Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Filene's French Shops

If you live in Boston, you remember Filene's, the city's venerable old department store in Downtown Crossing. Founded in 1881 by William Filene, the store was best known for the famous Filene's Basement where surplus and closeout bargains were housed. But if you left the chaos and hubbub of the basement and made your way upstairs to the Third Floor, you would find the elegant French Shops. Started in the 1920s and lasting into at least the 1960s, this is where Filene's offered exclusive and expensive clothing from the best known designers of the day. While it may have started out offering only French clothing, by the 1940s the French Shops carried garments by the elite of American designers as well. Below are images from a two page advertisement in Harper's Bazaar from 1949.

"Filene's French Shops present Adrian's Baroque Memories, a commanding dinner costume with dramatic long-paneled stole."

"Filene's French Shops present Nettie Rosenstein's Petal Chemise, billowing lace over a sheath of pure silk taffeta."

Adrian and Nettie Rosenstein? Where's that time machine when I need it?