Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Tina Leser Sundress - 1945

Tina Leser was well known for her use of exotic fabrics and style influences from around the world. During the WWII years, however, her travels were limited and so were her fabric choices. Leser was still able to find inspiration at home, though, and this dress is one example. Here, she uses a traditional American fabric - chambray stripe and fashions it into a sweet sundress with a sarong influenced one shoulder design.

Chambray is a lightweight cotton fabric with a denim look, which combines a colored yarn with an undyed yarn in a plain weave. Chambray was originally used for workingmen's blue shirts, from which comes the term blue-collar worker.

The add states this is "Aphrodite - Tina Leser's Grecian Goddess sun dress in No-Fade Chambray, striped and plain. White stripes on blue, chartreuse or rose." This dress also gives us an example of working within the fabric restrictions of the war years. The skirt is shorter, and by making the bodice with just one strap, Leser is able to use the extra fabric for a ruffle on the skirt front. Ingenious! Sold for $19.95 exclusively at Bonwit Teller in 1945 (about $238.00 in today's dollar). That $19.95 would have been out of reach to most women during the war, but I'll bet many women took inspiration from Leser's use of chambray and made their own versions with inexpensive yard goods.

By the way, notice the long beaded necklace wrapped around and around the wrist to made a statement bracelet. Just another example of war-time ingenuity!