Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Flea market find: 1950s costume textbook

Last week I visited the vintage flea market with some friends and came home with an awesome retro costume design textbook. Published by the International Textbook Company in 1954, the book goes through costume styles of past centuries (though many of them seem influenced by 1950s nipped-waistline silhouettes), as well as suggestions for makeup and hairstyles. I bought the book for its fonts, but realized the illustrations and guides are treasure troves, too. Among the book's best (but dated) parts? There's an entire poem dedicated to good posture ("We see the folks around us all slumped down in a heap/And the way that people navigate is enough to make you weep"), and grading scales for "becoming" and "unbecoming" makeup styles. And, perhaps I've seen too many old movies, but I swear I kept seeing influences from the 1950 film "All About Eve" in the century costume examples -- the second-to-last photo I've included looks like a stand-off between Bette Davis and Ann Baxter!

The book included some tracing pages so you could create your own 1950s model silhouettes. I spent some time drawing some old outfits of mine with the silhouettes, so I'll be sure to share them soon!

The cushion I used as a backdrop for these photos is one from a couch my family owned during my childhood. It's very 1970s flower power, and when we finally threw out the couch due to its old age, I couldn't help but save a small part of it.

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