The origin of…Polka dot

“I don´t think there is ever a wrong time for a polka dot.” Marc Jacobs

Post 23 Polka dot

In 1926 Miss America was photographed in a polka dot bikini and soon after Minnie Mouse was wearing a polka dot dress and matching bow. So began the popularity of the polka dot, with a strong fashion influence in the 1950´s.  Marilyn Monroe posed in a polka dot bikini in 1951 and Dior released the New Look collection in 1954 with polka dots on dresses. The hit song Itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini by Brian Hyland also contributed to the reputation of the polka dot.

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama uses the polka dot in her works, saying “Our earth is only one polka dot among millions of others”.  She worked with Marc Jacobs in 2011 for Louis Vuitton creating a collection with bright polka dot patterns.

Polka dots probably found their way onto Flamenco dresses because gypsies sewed small round mirrors into their dresses to ward off the evil eye. These mirrors later turned into polka dots, the pattern still used on the dresses.

Although polka dots are associated with women and femininity, Marvel Comics created The Polka-dot man in 1961. He is a sly criminal who ends up in conflict with Batman and Robin and uses his polka dots to fight them. His white costume is covered with multicolored polka dots, each of them transforming itself into some sort of weapon when torn from its place.

Polka dot:
one of a series of dots that make a pattern especially on fabric or clothing (source: Merriam Webster).

Polka dot comes from the dance the polka and dot, but the two don’t seem to have a connection other than their popularity at the same time. The name was adopted in 1857 when American women´s magazine Godey´s Lady´s Book first printed the term. The word polka comes from Czech polka, meaning Polish woman.
Spanish lunares comes from luna, moon.

Polka dot in other languages:
Dutch: polkadot
Spanish: los lunares (pl)
Italian: il polka dot


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