web analytics

Posts tagged ‘Jewelry’

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.

Cheer-Up, Pup!

By , 3 November, 2009, No Comment

What do you do to perk up a rather sad solid sweater or sweater set? Why you pin on a vintage mink poodle pin, of course!

Vintage Mink 1950's Poodle Pin

Vintage Mink 1950's Poodle Pin

(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?

“Bee” A Deco Flapper Girl

By , 2 September, 2009, 2 Comments

Sure, “bee” is a pun based on the flapper expression “the bee’s knees,” but it’s also an art deco color scheme. Because most of what we see of flapper attire is in black & white, you may not know it, but a pretty warm yellow paired with dramatic black was a rather common color combination (often leaving the yellow looking like “white” or at least ivory in vintage photographs).

Since the straight “tube” flapper style of dress (combined with smaller sizing) can make most actual vintage flapper clothing too small for most of us to wear (or be unflattering when we do!), you can add in touches of the roaring twenties with fabulous flapper art deco touches.

I found some lovely yellow & black art deco designed (so that’s vintage style, not actual vintage) silver plated barrettes with black & yellow enameling and Swarovski crystal accents — what a pretty way to manage your bangs while you work on growing out that bob!

Vintage Style Art Deco Hair Barrett in Black and Gold

Vintage Style Art Deco Hair Barrett in Black and Gold

If you’d like something a bit softer, less geometric, in design, how about this lovely actual vintage art deco enamel and Czech yellow necklace with flowers and feminine ovals:

Vintage Art Deco Necklace with Czech Glass & Enameling

Vintage Art Deco Necklace with Czech Glass & Enameling

To add to your flapper look, finish off with some actual vintage shoes. These silver shoes with a top ankle strap match the metal of the barrettes and necklace and go with nearly any modern ensemble too.

Silver Leather Flapper Shoes With Top Strap

Silver Leather Flapper Shoes With Top Strap

Of course, if you’re looking for more of a basic & casual shoe (with more size options too), try these Cortny flats with three ankle straps by Elizabeth & James — a more modern version of the flapper shoe in versatile (and popular this season!) ballet flats.

Cortny Ballet Flats with Three Ankle Straps

Cortny Ballet Flats with Three Ankle Straps

When I Say, “Pearls,” You Say…

By , 11 August, 2009, 4 Comments
Barbara Billingsley As June Cleaver

Barbara Billingsley As June Cleaver

If I say, “Pearls,” and you think of June Cleaver, think again. Pearls aren’t only for the conservative, the conservatively dressed, or “pretty daywear” for housewives.

Peggy Knudsen Wearing Pearls

Peggy Knudsen Wearing Pearls

They aren’t only reserved for classic glamour….

Ann Miller Wearing Glamorous Pearls

Ann Miller Wearing Glamorous Pearls

They may be classic, but they can also be unexpected.

Mary Brian Wearing Pearls

Mary Brian Wearing Pearls

Sure, pearls may make one think of virgins and tenderness, but pearls aren’t always shy… Along with their natural luster, there’s a bit of the lust-her too. (Tell me, have pearl button earrings ever been more sexy?!)

Sandra Dorne: Pin Up Cover Girl In Pearls

Sandra Dorne: Pin Up Cover Girl In Pearls

Pearls are the demure allure to frankly aggressive blood-red lips & nails…

Joan Collins Wearing Pearls

Joan Collins Wearing Pearls

The luminous light drawing eyes to dark hair and mysterious cleavage…

Anna May Wong Wearing Pearls In Her Hair

Anna May Wong Wearing Pearls In Her Hair

Zsa Zsa Gabor Using Pearls To Point The Way...

Zsa Zsa Gabor Using Pearls To Point The Way...

The luxurious addition to a casual bohemian look…

Josephine Baker Swinging Jazz Pearls

Josephine Baker Swinging Jazz Pearls

Natalie Wood Sporting Pearls

Natalie Wood Sporting Pearls

Pearls help send a mixed message, suggesting a complicated woman which should be approached with caution & care.

Good girls may get the pearls, but bad girls want & use them too. The most calculating vamps, the most mischievous sex kittens, they all know — covets and apply — the luster & allure of pearls.

Louise Brooks Plotting With Pearls

Louise Brooks Plotting With Pearls

Going Garbo

By , 16 March, 2009, No Comment

Continuing my salute to the many hats of Greta Garbo…

This fantastic headpiece isn’t really a ‘hat’ — but I do have a great story that goes with it.

Garbo in headpiece as Mata Hari

Garbo in headpiece as Mata Hari

I saw this photo (or another like it) of Greta as Mata Hari when I was about 14 or so, and was so smitten, that I tried to create such headpieces myself. I began by draping necklaces & pendants from my hair (securing the chains with bobby pins) onto my forehead. Yes, even out in public. I’m sure I looked ridiculous, but the vision of me in my mind’s eye was soooo beautiful that I didn’t see what others saw.

Once I spend an entire Saturday trying to make a headpiece like this with one of those safety pin and beads kits… After spending so many hours unable to even complete what was supposed to be a belt or a choker — and knowing I’d need several of these kits to make what I envisioned in my mind to be the equivalent of Garbo’s headpiece, I let my friends talk me into going to the mall and hanging out. Whatever they did there must have been some sort of intervention, because I never resumed making the headpiece or even wearing the necklaces strung in my hair.

I know I should be a bit embarrassed that I did all that; but honestly I’m mostly just sad that I stopped trying to recreate the look.

Now all I need is another free Saturday.

(I haven’t had one of those since I was 14!)

Friday, February 6, 2009, is National Wear Red Day

By , 5 February, 2009, No Comment

Heart Truth Logo

Tomorrow, February 6, 2009, is National Wear Red Day, “when thousands of Americans across the country will wear red to unite in the national movement to remind everyone that heart disease is the #1 killer of women.”

To participate & remind one another to get serious about heart disease, all you have to do is wear something red. You must have something red in your closet, right? I’ll post lots of red things tomorrow as my digital participation — but I figured you vintage fashion lovers would want some time to plan your ensemble. *wink*

Also on National Wear Red Day, the public can begin online bidding on a selection of designer dresses from The Heart Truth’s celebrity red dress fashion shows — including this beauty by Angel Sanchez, worn by “Grey’s Anatomy” star Sara Ramirez.

Sara Ramirez In Angel Sanchez Dress

Sara Ramirez In Angel Sanchez Dress

Remember, these designer dresses will be vintage fashions one day!

Red Dress Pin

Red Dress Pin

You can also support women and heart disease awareness by wearing the Red Dress Pin. It’s also available by calling the NHLBI Health Information Center at 301-592-8573 (TTY: 240-629-3255).

(Even if it arrives late, you can still continue to remind folks to be healthy!)

For more information, see the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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!

Of Pola Negri & Pearls

By , 2 December, 2008, No Comment

I’ve always loved Pola Negri but it’s difficult to get away with fashions from the 1920’s. Their tubular silhouette doesn’t suit my own curvy one, and even though flapper fashions were about freedom at the time, they are more constricting, less practical and therefore less free for living in today’s world. However, one can always add some drama — and flapper-esque appeal — with pearls.

Pola Negri

Pola Negri

In this, one of my favorite Pola Negri photos, you can see the drama in this bold trio of pearls ring and the freedom in the playful string of pearls draped about her arm.

The trick is to wear only pearls — and those large enough to command attention with their own sultry sheen, just like Pola.

The Not-So Basic Big Black Bracelet

By , 25 November, 2008, 1 Comment

Big, beautiful, bold, bangles make a grand statement all on their own, as seen here being worn by Ruth Chatterton.

Ruth Chatterton In Lilly Turner

Ruth Chatterton In Lilly Turner

Because they are such bold pieces, these big bracelets and bangles are usually worn alone, sometimes balanced with a pair of bracelets on the other arm, as shown here again by Chatterton.

Ruth Chatterton In The Magnificent Lie

Ruth Chatterton In The Magnificent Lie

Such bold bracelets and bangles were made of plastic, Bakelite being quite popular for costume jewelry, often carved and/or with other materials such as metal and rhinestones set in.

Vintage Carved Bakelite Bracelet With Metal Insert

Vintage Carved Bakelite Bracelet With Metal Insert

They came in a wide variety of colors, such as this light colored one (with darker colored ‘stones’ or design of some sort) worn by Ann Harding in Double Harness.

Ann Harding Wearing Big Bangle Bracelet

Ann Harding Wearing Big Bangle Bracelet

There are also amazing bracelets dripping with beads, like the one worn here by Norma Shearer.

Norma Shearer With Fabulous Bracelet Dripping With Beads

Norma Shearer With Fabulous Bracelet Dripping With Beads

While I much prefer vintage costume jewelery, it can be very difficult to find — and at affordable prices. This seems especially true when you are trying to match a particular outfit. Even black can prove difficult to find when you are desperate to find it. So sometimes looking for modern pieces is a better option.

Banana Republic has bracelets (now on sale too!) which are reminiscent of the old Bakelite bracelets. This black beaded bracelet is called a Corsage bracelet and this wide black bangle with turquoise ‘stones’ is called a Brooch bangle.

Black and Turquoise Brooch Bangle

Black and Turquoise Brooch Bangle

Black Beaded Plastic Corsage Bracelet

Black Beaded Plastic Corsage Bracelet

The Banana Republic bracelets range, on sale, from $25 to $30, which is less expensive than many vintage bangles made of Bakelite. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a steal on real vintage bangles — sometimes for just $10 or so on eBay. You’ll have to spend some time looking, of course, and you may only find the simpler solid color bangles for such low prices — but isn’t that hunt half the fun anyway?

Keep looking and you may just find yourself getting lucky finding lots of affordable bangles and bracelets. Just be careful not to layer too many or you’ll look like Marilyn in There’s No Business Like Show Business — or just another 80’s chick (but hey, that’s coming back again too!)

Marilyn Monroe Wearing Lots Of Bracelets

Marilyn Monroe Wearing Lots Of Bracelets