Interesting Stuff

Labor Day often symbolizes the end of summer, but we aren’t quite ready for it to end just yet.  Take a look at these bathing suits and see how much styles have changed.

Black Cotton Bathing Suit, 1915

This black cotton bathing suit has built-in bloomers, a sailor collar, and a detachable skirt.  There are four buttons down the front with black and cream ribbon edging.

Green Shirred Bathing Suit, Late 1930s

This green bathing suit is made of 100% nylon lastex.  Lastex is a material with an elastic core wrapped with thread, in this case, nylon thread.  The shirred bodice has stays throughout the top, giving the suit a rigid structure.  The halter suit also includes a zipper closure up the back.

Yellow Bathing Suit with Clothes-Pin Fabric, 1953

This cotton yellow bathing suit is most noticeable for its bright color and graphic fabric featuring a repeating clothes-pin pattern. It has a sweetheart neckline, adjustable straps, a smocked back, and ruffles through the neckline and hips.

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Designer Spotlight

Oleg Cassini

This magenta dress has a V-neckline with an overlapping “wrap” closure. The silk dress has printed bands of turquoise, gold and deep purple.  The long kimono-style sleeves have button cuffs with a printed boarder around the wrists. The same border is repeated at the hemline. It was designed by Oleg Cassini for his 1983 line.

detail of the print on the sleeve

This summer, the Museum of Texas Tech University is sponsoring “Celebrating Our Heroes,” a collaborative exhibition with other Lubbock museums designed to honor local veterans.  Part of the exhibit at the Museum of Texas Tech University, called On The Home Front, highlights the contributions of fashion designers in WWII. Oleg Cassini provides another example of a designer’s role in the war effort.

Born in Paris to a Count and Countess, Oleg Cassini immigrated to the United States and started designing costumes in Hollywood.  In 1941, the first picture he worked on was I Wanted Wings, designing for then newcomer, Veronica Lake.

Actress,Gene Tierney Wearing a Costume Designed by Oleg Cassini, 1941

Unfortunately, the attack on Pearl Harbor soon interrupted his career as a costume designer.  Although he had only lived in America for a few years, he took citizenship in order to fight in WWII with the United States.  He served five years in the US Calvary as a First Lieutenant.

Following the end of his military career, Cassini moved to New York in order to start his own clothing line.  He quickly gained widespread notoriety by his close association with Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.   Appointed “Secretary of Style” in 1961, Cassini became the exclusive couturier to the White House.  He remarked that his desire was to make Jackie Kennedy the most famous First Lady of all time.

Worn by Jackie Kennedy in 1962, it is now on display at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum

Today, his clothing and bridal lines are still worn by countless celebrities. His designs focus on clean lines, luxurious fabrics, and classic garment shapes.

Suit, Evening

courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art