Thursday, December 17, 2009

Won't ya let me take you on a...........

The mid 50's McCall's patterns are seriously glam. This is around the time that the designers like Givenchy, Trigere, and others were designing for McCall's, so the glamour of a "generic" McCall's pattern shouldn't surprise anyone. This one is from 1954, and wowza, is it hot!

And so, I leave you with this, and it shall have to get you through till after Christmas, as the family is starting vacation tomorrow, and won't return till next weekend. And though this would be a headturner on formal night on our cruise, I've opted for a draped neckline ruby dress that hubby appreciates just fine.

So happy holidays to all, and I'll see you when we disembark.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Glisten or Gleam?

The question the other day was, what is the difference between glisten and gleam? According to Wordnik, here's what the dictionary says, but don't expect to understand the difference from it:

Glisten: To shine by reflection with a sparkling luster OR be shiny, as if wet.
Gleam: A steady but subdued shining; a glow OR shine brightly, like a star or a light

And just to make it more confusing:
Glisten: To sparkle or shine; especially, to shine with a mild, subdued, and fitful luster; to emit a soft, scintillating light; to gleam; as, the glistening stars.

My own personal take is that glisten means wet. Like Scarlet O'Hara, working an angle with Ashley. Like a mom's eyes at a wedding. Or a 16 year old girl telling her daddy that she got her first ticket. Or my eyes, when I come across a big stack of 30s Vogue magazines. Or my eyes, when I think of how badly I'd like to come across that stack of magazines.........

Gleam, to me, means a wild look in the eyes. Think Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Or a devious, scheming woman. Like Scarlet O'Hara thinking about those drapes. Or carrots.

So let's clarify. I'll show you a couple of pictures, and you tell me if they are glisten or gleam. We'll have a little throw-down right here, and settle it once and for all. Maybe. And if not, at least we can enjoy the pictures.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Losing my Head

There's a tradition in our house: we are hardcore Oscars watchers. Hubby tries to see every movie that's nominated, as well as the roles that were nominated in the major roles. I just like to look at the clothes, of course. (Drives hubby nuts that I tend to guess the winners of the awards pretty accurately, when I don't even watch the movies, but I digress.)

This is one of my all time favorite Oscars dresses, made by Edith Head for none other that Grace Kelly herself, back in 1955. Everything about it is perfect: the color, the draping, the coat....everything. I do wish that I could find a picture of the coat in color though, and what the lining looked like.

No worries though. It's beautiful nonetheless. Even though every time I see a picture of Edith Head, it makes me giggle, thinking of Edna in The Incredibles - a role which was inpired by her. How could you not love someone who bluffed their way into a job that they held for thirty years, and that allowed her to create iconic garments like this one, as well as Audrey Hepburn's iconic Sabrina dress?

Answer? It's just not possible not to love her.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Do-Over, War-time Style

How to turn a fur trimmed coat into a skirt and scarf set, and still have something fashionable, during war-time rationing:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Silver and Gold

"To create an impression of glamour in the evening this winter it takes a gown of one of the many new velvets, the slippery crushed satins, the velvety crepes, or best of all, the new lames. These are quite different than the lames we used to know - the kind that glittered like radiator paint. The new ones are colored lames, pink ones, gray ones, red ones, blue ones. The are soft and supple, they gleam rather than glisten. And this is because of the way they are woven. Some of them are nothing but fine, crinkled crepes in delicious colors, with a thin thread of gold or silver strung through them. Many of the loveliest are moires threaded with thin metal strands and these have a slippery sheen like ice. Vionnet used this last type in soft pink with silver, in gray with gold."

I'm imagining the one on the right in chocolate velvet (sounds like a pudding, doesn't it?). The one I want is the one on the left and, despite the fact that this is from the December, 1933 Pictorial Review, I want it in a pale ivory with tiny pink floral. If I must wear it in December, make it cream with a green print, but I must have a fabulous opera coat to go with it. In emerald green velvet, please.

Monday, December 7, 2009


More of the Audrey Hepburn offerings from Kerry Auctions, to be sold off tomorrow. Could someone please buy me something? I'd personally love to have some of the fashion sketches, but I'd settle for anything, especially something of Ms. Audrey Hepburns. ::sigh::

This Givenchy dress (from 1966 - worn in the October 15 issue of Vogue in that year) is spot on fashion right now, with it's Wilma shoulder treatment, and side bow. The asymmetrical hem is interesting too, especially since it continues the diagonal line of the bodice. Genius, in shocking pink.

I remember my mom calling certain hues shocking pink when I was little. I didn't realize that the term actually came from Elsa Schiaparelli, paying homage to both her love of the color, as well as her interesting personal history. How iconic does one have to be to be able to coin the name of a color? How many other people have been able to do that? Think about it. There's Kelly green, I know, but who is Kelly? Has anyone else been able to do it?

Her fascination with pink purportedly caused great distress to one Englishman who, in visiting Paris, recognized a stuffed polar bear in her window as one that his grandfather had shot. Dali, her window dresser at the time, had dyed the unfortunate ursa pink.

Shocking, indeed.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Post-Titanic Era loveliness

The clothing from the early and mid-1910s are beautiful. I love the way the bodices are draped with fabric, and the carefully chosen beading is just so pretty. This one is, according to Kerry Auctions, from 1913, and I'm in love with it. But then again, I'm a sucker for pink, too.

By Charles Drècoll, a couture house in Paris. Drecoll introduced perfume to his line in 1925. The company was purchased by Marcel Guerlain in 1944.

Pretty much the perfect 60s dress

It's no secret that I love the lines on 60s clothing. This pattern is no exception, and I love how much it can be varied. My favorite style is the drop waist variation, though I can't carry it off. I think that the pockets are an interesting addition, though I'm not convinced that they are really very useful where they are located, and think that they probably wouldn't be very flattering, if truth be told.

I love the look of a proper roll collar, especially because it pretty much negates the need for a necklace. These would be cute with a brooch, but I love how they styled them here with patterned hose. But is that girl on the right really wearing fishnets? I think not -- that wouldn't work here at all. I think they are also patterned hose.

Or at least I hope so.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Clean and Simple

This may be the perfect "coming of age" womanly dress. Yes, it could be worn by an early 20 something, but I think it's probably best suited for the later 20's, through the 30s and even early 40s, before one's arms begin to flap, threatening to knock one out with a improperly timed wave. This dress says "I'm young enough to have fun, but I want to show a little maturity, without coming across as an old lady." Accessorized as shown, it could easily carry you from work to a dinner out, but with no accessories and a pair of ballet flats, it could be a great running about town dress too.

It's from October/November 1960 Vogue Pattern book, and happens to be Vogue 5088, which comes in lots of other styles too. I love the boxy cropped bolero and sheath style, but that style wouldn't love me back. This one's a bit more forgiving for us pear shaped girls.

To make it in the proper colors for the season, choose "phosphorescent yellow, magenta, sizzling pink and green, neon blue," as noted as being the "new color hits."