How exciting! This May, I will be giving a paper at the 2011 California American Studies Association annual conference. These conferences examine how California has impacted the US and world at large, in a variety of disciplines. This year, I will be giving a paper entitled:
A Little Bit of the Golden State in the Big Apple: The California Shop 1938-1942
Helen Misch Kemp was a fashionable, entrepreneurial woman living in New York City in the 1930s. During a trip to California, she realized that the merchandise available in the state was vastly different than what was in New York. The result of Ms. Kemp’s trip was the opening of the California Shop in 1938.
The California Shop offered the best merchandise from the Golden State to Manhattan’s elite. The merchandise was primarily women’s clothing and jewelry. The premise of the California Shop was to offer “a little bit of the Golden State in the Big Apple”.
California women’s wear was more that just clothing – it was a lifestyle and identity. Californian fashion designers catered to consumers’ desires, creating garments and advertising campaigns that exuded the ideals of youth, celebrity, and leisure.ideals that every American valued.
The California Shop ran successfully from 1938-1942. Top editors from Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily, Harper’s Bazaar, Mademoiselle, and Glamour frequented the business. Ms. Kemp was forced to close the doors of the California shop in 1942 due to difficulties in obtaining merchandise caused by World War II.
A Little Bit of the Golden State in the Big Apple: The California Shop 1938-1942 will examine the design and production of California apparel and it’s influence on New York society from 1938-1942. Areas of focus will be: unique characteristics of California’s fashion designs, approaches to manufacturing and production, and the lifestyle marketing of California merchandise.GHTime Code(s): nc nc