Unveiled in 1955, the Dodge La Femme was Dodge's appeal to the female driver of the late 1950's. Although some authors and "experts" in the past have elected to point at Dodge's introduction of the La Femme with derision and ridicule, this model certainly does not deserve that type of treatment. In order to gain a full understanding of what the Dodge La Femme was all about, it's probably best that we look at World War II as the catalyst that brought about this fine looking automobile.
Prior to World War II, the vast majority of American females, upon the acceptance of marriage into their lives, became what is known as a "housewife" and abandoning the successful careers that they had prior to marriage. Without getting into a discussion over the positives or negatives of this term, that was the situation for a vast majority of women in the late 1940's.
However, with the advent of World War II, suddenly women became a vital part of the workforce in America. With many of the working men in this country away in Europe or the Pacific Theater, the task of continuing business on the home front fell squarely on these women's shoulders.
The need was there, and it was met. However, from this period of "Rosie the Riveter", a new sense of independence in the American woman emerged. No longer were women simply relegated to secretaries and operators, they could now hold their own against men on any of a number of jobs. With this new independence in the workplace came a greater need for independence on the open road.HERE
Dodge received the project and renamed the concept the La Femme, which began as a 1955 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer "spring special" hardtop two-door coupe, painted "Sapphire White" and "Heather Rose". From there, the exterior received special gold-colored "La Femme" scripts that replaced the standard "Custom Royal Lancer" scripts on the cars front fenders.
The interior of the car also received attention and features. 1955 La Femme interiors were upholstered in a special tapestry material featuring pink rosebuds on a pale silver-pink background and pale pink vinyl trim. The La Femme came with a keystone-shaped, pink calfskin purse that coordinated with the interior of the car. The purse could be stowed in a compartment in the back of the passenger seat, and its gold-plated medallion faced outward. This brushed-metal medallion was large enough to have the owner's name engraved on it.
Each purse was outfitted with a coordinated set of accessories inside, which included a face-powder compact, lipstick case, cigarette case, comb, cigarette lighter and change purse, all made of either faux-tortoiseshell plastic and gold-tone metal, or pink calfskin and gold-tone metal, and all were designed and made by “Evans”, a maker of women's fine garments and accessories in Chicago.
On the back of the drivers seat was a compartment that contained a raincoat, rain bonnet and umbrella, all made from a vinyl patterned to match the rosebud interior fabric. Marketing brochures stated that the car was made "By Special Appointment to Her Majesty... the American Woman."
Thanks for posting this. When I was in grade school I paid a great deal of attention to the current, past and prototypical mechanical wonders that rolled out of Detroit, but I have no memory of LaFemme at all. I wonder if it was a case of me exhibiting schoolboy chauvinism and ignored it because it wasn't for men or if somehow I overlooked it. The fact that it included accessories like the raincoat, medallion and purse seems pretty unique. I can't imagine what the appolstery with rose patterning looked like new.
Although I can imagine a certain amount of critical derision to a product, long the provenance of men, being geared to women, I wonder if automobiles today that were created specifically to appeal to the LGBT community would be criticized openly in the media. They could count on opposition from the Westboro Baptist Church but then again most things do encounter opposition from the Westboro Baptist Church
I am going to post the YouTube video on my blog HISTORY WILL ABSOLVE MIKE.
If you contact me and have no objections I will link the post to your blog since you found this gem. If I don't heat from you I won't.
Thanks either way,
sure Mike feel free to link back to this post....appreciate it! xK
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