Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Costume Contest Entries 2012 #3

More contest entries! Join the fun! Send me your Halloween costume contest entry today for your chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Couture Allure! Full contest rules and details are here.

7.   Jen as "Captain Faraway", a 1940s version of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." The hat, skirt, stockings and shoes are all 1940s vintage. The jacket is probably 1980s vintage doing '40s. Ray gun is modern, but retro-styled.

8.  Helen of Massage to the Rescue as a 1920s flapper.  Her gloves and cigarette holder are vintage.

9.  Tess of Fifties Darling as a murdered prostitute.  Tess' husband was dresses as Jack the Ripper.  Everything but the tights is vintage.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Costume Contest Entries 2012 #2

More contest entries! Join the fun!  Send me your Halloween costume contest entry today for your chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Couture Allure!  Full contest rules and details are here.

4.  Jen Thompson of the blog Festive Attyre wore vintage from head to knees (her shoes are modern) 
for her Little Old Lady costume.

5.  Lisa of Butterflies and Daisys Vintage wore vintage Candian Military surplus for her 
WWII pin-up costume.

6.  Emileigh of Flashback Summer wore vintage shoes and a fur stole as part of her 1920's vamp costume.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Costume Contest Entries 2012 #1

The entries for the Couture Allure Halloween Costume Contest are starting to trickle in!  Want to win a $50 gift certificate?  Here are the full details and contest rules.

In a mind-boggling bit of serendipity, 3 of the entries so far are ladies who took their inspiration from Tippi Hedron's character in "The Birds."  The first time that film came to television, my sister and I begged our mom to let us stay up and watch it.  After what must have been hours of whining, nagging and moaning, mom finally relented.  I had nightmares for a week and I still can't watch that movie!

1.  Melissa C. carried a vintage purse.  She studied and duplicated the actual make-up from the film.

2.  Sheila from the blog Ephemera.  Her hat and gloves are vintage.

3.  Pamela wore her mom's 1950s mink stole as part of her costume.

Contest entrant #15, Sue sent along pictures from her Tippi Hedron costume she wore several years ago.  Everything is vintage and Sue made 4 costume changes throughout the day following the progression of the movie.  Ummm, I want that green purse!!!!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

New at Couture Allure - Vintage Party Dresses

New at Couture Allure this week are more  party dresses for all your holiday affairs!  AND I marked down a bunch of vintage accessories that will make great gifts for your vintage loving friends.  Be sure to check our What's New pages to see all the latest additions to the site.  And to see what's on sale, go to our Sale Room.

60s black velvet dress with gold braid

60s Royal Lynne silk dress covered in sequins

60s wool tweed top and maxi skirt trimmed in sequins.

50s black taffeta dress with shoulder drape

60s faux leopard fur maxi dress

Lots of markdowns in our Sale Room!
Also new this week are some gorgeous Edwardian era laces in my SewHallie Etsy shop.

Handmade wide bobbin lace trim

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Win a $50 Couture Allure Gift Certificate!

Don't forget to enter our Halloween Costume Contest to win a $50 gift certificate from Couture Allure!  So far, I've gotten ONE entry and that person has a 100% chance of winning the prize!  I'm rather dismayed by that fact, but I hope to receive many more entries with all the Halloween parties being held this weekend.  You find full details about the contest rules here.  Please join in the fun!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vintage Sweaters on Sale at Couture Allure!

All remaining vintage sweaters are now an additional 40% off at Couture Allure!  Simply enter coupon code "sweater" at checkout and your discount will be automatically applied.  Discount does not apply to shipping cost or previous purchases.  Ends Friday, October 26.   Yummy cashmeres, beaded evening tops and fabulous wools to keep you warm all winter long.  Go grab your bargain now!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dan Millstein Suit - 1954

Dan Millstein, Inc. was a high end suit and coat manufacturer in New York which first became successful during WWII when the company made civil service and civilian uniforms for the US government. After the war, Mr. Millstein was one of the first manufacturers to visit Paris, where he began to work with Christian Dior and Pierre Cardin. He would purchase items from these designers, bring them back to New York, and make copies for the American market with the designers' approval. Later, he would attend the shows with the buyers from Lord & Taylor, who would advise him as to which garments to buy to make copies for their stores.

During the 50s and early 60s, Millstein (and others) would pay a cover charge of several thousand dollars to attend the couture showings in Paris with the understanding that he would purchase several of the samples. His designers would sit in the front row making sketches of the garments as they came down the runway. Calvin Klein got his start in the business by sketching for Dan Millstein.

The above ad for Miron brand wool from 1954 shows a Dan Millstein suit in wool tweed accented with black velvet at the collar and pockets.  The black velvet hat is by Mr. John. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pierre Cardin Coat - 1958

Pierre Cardin designed this gorgeous coat for his Fall 1958 couture line.  The coat is made from a heavy wool that is cartridge pleated at the yoke and collar.  The cartridge pleats open out into lovely fullness for the body of the coat.

Here's a closer view.  Cartridge pleats are not easy to do, as they have to be sewn by hand every few inches and then attached to a backing fabric to hold their shape.  I've sewn cartridge pleats on cotton and it was not fun.  I cannot imagine attempting this treatment on heavy wool coating!

This line drawing will give you an idea of the work that goes into making cartridge pleats with the rows of hand stitching.  I've never seen this method used for a collar, but it's quite effective, isn't it?

Monday, October 22, 2012

2nd Annual Couture Allure Halloween Costume Contest!

          Want to win a $50.00 Couture Allure Gift Certificate?

Contest is now closed.  Please plan to enter next year!
Announcing the 2nd Annual 
Couture Allure Halloween Costume Contest!!!!!

What are you dressing up as for Halloween?  If you are incorporating actual vintage clothing or just dressing up as someone from another era, we want to see your costume!  Send me a photo of you in your Halloween costume and I'll post it here on my blog, on my Facebook fan page, on Pinterest and on Twitter for all to enjoy.  The winner will be chosen by random drawing on Monday, November 5, 2012.  The winner will receive a $50.00 gift certificate to use at Couture Allure!

Whether you're dressing up as a flapper....

...a 1950s housewife....

...a 60s modster.....

...or a hippie.

Whether you're dressing up as Scarlett O'Hara....

...Marilyn Monroe...

...Sonny or Cher...

...we want to see your costume!

Contest rules:
1.  Your costume must incorporate actual vintage clothing or it must be inspired by the fashions or a person from the 1980s or earlier.  If you're dressing as a robot, a mummy, or Lady Gaga I know you'll look fabulous, but your costume will not be eligible for this contest.
2.  You must be willing to have your photo published on this blog, on the Couture Allure Facebook page, on the Couture Allure Pinterest page and on Twitter.  
3.  Your photo can be a costume you wore this year or it can be from previous years.  The photo must be of you, not a friend, not some random person you saw at a party or parade.  Photos of children will not be accepted for this contest.  I reserve the right to not publish photos I deem offensive or inappropriate for this blog.
4.  Your entry cannot be the same as the one you submitted  for last year's contest.
5.  Email your photo to info at coutureallure dot com.  Include the name you want posted with your photo.  If you have a blog, I'm happy to link to you so send that information too. Tell me whether you are wearing actual vintage or were just inspired by another era.  Include an email where I can contact you if you are the winner.  Photos must be received by Friday, November 2, 2012.
6.  Winner will be chosen by random drawing and announced on Monday, November 5.  Winner will receive a $50.00 gift certificate to be used toward any purchase at Couture Allure.  Gift certificate cannot be redeemed for cash and must be used by April 1, 2013.  Gift certificate does not apply to shipping costs.  Item(s) purchased with the gift certificate cannot be returned.

 Last year's winner: Sarah of That Damn Green Dress.  She used a vintage dress as part of her Rapunzel costume.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

New at Couture Allure - Vintage Party Dresses

New at Couture Allure are loads of vintage party dresses, one of which is perfect for your holiday affairs!  In fact we currently have over 65 vintage cocktail dresses and evening gowns on the site for you to choose from.  Be sure to check our What's New pages to see all the lastest listings!

1950s Rappi nude silk chiffon full skirt dress

1950s Razook's cocktail dress covered in sequins and beads

1960s silver brocade cocktail dress

1950s Suzy Perette black velvet full skirt dress

1980s 50s style cranberry full skirt dress

1930s low back evening gown in a large size!
If you want to make your own party dress this year, we've added loads of vintage patterns over at our SewHallie store on Etsy.
1956 Vogue Special Design S4738 sewing pattern for a ball gown or party dress

 Note: If you are reading this post anywhere but on the Couture Allure blog, it has been copied and posted without our permission. Please help us stop plagiarism and scraper sites by reporting such instances to us via email.  Thank you!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekend Eye Candy - Jean Patou, 1950

Remember when you were little and your mom would dress you in red and green plaid for Christmas?  This is how grown up girls do plaid.  Dress by Jean Patou, 1950.

 Note: If you are reading this post anywhere but on the Couture Allure blog, it has been copied and posted without our permission. Please help us stop plagiarism and scraper sites by reporting such instances to us via email.  Thank you!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Meet Kristel!

You've met Kristel before and here she is again.  Kristel bought this 1960s metallic brocade coat from Couture Allure this week.  Doesn't it look fabulous on her?  Why not let vintage rock your world too?  Kristel you look fabulous and thank you for sharing your photo with us!

1960s metallic brocade coat at Couture Allure
Note: If you are reading this post anywhere but on the Couture Allure blog, it has been copied and posted without our permission. Please help us stop plagiarism and scraper sites by reporting such instances to us via email.  Thank you!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Vintage Mystery: Alix Barton, Mme. Gres and Marcelle Tizeau

The split skirt dress I showed you on Monday is from Autumn,1941.  It was shown by the House of Alix.  Note that I did not say it was designed by Alix, now more commonly known as Mme. Gres,  because, quite frankly, I'm not sure who designed this dress.  It's a long story, but let me explain.

Germaine Barton apprenticed with Premet before striking out on her own.  She changed her first name to Alix and opened Alix Barton Couture at 83, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore in 1934.  However, Alix was only part owner of the firm.  She had difficulties with her silent partners and left "6 years later" according to Caroline Rennolds Milbank in "Couture, The Great Designers."  That would put Mme. Gres leaving Alix Barton Couture sometime in 1940, but I cannot confirm an actual date.

In October 1941, this full page ad appears in a French fashion magazine.  Alix Couture, 83, rue de Faubourg Saint Honore, Paris.  Translation of the writing in the lower right: "Each day, from 11 to 3, presentation of the new collection."  Note the missing name Barton.  The photos below show garments from this new collection.

An Alix daytime dress, quilted vest and coat, Fall 1941.

An Alix draped jersey gown from Fall 1941, that is distinctively Mme. Gres,
but is it her original design or simply a copy of her earlier work?

An at-home lounging robe by Alix, Fall 1941.

Alix Barton adopted the name Mme. Gres (an anagram of her new husband's first name) and opened her new couture business, the House of Gres, in 1942 at 1, rue de la Paix during the height of the German occupation. Her house was almost immediately shut down by the Nazis for showing a collection done in red, white and blue silks, the colors of the French flag.  She reopened in 1943 and her designs are once again featured in fashion magazines under the name Mme. Gres.

Gown by Mme. Gres, 1943.

Enter Marcelle Tizeau.

Gown, Marcel Tizeau, 1935.
Marcelle Tizeau opened her couture house in 1935 at 101, boulevard Haussmann in Paris.  (That's a short 8 minute walk from rue de Faubourg Saint-Honore where Alix Barton Couture was located.)  Did Tizeau and Alix Barton know each other?  We'll never know for sure, but it's quite likely.

Gown, Alix Marcelle Tizeau, 1942.
In 1942, French fashion magazines stop referring to Alix, instead calling the design house Alix Marcelle Tizeau.  It would seem that the silent partners of the House of Alix hired Marcelle Tizeau to design the line.  Or perhaps Tizeau was one of the silent partners.

Jersey dress, Alix Marcelle Tizeau, 1942.
While Marcelle Tizeau did design her own distinctive look for Alix, she also worked a lot with draped jersey in designs that were clearly inspired by Mme. Gres, such as the dress shown above.  By the summer of 1944, the name of the house has changed yet again, now being known simply as Marcelle Alix.

      Draped jersey dress by Mme. Gres, 1945.                         Draped jersey dress by Marcelle Alix, 1945.

I can only imagine how irked Mme. Gres must have been to see her techniques being copied and labeled with her original Alix name!  But Mme. Gres prevailed.  The Marcelle Alix line disappears from mention in 1947, while Mme. Gres continued to design couture into the 1970s.

Draped jersey gown, Mme. Gres, 1948.
So, back to our original question:  Who designed the split skirt dress shown in the first photo at the top of this post?  It was either Mme. Gres or Marcelle Tizeau, but it's one of those vintage mysteries.  We'll never know for sure!