We could spend days and days poring over this season's couture collections: what's not to love?! Fortunately for us, we've been lucky enough to have some jaw-dropping couture pieces of our own in the boutique. When I was scanning our racks of gowns, I got to thinking about the fantasy inspired by all of this incredible vintage fashion. As a fairly normal L.A. girl, it's not often I get the opportunity to wear formal gowns (let alone couture), well, ever. Combined with the sporty-chic trend that's been gaining momentum over the last few seasons (Nike Air Max's with Dior, anyone?), I wanted to know more about how mainstream women's sportswear came to be.
Thank goodness for the patron saint of vintage, Doris Raymond! I expressed my interest in sportswear to her one afternoon, and lo and behold, she led me to an awesome collection from American designers such as Claire McCardell and Bonnie Cashin (most commonly known for revolutionizing Coach's handbag designs in the 1960s). Ask and you shall receive!
Born as a reaction to French couture grandeur in the 1930s (and which lasted through the 1970s), American designers shifted gears toward accessible, thoughtful, and practical outfits made of simple materials. In a way, this movement in fashion was an act of freedom for women: constricting undergarments were no longer necessary, and the notion of wrapping oneself up into intricate frocks was not as important. Women wanted clothing that was beautifully made and easy to wear; and, actually, some of the designs are so timeless that they continue to be reproduced (or reinterpreted) today.
As I was perusing Doris' collection of sportswear (i.e, American ready-to-wear), I realized how contemporary most of the pieces look. It's proof that these designers truly had modern vision. To find out more about the evolution of sportswear in fashion, read Richard Martin's fascinating article for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/amsp/hd_amsp.htm