Designer Spotlight

Jeanne Lanvin, 1867-1946

Jeanne Lanvin began her career as a milliner in Paris in 1890, and later started the fashion house of Lanvin, the oldest Paris fashion house still in existance today.  She became known for the dresses she made for her daughter, Marie-Blanche.  Other mothers and young women wanted her designs for their own children and themselves.

She opened her clothing store in 1909, selling mother-daughter garments, and her “robes de style” designs.  The “robes de style” dress consisted of a nipped in waist and full skirt; 18th century designs with modern embellishments.  She was influential in bringing fashion such as Eastern styles to Paris, and the Chemise dress of the 1920’s, as well as innovations like the modern department store.  Her store was the first to dress the entire family in ready-to-wear clothing when she introduced a menswear department in 1926.  She dressed many celebrity clients including Marlene Dietrich, Mary Pickford, and royalty from Italy, Romania, and England.  Her impeccable craftsmanship and design has continued throughout the house’s existence since her death in 1946 through today, under the direction of chief designer Elber Albaz.

Madame Jeanne Lanvin has always kept the symbol that inspired her and her fashions in her label logo.  As seen in the label below, the left corner has an image of a mother kneeling in front of her daughter.  This dress also has an Henri Bendel label which notes which store of fashion boutique it was sold at.


This Black Lace Evening Dress is from 1930 is a part of the Museum of Texas Tech’s permanent collections.  The overlay is completely made of lace, with ruffled layers making up the skirt for a flowing effect.  There is a black silk shift, underlayer for lining.  The straps have a cream, silk ribbon woven through the lace.  An interesting design feature, the zipper is in the front of the bodice for decoration.



Object of the Day

Texas Tech Saddle Tramp Uniform, 1936-1937

This Saturday the Texas Tech Red Raiders play at home against the University of New Mexico.  Let’s get ready for some college football!

The Saddle Tramps is the oldest student spirit organization at Texas Tech University, founded in 1936.  The founders of this organization brought about many of the University’s traditions, and it is involved in service to the school and Lubbock community.

Some Saddle Tramp projects include raising money to buy the first forty band uniforms, helping to obtain the fountain and TTU seal at the Broadway Street campus entrance, and helping restore the Tech Dairy Barn in the early 1990’s through monetary donations.

Game-day traditions include wrapping the Will Rogers & Soapsuds “Riding into the Sunset” statue in red crepe paper, and ringing the victory bells for thirty minutes after every home football, men’s basketball, and baseball win. The bells are also rung for every Tech Big 12 Championship win, and after every graduation.  They also make the Homecoming bonfire, and conduct a torchlight parade at the beginning of the bonfire for the Carol of Lights.

Saddle Tramp Jim Gaspard created the university’s costumed mascot Raider Red, based on a character by Dirk West.  During each mascot’s tenure, the identity of the person playing Raider Red is unknown to everyone but the Saddle Tramps.

This uniform is from 1936-1937, and consists of red flannel pants, a button-down over-shirt, and a tank under-shirt.  The back of the button-down shirt has a black, felt megaphone applique with “Tech” stitched on top.  The under-shirt displays a faded black “T” printed on the front.

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.

Object of the Day

Blue Velvet and Chiffon Gown over a Copper Slip, 1935

This gown has a floral coupe de velvet design on a blue chiffon background.   It has a sweetheart neckline, shirred waist and belt, gathered sleeves and a broach at the neckline.  The dress is worn over a copper-colored slip giving the dress a unique coloring.  Both the dress and slip are bias cut, designed to hug the body and create draping.

This dress embodies key stylistic elements of the 1930s, which represented a marked departure from the 1920s clothing trends.  The silhouette of the 1930s was softer and more sophisticated than the harsh angles of the 1920s.  Rather than continue the dropped-waist, most dresses fitted closer to the body with a natural waist.  Hemlines dropped creating a long, sleek body line.  Using the technique of cutting delicate fabrics (such as silk and chiffon) on the bias, designers created fluidity that allowed graceful movement of the garment.

1930s Vionnet dress courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Regarded as “Queen of the bias cut,” Madeleine Vionnet is credited with inventing and popularizing the technique of cutting cloth diagonal to the grain of the fabric.  Cross cutting the fabric allows it to cling to and move with the curves of the body. The style developed by Vionnet dominated 1930s fashion.  Many Hollywood actresses wore her dresses including Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn and Greta Garbo. Demonstrated through her bias cut gowns, Vionnet believed that,“when a woman smiles, then her dress should smile too.”

Madeleine Vionnet courtesy of

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 1930s thru the 1940s.  The feature dress this month is this 1939 wedding ensemble.

This deep purple wool and mink trimmed coat and dress ensemble was worn by Florence Lawson at her marriage to V. L. Lawson, on Dec. 23, 1939, at 7:30pm in Lubbock, TX.

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These dresses shown here will be on display in Gallery 1 from March – May 2012.

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.

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 1938 wedding gown.

This ivory marquisette and lace wedding gown, slip and veil was worn by Jane Richards for her marriage to Alton Wade on August 20, 1938, at St. James Episcopal Church in Lakewood, Ohio.

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.

Object of the Day

Blue Crepe Dinner Dress, 1930s

Detail of the chevron-studded sleeve

This dress belonged to Lubbock native, Dorothy Rylander.  She attended Texas Technical College (later to become Texas Tech University).  Beginning college in 1927, she received both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degrees in history. Her association with TTC was interrupted for several years when she worked in the office of Texas Congressman George Mahon in Washington, DC from 1946-1953.

Ms. Rylander wore this blue crepe dinner dress during her time at the college. The bias cut of the fabric along with the cowl neckline represent common design elements of the 1930s. Alternating gold and silver square studded chevrons embellish the bell-cut sleeves.

Throughout her long and fruitful career, she contributed to several entities on campus, including the College of Engineering, the West Texas Museum and the West Texas Museum Association, and the Southwest Collection. Retiring in 1971, she remained actively involved in community organizations in Lubbock receiving both the “Freda McVay Award for Community Service” in 1981 and the TTU’s “College of Arts and Science’s Distinguished Alumnus Award” in 1988.

Object of the Day

Rust Brown Velvet Dinner Gown, 1935

This dramatic velvet dinner gown from 1935 is representative of the way women desired to appear during the 1930s. The dress has a bias-cut skirt with a train and molds itself to the body to form a statuesque silhouette. The bodice is darted below the bust line and small covered buttons run down the back. The sleeves are made with red fox fur banding on the edges.

This dress was designed by Lettie Lee who was a Hollywood costume designer. She was a gown supervisor and also designed costumes for several 1930s noir and early “Talkie” films. She most notably dressed Fay Wray in Ann Carver’s Profession, a film that directly followed her to star in King Kong.

Gowns like this made ordinary women feel glamorous like Hollywood movie stars, and they are not as hard to come by as you might think. We have several in our collection that were worn by fashionable women in West Texas.

Have you ever found a glamorous gown like this in your mother’s, grandmother’s or great grandmother’s closet?  Tell us about it!

Object of the Day

Pink Felt Doll Hat with Feather and Net Trim, 1938

This pink felt Doll Hat has the label “A Louis Miller Model”.

During the early part of the 1930s, hats where known to have wide brims and high crowns, however, around 1935 milliners developed a much different fashion for hats. Hats now were high crowned, tilted at an angle, smaller and had a flirtatious quality.

A famous designer at the time was Schiaparelli, who pushed the range of hat design and created hats that may have been described as “Zany”. Schiaparelli would also be the one to coin the Doll Hat.

The Doll Hat name is given to small types of hats in various styles and materials. It is usually worn forward and tilted above the right eye.