Monday, November 18, 2013

Ceil Chapman: 1960's Advertisement & Illustration

This advertisement for a Ceil Chapman cocktail dress comes from the first few years of the 1960's. It was pasted into an old undated scrapbook of newspaper fashion ads that appear to be early 60's.

The Ceil Chapman sheath presents several interesting features that when combined create a very figure flattering silhouette most women would love to wear. The wide neckline and extended shoulder line create a visual widening of the upper body which balances hiplines that are wider than the shoulders. It is also a great look for any figure with narrow shoulders.

The cross-draped waistline detail helps to create an impression of a slender waistline because it is narrowed down by those diagonal folds. This design technique also hides most waistline 'chubb' and torso folds. It also tends to visually shape a smaller waistline silhouette, even when the body is straight or plump.

It's interesting that this advertisement is probably from the designer's catalog, since it includes the style number and a back view (very basic and unadorned). The fabric is probably a lightweight silk, such as crepe or faille.

Such a simple dress, with so much to offer. No wonder this designer is considered a genius!

post script: Since publishing this post, it was suggested that the illustration is the cover for a Spadea sewing pattern #1257, designed by Ceil Chapman from about 1961. The cover information states: "A supple sheath with loose drapery softly crisscrossing the midsection and caught into the side seams above and below the waistline. The charming boat neck curves wide and away to a minimum of shoulder covering. Darts smoothly shape the zippered back, small pleats are release for ease in the skirt front."


Lynn said...

Now you've got me interested. West Coast or East Coast?

Jen O said...

The scrapbooks are from southern California, and when store ads show up, I.Magnins, Bullocks Wilshire, the Broadway and others can be found.

Lizzie said...

I'm thinking that this illustration might be from a Spadea sewing pattern, or the newspaper ad for the pattern. I know Chapman did patterns for Spadea. It looks a lot like the Ceil Chapman dress Marilyn Monroe wore on her honeymoon with Joe DiMaggio.

Jen O said...

Here is the Spadea sewing pattern, and you are correct, Lizzie:, it looks like this wikia version may be a newer 'updated' illustration for the same pattern.
This is logical to me, because the scrapbooks tend to focus on the sewing part of fashion, with clippings of sewing 'how to' articles and techniques.