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18 articles found for: "new look"

What New Look Fashions Shaped

By , 1 May, 2011, No Comment

There’s no doubt that Dior’s New Look fashions changed silhouettes. This not only resulted in crazy exercises, but, according to this 1948 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, mannequins too.

Christian Dior Fashion Dummies

 

Tips For Preserving The Fit Of New Look Foundation Garments

By , 25 February, 2010, No Comment

Deanna sent me this scan from a vintage (circa 1945) issue of Modern Woman magazine which has tips for preserving the fit of New Look foundation garments. Such care likely serves the collector and/or wearer of vintage lingerie pieces as well as the fashions which are worn over them.

Tips To Preserve "New Look" Foundation Garments

Tips To Preserve "New Look" Foundation Garments

Personally, I never ever would have thought of hanging my vintage girdles to dry by the garters — I’m eager to try it and see if and how it might affect things.

The Death of “New Look” Fashions & Other Fashion Predictions (1950)

By , 10 September, 2009, No Comment

This juicy fashion tidbit comes from the March 27, 1950 issue of Quick Magazine:

Hollywood designer Adrian, disregarding Pairs and N.Y., pronounced that there will be no drastic change in the daytime silhouette for the next 50 years, added that the death of the “New Look” proved that attempting to insinuate violent fashion changes in modern times is futile.

Adrian's Fashion Prediction, 1950

Adrian's Fashion Prediction, 1950

Adrian, costumer for Irving Berlin and Cecil B. DeMille productions as well as Valentino films, is said to have been “responsible for creating and refining the images of actresses such as Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Jean Harlow and his favorite, Greta Garbo” — but clearly he was off the mark with such sentiments & statements about the death of New Look fashions and “violent fashion changes” being futile in modern times.

From our lovely vantage point of having seen not only Adrian’s future but the very 50 years he spoke of become history, one cannot avoid questioning the story that is told of this designer… No matter how lovely his work was — and it was lovely, just look at the gowns in 1939’s The Women — you have to more critically look at the story here.

Adrian Gowns, The Women (1939)

Adrian Gowns, The Women (1939)

The story goes that Adrian, frustrated by WWII’s smaller film budgets and shifting values, took up his own fashion design label & shop where he could more freely & grandly express himself & his glamour ideals. Adrian, Ltd. was born:

When Adrian decided to leave the world of costume design in 1941 and open Adrian Ltd, he could have had no knowledge of how perfect his timing would prove to be. With the Nazi invasion of Paris in 1940, all contact with the French fashion industry halted. As nearly all American designers based their designs on those originating from Paris, the absence of information from France created a fashion vacuum. American designers stepped up to the plate, and soon began to create fashions based on an idealized American lifestyle. These new fashions were often casual, practical and made of durable fabrics. Both New York and Los Angeles fought for the title of “America’s Fashion Capitol.” The February 19, 1941 title of a Los Angeles Times article declared, “East and West Struggle for Fashion Dictatorship,” and suggested that Los Angeles would win the battle, ultimately becoming “more powerful in its sway over the civilized world than Paris ever thought of being.”

Adrian debuted his first collection for buyers in January of 1942 at the May Company department store in Los Angeles. Buyers were not particularly excited about this initial collection, so Adrian held another show in February of the same year. This show was a great success and Adrian was soon selling his designs in department stores throughout the country.

But as we, with all due respect (because I do love Adrian’s work!), look at the context here: one clearly sees an aging fashion designer struggling with changing times and fashions.

On one hand, we must admire Adrian for taking a stand for glamour by saying, “It was because of Garbo that I left M-G-M. In her last picture they wanted to make her a sweater girl, a real American type. I said, ‘When the glamour ends for Garbo, it also ends for me. She has created a type. If you destroy that illusion, you destroy her.’ When Garbo walked out of the studio, glamour went with her, and so did I.”

On the other, we have to recognize that Harlow & Garbo, these were not the forms and fashions — nor even the female ideal — of the 1940s & beyond.

Refusing to change his views, his fashion statements, Adrian was able to exploit his status as a famous Hollywood costumer to a (wealthy) public hungry for fashion — and if they wouldn’t readily accept it, he could afford to hold on & push it with such little competition. But New Look fashions continued until, approximately, the mid 1960’s, years after Adrian’s death in 1959 — and there sure were violent fashion changes after that. Perhaps those statements by Adrian from the 1950 magazine clipping sound more desperate than simply catty now; they do to me.

If all this sounds cynical or unkind, I don’t mean it to be; I’m simply pointing out that fashion is both a commerce & an ideal, both of which sit within the context of culture at a specific time — and must change as the culture/times change. You can manipulate, you can create, you can even exploit conditions such as limited competition; but you cannot stubbornly refuse to change and still go on forever.

Contemporary Vintage Bridal Looks

By , 4 January, 2014, No Comment

Vintage style has been influencing the design of wedding dresses since, well,forever! In part this is due to a sense of nostalgia and tradition, but it also had to do with the forever-love of old movies. Thankfully, wedding dress designers know that vintage looks will always be coveted by brides and so vintage inspiration can be seen in contemporary wedding dresses. This means that regardless of your favorite era of film or fashion, you can find a modern-made dress for your special day.

There are many benefits to buying a modern-made, yet vintage-inspired, wedding dress. Contemporary dresses solve the usual problem of finding vintage in your size. And, yes, you’ll have less concerns with tailoring too. But one of the largest benefits of buying new rather than old is that you can get the look you want, but in a style that flatters you and your figure. For example, look at these beautiful wedding gowns which capture the look of that famous gown Audrey Hepburn wore in Sabrina:

Two-Tone-Strapless-Appliqued-Mermaid-Gown-with-Chapel-Train-and-Lace-Underlay-wedding dress

Two-Tone-Strapless-Satin-A-Line-Wedding-Dress-with-Embroidery-and-Court-Train

Strapless-Embroidered-Organza-over-Satin-A-Line-Wedding-Dress-with-Flower

Two-Tone-Appliqued-Strapless-Satin-and-Tulle-Gothic-Wedding-Gown

It’s like a new look at the New Look — or a new look in vintage bridal! Most importantly, while each wedding gown is reminiscent of that black and white New Look dress by Givenchy, each has its own unique take on the design — and each has its own way of flattering the bride’s body.

Of course, the way to really make your wedding gown your own and look different from another bride who bought her dress off the same rack (or purchased at the same online shop) is the same way to make any dress or ensemble your own — with accessories! Wedding gloves and wedding veils make a big difference in the total look of the bride. More than jewelry or shoes, gloves, veils, hats, etc. are the accessories which are most visible in your wedding day photos.

Here are some inspirational brides from vintage films, featuring unforgettable veils and gloves:

high society 1956 grace kelly wedding dress

Liz Taylor Father of the Bride

funny face audrey hepburn wedding dress bridal veil

Celebrating Dior Celebrating Femininity

By , 15 March, 2012, 1 Comment

In the February (2012) issue of Harper’s Bazaar, Meenal Mistry looks at the 65th birthday of Dior’s New Look.

Spring's New Look

Christian Dior's New Look In Harper's

Perhaps my favorite quote is this:

But why now? Does 2012 look like 1947? We’re not quite postwar (and it’s hard to tell when we might be), but there is a sense of women craving a bit of optimism and maybe a trace of tradition. “We were delighted to see the retro femininity,” says Lane Crawford fashion director Sarah Rutson, who cites Jil Sander and Prada as particular favourites. “With so much uncertainty in the world, to have that sense of lightness just seemed so right.”

“Dior said that the forward thrust of the hips was a way for women to advertise their childrearing abilities, so he was certainly tapping into the emergence of the baby boom,” says Timothy Long, the costume curator at the Chicago History Museum. “But there’s no surprise that that whole idea of hyperfemininity is going to continue.”

PS I’ve been meaning to post this for awhile now, but my scanner was not playing nice. Ugh.

So Princess Grace

By , 20 July, 2011, No Comment

This vintage satin Ceil Chapman dress features metallic gold organza, rhinestones, faux pearls, and enough New Look glamour to make any girl a princess.

Vintage 1950s Ceil Chapman Satin Beaded Dress

Getting To The Point Of Pencil Skirts & Their Popularity

By , 22 October, 2009, No Comment

Christian Dior created the pencil skirt in the early 1950’s, as part of his H-Line collection.

Christian Dior H-line Fashions, 1955

Christian Dior H-line Fashions, 1955

The narrow and long (past the knee, originally) design of pencil skirts was reminiscent of the long skirts worn in the 1900s — right down to the similar hobbling effects of the 1910’s hobble skirts.

The Hobble Skirt Postcard, Circa 1910s

The Hobble Skirt Postcard, Circa 1910s

Note where the hobble skirt narrows around the knees, much like the narrowness of pencil skirts. This is why, even when pencil skirts have a slit or pleat in the back, pencil skirts still require some practice to walk in, some experience in elegant wearing.

Early Christian Dior Pencil Skirt Suit

Early Christian Dior Pencil Skirt Suit

The earliest pencil skirts were parts of suits, worn with jackets and tunics which covered the waist; this somewhat tended to minimize the hips while lengthening the legs.

Black Velevet Tunic Suit With Slim Pencil Skirt, 1952

Black Velevet Tunic Suit With Slim Pencil Skirt, 1952

But eventually, pencils skirts were worn with more fitted fashions, further accentuating the rounding of hips and behinds beneath nipped-in waists. (And would eventually evolve into the more flower-like full skirted fashions, and, on the other side, the wiggle dress, which we think of when we think of New Look fashions.)

Vintage Suit Ad: Pencil Skirt on Left, A-Line Skirt on Right

Vintage Suit Ad: Pencil Skirt on Left, A-Line Skirt on Right

In any case, wearing pencil skirts was far less practical in terms of ease of movement. This impracticality had, in fact, much to do with the success of the new skirts.

The lack of ease in movement may not have been part of Dior’s “Big Design” but his designs, and the many others who followed suit, certainly were able to capitalize by simultaneously a-dressing several post WWII cultural movements.

Pencil skirts were not only a new fashion silhouette — which women, tired of the more functional (and repaired, recycled) wartime clothing would of course be nearly giddy to have — but these skirts were also a more traditional and feminine style. Eager to be beautiful again, women loved them.

And men loved these skirts which highlighted and celebrated the female form too.

Vintage Lilli Ann Suit With Pencil Skirt Ad

Vintage Lilli Ann Suit With Pencil Skirt Ad

No one can blame either men or women for celebrating their reunions, the return of couples and families, but the physical restrictions of pencil skirts encouraged the hobbling of women.

Such fashions, with their physical restrictions, helped move women away from their wartime work (making room for the returning men) and placed women upon their pedestals as domestic goddesses, objects of desire and housewives. Female.

Feeding this return to gender roles via fashion were the recently available mass production advances made during the second World War and the post-war prosperity; ready-to-wear was affordable and most everyone had the the ability to afford the luxuries of lots of new clothing. The vintage popularity of pencil skirts remains with us today, making the pencil skirt more than a fashion classic, but a fashion basic.

Vintage Merrimack Ad For Velveteen Pencil Skirt Suits

Vintage Merrimack Ad For Velveteen Pencil Skirt Suits

The Story Of Circle & Poodle Skirts Continues

By , 16 August, 2009, 4 Comments

Continuing the story of the circle skirt… The story began with a simple skirt Juli Lynne Charlot made for a Christmas party (not the actual circle skirt shown here, but how cute is that?!) and the skirts were quickly transformed into a multitude of novelty themes.

1950s Christmas Themed Circle Skirt

1950s Christmas Themed Circle Skirt

Fashion legend says that at some point it was suggested to Charlot that she put animals, including poodles, onto her skirts and that when Charlot did so, the popularity of the circle skirts increased greatly — which has led to the skirts being called poodle skirts.

In fashion reality (or at least by my own personal definition), poodle skirts are different than novelty circle skirts… And fit a different market or fashion niche. As we shall see.

While adult women did wear novelty circle skirts, especially in the beginning,the heavily petticoated novelty skirts (what I call poodle skirts) quickly became not only de rigeur for girls, but seen mainly as a fashion trend for the youth.

The poodle skirt craze among teens is often attributed to those new rock n roll dances; teens found the big circle skirts enchanting while dancing. But it’s quite probable that mom & dad preferred their Kitten to wear a longer full skirt that hid at least part of her figure (especially when stuffed with crinolines and petticoats to prevent anything more being seen) to the more fitted along the hips structured fashions; watch Kitten’s skirt swing, not her hips sway. *wink*

(Of course, the irony was that fuller skirts looked like fuller, more womanly, hips and that boys dreamed of ladies’ underthings, so…)

But let’s not overlook the marketing machine in all of this either…

10 Year Old Girl Wearing Poodle Skirt, Christmas, 1954

10 Year Old Girl Wearing Poodle Skirt, Christmas, 1954

During the 1950’s, companies began to court the youth market as they never had before. This shift in attention to teens had fashions, like the poodle skirts, forcefully marketed to young girls rather than the former long history of marketing fashions to adult women. The proof of this can be seen in the ephemera trail which shows that ads for poodle skirts in magazines published for teens clearly outnumbered those in publications for women (which focused on less voluminous circle skirts).

There were other factors for the popularity of poodle skirts for teens too.

In the 1950’s you also had less of an emphasis on sewing as a skill for women. More ready to wear, priced more affordably, began to edge out the need to know how to sew. Girls still took the sewing classes, but they knew far less & had less interest in sewing as their mothers did. (The difference between my grandmother & mother’s ability to sew may only seem anecdotal; but I assure you, it was happening all over the atomic 50’s suburbs!)

However, the ease of making a circle skirt, and the influx of printed novelty fabrics that allowed one to make a circle skirt without even having to sew on appliques, tempted those teen girls… She could save a few dollars by making her own skirt rather than buying one — do that a few times, and Kitten ends up with more skirts for the same amount of Daddy’s money. *wink*

Also, speaking contextually of women’s lives and fashion at the time, it’s easy to see how such full, un-tailored skirts would seem unfamiliar — perhaps even ill-fitting — to a woman wearing more traditional fashions at the time. Even the full skirted New Look fashions had a more tailored, refined look about the hips (and either had shorter crinolined skirt lengths, or longer skirts with voluminous folds or a softer “outness”), indicating the more mature woman’s sophistication and duties in life as compared to their whimsical, dancing daughters.

Mother & Daughter, Wearing Different Fashions, Waving Goodby To Daddy In The 1950s

Mother & Daughter, Wearing Different Fashions, Waving Goodby To Daddy In The 1950s

Of course, this lack of tailored appearance was part of the design; if circle skirts had required more seams, Charlot never would have made one! (Nor would the idea of circle skirts have been so readily snapped up by the Mexican souvenir making market, which realized a full skirt with a simple waistband, zipper or no, was not only easier & cheaper to make, but required less actual sizes to be made than tailored or more accurately sized skirts — another reason why such souvenir circle skirts with novelty prints or details are still made today.)

1951 Wide Wool Skirt (And Jeresy Top) Ad

1951 Wide Wool Skirt (And Jeresy Top) Ad

All of these things created a schism, of sorts, leaving poodle skirts and circle skirts with more flirtatious petticoats a far more fashionable dress for teens & young women than for their mothers & grandmothers.

In short, the poodle skirt was one of the very first “too young for you” fashions.

Of the authentic vintage circle novelty skirts that remain, the waists are typically smaller & hems shorter; percentage wise what’s left indicates that the fashion was a marketplace primarily for teens and younger women. What this means for vintage fashion collectors and the fashionistas who covet authentic 1950’s poodle skirts & vintage novelty circle skirts is that it’s slim pickings on the full skirts with novelty prints, appliques, embroidery & other details.

Vintage Embroidered Circle Skirt

Vintage Embroidered Circle Skirt

But the good news remains that circle skirts are in fact very easy to make. You can purchase a circle skirt pattern, old or new — and don’t overlook making them in Charlot’s original manner either: Just cut a circle from fabric, make a hole in the waist, and decorate!

Still to come… How to wear circle skirts!

Vintage Butterick Circle Skirt Pattern

Vintage Butterick Circle Skirt Pattern

Monday Movie Theme

By , 8 June, 2009, No Comment

I’m new to the Monday Movie Meme (I found it via Kitsch Slapped), so I’m not sure if there was a mistake in offering two distinctly different themes in one day — or if it was done to allow options in your posting. But since Deanna dished on the 80’s films, I thought I’d take a stab at the Alfred Hitchcock movie meme — even though I’ve only seen two of his films. (Which reminds me, since I’ve seen so few Hitchcock films, that I’ll have to add him to the Classic Schmassic list.)

My favorite — and the first Hitchcock film I’ve ever seen — was To Catch a Thief (1955). Even though I didn’t even realize that was a Hitchcock film! I just fell in love with Cary Grant (as John Robie, The Cat) and Grace Kelly was pretty enough to make me wonder if I was a lesbian.

Cary Grant & Grace Kelly

Cary Grant & Grace Kelly

Eventually, I just figured it was the fashions. New Look fashions just drop me to my knees. Always have; probably always will.

Talk about suave; who even cared if there was a plot? But of course there was, and for a little while, I even found myself (gasp!) routing for Danielle (Brigitte Auber) to catch The Cat.

To Catch A Thief Still With Auber On Left

To Catch A Thief Still With Auber On Left

I’m not sure if that was routing for the underdog, or just more of the fashions and their fit (Brigitte Auber wasn’t built like Audrey Hepburn, but she wore similar styles — and Auber’s build was more “real,” more like me than ultra-waif-like).

In any case, I did swing back to the more aloof Kelly — but was there really a choice? *wink*

Catching A Thief

Catching A Thief

The Cycling & Recycling Of 60’s & 80’s Fashions

By , 1 June, 2009, 1 Comment

Speaking of Let’s Make Love & stuffed sausages

As I mentioned, the film straddles two looks; struggling between remnants of New Look fashions and early 60’s looks. Certainly not yet “mod”… But then again, it rather fails to really capture much of any real style. However, the theatrical “sex pot meets Beatnik” style Monroe wore (the sweater over the black catsuit), does warrant some discussion.

Marilyn Monroe In Let's Make Love

Marilyn Monroe In Let's Make Love

I’m not sure how prevalent such a look really was (outside of performance garb, anyway), but those of us who lived — and dressed — through the 80’s can’t help but see shaker sweaters and stirrup pants when they see Marilyn’s costume for the big My Heart Belongs To Daddy number.

Thankfully, whatever the 80’s stole from the 60’s, they “over-sized” it & managed the proportions better.

1982 Diane Von Furstenberg Ad

1982 Diane Von Furstenberg Ad

The sweaters & tops not only were longer (fully covering the behind, no matter how round or large) but V-necks and bolo necklaces etc. helped lengthen the lines too. Long sweaters and knit tunics were also worn over short skirts to help give the appearance of length over nylons & leggings. Also, over-sized sweaters were typically worn belted (with chain belts, hung low; wide leather belts; scarves twisted into belts; and even the sleeves from other tops tied about the waist made a belt), so as to help define the bust from hips, ending the “apple” look. (While I was younger & thinner then, I was still aware that a size 8 or 10 was miles away from the fashion ideal; I still had moments where I felt more like a “lumpy Marilyn apple” than a supermodel.)

1980s Over-Sized Sweaters & Stirrup Pants

1980s Over-Sized Sweaters & Stirrup Pants

Leggings were worn, but stirrup pants also offered the opportunity, (especially with jackets, shaker sweaters & tops which stopped at mid-hip) to start wide and then narrow down to a tapered ankle — appearing as a geometric style rather than having legs suddenly appear like weak stems. Legwarmers also offered the opportunity to balance out top-heavy silhouettes.

Catsuits were also popular in the 80’s — but unlike the see-thru black nylon Marilyn wore, these were opaque Lycra or Spandex knit blends. Black was still a basic; like a blackboard for the crazy colored drawings or layering of sweaters, belts, big earrings and booties.

Laura Branigan In Black Catsuit For Zodiac Boots

Laura Branigan In Black Catsuit For Zodiac Boots

In fact, layering itself was huge in the 1980’s. And that’s before we even get to the eclectic layering of lingerie ala Madonna.

For Fall 09 RTW, Gucci’s Frida Giannini has an 80’s inspired line, said to be inspired by 80’s fashion icon and model Tina Chow — which is to say, it’s a minimalist 80’s look (as I type that, I’m aware of the oxymoron). Slimmer shoulder pads, more subtle asymmetrical looks, bold stripes — but carried more softly than the big loud stick of decades ago… A general softening of the retro look. (Or, more casual Dynasty meets classic Chanel than the rock or punk 80’s I wore.)

Guccie Returns To The 80's For Fall 09

Guccie Returns To The 80's For Fall 09

Which reminds me quite a bit of what we saw in the transition from the 80s to the 90’s; far more body conscious & monochromatic than powerful geometrics & contrasting colors. Perhaps this is how we too will swing back into the 80’s?

Frida Gianni For Gucci, Fall 09 RTW

Frida Gianni For Gucci, Fall 09 RTW