Winters Past

20th Century Fashion from Deco to Disco

Researching a Vintage Label

I bought this great looking fifties skirt last week.

Martha Sleeper skirt

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FullSizeRender

The label reads Martha Sleeper, Made in Puerto Rico and  it made me curious. I used the on-line label database at the Vintage Fashion Guild website to do some sleuthing.

Turns out Martha Sleeper was an actress from the silent movie era through the forties. Then, in 1949, she sailed from New York to Puerto Rico on holiday and fell in love with the island. She abruptly sold her penthouse and yacht, bought a Caribbean home and opened a hand-made clothing shop there. Sleeper sewed “native” dresses in San Juan and resolved never to return to the US mainland.

Check out these wonderful photos of actress turned designer Martha Sleeper:

Martha Sleeper, film star and fashion designer

Martha Sleeper, film star and fashion designer

Martha Sleeper, film star and fashion designer

Turns out she also created some pretty amazing Bakelite jewelry, too.

Martha Sleeper Jewelry

Martha Sleeper Jewelry

There was a resurgence of interest in Sleeper’s jewelry when Andy Warhol began collecting it in the seventies.

All this great history from a vintage skirt label!

Author: Winters Past

I am a vintage clothing shop owner living and working in rural north Florida. I believe in adding a little vinegar and molasses to my greens, having my coffee outside whenever possible, and mixing something vintage into every room and every outfit.

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