LA Frock Stars Throw Back: Paper Dresses!

What began as a marketing gimmick popularized by Scott Paper Company in the 1960s has become one of the more collectible items from fashion history. Intended to promote disposable cellulose fabric, paper clothing with mod prints and even Warhol-esque patterns (such as the iconic Cambell’s Soup print) flooded US stores. Joseph Magnin department stores featured “News Stand” boutiques to sell the dresses at just about $8 a pop.
The paper dresses ushered in a new era of DIY-fashion. Just as the public was getting used to the idea of a rising hem, these dresses allowed women to cut the dresses to their preferred length. If you use your imagination and consider the popular designers of the era--Pierre Cardin and Courreges, for instance--women could even create their own mod peekaboo circular cutouts in the dress! Hallmark’s “Flower Fantasy” party dress came with two yards of yarn that could be used as a belt or a bow around the neck; it even had helpful hints for decorative ideas.
While the dresses didn’t survive as a viable garment, the impact they made on fashion history is still felt today! The same material used in the 1960s has now been modified and applied to garments such as hospital gowns, scrubs, and coveralls: where fashion and function meet!

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  • I love paper dresses. It is unfortunate that they went out of fashion. Do you sell any at the store?

    • Rebecca