Monica D. Murgia

Art, creativity, and fashion

Archive for the ‘art’ Category

January 28th, 2015 by Monica Murgia

Frances Louise Ward

Several months ago, I received an email from one of my readers named Susan.  Her mother, Frances Louise Ward, passed away several years ago.  Among the remaining estate was a bridesmaid dress made by Antonio Castillo while he was employed by Elizabeth Arden.  It had some damage to the white tulle, and she was curious about the materials he used so that she could properly clean and fix the dress.
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Susan’s email details some of her mother’s history:
“The dress was a bridesmaid dress from my mother’s wedding 1948.  She was one of NYC’s top models and Hollywood starlet so she had a big wedding…plus she married someone from a very aristocratic family.  Also her wedding dress is in our storage unit and last time I say it a couple years ago , it was in perfect condition but in a box so it’s crinkled…it may be by Castillo also or maybe Dior since she modeled wedding dresses for Dior.”
Frana's wedding photo
“I attached photos of my mother ….one of her in her wedding dress!  She had thousands of clothes and we had a huge sale in NYC in 2009…her name was Frances Ward when she was a Power’s model in the 40’s and 50’s.  She started modeling at age 15.”
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Some details surfaced about Ward’s wedding in a family scrapbook.   The advertisement, above, for the Woodbury Soap Company chronicles her marriage to piano-heir Charles Kohler White.  (It appeared in Life Magazine on March 7th, 1949.) It reads:
“Wedding Bells Chime – sweet harmony as Frances Louise Ward weds piano-heir Charles Kohler White in St. Aloysius Church, Great Neck, Long Island.  Charles beams with pride – Frances looks luscious.  Her cream-smooth complexion?  A, that’s Woodbury’s beauty trick.  ‘It’s been a daze’ chuckles Charles, ‘since Frances danced into my life!’  Courtship kept him hopping.  Yale!  New York!  Carolina plantation!”
Woodbury Soap Company  featured similar advertisement throughout the 1940s to sell their soap.  Each advertisement featured a newly wedded couple, telling the story of their romance and how Woodbury soap was a critical ingredient to their love story.  (You can see similar advertisements here.)
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 Ward was a beauty, and graced the cover of Glamour Magazine in 1944, below.  Dubbed “The Career Issue”, landing this cover must have been quite the honor.  The image was taken at the height of World War II, a time during which many women flooded the workforce.  Men were fighting the war, leaving many vacancies across various industries.  For the first time, women from every socioeconomic status could earn their own money in any industry of their choosing, without shame, discouragement, or contempt.  Prior to the war, women were not encouraged to work.   Gender roles were much more ridged.  There were only a few types of careers that a woman could pursue, such as teaching, nursing, or fashion-related work.  Other choices were frowned upon or impossible to obtain.  During the war, this perception began to shift.  Women were encouraged to join the workforce, primarily in male-dominated industries, as a form of patriotism.  The need to replace the workforce was critical to win the war and keep the economy intact.
Glamour September 1944

Many thanks go Susan for sharing these great images of her mother.  She is currently working on conserving the Castillo dress and will provide some photos when she is finished.  If you have any additional information on Frances Louise Ward, please leave a comment.

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January 27th, 2015 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Wings

“Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings.”  Victor Hugo
Bird in Flight

 

November 10th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Paradise

And they asked, “How do you get to the paradise land?”  He said:  “It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying ‘here it is ‘or ‘there it is’.  Rather, the paradise land is spread out upon the earth and you do not see it.  What you seek is inside of you as much as it is outside of you.”  Gospel of Thomas

Heaven

 

November 7th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Impatience

“When you plant seeds in the
garden, you don’t dig them up
every day to see if they have
sprouted yet. You simply water
them and clear away the weeds;
you know that the seeds will grow
in time. Similarly, just do your daily
practice and cultivate a kind heart.
Abandon impatience and instead be
content creating the causes for
goodness; the results will come
when they’re ready.”

 – Thubten Chodron -

Flowers

September 2nd, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Starting Over

“I don’t start over.  You see, I just go on from one thing to another.  They’re all really the same.” – Diana Vreeland 

 

Eagle

 

August 13th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Door

Why search in vain / in every door in which we will not exist / because we have not yet arrived?

That is how I found out / that I was exactly like you / and like the whole world.

- Pablo Neruda

NYPL

 

August 12th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Transformation

“He had been persecuted and despised for his ugliness, and now he heard them say he was the most beautiful of all the birds. Even the elder-tree bent down its bows into the water before him, and the sun shone warm and bright. Then he rustled his feathers, curved his slender neck, and cried joyfully, from the depths of his heart, ‘I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling.’”- Hans Christian Andersen

Goose

 

August 8th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Reverse

“We must abandon completely the notion of blaming the past for any kind of situation we are in.  And we have to reverse our thinking to see that the past always flows out of the present.  That now is the creative point of life.  And so, you see, it’s like the idea of forgiving somebody.  You change the meaning of the past by doing that.  It’s also like the flow of music.   The melody as it is expressed is changed by notes that come later.  The present is always changing the past.” – Alan Watts
Reverse

 

August 5th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Solitude

“You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;
And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.
And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.
For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.”
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“There are those among you who seek the talkative through fear of being alone.
The silence of aloneness reveals to their eyes their naked selves and they would escape.
And there are those who talk, and without knowledge or forethought reveal a truth which they themselves do not understand.
And there are those who have the truth within them, but they tell it not in words.
In the bosom of such as these the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence.When you meet your friend on the roadside or in the market place, let the spirit in you move your lips and direct your tongue.
Let the voice within your voice speak to the ear of his ear;
For his soul will keep the truth of your heart as the taste of the wine is remembered
When the colour is forgotten and the vessel is no more.”

Khalil Gibran

 

July 30th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Day Dream

“Don’t quit your day dream”, said the unicorn.

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July 29th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Travel

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu
navigation

 

July 28th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Beauty

“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”- Sigmund Freud
Central Park 2013

 

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