The 1957 No. 2110 for Cissy is a great example of the concept of a street dress with several fashion flourishes that make it quintessential “Madame Alexander”. The red taffeta example is familiar to many collectors. The dress itself is a modified shirtwaist dress. The shirtwaist was hugely popular for everyday because it was easy and comfortable to wear. The polka dot cotton blouse reflects the enormous popularity of polka dots in its many applications this decade. Cissy wears the new and very popular cloche style hat in white straw. All the rage in the 1920s, the cloche hat was reinvented in the 1950s - this time instead of felt being the material of choice, straw was a new twist for summer hats.
The blue taffeta variation of this No. 2110 is much more rare. It also came in a green version. Taffeta itself was hugely popular during this mid century period. Silk taffeta had been around for some time. Synthetic taffeta was relatively new. Taffeta is a crisp, tight-woven plain weave fabric with very fine horizontal ribs. It often is lustrous, with a characteristic rustling sound when moved. Taffetas are used for dresses, gowns, women's suits, blouses and trimmings.
Taffeta is not without it’s challenges, and has a number of problem issues. Limpness will result from the loss of sizing and yarn slippage from tension. If garments are not hung up properly immediately when dry-cleaned, difficult wrinkles and breaks can occur. As many find out the hard way, shiny iron marks can be left if irons are too hot or too much pressure is used.
Taffeta was hugely popular with the Paris fashion houses in it’s many interpretations, and was immediately translated by the big American retailers. Cissy, one of the great fashion dolls of this era, also showed up in taffeta, a reflection of what was happening around her.