Shelf Appeal has never liked Summer. It is undignified. Far too much bunting related gaiety, outdoorsy organized activity and heat. Nothing for it but to dodge from one spot of shade to the next and dream of Autumn. Sartorially speaking, nothing one wears seems to stay smart in the sun.
This early 1940s leaflet advertising Liberty’s blouses and smocks (and isn’t ‘smock’ an underused word?) makes me feel cooler just looking at it. There is nothing I don’t like about this cover. The typeface. The illustration. Her red lipstick that picks out the red flower on the Sunbeam washing crape Sonja blouse that matches the red skirt that matches the red painted fingernails that match the (surely grosgrain) ribbon on her wide straw hat. And whilst she has very slightly flushed cheeks, it is plain to see she is in no way overheated.
The blouses inside this leaflet have charming names. The Nita ‘note the cute pockets’, the Stella and the Daphne ‘dainty georgette Blouse with elastic gauging’ give way to the Bettine. The smocks answer to Utility, Puck ‘most attractive for house wear’ and Tulip, a ‘three-quarter length Smock in “Golden Bird” silk. Beautifully hand-smocked and scalloped.’
The women in the colour illustrations have very slight lavender tones in their hair, politely suggesting these are blouses and smocks for the mature woman. All the blouses are available in long and short sleeve versions. Most button up high or tie off before any hint of cleavage. The prints are restrained and tasteful in that Liberty way.
This is Summer dressing with dignity and to delight.