Trying to put my thoughts & ideas down somewhere and give another outlet to my creativity. It's all connected, so I can't say it's a blog about just this or just that. Dolls. Fashion. Art. A little bit on travel, whatever... let's take it wherever it goes...


More... next week!

Just a short one today. Since I have a new computer, a lot of new furniture in my living room and a lot of work... there was no time for posting the next magazine last weekend. More then on the next one, and maybe some of my newest vintage finds to decorate this room have arrived by then too! In the mean time, two vintage mail order catalogs have arrived which I hope to be sharing soon too - lots of interesting things in there!


Meyer's Modeblatt 1946 - No. 4, 26th January

 Yes, this is number 4! Number three is the only issue that is missing. But as consolation, number 4 has some fabulous fashion! On the cover: a sporty windowpane-check coat by Carven, in "grey and marron" according to the caption. Love it, and the big belt buckle!

Keep it patriotic?
I'm not quite sure what to make of this article. The (male) journalist makes an experiment - how easy is it to just chat up young Swiss ladies in the street? The journalist (who looks quite young and a bit baby-faced) doesn't only try it himself, but has a few American soldiers and seamen try their luck with the same ladies too! The result? The ladies react friendly enough and say they don't mind as long as they're being treated respectfully, when the journalist tells them of the experiment. One of the GIs is an African-American (politically incorrectly, but at the time probably pretty normally called "Neger" in German - that's the times for you), and funnily enough, the lady has time for him, but not for the journalist! Why? She works in a hotel, and usually doesn't let unknown men chat her up at all, but the GI is obviously a tourist, and these she will talk to of course!

The big, wide world
The "Diamond Horseshoe" is the Metropolitan Opera in New York - but the old one, not the building that we know today - that one is from the 60s if I remember right. It certainly looks packed, and the nickname appropriate! The box decorated with the US flag is the president's box, and on the picture on the top left we have the First Lady and their daughter Margaret. Bottom left is the widow of Cornelius Vanderbilt, and on the right the opera singer Lily Pons. She had quite a career, as Wikipedia tells us: Googling pictures of her also turns up a load of glamour shots!

 Speaking of glamorous - this little blurb talks about "London's number one pin-up girl", 20-year-old actress Jill Evans. To be honest, she doesn't look quite as glamourous or sexy as I would imagine a pin-up. Finding out anything about her has been hard... I guess they were given a couple of nice shots to fill up the page by some pulicist or movie company who wanted to promote her a bit, but she doesn't seem to have had a big career. IMDb doesn't find her in much either, with the last film being from 1945. Looks like she retired from film after that.

The mixed news page is quite interesting this week! At the top, it talks about the collection for the Berghilfe charity. The organisation still exists, still helping farmers in mountain regions. I just didn't know it had been around for that long already! Here it talks about some of their projects, and gives the details where the money can be donated to.
Below: after six years, the bob sled-run in St. Moritz had been re-opened and a female US forces member (they don't say who she was or what her functions was) tried it out. 
Real-life lieutenant John Hoy, hero of the movie "The Last Chance" (check it out a IMDb - what an unusual Swiss film - sounds really interesting!) got married - to a Swiss girl from Lugano. The film is about an English and an American soldier escaping the Nazis in Italy and trying to make it to the Swiss border... The director was an Austrian who had emigrated to Switzerland, the film was produced by a Swiss company and distributed by MGM. No famous names in the cast list, and maybe John Hoy wasn't the only real-life soldier making a once-in-a-lifetime appearance in a film. I shouldn't wonder if he met the girl while filming this! I am fascinated now, and I actually want to see this!
Edouart Herriot, mayor of Lyon, was on a lecture tour in Switzerland.
French actress Michèle Morgan was also touring Switzerland, in aid of a French charity.
UN General Assembly in London (the first one...!) - it's first chairman, Belgian foreign minister Paul Henri Spaak holding a speech. 
And whilst the UN was holding it's first assembly, Mr. and Mrs. Churchill went on a holiday trip to the US, on board the "Queen Elizabeth". I can't help having a bit of a laugh here!
And last... the Swiss ski association was holding ski camps for kids again. 500 girls, raring to go skiing. Just imagine...!

The fashion!
First up, pretty aprons, decorated with colorful embroidery. Just imagine putting so much work into something as seemingly banal as an apron!

 But here comes the first taste of great fashion, Modeblatt style! The title says "Born in Paris...", so the implication is that these chic little day dresses are as good as anything designed in Paris. I love the illustration, and yes, the dresses are all very becoming. And just look at how short they are, they really just cover the knees and nothing more! Patterns could bought or ordered by mail in various sizes for these, but even better, each one was included in one size on the monthly pattern sheet! There were no actual sizes, it just went by bust-measurment, or hip measurement when the item concerned was just a skirt.
Here's a peek at the pattern sheet. Confusing? Indeed!

Household tips
Yes, can't do without those! No better way to plug a cookbook published by the same company ;-). Also included: another gas-saving menu list for a whole week (see issue no. 1).
 I find some of the things here quite fascinating. Yes, there are birchermuesli, rösti and other classic staples of Swiss food. But there are spaghetti with tomato sauce and cheese too! I wouldn't combine that with potato salad though... and there is Russian salad. I've always wondered about that. Basically, it's carrots, green beans, green peas and potatoes, all cut to small pieces, with a mayonnaise-based sauce. Can be bought ready-made in a tin. Looks like this was something normal already then, but of course a the time you'd make it yourself. I did have something more or less similar in a "Russian" restaurant on my trip to Uzbekistan - but I've never been able to find out where it comes from and if it's really Russian...

 Looks like a baking-agony aunt-column... but it's just an advertising vehicle for baking products! Marketing was certainly creative even then.
 Furniture by Möbel Pfister - a "starter set" so to speak for newly-weds. Reminds me of some of the furniture my grandparents had, who got married a few years earlier than this. The interesting thing? Their shop in downtown Zurich is still at the same location, Walcheplatz!

No new slimming-aid ad this time, but the usual Orbal ad is still there (see issue no.1), on this add-filled double page at the back:

 Breast enhancement ad
 Yes, of course, can't do without this! It may look like a normal article, but again, it's nothing but an ad - for the same product as already advertised in issue no. 1, Ronodoform pills! I haven't got the space here to translate it all, but this is... really, really crazy! They promise that with taking these pills, one's breasts would "awaken to new life and begin to grow, to fill up and become rounder" and that almost-flat ones (well, it's not put as nicely there!!!!) would grow to be "harmonically full hemispheres" and hanging ones would "return to their normal location and round normal shape". WHOA! If I didn't know that this was all hogwash (and that kind of thing only being able to be achieved with the help of silicone), I'd say this sounded rather alarming. Imagine this happening to you...!!!! I realise that there weren't as many advertising regulations around then as there are probably now, but still, this is the craziest ad I've ever read!


Meyer's Modeblatt 1946 - No. 2, 12th January

Now we're talking fashion - and you'll be meeting some interesting women too in this issue! Although this was a magazine aimed at the average housewife, they did sometimes put real glamour shots on the cover, like this black velvet evening gown by Marcelle Tizeau, Paris. Isn't it gorgeous? The amount of fabric seems quite frivolous though, considering the time.
I googled Tizeau and found something interesting... actually the name was Alix Marcelle Tizeau, and it was what became of the fashion house Alix, which had been founded in the '30s by Germaine Krebs (who from the 40s called herself Madame Grès and founded the fashion house of that name) and Julie Barton. There's not a lot of clear info, but someone else took Alix over in the 40s after Madame Grès moved out and renamed it.

Since this was a winter issue after all, there was a proposition for a ski tour to Flumserberge! No ski lifts there then, but already it was known as a place for skiing, and there were hotels etc. How interesting!

Keep it patriotic!
A portrait of the wife of federal councillor Philipp Etter.

The fashion!
Here we go... a big shot of a sporty woolen dress, with the model carrying a fashionable bucket bag. This is what one could by the sewing pattern for.
Clothes for girls of all ages.
And... something practical for the expectant mother!

Household tips
Advice on how to arrange one's furniture in a new home. Underneath is one of the serials - the "Diary of a young girl". Well, she's old enough to work and get a perm (cost: 35 Francs!). No author is credited, but I am wondering if maybe this was written by someone at the magazine who wasn't necessarily a young lady...
News from around the world
On top is a picture of the new Waterloo bridge in London. Great photo! At the bottom, a street shot of Nuremberg, saying that despite the going's on at court, normal people's lives went on "monotonic, hopeless and depressed by the terrible past and the unknown future".
More fun is the other part of the page, which talks of "Plastic - the material of the future". The pretty lady is Mrs. Gaby Schreiber, an industrial designer who had moved to England in 1938 (as they put it in Meyer's Modeblatt - not much imagination needed to explain this), and she designed all sorts of household items to be made from plastic - including a whole kitchen.
Oh - I googled her, and - wow! She had quite a career, just check this out: I like her! 

 And here's another small blurb, about USAF pilot Mildred Clifford who had flown a plan from New York to Moscow (definitely wow!), and "America's most successful agony aunt, Dorothy Dix. What a mix!!!! I couldn't find anything on Mildred, but there's a Wikipedia entry on Dorothy: They certainly did show their readers an interesting mix of female rolemodels!

What was the world without Ebay and such? Like this! A page full of small ads - the bigger part being of people wanting to sell clothes, furniture etc. And of course, there's also a few marriage ads. And one woman offered her services to mend stockings, to be paid 20 Rappen (cents) by stitch!

"Artificial honey - almost the same nutritional value as bee honey". Could be bought without rationing coupons. I just wonder what kind of artificial product this was - frankly, it doesn't sound nice! I googled it, it was actually made on the basis of a product one finds on a lot of ingredient lists of industrially produced food, called invert sugar. It's made from glucose and fructose, and starch is added to make it creamy, through which it becomes invert sugar cream - also called artificial honey. It still doesn't sound much nicer to me...

Slimming product ad 

 The Orbal ad from last week appeared again, but also this one! This is bad. Really bad. It basically says "lose weight so you can wear fashionable clothes". Ouch. The product is called a "famous French specialty", and of course it's "recommended by doctors". You only needed to take 4-6 pills a day, and particularly resisting parts of the body could also be treated with the lotion of the same name. Oh my!

 Breast enhancement ad
Yes, this one just had to come! No pills this time, just something to rub in. And you could ask for testimonials too! And of course the product is "absolutely harmless" *lol*.


Meyer's Modeblatt 1946 - No. 1, 5th January

So, here we go! The first issue of Meyer's Modeblatt 1946 (need an introduction to this blog series? Check here: The year started with a cute baby on the cover, and continued with that theme... not much fashion in this one - sorry! But let's get on with the further categories!

Keep it patriotic!
Oh yes! Page 2 starts head-on with a big article on Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. January 12 1946 marked the 200th anniversary of his birth, so this was an obvious choice.

I don't know if it was because of that, but this issue definitely had a children/baby theme going. Several pages of knitting and crotcheting patterns for babies and small kids followed. Mostly clothing, but also things like a pretty cover for a pram.

Hollywood movie
This issue didn't discuss a movie of the year, as subsequent ones would, but it has a little bit of movie history trivia. It talkes about silent movie star Bessie Love, who had returned to the spotlight after moving to the UK, to entertain the troops and then to appear on the theater in London. It shows her being a housewife, and doing her grocery shopping with her ration book under the arm.

Household tips
On this page further in the back, important advice is given to the thrifty housewife on how to safe gas. Basically, it's a plan for the whole week, on what to cook, and then there is a list showing which foods would take how long to cook. The gist of it was, with all the Christmas holidays etc., everybody probably used a bit more than planned, which meant they would have to be more careful in the following weeks.

World news
"Die bunte Seite" appeared in every issue, rounding up more and less important news from around the world. There's everything - an American farmer whose cow gave birth to five calves (!!!), the electrification of a railway line in Switzerland, an auction of rare stamps in Zurich, a strange kind of baby bed  that's electrically heated to a constant temperature (doesn't it look horrible?!) and the inhabitants of a mountain valley prostesting against a reservoir and dam project (and you thought that only nowadays these kinds of projects got severe opposition... think again!).

Another small blurb talks about Cunard's ship Queen Elizabeth going into dry-dock . I assume this was done to change her back from troop ship to passenger ship.

 This ad for apple tea may not seem to be so very exciting, but for me it has a certain significance, as Volg, an association of farmer's cooperatives, still operates supermarkets in large parts of Switzerland, and it is the supermarket I grew up with.

Here's the first weird ad. A cure against what's quite normal and natural: your normal vaginal discharge. I don't want to know what horrible stuff this must have been. Yuk!

Slimming product ad
Switzerland was still on food rationing in '46, and you'd think women had better things to do than to worry about being slim. Fuhgeddaboudit! Ther is a surprising number of ads of slimming pills, potions and what-not in Meyer's Modeblatt! Here's number one, Orbal. They promise no less than being youthful, healthy and elastic (*lol*) through this product. They don't say what it is, if it's a pill, a drink or whatever. But you could order a sample and a brochure. Duh.

Breast enhancement ad
Another weird thing! You think only nowadays, in this age of silicone breasts we are so fixated with breasts having to look according to a certain (artificial) ideal. Nope. All the vintage mags I have - from the 1930s to the 1960s, have loads of ads for all kinds of breast-enhancing, firming and whatever products. Mostly they were creams, but there are other ones too. It just strikes me as so weird! Who would honestly believe in this? Well, it seems many women must have, otherwise, there wouldn't have been so many products around. I almost overlooked this ad first, as it's title is quite harmless and talks about "More heart". It's quite the burner though. This pharmacy in Zurich promised that their hormone pills (uhhhhh!) , which could be ordered "discreetly" by mail, would give you no less than plump fullness, firmness and "noble shape". I am speechless....!

On quite a different note, for all the faithful subscribers to the magazine, there were also a few things on offer. First, a practical folder in which one could collect all the sewing patterns:
And then, on the back page - book covers you could order to have then a book binder bind a whole year's worth of the magazine into a nice book. I think that the covers that came with my magazines might have just been these, only this particular owner decided to pull some cotton ties through them and just tie it all up together...

Meyer's Modeblatt 1946 - a year in fashion and more

I was looking for vintage sewing patterns recently on a Swiss auction website. I admit, I rarely do, because usually there isn't any vintage to be found there. Well, this one time I hit the jackpot...
Don't they look fab?
They were neatly piled between these cardboard covers that it seems one could buy to keep the mags together. The magazines are from 1946, but the cover is from 1940, with a suitably patriotic picture on it, which is typical for the time.

Meyer's Modeblatt was a weekly magazine for the housewife, that could be subscribed to: a bit of trivia, a bit of news from around the world (no politics though!), short stories, a serial novel, Hollywood movies sewing and knitting patterns and other projects to make, recipes and other household tips. Plus a lot of ads, from the stylish to the weird. I wouldn't quite call it a fashion magazine like we usually think of it, but there certainly was a focus on fashion. Meyer's published sewing patterns that could be bought in shops or ordered by mail, and they also offered sewing courses. It seems to me that the magazine was used in a big way to make publicity for the sewing pattern. Every four weeks, a sheet with sewing patterns was included in the magazine, which incuded some of the patterns shown in the mags, of course only in one size.

Just leafing through the mag, I have already found some categories that I think it will be worth keeping an eye on, as they keep creeping up:
- Interesting fashion
- World news
- History in the making
- Keep it patriotic!
- Hollywood movie
- Slimming product ad (even in Switzerland, there was still rationing going on in '46 - you'd think women had other things to worry about than that!).
- Bust enhancing product ad (no kidding - these are surprisingly abundant too - and we thought it's just in the last few decades that we were fixated on breast enhancement/enlargement...)
- Ad-tastic: weird, funny, whatever...

Okay, the first issue will not be able to live up to all of these, but you just wait!

Round-up: great finds, great stuff in the shop, and more vintage fun.

Ok, so I've been lazy of late. Just no time to write... sorry! But - I have a new project. Just wait!

First on - my "crusade". First, after the other replies I'd mentioned, I had only one more, from one of the big-big chains, apologizing and thanking me for bringing this to my attention. The other international (Scandinavian) companies didn't care a tick. So much for that. What did come up though was that the publisher of the magazine had replied to me! His reply was forwarded to me by the very nice lady of the above-mentioned chain. I swear, I never got any of his e-mails. They must have landed in some spam filter. This never having happened to me before, I honestly doubt that the spam filter on my side was the problem... Whatever, they apogized etc. and it seems the magazine was actually pulled out of the shops, because not even the Press Council could get their hands on it anymore after they got my message. The publisher has no promised me that there would be an apology in their next issue, which I think should be out soon, as autumn has started. I do hope they do it!

If you visited my Etsy shop in the mean time, you may have noticed some fabulous sewing accessories and other accessories there. In fact, it has quite been the summer for accessories!
 I was able to get my hands on a lot of utterly fabulous 1920s-50s buckles, collars and dickeys, all new old stock, this summer! Well, some buttons too, but more about that later. Some of the collars and jabots have already gone, sold almost immediately to someone who said this was one of their favorite looks. Well, I'm glad they went somewhere where they're appreciated and worn. However, there are still some dickeys and modesty panels that are absolutely fabulous: And if you still need a fab 1930s Art deco belt buckle, check them out now:! Aren't they just awesome? There's also a heap of Vintage Vogue sewing patterns, all uncut, if you need to make that chic outfit.

I of course also bought some things for my own collection...

  How about this pristine 1920s dress insert? So chic! Or a cheecky jabot? And THE most fabulous 1930s plastic buckles. Not bakelite, they are all very light, but aren't they great? Also, there were some fabulous glass and metal or plastic buttons:
I also went to Vienna again for a week, and there my friend got her hand on a big bag full of buttons, from the estate of a lady who was a seamstress. We spent some two hours sitting on the floor and sorting them out... I took these home in the end:
Some are glass, but most are plastic, and some of them feature quite the same style as some of the buckles! It was just so fascinating to see all these things coming together!

For more vintage fun this summer, I also found some incredibly fab vintage to wear in Vienna. In fact, I think this was my best haul ever! True to the old adage that you never know with Humana, I found all the good stuff bar one piece in those shops that do not usually carry vintage per se - vintage pieces older than the 70s turning up at those is not the rule... But then it's the same as with collectiong dolls - the thrill of the hunt is what makes half the fun, not just the wearing it or having it!
Ca. 1960s blue nylon tricot slip by Gara of Italy. Every Humana shop had a bevy of these in all colors of the pastel rainbow - they must have come out of some old shop stock. All paper tags were still attached.
A super tiny looking 1940s summer dress, that I didn't even dare to try to wiggle into at the shop, where I found it on the last day. But the price was too reasonable (for once) not to take it. The material is probably some rayon/cotton blend, with embroidered-on flowers. The dress speaks of material shortness all over - it's quite short, though it was probably made for someone shorter than me, with very narrow seams, and a blue zipper (which looks original) in the black dress... I paired it with a pair of Chie Mihara platform sandals, that look a bit retro. It's very flattering with a swingy dress, puffy sleeves and a well-accentuated waist. Just what I love about 1940s looks! 

This incredible dress hung on a rack full of crazy 1980s evening wear - lots of black poly, stretch, velvet, gold and other color lamé... The side opening with the small snaps was on my side of the rack, and was what actually made me look twice! It didn't look like a lot on the hanger, but when I put it on, I knew I had a winner! It's a very sexy black evening dress, nicely made, ca. 1930s-40s, with a slinky bias-cut skirt. It may have been that this once had long sleeves that were removed at some point. Plus in the back near the hem, there are a few small holes - somebody must have stepped on it! However, I think I can fix this and I am holding on this, as it is the perfect black evening dress! And with my secondhand Ferragamo evening shoes, there will be no danger of me treading on the skirt too ;-).

Ultimately wearable for work is also this blue sheath dress, ca. 1960s. So comfortable and good looking! The material is probably some mix, I had no luck with the burn test... There's a few small holes that needed mending (and yes, it has been to the freezer to make sure nothing happens!), but otherwise it's perfect.

Also, for the first time, I have dared to buy two vintage dresses just for the purpose of re-selling! They were too nice (and too nicely prices) not to take! From the same dubious rack as the black evening dress came this black 1950s crepe dress. It is super-elegant and gracious I think - and an unusual XL size! Probably made by a seamstress, with self-covered buttons decorated with glass beads. Wow! Now available in my shop here:

And here's a late 1960s brocade evening dress, also incredibly beautifully made by a pro. Check it out here:

To top it all off, it was of course also Indianapolis in Oerlikon again! Of course I was wearing vintage! You already know this dress of course. There's nothing like a vintage cotton frock for a hot summer's day...

And for more vintage transport geekery... it was also the big celebration (Pistenfest) at the regional airstrip at Birrfeld. And there my dad and I got the chance to go on a scenic fligh on a Junkers JU-52! How great is that? She's a bit of a metal can, good old "Auntie Ju", but considering the recent exploit of another of Ju-Air's Jus, in flying all the way to L.A. and back without a bit of trouble (see, this just goes to show how well solid old engineering can go! And it was great fun, wow!