Monday, September 28, 2009

WW2 Era Rayon

Rayon is a wonderful fabric. Did you realize that rayon is the first manufactured fiber? The French developed it in the 1880s as an alternative to silk. In the 20s, Dupont bought the rights to the process, and made it a staple of fashion.

I'm sure that the name Rayon came from Dupont, since they loved to name their products with -on suffixes, like Nylon, Antron, Teflon, etc. If it weren't for the chemists at Dupont, we may never have seen nylon stockings or perhaps even rubber girdles, since their scientists were the inventors of the first synthetic rubber, neoprene. And those beautiful Olga peignoirs that we all love? Could we imagine them made from anything but Antron?

In 1944, rayon was all the rage, and these little dresses are no exception. I wish that I could see these in color, because the one on the left top is a wonderful novelty print of lions, giraffes and baby carriages on a background of aqua or pink. How cute is that? By Spellbound.

Next, we see a two piece Paula Brooks Original. The jacket was available in aqua, lime or black "Salyna" rayon/cotton blend. The skirt in dotted aqua, lime or shocking print of the "Breathless" rayon skirt.

Here (above left) we see a button front dress from Mary Muffet (don't you just love the vintage names, with their alliterations?), again in "Salyna" rayon/cotton blend, and available in soft pink, aqua or white. I'd choose pink, myself!

Lastly, we see a black one piece peplum dress, from Gay Gibson, and made from "Yippi" rayon. The square neckline has a buttoned in band in bright turquoise that matches the peplum trimming.

It makes me so sad to think that most of the designs likely did not survive for us to enjoy now, as rayon is pretty unforgiving stuff, when it comes to aging. It's even more sad to consider that today's synthetic stuff will probably survive a nuclear war, but who would want to wear it? Give me vintage rayon any day of the week.

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