Friday, February 12, 2016

For the Love of Lilli Ann

Snapbacks and tattoos? More like old cars and vintage suits. When you have the chance to play show and tell with some of your greatest obsessions, you almost don't know where to begin with your rant on how fantastic they are. That is how I feel about old cars and one of the most legendary vintage brands in the world, Lilli Ann. 

Lilli Ann holds a special place in my heart, and is my ultimate favorite brand next to Christian Dior. They are famous for the quality, details, and materials used in their suits, coats, and dresses that set themselves apart from all others. I had been looking high and low for my very own for the longest time. I finally came across this 1940's beauty in an antique shop. It had to be one of the best finds I've ever had, and I actually teared up. This one in particular features rhinestone buttons, commonly used in his suits, that were made from Austrian crystal. 

With further research, I have found that this may possibly be my exact suit from 1947. Not only has it been my dream to wear one, but to also find the exact date it was made. A very helpful website I use to date clothing according to their labels is

Established around 1934 by the San Francisco based Adolf Schuman, Lilli Ann was created in honor of his wife, Lillian. Although, Lilli Ann didn't quite reach their height until after World War Two. Adolf was known to have supported local fabric factories after the war in France. With his purchase of these fabrics in not only France, but also Italy, he was able to save them from being forced to close down. He benefited from this by being awarded the "Chevalier of the Legion of Honor" from France, and then the "Order of the Legion of Merit" by Italy. The customer benefited by being able to wear some of the most luxurious hand loomed fabrics in the world. Along with being a fashion hero, he opened a Paris showroom which led him to some of his close business partners, Coco Chanel and Cristobal Balenciaga. 

Many people may not know, but Adolf Schuman has quite the success story. His father was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant who came to San Francisco during the 1880's. He made a living by driving a milk truck. His son Adolf took the risk of starting Lilli Ann with an $800 loan and a mere two room space. From his success he was able to have sales reported around 40 million in 1982, three years before his death. 
Not only was he a famous designer, but also a prominent political figure as well. He was known to have been close friends of the Kennedy's and held campaign fund-raising dinners at his home in San Francisco. 

Now that you understand just how important Lilli Ann is to me, here is my interpretation of how they were worn. I am posed with a gorgeous 1959 Mercedes that was a dream to photograph with.

Worn with the Lilli Ann, I paired tan leather gloves, 1940's brown leather handbag, vintage Sanger Harris hat, and early 1950's Jacques Heim leather heels. 

As much as I am in love with this suit, preserving it's historical value is far more important to me, and I want it to go to someone who will truly appreciate it. I recently started an Etsy store "Gwendolyn's Golden Eras" at I will be selling items from the Victorian era up to the 1960's. To see the listing for this Lilli Ann go to

If you are interested in seeing more of Lilli Ann, visit my Lilli Ann Pinterest page to see more vintage ads at