A popular trend in the 1930s, the novelty print all but vanished during WWII, only to re-emerge in the late 1940s with a new attitude. Bursting with the optimism of the post-war era, these conversational prints became a full-blown craze by the 1950s.
No longer held back by wartime austerity or fabric rationing, the bold new novelty print showcased story-telling graphics and an endless array of whimsical themes that were ideally suited for New Look-inspired circle skirts, spilling over into all manner of garments and accessories.
Mid-century fabric manufacturers sought out some of the best commercial artists of the day, including iconic illustrator Saul Steinberg, well-known for his cartoons in the New Yorker. His designs were given titles and available in multiple color-ways, even matching wallpaper.
The boundaries of the novelty print were further expanded by the distinctive graphics Emilio Pucci debuted in the 1960s. By the 1970s, they were regularly featured in the collections of designers as diverse as Betsey Johnson, Valentino, and Ossie Clark.
This week VFG members showcase garments and accessories with novel prints, illustrating why we so love this genre!