Monica D. Murgia

Art, creativity, and fashion
February 9th, 2015 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Connected

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But I’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.  – Alan Watts
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January 29th, 2015 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Landscape

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“The mind is the only landscape that can change itself.” – Margaret A. Boden
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January 28th, 2015 by Monica Murgia

Frances Louise Ward

Glamour September 1944
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

Bird in Flight
“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
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November 24th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Gratitude

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“Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.” Robert Braathe
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November 18th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: The Stream

Autumn 2014

“The flow of life . . . you are going along with it whether you want to or not.  Like people in a stream, you can swim against it.  But you’ll still be moved along by it, and all you’ll do is wear yourself out in futility.  But if you swim with the stream, the whole strength of the stream is yours.  Of course, the difficulty so many of us have is finding out which way the stream is going.” – Alan Watts

 

Autumn 2014

 

November 10th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Paradise

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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

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November 7th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Impatience

Flowers

“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

October 30th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass
“In a Wonderland they lie, dreaming as the days go by, dreaming as the summers die. Ever drifting down the stream- lingering in the golden gleam. Life, what is it but a dream?” ― Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
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October 21st, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Broken

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“Do not despair.  If your heart can be broken, that means that it still works.”

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September 2nd, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Starting Over

Eagle

“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 20th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Mystery

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“The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” – Gerard van der Leeuw

 

New York

 

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