36 – Clothes, photographs and imagination



Young Fira Melamedzon liked to have their photographs taken. She took amateur pictures by herself, or she went to a photography atelier to have a series of her portraits taken. In this part we publish the photos taken probably by Poznan photographers to present Fira in her new clothes. When Fira received a new dress from her tailor, she went to have her photos taken. How many copies did she order? How many of them did she give to her friends then?

On her album’s pages Fira’s dresses stand out among other women’s clothes, though also elegant and carefully matched. She often has the most original, equipped with fancy additives dress, or a perfectly cut coat, or a jacket emphasising her girl’s posture. Fira was very careful about each detail. She attentively chose her gloves, hats and shoes. Her dress was additionally reinforced by her natural charm that affected men so much. Her elegant and individual way of dressing was not only the result of her parents’ prosperity but also, and probably primarily, of her creativity as she had changed and adjusted the journal designs according to her imagination.


Tailor-made clothes were very common in my youth. I could have afforded them even every day. If I needed gloves for my new dress, I just went to order them. I had a whole box of different gloves matching various dresses for each season of the year.

I had a few good tailors. They made different parts of clothing, like blouses embroidered by hand, silk pyjamas, dresses with additives that I chose, skirts, jackets and others. My first tailor was Melania Janczkowna, an older sister of Stasia, my friend. She made mainly minor parts for me, like underwear, but also some dresses and blouses. Then, I was going to Lodz, to aunt Lili’s tailor, who specialized in sewing beautiful dresses. At the end of my stay in Poland I found in Poznan a young and talented Jewish tailor, who moved from Kalisz. She lived, as far as I remember, near Pocztowa Street*. She made this navy checked dress that I am wearing in the photo in the Solacki Park. I find this dress beautiful and modest. In the picture I am sitting on the stairs correcting a shoe belt, which I ordered especially for this dress at a shoemaker in Szkolna Street. His name was Matuszczak. I told him: – I need to have shoes with a belt so that they kept my feet and the belt didn’t come inside. And he made very comfortable shoes for me.

I have never made any clothes exactly according to the patterns. I always knew what I needed and I saw the dresses in my imagination. Sometimes I noticed something that I liked and changed it on my own. The dress that I’m wearing in the picture taken in 1936 by a professional photographer has decorative braids and a wrap which were made according to my idea. I also matched a modest and tasteful hat with a veil and suitable high-heels to make a fancy image.


* Pocztowa Street – today 23 Lutego Street.