When English archaeologist Howard Carter uncovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in November of 1922, breaking open the burial chamber three months later, it was major news even for the fashion set. On February 21, 1923, WWD illustrated a number of Egyptian motifs for its readers, including the sacred scarab, royal headdresses and a profile of the seated king.
“While the discovery came too late to influence the recent Paris openings,” the paper wrote, “the best opinion in the fashion trades holds that…interest and adaptation will be worked up to the highest pitch.”
A number of manufacturers were already filing claims to trademark the monarch’s name. Case in point: the swimwear firm who planned to send a “special corps of girls to go to Florida and parade the beaches in Tut-Ankh-Amen bathing suits.” But not everyone in the industry was so captivated. “Patou declares the event a magnificent publicity opportunity for the manufacturer of mothballs or other preservatives,” reported the paper later that month, “but of little avail for the high-class couturier.”