Browse More Than 1,000 Original Sketches Of Mid-Century Fashion

In 1957, three New York designers Walter Teitelbaum, Leo Boren, and Howard Steel founded a company called Creators Studio that produced fashion design concepts. With the tagline “Not yesterday’s but tomorrow’s fashions today,” they’d draw up original garments based upon notable fashion trends, and design manufacturers would receive these sketches on a subscription basis.

Walter Teitelbaum gifted the New York Public Library with 1,067 of these drawings of women’s and children’s ready-to-wear fashions from 1957 to 1969, and the collection has been digitized for you to explore online. From jumpers to capes to ballgowns, it’s an encyclopedia of mid-century fashion design. (NYPL’s Dina Selfridge went so far as to pick out the characters of Mad Men through these outfits in a pretty convincing visual argument!)

The art itself, drawn in ink and watercolor, is every bit as compelling as the apparel. Just look at the golden curl around this figure, highlighting her hair, buttons, handkerchief, and glove–all while accenting her swooping legs. Fifty years later, and we’re all talking about Levis that control our iPhones. What the hell has happened to us?

See the collection here.MW