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Fashion improvisation in the 1940’s SPATS

Avec un Rose  imprimee

The Fashion of SPATS – in 1941

This adaptable stylish shoe article in a French fashion publication has prompted me to share this idea from 194. The illustrations are self-explanatory and the patterns are a rare find, they are useful and show a classic elegance to add to feminine shoe. Ladies were so clever in improvising many fashion they owned in the 1940’s, making their own finishing touches individual using fabric panels of velvet for suits, dresses skirts and hats.   Cutting up jackets to make waistcoats,  and children’s clothes were a popular mode. News spread fast on how to achieve something really professional and smart, it came from many publications – one in particular was Marie Clare 1941, Paris.   Pages on Feminine thrifty fashion ideas for the times, became most popular features.  Many tips on home Tailoring appeared too giving detailed instructions in photo’s and text.  Another feature given was if you only had one dress, how to give it multiple accessories to wear which could totally change it’s style.

 SHOES  to SPATS for a new revamp.

Avec un Rose  imprimee Avec une rose imprimee

Hot Trend – on how to immediately update one pair of your favourite shoes from your wardrobe, especially if it needs a classic 1940’s original look.  The pattern is adaptable for most shoe types using a wide range of fabrics from, cotton, brocade, linen, denim and even leather or suede off cuts.  Probably velvet for the evening shoes would be a good choice.  Adding embroidery, beading, buttons, ribbons, you name it and it’s possible. Reinforced iron on stiffening to finer fabrics could come in useful too. The patterns are just readable with exact shapes to follow if remaking a new pattern.   Try cutting out one first to get the fit right in any material you may have, adjust to fit your shoe. The original shapes are very clever simply designed for a plain black court shoe, with a heel. Traditionally Spats covered the ankle so these shoe examples may be a little short, but could easily be cut slightly higher to cover this.

Shoe blog pic 2 Pour les Jours ensoleilles 3

Strong contrasting colours would look outstanding, using white as a classic idea to fit any fashions, or why not have a set to match every outfit you have.  How many of us can afford a new pair of shoes for every situation, or event these days.    The article implied – For one pair of shoes this pattern gives variety for many different outfit  combinations.

Avec une tenue un peu sport Avec une tenue un peu sport Spats are a past trend never entirely departed.  Two tone shoes are elegant. Pour le Ville Pour le Ville 4


The history of shoe spats is given here.   These knitted leggings/spats were an  attractive pattern and easily knitted. The lower part up to the ankle length could be worn as spats and the leg part would be leggings or gaiters.  The pattern was given in the book La Mode Ilustree in French. (1864).  Unfortunately I cannot read French knitting patterns- but this is so clear the stitches could be adapted.  It looks like a 2 stitch rib for the foot and top with maybe a softer yarn in stripes for the leg part.  Let me know if anyone makes this! 


``kitted Leggings/Spats 1864


Spats became worn during the 19th century through to the 20th century mainly for practical reasons by men. Described as a shoe and ankle covering for the purpose of protection from weather, walking on rough ground, water and muddy areas. The military uniform included spats when they were in battle, or on the march, also for when on parade. They were practical for wearing outdoors as well as some sports. The name Spats is shortened from “spatterdashes”. We can relate to the name splash more easily now. Ladies saw the elegant men in uniform and copied details from their garments along with spats and leggings that covered the top of the shoe, could be called gaiters, in which case they came higher up the leg.  In the mid 1900’s it was recorded in the publication La Mode Illustree – France that ladies knitted many complex shaped spats/leggings to keep warm on the cold streets of Paris. I have found such a pair printed in this publication which I will add upon finding the right volume and page.  I believe it gave the actual pattern, and a delightful illustration. America (20th century), led the way for the famous white spats worn to symbolize wealth, elegance and to add a hint of being an extrovert. The mobsters of New York are recorded in many great films – e.g. Spats Colombo, in “Some like it hot” is a fine example of wearing such glamerous accessories. Across the U.K. & Europe the fashion took hold quickly spreading to guess who – Ladies footwear!. Now a famous Vintage Style that has notoriety again.  Vintage talks focus on what’s new for modern ladies shoes?  Do shoes change much?  Revitalize Spats trends in every wardrobe!  Amazing fabrics can be seen for spats in the cities of London, Italy and New York now. Short rubber boots are a wonderful addition when designed incorporating spats. (See our Links category  to buy boots styled like spats). My research has found these four stunning photo’s showing the pattern as well. A small size but possible to enlarge and reproduce again. A fantastic revamp for old boots for the winter, using these attachments, which easily fix under the sole and by laces, or little buttons on the top. I have not yet tried out these designs, so anyone who does, please contact us with your success stories. The pattern instruction is given in French for each shoe shape design.


Not forgetting HATS, another easy thing to change are the accessories  such as  scarfs, bows, jewellery and feathers.  In 1941 the fashion artist: Rene Gruau drew five hat views which  are all popular today.   The were perfect for the styles of the era and are designed by some of the top Parisienne hat designers.   Rose Valois. Legroux Sours  &  Caroline Reboux.

HATS  1941  Blog 5  2   The black bowler looks as though it has lots of rushed netting falling at the back and the sides.  This model is effective and suits many garments. HATS  1941  Blog 5  1 HATS  1941  Blog 5  1 Four beautiful images from the Artist  Rene Gruau, showing them set at the right angles on the head to be seen from every view.

Remarkable Art Deco Designer Ensemble to Buy

Art Deco Attire Is The New You For Special Events                                        

 Summer Exclusive Price Reduction.

This unique Designer’s Art Deco Ensemble, has a Wide-Brimmed Velvet Hat and Jacquard & Creme – Satin Dress. They are available  now  – 778.00 Euros.  Catch new Price reduction below until June.

The pieces could be used for many special occasions fashion events, private dinners, cocktails, celebrations, and even weddings.

The Ensemble is part of the Designer’s Art Deco collection which can partly be seen here: http://qveintevi.zohosites.com/Loge-VI.html
Detail & Dimensions:
The Black Wide-Brimmed Hat is made of black velvet and creme-satin with a diameter of 22.5 inches. The head size is 21 inches. The hat can also be sold separately for 289.00 Euros. Price reduced.
Black velvet hat

Art Deco black velvet hat


underneath side of black hat

reverse side of black velvet hat

The Art Deco Tunic Dress is made of black jacquard and creme satin. It’s UK size is 12 and its length is 41 inches, the sleeve length is 16 inches. The dress can be sold separately for 489.00 Euros. Price reduced. 


New dress front

Art Deco dress front view



NEW dress back

Art Deco dress back view



NEW bottom dress for blog

Bottom layers of the dress


NEW Sleeve

Sleeve detail



New bottom flair

Bottom detail for dress



CONTACT:  Offering now a new Price Reduction discount.
If you are interested and wish to support the designer by buying his Haute-Couture pieces, please contact him directly at [email protected] or use the contact page on this site. Also to compliment your attention If you purchase the ensemble before the end of June you shall receive a new 10% discount and have the ensemble for 656. 00 Euros.
International shipping is available:   Full details upon demand.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Kaloyan Ivanov Esq,
Costume Architect    

Headtotoefasionart would like to give more than a “Highly Recommended” mention to this strong design, which immediately conveys an authentic and stylish representation of this Art Deco period of history. This must surely be the most sought after and captivating of any other ensemble, seen by us this year in France!   To be able to own such a beautiful hat and dress giving a sense of history, combined with a fashion wearable today is an important reason to buy.    

Please ask any questions that you may have below and we will reply directly.

Classic Coats 1920’s – Autumn/Winter

Classic Coats 1920’s Paris Autumn/Winter

Classic coats that never date are practical if the style is correct for you and it is an adored purchase, on the other hand a new one is always an exciting prospect.  Planning a new look, choosing the colour, seeing the latest trends all give us an enormous uplift to the spirits.  

The trend of the 1920’s changed greatly through each year, some  were warm,  some  protective in the rain, and some had unusual detailed design features.  They were tailored for individualistic ladies, with impeccable Parisian  good taste. These particular design illustrations show a preference for darker winter colours of greens, greys, black and reds.  Ranging from September to December these prints are an original record from the journal Petit Echo de la Mode, covering  from 1923  to 1927/8.

Fiest Frosts 1923

Sept 1923 For the first frosts.

It is interesting to see that in November 1923 the coats were full length to the ankles, showing beneath smart usually black shoes high cut  or with straps.  These styles were described as “For the First Frosts” – appropriate for strolling in the town or country.  Most favoured were light brown and black edged in fur trims for the cuffs and collars this being practical, but extremely smart. The cut of the garments narrowed in fullness at the bottom, helping to  give a more lean appearance to the otherwise quite thick weight of the textiles, thus avoiding a bulky line. Later in the decade the coat lengths became shorter. (Our First Frosts have not quite visited us yet) – so get ready!

Heavy rains and storms come first. 

Rain coats 1923

Rain coats 1923

A stylish cape coat. an ideal design short or long.

Autumn leaves Nov 1923

Falling leaves November 1923


Autumn leaves 2nd November 1923

Boy it's cold! 2nd November 1923


Little red coat  Dec 1923

Little red coat for Noel Dec 1923

Note:  Diamond designs, fur edged panels, and childs warm  side buttoned leggings. 


December 1924 Snow coats

December 1924 Snow coat and jackets


Pink dress and green coat 1924

The pink and green combination 1924


Rust 1924

Rich rust brown gets noticed 1924


By 1925 the hem lines are rising to mid calf length.

Walking in the rain October 1925

Walking in the rain October 1925

Purple coat 1926

Perfect Purple coat 1926

Perfect PURPLE a smash hit with swinging fur trimmed side panels that wiggle with you when you walk! The matching hat and shoes were unusual.


Black side panels 1926

More side panels - fashion trend 1926

These side panels were pleated just below the coat pocket line and were wonderful for walking and very stylish on the streets of Paris.

Classic coats 1926-1927

Three Classic coats 1926-1927


little hoody December 1926

little hoody December 1926


Tailored coats 1927

Three tailored coats 1927

This green coat has amazing tailored panels ending in beautiful back pleats.   The black coat has typical deep “V” shaped  pattern inserts which are very effective in bringing the Deco look into prominence during these times. The small back drawing view, shows the design is extended across the back to the center shoulders below the top yolk.  Her hat is a perfect match with this coat.  A very rare design feature indeed.

An ART DECO Display – Fashions of 1927

Art deco display 1927

Art deco display 1927


Bridge x 2 coats 18 Dec 1927

18th December 1927

ENTER  1st January 1928 

New Years day 1928

New Years day 1928

The back sculptured coat detail makes the fashion into 1928!  The classic 1920’s fashion at it’s confident height.

Edited and page display by Lavinia,  headtotoefashionart from our private collection of rare fashion art.   

Please endorse my Linkedin page if you like this 1920’s page, or leave a comment – Thank you.

La Haute Coiffure photographs Paris – 1950

La Haute Coiffure photographs August to December 1950

Enter an entirely new hair fashions decade, the 1950’s is so distinctive for it’s popularity of Hollywood Movie stars,  their glittering performances, stylish fashions and above all the most stunning hair styles, make an indelible mark on our memories of that time.

The influence of Hollywood’s famous movies:   Sunset Boulevard (1950) – An American in Paris (1951)- Singing in the Rain (1952) – Guys & Dolls (1955) – Gigi (1958) and many more, as well as the greatest female stars such as:  Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Eva Marie Saint, Marilyn Monroe, Kim Novak, Natalie Wood, Doris Day, Diana Dors, Jayne Russell, Shirley Maclaine, Bridgette Bardot, Sophia Loren, Susan Haywood.  They brought their total glamour icon image to the screens and the worlds fashion followers. London & Paris clicked on to the fashions with much enthusiasm.   All fashionable ladies wished to emulate the stars.   The Hair dressers held International competitions in Paris to find the finest expertise who could create that special look . The best were perhaps some of the names mentioned in these photographs.  This publication became a must for the Professionals, presenting the mood, it was showing hair fashions for the day and night.  Some other countries within Europe also adopted  similar versions as captured in the slightly different photos.

The new styles sprang up at events all over the cities.  This decade of  hair fashion seemed to linger on into the early 1960’s, mainly by an older generation who could not change, but they still looked grand and elegant. 

FC Aug 50

La Coiffure de Paris August 1950

TEXT: This was the photograph for the back cover of this  Hair style Journal.

Side view F C 1950

Side view detail is the back cover image above


Selections international

Top selections 1950

TEXT:  International competition entries –  Creation de BOURNHAUSER, SUISE. & Creation de LINTERMANS, BELGIQUE.  (Rare photos  by Pietro Chauffourier,  ROME).

Hair selections international

Creations for evenings


Softer setting

Softer setting

TEXT:   Coiffure largement ondulee, par GEORGE NOGAREDE, Paris, photo Studi Geiger.

double view softer look 50

Softer waves & curls for summer


Softer set instructions

Softer set instructions


Hollywood icon image 50

The Hollywood look in Paris 1950

 Text: Coiffure de Soire  Realisee sur creveux Courts, Par Serge, de la Maison LOUIS GERVAIS, Paris. 

Paris Evenings 50

December 1950 evening reflections

Text:  Beaue de demi-siecle, La Coiffure de Gala a ete Executes par Alexandre.  De La Maison ANTOINE, Paris.  

Noel 50

Noel 1950

TEXT:  L’ELEGANCE  – La Coiffure, tres originale est D’ALEXANDER, de la Maison  ANTOINE, Paris. 

Party Paris 50

Party Mood - Paris 1950

 TEXT:  Coiffure de Soiree,   Sur Cheveux Courts, Cre’e par HENRY PRE’VOST, Paris. 

Rene Rambaud 50

Rene Rambaud at work 1950


Rambaud at work larger view

Detailed view of Rene Rambaud


Wave Adv. 50

Wave Adv. Book by Rene Rambaud

 Champion of the World – George Font.

Winner celebration 1950

Winner celebration Paris 1950


Champions style 50

By Champion George Font 1950

Remember the Teddy Boy Quiff?  Look out ladies it might come back in trend this time for you!  Surrounded with curls.

Quiff side view 50

Side view of the Quiff

TEXT: Coiffure de Ville de GEORGE   FONT, Champion du Monde.  Member de L’Equipe de France quit a Triomphe’ a Rome.  Photo by Geiger.  (above).


Vitapointe was used by everyone 1950


Softer setting

Softer setting on demand


double view softer look 50

Double view of the softer look

TEXT:  Larger curls a softer set. by GEORGE NOGAREDE, Paris, photo Studio Greiger.

Softer set instructions

Softer set instructions


Dramatic Hair style for the Stage 

On stage hair

Stage gown and dramatic hair!

Text:   Une Tableau De Maitre?  Non, mais un Ensemble d’une ELEGANCE RARE, La Coiffure est de  PAUL ALBERT, Paris.

Stage hair close up

Stage hair style close up

 Text:  Cheveux, PLUMES, Rersille Harmonieusement assembles, ont permis a PAUL ALBERT. Paris De Composer cette REMARQUABLE Coffiure de Gala.

Late in the year they set the  hair TRENDS for 1951.  Here are some ideas if you wear a 50’s  vintage piece. These photos show a prediction of a much shorter shaped cut, making this new look contribute more business for the Hair Salons.


Prediction Eve 51

Prediction for 1951

 TEXT:  De KIJEVSKY, WINTERTHUR.  Photo by Geiger.

Predictions 51 Evening

Short wave prediction for 1951


Sharp short cut Paris Trend  51

This cut lives on in France -Trend for 1951

 TEXT:  By ANDRE FOUGARD, Paris Style prediction for 1951.

Hair by Pierre Rambalt

By Pierre Rambault

TEXT:  Coiffure de ville de PIERRE RAMBAULT,  Member de L’Equipe de France qui a Triomphe’ a Rome.

Long evening dresses

New year dresses for 1951

 TEXT:  Les Trois graces en 1951  De RAVISSANTS MANNEQUINS, Coiffure par (de Gauche a Droite) – Chatham, Serge.  De la Maison  LOUIS GERVAIS,  PHYRIS,  se sont obligamment pretes a cette, composition.    Photo by Geiger.  

Suited for 1951

Suited for 1951

TEXT:  Coiffure de Apres-Midi 1951 Sur Cheveux Courts,  Creation de AGG, Paris.  Photo by Geiger. 


Ideal Hair

Ideal stylish hair for 1951 afternoons in Paris

 TEXT:  Coiffure D’Apres Midi 1951. Par PAUL ALBERT, Paris.

  Are any of these exceptional Hair Dressers remembered?    

*** More 1951 hair style photographs are to come in our next blog soon. 



La Haute Coiffure de Paris – 1949

La Haute Coiffure de Paris – 1949

This was a “journal professionnel” – for hair dressers and stylists full of imposing black and white photographs and details of events, questions,  instructions on the latest techniques, and advertisements.   Hair designs were styled using tight set curls, waves, and well defined cuts,  leaving enough length to have beautiful curls.  Smooth glossy sweeping crowns of hair were also much in vogue.  Lanol or Lanolin was a product for creating this effect and widely advertised . Vitapointe was another one described as rich, souple, brilliant and “solide”.

This Haute Coiffure collection may help create an authentic look for those serious ladies who are wearing 1950’s fashions, and wishing to have that special sumptuous glamorous element.  Enhancing any vintage fashion worn from this distinctive era.

~  1949  ~

JUNE 1949

Original cover June 1949 Paris


curls around the head 49

Curls all around


Hair curls around the head setting style

curl set instruction


Hair Looping locks for evening

Lovely looping locks for evening

Text reads:-  Coiffure Nouvelle pour la Ville, transformee pour le noir.  By Mirireille Dourlen – Paris.  Photo by Studio Geiger

Hair side sweeping style

Side sweeping style

Text reads:- Creation de Dion, 8e Prix – Photo Greiger

Hair brushed back

Hair brushed back

Text reads:- Creation de Pierre Raimbault, Champion de France.

Hair setting a trend

Butterfly decoration slide - setting the trend

An elegant Butterfly piece is set to the side and an up-swept curl at the side, makes an unusual hairstyle for 1949.  Text reads:- Creation de Roger Valery, 4e Prix. Photo by Greiger.

Hair with individual peaks

Curled quiffs forming individual peaks

Text reads:-  Creation de Roger Valery, 4e Prix.

In fashion trend

Day fashion trend

Text reads:- Creation Demi-flour, Coiffant jeune, de Marcel Lautier.  Photo by Greiger, Paris. 

Complicated curls

Complicated curls

Text reads:- Creation de Gombaud – Saintonge, Grand Prix. Photo by Greiger. 

Front view of hair style

Glamorous evening mode

 Text reads:-  Creation de Gombaud – Saintonge, Grand Prix.  Photo by Greiger.

Happy with this hair style

Happy days

Text reads:-  Creation de Pont, 6e Prix.  Photo by Greiger. 

Pearl slide Adv.

Pearl slide Adv.


Celebration stylish hair fashion

Celebration mood

Text reads:-  creation de Leaud, 10e Prix.  Photo by Greiger.

The 1949 hair fashions brought much more innovation than I expected to see for the times.  Especially the sophisticated and complicated different styles for the evenings.  Difficult to choose, every one is a winner!  

  Continuing post will cover 1950 – 1955,  with some more spectacular hair photography.