I subscribe to a very interesting blog, Clothes in Books. It’s perfect for me, combining books and fashion. Each post describes the clothes in a particular book, often a mystery. This week’s post featured a clothing designer who I had never heard of, Elizabeth Hawes. She was in the post because Hawes wrote a book about fashion, Fashion is Spinach. The title comes from a famous New Yorker cartoon where the little boy is being asked to eat broccoli and replies, “I say it’s spinach and I say to hell with it.”
Usually, the books featured in Clothes in Books are fiction, but Fashion is Spinach is part autobiographical and part manifesto.
Hawes, who lived from 1903 to 1971, had strong opinions about fashion. She did not want fashion to be dictated — either by Paris or New York or by the fashion magazines. Her criticism of the magazines, in particular, had a negative effect on her career and she never became as famous as she should have, judging by her creativity and talent.
She also had strong left-leaning political beliefs and this too, diminished her influence, particularly during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s when McCarthyism was at its height.
Here are some photos of her fashions.
These are all so elegant and creative.