Well, it’s been quite a while since I last did a blog post. And I wish I could say it is because I was on a round the world cruise, dining and dancing to the wee hours, and much too busy sipping cocktails in exotic locales to take the time to do a post. If only. Instead I contracted a heinous upper respiratory virus. Could have been the flu. Who knows. I only know it knocked me flat on my butt. If you’ve had it this season, then you know what I’m talking about. It was a good two weeks before I could even think about working. And another couple of weeks for my energy to return.
Anyway, I’m back to tell you about one of my favorite dress labels, L’Aiglon, an American apparel company that was in business from the late 1800’s to the 1970s. If you’re already a vintage clothing collector, you may already be familiar with them. But I’d like to share some background on this business whose owners were pioneers in the ready to wear fashion industry.
Founded by the Biberman brothers, Russian immigrants, who established the company in 1898 and were based out of Philadelphia, Pa. As a matter of fact, their original factory building is still there, having been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Their first dress labels read “Biberman Make” and their focus was on producing easy care “housedresses” or “wash dresses”, also referred to back then as “tubable”, along with uniforms for nurses and maids. In 1919 the label was changed to L’Aiglon.
Photos via Flickr
The company eventually evolved into producing high fashion dresses for the “average American housewife and girl with a job.”
The company also introduced a junior line, labeled Jeanne D’Arc.
In the 1950s L’Aiglon expanded. It was the post WW II economic boom. And with an end to fabric rationing women were eager for new fashions and designs. The couture houses in Paris were back in business and American women wanted in on the styles. L’Aiglon was happy to oblige!
“casual dresses that are worn and loved by women in every income bracket from the mink and mansion set to the budget and bungalow crowd.”
During the 1950s L’Aiglon dresses were worn by actresses in the popular daytime soap opera “The Edge of Night“
In 1962 L’Aiglon dress prices averaged from $18 to $30. According to this inflation calculator that would make them $150 to $250 in today’s dollars!
Despite over 70 years of success L’Aiglon was out of business by 1976. Like many other apparel companies since, they couldn’t compete with the cheaper labor of imported clothing.
There was so much great clothing made in the US back before most manufacturing went offshore. And I feel it is important that we don’t forget about companies like L’Aiglon who employed so many and produced stylish, affordable, quality fashions for middle class women. It’s labels like these that offer a timeless alternative to the fast fashion brands of today, yet are priced more moderately than the more well know designer vintage labels.
So if you love feminine vintage styles, be on the lookout for the L’Aiglon label.
Tell next time…..