Thursday, July 17, 2014

Carolyn Schnurer - A New Craze Geometric Mid-Century

I first learned about Caroyn Schnurer through looking at vintage fashion magazines.  I wish I would have flagged some of these advertisements, when I find them again I will be sure to scan them.

After seeing a few of her dresses in these advertisements that were just stunning, I started to keep my eye open for her designs.  They are not common to find.  After almost a year of looking, I have found one of her dresses.

Her dresses normally run between $150-$300 dollars.   Imagine my surprise when I won one of her dresses for $32.  I, honestly did not have high expectations for this dress.   But, when I received it, I had to do a double take of how awesome this dress is.  I immediately had to try this dress on (phone pictures below).  The pattern on this dress very much reflects the type of designs I love, geometric designs.  Oh no, a "new" vintage hobby, liking geometric mid-century designs:)  

This dress very much reflects mid-century modernism.  This is what I love about certain fashions of this period being able to intertwine them into the artistic reflections of what is happening at that time.  After receiving this dress, I could envision a wardrobe full of Carolyn Schnurer designs.

A little bit of history on Carolyn Schnurer:

She was born in 1908 and died in 1998.  She had a 20 year career in fashion going from about 1944 to 1964.  Her designs were inspired by her travels.  This is very inspirational to take your artistic visions from your experiences and incorporate it into textiles.  True art.  It is interesting how she didn't continue on in fashion as she certainly made an impact in late 1940s, early 1950s ready to wear.

"Schnurer's designs maintained a classic American silhouette while incorporating the cultural theme in fabric selection or construction detail." - MET quote

Couture Allure post on Carolyn Schnurer.

The MET has many of her dresses in their collection:

The day after I had received the dress and taken these quick images with my camera phone,  I noticed the image below come up on Living 50s Facebook.  Very neat eh?  So, now I have a vintage ad to actual match too!  Yes, I would love this dress in every color scheme.  This image is also photographed by one of my favorite photographers - John Rawlings with Sunny Harnett Vogue 1954.

 I'll be sure to photograph this dress better and in more detail in a future post.  I'm also going to see if I can find more details on this collection and her inspirations for design on this collection.  This dress has now inspired me to add more geometric designs into my wardrobe.  Yes, as dear Emileigh has pointed out I am very interested in architectural dimensions in fashion.

I also do have a board on my Pinterest for Carolyn Schnurer.


  1. That dress is absolutely gorgeous! What a steal at 32 bucks, I probably would have screeched with joy the second it was in my hands.
    Can't wait to see you recreate the Vogue shoot!

  2. Wow, such a great find! And what a steal! Lucky you!

  3. lucky girl! this dress is wonderful ... i love everything about it!

  4. That is such an amazing find! Fantastic piece of luck getting such a great bargain on such a beautiful dress. It looks great on you, too - I love the slightly dropped waist, it actually reminds me a bit of the shape of the dresses from most recent Dior Couture show. And that dress that you shared is just to die for. I've never heard of this designer before, but I shall have to keep an eye out for her pieces.

  5. You do look swell in mid-century clothes. I know you prefer a slightly earlier post-war period, but these 50's frocks look so good on you.

    It will drive me mad, but that print reminds me of something-packaging on a perfume, or soap or a thing like that. I don't know how you find these bargains, but you have some sort of vintage radar. Amazing.

    1. I love mid-century design. A modern quirky twist. I miss those soaps sets that my grandmother had lol.

    2. Just brought to mind talcum powder, this seems a thing of the past but I remember being coated in it when I was a kid lol.

  6. Immensely pretty dress, dear Joanna. I love it's vibrant, but not glaringly so, print and colour palette. The two both speak of summer's palette and punchy atmosphere so much to me. Huge and very happy congrats on this stellar find!

    ♥ Jessica

  7. Very lovely dress and how great to have the matching advert too.

  8. What a deal, indeed! I adore this print so much and it's fab you found a photo of it!


  9. what a great dress and what an amazing deal

    retro rover

  10. Beautiful dress and what a fabulous deal!