Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Happy Birthday Bonnie Cashin!

One of the youthful Cashin's 1920s costume sketches for a dance group 

This is an updated version of a blog post I wrote a few years back. 

I love Bonnie Cashin. She wanted women to be able to move freely in her clothing, and so designed styles that were pragmatic and yet without a trace of staid practicality. Cashin’s aim, in her words, was to create “simple art forms for living in, to be re-arranged as mood and activity dictates.” Her designs and directions in fashion were supremely innovative; they seemed not so much a product of her time as an inspiration of her own adventurous lifestyle and inventive imagination.

This is the 99th anniversary of Cashin’s birth (she died in 2000) and if anything her ideas just seem fresher all the time. Here are a few images to celebrate the day:

Bonnie Cashin for Adler & Adler, c. 1940, from UCLA Library collections
Lounging pajamas inspired by her costuming for Anna and the King of Siam, 1946, from UCLA Library collections
Rayon crepe dress and organdy coat by Bonnie Cashin, hat by John Frederics, Cecil Beaton photo, 1950
An Adler & Adler Bonnie Cashin design , ca. 1950, which I sold awhile ago
“Rain puff,” this nylon jacket was eminently practical—it was nearly weightless and could be washed at home—but maintained a touch of the exotic with its
 Japanese-lantern style sleeves. Bonnie Cashin for March and Mendl, 1956. Image and text from UCLA Library collections
Late 60s canvas and leather coat with a trompe l’oeil shoulder bag pocket, recently sold
Bags (Bonnie Cashin for Coach) ca. 1968
Leather coat and calfskin jacket. This and the above photo nytimes.com by way of forums/thefashionspot.com
This tufted paper Noh Coat with leather ties was cut from several paper bathmats, late 60s, image from UCLA Library collections
African art-inspired intarsia cashmere designed for Ballantyne, late 60s
Early 1970s gloves donated by the designer to the Met Museum
Mohair skirt and scarf with signature “dog leash” clasps, 1977, whitakerauction.com
I wish I still had this bright pink 3-piece outfit by Bonnie Cashin!
For information about Cashin, I can recommend Chic is Where You Find it: UCLA Library Bonnie Cashin Collection of Theater, Film, and Fashion Design

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