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Friday, June 28, 2013

Fashion and Invention in the Vogue Archive

Since this year's Fourth of July parade highlights "great American inventions," I turned to our Vogue Archive to find examples of how fashion is an invention too. I came across this incredible fashion shoot from July 1952 titled "New July Cottons."

The shoot features women in fresh summer dresses travelling aboard the S.S. United States. The intro to the shoot emphasizes the newness of the ship—"We photographed our July cottons against the bright white paint that had just dried"—and the newness of the looks. These are NEW July cottons, after all.

The women are confident, bold, and new. They're wearing dresses with bold patterns, striking bold and confident poses (except for one lady who seems to be whispering to a wall). These are American women and they're out to see the world.

The choice of setting may seem odd, at first, but it's actually very meaningful. The S.S. United States was one of the largest ocean liners built in the United States. To this day it retains the record for crossing the Atlantic at the hightest speed. (Read more facts about the S.S. United States). This ship was meant to be (and, in fact, turned out to be) an enduring monument to American engineering and ingenuity.

So, in this one fashion shoot from July 1952, we get an amazing portrait of how fashion, industry, and invention came together to offer an inspiring vision of progress and modern life. It makes me wonder what other treasures the Vogue Archive contains. Maybe you'll discover one yourself. Try it and find out!

Want to dive in and see more?

Here are a few tips for using the Vogue Archive:
  • Don't search for something too specific. I searched for "july" to find this shoot.
  • Limit your search to "fashion shoots" or "editorials" for the really good stuff.
  • Use the date sliders to hone in an time period you're interested in.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Classical Music under the Stars

Want to listen to classical music in Ravinia's beautiful, natural setting for free? Ravinia has generously donated a limited number of tickets for our patrons. These are free lawn passes to selected classical music concerts (so no Goo Goo Dolls or Willie Nelson). It's a great opportunity to hear some of the world's greatest classical musicians, including the magnificent Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Tickets will be available on a first come, first served basis on Saturday, June 15th from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in the 1st floor lobby. (The ticket line forms in the side entrance of the library.) Any remaining tickets will be distributed at the 3rd floor Readers' Services desk. The ticket limit is 2 tickets per person. (Note to high school and college students: Lawn admission to all Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts is free. Just show your student ID when you arrive at Ravinia Park. No need to wait in line at the library!)

Performers include veteran virtuosos like Itzhak Perlman and Peter Serkin as well as less well-known but adventurous ensembles like Brooklyn Rider, familiar to listeners of NPR.

To find out what concerts we have tickets for, stop by the Readers' Services desk on the 3rd floor of the library. The third floor is also where you'll find classical music CDs to check out. Here's a list of CDs by Ravinia performers and ensembles for which we have lawn tickets.

You can also download performances by many of these musicians on Freegal with your Des Plaines Library card.

Happy listening!

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