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Posts tagged ‘Fashion’

Oh What A Heavenly Hem!

By , 13 October, 2009, 2 Comments

I just adore this vintage black silk taffeta dress! The lower skirt is covered with black soutache, studded with black faceted beads, and then the arched scalloped edges finish in dainty black silk tassels hanging over a hemline of rose colored velvet. (There is an attached net crinoline beneath for shaping too — which really contrasts that inset waist treatment!)

1950's Black Taffeta Fitted Dress

1950's Black Taffeta Fitted Dress

The way the black tassels hang over the rose velvet reminds me of garters on stockings!

Soutache Embroidered Hemline with Black Tassels Over Rose Velvet

Soutache Embroidered Hemline with Black Tassels Over Rose Velvet

Vintage Mexican Circle Skirt Set

By , 9 October, 2009, 2 Comments

My circle skirt addiction might wane if I stopped spotting such beauties as this 1940’s Mexican circle skirt (and blouse).

1940's Hand Painted Mexican Circle Skirt & Blouse Set

1940's Hand Painted Mexican Circle Skirt & Blouse Set

This vintage hand painted dress set was made in Mexico by Mocambo in the 40’s. Along with a fabulous hand painted geometric design, the circle skirt has sashes that wrap in back, then the front to tie in a knot — and has hook and eyes to keep the sash in place.

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.

Vintage Wardrobe Must Haves: The Little White Blouse

By , 30 September, 2009, 2 Comments

The Little Black Dress always makes the list of fashion staples to have in your closet. Like high heels, I think little black dresses are easy to find and even easier to splurge on — but what one really needs to be mindful of are the more elusive basics, like The Little White Blouse.

Without little white blouses, what will you wear with your vintage suits and separates? It can be terribly difficult to match or coordinate with vintage fashions because their shades are from yesteryear’s color palettes. Plus, as these vintage photographs show, little white blouses with ruffles, pintucks, lace, and other details are the little touches which make an outfit an ensemble.

Dietrich With Dramatic White Ruffles

Dietrich With Dramatic White Ruffles

This retro Saks 5th Ave. lace blouse has a gorgeous accordion pleats!

Retro Saks Lace Bloue With Accordion Pleats

Retro Saks Lace Bloue With Accordion Pleats

This vintage lace blouse may lack ruffles, but those 3 inch medallions of lace certainly will get attention!

Sheer Vintage Pin-Up Blouse With Loads Of Lace

Sheer Vintage Pin-Up Blouse With Loads Of Lace

Ralph Lauren’s sleeveless Forster Ruffle Blouse is less than $30 (sale found via Shop It To Me) and it will work past summer under suit jackets.

Sleeveless WhiteForster Ruffle Blouse

Sleeveless WhiteForster Ruffle Blouse

And the Venessa Ruffle-Front Blouse, also by Ralph Lauren, is also a good Little White Blouse choice.

Ralph Lauren Venessa Ruffle-Front Blouse

Ralph Lauren Venessa Ruffle-Front Blouse

Katharine Hepburn With Wisps Of White Ruffles

Katharine Hepburn With Wisps Of White Ruffles

If you’re looking for a ruffle to rise above the call of “just plain white,” the Ruffled Racerback Top adds interest as it adds a soft feminine contrast to more severe suiting.

White Ruffled Racerback Blouse

White Ruffled Racerback Blouse

The Escada Long-Sleeve Ruffle Blouse has an incredible ruffle collar that stands up in back!

Escada Ruffled White Blouse With High Collar

Escada Ruffled White Blouse With High Collar

And this retro white blouse has a ruffle that will be visible above most suit jacket necklines as well as a ruffled front and ruffled cuffs.

80's Ruffled White Blouse

80's Ruffled White Blouse

Hedy Lamarr With Bits Of Ruffles

Hedy Lamarr With Bits Of Ruffles

Winter Is Coming — And I’m Seeing Red!

By , 29 September, 2009, No Comment

If the cooler weather is making you hot under the collar — but you know what won’t be enough to keep you warm — why not console yourself with a fabulous coat?

Swing into fall with this 1940s red wool swing jacket! (I’m soooo tempted… If only hubby weren’t aways around monitoring my monitor lol)

Soft Red Wool Swing Jacket, 1940s

Soft Red Wool Swing Jacket, 1940s

And for those really cold days ahead, how about this fabulous 1950’s red wool coat with faux fur trim?

Clear Red Wool Coat With Faux Fur Trim, 1950s

Clear Red Wool Coat With Faux Fur Trim, 1950s

Hey, Wallflower Vintage… Here’s Linking To You, Kid!

By , 25 September, 2009, No Comment

Lynn from Wallflower Vintage emailed me to introduce herself and to direct my circle-skirt-loving self to her recent post about a vintage Mexican circle skirt (the skirt is also for sale in her shop!). I have to say that Lynn and her cohorts at the Wallflower Vintage blog are to be much admired (and a bit envied!) for the creativity and effort they put into their blog posts — especially the images. Especially the images and posts where they pair vintage fashions with old pulp novels! I hope they keep that up!

Vintage Fashion Mixed With Vintage Pulps!

Vintage Fashion Mixed With Vintage Pulps!

Iconic Film Fashion Lists

By , 17 September, 2009, No Comment

Turner Classic Movies teamed up with some fashion designers to create a list of the 15 best films with iconic and/or trend-setting fashion for the LA Times blog — and Kate Gabrielle of Silents And Talkies responded with a few picks of her own. Her comments about Marilyn really struck home for me:

I couldn’t really pick any single Marilyn Monroe film, but I thought that leaving her out of the LA Times list was a glaring error. Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly may be remembered more as style icons of the 1950’s, but for curvy girls like me, Marilyn Monroe is proof that we can carry off an outfit just as nicely as (or better than!) stick thin girls. Her wardrobe in How to Marry a Millionaire and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes may be my favorites.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is probably my Marilyn fashion film favorite — but How To Marry A Millionaire is a close second. But I can’t help but wonder why, yet again, the thinnest — even in beauty icons — are the ones recognized as fashion icons.

Circle Skirt Sale

By , 16 September, 2009, No Comment

Thanks to my Shop It To Me Sale Mail, I discovered Ralph Lauren has the Carmen Twill Circle Skirt on sale for just $29.99! I thought I should let you know — just in case you wanted to get a few of these circle skirts and spend the winter adorning them with appliques *wink*

Ralph Lauren Twill Circle Skirt

Ralph Lauren Twill Circle Skirt

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.

Vintage Suit With Strong Lines

By , 27 August, 2009, No Comment

This 50s wool serge suit by Emery Bird Thayer (Bass, New York) appears to be as straight-forward as those pieced stripes… But look closer and you’ll see all the details which add up to such fantastic style: an Italian-style collar, bold but balanced buttons, a feminine but understated peplum, small shoulder pads, over a slim, dart-fitted, knee-length skirt.

Vintage 1950s Women's Striped Suit At Rusty Zipper

Vintage 1950s Women's Striped Suit At Rusty Zipper

And it completely seams seems like something Barbara Stanwyck would wear…

Barbara Stanwyck In Bold Geometric Suit

Barbara Stanwyck In Bold Geometric Suit