Stories in Willett Vintage Collection

PHOTOS Ron Ranere Positive Image

           1. Chemise Story to Theory, '57

         3. Moon Coat of Apollo Mission, '68

           2. Suede Gown, 60% Profit, 1970s

         4. Number One Designer, 1960s

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The fad
After two years, the chemise
died. It took research and time to discover why. Every buyer said don't even mention the name chemise. "We're stuck with a whole bunch of them in inventory. Fortunately for us, our chemise dress sold out, but the "bad ones" were like bad apples and poisoned ours as well. Why were they bad? Most dress manufacturers saw the chemise as a "golden apple", took their shirtmaker dress patterns, let out the darts and let them "hang". They were horrible on the body. Ours was beautiful because I had "shaped" the chemise as a beautiful form, emulating Balenciaga's great sculpture in my unique styling. FADS DIE BECAUSE EVERYONE GETS IN ON THEM AND FLOODS THE MARKET WITH POOR VERSIONS.

Reincarnation
It was years later that I began noticing the chemise in stores again, but never called the chemise. It was now called the
SHIFT. It sells to this day as the shift dress, and has become a commodity item for women's house dresses. Interestingly, as I monitor technology as well as fashion, I saw a similar event replicated in robots, and more recently in the "dot,coms". It all comes down to "quality". When everyone gets into a big selling item and makes it, and does it, poorly, the item dies, and it's called a fad. But, those that continue to do it right, or study how to do it right, reincarnate the item, but it always becomes quieter, without any market hype.

                                                                                       

                                                             2. Suede Gown, 60% Profit, 1970s    


3. Moon Coat of Apollo Mission, '68

In 1968, when chairperson of Mass. College of Art, Willett designed the ball coat for a faculty show. She was inspired by the first US manned Apollo mission to orbit the moon, and wanted to reflect this great American feat in a piece of fashion sculpture. The outside is a ball, and the lining is a coat with sleeves. She designed the white mink helmet that helps identify the "space age". In 1968 the boots were called "Courege" boots, named after the Parisian designer/architect that created them. Today's version by Willett are her "boot-tops over shoes", in white leather.