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Sewing that's Retro, Geek, and Chic

Real Thing or Soap Prop?

My tiny laundry room has been painted a bright shade of yellow-orange for 9 years, and I’ve never been able to find any wall art I liked with my paint color… until now!

Yesterday during a leisurely shopping trip at Hobby Lobby, I found the perfect art print for my laundry room. It’s a magazine cover from July 1956, and the colors are mostly bright shades of orange and yellow.

Couture Magazine cover July 1956

I love the strapless, ruffled, and striped swimsuit the model is wearing! The fact that it’s a not-so-perfect fit (spandex wasn’t invented until 1959) and that some of the stripe placement is odd makes it all the more charming (no photoshopped perfection) and ironic that it is on the cover of something labeled “couture”.

It’s almost like no one thought about how the stripes would line up at the seams.

I was curious if there were other vintage covers of Couture or perhaps a collection that had been published together in a book (sort of like the books of Fortune Magazine and Vogue cover art), so I asked the search engines of Google, Wikipedia, and Amazon.

Search results were inconclusive.

Aside from a few other art prints, the only real lead I could get by doing an internet search seems to be linked to a fictional character on the television soap opera General Hospital whose made up “profile” includes “Former Fashion Editor for Couture Magazine”.

I’ve never really watched soap operas, but considering that General Hospital is the oldest running American soap opera (it started in 1963), it makes me wonder if Couture Magazine was created for the show and the “covers” could be old art department props.

Or maybe the Couture covers are simply old photos someone has used to create art that looks like vintage magazine covers.

Anyone know if Couture Magazine ever really existed? Or do you think it might be a really elaborate film prop? Could it be that it was just created for generic wall art?

I’m not really sure, but I like my new picture in my laundry room.

UPDATE:  Thanks so much to those in the comments who helped solve the mystery of my artwork!  It’s definitely not vintage (I didn’t think so, but I wasn’t quite sure why!) and it’s all about the sun being on the model as explained by Lizzie on her blog.  Very interesting!

7 responses to “Real Thing or Soap Prop?

  1. CostumeDeeva June 26, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I actually love that print and what a great cheery color for your laundry room. Makes boring chores a little bit brighter.

  2. Karen June 27, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Perfect for a laundry room (I actually have spots painted on the walls in mine, just to keep it fun!) As far as your mystery Couture magazine – do you follow Lizzie at The Vintage Traveler blog? She is a wealth of knowledge and I’ll bet she could help you answer your questions.

  3. Lizzie June 28, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Thanks to Karen for recommending me! To me, the photo just looks a bit off the mark to be from the 1950s. Her make-up is too modern-looking. But I wasn’t sure, so I asked some fashion history experts, who agreed that the photo is modern. None of us had ever heard of Couture magazine, and I sure that if it existed, at least one of us would have run across it. One of my friends noted that the swimsuit did not fit the way it would have on a 1950s mode.

    But I love the picture, and how it looks with your orange. One thing that does ring true is that sunny color scheme!

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