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Bonnie Cashin

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Happy Birthday Bonnie Cashin!


One of the youthful Cashin's 1920s costume sketches for a dance group 

This is an updated version of a blog post I wrote a few years back. 

I love Bonnie Cashin. She wanted women to be able to move freely in her clothing, and so designed styles that were pragmatic and yet without a trace of staid practicality. Cashin’s aim, in her words, was to create “simple art forms for living in, to be re-arranged as mood and activity dictates.” Her designs and directions in fashion were supremely innovative; they seemed not so much a product of her time as an inspiration of her own adventurous lifestyle and inventive imagination.

This is the 99th anniversary of Cashin’s birth (she died in 2000) and if anything her ideas just seem fresher all the time. Here are a few images to celebrate the day:

Bonnie Cashin for Adler & Adler, c. 1940, from UCLA Library collections
Lounging pajamas inspired by her costuming for Anna and the King of Siam, 1946, from UCLA Library collections
Rayon crepe dress and organdy coat by Bonnie Cashin, hat by John Frederics, Cecil Beaton photo, 1950
An Adler & Adler Bonnie Cashin design , ca. 1950, which I sold awhile ago
“Rain puff,” this nylon jacket was eminently practical—it was nearly weightless and could be washed at home—but maintained a touch of the exotic with its
 Japanese-lantern style sleeves. Bonnie Cashin for March and Mendl, 1956. Image and text from UCLA Library collections
Late 60s canvas and leather coat with a trompe l’oeil shoulder bag pocket, recently sold
Bags (Bonnie Cashin for Coach) ca. 1968
Leather coat and calfskin jacket. This and the above photo nytimes.com by way of forums/thefashionspot.com
This tufted paper Noh Coat with leather ties was cut from several paper bathmats, late 60s, image from UCLA Library collections
African art-inspired intarsia cashmere designed for Ballantyne, late 60s
Early 1970s gloves donated by the designer to the Met Museum
Mohair skirt and scarf with signature “dog leash” clasps, 1977, whitakerauction.com
I wish I still had this bright pink 3-piece outfit by Bonnie Cashin!
For information about Cashin, I can recommend Chic is Where You Find it: UCLA Library Bonnie Cashin Collection of Theater, Film, and Fashion Design



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5 things: Pink vintage for a cause

This October is the 25th anniversary of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A number of pink items in my eBay store are being sold to support Living Beyond Breast Cancer, my way of honoring those who have survived cancer, and remembering those who I will miss forever.

(Click on photos for more information about the items.)

1. 40s peach rayon blouse with pink sequins and clear beading


2. 50s designer jacket with great details


3. 3-part harmony by the beloved designer Bonnie Cashin


4. Hand-knit sweater jacket with roses


5. 80s blouse with fabulous ruffled collar

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5 things: Green vintage

It's emerald city out there in the greater fashion world, and here are five vintage options from lime to olivine to emerald (click on photos to link to items):


1. Lettuce-edge party frock by Miss Elliette


2. Fiery emerald rhinestones by Hattie Carnegie


3. Frothy tulle and taffeta party dress extraordinaire


4. Fresh lime (I can't stop showing this one off!) by Bonnie Cashin


5. Splendid 30s silk gown by Yolande


Of course, vintage is recycling, so go green!!

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5 things: Vintage coats

A few of the coat styles found right now at denisebrain.com (click on photos for link to items):



1. Bright canvas

Iconic Bonnie Cashin, with leather trompe l'oeil shoulder bag pocket.











2. Band uniform braid

60s weighty wool with glittering buttons and elaborate braid.











3. Warm brown cashmere

Light, soft, and warm pure cashmere, with typically great 1950s buttons.













4. Surprise lining

1950s Lilli Ann cream wool clutch coat with satin stripe lining.












5. Tie-waist corduroy

Early 40s insulated cotton cord coat, labeled Neusteter's - Denver.

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Happy Birthday Bonnie Cashin!

One of the youthful Cashin's 1920s costume sketches for a dance
group (visit The Bonnie Cashin Foundation
website for more about this career-starting venture)


I love Bonnie Cashin.
She wanted women to be able to move freely in her clothing, and so designed styles that were pragmatic and yet without a trace of staid practicality. Cashin's aim, in her words, was to create "simple art forms for living in, to be re-arranged as mood and activity dictates." Her designs and directions in fashion were supremely innovative; they seemed not so much a product of her time as an inspiration of her own adventurous lifestyle and inventive imagination.

This is the 94th anniversary of Cashin's birth (she died in 2000) and if anything her ideas just seem fresher all the time. Here are a few images to celebrate the day:


Bonnie Cashin for Adler & Adler, c. 1940, from UCLA Library collections

Lounging pajamas inspired by her costuming for Anna and the King of Siam, 1946, from UCLA Library collections

Rayon crepe dress, organdy coat by Bonnie Cashin, hat by John Frederics, photographed by Cecil Beaton, 1950

An Adler & Adler Bonnie Cashin design , ca. 1950, which I sold several years ago

"Rain puff," this nylon jacket was eminently practical—it was nearly weightless and could be washed at home—but maintained a touch of the exotic with its
Japanese-lantern style sleeves.

Bonnie Cashin for March and Mendl, 1956. Image and text from UCLA Library collections

Late 60s canvas and leather coat with a trompe l'oeil shoulder bag pocket, Beverley Birks Collection [2011 update: this is currently available in my web store]

Bags (Bonnie Cashin for Coach) ca. 1968

Leather coat and calfskin jacket. This and the above photo nytimes.com by way of forums/thefashionspot.com

Leather-trimmed unlined cream wool jacket labeled A Bonnie Cashin Design
for Sills and Co.


This tufted paper Noh Coat with leather ties was cut from several paper bathmats, late 60s, image from UCLA Library collections

60s houndstooth coat, for sale at zuburbia.com

African art-inspired intarsia cashmere designed for Ballantyne, late 60s

Coat with bag pockets at antiqulosium.com, 1970s

Mohair skirt and scarf with signature "dog leash" clasps, 1977, whitakerauction.com

I wish I still had this suede-trimmed wool plaid coat!


For information about Cashin, a wonderful site, and great photos, The Bonnie Cashin Foundation can't be beat. Also highly recommended is Chic is Where You Find it: UCLA Library Bonnie Cashin Collection of Theater, Film, and Fashion Design

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