Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Have fun, stay safe, and enjoy yourself tonight! Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Party Hair, 1965

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve. If ever there was a night for big party hair, this is it. Here, some inspiration from 1965. Go for it!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Outrageous Furs, 1964

I am a firm believer that if you chose to wear fur, you should always chose vintage. That keeps coats and stoles already in existence out of our landfills and at the same time doesn't support the unneeded slaughter of today's animals for fashion. In showing images of vintage furs on this blog, I hope to inspire you and show you how beautiful they can be for the modern woman. These outrageous and unusual furs are all from 1964.

Ankle length Saga mink fur coat worn with a matching fur hood by Adolfo. Booties by Herbert Levine.

Saga Norwegian blue fox tunic worn over gray satin stretch pants. Silver sequined boots by Herbert Levine.

Revillon mink lounge dress for at-home wear.

Eric Lund gray squirrel fur tunic dress.

A long, long stole made from varying colors of Emba mink fur pelts worn over a silk chiffon gown by Hannah Troy.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Arnold Scaasi Exhibit at the MFA, Boston Part 2

Continuing my look at the exhibit Scaasi: American Couturier, here are a few of the remaining garments on display. These are all from the 1980s and 90s.

1980 strapless gown and stole made for Gayfryd Steinberg of organza leaves in black and white.

Yellow silk gown made for Gayfryd Steinberg in the 1980s.

1988 silk chiffon gown and stole for Gayfryd Steinberg. The silk is adorned with beads, pearls, and white mink fur.

Perhaps my favorite of all, this strapless gown for Gayfryd Steinberg is adorned with 3-dimensional roses, silver leaves, and white feathers, all trimmed in white mink fur.

Two ready-to-wear pieces made for Saks Fifth Avenue in the 80s.

Two more gowns for Gayfryd Steinberg, the one on the left from 1988.

1991 silk chiffon ombre gown in pinks and greens. The cocktail dress at the back is a ready-to-wear garment made for Saks Fifth Avenue.

If you live in New England or will be visiting soon, the Scaasi exhibit runs through June 19, 2011 and is well worth a visit!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Arnold Scaasi Exhibit at the MFA, Boston Part 1

I finally got over to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston the other day and was able to see the wonderful exhibit of Arnold Scaasi's work in Scaasi: American Couturier. BTW, sorry for the bluriness of some of these photos. The gallery had low lighting and I was working without a tripod.

While Scaasi was designing ready-to-wear fashion in the 1950s and early 60s, he stopped doing so to concentrate on one-of-a-kind couture creations in 1964. He designed for actresses and American women of high society including Mitzi Gaynor, Elizabeth Taylor, Brooke Astor, Ivana Trump and First Ladies Mamie Eisenhower and Barbara and Laura Bush.

In 1984, at the urging of Saks Fifth Avenue, Scaasi returned to ready-to-wear with the debut of his Scaasi Boutique label. The MFA exhibit includes 28 pieces by Scaasi. Most are couture garments made for four of his clients.

The silver brocade gown and red coat were made for actress Arlene Francis as part of her wardrobe for the Broadway play Once More, with Feeling. The polka dot bubble dress was made for Francis in 1958.

From 1967, this gown was made for Joetta Norban (wife of one of the owners of the nightclub El Morroco) to wear to the Peacock Ball. Is is fashioned of silk that is completely covered in coral and turquoise beads, embroidery, and silver foil. Incredible!

This dress was made for actress Natalie Wood. She wore it for her appearance on What's My Line in 1966. The lace floats away from the body in the back and the black underdress is backless to the waist. My photo is blurry but you can get a better look in this video. Watch it to the end for a great view of the back! BTW, the dress worn by Arlene Francis in the video is probably also designed by Scaasi.

There was an entire platform in the center of the room of garments made for actress Barbra Streisand. You'll probably recognize the black sequined pantsuit that Streisand wore to the Oscars in 1969. The yellow and black jumpsuit at the back was one of the costumes Scaasi designed for the film On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.

Streisand wore the rhinestone adorned pink gown to the 1970 Academy Awards when she presented the Oscar for best actor. She wore a matching tall pillbox hat.

More tomorrow!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Weekend Eye Candy - Blondell Furs, 1939

A major winter storm is headed our way and we're expecting 18-20" of snow in the next 36 hours. Maybe this 1939 white fox fur cape by Blondell Furs would keep me warm.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

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

Friday, December 24, 2010

Waiting for Santa

When you're settled in tonight waiting for Santa, why not do it in style? Nothing feels more glamorous than a vintage lounge robe from the 1940s. If you've got one hiding in your closet, tonight is the perfect opportunity to pull it out and let yourself be the star that rivals the one atop the Christmas tree.

Jean Patou wool robe with voluminous sleeves, 1945.

Jean Patou satin robe, 1945.

Molyneux wool robe, 1945.

Carven fur lined robe, 1946Pink velvet robe completely lined in chinchilla fur by Carven, 1946.

Lucien Lelong satin robe with fur collar and pockets, 1945.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Some of My Estate Ladies

Being in the business I am, I always send silent thanks and blessings to the women whose closets I clean out, the women who lived through tougher times than we do, the women who purchased quality garments, the women who saved all their clothing for years and years, the thrifty women of New England. When I purchase clothing from an estate, I try to find out a bit about the woman whose clothes I am buying and I bring home a photograph of her if I can. The other day, I was searching for a piece of paper in my office and came across a few of those photographs. I thought you might like to see them.

This intriguing photo was found in a house where I purchased some lovely dresses dating from the Edwardian era right up through the 1960s. I still puzzle over this photo. The person on the left looks like a woman in a man's shirt and tie. Or is that a man with long hair? Or is that a woman's blouse??????

This is Jean. She lived in a small house in Cambridge. This looks like a college dance. Isn't her date handsome in his white bucks? While I didn't find this dress, Jean saved most of her clothes from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. The suits, blouses and sweaters that came out of her closets were incredible.

Many of you will remember the opera singer's clothes I sold many years ago on eBay. Irene's closets were filled with the most incredible plus sized dresses from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Here she is (on the right) with two friends at the Brockton Fair sometime in the 1930s.

See the fashionable woman sitting on the sofa? That's Barbara. Barbara loved hats. Barbara loved furs. Barbara saved everything. I emptied Barbara's closets on a very hot day in July. I was packing to go away on vacation when the phone rang. Barbara's nephew wanted to know if I was interested in her clothing. The dumpster was arriving the next day, so I had to come now or it would all be thrown out. Who cares about a vacation?

In 1986, Louise was honored by Governor Michael Dukakis for 50 years of service to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This photo was taken on that day. Louise is flanked by two politicians here, but I can't remember who they are. Louise was a buyer for the state. It was her job to purchase all the uniforms worn by state workers, prison inmates, etc. Louise's attic was filled with rack after rack of dresses and suits that she wore to work from the 1940s to the 1970s. There was some incredible stuff in that attic and it took me 4 trips with my car to bring it all back to my office. Good times. Oh yes, good times.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Paris Christmas Decorations

One of the most charming parts of visiting Paris in December was seeing various stores and cafes decorated for Christmas. Christmas in Paris is much more understated and tasteful than it is here in the U.S. You won't see giant blow-up Santas or snowmen, you won't hear annoying Christmas music, and you won't see garish flashing lights. You will see lots of natural elements like pine cones, cinnamon sticks, and grapevines. Real pine trees are often simply decorated with a few glass balls. Click on the pictures to see a larger view!

Many cafes are decorated above the awnings so as not to take away valuable table space on the sidewalk.

This cafe intermingled Christmas trees with the regular plants above the awning.

Trunks from birch trees help keep these trees in place and add that natural element that the Parisians like.

Twining grapevines are decorated with red sticks and glass balls in pinks and purples.

Three real trees sit atop curly sticks and gold and silver glass balls hang from ribbons.

I saw lots of trees decorated with flocking in various colors of the rainbow: White, red, purple, blue, and even bright green. The flocked trees would be adorned simply with glass balls in a contrasting color.

Red flocked trees with gold glass balls.

A tiny white flocked tree with blue glass balls adorns the window of a pharmacy.

Many stores and cafes had a single small decoration. Here a simple pine swag is decorated with real cotton bolls and red berries.

I would imagine that these white trees remain up year round. For Christmas, glass balls were added in an unexpected black.

I loved these two kooky Christmas trees that stuck out horizontally above a very narrow sidewalk in Montmartre.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Haven in Paris

The view from our apartment in Paris.

My husband and I sleep on different schedules. While I'm an early-to-bed early-to-rise type of gal, he prefers to stay up late. This has always been a challenge when we're away from home staying in a small hotel room. This past year, we've had two outstanding vacation experiences. For both of them, we chose an alternative to a hotel. While in Florida, we rented a small cottage and in Paris, we stayed in a fabulous apartment offered by Haven in Paris.

Haven in Paris offers a wide range of apartment choices in various neighborhoods throughout Paris, from studios to a 5-bedroom penthouse that can sleep up to 10 people. We stayed in the 1-bedroom Houdon apartment in Montmartre and it far exceeded our expectations. Large and spacious, it features a living/dining room, a comfortable bedroom with luxury linens, and a completely modernized kitchen and bathroom. Every window offered a marvelous view of the neighborhood, and the balcony was simply charming.

No, there is no maid, nor is there room service, but who cares? We were able to shop at the local grocery and cook our own breakfasts and dinners which saved us a huge amount of money. We were able to do laundry, which allowed us to pack lightly and go with carry-on luggage. We were able to stretch out and relax for hours without feeling cramped and claustrophobic in a small hotel room. And we weren't disturbed by loud people in the halls or on the other side of a thin wall. The cost of renting an apartment through Haven in Paris is lower per night than you would pay in most nice hotels and, in my opinion, the experience is far superior.

Best of all, the apartment truly felt like a home away from home, like we were living in Paris and not just visiting. We will definitely use Haven in Paris again for our next trip to France. Thank you, Erica!

Full disclosure: A portion of our stay at the apartment was a gift from a dear friend. I have not received any compensation from Haven in Paris for this post.