Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vintage Coats - 1970s

Today, I continue our look at coats through the decades with the 1970s. As we saw last week, in the late 1960s, maxi coats and capes were hugely popular. These trends continue into the early 70s, but if there is one coat that defines the 1970s, it is the wrap coat.



No matter if they were made of wool, cashmere, tweed, or leather. No matter whether they had big fur collars or not, a coat that was belted with it's own sash was the look.


As more casual clothing started to become popular, leather coats and denim jackets are seen more and more.


The traditional poplin trench coat, a menswear style popular for decades, is translated for women.


As pants become a mainstay of a woman's wardrobe, shorter jackets become stylish as an alternative to a longer coat.


Knit fabrics are everywhere in the early 70s, and sweater coats, often with fur fronts or fur trim, are very popular. Long thickly knit cardigans that are belted at the waist are often worn as coats too.

By the late 1970s, belted styles are gone, and a straighter silhouette reigns. We start to see larger shoulder pads emerge, a harbinger of the 1980s.

Quilted, snap front coats are popular in the late 1970s. These are both reversible from one color to another.

By 1979, shoulders are dropping, big shoulder pads are in, and the oversized look emerges. We'll see more of this next week, with a look at coats in the 1980s.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Game Day Fashion - 1936

In 1936, women wore skirts and dresses to football games. I doubt football season lasted into February back then, but Fall can get pretty darned chilly for some of us. Featured here are some game day fashions that are warm and attractive at the same time. Let them inspire you to stand out at your next game! Shown above, a cashmere jersey dress in brilliant green with football shaped buttons down the front.

A tangerine wool suit is worn with a yellow turtleneck sweater and a wolf fur stole. Pin a huge spider mum to your lapel and don't forget your compact!
Sally Milgrim offered a wool boucle swagger coat lined in the same green angora/wool that fashions the dress. The coat's collar can be buttoned up tight around the neck. Take a wool blanket to keep those stockinged legs warm!

How about a burgundy herringbone wool suit with notched lapels and flap pockets worn over a blue wool knit blouse. A blue hat and gloves complete the look.

On the right - The green suede jacket sports wool tweed lapels that match the skirt.
On the left - Green plaid wool homespun fashions a "chest warmer" gilet with matching skirt. The same plaid lines the brown coat. Shown below is another view of the gilet or dickey, which is worn over a sweater and closes at the back of the neck and back of the waist. Clever!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lauren Hutton Wears Calvin Klein - 1973

Two of fashion's rising young stars in 1973 are combined in this photo by Richard Avedon. Lauren Hutton began modeling in the 1960s. The year after this photo was taken, Hutton would become the first million dollar supermodel by landing an unprecedented exclusive modeling contract with a cosmetics company. Revlon made Hutton it's face for the Ultima II line.

Hutton wears a sweater coat with matching skirt by Calvin Klein. Klein started his own coat company in 1968 after several years of designing for other labels. By 1970, he expanded into sportswear and in '73, he got his first of three consecutive Coty awards.

The sweater coat and skirt are of salt and pepper acrylic knit trimmed in silver fox fur. Hutton wears the set with a dark blouse, skinny belt and long gold chains. Love the face veil on the hat.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New at Couture Allure - Vintage Dresses, Suits and Coats

New this week at Couture Allure are vintage dresses, suits, and coats. Check our What's New section often, as we add new items 2-3 times a week!

Lilli Ann does it again with this vintage mid to late 1960’s suit fashioned from black wool knit. The suit consists of a dress and matching jacket, both trimmed with genuine white mink fur.

I love the cut out style of this vintage 60s Mod era cocktail dress in black velvet with rhinestones.

Ethereal silk chiffon in an oversize print of lilies immediately identifies this dress as Hanae Mori. This vintage late 1970s evening gown bears the Hanae Mori couture label and was sold by Bergdorf Goodman.

You’re sure to make a beautiful statement when you walk down the aisle in this 1950’s ballerina length wedding dress. Fashioned of ecru lace layered over nude color taffeta, the effect is very princess-like.

This incredible vintage late 1950’s cocktail coat is made from authentic Uchikake kimono silk brocade, which is the fabric used for formal bridal kimonos. The original owner of this coat probably traveled to the Orient in the 1950s and purchased the kimono silk, then had it made into a coat.

There’s no better combination than red with spotted fur and this early 1960s suit has it in spades! Designed by fine suit maker Boykoff for Lord & Taylor, this suit is fashioned from fire engine red wool boucle and is adorned with spotted genuine fur that has been stenciled to imitate ocelot.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Victorian Handbag

Incredible and intricate embossed leather handbag dates to 1880-1900 and is part of the collection of the Hendrikje Museum of Bags and Purses in Amsterdam.

In other news, I am thrilled to announce that the Couture Allure Vintage Fashion Blog has been named one of the Top 10 Vintage Clothing Blogs by Thank you!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Emeric Partos, Furrier Extraordinaire

A big thank you to all of you who took the time to respond to my question about vintage fur yesterday. The overwhelming response was a positive one, so I will feature pictures of vintage furs here on the blog in the future.

emeric partos jaguar fur, 1964Sometimes, the serendipity of finding images and doing research for this blog takes me to unexpected places. That happened today when I came across this image from 1964 of a little outfit designed by Emeric Partos. The outfit consists of a blouse and britches in real jaguar fur with a long red velveteen "fling" to throw over it. Pretty outrageous, right? That led me to find out more about Mr. Partos. He was quite a fascinating man.

Please note: Biographical information about Emeric Partos is copyright of Couture Allure and may not be copied without permission.

Emeric Partos was born in Hungary and moved to Paris in 1939. During WWII, he served in the French army and later became an operative in the underground, where he met couturier Alex Maguy. Partos joined Maguy's house as a coat designer, then joined the House of Dior as Dior's assistant in 1947. It is said that Partos was the one who came up with the idea of using crinoline petticoats to give volume to the yards of fabric in Dior's New Look skirts.

In 1950, Partos was invited to join the house of Maximilian Furs in New York, first as a guest designer, and then permanently. He terminated his contract with Dior and moved to New York.

Jasmine white mink cropped jacket by Partos,
made to order at Bergdorf Goodman, 1955

In 1955, Bergdorf Goodman lured Partos away by offering him free reign as the designer in their custom fur salon. It was here that the name Emeric Partos became synonymous with the finest, most expensive, and most innovative furs in the world.

Alaskan seal slim coat with side buttons by Partos,
made to order at Bergdorf Goodman, 1955

In 1957, Partos was awarded a Coty Award for his fur designs.

Empress Chincilla fur bolero jacket by Partos,
made to order at Bergdorf Goodman, 1958

Emba Autumn Haze mink coat by Partos,
made to order at Bergdorf Goodman, 1960

A showing at the fur salon on the second floor of Bergdorf Goodman was always attended by a Who's Who of high society. Customers such as Babe Paley, Gloria Vanderbilt, and Barbra Streisand could be found perched on little gold chairs watching a very theatrical show featuring Mr. Partos' latest creations with the finest pelts in the world. Not only did he design the furs, but he also designed the clothes and accessories that went with them.

Zebra fur dress by Partos from the late 1960s,
from the collection of the Met Costume Institute

Emeric Partos is credited with such innovations in the fur industry as knitting with strips of fur, dying fur, and using pelts from unusual animals like yak.

In 1974, Partos invented the fur "cover-up", essentially a separate coat made of poplin, gabardine, or silk that was meant to be worn over the fur coat to protect it from rain, sleet, and snow. It evolved into a garment that women wore over their fur coat so as not to look too ostentatious.

Emeric Partos died on December 2, 1975 at the age of 70. He had been with Bergdorf for 20 years.

In 1965, Barbra Streisand filmed a portion of her television special, "My Name is Barbra" in Bergdorf Goodman. The fashion show sequence features Streisand singing "Second Hand Rose" and other songs while modeling several fur outfits by Emeric Partos. Here is the clip of that performance from the show. You may want to skip through the first 3 minutes until you get to the fashion portion. You'll see Barbra wearing a long Somali leopard coat over a black leather dress, a pair of white mink knickers with a black sweater, a velvet print suit lined in Canadian wild mink, and a white broadtail lamb riding habit. The second fur is unidentified, but it looks like either fox or sable to me. All the hats were designed by Bergdorf's custom milliner, Halson (yes, that Halston). Barbra purchased most of the fur outfits after filming the show. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How do you Feel About.......

....fur? Vintage fur, that is? The wearing of fur can be a controversial subject, and starting a discussion about the pros and cons of that is not my purpose. This blog is, at heart, a teaching tool, but for the most part, I've been avoiding showcasing images of fur coats from the past so as not to ruffle any feathers. Personally, I do sell and wear vintage furs, as they were made at a time when doing so was acceptable, and recycling a coat from the past is far better than buying new. I do want to be sensitive to your feelings, though.

As an example, the image above is from 1965. That year, coats featuring fur linings were quite popular. This set by Branell features a simple shift dress in charcoal wool with a matching wool coat. The fur lining the inside of the coat? I never would have guessed it, because it's not actual fur pelts. This is fabric made of vicuna that has been woven to look like fur. Vicuna is now an endangered species, so any sale of this fiber must meet local and federal laws, even if it is vintage. But that is something I could teach you about another day.

So, dear readers, how do you feel about it? Should I do occasional posts about fur types and fur styles from the past? Or should I just continue to write about other things? Please leave a comment with your opinion, and I'll go with the majority.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Vintage Coats - 1960s

Today, I am continuing my look at coats through the years with the 1960s. The 60s was a decade of great changes in fashion from the ladylike looks of the Kennedy era, to the Mod years, and then to the beginnings of the Hippie influences. You'll see all of that today.

Dan Millstein copy of a Nina Ricci design in 1961.

As we saw last week in the late 1950s, the cocoon style coat started to become popular. This look was usually reserved for high fashion and couture. Instead of the coat flaring out from narrow shoulders, the volume starts at the shoulders with the sleeves cut as part of the body of the coat. Underarms are very deep, almost nonexistent. You would think this style would be shapeless, but these coats were beautifully tailored and served to accent the slimness of the body underneath. In fact, heavy tailoring is found up until the late 60s.

In this 1961 coat by Zelinka-Matlick, you can see that that deep underarm.

If you didn't wear high fashion, you had one of these coats - a straight or slightly flared cut with a wedding ring collar that closed up around the face with hooks. This style was so popular, that these coats are still very easy to find today.

1963 tweed coat with matching hat by Originala

By 1963, coat shapes become much less voluminous and are cut closer to the body. Tailoring is key and seams are often highlighted with top-stitching to accent the shape of the coat. Many manufacturers offered coats with matching dresses. Plaids and tweeds are popular, along with the new wool/silk blend shantungs and alaskines.

Here, you can see the result of tailoring. This coat is quite stiff and could probably stand up on it's own. This coat by Harry Frechtel is from 1965.

By 1965-66, the Mod movement starts to affect high fashion. Here, Originala uses wild graphic prints in two coats from 1965.

A 1966 coat from St. Laurent shows the popular top-stitching. Big buttoned flap pockets give a hint of Mod whimsy.

Mod era coats become shorter and we find unusual closures. Here, from 1967, Don Simonelli closes a blue wool mini coat with silver buckles.

By 1969, styles have changed radically. The hippie influence is felt on the Paris runways. Huge capes are all the rage. Palacio offered this navy blue cape lined in red and green striped velvet.

Maxi and midi lengths in coats were popular with women, but not men! Here a Ginala maxi coat from 1969 in black wool has a capelet collar. The inset shows the influence of the film Dr. Zhivago in a maxi coat by Cuddlecoat trimmed in silver fox fur.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vintage Suits for Travel and Beyond

In 1949, one magazine suggests that when choosing a wardrobe for travel, you should spend the most on items you'll wear the most; on items that can be translated into your everyday life after the trip. Of course, in 1949, women dressed much more formally for travel than we do today, and a good suit was considered essential for a trip by plane, train, ship, or car.

John Perna of Simon Cohen fashioned this suit of wool gabardine and trimmed it with matching braid. Our traveler accessorizes it with white pigskin gloves, a Koret handbag, a Suzy helmet hat with separate veil that ties in the back, and a fur stole. The suit sold for $70 in 1949 (about $627 in today's dollar). Amelia Earhart luggage.

Here, the same suit worn to work after the trip with a silk scarf tucked into the neckline.

For a motoring trip, this woman wears a three piece ensemble of soft-toned wool plaid by Swansdown. She accessorizes it with a Roger Van S. leather shoulder bag, an Anglebasque beret, and leather gloves. The suit and coat each sold for $60 in 1949 (about $538 in today's dollar).

Here, she wears the same suit with a classic camel coat by Rutherford for a different look.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Disco Fever Fashion - 1978

In the late 70's, Disco was all the rage. In 1977, Studio 54 opened in New York, Donna Summer's music hit the charts, and the film Saturday Night Fever was released. And Disco had it's own fashion statement. Clothes that moved were key. Blouson bodices, elastic waists, thin belts, and drape-y flowing fabrics made it easier to dance, dance, dance . Let's take a look at some hot styles from 1978.

From left to right:
- He wears a Cacharel silk shirt a cotton velveteen trousers. The only thing missing is the gold chains!
- Sue Wong designed this polyester satin jumpsuit for Young Edwardian by Arpeja. The sleeves are slashed, the bodice is wrapped and blouson, and the ankles have elastic.
- A black nylon jumpsuit by On The Rocks has tapered legs and spaghetti straps.

From left to right:
- A polyester jersey top and skirt features a cowl neckline and split sleeves. By California Holiday.
- Patty Woodard polyester crepe camisole and flutter skirt.
- California Holiday polyester jersey dress with ruffle accents.

From left to right:
- Sue Wong dress for Young Edwardian by Argeja has a 40's feel with the pointed peplum. The cream crepe is covered with red glitter hearts and accented with a thin red belt.
- Michael Fredericks polyester jersey jumpsuit with a wrapped halter bodice.
- A tight cotton knit t-shirt with rhinestone accents by Sweet Inspirations is worn with the ultimate red stretch disco pants by J.J. & Co.

From left to right:
- Singer & Spicer polyester satin dress with a blouson bodice and elastic waist.
- Ci Bon black silk wrap jacket and slim pants with elastic at the ankles belted in fuschia.
- Carol Anderson polyester satin draped dress.

Sparkle, shimmer and shine were all the rage in accessories and strappy shoes ruled by day and by night.

- Brass evening bag dangles from a long black cord, by Carol for Eva Graham.
- Van Allen 40's inspired rhinestone fringe pin with a large faux sapphire a the center.
- Whiting and Davis blue and purple sash can be worn as a scarf or as a belt.
- Abbé Creations multi-colored rhinestone belt.
- David Evins evening sandals with removable ankle strap and metal mesh band.

- Van Allen long beaded tassel necklace.
- Halston for Commodore stretch sequined hat. A little satin pouch can be worn as a necklace so your evening bag doesn't get lost.

And don't forget a row of rhinestones up the back of your stockings!

Now get out there and Boogie, Oogie, Oogie!