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Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

Click on the picture to see the whole thing. Please.

Thanks, Library of Congress!

The International Pageant of Pulchritude, also known as the “International Beauty Contest” or the “Miss Universe Contest,” was a beauty contest that began in 1926 featuring contestants from multiple nations. The last pageant event in the U.S. was held in 1931 although additional “Miss Universe” events were held until 1935. The pageant was the first international contest and served as a model for modern contests.

The contest originated in Galveston, Texas, United States. The last “Miss Universe” event of this pre-World War II era was held in Brussels, Belgium [in 1935].

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Col. Sherrell, Supt. of Public Buildings and Grounds, has issued an order that bathing suits at the Washington, DC bathing beach must not be over six inches above the knee ... c1922 (Library of Congress)

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Women's fashions: quilted silk on chiffon - gold thread. c1911/1914 (Library of Congress)

I stumbled upon a most excellent series of 13 short videos put together by the Washington Post’s Emmy-nominated video and multimedia journalist Alexandra Garcia that features a variety of people talking about their personal fashion and fashion in general.

The photography is wonderful, the people are amazing, and each video has a delightful sound track.

Go watch it!

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On 5th Avenue, Easter, between 1908 and 1920. (Library of Congress)

A superstition current in Tudor times held that unless a person had new homespun cloth available at Easter, moths and crickets would eat the old goods, and destructive rooks would nest in large numbers around the residence. An old Irish adage stated “For Christmas, food and drink; for Easter, new clothes,” and a 15th-century proverb from Poor Robin’s Almanack states that if on Easter Sunday some part of one’s outfit is not new, one will not enjoy good luck during the year:

At Easter let your clothes be new,
Or else be sure you will it rue.

Some authorities attribute the introduction of elaborate Easter ceremonies, including gaudy dress and display of personal finery, to the Roman Emperor Constantine I in the early part of the 4th century.

Sez Wikipedia

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Angelo R. Mozilo, the self-made man from the Bronx who built Countrywide Financial into the nation’s largest mortgage lender before the credit squeeze hit, has been charged with securities fraud and insider trading in a civil suit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Angelo R. Mozilo, the self-made man from the Bronx who built Countrywide Financial into the nation’s largest mortgage lender before the credit squeeze hit, has been charged with securities fraud and insider trading in a civil suit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Seriously, on what planet does this man look honest?

What could possibly be under that hard orange-brown candy shell other than a self-involved, loathsome person?

How gullible do you have to be to lack the ability to read his character from his face?

Anyone with a visage as dishonest as Mozilo’s couldn’t get hired to run a cash register at a dollar store.

Too bad the people who hired him to run Countrywide didn’t have as much sense as a dollar store manager.

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Two lovers under an umbrella (later print from a 1705 woodcut)

"Two lovers under an umbrella" (later print from a 1705 woodcut)

I am listening to the Recorded Book of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Upon hearing the description of Robin building himself a collapsible umbrella, I wondered where did the “brolly” originate.

Defoe’s character builds his umbrella based on examples he saw in Brazil, presumably of European origin. Robinson Crusoe was first published in 1719 but at that point umbrellas were not yet in widespread use in England.

Jonas Hanway, an English merchant who traveled to Russia and Persia in the 1740s, is said to have introduced England to the umbrella in 1750. It was about 30 years before its use began to be widespread, men being reluctant to use it for fear of appearing effeminate.

The first shop in England specializing in umbrellas opened in 1830. Francis Beehler was the first manufacturer of umbrellas in the United States, beginning in 1828.

A Galaxy of art (c. 1928)

"A Galaxy of art" (c. 1928)

The origins of the umbrella are murky, there being apparently dispute as to whether it originated in China or Egypt. The Chinese, however, were the first known to have developed a collapsible umbrella, the oldest known specimen dating from 21 BC. A collapsible umbrella was found in a Korean tomb dating from 25 BC.

Floating in the Dead Sea.  (From a negative taken approximately 1900 to 1920)

Floating in the Dead Sea. (From a negative taken approximately 1900 to 1920)

Umbrellas were first put to use as a protection from the sun — which is what Robinson Crusoe wanted his for — but as they spread to more northern climes they were adapted to use as protection from rain.

My curiosity is sated but to learn more about the development and uses of the umbrella through the ages, click through any of the links above. I found this one to be the most interesting.

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The First Dance by the President and First Lady, Tuesday, January 20, 2009.

Beyonce performs Etta James’ classic “At Last”

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