For the perfectionist Hostess who wanted to be the centre of attention as well as perfectly coordinated, in the mid to late 1960s, Hallmark produced paper party dresses that matched the party accessories from the centrepiece to the paper flowers and matchbook covers.
In 1966, the Scott Paper Company in America used a gimmicky marketing ploy to market their new range of throwaway tableware. For just $1.25, consumers could send away for their paper dress which was posted back along with coupons to buy their tableware.
Scott Paper Company received half a million orders in six months.
The idea of wearing paper dresses caught on and became a massive hit at a time when the youth fancied crazes, hip fashion trends and the idea of disposability (the idea of having disposable incomes was new). The huge potential of wearing 'wearable advertising' for products and political messages encouraged other companies to produce and sell dresses by the hundreds of thousands,
Paper dresses could be altered in minutes with a pair of scissors and tape, worn once or twice and then thrown away. This was perfect for the new generation of women who were eager
to rebel against the 'Make Do and Mend' culture of WW11.
The fad was short lived and by 1968, when a new Hippy fashion movement took hold,
paper dresses were out of date.
This wonderful, colourful and fun paper dress, made by Hallmark, is in The Darnell Collection. It even has its original packaging.
(photograph: Brigitte Grant Photography)