Accessories as Status Symbols

Alluring fashion pieces evoke the early days of Detroit’s J.L. Hudson Company department store


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J.L. Hudson’s Edwardian-era Black Silk/Satin Evening Gown Shoes exude the personality and status of their likely owner: an upper-class socialite who frequented extravagant 1920s gatherings and shopped at the world-renowned department store on Woodward and Gratiot avenues in Detroit.

The shoes — decorated with rhinestone toe clips — could be paired with an Edwardian-era haute couture evening dress hat with ostrich and peacock feathers, as well as French- and Italian-made accessories and garments found at Hudson’s, such as leather gloves, beaded evening bags, and Hermés silk scarves.

Only a decade after its opening in 1911, the more than 2 million-square-foot department store became a fashionable destination for 1920s Michiganians.

The location was considered the tallest department store in the world. At the height of its success, before it closed in 1983, it was home to more than 200 departments.

While the store no longer exists today, these now-vintage pieces reveal a taste of Detroiters’ sophisticated styles.

See J.L. Hudson artifacts at Northville’s The Lace Museum. thelacemuseumllc.com

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