|Nelly Don Sketch|
|1950s Nelly Don Dress|
|Donnelly Garment Company in Kansas City|
Aside from her booming success, Nell made headlines across the country when she and her chauffeur were kidnapped in 1931. Their abductors forced Nell to write letters to her husband and a lawyer demanding $75,000 for her release. James Reed, a former U.S. Senator from Missouri, neighbor of the Donnellys, and father of Nell's newborn son (that's a whole other story) was contacted about the kidnapping and sprung into action. Reed went straight to Johnny Lazia, the reigning mob boss of Kansas City's organized crime scene, and threatened that if Lazia didn't find Nell within 24 hours, he would buy 30 minutes of radio time and reveal his shenanigans and shady connection to Tom Pendergast. Lazia acted quickly and sent 25 carloads of armed gangsters out into the city in search of Nell. Needless to say, members of Kansas City's mafia soon found Nell and her chauffeur unharmed in a four-room cottage in Bonner Springs, KS. Nell later said that the men who rescued her were scarier looking than her kidnappers.
|Ads from the 1940s and 1950s|
Just like Nell Donnelly Reed, Marc Jacobs shares the concept of feeling "decadent" at home by wearing exquisite clothing. The drab, Mother Hubbard clothing worn by housewives in the early 1900s may be comparable to the styleless, matching sweat suits and yoga pants worn by modern day homemakers. Inspired by Nell, I recently designed and sewed my own house dress (highly unlikely I'll be doing housework while wearing it). I chose a unique black fabric with appliquéd flowers and added fullness to the skirt, which gives it a 1950s vibe. As Nell once said, "No housewife in America today need look dowdy and frumpy, unless she wants to be that way."
MADE IN KANSAS