Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Orange was a Hot Color in the 1930s

I listed this gorgeous 1930s burnt orange velvet bias cut velvet dress for sale on my website yesterday.  The color is so striking and unusual compared to most 1930s velvet dresses I find in black, navy and burgundy, that it piqued my curiosity.  That sent me on another research adventure.

Color fashion photography was not common at this time, so we have to rely on artist's renderings to see clothing in color.  But some fabric manufacturers did go to the expense of having color photographs done of fabric swatches so women could see the fabrics and colors that would be popular that year.  These are both from the fall of 1935.

And here are the fabrics that Mme. Chanel was using for her fall line in 1935. 

Here are velvets from 1934.  Notice the stand-out color in each?  Orange.  Orange shows up in fabric swatches from about 1934 through 1939.  This tells me the velvet dress I showed you above was the height of fashion in the mid-to-late 1930s.

Below are some artist renderings of orange used in fashion in the 1930s.

Dress by Jodelle, 1935.
Suit by Madeleine de Rauch, 1938

Black hat with orange bird of paradise feather by Chanel, 1935.

Evening gowns by Vionnet, 1935.