Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Brief History of Polka Dots

Once upon a time, spotted prints went by a host of names but that was before “polkamania”. As the polka craze swept west across Europe in the mid 19th century, enthusiasts claimed the polka jacket, then the polka hat (neither of them spotted), and finally, the polka dot.

Minnie Mouse

In the first half of the 20th century the polka dot made its appearance in North America. Minnie Mouse wore a polka dot outfit. Frank Sinatra sang “Polka Dots and Moonbeams”. Actresses like Elizabeth Taylor, Lucille Ball, and Marilyn Monroe were some of the polka dot’s chief exponents. Fashion designers like Dior and Givenchy loved the dot.

Brian Hyland sang about an “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.” Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama was besotted by polka dots; below is a photo I took of her dotty room at The Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh:

Image: Marilyn Bellamy

More about polka dots: The Hairpin

Thanks Bruce!

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