Monday, April 6, 2009

Legs Sell

One of my favorite pieces of advertising ephemera, this folding card from Dovedown Hosiery Mills in Griffin, Georgia, opens to reveal two long lines of "legs." Each has a slightly different sample color of ladies' hosiery. They're individually hinged at the top, so that the entire series swings out and back, giving something of the effect of a kick line of dancing chorus girls.

This was the spring and summer line for 1937. It's probably not a coincidence that the Rockettes had won the grand prize at the "Paris Exposition de Dance" in 1936. And the Hollywood choreographer Busby Berkeley was doing some of his geometric dance work in the years just prior.

There must have been a powerful appeal in suggesting that the woman wearing them shared the vitality of those performers, emphasized by the exotic, ethnic colors like Carib, Cubatan and Kona hinting at something sexy and forbidden.

But it's the innovative design and animation that sells me.