Thursday, April 29, 2010

Who says Garanimals aren't chic?

"The sign of a great designer is the ingenious way he works with basic shapes. Halston joins two half circles of fabric and adds the couturier touch with a hand finished bias binding around the entire cape. The secret: the proper choice of fabric. Our two versions of Halston's cape, above, in acrylic knit in a bright print by Concord; below -- a bright plaid of spun Dacron by JP Stevens."

This article referred to a photo of Liza Minnelli in Halston's cape that was on the preceding page, but sadly, I don't have that photo. However, let me add a bit of Halston/Liza trivia: Liza was so clueless about dressing in the pre-stylist early 70s that Halston told her to go to Louis Vuitton and buy the luggage of her choice (and that she'd faint at the cost), then to bring it back to him to fill up. He filled the luggage with all kinds of separates, accessories, and everything she'd need for her travels to Paris, New York, and Vegas, because she was jet-setting everywhere at the time. (She had a French boyfriend, and was singing in Vegas regularly.) He even included lists and photos of how to match everything up correctly, so she couldn't possibly go out improperly dressed. She subsequently ended up on the Best Dressed list.

So yeah, if you need help, don't dis-count those Garanimal type outfits that tell you what goes with what. It worked for Liza.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ponchos don't have to be fugly

Plaid version: "A washable lightweight wool cut in a cape shape and worn asymmetrically for flair. Buttons and edges are crocheted, with red yarn woven through the stitches along the inner edge." Green version: "low, sloping, the old look of a dolman sleeve. Like the others, this coat is reversible (marvelous design for double faced fabrics). A loop catches the sides under the arms." The red version: "The easiest one of all - just a rectangle split up the center. Wear it as casually as they do in Latin America (it's called a ruana there) or button it at the wrists for walking or driving." Blue version: "The only coat the requires any sewing, and that's minimal (to secure the self fringe, make the belt, and if desired, put in pleats). Outline stitch covers fringe's machine stitch.

From Woman's Day, 1972

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Greatest Spectacle in Swimsuits

"Spectacle Suit" is what designer Claire McCardell calls this swimsuit. Its puffy pleated pants are calculated to emphasize the sparseness of the wired bra.

Amazing, yes?

From Life Magazine, January 17, 1949.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

To top it all off.

I am a hat person. I love them. I think they create a style all their own, or they can just finish off something that's almost there by itself. Hats are unique.

The nice thing about vintage hats is that anyone can wear them. Most vintage clothing is fairly small, so it can be hard to find something that fits well, unless one has a smaller frame than average, by today's standards. Well, I'm not so sure, but I think that hat sizes have stayed fairly standard, meaning that vintage hats are much more likely to fit. Good thing, since it's virtually impossible to alter them!

Take this 20s hat, from Dorothea's Closet Vintage. Check out her selection of hats -- she had some featured in September, 2009's issue of Vogue, and for good reason. This one is classic 20s, and I covet it terribly. Great thing is, it could be paired just as easily with a dress as with a pair of jeans and a boyfriend jacket. Love it? Me too.

My thoughts about hats today came about when I found a quote by my beloved Erma Bombeck, whose humor is pretty similar to my own. "I have a hat. It is graceful and feminine and give me a certain dignity, as if I were attending a state funeral or something. Someday I may get up enough courage to wear it, instead of carrying it." I hope she did.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Delicious 20s fashions

After yesterday's foundation video, here's a beautiful bevy of 1920s fashion, including everything from scarves to dresses and shoes. The only sad thing is that it's not in color!

PS Do you like the new look of the blog?

Monday, April 19, 2010

What Lies Beneath.

If you love vintage lingerie, this will be a treat -- a Berlei ad from the late 20s, shows lots of beautiful foundation garments.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More deliciousness from 1956 weddings

Designed by Louis K. for the Mori-Lee label. I love the headpiece on the left!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What a Fink

Original, that is. Designed by Frances Duehren. I don't really know much about her, other than she was the president the Society of New York Dress Designers, and for good reason. She created beautiful wedding dresses.

The only other thing I know is that Frances' husband died in 1952. Apparently grief became her, because she became an internationally known wedding dress designer.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Things of beauty

If you don't like 1950's frothy gorgeous-ness, then tune out now, because I just came across a Modern Bride magazine from 1956, and I'm fairly obsessed with it. I'll probably be posting some madly beautiful beauties in the next few posts, unless something else grabs my interest.

LOVE this Emma Domb, though I'm not sure about that bow. The bodice seaming is beautiful though. Emma Domb was started in the late 30s with the Party Lines label. Though I've seen a couple in that period that I liked, it's the 50s ones that I love the most.

The style on the left is designed for bridesmaids, mother of the bride, and "ever after" occasions, and was available in Pink, Powder, Aqua, Gold, Mint and White. I'm presuming Powder means blue? Imagine this: it retailed for $35.

The style on the right, with love knot bow, was available for $45, in White, Rose Petal, Delft Blue, Spring Green, Jonquil Yellow, Red with White and Black with Pink, with matching tulle stole. I'd like to see that last colorway to see how it works. What do you think?

Monday, April 12, 2010

First things Worth.

Charles Worth was where fashion week started. He was something of an independent, someone who followed the beat of his own drummer and, in doing so, he created a bevy of firsts that we are still following today.

He didn't just create a single dress for one woman. He made several dresses that were his own creations, not just orders from the ladies. Hence, he created the very first designer collection. Dressmakers of the day would show their creations on little wooden dolls or wicker dress forms. Mr. Worth was so taken with his wife that he showed his dresses on her, creating the very first fashion model. Granted, they were displayed in every venue she went to, not on the runway, but still, they were shown in motion, not in a showroom.

We have Mr Worth to thank for pants, too, since he was the first person to create the divided skirt -- the precursor to culottes, which were the precursor to pants being worn by women. What else did he do? He was one of the first to use a bustle -- a look that still flummoxes me, but defines a certain period of time in fashion. And even more scandalously, he sent his wife out to the races wearing a bonnet without the normal "curtain" on her bonnet -- leaving the back of her neck exposed. Oh, the scandal of it all! But the scandal must not have been a bad thing, since women begged him to dress them right up until his death in the 1920's.

And so, if you'd never heard of the House of Worth before, now you have, and you can see some of their beautiful creations in the video above.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Last call

We're a bit past the club phase, but back in the 70s, Studio 54 was the place to be. Opening night in 1977 found the big names there -- a weird mix, if you think about it. Mick Jagger and his wife were there, along with Jerry Hall, who became Mick's second wife. Donald Trump and first wife Ivanka were there, and Rick and Kathy Hilton were there (they were engaged, so she wasn't a Hilton yet). Who are they? Parents of Paris Hilton. Partying in the club goes deep in that family, I guess.

An even weirder mix of people were left on the sidewalk, unable to get in: Warren Beatty, Cher, Frank Sinatra, and Henry Winkler. Who the heck leaves The Fonz out on the sidewalk?

Halston was a frequent guest at Studio 54, and for good reason. He was a premier designer of the period, and his designs were perfect for gettin down. I love Halston's designs, because they just seem like they would be so comfortable to wear. The one above (from Dorothea's Closet) might not get you to the club, but you'd sure be comfortable in the board room.

And just for trivia's sake, do you know who had the last drink at Studio 54, at the end of its heyday? (We won't count the reopening later on, because it hit its peak during the first go-round.)

Give up? None other than Rambo: Sylvester Stallone.