One of the things many Echo Park locals are most proud of is our incredible collection of historic architecture and homes. Specifically the Victorians. Angelino Heights boasts “the highest concentration and best collection of Queen Anne-Eastlake Victorians in the city,” with most of them “found on Carroll Avenue.”
From the initial inception and boom of Carroll Avenue in the mid 1880s, “more than 50 Victorian residences and carriage houses dominate[d] the heart of the neighborhood, which has been referred to by some residents as ‘the hill.’” The popularity of constructing Victorians slowly died after the turn of the century, instead leading to the rise of the California Craftsmen Bungalows also fruitful in our neighborhood. That said, the historic homes of Angelino Heights remained intact till the end of World War II after which the neighborhood transitioned its focus to high-density buildings to accommodate the demands of an increased population. Many historic homes were converted to multi-unit complexes and others experienced the affects of time and negligence. It wasn’t until the 1970s that a renaissance took place reviving many of these homes and buildings to their former glory.
So it is here where we begin — or end, depending on which direction in time you prefer travel — our homage to the golden years of this unique street in our great neighborhood. With three installments in what we’ll call our Fashion Through the Decades on Carroll Avenue series, this first montage emulates a moment in time from the 1940s. Of course, it wouldn’t be an I, Echo Park tribute without the inclusion of fashion and great photography. We joined forces with talented Echo Park photographer, Rollence Patugan, whose keen eye and passion for the neighborhood’s historic architecture made it an inevitably fun and successful collaboration. As for the fashion, we love any opportunity to dig into the vaults of our closets and bring to life our favorite vintage pieces.
Sporting the wartime California Casual look, our dresses illustrate the utilitarian turn fashion took during this decade. The hem lines went up, the styles became lean, rayon was king and the colors often patriotic a la “air force blue.” Though women’s role in the workforce skyrocketed and thus the high-fashion spectacles of previous decades decreased, women still found clever ways to embellish their wardrobes with sequins and jewelry.
Our story, depicted in front of the Pinney House (featured on Mad Men in Don Draper’s flashback from Season 6, Episode 13) is located at 1355 Carroll Avenue. Inspired by the nostalgic ambiguity of this scene from Mad Men, we emulated a moment in time where endings and beginnings merge, and the melancholic emblem of home stands still through space and time. This formative era of our history was laden with change as families were separated by war, women were liberated into a man’s world and the country and world as we knew it, would cease to exist.
Our pictorial narrative pays homage to life at this time, with all its nuances and exceeding cultural changes paving the way for an interesting and multifaceted visual world for us to play in. We aimed to emulate the varied emotional states and experiences two young women at this time might find themselves in as they embark into this new way of life.
We hope you enjoy this series and stay tuned for our next chapter… the Roaring 20s!