This month’s collaborative theme was Ugly Sweaters of the holiday theme. I, being Jewish, settled on an ugly Hanukkah sweater. I chose this design, but I confess I’m not sure the menorah is obviously a menorah. None the less, I had a good time designing it.
This is the last Collab paper doll for 2018! And on Monday the 31st, there will be a new paper doll series debuting. I couldn’t be more excited (and nervous) about that.
As usual, Paper Doll School and Miss Missy Paper Dolls also have Collaborative Paper Doll Project posts up and I can’t wait to see their ugly holiday sweaters. I love sweaters, though I don’t own any holiday sweaters.
Next year, there will be another paper doll collab project. I’ll share details just as soon as me and my cohorts make some final decisions.
First off, I know this is Christmas Eve and while I don’t celebrate, I wanted wish a Merry Christmas to everyone who does. I hope your holiday is full of laughter, joy and a minimum of family drama.
And now… paper dolls!
If you’re interested in the history of clothing (as I am), Sears catalogs are a goldmine. Unlike the fashion magazines which often show the latest styles of the top designers, Sears (and others) show what most women actually wore day to day. The pricing and color information also provide a valuable window into how much items cost and what sorts of colors were popular.
Due to copyright, full reproductions of Sears catalogs aren’t always possible, but Dover has a series of books that reprint selected pages. Everyday Fashions of the Sixties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs was the source for today’s dresses. The dress on the left is from 1967 Sears catalog and the dress on the right is from 1960.
On a slightly sad note, today’s post is the last Dames & Dandies post for a while. There have been over 120 Dames & Dandies paper doll posts, so there’s plenty to explore there.
For the first quarter of 2019, I plan to be working on a new series called Jewels & Gemstones (yes, the ampersand is my favorite piece of punctuation). I am super excited about this new series and it will debut on December 31st. Wednesday, there will be a longer preview post and Friday the last of the Paper Doll Collaborative 2018 will post.
If Monday’s Abigail was an ode to the beehives of the early 1960s, than today’s Aisha is a nod to Twiggy and the styles of the later sixties. Twiggy, real name Lesley Hornby, was a famous model of the later 1960s. Her androgynous look was long eyelashes, short hair and big eyes. Well, all my paper dolls have big eyes, but I did add additional eyelashes to Aisha. Here is the official Twiggy website with photos of her modeling work in the 1960s.
Interestingly, Twiggy was the beginning of the fashionable obsession with youth. She was only 17 when she reached her stardom. Today, trends are driven by younger and younger consumers. There has always been an interest in “looking young” in fashion, but the late 1960s really instilled it into our culture, I think.
As with all my historical paper dolls, there are sources. The hair was obviously Twiggy inspired. Her underwear is based on this Rudi Gernreichbra from the Met Museum. Rudi Gernreich is most famous for his topless monokini. The bra she wears is based on his “no bra” concept, which was a bra, but without any support or padding. It is notable that this design was only available in small cup sizes. This highlights the obsession with the “youthful” boyish figure of the era.
One last announcement, I should make the Dames and Dandies series will be going on hiatus in 2019, so I can debut my new series called Jewels & Gemstones (Thank you Patrons for voting on that). It will be a single doll pose for the first quarter of 2019. After that quarter, it will be time to reassess where things are. I’ll share more Wednesday of next week. Monday will be the last Dames & Dandies post for the foreseeable future. It’s more 1960s stuff.
One of the fascinating things about fashion is that it is never one thing. Simultaneously to the mod fashion movement that the 1960s are so associated with, there was a second thread of fashion that was more sophisticated and modest. Think Jackie Kennedy vs Twiggy, you know? (If you don’t know, check out the books at the bottom of this page.) So, today’s dresses are both of the more conservative, clean styles that were popular as well.
(And yes, yesterday’s Abigail paper doll can wear that hat, despite her insane beehive, I made sure.)
But wait, you’re thinking, what if I want more 1960s costume history? What if I want an actual bibliography of the books you used for this week and Monday?
Well, I’m so glad you asked.
1960s History Fashion Sources
Hill, Colleen. Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968. Yale University Press, 2017.
Magidson, Phyllis, and Donald Albrecht. Mod New York: Fashion Takes a Trip. Monacelli Press, 2017.
Olian, JoAnne. Everyday Fashions of the Sixties As Pictured In Sears Catalogs. Dover, 1998.
Walford, Jonathan. Sixties Fashion: from ‘Less Is More’ to Youthquake. Thames & Hudson, 2013.
These are all great books that I highly recommend. You can probably get them all from the library.
I knew I wanted to draw a 1960s paper doll and I knew I wanted to do a beehive hair. And lest you think that this hair is “unrealistic” than I would refer to the Ronnetts (this photo) and the Supremes (this photo), both inspirations for today’s Abigail paper doll’s hair. As I’ve said before, finding historical references for black vintage hair styles is not an easy task and the copyright law nuances make it much harder.
Now, if Ebony would just digitize their entire archive and put it online for free for me, that would be fantastic… But since I don’t see that happening soon. I went with my usual “find famous people and copy them, technique.”
If there is one thing I will never fully understand, it’s 1960s hair. I mean, I get wanting a little lift in your hair, but seriously, the 1960s took the big hair thing to a whole different level. Unlike the 1980s, 1960s big hair was stiff. One might even use the term shellacked. At least, that’s what I’ve been told by people who lived in that era. I asked a woman once, after looking at her yearbook photo with her, how she’d gotten her hair like that and she replied to me, deadpan, “One hour and hairspray.”
As I said that last time I posted a minimalism fashion set, I love how with minimalist fashion the simplicity makes every line matter. The shapes of these garments demand discipline, because one line out of place and you can see it.
In this dresses case I almost prefer the black and white version, because you can really see the line work.
Every time I draw one of these totally absurd, completely impractical over the top fantasy armor sets, I try to blame it on my love of Xena: Warrior Princess as a child. But maybe I just like drawing over the top fantasy armor sets.
I had several space princess paper dolls when I was a kid. I don’t know the exact source of the space princess obsession of the late 1980s and early 1990s, but I remember this paper doll card really well.
My grandmother often sent me paper doll cards as a child. I can recall nearly every one, which is astonishing when I think of all the things I can’t recall from my youth.
Anyway, I wanted to make a space princess paper doll and I was inspired by this gown designed by Guo Pei. Guo Pei is a Chinese fashion designer. Her work is amazingly inventive and creative. Much like Alexander McQueen (another designer I adore), Guo’s designs are often hard to imagine a person actually wearing, but that makes them all the more enchanting to me. Her designs are harder to find on the web (though perhaps not if you speak Chinese) and Vogue only has her 2016-2018 collections on their website.
I think this dress is from 2010, but I am not positive.
Anyway, that was the inspiration for the gown and everything else flowed from that. I love creating over the top hair styles, so I did one of those for Akiko and her shoes were inspired by her gown.
I did want to wish people a Happy Hanukkah to everyone who, like me, are lighting candles for the next week. I don’t have holiday plans for the blog this year. I totally forgot the holidays, so this will be a holiday free blog this year. But I have done Hanukkah paper dolls in the past.
Let me know what you think of today’s paper doll in a comment. I’m super curious if anyone else was into Space Princesses as a child? And what do you think makes a Space Princess?
If you’re allowed to have a favorite war (and I’m not sure you are) than my favorite war in the First World War aka The Great War aka The War to End All Wars aka The War with Way to Many Names. (Okay, confession, I invented the last one.)
First off, I love the poetry that came out of the war. To this day, I can quote Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. In my teenage life, when I was full of angst, I adored Wilfred Owen. I still do, but I am no longer filled with quite so much angst.
So, this is all to say that today’s paper doll outfit is based on an ambulance drivers uniform of the First World War. This design was drawn from a uniform from the Women’s Motor Corps of America which you can see here and another example here. There’s also this great photo from the Library of Congress.
I was a little hesitant to use this for our military themed month, because while I though the uniform was military related when I first drew it, I have realized its not. Most of the ambulance drivers during the war were affiliated with civilian relief and welfare organizations such as the Red Cross. While nurses did serve in the Army and Navy Nursing Corps, I haven’t found much information on ambulance drivers doing the same. The Red Cross provided a great deal of the medical treatment during the war. They had female ambulance drivers, but technically they aren’t military.
But by the time I figured that out, I’d already finished the paper doll set. So, I am going to go with it anyway.
As always, Paper Doll School and Miss Missy Paper Dolls are my partners in crime when it comes to the Collaborative Paper Doll Project and I can’t wait to see what they came up with for this week so head over to their sites for that.
Years ago, I was asked if I had ever explored minimalism fashion for my paper dolls. Minimalism? I thought. I love layers and ruffles and over the top gowns, why on Earth would I want to explore minimalism.
But even as I thought this, I realized that was the reason to explore it. Because it is not what I am naturally drawn too. And because it is a style where one badly drawn line out of place can make a huge difference in how the finished paper doll dress looks.
There is no hiding in details in minimalist styles. They are so simple that they reveal all my messy linework and misshapen pieces.
So, when I come back to fashion minimalism, as I do on occasion (and I am today), I am reminding how critical every line is in pen and ink based art.
Every line matters when there are very few of them.
While there’s a simplicity to today’s paper doll clothing, there is also a challenge to drawing it. Sometimes the simplest things are the most difficult to illustrate. Today’s top, pants and bag were harder than they look and that, I suppose, is the whole point.
Besides, as hard as they were to draw, they were so simple to color. There’s something to be said for that as well. I went with white and blue, because I didn’t want to obscure the line work by going with black (the favored color of many minimalist designs).
If you’re not sure what minimalist fashion is, here’s Vogue’s article on it. (I really hate all the ads on the Vogue website, but the gallery there does give a good overview I think.)