The Fabric Group
In the 1920s there was no place more modern and glamorous than New York and towards the end of the decade there were three debonair young men who were causing a sensation. Each week in The New Yorker their exploits were splashed across the page and the public eagerly awaited the next exposé. But there is a twist in this tale. The dapper trio were cut-out dolls, joined at the trouser cuffs and elbows, and were advertising Fabric Group suits from Manhattan men’s haberdashers Weber and Heilbroner. Australian-born American photographer Anton Bruehl (1900-1982) was responsible for the award-winning long-running series that captivated The New Yorker readership.
Bruehl’s innovative Fabric Group advertising campaign ran exclusively in The New Yorker with the first advertisement published in the January 1, 1927 issue with instalments then featuring weekly or fortnightly until the campaign’s ultimate appearance in the December 29, 1928 issue. A photographic illustration dominated the advertising space accompanied by copy expressing dialogue of the trio, usually incorporating a mention of stylish Fabric Group suits. They credit their sartorial smartness for catching the eye of a beach babe, “...She’s looking at all three of us, and you can thank our Fabric Group suits for the favour!”[i] And the cheeky chaps believe that after just one glimpse of their suits “half the fair population of Venice [will be] swimming in [their] wake.”[ii]
[i] “The Adventures of the Fabric Group No. 21,” The New Yorker, 18 June 1927, p 67.
[ii] “The Fabric Group Abroad No. 21,” The New Yorker, 26 November 1927, p 53.