40 in 40: Jean Poch 1950s suit
Every year, my mom and I go to Walt Disney World. That is, every year since my dad died. I grew up going to Florida with my parents, and as an only child, I was part of a tight little trio. My dad absolutely loved Disney World. He planned obsessively months in advance and saved all year to be able to live for a week in total luxury without regard to what anything cost. We went on all the rides together, ate and drank whatever we wanted, and enjoyed the best times as a family we ever had, even well into my 20s. My father passed away unexpectedly when I was 30, and after some consideration, my mom and I decided we would go back, and this year will be our third since. We see each other a few times a year, but these trips are the most special, fun and wonderful for both of us. Yesterday I realized that there are only 40 days until our next trip, and I am dreadfully unprepared financially. So, I’ve decided to list one piece from my personal collection each day until we leave, and this is the first.
This is such an amazing example of a late 1950s or early 1960s suit from a local Beverly Hills couturier. Jean Poch was born Iwan Poch in Czechoslovakia in 1921 and emigrated to New York in 1947. He was a small gentleman, just shy of 5’5” and 135 pounds. His naturalization petition, filed in 1954, asks that his name be changed to Jean Pouch, which it was. It’s unclear why his label retained his original surname, because he is listed in city directories prior to 1959 as Jean Pouch, but his papers are clear that his occupation is custom dressmaker.
His couture shop was located at 349 S. Robertson Boulevard, right between Howard Shoup (a very well-known designer from Texas who, after many years at Warner Brothers and then MGM, writing about fashion for the LA Times in the 1930s and being a general style celebrity, opened his salon in the late 1940s) and Athena. He showed at a couple local fashion shows, in 1959 and 1961. How I would have loved to be at one of these.
From the LA Times, October 18, 1959.
From the LA Times, August 25, 1961.
So, though it’s not in perfect condition, this suit is my first offering.