Let’s be honest who DOESN’T love cracking a vintage mystery??? I love it when I uncover lost information on brands (this seems to be what my dissertation is all about at the moment…or rather the messy divorces of various 40s and 50s fashion bosses, but that is another story!) So imagine my delight last wednesday when I managed to discover (completely accidentally I will add) a key part of the history behind the collectible California cottons company.
For a long time I had known that the company was definitely British due to their advertising campaigns, but there was some confusion as to the “California” associations, then I found this article in a copy of the Daily Mail. To the ball 9th oct 1958 Iris Ashley “ What a wonderful material cotton has become. The Cinderella fabric can now, indeed, go to the ball. I give full marks to the California cottons show at the Dorchester yesterday evening. Here is high fashion in the form of high waisted dresses, some sheath, some front fitting trapeze lines. The satin cotton in modern Italian style prints will make winter party dresses for about £5. The California dress company is in fact British. But the designing is all done in Los Angeles by a team of young people. The director, Louis Rawlings, is convinced that clothes intended mainly to be worn in sunshine must be dreamed up in sunlight. But the actual fabric and dresses are made here. They have hit on a new gimmick too. In co-operation with a famous Hollywood beauty firm, a colour chart for lipstick and make up will be attatched to every dress. This tells the wearer the ideal tone of lipstick to wear with the dress colour and also the make-up base and powder tones suitable for her particular type (blonde, brunette or redhead) when worn with such a colour. It’s a neat job. And if you’ve ever seen a blue-pink lipstick worn with an apricot or orange-yellow dress, you’ll agree its useful too.” So there you go, mystery solved. Designed in California, made in Britain. And the make up they mention? That was a special collaboration with Maxfactor. my lovely friend Holly in one of her dresses by the brand Read my previous post about California cottons here