Object of the Day

RICARDE OF HOLLYWOOD, Gold toned Filigree Necklace, early 1940s

This Ricarde of Hollywood necklace dates from the early 1940’s. It is believed that this piece is a replica of a necklace worn in the movie Juarez with Bette Davis or possibly from the movie Gone With the Wind. Some Gone with the Wind researchers claim that it matches a bracelet with red stones, which was worn by Belle Watling in the movie. This necklace is beautifully designed with raised intricate fretwork and the stones are rhinestones or possibly paste.

Bette Davis in the movie Juarez, wearing a necklace that could be possibly the inspiration for the Ricarde of Hollywood necklace.


Designer Spotlight

LUCIEN LELONG, Grey-Blue Chiffon and Silk Wedding Dress, 1946

Mrs. Kay Boutin wore this long grey-blue chiffon wedding dress with full-gauged skirt, wide scoop neckline and chiffon bow for her wedding to Major Paul Boutin on May 29, 1946 in Paris, France.  Paul Boutin was a Major in the US Army and Mrs. Kay Boutin  was an Army Librarian with the special services. The Bride wore a white orchid in her hair, carried a bouquet of white orchids and wore long white kid gloves. The dress was made by Lucien Lelong, and this particular one was one of his designs post WWII.

This is the original Bill of Sale for the Delong wedding dress purchased on May 27, 1946, days before the wedding.

Lucien Lelong (October 11, 1889 – May 11, 1958) was a French couturier who was prominent from the 1920s to the 1940s.  He is most remembered for his heroic diplomatic efforts to sustain Parisian couture during World War II. He was elected as president of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture in 1937, which would prove to be his greatest challenge and contribution to fashion.

As president of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture, it was his job to negotiate with the occupying German regime. The Nazis wanted to move Paris fashion to Berlin by any means, including violence. On July 20, 1940 five Nazi officers arrived at the headquarters of the Chambre Syndicale on an ‘inspection’; five days later they broke into the building and requisitioned the archive and seize all of the  documents pertaining to the French export trade.

Lucien Lelong

Under the plan of the Nazis, Paris ateliers would be moved to Germany or Austria, where they would train a new generation of German dressmakers. The designers would also be moved. Within a generation, the Nazis expected, couture would be German, not French. Lelong pointed out that the plan was unworkable. The skills, he explained, were unteachable, that you could not transfer them, and it took decades to reach the necessary levels of craftsmanship.

This iconic photo of Lisa in a Lucien Lelong gown swinging precariously off the Eiffel Tower, was taken by Erwin Blumenfeld for Vogue 1939

By 1941 the Germans had issued textile ration cards to every design house. It was obvious that compliance with these regulations would spell the end of Paris couture. Lelong, through difficult negotiations, obtained exemptions for 12 houses. Lelong said, “Unfortunately the Germans noticed at the end of six months that 92 houses were operating, which led to more discussions. Finally we succeeded in keeping 60.” Madame Grés and Balenciaga both exceeded their yardage requirements one season and were ordered to close for two weeks. Banding together in a show of unity and force, the remaining houses finished the two collections so they could be shown on time.

Natalie Paley (Mrs. Lucien Lelong from 1927-1937) wearing a black sequined evening gown by Lelong, photo by Man Ray, 1934

Lelong is credited with saving over 12,000 workers from deportation into German war industries. Over the period of four years, 14 official conferences had been held with the Germans, at four of them the Germans had announced that la couture was to be entirely suppressed, and each time the French avoided catastrophe.

Lucien Lelong evening gown design illustrated by Rene Gruau, 1947

 Lelong employed many talented young designers and gave them the opportunity to grow professionally. Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain, Hubert de Givenchy, and Jean Schlumberger were all employed by Lelong at one time or another.

Lelong retired in 1948 and died a decade later near Biarritz. He showed a total of 110 collections during his career, and though closed his couture business, he continued a fragrance business which he had started in the 1924 and is still in existence today.

Exhibit News

Today is the first Friday of the month and that means it’s time for the First Friday Art Trail. Today we will be replacing the center dress with this 1920 wedding suit.

This two piece reindeer-tan wool suit was worn by Ethel Teague when she married Ernest Raney on September 15, 1920 in Abilene, Texas.

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite wedding dress here or at the museum for the dress that will be featured in the center May 2012.

Interesting Stuff

From the Huntley Film Archives, this video shows many examples of women fashion from the 1890s to the 1920s. It is very interesting to see how many of the clothes worn during these time periods move with the person in them. Many times when we see garments in our collection, we wonder how an actual person would look wearing the garment or how the garment moved with a person in them. This video shows a rare glimpse in how a woman would walk in a hobble skirt or how a woman would pose or style her hair. Also toward the end of the film, there is rare color footage from the turn of the century. Check it out!


Object of the Day

Pearl Gray Chiffon and Beaded Gown, 1969

Worn By Ima Mae Smith

Ima Mae Smith was born in Jack County and later moved to Ralls, Texas. She attended Texas Technological College in Lubbock, Texas where she met Preston Smith. They were married in 1935 and settled in Lubbock.  Her husband, Preston Smith served as a State Representative for six years, a State Senator for six years, the Lieutenant Governor for six years, and Governor of Texas for four years starting in 1969.

This gown was worn for the inaugural ball in 1969. It is made with pearl gray chiffon and is empire styled featuring a jeweled covered bodice with crystal tulip beads, iridescent sequins and looped crystal beaded fringe.  Helen Rose, who won several awards including two Academy Awards for best costume design, and made famous wedding dresses such as ones for Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor, was the designer of this dress.

Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library & Archives Commission

Ima Mae Smith’s community work included the Methodist Hospital Auxiliary, the Women’s Organization of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, the Lubbock Country Club, Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority Alumnae, and the St. John’s United Methodist Church. She was awarded the Distinguished Alumnae Award from Texas Tech University.

Object of the Day

 Garnet Red Velvet Dress, 1943

This red velvet dress was worn by Carol Krueger (wife of famed football player Bobby Layne), to have her portrait painted in 1943.  The long fur-cuffed sleeves were removed from the dress after the portrait was completed.

Some of the features of the dress are the scoop fur lined neckline, the full skirt and the row of three velvet bows down the front of the bodice.

Exhibit News

Today is the first Friday of the month and that means it’s time for the First Friday Art Trail. Today we will be replacing all the gowns displayed in the gallery with gowns from 1910 thru the 1920s.  The feature dress this month is this 1912 wedding gown.

This ivory satin de Chine wedding gown was worn by Ruby Barron for her home wedding to C. Fred Litton on September 26, 1912.  It was designed and made by Mrs. J.T. McNeill of 908 Elm Street in Dallas.

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These dresses shown here will be on display in Gallery 1 from December thru February.

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite wedding dress here or at the museum for the dress that well be featured in the center May 2012.

Object of the Day

Emerald Green Chiffon Gown, 1966

Worn by Lady Bird Johnson

Lady Bird Johnson wore this dress to a state dinner for Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India on her state visit, on March 28, 1966.  President Johnson held a state dinner for Prime Minister Indira Gandhi the year she assumed the office her father had held for 17 years.

The gown is made from emerald green chiffon with the top beaded with green sequins and tiny beads. The gown has a simple round neckline, sleeveless and zips up the back. The dress was donated with a matching chiffon shawl.

Associated Press photo, White House Historical Association, March 28, 1966

Mollie Parnis, who designed many dresses worn by First Ladies from Mamie Eisenhower to Betty Ford, designed this dress. Lady Bird Johnson and Mollie Parnis became close friends during her time as First Lady, Parnis designed Johnson several gowns providing her with her signature look.

Associated Press photo, White House Historical Association, March 28, 1966

Object of the Day

Two Piece, Silk Brocade and Taffeta Reception Gown, 1875-1880

This silk brocade and taffeta gown was made in the fashion of the early 1870s. It was made in Michigan and brought to Texas by the daughter of a lumber merchant. Some of the features of the dress are the asymmetrical draping on the overskirt, the trim of poufs around the bottom front of the skirt, shirring and knife pleating on the bottom back of the skirt and the crochet-covered iridescent pearls buttons.