Magazine of the Week

This week’s title was given us by the Museum at FIT when they downsized their collection of fashion forecasting materials.

This elegant publication represents an early form of trend reporting and color forecasting. It focuses mainly on Paris couture houses, but includes color, silhouette, and fabric information.


It’s an interesting window into a time when Paris couture drove so much of the world wide fashion industry, as you can see by the way the colors are laid out according to the houses which used them.

The plates were also beautifully illustrated, then colored by hand, which our SPARC colleague April wrote about several years ago.






It’s also interesting that the couture houses used the new synthetic fabrics that were becoming available. One of the swatches on this eveningwear plate is nylon.






The categories of dress depicted in these plates are very different from those shown in contemporary fashion magazines. Suits and skirt-blouse combinations were considered casual wear. Athletic wear had not become enough of a category yet to warrant designer attention.





The closeup gives you a better sense of the texture of the swatches used to illustrate these sketches from Elsa Schiaparelli’s line.

These images are from the Spring 1950 notebook.  I hope they inspire you!


Posted in fashion, history, libraries, magazine of the week, textiles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Keeping warm

This resource is now available:

Why, you say, do I care?

  1. Because the 1970s are best illustrated through sweaters. (see above!)
  2. Because the 1980s are best illustrated through sweaters.
  3. Because if you are knitting, your annoying sister can’t see your eyerolls.
  4. Because your NYC apartment is either tropical or arctic.
  5. Because your term garment next semester requires a shrug.
  6. Because you can’t afford that in-between-weight coat till you get a  job.
  7. Because historic crafty stuff is nerdy and cool.
  8. Because FIT students are too driven to sit still all January.

Since knitting has become popular again lately, lots of archives have publicized their collections of historical knitting patterns:

A simple search in StyleCat comes up with 282 records:

What the search terms “knitting patterns” will get you.

Some highlights include:

Knitting Vintage, by Claire Montgomerie







The Knitster, by Robbie Dulaney








Punk Knits, by Share Ross







Enjoy your wintry time off!

Posted in design, fashion, libraries, media, textiles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Magazine of the Week

Happy New Year, everyone, and welcome back to FIT, where the library is open (shorter hours)!

Scanned using Book ScanCenter 5022

This week’s Mag of the Week is Self, just in time for them to cease publishing in a print format. The publisher, Conde Nast, announced December 2 that after the February 2017 issue, Self will be an online-only entity. They have left the door open for occasional print special issues, though.


The cool thing is that the fitness-focused title, which has taken heat over the years for it’s subtext of “you’re not thin enough” has chosen a curvy model for their last cover.


This title was founded in 1979 by Phyllis Starr Wilson, during the rise of today’s culture of health and fitness.






Wilson tied the passion behind the magazine into the rise of feminism and linked health with confidence, physical strength with professionalism, as seen in her introductory editorial letter,

“An extraordinary spirit and energy are emerging in women today. Fitness is the fuel. We have acquired a strong appetite for the full experience of life—the exhilaration of the outdoors, the challenge and success of professional work, the honest enjoyment of sex. Self will be a guide to the vitality we need to do all the things we want to do.”






The magazine grew quickly, but hit doldrums as other women’s magazines shifted focus to include fitness issues.  Various editors changed strategies towards more realistic images of women in natural settings, but the criticism that “healthy=thin” has remained in the background throughout its publishing history. Nonetheless, the title brought a fresh outlook on women’s agency and lifestyle to a magazine industry that still (see this post) equates womanhood with fashion and cooking. It’s also one of the earliest magazines we have that illustrates women’s activewear.





You can take a look here at all the titles we have that address issues of food and health:


We wish you a healthy and happy New Year 2017!

Posted in fashion, libraries, magazine of the week, media, retail | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment