Monday, 13 May 2013

Fashion in Art - Jersey

I've decided that since not much is happening with my wardrobe at present (although I did wear 30s style lounging pyjama pants yesterday) I would start looking a bit at fashion in art - maybe a different vintage painting each week.  

To begin, is this portrait of Peg Oldfield from 1931, painted by Australian artist Douglas Dundas (1900-81).  This painting hangs at the Brisbane Art Gallery. Peg Oldfield was an illustrator, and probably moved in the same circles as Dundas in Sydney.

Peg Oldfiled by Douglas Dundas, 1931
 She has a very modern look for 1931, with her Coco Chanel inspired outfit of patterned jersey blouse and pulled down beret or turban. I say jersey as the fabric looks to thin to be knitted of wool and the drape at the elbow looks more like jersey than silk or cotton. And the pattern looks very similar to this one.

Coco Chanel wearing one of her designs, 1929
Coco Chanel was the first designer to use jersey for outerwear. During the fabric rations of WWI jersey, which has only really been used for underwear, was the only readily available fabric, and Chanel experimented with it, creating women's suits and blouses and skirts. It was easy to wear and comfortable, as well as being easy to launder.  Not everyone accepted jersey for outer wear, but many did, and the jersey suit became Coco’s first real success in fashion.

Madame Gres and model, 1938
Madame Gres (who I have looked at in an earlier post) worked from the 1930s through to the 80s, and made many of her fabulous gowns in jersey.  She also often wore her trademark beret or turban. The perfect hat for a bad hair day!

Deb xx

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