I bought this great looking fifties skirt last week.
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:
Turns out she also created some pretty amazing Bakelite jewelry, too.
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!