Clothing of the 1950’s: Lovely Lilli Ann Coats April 19 2022
As much as I want to be someone who branches out to a nice down coat or a puffy parka, I am 100% a wool coat kind of girl. And so it is that I introduce you to the loveliness that is the Lilli Ann wool coat. Don’t believe me? Check out the pink and green plaid swing coat on the Rice and Beans Vintage website—or the lemon yellow one with the Peter Pan collar. (But do it quick before someone buys them before you do!)
The Lilli Ann label was established in San Francisco in 1934 with $2,000 Adolph Schuman borrowed from a bank. He named the company after his wife Lillian. After WWII, Schuman went to Paris and bought so many textiles that he saved many French companies from going out of business. He helped multiple European weavers to modernize their systems and then placed orders for their entire output during certain months—it was at this time that “Paris” was added to the designer’s labels. The fashion line soon became known for its use of high quality textiles from Italy and France (also another reason you should check out those coats—I bet you’re a sucker for quality, too) and their elaborately designed women’s suits and coats. In 1953 Schuman opened a new three-story plant in San Francisco. In the 1960s he developed a knits line as well as a mod-inspired London line before moving to more career-based looks in the 1970s and 80s. Schuman died in 1985 and the company passed on to his heirs, who kept the business running until the 1990s; the line officially closed its doors in 2000. Lilli Ann clothing pieces are nearly impeccable—yes, a suit can be boring and perhaps not as relevant as they once were—but it’s all in the details. And Lilli Ann did details so well. Trims and pleating and puffs and asymmetry and oversized collars and architectural styling’s—they’re just perfect. But not as perfect as those coats—seriously, go look.