…  I took Joan’s idea and ran with it.  Angie at Kitchen Papers loved it and so the process began. Instead of it looking like a traditional coloring book, I recreated the style of Mom’s sketchbook.

Hilda's Sketch Pad

Hilda’s Sketch Pad

And inside are 16 drawings ready for color and then your wall.Coloring Book Images-3Coloring Book Images-8

We introduced this at the AmericasMart Gift Show in Atlanta this past January.  We set up samples and colored pencils and soon,  I had a table full of people happily, peacefully coloring.  Like I’ve found with Mom’s drawings in general, they were transported back to a happy, easy time thinking of nothing more than which pencil to pick. And when they were done, each asked shyly if they could take their drawing with them.  I was smiling from ear to ear.

untitled-31

Jessica and drawing

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

I wish I had Mom’s original sketchbooks but hopefully they looked something like this.  What a wonderful collaborative effort between old friends from school, new friends from Kitchen Papers, Mom and me.  It’s really amazing to be able to have an idea and see it happen.  I am one lucky lady!

And if you decide to get Hilda’s Sketchbook, I’d love to see what you do with them. Post them to our Facebook page!

Hilda’s Sketchbook: A Coloring Book is for sale now at our store. Happy coloring!

A Bit of Bragging

 

photo by Randee Daddona

photo by Randee Daddona

I hope I’m not repeating myself too much, as I’ve posted elsewhere about this, but I just wanted to remind everyone that there has been a wonderful article written about us in today’s (2/9/14) Newsday. Newsday, by the way, is the premier newspaper on Long Island, New York. We are the cover of the LI Life section!  Claudia Gryvatz Copquin has written about me, Mom and The White Cabinet.  She’s a great writer and has really captured the spirit of why I started the whole thing.  So if you’re in the New York area, pick up a copy or go online to read all about us!!

Fashionable Treasures from The White Cabinet by Claudia Gryvatz Copquin

 

A Shared Birthday

Times

Mom was an avid crossword puzzler.  Or possibly fanatic would be a better word. She did the Sunday NY Times puzzle in ink. For those of you not in the NY area, this is the pinnacle of crosswords.  It’s a Sunday thing to sit down with some coffee and a pen (or pencil for those not quite so bold) and spend the day happily toiling over the squares and clues.

Much to my surprise, I found out that Mom and her beloved crossword puzzles had something in common – their birthday was one day apart.  She was born December 22, 1913 in Brooklyn and it was first published in the New York World (in New York as well) December 21 of the same year.  It’s their 100th birthday!  Mom was the 3rd daughter of Lazar and Cilka Richman (originally Reichman) and crossword (originally word-cross, changed because of a type setter’s error) was the baby of Arthur Wynne.  As an aside, Mr. Wynne asked his publisher if he should copyright the game, but was discouraged from doing this as his boss figured it was a passing fad. Let me point out that the New York World no longer exists…

In 1924,  a couple of recent Columbia University grads, Dick Simon and Lincoln Schuster, decided to publish a book of crosswords at the urging of Mr. Simon’s aunt.  And the rest is history.  In that same year, Mom was reading books like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice.  It’s unknown if she owned the crossword book.

The crossword became so popular, that commuter rail lines had dictionaries in every car. There was a Broadway show called “Puzzles of 1925”. And the roaring 20’s wild style lead to inventive dresses with the puzzle as their fabric.  I think Mom would have loved this dress!il_340x270.419428205_oj53

 

The puzzles live on as do Mom’s beautiful drawings.  I know people are enjoying them both.  Happy 100th Birthday to Mom and Crosswords!

Naughty or Nice

Either way, here you go…

Christmas Stocking-Edit medium

and remember, our limited edition prints, like Marilyn center above, are $25 off until December 31.  Sale on other items as well. 

You must order by December 12 to get delivery by Christmas.

Meet the New Gal

Silka c. 1964

Silka c. 1964

Here’s the newest member of the collection.  Her name is Silka c. 1964.  All of the drawings are named after Mom’s models, friends and family.  Silka was my grandmother. Mom’s mom.  Unlike this willowy drawing, Silka was 4’10” and quite stocky.  But she exuded the confidence seen here.  She was born in 1883 in a town called Little Constantine near Kiev Russia.  When she was 15, she started a business making corsettes.  She and my Grandpa Lazar immigrated to the US in 1904.  She wasn’t happy here and longed to go back.  Lazar agreed and they did, but upon returning after a while, she realized she had made a mistake and in 1907, they returned and settled in Brooklyn.  She was a business woman and had several dress making stores.

Cilka and Lazar. Note that she's standing on books pushed under the carpet.

Cilka and Lazar. Note that she’s standing on books pushed under the carpet.

 

She wanted all four of her daughters to have a career and Mom was the only one who realized that. She was so proud of her.  Like Mom, Silka was way ahead of  her time.  So every time you look at this beautiful drawing,  please think of my Grandma Silka and see a little Jewish lady blazing a trail.

Grandma Silka

Grandma Silka

The Silka Print and Notecard are now available on our site.  

 

 

 

 

Celebrate Hilda’s Big Day

Mom and me baby bw011-Edit

August 4, 1958, Hilda was in Doctor’s Hospital on the Upper East Side of Manhattan giving birth to me, her only child. She was almost 45 years old and had been married 20 years. She decided she wanted a child and had no worries that there would be any problems. Nowadays, this is a much more common occurrence, but 55 years ago, it was almost unheard of. Mom was a ground breaker in many ways.

I can’t believe that I am 55 years old.  In my mind, I’m 25 years younger.  And people say that I don’t look my age, whatever 55 is supposed to look like.  But I do know that the excitement and success of having this new business makes me feel like I shouldn’t be getting the Senior discount at the supermarket.  Thanks Mom, for keeping me young!  You still are taking care of me.

Sandy c. 1957

Sandy c. 1957

Sandy circa 1957 is one of my very favorite drawings.  I just love her outfit!  You all give me  a gift every time I hear how much you love Mom’s work, so for my birthday present to you, from August 3 thru 5, a 9×12 Limited Edition Print of Sandy will be on sale for $37.50.  She’s 50% off!  I want everyone to be able to have her hanging in their boudoir.

Sandy is printed on a heavyweight fine art paper called BFK Rives, mimicking the look and feel of the original.  She is numbered and her name and date are hand written in the corner.  “The White Cabinet” seal is also embossed on the page to ensure that your have the real thing.

Thanks everyone.  I think this is going to be one of the best birthdays ever!