Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A is for Adele Simpson

Adele Simpson got her start in the late 1920s, and started her own label in 1944 -- not a bad accomplishment during wartime! Her business lasted well into the 80s, and was known for simple, stylish, affordable clothing. Her husband designed many of her fabrics, and the ones I've seen have been really wonderful. I had one several years ago that was a silver metallic brocade A line shift that was accented with rhinestones, and man, was it gorgeous. Kind of Jackie O meets NASA. I loved it, because Adele Simpson styles are frequently much more sensible than that. But don't confuse sensible with style -- she had plenty of style.

Sensible might define her daughter, however. Turns out the daughter tried to sell her mother's 105-year old mansion a couple of years ago, to the tune of 28+ million dollars. When the buyer reneged, they asked for their deposit back. Sensible Joan said no, and they forfeited it -- for over $2 million. Now that's some kinda moxey!

As for Adele, enjoy a few of her designs, and if you find one while you're out shopping, be sure to take a look. She really did have nice fashion sense. I like her mindset too. As the New Look started fading in the mid to late 50s, she said
"the fashion-minded woman replaced a `look' with a presentation of her own good looks, counting her personality, her posture, grace and loveliness as vital means of self-expression in dress."

The one and only Dovima, in Adele Simpson:

LOVE the neckline on this one:

From 1953 (photo compliments of what-I-found):

More Dovima:

Seeing the Dovima theme? I love her, as you know. This Adele Simpson dress, modelled by Dovima, is from 1954.


  1. great style! and this is my first time seeing this Dovima!!!! she is tres interesant!

  2. What a treat. Thank you for this fascinating post.

  3. The model in the full skirted Adele Simpson dress is not Dovima, the hairline is not hers and I don't think the lady in the suit is ether.

    But the model in the black Adele Simpson dress is most certainly Dovima, its a scan that I did from Harper's Bazaar Feb 1954 and the bottom image I made from it.
    This image was the first time I saw Dovima and it hit me like an express train.
    It took me a long time to discover who she was and I have been collecting pictures of her ever since.
    Also see my Dovima group on Flickr.
    Not seen the wedding pictures before, Nice to see this growing interest in her, keep up the good work!


  5. Oh, I hope I didn't imply that all of the photos were Dovima! In looking at the post again, it kind of seems like I did, but yes, I knew which were and which weren't. I just love her. I actually have my office decorated in vintage Dovima photos.

  6. Hi Lisa
    I'm on a mission to recover as many pictures of Dovima as I can from old adverts and restore them back to the original picture, using Photoshop.
    A lot of the best Dovima pictures exist on the pages of 55+ year old magazines which are now decaying and are in danger of being lost for ever, I am trying to stop this from happening.
    This often requires a lot of work, removing advertising text, marks, converting the pictures back to true black & white etc. The picture of Dovima in the black Adele Simpson sheath dress is an example of what I do.
    This is a continuous project for me, but unless these pictures get out into the public domain there is not much point in me doing it, so please feel free to download them from my Flickr stream.
    If you want a good Dovima picture to hang on your office wall try this one. I have it hanging on my study wall in a 16"X 24"

    50's Fan

  7. These outfits are beautiful and thanks for all the information. Your blog is so very interesting.