Sweden's first supermodel and the actor David Niven's second wife
Hjördis Tersmeden : Fashion from America, 1946
It wasn’t just at society events in Stockholm that Hjördis Tersmeden’s American fashion acquisitions could be admired. In June 1946, Swedish women’s magazine Vårt Hem had a feature on the contents of her suitcase.
“Beautiful Hjördis Genberg, NK’s former star model traveled to America last winter, not to begin a Hollywood movie career, though she wasn’t short of offers – but to marry her Swedish fiancé, who was out there on a business trip . Now she is home again with lots of beautiful clothes…”
Coming straight after six years in isolation, the level of interest about Hjördis’ four months in America was as if she had just been to the moon.
Her new American finery was illustrated (not by Hjördis sadly), displayed, and described in detail across three pages of the magazine.
Seventy five years later a lot of interest in Hjördis centres around her fashion background, so, here are the full set of sketches, showing both a colourful snapshot of US fashion in early 1946, and what a Swedish model with an open cheque book could bring back home.
“Hjördis Tersmeden became a dream in black when she wore this elegant short dress, with artfully cut sleeves, long gloves and a giant hat with gold sequins.”
“Could you wish for something more fresh and dressy for the sun and waves than this ensemble? The material is the thinnest cotton fabric, the shorts are diagonally striped and slightly wrinkled, the bra is a straight strip and the short skirt has an elasticated waist.”
“‘A beachfront refinement’ – The material is silk jersey, tight, with minimal pants [minimal?]. The bra has a single shoulder strap, obliquely over the back, and the piece is crowned by a large bow in the middle of the stomach.”
“Americans like to wear long trousers, usually in thin, flexible material with an accompanying coquette blouse. The example Mrs. Tersmeden bought home is lemon yellow coarse silk with the pants over the tight blouse. This one has no sleeves – just a small ‘wing’.” “Most American shoes have extremely high but strong heels, straight and preferably angular. This example is in suede with a high platform sole and straps.” “This bag is a wonder of subtlety in black soft leather. It can be folded in the middle and become tall and narrow, it can be worn on a strap over the shoulder or buttoned over the wrist.”
“An American mid-length dress, with ‘hollow’ sleeves, like all American dresses at the moment. The hat box material is navy blue gabardine.”
“A slimline dress. Broad black and white stripes, sewn without decoration.”
“There’s something very special about this off-the-shoulder American blouse with its embroidered sleeves. It can be worn with everything, from long pants to evening skirts.
“An adorable dress in pale blue silk, patterned with red lips and words of love in many languages. Mrs. Tersmeden caused a sensation wearing this in Cuba.”
“Green and white American cotton dress with diagonal stripes, and zipper closure down the front. A really fresh summer dress.”