Vintage Cissy's Negligees and Nighties
There are many different negligees/robes and nighties/gowns produced for Madame Alexander's beautiful Cissy doll between 1955 and 1959. This is an attempt to catalog them.
one potato, two potato, three potato, four, choose from what’s here or feel free to add more There are many different robes or negligees that go with the deeply cut nylon tricot night gown. Since all the robes and gowns were sold separately, except when paired in a trunk set, they were easily mixed and matched. The first two years of Cissy’s production, negligees as well as the gown had the deeply cut “V” in front and back. Nighties Robes Negligee Sets Trunk Sets Variations a vintageMACissy Group’s interactive attempt at cataloging Cissy’s Negligee Sets The nylon tricot V-neck gown (25-363) cost $3 and was offered as a separate item. The negligee (25-370) was priced at $3.75. Oftentimes a satin or same-fabric bias ribbon was woven through insertion lace edging the bodice of the gown and front and back neck edge of the robe. Engine, engine number nine, Cleavage showing all the time. ... at least for the first 2 years of sleepwear production. • It appears this deeply cut V-neck style gown was offered several years to go with any or all of the corresponding matching V-neck negligees. However, documentation is sketchy and real time (1950’s) advertising, catalog listings and promotional materials often further muddied the waters. Black and white photography and illustrations added to the murkiness. Besides, we are discussing toys, for heaven’s sake. Only OCD Baby Boomers care about this minutiae. Madame must be having a big chuckle from the other side. Stock Number vs. Manufacturer’s Number • In 1955 and 1956 FAO Schwarz sold a negligee simply described as a “nylon robe” (#25-370) for $3.75. Madame Alexander’s style number was 21-47; however, this number is unverified. Oh, what number shall I choose? • The 1955 FAO catalog entry also stated the basic doll sold for $13.95 and came with lace panties, a bra, stockings and slippers but not the high collared negligee illustrated. I guess there were rules way back then about not showing real undergarments, even on a doll. To my knowledge, a bra was never sold by Mme. Alexander, however, FAO could have added one from another manufacturer like Premier. 16-28 was the style number of the basic Cissy In Undies or chemise. The negligee was not included. Mme. Alexander’s corresponding style number for the basic doll was 2100. Her catalog from the same year showed a plain pink nylon robe with either a scooped- or less exaggerated V-neck nightie trimmed in lace and ribbon roses. • FAO’s catalog pictures (Fig. A) for ‘55 showed what appeared to be a stand-up collar design but the example was an illustration, not a photograph, with the publication probably having been sent to press long before actual samples were on hand for reference. They’re doll clothes, kids! Who cares about accuracy! Their Fig. F displayed in illustration a full length pink tricot nightie (#25-363). • Behind this Cissy, and prominently displayed on the clothes rack in the composite shot, is the rare and elusive large pink dots negligee. There is no further evidence of when or by whom it was issued. It is seldom seen. The fabric is a nylon seer-sucker. 1955 Nylon Seersucker Large Dot Robe Gypsy, gypsy please tell me, what my fortune’s going to be, Rich-man, poor-man, beggar-man, thief; More cissy clothes will bring you grief. Lace and Ribbon Configurations The pictures to the left show three different lace with entwined satin ribbon patterns. There are probably many more. It is natural to assume that matching patterns on both gown and robe belong together but that alone does not pinpoint the year they were produced, only that they were meant to be a set. Thus far in two years with both summer and Christmas catalog editions plus a Cissy Takes a Trip trunk set, there were five different “nylon” robes: 1) plain sheer, 2) pin dotted sheer, 3)rose stripe sheer, 4)flocked rose buds on sheer nylon and 5) large pink dots on nylon seersucker. There are two shades of the plain sheer nylon, one a much lighter pink than the other. FAO’s 1956 summer catalog offered a nylon rose stripe negligee and pink tricot nightie, each sold separately, with the same style numbers as the 1955 robe and gown. fabric close up Very tactile sheer nylon seersucker fabric. The close up view shows an alternating pink and negative space dot to the pattern. 1956 Nylon Negligee Variations This example is often referred to as the rose-striped pattern and was offered by FAO Schwarz as 25-370 in their Summer catalog. down in the valley where the green grass grows there sits Cissy, pretty as a rose in the sheerest of fabric with flowers up and down sheâ€™ll buy new clothes when the money comes around. 1956 Flocked Rosebud Negligee with ribbon lace insert reason why! A new house cost $22,000 and a new Ford car was $1600 to $2900. Gas was $0.23 a gallon. A formally dressed Cissy cost $21.95--quite a hefty price for a toy! Now imagine spending $55 for the trunk! That’s one fifth of an man’s average monthly pay. Pink satin ribbon in insertion lace and flocked rosebud fabric pattern detail. Flocked rosebud print nylon negligee. One of the fabric variations in 1956. The deep V-cut tricot nightie remained consistent in fabric and price. What summer wrought • FAO’s 1956 summer catalog offered a nylon rose stripe negligee and pink tricot nightie (pictured left), each sold separately, with the same style numbers as the 1955 robe and gown. FAO infrequently published summer activity toy catalogs primarily for back-yard, beach and pool fun. Playing dolls was considered a rainy day activity but one that placed Madame’s high priced creations in the limelight, just where she wanted them to be. She was very impressed by royalty, celebrities, wealth and prestige of any kind. Cissy was big and expensive and Madame loved having her controversial fashion piece showcased by THE premier retailer. • The median income in 1955 was $3400 for men and $1100 for women though fewer than half of married women worked. Really? That pay differential inequity identifies the Two white batiste gowns, #25-9, 1956 Trimmed in pink or blue Two white batiste gowns: one trimmed in blue, #25-9, 1956 and the other trimmed in pink, #25-16, 1957 Blue print cotton robe (right), Christmas, 1956, #25-22 and Blue & pink flowered nylon negligee (left) (#25-31) or from 1957 Trunk Set, #40-209 Blue bells, Cockel shells, easy ivy over. Rosy print is flower bent, and prettier than clover. • Madame Alexander’s 1956 catalog showed a small floral blue and white print pattern cotton nightie trimmed in white cotton eyelet lace which FAO sold in their 1956 Christmas catalog. Two white batiste cotton gowns were available, one with blue trim and one with pink. They may have both been sold in 1956 but an educated guess picks the one trimmed in blue if it were that year’s only issue. I’m guessing the pink trimmed gown came out in the Summer of 1957 as #25-16. Only a gown and no robe was offered that summer. • Assembled at Christmas time for this upscale retailer was a trunk set, Cissy Takes A Trip, priced at $55.00. FAO contributed a blue formal with hoop petticoat to the collection. • The 1956 Trunk Set, #M40-169, contained, among other items, Cissy dressed in the Traveling Outfit three piece suit which consisted of a black and white checked circular skirt lined in red taffeta, a white cotton blouse with Peter Pan collar and an elbow length black cotton jacket. The natural straw hat with black velvet ribbon and red roses completed this smart ensemble. Cissy also carried a red or black hatbox and white cotton gloves. One of three different petticoats was included: a red polished cotton can-can, a red taffeta can-can Cotton batiste gown, 1956 #25-22, Christmas 1956. Blue print cotton robe with eyelet lace trim The cotton fabric composition is the only thing that sets this negligee apart from other ‘55 and ‘56 robes. The style with its deeply cut “V” in front and back and short puff sleeves is identical to the nylon negligees. or a white taffeta with red rick rack trimming the ruffles. A dressed doll in the same outfit sold separately as Madame Alexander style #20-27. • As far as variations go, the ‘56 trunk had many in the sleepwear department. Madame Alexander’s Ladies of Fashion, a fraught-with-error sentimental favorite reference of Cissy collectors, stated a green nylon rose print robe was included in the 1957 Trunk Set; however, the (Cissy) Takes A Trip negligee pictured is actually from 1956. The white square neck gown, #25-9, was trimmed in either pink or blue ribbon with a bow at the waist and wound through insertion lace at the neckline. The back dipped into a deep “V” with a single square snap closure at the waist. Na atuer at, sum illut praessenit ea conse ve A rare negligee variation in Cissy Takes A Trip Trunk, 1956, #40-169 E The 1957 trunk robe was not a sheer nylon at all but a blue and pink floral print on “solid” white. • The green nylon print variation shown in the fabric detail shot is the same Another variation of the white as the batiste gown with pink satin ribbon, fancy lace and ribbon roses busy print on yet another deeply cut “V” neck negligee are shown in the composite shot. The quality of the reprint is poor and no description is printed; however, FAO Schwarz lists what appears to be the same items, a crepe nightie, #467-084 (MA’s #22-16) and a nylon robe, #467092 (MA’s #22-23) for $3.50 each. Price change! Rare yellow rayon gown from 1956 Trunk Set, #40-169. This square necked gown also came in light blue and is a rare companion to the negligee in FAO’s 1957 trunk set. dressed #2142 from 1958. It is quite rare and predates by two years this popular Cissy dressed for a party. An even more rare part of the substitution is the yellow square neck rayon satin #2142, 1958 gown trimmed with ribbon roses and val lace that is stunning under the green robe. This gown also came in a square neck style in pink or blue and a less exaggerated V-neck version with pink and green ribbon flowers trimming the neck edge. It is believed the square neck blue rayon satin gown was released in 1957. • In Madame’s 1957 Catalog a modified V-neck crepe nightie and what appears to be a A Sheer Dotted Nylon Negligee worn over a modified V-neck rayon gown. Probably from 1956 Re-creation of Madame Alexander’s 1957 Catalog Composite Shot. Was this the printed negligee... found in the trunk set? -at least for the first 2 years of sleepwear production. Madame Alexander’s Catalog showed the gown with a less exaggerated V-front while FAO Schwarz’s Takes A Trip Trunk (#M-40-209) sometimes combined the floral negligee with a rare square neck rayon gown in light blue (seen at right). A dillar, a dollar, I’m hardly a scholar, I feel like a buffoon. Sleepwear charts so seldom marked, Enough robes to make you swoon. ...Or, was this the print? tify the print in Madame Alexander’s Catalog Reprints even with Photoshop’s sharpening intervention. The publication has been reproduced so many times--at least my copy has-that there’s no hope of my identifying the print. Perhaps you are lucky enough to have an original or early copy and will let me know. The FAO Schwarz Christmas catalog does show what appears to be a print robe. Side-By-Side Comparison. The style in the larger print is essentially the same as the 1955 and 1956 negligees. Both robes • It’s nigh on to impossible to iden- have the exaggerated V-front but the lesser seen and larger floral pattern design has the deep V in the back, suggesting its date should be 1955 or 1956. The more familiar blue and pink pattern and designated as the one in the 1957 trunk has a high back with a wrap around satin ribbon that’s tacked at center back and tied in the front. The MA style numbers for the robe and gown were 25-31 and 25-24, respectively. • A bed with floral linens was released for Cissette in 1957. The sheet and pillowcase were the same floral print as the ascribed 1957 Takes A Trip negligee which suggests our dating of the negligee is indeed correct. • However, a negligee for Cissette was seen in this print in 1961 which blows our whole theory. I’m guessing parsimonious Madame had extra fabric lying around that she didn’t want wasted. 1956 and 1957 Takes a Trip Trunk Set Negligees is identical. • Lace Trim on both the Rare Blue Rayon Gown sometimes seen in 1957 Cissy Takes A Trip Trunk. FAO Schwarzâ€™s 1957 Summer Catalog No Negligee Offered, Only a Gown (#25-16) Eenie, meenie, miney, mo. Buy an outfit at the stoe. If Cissy hollers make her pay, Just fifty dollars every day. Simple cotton batiste nightgown sold as #25-16 by FAO Schwarz for $3.50 in Summer of 1957. My True Confession. For years I’ve looked at FAO’s catalog pictures, never bothering to study the text. If I had I would have discovered this dotted pique robe did not go with either of the white cotton batiste gowns offered as #25-16. In fact, a swimsuit of the same fabric and a play suit of reverse colored dots was offered (but not illustrated). I assumed the robe and gown went together. Tell me I’m not the only one to make this mistake. Lace and Ribbon Configurations There are surely more lace and ribbon configurations on the white batiste gown than the three (two pink So there they are for the whole world to see in the FAO Catalog excerpt for Summer of 1957--gown and robe pictured together and no swimsuit. and one blue) pictured here. Note the bottom example where a ribbon sash ties in the front. The bodice is trimmed with pink satin ribbon and embroidered flowers. The other two gowns have satin ribbon in insertion lace and a simple ribbon bow tacked at the waistline’s center front. The pink set was advertised while the more common blue tricot print was not Grandma, Grandma, I am ill, Send for the doctor to give me a pill, Doctor, Doctor, will I die? With what you cost, I wouldn’t try. #22-18, 1958 or FAO’s #25-24 were often duplicated, adding further confusion to cataloging Cissy and her outfits. Who really cares? Made from fine silk crepe fabric, the negligee has two rows of Val lace and the gown’s neck edge has three. This negligee set is well documented but its floral print tricot twin is not. In fact, there is no known catalog mention of its production or availability. • The pink set was featured in both the FAO Schwarz’s 1958 Christmas catalog and in Madame Alexander’s catalog in the composite shot. FAO sold the gown as #25-24 for $3.50 and the robe as #25-25 for the same amount. The Madame Alexander style number is thought to be #22-18. • I’ve never seen the blue and white print boxed, but if it follows item “rules” the box was imprinted with #25-24-Blue or Print for the nightie and #25-25-Blue or Print for the negligee. Elise had the identical negligee set, #17-18, assumed to have been issued the same year. The “17” connotes Elise’s height, so it would have followed that Cissy’s number was #22-18. • A long time professional at the MA factory swore that no style number was ever used twice, but research show that numbers from year to year Other than we Cissy-holics, I just don’t know, but I find it fascinating to try to unravel details of this mesmirising doll and her wardrobe. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Pink Crepe Nightie with Lace Bodice Lace Illusion Negligee Not last night but the night before, 12 Cissy owners came a-knocking at my door, As I ran out, they ran in and knocked me on the head with a rolling pin. Price Hike in 1959 to $4.00 for each piece! FAO Schwarz’s Catalog Numbers were 25-4, negligee, and 25-36, pink silk nightie. MA’s numbers were 22-26 and 22-25, respectively. Only One Negligee Set in 1959. • And a beautiful one it was with a flowing lace illusion negligee with 3/4 length sleeves and Val lace trim at neck, cuffs and hem. The gown had a fine silk crepe, tightly-pleated floor-length skirt. Its bodice, with its flattering scoop neckline, was the same lace illusion as the robe. It was also trimmed in Val lace at the neck, arms and hem. Two silk ribbon roses were tacked at the center front waistline. The gown closed in back with three square snaps. Both Elise and Cissette had shadow negligee sets. Elise’s style number was 1725 and Cissette’s Queen Travel Trousseau was #2295. 1 One potato, two potato, three potato, four, This blurb is now finished, can’t write anymore! 1) FAO Schwarz’s #25-363, plunging V-neck tricot nightie with differing lace and ribbon trim treatments, was a staple in 1955 and 1956. It sold for $3. 2 2) Large Dot seersucker fabric (far right) and 3) sheer nylon (near right) negligees (FAO’s #25-370) released in 1955 and sold for $3.75. Madame Alexander’s style number for the basic doll in chemise was #2100; FAO Schwarz’s was 16-28. Cissy sold for $13.95 in 1955 but her price was reduced by a dollar in 1956. 3 Icha bacha, soda cracker, icha bacha boo, A very short recap, and we are through. ... Why jump rope rhymes? • The sheer number of gowns and robes produced, with their corresponding photos, research notations and scanned materials with backup documentation, prompted me to throw up my hands in utter dismay. The first throught in trying to organize it all was to simply choose from one potato or the other, hence the rhymes with no really good reason. Once started, more followed. 7 4 4) FAO’s Summer Catalog, 1956, #25-370, Rose Striped Nylon Negligee. 5 6 7) #25-9. Christmas 1956 cotton batiste gown with pink or blue trim. Research suggest blue trim was 1956 and pink trim was summer of 1957 as 26-16. 8) Christmas 1956 Cotton Batiste Print Negligee with Eyelet Trim, 25-22. 8 5) Pindot Nylon Negligee & 6) Flocked Rosebud Nylon Negligee, both from 1956, either #25-370 or a Trunk Set (40-169) variation. 9 9) Rare green nylon print negligee with equally rare yellow rayon gown from 1956, Cissy Takes A Trip Trunk Set (40169) . 1 1 11) Nylon print robe in Christmas catalog as 25-31 or the Takes A Trip Trunk collection as style 40-209. MAstyle number was 22-23. Rare blue rayon gown sometimes in the trunk set. This rayon gown, seen as 10 10) early as 1955 in Mme. Alex- ander’s catalog is not sold until 1957 by FAO Schwarz. It is most often seen in that year’s Christmas catalog as 25-24 or the Takes A Trip Trunk collection as style 40209. Madame’s style number was 22-16. 12 12) An alternate in the Takes A Trip Trunk collection, style 40-209 or a 1955 or 1956 print variation of FAO’s standard 25-370? Robe and gown prices are now the same at $3.50 each piece. eenie, meenie, miney, mo, please don’t holler, off I go. 13) Out of place or to be grouped with other robes according to FAO’s Summer catalog in 1957? It’s 25-17 and placed next to a batiste gown trimmed in blue, #2516. 14a 13 15) The last year Cissy was featured with extra clothes by FAO Schwarz, she appeared in their 1959 Christmas catalog with a lace illusion negligee, 25-4 ($4) and pink crepe nightie with a lace bodice, 25-36 ($4). Madame Alexander’s style numbers were 2226 (robe) and 22-25 (gown). 14 14) From FAO’s 1958 Christmas catalog, a well documented pink silk crepe nightie, 25-24, and matching negligee, 2525, sold for $3.50 each. 14a) is the identical style yet uncatalogued. Thought to also be from 1958 and have the same style number but with fabric differentiation. 15