In the 1930s, the straight chemise, so popular throughout the Twenties,
was belted once again, and lengthened. It began to hug the body
and ripple with its movements. Dresses were cut on the bias so that
they clung to and moved with the body. These designs required very
lightweight fabrics such as crepes and lighter satinsvery
elegant fabrics indeed.
Sport dressing became even more popular in the Thirties. A wonderful
example of a wool jersey bathing suit survived in the shop from
1930. Patterned with contrasting yellow and green areas, the suit
has a felt jacket and huge straw hat to match, with huge modern
flowers in felt trimming both jacket and hat. These modern motifs
in bright, sunfilled colors borrowed in color and scale from art
South of the Border reflect the habits of the Tirocchi clients,
who went off to their beach houses in the summer or to the Caribbean
in the winter.
A group of evening dresses found in the shop brings to mind the
same idea of woman in motion. A handful of long, wide-skirted, narrow-waisted,
colorful gowns of chiffon and other lightweight materials fairly
scream "tango," instantly bringing to mind the South American
dances popular in the mid-thirties. Elaborately cut satin evening
dresses, from another cache of gowns, epitomize the streamlined
design of the era.
Reflecting Thirties streamlined design, as well as womens
new freedom to wear trousers, is a pair of "pajamas" purchased
with its own white sweater and white jacket from a New York supplier.
The bell-bottomed pants and sweater were found in the shop, but
the jacket was no longer there, perhaps sold separately when the
entire outfit did not move.
Despite the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the Tirocchis business
remained strong into the early 1930s. Customers continued to order
sport dressing, evening gowns, afternoon dresses, and wool suits,
but as the years went on they placed fewer orders, and many of them
were forced by circumstance to quit the shop. At the end of the
decade, there were half as many customers as at the beginning.
>> read on about Fashion
in the 1940s