Chicago. An Interesting Adventure.

Friday friends Brookie and Earl hiked into the city and joined us for a field trip to the Chicago History Museum. It’s a short walk through Old Town to get there. The exhibit I found most interesting was couture clothing designed by Mainbocher.

Chicago-born Mainbocher (1890–1976) established a fashion empire serving royalty, Broadway icons, and the social elite. Raised in a modest home on the city’s West Side, he leveraged his passion for the arts to become a tastemaker of twentieth-century style. His acclaimed designs include the wedding dress for the Duchess of Windsor in 1937 and a corseted style that anticipated Christian Dior’s New Look.

He was known for adding jewels and embellishments so his clients wouldn’t mess up the looks with their own jewelry.

Notice the little cream dress with the “apron.”  Mainbocher designed aprons to add to gowns to change up their looks.  Clever.  These dresses are timeless.  Love the ruffles down the back of the orange gown.




Highly regarded for his impeccable construction and understated elegance, Mainbocher balanced his elite brand by designing uniforms for the United States Navy, the Girl Scouts of America, and Chicago’s Passavant Hospital.


I picked up a $5 pack of postcards featuring fancy couture clothing. At the checkout, I learned, I could get the cards for free if I bought a coffee table couture clothing book. The book is usually $30, but for the run of the couture clothing show, it was $15. So I yanked out my “What’s In Your Wallet?” card and ponied up the $15 big ones. I’ve been writing postcards like mad.  And the book is fascinating.

Not all of these are Mainbocher designs.  I particularly love the one on the right, center.  It’s a 1938 Adrian evening gown.  Gilbert Adrian was best known for Hollywood film costumes.  This dress, constructed from many different pieces of silk crepe, demonstrates the influence of Cubism.



9:30 a.m. My sleepy-head boys (Bronson and Jim) just crawled out of the feathers. I walked Bdog at eight, but he always has to climb back onto his bed until Dad get’s up. Some days I don’t see those two until nearly 11 a.m. Gifted sleepers, both.