Monday, April 30, 2012

Swimsuits - 1961

For the summer of 1961, the maillot was still the most popular swimsuit style.  That's not to say these aren't sexy though!

The tag line on this ad is "The name on the tip of her tongue is Petti."  Rather a provocative image for a 1961 women's magazine, and that's a rather provocative swimsuit!  Petti of Encino offered this cotton sharkskin suit in junior sizes.  The front lacing is adjustable and the suit had an inner bra.  Suit sold in 1961 for $17 (about $132 in today's dollar.)

Nothing mellow about this yellow!  Jantzen used a textured knit of rayon, nylon, Orlon and cotton for this bright maillot.  Suit sold in 1961 for $34.95 (about $268 in today's dollar.)

In an ode to la marinière, Catalina offered several colorful options of the classic white stripes.  Designed by Edith Stenbeck of Catalina in Helanca nylon and spandex knit.  Bathing caps were made in matching colors for Catalina by US Rubber.  Suit sold in 1961 for $23.95 (about $184 in today's dollar.)

Stripes are worked in the opposite direction in this high necked swimsuit by Jacques Heim.  I'll bet you anything the back plunges pretty low, though!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

New at Couture Allure - Vintage Dresses and Earrings

New this week at Couture Allure are more vintage dresses for spring and summer, a fabulous fur stole and loads of vintage earrings.  Be sure to check our What's New pages to see all the latest listings!

1960s DePinna cotton roses dress with back drape.

1960s cotton pique polka dot dress.

1950s cotton stripe full skirt dress.

1960s Patullo Jo Copeland orange silk dress.

1950s luxurious fur stole.

Vintage 60s beaded dangle earrings.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekend Eye Candy - Christian Dior, 1948

Christian Dior concocted this perfect dress for a summer's evening in the Spring of 1948. Le sigh......

Friday, April 27, 2012

French Swimsuits - 1948

Rather swoon-worthy, aren't they?  At left:  Andre LeDoux animal print cotton suit with removable straps.  At right:  Jacques Griffe blue and white striped rayon two-piece.  Do you have a preference?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Federico Forquet

Italian designer Federico Forquet had a short but spectacular career as an Italian couturier.  Born in Naples in 1931, he studied piano at the Naples Conservatory.  As a young man, he liked to create costumes inspired by the great operas that were playing in Italy at the time.

In 1953, Forquet met Balenciaga by chance on the resort island of Ischia.  Balenciaga hired Forquet to work in his atelier in Paris.  Forquet stayed for 2 years and learned the craft of couture alongside Andres Courreges.

After returning to Rome, Forquet worked as a designer for Fabiani and Galitzine before opening his own atelier in 1961.  His debut runway collection was shown to the press in 1962 to great acclaim.  He was labeled "The Italian Dior."

From the collection of the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute, ca. 1969-71
Forquet had a great eye for architectural lines, colorblocking, and ingenious use of geometrical seaming.  His choices of fabrics to support those design sensibilities was simply superb.

Cocktail dress covered in glass beads and paillettes, ca 1967

Forquet retired from the world of fashion in 1971 when he closed his atelier.  Since then, he has devoted his talents to interior and garden design.

Forquet designed patterns for the Vogue Couturier Design line of home sewing patterns for several years.  You can see many of those patterns at the Vintage Pattern Wiki, where you will see his ingenious seaming in the line drawings.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Meet Kristel!

Meet Kristel!  She recently purchased this cute 1960s cotton shift dress from Couture Allure.  I really like the way she added a simple cardigan to make this dress wearable on a chilly spring day.  It's also a great way to tone down the print a bit.  Thanks for sharing Kristel.  You look fabulous!

I've listed lots of cute 1960s cotton shift dresses this season and they are selling out very quickly.  There are still a few to choose from on the site.  Shift dresses are so easy to wear.  Every gal should own at least one!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Mad Men Moment

If you watched this week's episode of "Mad Men", you saw Roger and Jane attend a dinner party.  After dinner everyone retired to the living room where they proceeded to "turn on" by taking LSD.  The young blonde woman is wearing a blue dress with beaded decorations on the sleeves.  When I first saw her sitting at the dinner table, the deep blue silk and the peek of the sleeve immediately got my attention.  Could it be?

Then, as the scene continues the dress is shown very clearly as the actress stands to say goodbye to another couple and then as she crawls around on the floor high as a kite saying, "I wish I could die."  And that is my Mad Men Moment, a moment I've been waiting for for 5 seasons of the show.

I have the identical dress for sale on my website!  Well, I did until I posted about it on my Facebook page.  The dress sold last night to a very lucky gal who will have her own "Mad Men" moment when she wears it.  She has promised to send photos when she does wear it and I'll be sure to post them here for you.  But if you'd like to see photos of the details of the decorations on the sleeve and hem, click on into the listing.  This dress is amazing!

I love my job.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gilbert Adrian Suits

Striped insets are expertly matched to form diamond patterns at the shoulders and sleeve cuffs.
Gilbert Adrian was Hollywood costume designer who gained great fame at MGM studios in the 1930s.  But as the war loomed and the film industry was forced to cut budgets, the designer became frustrated and left to form his own fashion house in 1941.  The business was an immediate success and Adrian designed some of the best clothing ever put out by an American designer.    In fact, his designs were so popular, they were copied line for line by many 7th Avenue manufacturers.  Adrian became so paranoid about others copying his designs (and who can blame him?), that he rarely allowed publicity shots or sketches of his clothes.  For his advertisements, he only used designs with extravagant and intricate details that would be nearly impossible to copy.  Some of those outrageous suits are shown here today.  These all date to the war years of the 1940s.  Which one is your favorite?

Shimmering beading and a teardrop cutout adorn this suit.

Outrageous pointed peplum.  Note the seam in the skirt that matches the line of the peplum.

The cutting and matching of the stripes here is an engineering marvel.

The precision required by a seamstress to match stripes like this is mind boggling.

A sweeping striped cape is made from the same fabric used for the sleeves on the suit.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

New At Couture Allure - Vintage Full Skirt Dresses

This week at Couture Allure, we've added several full skirted cotton dresses from the 50s and 50s-style full skirted dresses from the 80s.  Stay cool this summer!  Visit our What's New pages to see all the latest listings.

1950s Jonathan Logan white cotton dress

1960s pleated floral full skirt dress

1950s cotton full skirt dress with butterflies

1980s 50s style full skirt cotton roses dress

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Weekend Eye Candy - Christian Dior, 1956

For Spring 1956, Christian Dior used white point d'esprit lace to construct this pure confection of a gown.  Remember I showed you polka dots earlier this week?  Point d'esprit is basically polka dotted netting.  I am in love.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Raquel Torres

This photo of actress Raquel Torres was taken in the late 1920s or very early 30s.  Isn't she beautiful?  Her bobbed hair, her smoky eyes, her long strands of beads, her sultry stare.  Raquel was a Mexican born American actress who's first starring role was in MGM's White Shadows of the South Seas in 1928.  She was in several films in the late 20s and early 30s including Duck Soup with the Marx Brothers.  Raquel abruptly retired from acting in 1934 after marrying New York businessman Stephen Ames.  Torres died in 1987 at age 78.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tom Brigance Convertible Sportswear, 1958

Noted sportswear designer Tom Brigance had some fun playing with drawstrings and hemlines in 1958.  Watch how these fashions, modeled by Suzy Parker, change from one look to another for vacation and resort versatility.

This cotton playsuit and matching skirt look like a pretty daytime dress when worn together.

Pull on the drawstring in the skirt's hem and tie it at the waist.  The result is a balloon of a short skirt that poufs over the playsuit rompers.  Cute, no?  The set sold for $30 in 1958 (about $238 in today's dollar.)

This red plaid cotton beach coat buttons down the front and can double as a daytime shirtdress.

Pull that drawstring up, pouf the fabric and you've got a cute romper style to wear on the beach.  Sold for $25 in 1958 (about $198 in today's dollar.)  Hat by William J.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Polka Dots - 1956

Polka dots were a big hit for the spring of 1956.  Everyone was wearing them!  Here, a look at some polka dotted fashions, all from one issue of a high fashion magazine in March, 1956.  Enjoy!

Paul Parnes silk dress and jacket ensemble in navy with white dots.  Jacket trimmed in solid white at the collar and cuffs. Sold for $135 in 1956 (about $1,139 in today's dollar.)

Eisenberg silk dress in navy with white dots, accented with white at the neckline.  Sold for $60 in 1956 (about $506 in today's dollar.)

Jean Patou couture silk surah dress in black with white dots.  Blouson bodice and low belted waist.  Dior did polka dots for this season too.

Even Lilli Ann gets in on the polka dot action, adding embroidered polka dots to a worsted wool suit.  The suit was available in gray wool with red or white dots.  Sold for $100 in 1956 (about $843 in today's dollar.)

Don't like wearing polka dots head-to-toe?  Then, by all means, accessorize with them!  Cotton gloves by Hansen.  Sold for $3 in 1956 (about $25 in today's dollar.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lastex in Shoes

I came across this 2-page advertisement from 1956 for "Revolutionary New Shoes" made with Lastex.  Lastex was a fiber made by the United States Rubber company consisting of an elastic core wound with cotton, rayon, nylon or silk threads.  The shoes shown here have leather vamps with Lastex fabric backs so the shoe stretches to "fit your foot like a sheath."  Sounds like a great idea, right?  Turns out this wasn't the first time Lastex was used in shoes!

From 1938, this ad shows Lastex Shoes.  Here, the Lastex fibers are combined with suede for "Shoes that fit-and feel-like a glove!"  I'm sure they mean suede-like fabric here, because you could not combine Lastex with least I don't think so.

In 1941, Lastex was combined with gabardine to make these shoes.  The back of the shoes and the heels are leather, but this was a smart idea during the shortages of war.  Here, the shoes are described as "these Fashion Plates flattering your foot as your pet girdle flatters your figure."  Pet girdle.....really?????

And from 1950, these tweed jersey shoes are described as "the promise of the many wonderful, glamorous, ultra smart shoes every woman will soon be able to wear."