Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday Morning Inspiration/Florence Eiseman

It has been horribly hot in Chicago the last few days. Last night, I walked Gracie, came home and began getting ready for bed all along thinking about how I couldn't wait for the temperatures to change and the lovely days of fall to return. As I laid down in my lovely bed, in a cool, air-conditioned house, I thought of something I heard at mass this past weekend. The priest talked about how we always compare ourselves to others who are doing better, a bigger house, a move expensive car, better clothes, a more successful career, and the list goes on. His challenge was to look the other way, think of those who have less, and then take another look at yourself and be grateful for all you have.  

As I sank into my bed, I thought of the people in Puerto Rico whose lives have been devastated by the recent hurricane, and so many more on other Caribbean islands who have lost everything, homes, and even family. The people of Mexico who have lost so very much. So many do not have a comfortable bed to sink into, electricity that can provide cool relief. As I closed my eyes, I embraced all that I have and became all the more grateful.

About a month ago, I made a trip up to West Bend, Wisconsin to visit the Museum of Wisconsin Art. I was pleasantly surprised to find a very sweet exhibit on the creations of Florence Eiseman. From Milwaukee, her career began when her husband's toy factory was struggling. In the 1930's, she began sewing on the advice of her doctor as a cure for her nerves. How about that?!!! 

When the toy factory began to struggle, Florence's husband gathered up some of the pinafores that she had made, took them to a buyer at Marshall Field's where they promptly placed an order for $3000.00, quite a huge sum in 1945. The company did not make a profit for a number of years, but little by little consumers began to embrace the impeccable workmanship, natural fibers, and the elegant but still childlike designs. In 1955, Florence Eiseman was the first children's wear designer to win the coveted international Nieman Marcus Award for contributions to fashion.  

Those of note who have worn Eiseman creations include the children of Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Grace of Monaco, the Kennedys, Rockefellers, and the list goes on.

Since many of you make children's clothing, I thought that I would share a few of my favorites from the collection. Truth be told, big girls can glean a little inspiration from the collection as well ;) 

The little polka dot dog below is just too cute!!!

Such a simple little detail, but so cute.

I included this picture as I thought that it might inspire. The white circle is actually a pocket. Super cute!

While the Obamas were in office, they commissioned the Florence Eisman company to do girl and boy outfits with the presidential seal as gifts during their term of office. Such a thoughtful, and special gift.  

I included this picture for those of you who may make doll clothes.
The little red dress in the center is the main garment. All of the pieces that circle the dress are interchangeable aprons that would button to the dress under the collar and then tie to the back or side. So it's like 9 outfits all in one. Love this idea!!!

The exhibit runs through October 8, 2017. You can read more about it HERE

Do you have a sweet memory of wearing a Florence Eiseman garment? If so, the museum would love to hear your story. You can leave your message HERE

So as our week begins, may we all see the abundance in our lives.
Have a wonderful week!

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  1. I designed a Florence Eiseman tribute series of clothing to fit my daughter who was a toddler. I was an undergraduate at the time and it was for a class. I wonder where the sketches are?

    1. Oh, you should find them and share them with the museum. I'm sure they would like to see the sketches!

  2. These are adorable! And you're right - there are some ideas for embellishment to be gleaned for adult clothing.

    1. I really loved the collection. Of all things, the tassel embellishment is what caught my eye to add to a sheath dress!

  3. Soon after my daughter was born in 1964, I started working part time at Joseph Magnin in Oakland, CA. primarily to get out of the house and have a change of scenery. My whole salary went toward buying Florence Eiseman outfits for my daughter. They were so beautifully made and the designs were the ultimate in chic for children. As a former children's wear designer myself I really appreciated their simple, elegant design.

    1. What a wonderful story 😊 We had an I. Magnin here in Chicago. Was such a glorious store.

  4. We (Florence Eiseman's grandchildren) absolutely loved the exhibit and book created by the Museum of Wisconsin Art. Thank you for the lovely blogpost--her little touches are exactly why the clothes are timeless beauties.