Tuesday, July 31, 2012

mid century detroit glam

My heart did a little flippity-flop when I saw this amazing 1956 fashion spread in Women's Home Companion, where the setting was the newly-opened General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan.  The center was designed by Eero Saarinen, and is the perfect place to photograph gorgeous dresses, from designers like Claire McCardell, Elizabeth Arden, Christian Dior, and Oleg Cassini.

On the left is a dotted swiss gown from Claire McCardell; model was photographed near the lobby staircase of the Styling section.  On the right, model wears a pink organza dress by Elizabeth Arden, and is photographed on top of the experimental Firebird I.

Left, a print taffeta dress and matching organza coat by Elizabeth Arden, and a pink chiffon dress by Christian Dior, photographed against the Harry Bertoia-designed steel divider screen in the Center's main restaurant.  On the right, a white, green, and blue gown by Elizabeth Arden, photographed in the pipe room of the power plant.

A black silk dress by Hannah Troy on the floating staircase of the Research building.  And a Cluny lace dress by Larry Aldrich, photographed in the Styling section--against a fabulous array of Herman Miller bucket chairs in primary colors!

A stunning Pauline Trigère silk coat trimmed with chiffon, photographed by the turquoise glazed brick wall of the Process Development building.  Oleg Cassini dresses photogaphed on the Captain's Walk of the Research building.

The article also showcased "filmy" dresses you could make at home from patterns.

I particularly love this striped blue sundress photographed against the bright yellow glazed brick wall.

Coral cotton voile separates, photographed against the giant steel dome that is used as an auditorium or as a showroom for new car models.

Click here or here to see more information about and photos of the Tech Center.  I especially love the "teacup" desk for the receptionist in the Design building!



    That staircase is amazing and the teacup desk… so many types of awesome!

  2. I love how the design still looks futuristic. I think I need that Hannah Troy dress so I can lounge around on impressive staircases!

    It looks like Saarinen's design still works today. I took a class at the local university here in Wichita that was in a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was Japanese-inspired and built around a courtyard. Unfortunately, it rained practically the entire semester. There weren't enough light fixtures because the windows were supposed to provide most of the light. It was soooo depressing in the dank and the gloom. It looks pretty cool in the sunlight, though. Here's a post I found online with photos: http://lifeat55mph.blogspot.com/2010/05/corbin-education-center-by-frank-lloyd.html

    1. Lauren, what a nifty building! That's kind of funny that it was depressing in the rain. FLW didn't think that one through so well. :D I was hoping to go see the Tech Center the next time I'm in Detroit, but I don't think it's open to the public on a regular basis.

  3. Dear Karen and Andy,
    I am a french researcher in architectural history, working on modern architecture in popular media. This spread is amazing, and I'd like to be able to actually read the texts that go with the images. Would you consider sharing hi-resolution scans with me? It would be also very helpful to know on what date it was published.
    Thank you so much for this post!
    Best wishes, Marie-Madeleine

    1. hello Marie-Madeliene! i'm sorry, i don't have scans. The issue was published in 1956.


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