Thursday, June 14, 2012

Oh, Bullocks! (Disambiguation: The Store Not Sandra)

"That is very funny, but labeling people can be dangerous."


So true Cassandra, so true. Clothing, however, is a different beast and today, we're learning about this label:

And this label
And this label
 Are we seeing a pattern here?
 Housed in a gorgeous Art Deco building commissioned by John Bullock and designed by John and Donald Parkinson, the Bullock's Wilshire opened its rather impressive doors in 1929.

Bastion de style: 3050 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.
I know we like to say this a lot around here, but really, this store had EVERYTHING. Everything glamorous and high-end that is: a exterior facade design by George Stanley*, a perfume hall, a porte cochere, a saddle shop, sixty custom-designed clocks, travertine floors,
Travertine in Nature (Impressive, yes?)  Photo: M. Samaee http://www.panoramio.com/user/3163512?with_photo_id=41442092
Travertine in Bullocks. (Still impressive)

a tea room, future celebrity employees (among them June Lockhart, Pat Nixon and Angela Landsbury) a Chanel shop, several decades of exclusively handwritten receipts so as not to have the none-too-melodious sounds of cash registers disturb the peaceful and genteel shopping environment



a climate-controlled fur room, a Doggery (for the sophisticated canine) and an in-store Salon Boutique for Irene Lentz Gibbons- better known by the single moniker, Irene- stylist for the grande dames of LA and later costume designer at MGM.

The Irene Salon


An Irene display, including sketch. Photo M. Hall. Source: http://www.therecessionista.com
More info on Irene's work at Bullocks can be found here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-hall/california-couture-irene_b_666644.html
And Irene in general
http://vintagefashionguild.org/fashion-history/irene-lentz-irene
http://www.irene-lentz.com/
Apparently the definitive work on Bullocks Wilshire (or so 2.5 hours of internet research would suggest):
http://www.amazon.com/Bullocks-Wilshire-Margaret-Leslie-Davis/dp/0964311941
Awesome info and photo tour of the building today:
http://bigorangelandmarks.blogspot.com/2007/08/no-56-bullocks-wilshire-building.html
For your other labeling and other vintage clothing-related interests, check this out: http://vintagefashionguild.org/

Bullocks Wilshire closed in 1993. The following year, the building was purchased by Southwestern Law School. Extensive restoration and conservation was done, and 3050 Wilshire now houses the Dean's Office (formerly John Bullock's top floor office) and the Leigh H. Taylor Law Library. It is closed to the public but once a year they do offer the "Tea and Tour" event. For info on that see here:
http://www.swlaw.edu/campus/building/faqs/#invitation

And if you have trouble finding a gift for that persnickety person just take a cue from this:
"His wife and daughters found it impossible to buy clothes for him, except for sweaters and handkerchiefs. He preferred to choose his own outfits, and every two years he went to Bullock's Wilshire in Los Angeles and bought a supply." Thomas, Bob. Walt Disney: An American Original. Disney Editions, 1994. p.226

If Walt Disney can shop there so can you....provided you have a time traveling contraption of some variety. 

 Okay, gotta go. Me and the Doctor have to go buy some high-end scarves and bowties. 



*George Stanley designed the original Oscar statue from a design by Cedric Gibbons- MGM's Art Director- also btdubs the brother-in-law of Irene, herself twice nominated for an Academy Award. OMG, everything's coming together.

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