Originally published in 1938, Fashion Is Spinach is an autobiography of Elizabeth Hawes, one of the best-known and most successful designers of smart women's clothes in America, and the undisputed leader of the small group of American designers who have challenged the style supremacy of Paris. The book was titled after a famous New Yorker cartoon by Carl Rose, in which a mother says to her daughter sitting at the table, "Eat your broccoli, dear." The child answers, "I say it's spinach -- and I say to hell with it."
Hawes' story is an adventure into every phase of the women's clothing industry in the United State, exploring design, manufacturing and sales through the 20s and the Great Depression. She explains how it all works and why it's ultimately all spinach. Her early struggles for recognition and her final leadership in helping to shift the center of the fashion industry from Paris to New York make a story that will appeal not only to the initiate, but to thousands besides -- and to their husbands. Although the book is more than 70 years old, her insider's views on fashion are still up to date.
"Consumers attention! Elizabeth Hawes tells us that 'the deformed thief Fashion' steals the real value out of what we buy. She suggests a remedy. She makes a plea for functional and durable merchandise. Consumers want that too... Although Fashion Is Spinach deals exclusively with the clothing industry it has a wider application." -- Aline Davis Hays, President, League of Women Shoppers
"There are few enough books written by people who know what they are talking about. And few enough of those few which either make sense or, making sense, have the wit to hold the reader's interest through even a short summer evening. But Hawes' book on fashion is one. It is fun to read, exciting to think about... She is a fiery, human little David taking a shot at that fantastic Goliath which is the fashion world -- and plunking it right in its dreamy eye." -- Ralph Ingersoll, publisher, TIME
"All the dirt on female fashions which nobody ought to know and everybody is actually panting for. No man will sleep well of nights for a week after reading the inside on dress markups, and Miss Hawes' colleagues in trade are reported to be running up a little gold lamé rope suitable for lynching purposes." -- Lucius Beebe, columnist
"A book of real interest for every woman who buys clothes and every man who pays for them." -- Theresa Helburn, director, Theatre Guild
"Any artist will rouse to Hawes' battle cry. I hate plagiarism no matter where it exists, pirating designs or anything else. Hawes has said something for all of us." -- McClelland Barclay, illustrator
About the author -- Excerpt from the Wikipedia:
Elizabeth Hawes (1903 - 1971) was an American clothing designer, outspoken critic of the fashion industry, and champion of ready to wear and people's right to have the clothes they desired, rather than the clothes dictated to be fashionable. She was among the first Americans to establish their reputations outside of Paris haute couture. In addition to her work in the fashion industry as a sketcher, copyist, stylist, and journalist, and designer, she was an author, union organizer, champion of gender equality, and political activist.
- Part I: The French Legend -- "All beautiful clothes are made in the houses of the French couturière and all women want them."
- The Deformed Thief, Fashion
- "Is God French?"
- I Was Nurtured in It
- Copying, a Fancy Name
- The Photographic Eye
- NEWS... News... news
- The Bastard Art of Styling
- Cutting, Pinning and Draping
- It Creaks
- Part II: Buy American -- "All American women can have beautiful clothes."
- The Great American Boast
- Couturière, Pocket Edition
- Designers Are Not Miracle Makers
- "She's Barred from France"
- Robots, Maybe
- Up for Promotion
- Bigger Than U. S. Steel
- Fords, Not Lincolns
- I Buy an Ivory Tower
- Notatal Silk
- Blood Money and No Money
- A Lucky Strike
- Men Might Like Skirts
- Our Competitive System
- I Say It's Spinach
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