Ornament Magazine

VOL37.1 2014

Ornament is the leading magazine celebrating wearable art. Explore jewelry, fashion, beads; contemporary, ancient and ethnographic.

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MINNIE AND EARL BIGLIN in costumes, 1902, Kansas State Historical Society. Opposite page: PAPER MINIDRESS, ca. 1967, courtesy of 1919vintage. Hayward, California, sponsored a newspaper dress contest in 1968 and received entries ranging from "comic-strip minis" to "headlined tent dresses," and awarded first prize to a woman who spent thirty-six hours sewing one hundred twenty-five front pages of the newspaper's October 1, 1967 issue of its weekly magazine into a dress.20 The following year that newspaper held another newspaper dress contest and awarded titles for the best use of each section of the newspaper, including Miss TV Week, Miss Daily Review Shopper, and Miss Family Weekly.21 Newspaper parties continue to be promoted as entertaining and wholesome youth group activities in the twenty-first century. Newspapers as attire garnered extensive media attention with a couture fashion collection by John Galliano for Christian Dior in 2000. His controversial creations, in a style termed "hobo chic" and inspired by homeless Parisians, featured surprising elements 39 ORNAMENT 37.1.2013 fabric rather than paper reflects a practical choice, as the fabric was more durable, and demonstrates their privileged access to the newspaper printing facilities. The use of fabric also preserves a moment in the otherwise transitory worlds of news and fashion by creating a more durable base for the printed news and an outfit that will be outdated quickly and thus not worn out. The small text on newspaper costumes invites close observation. The inclination to read the printed text might inadvertently (or otherwise) lead the viewer's eye to an intimate examination of parts of the wearer's body not acceptable to ogle in other circumstances. The slightly risqué nature of newspaper costumes was commemorated in a popular limerick: There once was a girl from St. Paul/Who wore a newspaper dress to a ball,/But the dress caught on fire/And burned her entire/ Front page, sporting section, and all. The popularity of newspaper dresses spiked in the late 1960s with the introduction of the paper dress craze. One popular paper dress, in the typical short, A-line style, was printed with collaged newspaper clippings.16 Mrs. Gail Brown, secretary to the publisher of the Laural (MS) Leader-Call, posed happily in one of these dresses for a photograph in 1968, and the Houston Chronicle offered dresses printed with its own headlines in 1967.17 Mary Good, writing for the Chicago Daily Herald, reviewed a paper mini dress with a newspaper design in 1967, explaining that at first she was excited to be able to quip that she was "all wrapped up in newspaper work" if anyone asked her what she was doing (no one did) then dismayed when she realized that the print was rubbing off and she had a tattoo of Irv Kupcinet receiving the "Man of the Year" award on her arm. Her main concern, though, was that the news was "stale." She exclaimed, "Ann Landers plans 'Vietnam Trip' was steamered across my chest!"18 Though not appreciated by Good, the temporariness of the paper dresses was an appropriate fit for the quickly changing headlines, as neither lasted very long. Costumes out of actual newspaper continued to be popular later in the twentieth century, as well. A Cub Scout pack in Clinton, New York, sponsored a competition in 1968 in which father-son teams designed newspaper dresses for mothers.19 The Daily Review in

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