Monday, January 23, 2012
Peter Pan and Mary Jane
Look at this 1939 picture taken in Australia. The lady on the right is wearing a Peter Pan collar. This style of collar became popular after the American stage actress Maude Adams wore such a collar in her costume when she played the role of Peter Pan in 1905. Most of us have had dresses with such a style of collar. I can think of coupling it with Mary Jane shoes.
Mary Janes which have been all the rage recently, also have a strong connection with a popular story - this time a 1902 comic strip called Buster Brown. Mary Jane was the sister of Buster and they were both invented by Richard Outcault. So how did the shoes end up with name of the cartoon character?
It appears that Outcault always drew both Buster Brown and Mary Jane wearing the same style of shoes. In 1904 Outcault went to the St Louis World Fair and sold a licence to 200 companies, permitting them to use Buster Brown characters to advertise their wares. One of these companies was the Brown Shoe Company. The Brown Shoe Company hired actors to tour different states whilst acting out the part of Buster Brown comic characters. The Brown Shoe Company and Buster Brown became synonymous and the style of shoe both Buster Brown and Mary Jane wore started being called Mary Janes. The picture ad above shows the Mary Janes worn by the little girl and in the close-up, the strap is shown tucked on the back of the shoe so that the shoe can be worn also as a slip-on. Cute!