Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

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

Couture Allure Steal of a Deal Sale - Let's Have Some Fun!

Announcing our first ever Steal of a Deal January Sale!

Each day during the month of January, I'll be taking 50% off the price of one item on my website. I'll announce the item every morning here on my blog at about 9AM Eastern. The 50% markdown will be effective from 9AM - 8PM Eastern time, and there will be a new item announced every day until February 1.

This will be a first come-first served sale, and at 8PM Eastern each day, if the item hasn't sold, it will return to full price.

Will the items shown here go on sale? Maybe.....

....but you'll have to check here on my blog every morning to find out!

You can subscribe to an RSS feed of my blog or follow it in Bloglovin'. Or just bookmark it at

Don't miss this fun sale! We'll see you every day in January!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

One of My Favorite Thrift Store Finds This Year

I went to one of my local thrift haunts last week a couple of days before Christmas. The store was really quiet, and I found quite a few goodies, among them one of my favorite finds ever.

My husband and I are art lovers and we have a very eclectic mix of art, much of it found at estate sales, auctions, and thrift stores. I always check out the art at this thrift, because you just never know what you'll find, and I will often buy a piece just for the frame. When I was at the store last week, the bin was overflowing, with several pieces piled on top of one another. I got this professionally framed Chagall poster for $2.99 because it was at the bottom of the pile and the glass had broken.

Yesterday, I went to my local hardware store and picked up a new piece of glass. I took the frame apart and found that this isn't a poster, but rather a print on heavy tagboard. I replaced the glass, and we hung it this morning in our bedroom. For less than $20, and a little DIY, I'd say this is one of my best deals this year, too.

The piece is called "La Sainte Famille", and from my research, it appears it was originally done as a lithograph in 1970. I just love it!

Three Women - One Givenchy Dress 1962

Baroness Marie-Hélène de Rothschild, Givenchy dressVogue Magazine, July 1962 featured an article about "The Beautiful People", which discussed what the rich and titled were doing for the summer. These gals were the Princess Diana's and Paris Hilton's of their time. The three Frenchwomen were considered fashion individualists, yet they all owned the same dress from Hubert de Givenchy's Spring/Summer 1962 collection. The short dinner dress was made of silk crepe, and the wide bateaux neckline dropped to a V in the back. The soft gathers at the waist were a hallmark at the time.

Above, Baronne Guy de Rothschild (Baroness Marie-Hélène de Rothschild) owned the dress in pink and wore it with a large diamond brooch at the side waist. The Baroness was an active socialite in Parisian circles, and was also well known for refurbishing the Château de Ferrières in the country outside of Paris. The Chateau had been occupied by the Germans during WWII, and sat empty until 1959.

Françoise de Langlade, Givenchy dressMme. Françoise de Langlade was the editor of French Vogue. She owned the Givenchy dress in turquoise. Langlade had worked for designer Elsa Schiaparelli and at Harper's Bazaar before joining Vogue. In 1967, she was married for the third time to Oscar de la Renta.

Eliane David-Weill, Givenchy dressCountess Roland de Solages, the former Eliane David-Weill, was a member of the family that owned the Lazard Frères banking empire. She also owned the Givenchy dress in turquoise.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Valentino at Dessès - 1954

valentino, jean dessesThe evening gown I showed you yesterday was designed at the Jean Dessès atelier in Paris in 1954, but was never actually made by Dessès.

At age 18, Valentino Garavani was hired as an apprentice by Jean Dessès. There, he dressed windows, greeted clients, and did many sketches of ideas for garments. Most of those early sketches were lost.

Original sketch by Valentino
at Atelier Dessès, 1954

In 1989, as part of the execution of a special international exhibit, "Valentino, Thirty Years of Magic", Maison Valentino made 10 garments from early sketches that the designer had done while working for Dessès. The garments were produced especially for the exhibit and were never offered for sale by either Dessès or Valentino.

So, is the gown a Dessès or a Valentino? Good question.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Jean Dessès Evening Gown 1954 - Sketched by Valentino

jean desses, evening gown, 1954The Madame Impériale evening gown sketched at Jean Dessès by Valentino Garavani in 1954. More on this gown tomorrow.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Yves St. Laurent Dress 1967

yves saint laurent, Africa dress, 1967

An embroidered and beaded mini dress from Yves Saint Laurent's Africa collection for Spring/Summer 1967. The midriff is bare behind a lattice of beads. Click on the image to see details.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Schiaparelli Evening Cape 1938

schiaparelli, evening cape, apollo1938 - An evening cape by Elsa Schiaparelli. The Greek God Apollo rides in his chariot pulled by 5 horses in a magnificent celestial design. The embroidery was worked by the House of Lesage in gold sequins, beads, and thread on black velvet. Click on the image to see the details.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gianni Versace Beaded Top

gianni versace, beaded top 1991, Mary and Baby JesusIn late 1992, I was lucky enough to see the massive retropective exhibit of Gianni Versace's work at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Titled Gianni Versace: Signatures the exhibit lives on in my memory as one of the best I've ever seen.

Above: Detail of the back of a top entirely hand embroidered and beaded. From Versace's Autumn/Winter 1991-92 collection. The front of the top is seen below in the center. Click the images for a larger view.

gianni versace, beaded top 1991

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Claudette Colbert in "The Gilded Lily"

claudette colbert, the gilded lily, costume
Claudette Colbert plays a stenographer who becomes a star in 1935's The Gilded Lily. Travis Banton designed the costumes.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Movie Costume - Loretta Young in "Suez"

It's the holidays, and time for a break. This week, I'll be posting some fun Eye Candy photos for you and I'll return in full force next Monday. Happy Holidays everyone!

loretta young, suez, costumeLoretta Young wears an embroidered velvet coat trimmed in fur over a giant hoop skirt for the film Suez in 1938.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Links à la Mode: December 21

The weather outside is frightful. We've had 10" of snow since Friday with more expected today and then a nice ice storm to top it all off. And the damper to the fireplace broke on Friday night, so I can't even make a cozy fire. Drat.

Oh well, hunker down with me and enjoy some great links from my colleagues at IFB:

Links à la Mode : December 18th

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Weekend Eye Candy - Jacques Heim Draping

jacques heim draping techniqueCouturier Jacques Heim shown in his workroom draping an evening gown on a model. Draping is a technique used by some designers to create a garment directly on the body. Here, Heim drapes the fabric directly from the bolt onto the model's body and secures it with pins. The workroom will then mark the fabric and make a pattern directly from it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Classic Holiday Gift - Purse Accessories

Most of these items would be considered obsolete today, but it's fun to imagine that someone had enough money to purchase these trinkets from Cartier in the 1960's. Who needs a 14K gold case for their matches anyway? Though I suppose if you want to buy me an 18K gold pillbox, I won't say no.

Cartier vintage 14K purse accessoriesDecember 1966 - "Say it with gold gifts from Cartier." From the top:
- 14K gold carryall clutch, $1400 ($9300 today)
- 14K gold lipstick case, $160 ($1065 today)
- 14K gold powder case, $530 ($3500 today)
- 14K gold cigarette lighter, $90 ($600 today)
- 14K gold matchbook case, $210 ($1400 today)
- 18K gold cigarette box-case, $800 ($5300 today)
- 18K gold cigarette case, $920 ($6100 today)
- 14K cigarette holder, $66 ($440 today)
- Pillbox in 2-tone 18K gold, $365 ($2400 today).

By the way, the "today" prices were calculated using a CPI calculator which shows that if I bought something for $1.00 in 1966, in 2008, that item would cost $6.65. The "today" prices are not meant to be an appraisal or estimate of the current value of these items.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Classic Holiday Gift - Vintage Gloves

No, we're not talking about girlish mittens with a snowflake design or those polar fleece gloves you use to shovel snow. Honey, we're talkin' gloves.

Gloves will add a touch of seductiveness, a hint of mystery, and a sense of individuality to any outfit. Fast becoming a popular fashion trend, great gloves are now easier to find, too.

These blue and black leather gloves are on sale at Banana Republic for $79.99

Go on, try it. See how much attention you can stir up. I double dog dare ya!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Classic Holiday Gift - Vintage Pearls

Pearls. Their lustre, their subtle glow, their
radiance make them one of the most popular choices for a gift of jewelry. Did you know:

- As far back as Roman times, pearls have been considered to be symbols of wealth, class, and status.

- Coco Chanel helped to popularize cultured pearls in the 1930's by wearing them in multiple strands.

- By the 1950s, cultured pearls were considered essential accessories for well-dressed women.

- Although not a "stone", pearls are the birthstone of people born in June.

- Pearl necklaces look best when they have an odd number of strands. Choose 1, 3, or 5 strands over 2 or 4. has a great page of information on how to care for your pearl jewelry.

October 1963 - A necklace of freshwater baroque pearls in nearly matched sizes from F.J. Cooper Jewelers. Because these are natural pearls, this necklace was one-of-a-kind. The cost? A mere $13,000 ($91,600 today).

November 1959- On the other end of the spectrum, "pretend pearls" by costume jewelry maker Richelieu, made of glass or plastic beads coated with pearlized paint and available in many colors. The multi-strand necklace $10 ($75 today), the rope necklace $7.50 ($55.50 today), the earrings $3 ($22 today).

March 1963 - Marvella simulated double strand cocktail length necklace. Marvella's simulated pearls were high quality and were produced in several subtle hues so you could choose the one that best suited your skin tone. Not to mention the fact that he'll nuzzle you're neck when you're wearing them! $17.50 in 1963 ($122 today)

March 1963 - An artistic styling of cultured pearls surround a David Webb gold and diamond bracelet. 24 six-strand necklaces of perfectly matched 4mm cultured pearls were twisted around each other to make the "frame" for the bracelet.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Classic Holiday Gift - Perfume

Vintage perfumes and perfume bottles are still very popular today. You can find vintage bottles of your favorite classic scents online on EBay and other venues. Keep in mind that some of these scents are very collectible and the prices can go quite high.

vintage chanel 5 perfumeChanel No. 5 was launched in 1921 and remains one of the best-selling perfumes today. The bottle has changed many times over the years. Here's one still sealed in the original box that sold on EBay for $115.00. Learn more about Chanel No. 5 in this recent blog post by GlamourSplash.

vintage guerlain shalimar perfumeGuerlain's Shalimar was launched in 1925. Recently, a sealed bottle of vintage Shalimar in the original box sold on EBay for $151.50.

vintage joy perfumeJean Patou's Joy was launched in 1931. It is always advertised as "the costliest perfume in the world". Recently two unopened boxes of Joy from the 1950's sold on EBay for $267.00.

Christian Dior launched Miss Dior in 1947 with several other light scents to follow. This ad, from 1966, shows a different bottle design than the original. Highly sought after, an early sealed bottle of Miss Dior with the original box sold for $710.00 on EBay.

My signature perfume? KL by Karl Lagerfeld. I started wearing this scent about 20 years ago, and never tire of its spicy scent of bergamot, ylang-ylang, and amber. Lagerfeld stopped selling this perfume in the US in the 90's, and before internet shopping, I had to have friends bring it back to me from Europe or the Carribean.

What's your favorite perfume?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Classic Holiday Gift - Vintage Slippers

I've received many pairs of slippers as a holiday gifts over the years, but they are usually big fluffy ones designed for warmth. Whatever happened to pretty slippers like these? I'd like to wear them with one of those vintage lounge robes I showed recently.

vintage slippers, Nite-AiresDecember 1959 - A variety of styles from Nite-Aires. "You'll be Santa's favorite helper when you give the gift of glamour." $4.00-7.00 ($30.00-52.00 today). Love those plaid taffeta wedges in the center!

vintage slippers, Honey BugsNovember 1959 - "Heavenly stay-at-homes...simply perfect for your private life." Sweet kitten heel boudoir slippers by Honey Bugs. $4.99-5.99 ($37.00-45.00 today)

vintage slippers, BaraneeNovember 1949 - "All Women Have Cold Feet" - I don't know about that, but I sure like these shearling slippers by Baranee. They were available in 14 colors.

vintage slippers, OomphiesNovember 1959 - Oomphies slippers priced from $5.00-6.00 ($37.00-45.00 today). Black velvet with gold embroidery anyone?

Want some vintage slippers of your own? Here are a few available from dealers I know and trust:

These 1960's Daniel Green slippers are available at Lucite Box for $35.

These pink Daniel Green slippers are available from Joules for $42.00

These 1940's or 50's rose satin Daniel Green slippers are available from Mags Rags for $50.00.

These 1950's Oomphies slippers are just $14.99 from The Spectrum. A small size, but such a deal!