Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Davidow: early 1960's Couture Suits

Davidow suits from the early 1960s are vintage gems. While they have great diversity in cut and style, the quality of textile makes them standout among other suits from this era.

I wanted to share a copy of the Davidow brochure for Spring 1960. This issue shows what we might consider to be very conservative styling: simple jacket silhouettes and narrow skirts that hide the knees are the norm here. I have included the decriptions too as they contribute more detailed information.

These brochure pages show the Chanel style suits that Davidow was famous for producing. Made from imported wools, Davidow uses the "Chanel" name in many references and advertisements when describing their brand of suiting. A press review from a 1971 New York Couture press fashion show stated that "Davidow has been a leading practitioner of the "Art of Chanel", among them the famous Chanel sweater suits... Davidow is apt to set a new wave of Chanel. Those who loved her clothes should consider a Davidow for fall and winter. They were highly acclaimed by all of the fashion press."

My old scrap books from the first half of the 1960's include Davidow advertisements. Most are from I. Magnin's or Bullock's Wilshire promotions. When available, I have included the descriptions that give details for the fabric, size range and prices.

The caption for the set of suits on the left above states that they are "destined to be your through-summer delights...rounded collar suits in red, yellow, blue, toast and turquoise...convertible collar style in red, yellow, blue...sizes 10 to 20...$129.. from a collection of new Davidows".

In the first half of the 1960's, with prices that ranged from $129 up to $198, it's easy to see why these suits were considered 'couture'. Southern California stores that sold the Davidow label were leading department stores such as Bullock's Wilshire, I.Magnin, and others. The collections were offered each season at 'trunk shows' where a rack of sample suits were made available at a showing supervised by a company sales representative. Clients were able to see the samples, try them on, and then order a suit that would be made to measure for them.

Don't miss my follow-up post on Davidow HERE.


Lizzie said...

What a treat to see all these Davidow suits! According to Claire Shaeffer, Davidow did both Chanel inspired suits and faithful Chanel copies, which were "Chanel" right down to the buttons. When I saw this post I hoped to spot a Davidow suit in my collection, but the exact one is not shown in your illustrations. I'll be posting photos of my suit later.

Jen O said...

When it comes to hoping to find your suit advertised, I know what you mean. I think my mom owned a suit in the 2nd set up from the bottom. It was yellow linen and I remember the button details. The year is about right too, as my brother was born in 1961, and she got that suit just before she became pregnant. (Funny how we mark time, isn't it, never mind that I am astonished that she could afford it!)

Susie Butler said...

I found a green Davidow at Goodwill in San Francisco about 20 years ago. When I realized that everyone thought it was a Chanel, I went out and purchased about 15 of them. And I will keep them forever.