History in Review
Franklin Simon Fashion Catalog for 1923
By the Franklin Simon & Co.
(Dover Publications, Inc., New York: 1993. Pg. 144. 502 b&w Photographs and Illustrations.) ISBN-10: 0-486-27854-9, ISBN-13: 978-0-486-27854-4.
This book can be ordered directly from Dover Publications at: www.doverpublications.com
Reviewed by Auggie Moore - August 16, 2010
Franklin Simon & Co. was a New York City department store located on Fifth Avenue that catered to the upper-middle classes selling primarily clothing and fashion accessories for men, women and children. However, the Franklin Simon Men's Shop was located in a separate, although connected building, to their Fifth Avenue location that catered to the needs of women and children. Dover's republication of the Franklin Simon Fashion Catalog for 1923 will enthrall not only those interested in fashion and costume design, but also historians, writers, antique dealers/collectors, artist, and anyone with an interest in American fashions of the early 1920's.
The unabridged Dover reproduction of this catalog was originally published in 1923 under the title Correct Dress for Women, Misses, Girls, Boys and Infants. This catalog is unique for this period because in addition to drawings of the articles for sale, it also includes numerous photographs of live models modeling the clothing. These photographs enable modern day readers to get a better feel for how the clothing was draped on the human form, and how they actually looked. In addition, the descriptions of the items for sale provide a wealth of information for modern readers - containing information ranging from price and colors, but also details about the material used in creating the costume, special embellishments it might contain, and special elements that were used to give a specific profile. For example, on one of the Misses' frocks, a 'huge' bow has been added to the back of the dress to give it a modified bustle silhouette.
Items found in this catalog range from very fancy fur trimmed coats and bridal dresses to sweaters, riding habits, negligees, corsets, hosiery, day and evening frocks, travel suits, and related accessories including shoes, hats, gloves, handbags, and jewelry. A complete line of clothing for misses, as well as for young boys and girls, are also included. Items in these categories range from protective shoes for infants and nursery furniture to boys' sailor suits, children's underwear, and gymnasium apparel for girls.
In regard to men's fashions, there is only a sampling of items in this catalog geared toward men. In fact, the selection is rather sparse with only three pages devoted to men's clothing. Some of the men's items feature in this catalog include a sampling of golfing attire, socks and hose, smoking jackets, ties, night shirts, scarfs, and a shirt. Nonetheless, the Franklin Simon Fashion Catalog for 1923 is an outstanding resource for anyone with an interest, either professional or personal, in American fashions of the early 1920's.
1920's Fashions, from the B. Altman & Company.
A republication of select pages from the Altman Magazine 1921-1929, which includes hundreds of black & white illustrations, brief descriptions of the fashions illustrated, and it includes period pricing.
Accessories of Dress: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, by Katherine Lester and Bess Viola Oerke.
From hats, veils, wigs, and cosmetics to cravats, shawls, shoes, and gloves, this useful reference provides an entertaining account of the forms of personal adornment men and women have used throughout the ages to enhance their wearing apparel.
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