Caught Our Eyes: Fashion Flashback

Earlier this month, New York City’s catwalks were filled with the latest creations from the world of fashion during the biannual ritual of Fashion Week. At the same time, I was searching in the George Grantham Bain Collection while answering a reference question and came across this stylish photograph. How could I resist stopping to check out this outfit?

Premet Tailor Suit by J.M. Gidding. Photo by Bain News Service, 1914. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.01813

A peek at fashion of one hundred years ago, this striped suit comes from a group of photographs dating between 1900 and 1918, described as examples of Paris fashion.  I love the pose of the model here, the disaffected expression, the foot peeking out from her skirt to show off the shoes.  Dress her in different clothes, and it could have been taken yesterday.

Enjoy a few more examples of the newest in fashion from a bygone era. Given the choice, would you wear one of these outfits or something off the 2012 runway?

Women's fashions: quilted silk on chiffon - gold thread. Photo by Bain News Service, between 1911 and 1914. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b04597

Trousers dress from Paris. Photo by Bain News Service, Feb. 14, 1914. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b30553

Learn More:

  • Check out the other photographs of Paris fashions featured in this post, all from LOT 7177.
  • Enjoy 1910s color illustrations from the pages of Puck magazine, where commentary on fashion of the day went hand in hand with depicting current trends.
  • Try a simple keyword search for ‘fashion’ in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog and explore hundreds of images from all time periods. Subject searches by terms such as fashion photographs and clothing & dress offer further insight into what was worn both on the runway and on the street.

The National Book Festival – please join us!

The Prints & Photographs Division will be on hand at this weekend’s National Book Festival (Sept. 22-23).  If you’re planning on attending, please look for us in the LC Pavilion. Our focus will be “reading photographs,” and we’re inviting visitors to participate in a photo captioning game called “What’s My Title?” We’ll be displaying a […]

Caught Our Eyes: Better with Butter

Reading the caption for a photograph can sometimes change every assumption made at first glance. One word in the title of this photograph shifted my entire view, and definitely caught my eye. Look at the image yourself, and then read the full title as it was written on the back of this stereograph card. The […]