One from the archives! I first published this post back in 2011, and it proved one of my most popular reference posts, and my most pinned/reposted images and content. My original aim was to provide a quick-reference guide to the key features of 20th century fashion eras to illustrate the evolution of style through the years, and to encourage a system of categorisation thinking outside the decade-by-decade box.
I can't get enough of vintage novelty "printspiration"; my Pinterest boards are full of novelty designs from the 1940s and 50s - atomic-inspired designs, conversational prints and abstracted florals. What's great about this book is that it puts 1950s fashion textile design in context. The introduction explains the social and artistic influences of the post-war era, including the 1951 Festival of Britain and modern innovations in production processes such as the introduction of an automatic screen printing process in 1957.
The book is arranged into five sections: Abstraction; Narrative, Novelty & The Jive; Artistic Licence; Kinetic; Domestic. Images include reproduced print adverts and sample cards from textile manufacturers as well as full-page prints of fabrics themselves. Each chapter provides additional social context for motifs, style and application, along with commentary and designer/manufacturer details and technical specifications for sampled designs.
I recently bagged this Harrods spring fashion revue on eBay, dating from circa 1939-40. I especially love the first page, summarising the season's key looks. The full PDF catalogue is available to download free!
Free download: This tear-out supplement in Woman magazine 24 March 1956, How to choose colour for your home, provides “sound practical advice with many colour-scheme suggestions, guides to measuring and up-to-the-minute information, to help all homemakers achieve a happy, good-looking, well-planned home”. As the name suggests, it offers tips on choosing colour, but it actually covers more than that, including advice on texture and painting as well.
As a fan of colour generally, I absolutely love coming across vintage resources recommending inventive colour combinations. The April 1955 issue of British Vogue came with a (handbag-sized!) insert leaflet of key colour schemes for spring.