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Posts tagged ‘vintage glamour’

Fashion News From 1950

By , 17 July, 2009, No Comment

In the July 31, 1950 issue of Quick magazine (sent to me by Deanna — who has more snippets from Quick here), fashion news: U.S. Fashions Go “Down Under.”

“American designer” fashions, running a gamut from a revealing bathing suit (l.) to a cover-up toga-ensemble (below), will be flown to Australia by Neiman-Marcus, Dallas specialty store, and modeled for the “Aussies” by typical American beauties.

Vintage Fashion News, July, 1950

Vintage Fashion News, July, 1950

Left photo caption reads, “$160 worth of swimsuit, by Cole of California, in fuchsia sequins.” Can you even imagine the decadence of a 160 dollar swimsuit in 1950’s dollars?! With inflation, what is that… like $1000 today? (Makes the prices on buying vintage bathing suits seem like a pittance!)  And certainly sequin-covered swimsuits were as practical as they are today too. *wink*

Cole of California was founded in 1923 by Fred Cole, a former actor at Universal Studios. Cole’s attitude toward swimwear design was not typical for the time; while most companies of the 1920s and 1930s concentrated on designing functional swimwear, Cole was interested in making it fashionable & gamorous.

A brief timeline for the ultra glam Cole of California swimwear company:

1936: Began collaborating with Hollywood costume designer Margit Fellegi.

1950: Signed Esther Williams to a merchandising-design contract; her designs & promotions made Cole of California the most popular and glamorous swim & bathing suits of the time.

1955: Began producing swimwear for Christian Dior.

1960’s: The company was purchased by Kayser-Roth, then sold to Wickes Company; Cole of California remains a recognizable name in swimsuits.

1982: Launched Anne Cole Collection; Anne Cole is the daughter of founder Fred.

1983: Licensing agreement with Adrienne Vittadini, until 1993

1989: Cole of California purchased by Taren Holdings,

1990: Juice junior line debuted.

1993: Cole of California acquired by Authentic Fitness Corp. and combined with Catalina to form Catalina Cole.

1997: Anne Cole introduced the “tankini.”

For more images & info on vintage Cole of California bathing suits, see Glamoursplash; visit here for more on Esther Williams & Cole of California.

The other photo caption reads, “Bonnie Cashin’s ‘on-the-go’ ensemble: suit dress, checked toga.” I find it interesting that the checkered wrap would be called a toga, as it does not look like it could drape and cover the whole body (or even the lower half); it appears designed to ensure visibility of the body — or at least other fashions, like the suit. But it’s interesting to note, especially if you’re searching online and need another keyword to try. *wink*

Cashin apparently made “toga” style fashions as early as 1947 in including toga or cape fashions for Neiman-Marcus into the 1970’s… But I’m no Cashin expert; for more on Bonnie Cashin, visit the Bonnie Cashin Foundation.

A Guide To Vintage Lucite Purses

By , 9 July, 2009, 25 Comments

I’ve long admired vintage Lucite purses — I say “admired” because these rare babies keep me at arm’s length with their hefty price tags and my fear of damaging them while using them. Don’t get me wrong; their rarity completely warrants the digits on tags. In fact, I don’t see them at antique stores or vintage fashion shops very often, and even online, they can be difficult to find. (All of this only reinforces my fear of using them.)

Anyway, because I don’t see them very often anymore, I was surprised to find not one but two sellers at my local antique mall selling multiple old Lucite purses; so I snapped some pics.

Vintage Lucite Purses

Vintage Lucite Purses

Shopping for vintage Lucite purses becomes even more thrilling when you consider the vast array of styles, shapes and colors these vintage purses came in. And that’s part of the challenge too — as with most fabulous vintage finds, when you fall in love with one, rest assured, finding another just like it is no picnic.

Of course, you can always fall in love again with another, right? (But trust me, your heart will still ache for that long lost love…)

pretty-vintage-lucite-purses

Because I do far more longing for & playing peek-a-boo with vintage plastic handbags, I know more about them than a non-owner or non-collector should…

Here are Thirteen Things About Vintage Lucite Purses

1. While we collectively call these vintage purses “Lucite purses,” there’s a bit of irony to the name. Technically the purses are made of Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) poly(methyl 2-methylpropenoate), a thermoplastic and transparent plastic first patented by German chemist Otto Röhm in the early 1930’s and sold under the name Plexiglass. Lucite is the registered name of DuPont‘s acrylic:

Both DuPont and Rohm & Haas licensed the process and began commercial production in 1936. Lucite®, however, never generated substantial earnings for DuPont. Since it was that company’s primary product, Rohm & Haas was able to commit more resources to Plexiglas® and it consistently undercut DuPont in price.

While DuPont claims poor earnings for Lucite, it’s the name we give to these beautiful vintage plastic purses.

2. Some people mistake Lucite for Bakelite. This is easy for novices to do, but once you’ve held both old plastics, you can more easily discern between the two. Deanna Dahlsad says:

[Lucite] has a slicker feel and is lighter than Bakelite. Like Bakelite, it would be rare to find a piece with mold marks or seams. Generally speaking, Lucite comes in bright colors and patterns that are not seen in Bakelite. Sometimes in darker colors it is confused with Bakelite. However, if you’ve done the Bakelite tests (and feel the piece does not have a damaged or altered finish), the piece is likely Lucite. “No smelli, Plexi” is what I say.

(Her article on identifying and caring for vintage plastics contains the referred to Bakelite tests.)

3. The most expensive Lucite purses were made by Wilardy of New York and once they were showcased in major department stores throughout the country, as a cheaper alternative to leather handbags. Some of the best Lucite purse designers were Rialto, Llewllyn, Charles S. Kahn, Gilli Originals, Patricia of Miami, Evans, and Myles & Maxim. Over time, of course, many cheaper versions, including knock-offs, were made. Most companies marked their handbag creations on the inside, with a stamp on the metal frames or by affixing a clear or paper label — but over the years many of the clear labels have fallen off, making identification & attribution difficult — both for Lucite purses by famous makers and even for identifying other makers of vintage Lucite purses.

4. There are many opaque or translucent colors of Lucite purses. While many agree the carved clear plastic is the most beautiful, it is far from practical in terms of use. Because it’s clear, you can see everything inside & most ladies prefer the contents of their handbags & clutches to be secret.

Vintage Clear Carved Lucite Purse From Iwannas

Vintage Clear Carved Lucite Purse From Iwannas

(You can see Marie Windsor displaying a clear carved Lucite purse — and the contents if it! — here.)

5. The most popular (and therefore pricey) color of vintage Lucite purses seems to be the tortoiseshell — followed closely by amber. My guess is that, along with being so pretty, the darker brown colors are more practical both in terms of keeping the purse’s contents hidden and, like brown leather, very easily mixed into one’s wardrobe.

Vintage Tortoiseshell Lucite Purse

Vintage Tortoiseshell Lucite Purse

Vintage Amber Lucite Purse

Vintage Amber Lucite Purse

Of course, the near rainbow of available colors, means fashionistas and collectors are always looking for the unusual shades, such as pearlized pastels and always-in-fashion black.

6. Vintage Lucite purses come in many shapes too. There are square & rectangular “box” styles, ovals, trapezoid, cylinders, “kidney” shapes, “beehives,” scalloped shaped “kidney” clutches… Some vintage Lucite purses will have “lids” that open, others open like “clams.” Most have Lucite handles, but some will have straps of chain or other material.

7. Along with the myriad of color choices & shapes, Lucite purses are often embellished with carvings, metal work (not just clasps, hinges & feet, but fancy filigree and woven metal work), and/or rhinestones, confetti, shells, flowers, lace, etc. embedded into or set upon it.

Vintage Cylindrical Lucite Purse With Carved Ends On Metal Feet

Vintage Cylindrical Lucite Purse With Carved Ends On Metal Feet

Tortoiseshell Lucite Purse With Open Metal Work ($96)

Tortoiseshell Lucite Purse With Open Metal Work ($96)

Vintage Clear Carved Lucite Purse With Large Rhinestones

Vintage Clear Carved Lucite Purse With Large Rhinestones

When it comes to some of the designs & themes, like this fantastic vintage Lucite purse with a poodle on it — or this wooden purse with a genie on the Lucite lid, you’ll be competing with collectors of poodles & genies.

Vintage Grey Lucite Purse With Retro Poodle

Vintage Grey Lucite Purse With Retro Poodle

Vintage Purse With Lucite Lid With Genie Design

Vintage Purse With Lucite Lid With Genie Design

8. One area of cross-collecting, and therefore pieces with higher prices, are the Lucite purses with built-in compacts. (These are my ultimate fantasy pieces.)

9. As I said, I’m very worried about damaging vintage Lucite purses. Along with cracks, of which no elegant & effective repairs are known (the glue discolors &/or muddles the old plastic), Lucite scratches rather easily. These scratches are especially noticeable on clear and lighter shades of Lucite. Use soft cloths and avoid products with abrasives when cleaning them; extra caution should be taken with tortoiseshell purses because the pattern can be muddled or removed. Novus Polish Kit: Plastic Polish & Scratch Remover is highly recommended for cleaning & minimizing scratches in Lucite. (A metal polish, such as Simichrome Polish, is recommended to clean & keep the metal hardware in good condition — just keep it confined to the metal.)

10. If you find a lovely vintage Lucite purse with a missing rhinestone or two, they can be replaced with care; Sparklz has very detailed information on how to replace missing rhinestones. You’ll have to consider if the vintage purse is worth saving in terms of price, other conditions issues — and your dexterity to make the repairs. (Do not replace/repair and then sell without disclosing that you did so!)

11. Clutches especially have metal frames which should be inspected for damages; if they are too bent to clasp properly, I’d avoid them. Likewise missing or damaged clasps, handles etc. Sure, if you search diligently enough, you can find replacement Lucite handles and metal fittings. (Some are old store stock; others are salvaged from purses too badly damaged to rescue.) Purse-onally, I’m not sure I’d try to tackle all the varying metal fittings — risking cracking the purse. But there are those who claim to be able to make such repairs. (Exercise extreme caution & investigation in these persons/companies before entrusting your vintage purse in their care; see my other vintage guides for more on evaluating professional repair services.)

12. The myth that antique shops and vintage fashion boutiques (real stores or virtual ones) price their items higher than eBay is false. The purses I found & photographed at my local antique mall were priced from $60 to just under $300 (for the torti), which when compared to eBay prices is fair if not actually lower than current auction prices (and recent past sales). Of course, prices will depend upon the conditions & attributes mentioned above. And if you’re looking for something specific or quickly for a special event, online searching will produce more options & more quickly than hunting in physical locations.

Vintage Lucite Box Purse At Antique Mall ($64.50)

Vintage Lucite Box Purse At Antique Mall ($64.50)

13. If you love the look of vintage Lucite purses, there are folks making reproductions & “vintage style” Lucite purses. These vintage styled Lucite purses (found via The DebLog) are beautiful, and if you fear using an authentic vintage purse, it’s an option…

Vintage Style (Reproduction) Pink Lucite Purse

Vintage Style (Reproduction) Pink Lucite Purse

Carved Lucite Top and Handle on Reproduction Lucite Purse

Carved Lucite Top and Handle on Reproduction Lucite Purse

The prices on the modern made Lucite purses are in the same range as their vintage inspirations; but, again, you won’t have the worry of having destroyed a potential one of a kind vintage piece. However, please note that even the new Lucite will be prone to scratches (and cracks).

For more on these fabulous vintage pieces, pre-order Carry Me: 1950’s Lucite Purses: An American Fashion by Janice Berkson.

More Thursday Thirteen participants can be found here, and here.

Recognize This Cowgirl?

By , 3 July, 2009, 5 Comments

Perhaps there’s nothing more iconically American than the cowboy. And this lady is iconic herself, though not so oft seen as a cowgirl… Any guesses?

Guess Who?

Guess Who?

Happy 4th of July!

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

Let Audrey Hepburn Go To Your Head With Accessories

By , 24 June, 2009, No Comment

When most of us think of or visualize Audrey Hepburn, we see her simple elegance (at least when she wasn’t playing roles wearing period costumes) But Audrey did use accessories; she just wore less of them at a time and let each speak boldly. For example, head scarves.

Audrey Hepburn Scarf

Audrey Hepburn Scarf

Few today think of head scarves as a beautiful way to frame your face, but these practical pieces are found on the cheap — often for less than a dollar!

Audrey (and her costumers) made use of scarves on hats too.

Audrey Hepburn In Breakfast At Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn In Breakfast At Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn In Funny Face

Audrey Hepburn In Funny Face

We sure don’t wear fashion hats like we used to, so such dramatic statements are usually reserved for very special occasions, but just think of the extra life you can get out of your hat if you consider working it with a scarf from time to time? (Your wedding hat won’t look the same year after year if you change it up!)

These last two are stretching “scarves” a bit… But what is a wrap but a very big scarf? *wink* And you sure can’t beat these looks when it comes to bold fashion statements! Makes one reconsider raincoats & even cloaks to go for a dramatic wrap.

Audrey Hepburn In War & Peace

Audrey Hepburn In War & Peace

Audrey Hepburn Bold In Red

Audrey Hepburn Bold In Red

Marilyn Monroe Contest (And I Want To Win!)

By , 10 June, 2009, 1 Comment

To celebrate the launch of www.thisismarilyn.com, the first and only social network specifically designed for the devoted fans and collectors of Marilyn Monroe’s lifetime of work, the site will be giving away $100,000 in highly sought after vintage photographs and limited edition prints.

The original photographs and signed prints are from personal friends of Marilyn Monroe, Andre de Dienes and George Barris. The contest which started when the new site launched, on June 1st, 2009 (Marilyn Monroe’s Birthday) will award 55 prizes, ranging in value from $800 to a grand prize worth over $12,000! The contest will end on August 4th, on the anniversary of Marilyn’s death.

Official rules are posted on the website; but basically, you join and earn points by participating in the site. (Hint: please use me — username JaynieVanRoe — as your referral!)

The contest is being sponsored One West Publishing, Inc., and Marilyn Remembered.

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

Theda Bara

By , 24 May, 2009, 7 Comments

One of the most iconic film images — not iconic silent film images, but just plain most iconic film images — are those of Theda Bara as the titular Egyptian queen in Cleopatra (1917).

Iconic Theda Bara As Cleopatra

Iconic Theda Bara As Cleopatra

Only about 40 seconds of this film has apparently survived; like the bulk of Bara’s film career, this film is believed to be lost. (Though there are those dedicated people who continue to search for films presumed lost; like Mary Ann Cade, who actually owns the belt, slave bracelet and chain of office Theda wore in Cleopatra!)

Of Theda Bara, Daniel Blum (in A Pictorial History of the Silent Screen) writes:

1915 Fox was forging ahead as one of the leading film companies, and this year their prestige soared when in January they released “A Foll There Was” with Theda Bara in the leading role. She became famous overnight. “A Fool There Was” had been a stage play which had been evolved from Kipling’s poem “The Vampire.” The word “vamp” became a household word and Theda Bara became the most famous vampire in the screen and a great box office attraction. She made 40 pictures for Fox in three years, or more than one a month. A legend, built in a press agent’s mind, had Miss Bara born in the shadow of the Sphinx, the daughter of a French artist and his Arab mistress. She was born Theodosia Goodman in Cincinnati of a nice middle-class family. As Theodosia De Coppet she had some stage experience and played a small part in Pathe’s film “The Stain” before shooting to stardom. She appeared also this year in a version of “Carmen” in direct competition with Geraldine Farrar, and “The Two Orphans” with Jean Sothern and Herbert Brenon who subsequently became a famous director.

I don’t know why I’ve not yet watched any of the few surviving Bara films… I take that back; I do know…

As a feminist, I’ve sort of intellectualized what I know of Theda Bara the actress’ vamp status — yet another female stereotype based on “dangerous women” (in this case, those who literally sucked the life force from men) — and that of the real life Theodosia into some sort of doomed duel with The Man.

By all accounts (outside of the old Hollywood image machine), Theodosia was not only a “good girl,” but a very kind and virtuous person. Like Marilyn Monroe, she hated being typecast and forced into roles she did not find challenging. But more than just feeling stifled in her career, Theodosia personally disliked the image of vamp itself; finding it so contrary to her own identity. One could just call it “acting,” but to Theodosia, it was the publicity machine which choked the life out of her & her career.

For those reasons, I’ve found the idea of watching Theda Bara films more than a little saddening…

Perhaps one day I’ll suck-it-up and watch what magic she left for us on the screen.

Some Images Of Theda Bara From Blum's Book

Some Images Of Theda Bara From Blum's Book

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.

(Full) Skirting The Issue

By , 15 May, 2009, No Comment

I don’t think there’s a fashionista alive who hasn’t dreamed of a pretty full-skirted 1950’s New Look party dress or ball gown. But even when her pocketbook is willing, she has to pause and think to herself, “But where on earth will I ever wear it…?”

Oh, if only we dressed more. *sigh*

However, there are times when a girl just has to ignore the obvious and dream that dream — that’s called skirting the issue. And when you do the modern equivalent of window shopping by trolling eBay for 1950’s dresses, dreaming those little romantic fashion dreams, you’re “full skirting the issue!” *wink*

This 1950s full-skirted chiffon illusion party dress features flocking and — brace yourself — glitter! Has glitter ever been so glam?!

Vintage Illusion Chiffon Cocktail Dress

Vintage Illusion Chiffon Cocktail Dress

Think you have better chances to dress to the nines for a wedding or a garden party than a cocktail party? How about this stunning dress?

Vintage Garden Party Dress

Vintage Garden Party Dress

Then again, if you’re going to go for the dream why not go full-skirted, full-throttle diva? And I’m not saying this gorgeous hand-painted ball gown with a corset back is worthy of a diva — it actually belonged to Licia Albanese, the American opera singer who made her début in Milan in 1934 in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.

Vintage Diva Ball Gown

Vintage Diva Ball Gown