Fabric design in the late 1940s showed a strong influence from fine art and artists of that era. Whether the design was created for 40s fashion or home decor, textiles were often patterned in painterly designs.
"American Fabrics" was a textile industry publication that helped the industry to follow current design trends and be well informed about the technical side of fabrics. This issue from early 1949 has examples that showcase what fabric would be popular in the late 40's and early 50's.
The ink washes and line drawings fine artwork can be seen in fabrics of the 1940s:
Greek Horses by Jean Pages
Jean De Botton
Romance by Ricardo Magni
The textile designs above are all by fine artists of that time who were encouraged to create surface designs that would translate into home and apparel fabrics.
This project was created by Stephen Lion, a young artists rep who had a wide range of artists in his group. He worked with and encouraged them to try textiles, a medium seen as inferior to true wall art or decor. Eventually the designs above were produced, creating an inspiring collect for that year.
Color and textile swatches were included in issues of this magazine. Here are a few color collections that show the trends and color groupings of that time.
Colors influenced by Early American style
Color swatches, 1949
Here Comes the Bride: Celanese acetate of Stehli & Co.
Satin, taffeta, chiffon, net
Dress fabrics were available in a wide range of color, although most illustrations and photos in this publication are in black and white. The designs show the same artist brush stroke styles, as well as other figurative motifs. Purely abstract patterns were also available.
silk crepe and shantung by Cohama, spring 1949
top: Cotton, medallion design, second: rayon crepe, hand printed circles,
third: creped taffeta frog motif of French origin
Actual fashions shown in this issue of "American Fabrics" can be found on my previous blog post, "1940s Fashions: American Fabrics magazine from 1949". The trends at that time still were featuring many drapy rayons and crepes. These fabrications would be phased out over the next few years in favor of a crisp hand and firm texture more suitable to the New Look's hourglass silhouette.
all images from: American Fabrics magazine, #9, Reporter Publications Inc., New York