Friday, July 27, 2012

futuristic fabric

This post was originally going to be about magazine ads of 1964.  (I'm still going to do that post.)  But as I was going through my May 1964 issue of McCall's, I noticed a large number of fashion ads that were not for the garment itself, but its fabric.  I don't think this is something we'd see much of in today's women's magazines.  Why would the women of 1964 care about whether their dress was made from Dacron, Orlon, Fortrel, or treated cotton?  Nylon and polyester fabrics had been in use in fashion for some time, but in the 1960s, we became obsessed with all things modern and convenient.  The fashions shown in this 1964 magazine aren't quite the futuristic vinyl/PVC mod looks of the Youthquake, but the ads do still focus on the modern aspects of the fabrics.  The ads tell us that Dacron and Fortrel are flattering, easy to care for (requiring little to no ironing), that they "stay fresh" and keep their shape.  (Note all the DuPont logos you see in these ads!)

An R&K Originals dress made of a Dacron polyester and cotton blend that "keeps its head on the hottest day," and retails for $20.00.

Several styles made of "Lovely to live in, non-stop neat" Dacron from manufacturers Jantzen, Ship 'n Shore, Sue Brett, McGregor, and Koret of California.

This Gay Gibson gingham set is particularly cute!

A striped $13.00 Orlon beach shift, by Boepple.

This ad is so weird, but I kind of love it.  It's like happy desert noir.  And that guy's hat!  Anyway, this Dan River Fabrics ad points out that even good old 100% cotton can be modern and convenient...when it's treated with "Wrinkl-Shed with Dri-Don."

A lovely $20.00 Leslie Fay dress, made of printed voile that's a blend of Fortrel polyester and cotton.

And don't worry--the cotton people were on top of things, too!  100% cotton is the best fabric in the heat, and it "never clings.  It's never clammy."  Also, you can iron it and it won't melt!  (Hm, not sure that's the best selling point...)



  1. It's a good thing I hate to iron--it really would be too bad if all my clothes melted...

    The great thing about Dacron and Orlon is that they never ever ever need to be ironed. You can tie them in a knot, roll them in a ball, nary a crease. There's something to be said for polyester. That, and it will outlast us all.

    To bad polyester is so hot--I always love the clothes in the old ads. It's not good for a day when the temp gets up to 108.

  2. living in the desert, all i ever want to wear is cotton! i love that Dan river ad - weird and noir and what IS going on there?

  3. Haha! Cotton won't melt. That's some stella advertising.

    This is such a great collection of fabric ads, thanks for sharing them K. That guy's hat in the Dan River ad is kinda weirdly fabulous (what's with weird guys in backgrounds in the 60s?!). I originally thought I'd give my right arm for that Gay Gibson jacket and dress set but then I saw the blue/green Leslie Fay. So pretty!

  4. I love this post Karen, the photos/ads are so great. I am endlessly fascinated at how today the selling point is "natural fibers", when in the 40s-60s the selling point was how "scientific" or "innovative" the fabric was.


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