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Archive for ‘1940s’

Vintage Wardrobe Building With Accessories

By , 23 July, 2009, No Comment

When it comes to building a wardrobe — a real, honest-to-goodness working wardrobe — ladies used to insist on a few high quality dresses and then make the most of accessories.

Vintage Photo: Basic Dress & Accessories For Change

Vintage Photo: Basic Dress & Accessories For Change

There were collars (to go over & peep out from under), bows & belts, clips & jewelry, gloves & handbags… Matching & contrasting color combinations… So many styles & combinations, making one dress go from day to night & always seem new (or at least not the same old thing!)

When we made the switch to separates (tops & skirts, as opposed to one-piece dresses), we somehow became more dependent upon more garments rather than accessories. It’s rather a shame, both in terms of our budgets and our devotion to our wardrobes… You have to ask yourself how many times our modern garments actually are worn — or how much they are truly missed and need to be replaced. Having fewer dresses — but those you love — oh, that was not only more economical, but more about finding a dress that fit you well and that you loved.

And playing with the accessories is certainly a lot more fun than the Garanimals dressing we do today.

Photo, Basic Dress & Accessories For Change, by Nina Leen for Life Magazine, 1947.

Whatever You Think Of Fur…

By , 20 July, 2009, No Comment

You have to agree that, vintage or not, it truly is a fashion faux pas (or is it faux paws?) to wear a short fur jacket over your swimsuit on the beach.

Alfred Eisenstaedt Vintage Fashion Photo, 1940

Alfred Eisenstaedt Vintage Fashion Photo, 1940

Aside from looking rather ridiculous, most women could not bear such focus on & scrutiny of their swimsuit covered bottoms.

Photo of a woman wearing fur coat during a cold spell on Miami Beach, Florida, in 1940 taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt. (I wonder how Alfred managed to keep the camera still while taking this photo — my photos would be distorted from laughing! I guess that’s why he’s a professional photographer lol)

Venus de Gardner

By , 2 July, 2009, 3 Comments
Ava Gardner & Venus Statue From One Touch of Venus

Ava Gardner & Venus Statue From One Touch of Venus

One Touch of Venus is the 1948 version of Mannequin: a window dresser (Robert Walker) kisses a statue of Venus which then comes to life (Ava Gardner); hilarity ensues.

However, I don’t think one can really compare Ava Gardner to Kim Cattrall without thinking that Gardner’s the better-looking babe.

At least I’m more likely to fall in love with art than a merchandising hanger — and I’m not just comparing the statue of Venus to a mannequin here.

According to press releases for the film, Ava Gardner’s measurements were:

Bust 35 3/4
Waist 23 1/4
Hips 34
Thighs 19 inches
Calves 13
Ankles 7 1/2

All I know of Kim Cattrall’s measurements are that she wears a size 6 French maid costume and a 9.5 shoe; which is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. And we can’t always trust movie studios for precise measurement information either. But I think most would agree that Ava has a more curvy look.

(Also, regarding Ava’s measurements in the press release, I love the use of the word inches used only for “thighs”, presumably so people would know they weren’t quantity and wouldn’t mistakenly think Gardner had 19 thighs — as opposed to 34 hips and 7.5 ankles?)

Back to the sculpture of Venus for One Touch of Venus. The statue for the film was posed for by Gardner and sculpted by Joseph Nicolosi. Of its creation, the following story is told in Lee Server’s Ava Gardner: “Love Is Nothing”:

Sculptor Joseph Nicolosi with Ava Gardner

Sculptor Joseph Nicolosi with Ava Gardner

To help in the creation of a proper life-size statue to be used in the film, Ava was sent to pose for New York sculptor Joseph Nicolosi. Several hours each day for two weeks she assumed a position in the studio at Nicolosi’s Malibu home. At first clad in a two-piece bathing suit, she saw the sculptor repeatedly stop work to approach her and star with concern at the swimming costume. It seemed that the fabric disturbed him as an interruption of the body’s natural line; the Anatolian Venus, Nicolosi sighed dramatically, had worn no such garment.”Would you like the bra off?” Ava asked.

Nicolosi averred that it would surely aid the cause of art, and so Ava, after a steady stream of what she described as “hot drinks,” unhooked the swimsuit top and resumed her stance with breasts bared. Further sighs of dissatisfaction from Nicolosi eventually resulted in her rolling the bottom of the bathing suit to just below the pubic mound (the mons veneris, indeed). Sometime later, prompted by a reporter and sculpture enthusiast eager to hear more details of these modeling session, Nicolosi said, “Miss Gardner gives an appearance of slenderness but possesses the roundness and fullness in the necessary places which set her apart from the emaciated female whose cadaverous outlines most American women seem determined to achieve.”

In early February the sculptor proudly unveiled his finished work to producer Lester Cowan and was met with a torrent of invective.

“Are you crazy? Her tits are showing! How are we gonna put that in a movie?”

The sculptor had to go back and create a more modest goddess.

It should be noted that in Art in the Cinematic Imagination, author Susan Felleman takes issue with Nicolosi’s Venus statue:

Gardner with Venus Statue

Gardner with Venus Statue

Joseph Nicolosi (1893-1961), an Italian-born American sculptor, executed the figure for One Touch of Venus. The statue, which bears a passable but not remarkable resemblance to Gradner, is thoroughly indigestible as a veritable antiquity, recently excavated from the Anatolian earth. In Nicolosi’s defense, however, certain conditions mitigated strongly against the figure acquiring the aura or patina of “authenticity.” Materials are one. It would have been foolhardy, never mind improbably in terms of budgets and schedules, for a motion picture studio to invite an artist — even an academically trained one, like Nicolosi, accustomed to doing so — to work in the sort of materials that were used in antiquity and might survive many hundreds of years intact, that is, bronze, or, more likely, hard stone, such as marble. The processes involved are too elaborate and the materials too expensive for the manufacture of what is, ultimately, a mere prop. Even so, one might expect more in terms of style from a neoclassical sculptor like Nicolosi. An anecdote from Gardner’s memoir explains how the statue used in the film had to made under considerable time pressures, due to a rather amusing and telling misunderstanding:

Most Venuses I’d seen in art books were nude or had a magically clinging drape low on the hips, and Mr. Nicolosi clearly had the same idea. Because when I took off my clothes behind a screen and appeared modestly clothed in a two piece bathing suit, he looked at me rather severely and gave a sigh that could have been heard as far away as the Acropolis…

Nude? Me? Not even MGM had that in their contract. Bare my breasts? What would Mama have thought?… The artist, however, prevailed… “Your body is beautiful. It will make all the difference.” And do you know what? He was right. Immodest as it may sound, I have to say that the final statue looked very nice indeed. It was carted off to the studio with filming scheduled to begin in a little more than a week.

Then came the explosion. A nude statue! Who said anything about nudity? Tits! Didn’t anyone tell you that tits aren’t allowed in a Hollywood film? It doesn’t matter how beautiful they are, it’s immoral and indecent. Plus, the goddamn statue has to come to life on screen. Do you want us to be accused of corrupting the whole of America?

As the owner of the offending objects, I sat back and did not say a word. After all, I’d done my bit for the arts. But the poor sculptor, who’d poured his soul into this clay, was shattered. No one had told him they’d wanted a Venus dressed up like Queen Victoria. Finally, another statue was made, this one with me wearing the belted-at-the-waist off-th-shoulder gown that Orry Kelly had designed for Venus, and America’s morals survived to fight another day.

Another factor, of course, although one with which one might not expect Nicolosi, who studied with Solon Borglum and was a fellow of the National Sculture Society with numerous public commissions, to be particularly sympathetic, is that the film is a comedy. The aesthetic distance between the Venus de Milo and Savory’s “Anatolian Venus” ultimately affords another possibility source of amusement in a rather sweet and frothy amusement.

Ah, it’s rather like a retailer complaining about the look of the titular mannequin and then realizing, “Hey, it’s a comedy!”

But for more of Ava Gardner — and some cheeky humor — we return to Lee Server’s bio of Ava Gardner & discussion of statues for the film One Touch of Venus:

Ava Gardner As Venus

Ava Gardner As Venus

Another piece of art was created, a small souvenir knockoff of the Nicolosi statue, an idea cooked up by the Universal publicity department, to be sent to select members of the press as a promotional giveaway. Someone in the art department created the eight-inch clay version of Venus, and before it was sent out for casting, publicist Bob Rains decided that as a courtesy they should show it to Ava first. “I took the clay model over to her dressing room. I said, ‘Ava, you want to take a look at this? What do you think?’ She looked it over an laughed. She said, ‘That’s not my figure.’ And then with a cute smile on her face she pinched off some of the clay from the chest area and stuck it to the rear end. She smoothed it on with her finger and made the fanny bigger. She said, ‘That’s more like my ass.’ I was startled by amused. I took it back to the department and told them what happened and everyone broke into hysterics.”

No word on which figure, the art department’s original or Gardner’s adjusted clay model, was used to cast the promotional Venus.

And because you know I find it so damn amazing that a woman’s nipples are a danger to society, it should be noted that Server also mentions that many good takes on the filming of One Touch of Venus had to be discarded due to the chiffon gown worn by Gardner on a chilly set; eventually prop man Roy Neal was assigned to follow the actress everywhere with a portable heater to avoid such horrors as visible erect female nipples.

However, I think you’ll agree if you click to see the larger photo below, that you can see Ava Gardner’s areola. I guess that’s OK because it’s not going to poke your eye out, or whatever it is that erect nipples are feared to do.

Ava Gardner

Ava Gardner

War & Makeup, 1941

By , 18 May, 2009, No Comment

In Volume 10, Number 5, 1941 issue of Modern Woman Magazine, Max Factor discusses the shortage of makeup, cosmetics and beauty products due to the war:

War & Makeup, 1941

War & Makeup, 1941

For more vintage news, check out the Vintage Roadshow participants!

Things Your Grandmother Knew has FREE vintage slipper & scuff crochet patterns.

Kitsch-Slapped reviews Cinderella Nurse, a novel from the 1960s.

Glamoursplash takes note of Claire’s McCardellisms.

Couture Allure looks at vintage swimsuits from Tina Leser, Givenchy, and Polly Hornburg.

A Slip Of A Girl with vintage tips for laundering vintage girdles.

That’s 40’s Lashes For You!

By , 17 April, 2009, 1 Comment

My favorite (and nearly daily) vintage beauty look is giving myself 40 lashes — 1940’s lashes that is!

The 40’s look was one of the most glamorous yet natural looks ever. The face was kept natural looking, and the eyes, while being the focus, were still not outrageous.

The Lovely Lashed Gene Tierney

The Lovely Lashed Gene Tierney

To recreate this vintage look without looking like you’re stuck in a time-warp or possessing an out-dated style sense, here are a few tips:

* Keep the cosmetics as light & natural as you can. Nothing dramatic; just highlight what you have.

* Use light & fresh rosy shades on cheeks and lips.

* Use neutral or natural shades of eye shadow. Soft browns, whispering violets, and light mauves work best on all skin shades.

* You’ll need well manicured eyebrows. And, unless you’re got the darkest of hair, you’ll darken your brows too — not the black brows of the 20’s, but still dark.

* And you’ll need the ultimate lashes — upper lashes, that is. This is the definitive part of the look.

To see the the world through the fringe of 40’s lashes:

Before you reach for your mascara, get out the curler. Never ever use your eyelash curler after you’ve applied mascara; not only does it clump and mash your mascara, but it will pull out and break-off your eyelashes.

For best results, you may warm up your eyelash curler by placing your plastic eyelash curler in front of a blow dryer blowing warm air. (It only takes a few seconds to heat a plastic eyelash curler — don’t use a metal one because they get too hot.) With the now warmed plastic eyelash curler, gently curl your upper lashes with a soft squeeze near the base of the lashes — then again about half-way up. You have just used the same heat setting qualities of your curling iron to give your lashes a more natural upward curl, as opposed to the strange ‘angled’ lash look. Re-heat the plastic eyelash curler and repeat on the on the lashes of the other eye.

Now you can coat your upper lashes with your favorite mascara.

Next, along your upper lash line, glue false strip lashes that are longer than your natural ones — just long enough to make your real eyelashes appear more noticeable and defined.

Then, using a black liquid eyeliner, create a very thin, fine & even line over the region where your false lashes meet your lash line. This helps pronounce the shape of the eye as well as disguise the fake lashes from the real lashes.

Now, for a bit of balance, you may apply a light coat of mascara to your bottom lashes. Do not use any eyeliner along the lash line; you may use a very light application of the same eyeshadow used on the lid to gently line the lashes, but that’s it.

If you’re not used to this look, it may seem out of balance, “too light” compared to the heavy fringe above, but that’s the look. Not only that, but heavier top lashes will draw attention up, up and away — even drawing attention away from dark circles!

A very simplified way to do this for really busy days (everyday is a really busy day lol) is to just focus on the eyelashes. One or two coats of mascara on well-curled upper lashes, none on the bottom, and you’ve got a hint of the vintage look without a lot of work, (And less mascara smudges to worry about because most smudges occur from mascara on the bottom lashes.) If you have great skin, skip all other makeup. Easy-peasy!

Since I wear this look a lot, my eyelashes get a real work-out. Even the gentlest curling, kindest mascara, easiest to remove false eyelashes, and the mildest yet most efficient eye makeup remover (used in the most tender, non-skin-pulling fashion) means my eyelashes get quite a work-out. I didn’t think about it much — until the makers of LashFood contacted me and gave me their LashFood Eyelash Conditioning Stimulant to try.

LashFood Eyelash Conditioner

LashFood Eyelash Conditioner

The company says the product takes 2-4 weeks to really see results, and the full results will be seen after 2 or 3 months (don’t worry, one bottle lasts approximately 5 months, if used as directed), but after a few days (and I mean 2-3 days), I noticed that my eyelashes actually had a sheen to them! Like dark shining hair on shampoo commercials even!

I don’t know if my eyelashes have ever had that before (and if they did, I can’t imagine how long ago it was), but I do know that it makes me feel the beauty of an eyelash flutter — even when my lashes are naked.

I guess that’s what stronger, healthier, better conditioned lashes look like *wink* (See, that wink even sexier than before!)

What LashFood is, is a scientific, liquid blend of natural ingredients that you apply like eyeliner. Twice a day, just dip it into the bottle, and use the brush to slowly drag it along at the base of your lashes. It doesn’t sting or anything — not even when you’ve just applied it before you watch your favorite movie & cry like a baby. (I know; I’ve tested it!) If anything, you just feel the cool slip of the brush applicator and that’s that. And it’s perfectly safe to apply makeup over it (and I can honestly say that it doesn’t interfere with the way your makeup looks or lasts).

The liquid formula of biotin and arginie (natural amino acids) and iris extract (natural oriental medicine complex extract) promotes the natural growth of healthy lashes. Darker, fuller, longer, and, at least for me, shinier eyelashes.

LashFood can also be used on eyebrows. Now, I know what all you pluckers think, “Who wants darker, fuller, thicker eyebrows?!” While lots of looks demand the control & shaping of eyebrows (especially vintage beauty looks, like 1940’s eyes), brows should also be strong & vibrant, framing your eyes. Lots of women have eyebrows which are thin and/or weak in spots, either from over-zealous plucking, health reasons, or just the bad luck of the genetic draw. Some women have “yesteryear’s eyebrows”, where plucking was done “so well” for one decade’s style, that the hairs refuse to grow in for fuller brows. Ugh. But the makers of LashFood even go as far as to say that the product has helped some users with sparse, balding areas on their brows begin to grow new hair as well.

So, naturally darker, longer, thicker, healthier eyelashes and eyebrows in just weeks for just $115 — and since the .34 oz tube lasts 5 months, that’s just $23 a month. Totally worth it for my strong & healthy — and shiny — lashes.

“Esther Williams: Beauty Brains — and Busy” 1949

By , 9 April, 2009, No Comment

Beautiful scans of a vintage magazine feature on Esther Williams from the November 21, 1949 issue of Quick magazine, sent to me by Deanna (of Kitsch Slapped and Kitschy Kitschy Coo). Click them to see/read the full pages!

Esther Williams in Quick Magazine, 1949

Esther Williams in Quick Magazine, 1949

Vintage Magazine Article on Esther Williams

Vintage Magazine Article on Esther Williams

If you love Esther’s swimsuits, you can shop for authentic Esther William’s swimsuits at the official site. Esther also endorsed a line of swimming pools, and Deanna’s hubby has put the 1958 “consumer presentation” online for all to see. (Yes, Esther’s in it!)

You can find out more about Esther Williams in her autobiography, The Million Dollar Mermaid, the title of which comes from the 1952 film in which Esther Williams played the role of another real-life beautiful swimming champion turned film star, Annette Kellerman.

Veronica Lake: More Than Just That Hair… She Was The Girl With The Dirty Look

By , 31 March, 2009, No Comment

This 1942 publicity portrait of Veronica Lake belongs to a friend.

Veronica Lake Photo

Veronica Lake Photo

On the back, the publicity department’s push of Veronica as the girl with the dirty look:

DIRTY LOOK–DIRTY FACE
HOLLYWOOD–Constance Keane–Vernoica Lake to-you– can give the dirtiest of dirty-looks and have the dirtiest of dirty faces and still be charming. She proves this in her second stellar role of her meteor-like film career in :Sullivan’s Travels,” Paramount Picture to be released in February. Here she turns on that dirty look for Sullivan, played by Joel McCrea, when she finds out that the “bum” she has befriended with her last 35 cents is really a movie director rolling in the lap of luxury.

Veronica Lake: Dirty Look-Dirty Face

Veronica Lake: Dirty Look-Dirty Face

The photo was used for Sullivan’s Travels, but the portrait was first used to promote This Gun For Hire in 1941.

Cut & Print: Vintage Dresses With Film Flair

By , 26 February, 2009, No Comment

I just love vintage novelty print dresses!

East meets West in this vintage novelty print dress. In true New Look style, it’s a full-skirted party dress — but it features exotic Indian or Arabian scenes which remind the seller and I of Morocco — and therefore brings to mind Casablanca.

Vintage Dress With Moroccan Print

Vintage Dress With Moroccan Print

This pretty frock is covered in a flock of birds — but these cheery birds don’t look like they’ve seen Hitchcock’s film… Then again, maybe that’s their idea of getting close enough for an attack? *wink*

Full-Skirted Vintage Day Dress

Full-Skirted Vintage Day Dress

Vintage Bird Print Dress

Vintage Bird Print Dress

This vintage dress dates to the 1940s and if the print doesn’t have folks thinking about horsing around, thinking of a curvy figure beneath the petal bust bodice will.

Vintage Dress With Horses

Vintage Dress With Horses

Bodice Of 1940s Print Dress

Bodice Of 1940s Print Dress

(If you’re wondering what the film connection to this dress is, I’m going to ask if you really don’t have a Flicka of an idea, my friend. *wink*)

Leopard Print For Sex Kittens

By , 8 January, 2009, 3 Comments

Digging ’round for those non-existent photos of Ann-Margret, I found this photo of her with a leopard.

Ann Margret With Leopard

Ann Margret With Leopard

I thought how very much leopard print is so very vintage glam, suitable for all sex kittens — and since she’s just wearing that black catsuit (or, perhaps, a bodysuit and tights?), she’s just begging to be dressed — why not go shopping for leopard print?

First, the foundation garments: vintage Vanity Fair bra and half-slip set in leopard print.

Vintage Vanity Fair Foundation Garments

Vintage Vanity Fair Foundation Garments

An amazing 1930’s crepe suit-styled dress with faux leopard fur trim.

1930s Crepe Dress With Leopard Print Fake Fur Trim

1930s Crepe Dress With Leopard Print Fake Fur Trim

If you can find a place to wear it, how about this incredible 1940’s silk velvet leopard and golden silk chiffon hostess gown by Dorian?

1940's Leopard Print Hostess Gown

Vintage Leopard Print Hostess Gown

More retro than vintage? You’ll love this very mod 1960’s faux leopard fur trench coat!

Retro Mod 1960s Faux Fur Leopard Coat

Retro Mod 1960s Faux Fur Leopard Coat

Of course, when we dress, we must remember to undress… This black vintage Vanity Fair nightgown has a pretty leopard print bodice.

Vintage Vanity Fair Black and Leopard Print Gown

Vintage Vanity Fair Black and Leopard Print Gown

And underneath everything here (and anywhere), how about these Pussycat panties? They’re modern made by Cameo Intimates, but so cute you’ll want to slip them under your vintage fashions — and with those garters you can wear real stockings!

Leopard Print Panties With Garters

Leopard Print Panties With Garters

PS I’d like to express a word of caution regarding this post about selling your unwanted jewelry. While it’s true that gold is seeing record highs, I, like Val Ubell (cute pen name!), worry about the amount of vintage jewelry which will be lost. So please, think twice!

The Honorable Hat Of A Dishonored Lady

By , 10 December, 2008, No Comment

It may seem strange to only speak of a hat when the photo is of Hedy Lamarr…

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr

But when you find an equally dramatic, high-fashion vintage hat as Hedy wore in Dishonored Lady, you’ve got to!

Dramatic 1940s Cartwheel Hat With Cut Outs

Dramatic 1940s Cartwheel Hat With Cut Outs

The hat was found at Dorothea’s Closet.

(Notice I said it was the perfect hat for a fashion look — I’m not even hinting at a suggestion that a hat will make you look as lovely as Lamarr *wink* No offense, but she was stunning!)