Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Floral Printed Lingerie - 1964

Warner's bra and girdle

Printed lingerie is quite common today, but in the early 60s, bras, panties, slips, and girdles in pretty floral prints were a new and revolutionary idea. Women could be just as pretty underneath their clothes as they were on the outside. And who wouldn't want to wear these spring floral prints instead of plain old white? These images are all from 1964.

Saramae nylon half slip with scalloped hem

Lejaby print bra with lace

Gotham chemise slip with lace edges

Formfit-Rogers bra and slip in black and white poppy print

Triumph International all-in-one corset with pale gray and blue print

The trick to wearing printed lingerie? Don't wear it under white or pale colors if you don't want show through! And did you know, if you're wearing white, you should wear flesh colored lingerie. A white bra or white panties will be glaringly visible under white clothing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Introducing the Hat Collection of Jeannette Brewer

Last week, I was lucky enough to purchase a large collection of hats that belonged to New York socialite, Jeannette Brewer. Jeannette was born in 1892 in Brooklyn. She married in the 1920s and moved to Manhattan where she was quite the social butterfly. She was a fashion maven, and shopped at the best stores. Many of her hats bear labels from Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's Little Shops, and on and on. I have Jeannette's 1920s wedding coronet, a couple of her flapper cloches, and loads of stylish toppers from the 1930s and 40s. I am very excited to bring this collection to you at Couture Allure, as these are some of the best hats I've had in years! Be sure to watch the site for Jeannette's hats over the next several weeks.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Look of Suits - 1955

Back in the day, most women had at least one good suit in their closet. Spring was the perfect time to buy a new one, as you could wear it for Easter and then continue to use it for years to come. Take a look at these beauties from 1955. Be prepared to drool.

This Zelinka-Matlick suit was featured in an ad for Miron wool, "the best wool you can put on your back". The hat is by Sally Victor and the fur muff by Fredrica.

A Bergdorf Goodman exclusive, this worsted flannel suit came in gray or navy. Sold for $195 in 1955 (about $1577 in today's dollar).

The Cadillac of suit makers, Lilli Ann, offered this one in an unusual blend of silk, mohair, and worsted wool. "Sleeves are pleated for drama...buckles are from Austria, studded with hand-cut turquoise, coral, pale beige, or mauve blue". Sold for $100 in 1955 (about $809 in today's dollar).

Bonwit Teller offered this suit by Monte-Sano in gray tweed or navy Forstmann wool. It has s shorter double-breasted jacket over a fullish skirt. Jacques Tiffeau was the designer at Monte-Sano at this time, so this is one of his suits. Sold for $235 in 1955 (about $1900 in today's dollar).

Oleg Cassini started designing under his own label in the early 1950s. He always did sexy, even in a simple suit. Va voom!

At Couture Allure, we love vintage suits, and always try to have a nice selection available for you. For spring, I love this 1950s tropical weight gray wool suit by Handmacher. It has sweet smiley pockets and the sleeves can be worn cuffed or not.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

New at Couture Allure - Vintage Dresses and Suits

New this week at Couture Allure are some great dresses, a couple of coat/dress sets, and a fabulous suit!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Weekend Eye Candy - Jean-Louis Scherrer 1991

From 1991 - Silk organza mini dress embroidered with paillette sequins and pearls by Jean-Louis Scherrer Boutique. Check out those crystal bracelets, also by Jean-Louis Scherrer.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sick Day

I have been unable to get out of bed all day. I hate being sick, but I am now headed back there. Sorry, friends. No vintage today. But could someone send a nurse? And some old-fashioned ginger ale made without high fructose corn syrup and with real ginger? Please?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jeweler Ilias Lalaounis


I was thumbing through a magazine from 1973 that had a feature on Greece, when this image caught my eye. Well, not the image so much. It was the necklace that grabbed my attention. Stunning, no? This sculptured silver butterfly with articulated wings is set with semi-precious stones and hangs from a plexiglass collar. It was designed and made by Ilias Lalaounis.


Turns out, Lalaouinis is quite the talented artist. He is a 4th generation jeweler who joined the family business in 1940. He studied ancient techniques for working with 18 and 22 karat gold. In the 1950s, he began designing jewelry based upon ancient Greek artifacts, and his career took off.

In 1969, Lalaounis left the family business to form his own company. He opened several stores on various Greek islands, as well as in cities throughout the world. Today, the company thrives and Ilias' daughter Maria has become the 5th generation jeweler in the family.


In 1993, Lalaounis opened the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum in Athens, Greece. Here you can see over 3000 pieces of jewelry designed by him throughout the last 60 years. It's well worth a stop if your travel plans include the Greek Isles.


If you'd like to see the current designs being offered by the Lalaounis company, take a look at their gorgeous website, and be prepared to drool.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Vintage Dresses for Spring - 1948

It strikes me that all these women look so pretty and feminine in their dresses for spring 1948. At the same time, they are demure and sedate. No low-cut necklines, no body-hugging cuts, no short hemlines. I think these dresses are lovely. How about you?

Peck and Peck striped chambray cotton. Dress sold for $17 in 1948 (about $153 in today's dollar).

June Arden white eyelet peplum dress. Dress sold for $15 in 1948 (about $135 in today's dollar).

Dorothy Hubbs Bemberg rayon dress with a geometric print. Dress sold for $15 in 1948 (about $135 in today's dollar).

Dorothy Hubbs Bemberg rayon dress with diagonal stripes and bow at bust. Dress sold for $15 in 1948 (about $135 in today's dollar).

Alice Stuart blouse and skirt in a linen/rayon blend. Set sold for $12 in 1948 (about $108 in today's dollar).

Bonwit Teller sundress with bolero in Dan River cotton plaid. Dress sold for $9 in 1948 (about $81 in today's dollar).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vintage Italian Fashion - Mila Schön

Unless otherwise noted, all clothing is by Mila Schön, 1969.

The life of designer Mila Schön is the stuff of fashion fairy tales. Born Maria Carmen Nutrizio about 1919 in Yugoslavia, her family lost their fortunes after the first World War when the lands of the Austro-Hungarian Empire were redistributed. The family eventually ended up in Italy, where Mila (her childhood nickname) met her husband, Aurelio Schön, a wealthy precious metals dealer.


With her new station in life, Mila traveled to Paris, where she bought her couture wardrobe at the houses of Dior and Balenciaga. She became fascinated with the cut and construction techniques of the couturiers.

In the 1950s, her husband's jewelry business failed, and so did the marriage. Mila was a single mother with little money. She kept up her wardrobe by hiring Milanese seamstresses to make copies of Parisian couture. Her friends started asking her to make their clothes, and Mila opened her own atelier in 1958 in Milan. Without a design background, she continued to copy others until she felt she had the skills and confidence to produce her own designs.

By 1965, Schön had advance so far in her design skills, she was invited to show her line at the Pitti Palace with the best of Italian couturiers. She showed 25 outfits, all in various shades of purple, from palest lilac to deepest eggplant. She then opened her own couture house in Milan in 1966.

Neiman Marcus was the first to carry Mila Schön in the U.S., followed closely by Bonwit Teller and Henri Bendel. Her clothes were worn by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Lee Radziwill, Babe Paley, Imelda Marcos, and Farah Diba, wife of the Shah of Iran.

Schön was an expert tailor with flawless attention to detail. She preferred to tailor her suits and coats with double faced wools, or with duplicate inner and outer layers, sewn together at the edges, in order to eliminate facings and linings. She was also known for her unique juxtaposition of colors, often using insets of contrasting fabrics, as you can see in several of the garments shown here.

During the 1970s, Schön added ready-to-wear, menswear, shoes, handbags, swimwear, jewelry, and perfume, among others.

Veruschka wearing Mila Schön, 1969

Mila went into semi-retirement in the 1980s, and her many lines lost a sense of cohesion. She sold her company to the Japanese firm Itochu in 1993. In 1994, they brought in designers from Krizia and then persuaded Schön to return in 1996. In 1999, the company was acquired by Mariella Burani Fashion Group SpA and the Mila Schön brand thrives to this day. In 2002, the Burani Group introduced the Mila Schon Concept line of clothing which was meant to appeal to a younger customer. It was unsuccessful and only lasted a few seasons.

Mila died on September 4, 1998 just days before the company was set to celebrate it's 50th anniversary.

Shown here is the brilliant green and navy blue uniform Schön designed for Alitalia Airlines in 1969. She designed the complete wardrobe for Alitalia's "air hostesses", including a two piece wool suit in winter and summer weights, a coat, a cape, a cabin frock, and a contrasting navy hat. She also designed the shoes and boots that were made by Bruno Magli.

This 1969 colorblocked pantsuit by Mila Schön is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

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

Monday, March 22, 2010

Vintage Swimsuits - 1950

Yes, you read it right. This swimsuit by Jacques Heim is from 1950. Most of you felt this suit was from the 1960s, and it would have fooled me too if I didn't have the original magazine that these suits were featured in. Wearing History and annasoc both guessed early 50s, and Sacheverelle guessed 1940s over on Facebook. Congrats to you three for being the closest! This just goes to show how far ahead of his time Jacques Heim was.

Here are more suits from the same year. Enjoy!

Carven two-piece in orange, brown, and black cotton batik.

Bikini and cover-up by Jeanne Lafaurie. That is one daring swimsuit for it's time!

Black stretch jersey two piece by Amy Blatt.

Schiaparelli white cotton pique with buttons down the front.

A bit more covered up in white and blue sateen by Maggy Rouff.