Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fuzzy Mohair Sweaters - 1963

Mohair is the long silky hair of the Angora goat. It is a strong and durable fiber that takes brilliant color dyes well. And it makes wonderfully warm and fuzzy sweaters, as seen in these examples from 1963.

Snow white pullover with V-neckline and cable stitching at the center front. Hand knit in Italy by Blairmoor Knitwear. Sold in 1963 for $18 (about $125 in today's dollar).

A turquoise cardigan banded in brown and honey beige, hand knit in Italy by Famelia. Sold in 1963 for $18 (about $125 in today's dollar).

Beige vest edged in white by Darlene Knitwear. Worn with a white blouse and white pants. Sold in 1963 for $11 (about $77 in today's dollar).

3 piece pink suit consisting of a sleeveless shell, a cardigan, and a pencil skirt, all by Jane Irwill. Sold in 1963 for $36 (about $251 in today's dollar).

And my favorite, a brown bateau necked sweater with black and white animal spots. The 3/4 sleeves are bell shaped. Hand knit in Italy by Famelia. Sold in 1963 for $25 (about $174 in today's dollar).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vintage Brassieres - 1948

And you thought our obsession with uplift and maximum curve was a modern one?

Lovable Brassiere Co. ran a series of ads featuring the Lovable Girl of the Month. Here, their strapless bra is worn under a Margot strapless dress. The bra is boned for support, and they promise "You'll be lovely too, in a Lovable bra."

Exquisite Form patented the V shaped wire that separated the cups on their bras to be worn with low cut garments. They call it "Hi-Low Witchery".

Starlight bras and girdles will make you feel "heavenly" with their patented inner control, whatever that is. This one features circle stitching on the undercup.

I don't care about my bra making me feel lovely, witchy, or heavenly. I just want it to be comfortable!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Vintage Fur Coats - 1979

It's been pretty frigid here in Boston this week. I've been adding layers to my wardrobe to stay warm rather than turn up the (very expensive) heat. Perhaps I should just wear one of these beauties while I work. These fur coats all appeared in an I. Magnin catalog from 1979. Interestingly, I. Magnin would send a salesperson to your home or office if you wanted to try on any of these coats in private. I should think so at these prices.

Left: For him, natural fisher fur jacket. $11,500 (about $34,267 in today's dollar).
Center: For her, natural fisher fur coat $22,000 (about $65,555 in today's dollar).
Right: Natural ranch mink fur coat $8,995 (about $26,803 in today's dollar).

Left: Yves St. Laurent feathered blush-dyed blue fox edged in mink fur that is dyed to match. $3,200 (about $9,535 in today's dollar).
Right: One-of-a-kind Russian white natural lynx fur coat. I. Magnin bought the fur at the Leningrad fur auction and made this coat. $50,000 (about $149,000 in today's dollar).

Left: For him, dyed rust ribbed beaver jacket. $3,500 (about $10,430 in today's dollar).
Center top: Red natural cross fox fur coat. $17,500 (about $52,146 in today's dollar).
Center bottom: White dyed Snow-Top mink jacket. $2,995 (about $8,924 in today's dollar).
Right: Natural white curly lamb fur bomber jacket with knit collar and cuffs and leather buttons. $1,495 (about $4,455 in today's dollar).

I WANT this to wear around the house. Natural white mink fur sweatshirt worked in an intricate croquet pattern. Zip front with elastic at the sleeve cuffs and bottom edge. $3,995 (about $11,904 in today's dollar).

Monday, December 28, 2009

Random Stuff in No Particular Order

First, don't miss out on the fabulous giveaway I posted yesterday. Go sign up!

As you know, I spent the weekend cleaning out my office bookshelves. I found so much great stuff I want to share with you I don't know where to start! Hence the mish-mosh of random stuff today before I get back to the subject at hand. While cleaning, I found this gorgeous ad my mom sent me several months back.

The 1947 ad is for the fabric, Bur-Mil (Burlington Mills) rayon faille crepe. The designer of the dress is not credited in the ad, so I can't tell you who it is. They simply call it a "petal-hipped occasion dress that is featured by fine stores throughout the country".

What I can tell you is that I would love to get my hands on this dress. As a student of fashion design, I'm very curious to see how this petal effect was accomplished. I can't tell if the petals are separate pieces sewn into seams, or if the fabric is manipulated in some way to give that effect. It's a great dress, though, isn't it?

Moving on to the Fair Warning Department: The US Postal Service is increasing postage costs again on January 4, 2010. At Couture Allure, we've been able to absorb the last two increases, but this time, we will be forced to raise our shipping costs. New shipping rates will go into effect at Couture Allure on January 1. Believe me, I am not happy about this, and I will keep the cost as low as possible, but an increase at this time is unavoidable. All orders placed by December 31 will go out at the current shipping rate.

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about the Fab Over Fifty video that features Jayne Conroy wearing a gorgeous vintage navy suit purchased from Couture Allure. For those of you who couldn't watch the video at the site, here it is!

Finally, a big thank you to Jaynie at Here's Looking Like You, Kid for bestowing the Glamorous Blog Award on Couture Allure. Thanks, Jaynie!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Couture Allure Giveaway!

You know how it is. The holidays are over and the end of the year is upon us. It's the perfect time to clean, organize, and de-clutter your life. Yesterday, I decided to tackle the bookcases here in my office. Those bookcases hold hundreds of books and magazines that I've collected over the past 20 years starting when I was a fashion design student. The shelves hold many of my original design textbooks, my books about famous fashion designers, vintage magazines, my history of fashion research books, and my collection of vintage sewing and needlework books. I decided to tackle the bookcases because I needed to make room for new books and magazines I've added in the past year. And now I have a pile of wonderful books and magazines to give away to my customers and blog readers over the next few months.

Today's giveaway is the hardcover book "Terry Fox Fashion Collection" published in 1994.

Before Terry Fox opened her bridal couturier salon in the UK, she was a designer and teacher of couture sewing techniques. This book consists of patterns and instructions for 10 of her designs. It's in pristine, like new condition.

The patterns are on a grid which you'll need to enlarge, and Fox includes step-by-step instructions for each design with many couture sewing techniques included in the designs. The instructions are thorough, just as you'd expect from a good teacher. Even if you don't make the garments shown, you're bound to learn a new sewing technique or two by reading through the instructions.

How do you enter to win? Simple! Visit my website, and pick your favorite item for sale. Leave a comment here with a link to that item and you're entered! OR become a new fan of Couture Allure on Facebook, come back here and leave a comment that you've done so. Do both, and you're entered twice! The winner will be drawn on Friday, January 1st. Please note: If your Blogger profile does not include your email address, please leave it in your comment so I have a way to contact you. The book will be shipped via Media Mail in the U.S. and First Class International Mail outside the U.S. It is important to note - if you live outside the U.S. or Canada, I will need to ask you to pay the postage costs, which could be as much as $20.00 depending upon where in the world you live.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Terry Fox 1994

A fairy princess ball gown designed by Terry Fox, one of the best known bridal couturiers in the UK. Stay tuned, as tomorrow I'll be doing a give-away of the book that offers the pattern for this dress and 9 other designs by Fox!

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Holiday Gift from Couture Allure

As our holiday gift, we're offering you a 15% discount on all purchases at Couture Allure December 25 - 27. Those of you who shop with us know that a sale like this is quite rare on our website, as we strive to keep our prices as low as possible at all times. Don't miss this opportunity!

Use coupon code "Holiday09" at checkout and your discount will automatically be applied. Discount does not apply to shipping costs or previous purchases and expires on December 27.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, dear readers. May the joy of the season be with you today.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Office Christmas Party

Having an office Christmas party today? Remember, he won't look nearly as handsome after the punch wears off, dear.

This Public Service Announcement brought to you by Couture Allure.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Decorating the Tree - 1959

That's right. Put up a 10 foot tree, drag out the ladder, find the boxes of garland and ornaments, make the punch, wrap the gifts..................and watch all the guys disappear. That's because they know Christmas is work! Don't tell that to these Stepford Wives in their perfectly pressed Shapely Classics cotton shirts, though. They might gang up on you and make you put up the lights......after you've ironed your shirt.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Under the Mistletoe - 1954

Uh oh. Looks like somebody got caught kissing the wrong girl in the wrong place under the mistletoe. Bet he gets the cold shoulder the rest of the evening! Who have you kissed under the mistletoe lately?

Shown are two dresses by Patricia Fair from 1954. Both were available in white, champagne, powder blue, mauve, or turquoise faille. Pretty, pretty.

We've got almost the identical dress shown on the right for sale at Couture Allure, but ours is by Suzy Perette. More pretty, pretty.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ski Fashion - 1949

If you watch the news, then you probably know that much of the Eastern Seaboard got buried under snow over the weekend. Here was the view out my back door yesterday morning. It was snowing at a fast clip of about 1" per hour with high winds and blizzard conditions.

It seems appropriate this morning to talk a bit about skiing, as I'm sure many folks who are on vacation this week will be heading to the hills. Skiing in America did not become a popular sport until after the 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid, NY, when the American team performed dismally against foreign teams from Scandinavia.

In 1933, the country's first rope tow was installed at Woodstock, Vermont. Other ski areas quickly followed the T-Bars, J-Bars, and aerial trams. Before that, this was how you got up the mountain.

In 1933, Saks Fifth Avenue played a big role in garnering interest in the sport by installing an indoor ski slide and hiring European ski instructors to give lessons to beginners. Macy's followed suit the following year, and both stores promoted ski equipment, and more importantly, ski clothing.

Early manufacturers of ski fashion thought that, since one was out in the cold, heavy fleecy woolen fabrics would be the best to use. But snow tended to cake up and stick to the wool, and skiers weren't happy. Manufacturers paid attention and gradually turned to hard-finish water repellant fabrics like gabardine and poplin, with nylon coming into play in the late 1940s. Simple, functional styles were the result. Here are a few examples from 1949.

Left: Ernst Engel nylon jacket with a clever tunnel belt that attaches to the belt loops on the wool gabardine trousers. Each piece sold for $16.95 in 1949 (about $152 in today's dollar).
Right: Frederic J. Dormer jacket in Byrd Cloth (a heavy and dense cotton twill) with wool gabardine trousers. Jacket sold for $25.00 and trousers for $16.95 in 1949 (about $224 and $152 in today's dollar).

White Stag brushed wool coat for cross country skiing. Sold for $22.50 in 1949 (about $202 in today's dollar).

Bloomingdale's offered this beige poplin jacket with attached surplice wrapped vest from Switzerland. Sold for $35.00 in 1949 (about $314 in today's dollar).

Sunday, December 20, 2009

New at Couture Allure - Vintage Dresses

It's been a quiet week at Couture Allure as we prepare for the holidays and hunker down beneath a blanket of new snow. I did list these goodies for you, though. Happy Holidays, all!

1940s black crepe day dress with button detail.

1960s Robert Leonard raspberry stripe coat with matching solid dress.

1940s wool gabardine suit in an extremely rare plus size.

1960s Joseph Stein yellow linen dress.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Valentino 1959

A strapless red dress with tulle roses on the skirt from Valentino's Couture line for Spring/Summer 1959. Photographed in 2000 by Peter Lindbergh.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Gifts - Loungewear 1949

Loungewear always makes a lovely gift. How different are these lovely options from 1949 than the velour crap robes we can buy today! So much more glamorous and alluring, don't you think?

Jay-Nee jacquard tunic top with crepe back satin pants for informal evenings at home or Sunday loafing! About $116 in today's dollar.

Grayson Robinson Stores offered this quilted rayon brunch coat in several color combinations. $54 in today's dollar.

LampLighter Oriental style lounging pajamas in acetate crepe. $54 in today's dollar.

Campus Girl striped cotton flannel coachman style lounging coat with matching pants and scuff slippers. $36 in today's dollar.

Louisa Alcott polka dot rayon crepe housecoat. $54 in today's dollar.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Gifts - 1936

From a 1936 magazine, here are some holiday gift ideas for the modern 1936 woman. The original prices are shown. I'll add a notation of what that price translates into in today's dollar. In 1936, the country was still struggling through the Great Depression, so any of these gifts would have been an extravagance for most Americans. All of these items sold at Best & Co. on Fifth Avenue in New York.

Pretty silk blouse with double collar. $77 in today's dollar.

Vintage Liberty of London scarves are still desirable today. I'd love to find one in it's original box! $46 in today's dollar.

Satin tap panties, probably of rayon in a peachy tearose color. So pretty. $31 in today's dollar.

I have never seen a pair of stockings with lace toes! These would be great with open toed shoes or evening sandals. And they're silk! $31 in today's dollar.

A tiny evening clutch purse covered in seed pearls. There was something about these little bags that made every woman keep hers, as they are still quite commonly found. $46 in today's dollar.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Gifts - Jewels 1957

Since you are enjoying the jewels so much, here's one more post. By rights, these ads from 1957 should have been my Monday post so they would go in chronological order, but it didn't work out that way.

Tiffany emeralds and diamonds set in platinum.

Harry Winston. I'm not sure what the origin of the tradition is, but most Harry Winston ads feature birds. This one looks rather menacing.

Van Cleef & Arpels

In 1957, Rolex would custom make a diamond watch for you. Shown here, the Basel Fair model featured 208 diamonds in a platinum setting for a mere $10,000 (that's $76,000 in today's dollar!).

This jewelry from 1957 seems rather tame compared to the ads from subsequent years. I still like the David Webb enamel jewelry from 1966 best. How about you?