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Women's three-piece display bathing costume

Date: early 20th Century
Overall: 300 x 300 mm
Medium: Cotton
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Cap
Object No: 00045204
Place Manufactured:Parramatta

User Terms

    This black and white gingham print cotton bathing cap formed part of a matching three piece Princess suit. The cap is gathered with a cotton drawstring into a full crown, and features a white ric rac trim. A hand written cloth tag with the text 'Jantzen' has been sewn inside the garment.

    Bathing cap part of Woman's 1910s style three-piece display bathing costume in black and white chequered cotton. The bathing cap is gathered into a full crown with white braid trim on the brim

    Bathing suit top part of Woman's 1910s style three-piece display bathing costume in black and white chequered cotton. The dress has short sleeves, high round neck, fitted waist and gathered skirt. A white braid trim is sewn at the neck, cuffs of sleeves and waist, and bears dress buttons at the back. Also bears a large 1920s style Jantzen diving girl logo sewn to the left lower corner of the front of the full skirt, a printed tag sewn into the neck reading 'Display garment only', and a tag with handwriting reading ' Jantzen 51'

    Bathing bloomers part of woman's 1910s style three-piece display bathing costume in black and white chequered cotton. the bloomers are knee length with elastic waist and knee bands with white braid trim on the gathered cuffs
    SignificanceThese swimsuits are significant as they were previously owned by Jantzen Australia Pty Ltd and were then were used by Chin Yu and David Williams in musical theatrical productions in the 1970s. The garments reflect the design trends of men and women's swiimwear from the 1910s to the 1920s and show the transition from the elaborate bathing costumes of the 1910s to the more streamlined swim suits worn by men and women in the 1920s, reflecting Jantzen's clever marketing slogan 'the suit that changed bathing into swimming'. The two-piece wool knit swimsuit also reflects the unisex style of swimwear fashionable in the 1920s.
    HistoryThe Princess suit of the 1900s and 1910s consisted of a short skirted dress worn over matching bloomers, often worn with stockings, lace up boots and a fabric bathing cap. The shorter sleeves and button-up back created a more modern look. This, together with their wider availability through clothing and department stores, encouraged their popularity. Though the knee length skirt allowed greater freedom of movement in the water, the design's fitted waistband and seams were still restrictive.

    Jantzen did not begin producing its knitted costumes until the late 1910s, missing the era of the Princess suit. This suggests that the company either reproduced a light cotton version of the Princess design, or applied their 1920s fabric logo to an earlier garment.

    It was not uncommon for items of swimwear to be made for theatrical or promotional purposes such as fashion parades and window displays. These garments were followed the cut of traditional swimwear designs, but were made from lighter fabrics such as cotton as they were not intended for getting wet.
    Related People
    Maker: Jantzen

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