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Posts tagged ‘designers’

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.

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

 

Footwear Friday

By , 2 April, 2010, 2 Comments

Some fabulous vintage footwear for you.

Turquoise is the color for Spring, so why not look ultra up-to-date with these vintage turquoise mules from the 1950s? The silver details (studs and trim) and grey rhinestones make these classic vintage heels!

Vintage 1950's Turquoise Heels

Vintage 1950's Turquoise Heels

If you’re more delighted by Spring’s traditional pastels, look at these lovely clear Lucite mules with painted pastel flowers!

Vintage Painted Floral Mules

Vintage Painted Floral Mules

Pastel Flowers Painted On Clear Lucite Springolator Heels

Pastel Flowers Painted On Clear Lucite Springolator Heels

I’m often surprised by the magnificent colors in women’s shoes from the 1940s — all that black and white film viewing distorts a reality of colorful shoes!

Like the vibrant green snakeskin of these peep-toe platform heels from the 1940s.

Women's 1940's Green Snakeskin Peep-Toe Shoes

Women's 1940's Green Snakeskin Peep-Toe Shoes

These shoes from the 1930s or 40s era are painted silk — an Art Deco geometric design of olive triangles, green, red and white circles on black silk. But that’s not all!

Geometric Designs Painted On Silk Peeptoe Shoes

Geometric Designs Painted On Silk Peeptoe Shoes

There’s even geometric stitched designs on the gold leather (which matches the ankle straps) at the top center of the vamp, right before the at the peeptoes.

Fabulous Art Deco Vintage Women's Shoes

Fabulous Art Deco Vintage Women's Shoes

Also, don’t forget to check out The History of Ferragamo Shoes. The post covers not just the history, but why vintage fashion lovers covet shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo.

Delight In The Toy Wife

By , 22 January, 2010, No Comment

The second Luise Rainer film I watched was such a fabulous film that I’m now devoted to collecting everything I can from or about it.

Luise Rainer in The Toy Wife, 1938

Luise Rainer in The Toy Wife, 1938

Since this film is a period piece, I posted my review of The Toy Wife (1938) elsewhere — but I did discover something fashion related to discuss…

On the back of the old MGM promotional film still photo by Clarence Bull, the following is typed:

Grey Faille with blue velvet ribbon detail and corded bow fastenings is charming in this costume designed by Adrian for Luise Rainer, in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production, “The Toy Wife.” Bonnet of grey straw with blue and grey feather frou-frou and blue velvet tie.

This reminds me that once upon a time, movie stars, especially the actresses, were noted for the fashions they wore in films — not just the red carpets. Seeing such information that was distributed by the studios proves that fashions and designers themselves were part of the film promotion.

Today, if such photos and captions are provided and/or used, the caption probably has more to do with who the actress slept with, some arrest information or other bit of notoriety to gossip about. I much prefer to gossip about the glamour of film and the fashion in film, don’t you?

Back Of Photo Still

Back Of Photo Still

Is Rebecca Minkoff A Big Fat Liar? (And Other Fashion Designer & Magazine Sins)

By , 19 November, 2009, No Comment

I told you I was sick and stuck looking at a bunch of magazines… If anyone thought that looking at the marked pages later would temper my responses, they were wrong! I am trying to move past the rants (and the 1980s) as quickly as possible, but here’s an upsetting thing from November’s Marie Claire that I could not ignore:

leather-bracelets

Rebecca Minkoff’s leather bracelets. Inspired by the strap on her handbags. Biker meets Barneys.

Is Rebecca Minkoff a big fat liar? A picture’s worth a thousand words — so here’s a picture of two of my own leather bracelets that I still saved from my days and nights in the 80’s:

my-retro-80s-leather-bracelets

I’m not going to say that these leather bracelets are a pure invention of the 80’s; they owe inspiration to the 60’s — and heaven knows who and where before that. Somethings go far so back, it’s nearly impossible to give proper credit. But to intimate that a current designer is responsible for or invented a look is maddening.

Marie Claire staff may be as young as Minkoff, and so maybe not one of them wore one of these ‘back in the day’, but shouldn’t someone recall seeing these before? They were everywhere in the 1980’s. If they forgot that mom, the cool babysitter, etc., wore them, then how about seeing them in glossy fashion magazines? Maybe even in their own publication, say September, 2008 — or the competition they peruse. Everyone’s talking about the 80’s (even though they might be doing poor jobs of matching looks), so how on earth does anyone miss these facts. (Period, cuz that’s rhetorical.)

OK, so maybe calling Minkoff a liar is a bit much… But let’s not act like she — or any of the plethora of studded and adorned leather bracelet designers out now — were inspired void of any knowledge of these accessories, of the styles and designs which came before them.

Designers who replicate the past and do not acknowledge such inspiration annoy me to no end; magazines who pander & promote such inaccuracies will get smacked in the nose by their own rolled-up glossy-page publications– just like a dog who pees on the carpet.

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

(Another) Return Of The Cuff Bracelet

By , 12 October, 2009, No Comment

Remember when I wrote about big black bracelets? Well, the November issue of Marie Claire magazine has a similar feature on the cuff bracelet as an “instant classic” on page 14.

Instant Classic: The Cuff Bracelet (Marie Claire, November, 2209)

Instant Classic: The Cuff Bracelet (Marie Claire, November, 2209)

The piece includes a brief history of the cuff, crediting Coco Chanel as the one who redefined the jewelry by wearing Maltese Cross cuffs by Duke Fulco di Verdura. Oddly, Marie Claire opted to use a photo of Chanel wearing plenty of bangles — but not the specified Maltese Cross cuffs… Maybe because Coco was puffing off a cig? (You know you simply cannot show people smoking with our current politically correct revisionist history! Bah!)

Coco Chanel Wearing Maltese Cross Cuffs (Photo by Man Ray, 1935)

Coco Chanel Wearing Maltese Cross Cuffs (Photo by Man Ray, 1935)

In 2007, a black jade cuff by Verdura featuring an 18k gold Maltese Cross with cabochon sapphires and rubies, bezel-set diamonds, and cultured pearls fetched $29,800 at Christies.

Original Verdura Maltese Cross Cuff Sold At Christie's

Original Verdura Maltese Cross Cuff Sold At Christie's

That price may seem ridiculous to some, but then the cuffs shown in the Marie Claire piece range from $100 to $1620 — and beyond (that’s the translation of the “price upon request” BS used by designers and retailers who want to intimidate you into sales with the “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it” challenge). Included in the “price upon request” items shown in Marie Claire, the latest Vendura Maltese Cross cuff — limited-edition reissue of peridot, blue topaz, diamonds, enamel and gold, celebrating the both the 70th anniversary and return of the Maltese Cross cuff.

70th Anniversary Vendura Maltese Cross Cuff

70th Anniversary Vendura Maltese Cross Cuff

As for price, rumor has it that it’s $16,500.

Suddenly, the prices of vintage jewelry don’t seem so ridiculous, do they?

John Galliano Claims Film Noir As Inspiration For Dior, Spring 2010

By , 6 October, 2009, No Comment

John Galliano continued his “tailoring-with-underwear” theme with Christian Dior’ Spring 2010 couture collection. According to Sarah Mower, this collection is based on a forties film noir theme:

Galliano said he found the cinematic cue while thinking about Lauren Bacall. “She was a great Dior client; there are amazing photos of her in the salon with Bogart. It was that and Arletty in Hôtel du Nord,” he said. That central character—a provocative, smoldering femme fatale with a side-parted, over-one-eye hairdo and red lips—gave him free reign to script a wardrobe narrative. It started with abbreviated wartime trenchcoats, flipped through silver lamé dresses, arrived at a sequence in which the heroine is seen in her scanties, and then followed her out to make a drop-dead entrance in some nightclub or other.

Christian Dior, Photo by Monica Feudi

Christian Dior, Photo by Monica Feudi

Dior Runway, Spring 2010, Photo by Monica Feudi

Dior Runway, Spring 2010, Photo by Monica Feudi

But when I look at the photographs of what walked down the runway, what I saw was fashion stories depicting wealthy women deemed homeless, each doomed to wear whatever she had on her back that night her house burst into flames. That may sound like “film noir” to some, but to me, it was far more 1980’s Madonna than 1940’s Bacall; right down to the ZZ Top Legs video girl ankle socks.

Pink Pumps and White Ankle Socks in ZZ Top's Legs Video

Pink Pumps and White Ankle Socks in ZZ Top's Legs Video

Of the 47 looks shown, only two seemed to have the elegance of Bacall and real film noir style in mind. The first, a bustier bodice with skirt, seems to have forsaken the less-is-more mantra with a bulky necklace.

Glamorous Bustier Skirt Dior Combo SS2010

Glamorous Bustier Skirt Dior Combo SS2010

This red ensemble is fabulous though — had Bacall dared to bare her bra, this one seems most likely to be chosen.

Elegant Vintage Style in Red, Dior 2010

Elegant Vintage Style in Red, Dior 2010

All Christian Dior photos by Monica Feudi.

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.

Win A Trip To New York During Fashion Week

By , 25 August, 2009, No Comment

Shopbob.com’s giving away a trip to New York during fashion week (travel included), a pair of invitations to the Erin Fetherston Fashion Show in New York, some spending cash and a spree at Shopbop.com.

Shopbob NY Fashion Week Sweeps

Shopbob NY Fashion Week Sweeps

The Grand Prize consists of a trip for 2 to New York, N.Y. Trip including round trip coach class air transportation for 2 to New York departing from the major airport nearest to Grand Prize winner’s home on September 11, 2009 and returning September 14, 2009; ground transportation between airport and hotel in New York; 3 nights’ standard hotel accommodations (double occupancy) at the Westin Hotel in Times Square or comparable accommodations; 2 $200 Visa Gift Cards ($400 total); 2 invitations to attend the Erin Fetherston Fashion Show in New York on September 13, 2009; a $1,000 Shopbop.com Gift Certificate (“GC”) for use on Shopbop.com.

The approximate retail value of the Grand Prize is $3,750.

Enter by signing up for their email list before 11:59:59 p.m. (CT) on August 27, 2009; limit one entry per e-mail address.