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Monthly Archives: June 2013

What an amazing fabric. A brown and creamy grey tweed in a diagonal weave. This was (so the seller told me years ago) made for someone’s wedding. There’s no maker’s name in the suit, but the jacket and waistcoat are both marked “Berlou, 4/15/48”. That sounds about right, as the cut of the jacket is pure late 40s bold-look, big shoulders and lots of drape. This would have been a very warm suit for May, though. Three piece in such a heavy tweed: Whew!

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Titter ye not! This awesome 1940s Hollywood jacket really was made by a company called Gaylord of California. It’s made of the sleekest spring/autumn weight gabardine imaginable. The 4 patch pockets to the front make this a particularly sought after garment, especially in this amazing peachy beige colour. I love the top stitching accents to the pockets and collar. It is fully lined in beautiful heavy silk. Just awesome.

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I really love the cut of this suit, and the very high quality fabric. It was made in 1946 for a Mr Arthur Cole (not that Arthur Cole! – comedy for British chaps) by Kahn Tailoring in Indianapolis, Indiana. Lovely grey worsted with a broken white chalkstripe. A very high quality made to measure suit, indeed!

Kahn1946Suit1 Kahn1946Suit2 Kahn1946Suit4 Kahn1946Suit3 Kahn1946Suit5 Kahn1946Suit6 Kahn1946Suit7 Kahn1946Suit8 Kahn1946Suit9 Kahn1946Suit10

This jacket is simply amazing. A summer sportscoat from the 1920s or 30s. Lovely beltback with pleats and shoulder yoke. It’s made of reasonably heavy white cotton gabardine, and goes through the washing machine, making it very low maintenance summer wear. It has great patch hip pockets and a slightly angled welt breast pocket. It was made by Lorraine Haspel, who are more famous for linen stuff, and produced the “Mark Twain” brand back in the day. At the bottom are a couple of ads I found in newspapers from the middle 30s. Very gatsby!

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The last of my charity shop zipper haul from the other day. These are closed ended, useful for short openings on skirts, or (more commonly for menswear) for pocket closures. These are all British, and all date from the 1940s or 50s. All the major British zipper brands except Lightning are represented – Aero, Dot, Flash and Tefas, along with the mysterious “Made in England” branded one last, below.

ClosedEndZipperHaul BlueAeroClosedEndZipper BrownAeroClosedEndZipper RedAeroClosedEndZipper BrownFlashClosedEndZipper BlueDotClosedEndZipper TefasClosedEndZipper PinkMadeInEnglandClosedEndZipper

I’m fascinated by the links between various zipper companies back in the day. If you look at American Talon and Canadian Lightning zippers, the similarities in sliders and stopper boxes are evident. I see similar trends in European zippers. Take a glance at the two examples below. First (green tape) is a British Lightning, from the 1940s. Second is a German ZIPP brand zipper, and the DRP (Deutscher ReichsPatent) Nürnberg stamping suggests it was produced before the fall of the Nazis in the middle 40s. Now, look at the stopper boxes. Identical! Lightning zippers in the UK were made by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) Ltd. ZIPP zippers were made by ZIPP Werk GmbH in Nuremberg, who are one of the companies that was cited post-war for using forced labour in their factory. They were later taken over by Opti, who I believe use the ZIPP brand to this day.

So how did they get to use the Lightning stopper box? Outright copying, or did ICI have a business relationship with ZIPP Werk GmbH? I’ll add another zipper below later – a Spanish one, branded Rélampago (Spanish for Lightning) from a 1930s military leather jacket.

GreenLightningZipper PinkZIPPZipper

I always keep a lookout for vintage zippers to use in the jackets I make. I don’t like taking clothes apart to harvest the zippers, so I’m always happy when I stumble on a charity shop with a big box of zippers and buttons, etc. I came across such a haul last week. I got a bunch of separating zippers, and another pile of non-separating. Here are the separating ones, all god old British brands. Most of these seem to be from the 40s or early 50s. They’re all good lengths for jacket closure. The last picture is of a few Lightning zippers I’ve bought previously, still in their packets.

GreenLightningZipper BrownAeroZipper GreyAeroZipper GreyAceZipper CharityZipperHaul GreyMaroonLightningZippersInPackets

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