Joseph Carrier with sample shoes, Carrier Shoes, Toronto, 1949

Posted in Canadian dress, fashion industry, Photos, Shoes | Leave a comment

Nylon vending machine, Paris Metro, 1955

Posted in Photos, underwear | 2 Comments

Canadian Fashion Connection – Lola Leman

Little is known about this Canadian knitwear designer/retailer. Olga was born in Yugoslavia on July 29, 1924 and came to Canada with her family sometime before the mid 1950s when her mother opened a knitwear shop in Toronto. By 1980, Olga (professionally known as Lola) had taken over her mother’s boutique and had become known as one of Canada’s leading knitwear designers.

In 1980 her shop, at 55 Avenue Road, sold hand knit coats and suits upwards of $2,000. By 1985 she was known for her heavy knit and crochet ribbon two-piece dresses and three-piece suits. Her shop closed sometime in the 1990s, and was officially dissolved in 2006. Lola died on February 26, 2012 at the age of 87.

1985 Advertisement for Lola Leman, featuring one of her crochet ribbon dresses that she was known for.

Posted in Canadian dress | Tagged | Leave a comment

Barneys (1923 – 2019)

Barney Pressman standing in front of his men’s clothing store at 7th Ave and 17th Street, 1923

Founded in 1923 by 29 year old Barney Pressman, the men’s clothier grew to become a New York institution. Barney originally acquired his stock from bankruptcies and manufacturer overstocks, offering deep discounts to his working class clientele. Barney’s son Fred officially took over the store in 1975, although Barney remained influential in all business decisions until his death in 1991. Fred polished the store’s reputation, and expanded the business, venturing into women’s clothing and housewares in 1977. Around the same time Fred brought in his two sons Bob and Gene to learn the family business. Wanting to make Barney’s larger, Pressman’s grandsons pushed to partner with Japanese retailer Isetan in the late 1980s. In an expansion designed to rival Bergdorf Goodman, a glitzy flagship department store was opened at Madison and 61st in 1993.

Barneys followed a classic three-generation business arc (first generation makes, second generation maintains, third generation loses) when Isetan pulled out, leaving Barneys to face bankruptcy in 1996. The company was sold and left control of the Pressman family. Fred Pressman died that same year.

After several different owners, the store once again declared bankruptcy in August 2019. The company was bought out and will be dismantled – its stock sold at deep discounts during the 2019 Christmas season (angering competing New York luxury retailers). Barneys joins New York store Henri Bendel that also closed this year, and many other once great, now defunct New York department stores: Arnold Constable, Bonwit Teller, Abraham & Straus, and Gimbel’s.

Posted in fashion industry, Retailing | 2 Comments

Canadian Fashion Connection: Milli Gould (1935 – 2019)

Milli Gould at the Art Gallery of Hamilton exhibition, April 2019

Hamilton retailer Milli Gould passed away October 13 after operating one of Hamilton’s premier women’s clothing stores for more than half a century.

With a $5,000 loan, Milli opened her first shop in Hamilton in 1964, moving to her present location at 310 Main street West in 1966. Her husband joined her in the business in 1967. Her shop carried high-end ready-to-wear from Canadian, American and European designers. In 1974 she also began to design her own clothing for the shop. 

Despite the loss of her husband in 1999, Milli continued to grow the business, expanding to a Toronto location on Avenue Road in 2004.

On April 13, 2019 the Art Gallery of Hamilton opened a retrospective about the shop entitled Milli: A Celebration of Style.

Posted in Canadian dress | Leave a comment

AND MAYBE THE LAST Knitting Song – Jim Henson Muppets (1983)

It’s neat and it’s sweet
It’s a ding dong treat
Knittin’ socks for little feet
Just sittin’ with your knittin’ all day long
You know knittin’s friendly
And knittin’s fun
Knittin’s good for everyone
And that is why we sing this knittin’ song
Well it’s knit one pearl two
What’s a Doozer gonna do
With a gol-darn
Ball of yarn?
It’s stitch three drop four
Pitch that knittin’ out the door right now
There’s a green there’s a red
There’s a knot in my thread
A knitter needs his noggin read
So don’t come ’round and speak to me of yarn
You can k-nit all day and k-nothin’ fits
‘Cause only k-nitwits like to k-nit
And k-nittin’ k-needles just ain’t worth a darn
Well it’s knit one pearl two
What’s a Doozer gonna do
With a gol-darn
Ball of yarn?
It’s stitch three drop four
Pitch that knittin’ out the door right now

Posted in Fashion in song | Tagged | Leave a comment

And ANOTHER knitting song: Knitting – Arthur Askey (1939)

Comedian Arthur Askey was born in Liverpool in 1900 and served in WWI where he also performed in army entertainments. After the War he went into the theatre and eventually built a career on the radio, becoming well known by the late 1930s. His comic song Knitting was recorded in 1939.

SPOKEN: Knit one, purl one, knit one, purl two. Sorry to keep you waiting, playmates, but I must finish this sock. I’m just turning the elbow, so amuse yourselves for a minute, will you? Won’t be long now! Knit one purl one, knit one— Oh, curse! I’ve dropped a stitch. Aren’t I a silly girl?

Some like football; some like darts.
I like kitting and the simpler arts.
Half a dozen needles, an ounce or two of wool,
Fills me cup of happiness chock full.

I’m a little knitwit, knitting all the day.
That’s how I keep dull care away.
Hemstitch, lockstitch, plain and purl,
A pleasant occupation for a good little girl.

I knit jumpers, pretty little jumpers,
Very high jumpers as well as very low.
I’ve knitted jumpers for test-match stumpers.
Never had a misfit, oh, no!

Knitted one for father, the color of his eyes,
Perfect style and immaculate size,
Filling ev’ry crevice, …(?) ev’ry joint,
Sitting like a glove upon his embonpoint.

Knit one, drop one, flip(?) one, drop one,
Neat a bit of work as you ever did see.
Put one, take one, boil one, bake one,
Put it in the oven for mummy and me.

I’m a little knitwit, knitting with a will,
Mitts for little Audrey, socks for Bill,
Three-ply cable, plain and purl,
A useful occupation for a nice little girl.

I knit jerkins, nobby little jerkins,
Who says a jerkin with little squiggly bits.
I can wheedle(?) a jerkin needle
As good as any knitwit what knits.

Knitting is a sedative, soothing to the nerves,
Develops good points and graceful curves.
Sit and take it easy, planning this and that,
Where’s me googly(?) wool gone? Darn that cat!

Rib one, space one, lose one, chase one,
Knit a pair of night socks for any wee tot.
Mufflers, hose-bags(?), cosys, nosebags,
A comfy little cover for your hot-water bot.

I’m a little knitwit, knitting with a verve,
Getting all cockeyed but I do not swerve.
Neckbands, arm-hole, plain and purl,
A charming occupation for a sweet little girl

I knit babies, bonnie little babies,
I knit babies’ bootiekins and hats.
I knit a … for … makers,
Natty little neckties and spats.

Perky little pilchards(?), the pinkest ever seen,
Suitable for weddings up at Gretna Green.
Pilchies(?) à la West End make for heavy wear.
I don’t know how they put them on and I don’t care.

Coaches, skirties, shorties, shirties,
Keeping all the wearers up to scratch,
Blue bags, grey bags, full-sized hay bags,
Does anybody want to try a needle match?

I’m a little knitwit, knitting all the day,
When I’m out a-gathering nuts in May.
Hooks and eyelets, plain and purl,
A simple occupation for a plain little girl.

I knit, knit, knit, knit, knit, knit, knit to drive dull care away.

SPOKEN: Goodbye, playmates. Knit one, purl one, knit one— (fade)

Posted in Fashion in song | Tagged | 2 Comments

ANOTHER Knitting Song – Sophie Madeleine (2009)

I’m going to knit myself a sweater.
A sweater that will keep me warm at night.
Just how many days here must I weather?
Just biding my time…
’cause when I call you on the phone,
I’m still lost, I’m still alone.
Who’s going to make it right? (Oooh wah ooh)
Who’s going to make it right? (Oooh wah ooh)I’m going to write myself a letter.
A letter that will make me feel alright.
I’ll read it to myself five times or seven.
But I can’t deny
I’m going to need a little more than just some thought that I adore to keep me warm at night. (Oooh wah ooh)
To keep me warm at night. (Oooh wah ooh)Nine days don’t amount to much when you cross them off a wall.
And I thought I was out of luck ’til you came along and made me fall.
Now there’s nothing more to say, since you left and gone away.
And I just don’t think I’ll get through the night.Because I need a little more than just some thought
that I adore to keep me warm at night. (Oooh wah ooh)
Oh keep me warm at night. (Oooh wah ooh)Because I need a little more than just some thought that I adore to keep me warm at night. (Oooh wah ooh)
Oh keep me warm at night. (Oooh wah ooh)

Posted in Fashion in song | Tagged | Leave a comment

Fashion in Song – The Knitting Song (1964)

Bill Oddie was one of a trio of British comedians known as The Goodies – the other two Goodies were Tim Brook Taylor and Doctor Graeme Garden. Oddie’s The Knitting Song was released on Parlophone (R5346) in 1965. That same year he appeared on the cover of an EMU knitting pattern wearing a sweater with the pure wool yarn logo – a campaign that was launched that year by the wool industry. Oddie also wore the sweater and performed The Knitting Song that year on “Thank your lucky stars”, a BBC TV pop show that ran from 1961 to 1966.

Posted in Fashion in song | Tagged | Leave a comment

Sophia Kokosalaki 1972 – 2019

Greek born designer Sophia Kokosalaki trained at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London before launching her label at London fashion week in 1999. Known for her draping, Kokosalaki came to fame designing costumes and uniforms for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. She collaborated with Top Shop in 2001, Diesel from 2009 to 2012, and served as creative director for the relaunch of Vionnet in 2006/2007. Between 2012 and 2017 she designed a line of wedding dresses for the modern bride, and in 2015 she updated the uniforms for Aegean Airlines. She died this week at the age of 47.

Posted in Designers/Couturiers | Leave a comment