It has to be a really special occasion for me to wear stockings. While I love the look and how sexy stockings can be, they definitely aren’t in my daily wardrobe rotation. It seams that nearly every time I put a pair on, I somehow snag them and create a terrible hole or run. Still, I will slip on a seamed pair of stockings every now and then.
Stockings weren’t always optional for women. They were a necessity for any lady’s wardrobe. And who better to recommend the perfect pair than Antonio Castillo?
Yes, my collection extents into old magazine advertisements. I recently acquired this 1947 ad, during which time Castillo was a designer for Elizabeth Arden’s Fashion Floor. Illustrated by Rene Bouche, the beautiful ad issues Castillo’s fashion decree. It reads:
” ‘Seam-free nylons belong to the new fashions’ says Castillo of Elizabeth Arden. Elegance in Castillo’s after-dark suit, complemented by DANCING TWINS seam-free nylons. Here is the stocking that enhances the leg, defining its loveliest lines! Now at better stores, under leading brand names.“
Stockings were traditionally made of silk until 1940. This was when nylon was introduced to the market. Women demanded nylon stockings in droves, as they were less expensive than silk. The demand for nylon stockings was so great that manufactures couldn’t keep up with the demand. Then, America entered into World War II. Nylon was rationed to make parachutes and other wartime supplies. Women carefully mended and darned old stockings, or drew seams on the back with eyeliner or burnt cork. These drawn lines mimicked the look of stockings.
After the war, stockings flooded the marketplace. Designers, like Castillo, started to offer them as part of their merchandise in stores.
Castillo started designing for the House of Lanvin in 1950. He continued to offer stocking. I have an original box for stockings Castillo offered while at Lanvin. The box described the style as seamless, and size 8.5 medium.
I’m not sure if the two pairs inside the box are really Lanvin-Castillo. For starters, they are seamed. They also read size 9. But what is really interesting are the marking on the pair. Fully fashioned refers to the cut of the stockings. They were cut and constructed to fit the leg precisely – much in the way that a sweater is cut and constructed to fit the body. Seamless stockings have no seam down the back, and have a reinforced toe and heel. They aren’t shaped to fit the leg because they are made in circular knitting machines. That’s why modern day tights and stockings have a tubular shape.
These stockings also include more information. Denier refers to the weight of the nylon fabric. Denier describes the density of fibers, or thickness.