Monday, January 12, 2015

Davidow Suit from the mid-1960's: A Closer Look

This Davidow suit I has been in my collection for awhile. The classic silhouette and rich texture make it as wearable today as it was when it was sold, probably in the mid-1960's when the longer jacket was popular. I thought it might be good to take a closer look, in part to show details used in this type of tailoring, and also to help identify a similiar suit if the label is missing.

When looking at a Davidow suit, one of the first aspects of the design is it's similar silhouette and texture to a Chanel. Davidow advertising and brochures mention this as well because they purchased those toile designs to use in their own company. For many women, while the Davidow label was expensive, it was much more affordable than the Chanel label.

Pockets, another Chanel inspired feature, are also influenced by military or safari styles in this jacket. The lower pocket with flap is actually a patch pocket with the flap attached, creating a more flattering look that is easier to use. The breast pockets are actually mock flaps and lay flat without a pocket under that flap.

The signature single layer collar Davidow had patented is not seen here, so the collar is conventional, having a facing to back the collar and lapels. These are soft and not tailored with heavy canvas, being more like a blouse in fit and weight. The front shows five textured gold metal buttons which is a departure from the covered buttons found on earlier jackets. Very narrow bound buttonholes are used.

The back view is smooth, with shoulder darts for fit across the back. The body is tapered at the waistline by the side panels that are set at the side body, under the arms. The collar fits flat and low around the center back, being cut on a curve to fit around the neckline.

Two piece sleeves have mock vents, secured with a single button. The shoulders are only lightly padded to retain a soft and natural silhouette. This jacket features the use of textured wool, much like Chanel during that time. This textile has aqua, turquoise, bronze and white yarns which appear to be heavy, but are actually very light weight. Both jacket and skirt are lined in aqua crepe.

This view shows the skirt waistband, with lining, hooks and eyes. There is a narrow waistband that is not crisp or heavily interfaced. The waistband fastens on the left side with a nylon zipper. Two hanging loops with the Davidow logo shown here, are sewn into the waistband at each side. The hem has been released, so it is hanging un-hemmed in these photos. The skirt lining is much shorter, perhaps taken up when hemlines grew shorter as the decade moved on into the 1970's.

This suit was sold by Bullock's Pasadena, probably at a trunk show where a model would have shown the suit to a customer, or the customer might have tried that one sample on. She would have waited for this custom made order to arrive back at the store. This location served clients not only in Pasadena, but also San Marino and all points east of there, since no department stores of this quality were located further east of Los Angeles. Customers from 40 and 50 miles away would have traveled to this store when there was a trunk show with new suits each season.

I have another article on Davidow, with examples of suits from the early 1960's HERE. I also posted an example of suits from 1944, HERE. In the 1944 suit illustration is is easy to see the signature looks that Davidow suits would be known for. It is also interesting to consider that Chanel did not start producing her suits until 1954, at a time when Davidow suits were already well known.

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