You've Got (Chain) Mail: Whiting and Davis Designs

Sometimes the best fashion moments fall out of the sky. Or in this case, stroll through the door. 

On a recent crisp, Boulder fall afternoon family friend Duke came into Frisk with a paper Whole Foods bags (this is Boulder after all...) Naturally, we were intrigued by the contents- kale salad on delivery? No...Much to our delight and surprise inside was an exquisite collection of 1960s, metal crop tops and dresses. Duke and his wife, Joan, are tres chic. He's former New York City architect and she had a long career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (where she has rubbed elbows with likes of Karl Lagerfeld). The couple was relocating back to the East Coast. Duke thought long and hard about whom to bestow his creations upon, and decided to entrust us with the beautiful chain link tops, skirts and dresses constructed from classic Whiting and Davis material in the 60s. While working as an architect in Manhattan, Duke wandered in to the interior design department and saw this unique metal material being used for ultra mod squad curtains. 

 Whiting and Davis was founded in the late 1800s by three men outside of Boston. They were the first designers to transform metal mesh into fabric creating a mesh machine in 1912. Their beautiful purse designs are iconic, as are there snake jewelry and silver and gold bangles, baring their name.

Dresses made from metal got their start in the sixties. Paco Rabanne constructed his first dresses from metal and also plastic materials to produce a futuristic mod look. Duke took bulk amounts of fabric and opening and closing hundreds of prongs, meticulously crafted the pieces into incredible dresses and crop tops- several of which have graced the window of Lord and Taylor over the holiday season. Between the gorgeous designs he left at our store, and bulk the chain link fabrics of Whiting and Davis in gold, silver and copper for our own jewelry creations, we all were so excited for Frisk to have inherited such rich fashion history.

Duke not only left his designs, but old tools and detailed written instructions on how to make the clothing itself (which included an alarming highbred of fashion and...Math). What’s so striking is how modern everything looks. We love the plunging backs on the dresses and tops, and the rich metallic color palette of the Whiting Davis material. The silver dress needs only a pair of chandelier earrings to accessorize and the tops can be paired with a maxi skirt or knit cap to make it your own.

Silver chain dress 

Silver chain dress 

1960s Photo shoot 

1960s Photo shoot 

Duke's family friend getting her dance on- 1960s polaroids 

Duke's family friend getting her dance on- 1960s polaroids 

MOMA design guide 

MOMA design guide 

1960s chain metal catalog 

1960s chain metal catalog 

Fresh take on 1960s designs- metal crop top gets a glam grunge makeover. 

Fresh take on 1960s designs- metal crop top gets a glam grunge makeover.