Monday, December 1, 2014
Carl Naftal: a California label
I recently found a wonderful dress with a "Carl Naftal Originals, California" label. Because this brand was unfamiliar to me, I thought it would be fun to find out what I could about this label. Carl Naftal, owned an apparel firm in Los Angeles under his own name from the late 1940’s through the late 1960’s. I base that date on an advertisement. Records show that someone with his name was born about 1911 in New York and lived in Los Angeles until his passing in 1977. He applied for incorporation under the name “Carl Naftal Originals” in 1954, but this name as a brand was already in use before that date.
As early as 1947, I found an ad for a suit with peplum shirt in a Los Angeles area newspaper, so we know that he was manufacturing by that date.
In the mid-1950’s his fashions were sold in shops that also advertised Jonathan Logan, Berkshire, Peg Palmer, Bobbie Brooks, White Stag and Graff: labels that were in the upper middle price range. The newspaper advertisements also key in regionalism, marketing a California lifestyle, selling this image to customers outside the region.
A holiday ad from 1955 shows a white knit jersey fabric with gold threads, cut in a slender sheath silhouette.
There are other ads that showcase knits, which seem to be a popular item for this label. His “California creations by Carl Naftal” are advertised at $22.95 to $29.95. A spring ad in 1964 reads: “from sunny California come these perfection dresses by Carl Naftal”.
His customers are usually missy, but often there seems to be a junior style, with a spring ad in 1967 listing “Oh Yes! They’re the great pant pretenders…it’s really a culotte, comfortable as a shift…discover the new “pant era” now…$20 linen look rayon and acetate, misses sizes.” In the fall of 1968 an advertisement shows a popular junior style dress of wool jersey ($39.98), so this brand seems to have maintained knits in its collections.
Here are more newspaper advertisements, which market to a young crowd:
Fall 1960: “Gently tailored jersey, key to wardrobe versatility in a deftly fitted sheath, wool jersey, $29.95”
Summer 1962: “Love what Carl Naftal does with Dacron. Checking in for an easy care flight through summer, sizes 10 to 20, $22.98”
Summer 1968: “The romantic look full of feminine appeal, another of our new romantics, cotton polyester and cotton voile, lined, $26.00”
Spring 1969: “Fresh from California, the sun country, comes these fun-loving ‘about town’ dresses of 100% cotton”
The dresses produced by this label appear to be well made (especially if they were sold on the same racks as Jonathan Logan and Bobbie Brooks). Look for the “Carl Naftal” label for a quality vintage dress.
The brown lace dress shown here is now available for sale in my Etsy shops, along with more views of it.