Tuesday, March 31, 2009

1960 Travel Wardrobe - 7 Days in London

The year - 1960. The city - London. The clothes - A basic wardrobe for a 7 day trip worn by a Glamour magazine editor.

The daytime wardrobe consists of red, white, navy blue, and pale grey, colors that will all co-ordinate nicely together. Accessories not shown included navy shoes, a navy umbrella, a red hat, and a red shoulder bag. The evening wardrobe is black, worn with a small fur stole, black shoes, and pearl and gold jewelry.

1. Red wool reefer coat piped and buttoned in navy blue by Anne Fogarty. The coat works with everything else in the wardrobe except the bouffant evening dress.
2. Pale grey suit edged in dark grey by Handmacher. The suit is perfect for business luncheons, and the wool fabric releases wrinkles overnight.
3. Navy blue silk sheath dress with white trim by Deb-Time. This dress is perfect as a "morning dress" for casual shopping and lunches.

4. White silk twill blouse with navy and white check wool full skirt, both by Sloat. White cashmere cardigan by Pringle. The separates are perfect to wear with flat shoes for touring art museums and a walking tour of the city.
5. Navy blue linen sheath dress trimmed in white by Anne Fogarty. A dressier alternative to #3, this sheath is perfect for upscale shopping, afternoon tea, and cocktails.
6. Black silk jersey draped top and skirt by Toni Owen. Perfect for evenings at the theater or night clubs.
7. Black silk organza full skirted dress by Rappi. Well worth packing and perfect for gala dinner parties.

Whew! Notice there are no pants included in this wardrobe, but I wonder if she did pack some for casual wear in her hotel room. I also found it interesting that there are two similar dresses, one for "morning" one for "afternoon", each appropriate for different activities. And note that one would choose a dressier dress for shopping at upscale department stores as opposed to smaller shops. No wonder a gal had to travel with so much luggage!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Vintage 1950s Prom Dresses

When I think of 1950s prom dresses, this is the style that comes to mind. Lots of tulle and lace in layers or ruffles, super-full skirts, and strapless bodices. This is the style of dress my mom wore to her school dances in the late 1940s. My grandmother made mom's dresses and then stored them in the attic. I loved playing in grandma's attic when I was a child, and those dresses always enchanted me. As it turned out, they were influential in my choice of career as a vintage clothing dealer as well!

Three strapless tulle dresses by Nadine Formals. The Nadine Formals company was based in St. Louis and is still in business today as part of the Bridal Originals company. These dresses sold in 1957 for $25 - $30 (about $195 - $235 in today's dollar).

This 1955 Rappi dress is fashioned of three layers of luscious raspberry pink nylon tulle over matching taffeta lining.

From 1957, the blue dress on the left by Dansant has a tulle sequined bodice with a taffeta circle skirt. This dress sold at Bonwit Teller for $45 (about $350 in today's dollar). At the right, a blue satin blouse is worn with a white tiered lace full skirt, both by Betty Lane.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

New at Couture Allure - Vintage Designer Dresses

New this week at Couture Allure, we've added several designer dresses among others.

This 1960's mini dress is by Michael Mott for Paraphernalia. Paraphernalia was New York's answer to the London Mod boutique movement which opened in 1965. Betsey Johnson was the first in-house designer for Paraphernalia, and Michael Mott took over when she left to start her own business. Super rare, this dress is in blue velvet and is decorated with glass stones. It's no coincidence that Mott also designed jewelry, many times with large glass rhinestones.

This 1960's coat dress is a Givenchy Adaptation by Dan Millstein. The Dan Millstein company was one of the manufacturers that would send it's designers to Paris and pay a cover charge to attend the couture showings. They would then purchase several originals, bring them back to the US, and copy them with the designer’s approval.

This late 1960's skirt and vest set is by highly sought-after designer Mr. Dino. Mr. Dino is known for Pucci style prints. This set is made of cotton velveteen and does have the Mr. Dino signature in the print.

This elegant 1950's black silk full skirted dress is by another sought-after designer, Ben Reig. It has a distinctive neckline treatment with a floating band that ties in a bow.

Just in time for Viva Las Vegas, this 1950's Hawaiian made sarong dress comes with a matching stole. In nearly mint condition, I don't think it was ever worn!

Finally, one of my favorite dresses without a label this week is this 1960's cocktail dress. Take a look at those black satin roses at the hem!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - 1972 Christian Dior Luggage

Speaking of luggage, I would love to own this 1972 Christian Dior carry-on tote bag from the Dior luggage line. Dior monogrammed canvas with brown leather. Yum.

Friday, March 27, 2009

1961 Prom Dresses

First order of business: In my rush to get out the door yesterday to accomplish a mile-long list of errands and thrifting, I neglected to credit Casey of Casey's Elegant Musings for finding the great vintage style sunglasses at Forever 21 that I blogged about yesterday. I normally would never shop at Forever 21, as I left that age many, many years ago, but I will definitely be purchasing some of their sunglasses on my next trip to the mall. Thanks, Casey!

It's almost April, and most girls who are attending a prom this spring have either found or been searching for the prom dress of their dreams for weeks. Here are some prom dresses from 1961.

Turquoise blue dotted swiss full skirted dress with a lowered waist and skirt covered with rows of tiny ruffles by Rappi. Sold for $69 in 1961 (equals about $500 today).

More dotted swiss, this time black on white edged in black ric-rac. By Dorothy Litzan for Roban. Sold in 1961 for $49.95 (equals about $365 today).

White cotton lace bodice with white cotton organdy skirt and a sash of blue satin by Harry Keiser. Sold in 1961 for $49.95 (equals about $365 today).

Sheer striped white cotton organdy is layered over a blue taffeta lining in this strapless dress by Cotillion. Sold in 1961 for $59.95 (about $438 today).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

1949 Sunglasses

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to change your look is with a pair of sunglasses.

This ad is from 1949, and I love every single pair. I own a modern pair very similar to the ones at the lower right. I think I bought them at TJ Maxx several years ago. Vintage styled sunglasses are becoming mainstream, and you can sport several retro looks for very little money. Check out these vintage inspired styles now available at Forever 21 stores and priced at less than $6.00 each!

Round lenses with tortoiseshell frames.

Rounded square frame with stripes.

Translucent colored frames also come in pink, purple, and black. Love the yellow though.

Need the real thing? My friends over at Listit Vintage Cafe have this pair of original 1940's lucite framed sunglasses for $165.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Travel 1949 Style

Travel isn't what it used to be, and that's a good thing! When my husband and I went to Europe for two weeks a couple of years ago, we did it with just a carry-on bag each. I packed a versatile wardrobe of knits that I mixed and matched for 14 days, and getting through airport customs and security in multiple cities was a breeze.

In 1949, a gal had to travel with sportswear, day dresses, afternoon dresses, and evening gowns. Then she had to add hats, shoes, undergarments, and other accessories suitable for each outfit. A cosmetic case was needed for all those glass bottles and jars, as well as hair styling needs and jewelry. Oh, and don't forget your travel iron since permanent press garments weren't available yet. A two week trip through Europe would require at least 3-4 suitcases! The cases themselves weren't lightweight and didn't have wheels. I feel weighed down just thinking about it!

Above: A cotton plaid full skirt and black wrap top, both by Justin McCarty. Canvas luggage by Skyway.

Green cotton sunsuit, skirt, and jacket all by Junior House. Cowhide luggage by U.S. Trunk.

Navy polka-dot cotton lawn dress by Surrey Classic. Cowhide luggage by Amelia Earhart.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Carolyn Schnurer

Carolyn Schnurer was a well known designer of casual clothing in the 1940's and 50's. She was an American designer who filled the void left by the absence of Paris couture during the war years. She often based entire collections on the fabrics and ethnic designs of foreign countries that she traveled to. She would take elements of foreign dress and adapt them to typical American silhouettes. For instance, her Japanese collection featured kimono sleeves or obi sashes on full skirted dresses. Here, three Schnurer designs.

carolyn schnurer dress, 1954From 1954, a full skirted dress draws inspiration from Europe with its contrasting apron panel on the skirt front.

carolyn schnurer dress, 1949From 1949, an off-shoulder cotton dress with scattered polka dot print.

carolyn schnurer skirt and top, 1949From 1949, a black wool knit tube top is worn with a flocked cotton full skirt. The top came with removeable straps.

Monday, March 23, 2009

1959 Tina Leser Lounge Ensemble

1959, tina leser, sari silk, hostess outfitOK, yes, this is a 1959 ad for toilet paper. But look beyond that to the elaborate hostess outfit worn by the model. The set is by Tina Leser, who was noted for her use of fabrics from around the world. Much of her design inspiration came from the traditional ethnic costumes of foreign countries. Here, she uses golden Indian silk sari fabric to make a hostess coat worn over a pair of silver lined silk organza harem pants. The coat is fully gathered at the back and has slits to the waist at the side seams.

This is what the fashionable 1959 woman would wear to lounge in the evening or to entertain at home. The little gold harem slippers take the outfit a bit over the top, though, don't you think?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

New at Couture Allure - Vintage Evening Gowns and Suits

New this week at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion - we added several evening gowns from the 40's and 60's, as well as a few suits and dresses.

A dramatic red rose garden fashions a gorgeous evening gown from the early 1960's. Who doesn't need a touch of summer right now?

One of my favorite pieces ever. This exceptional late 1960's evening gown with its asymmetric one-shoulder and sleeve design will certainly set you apart from the crowd!

From the 1940's, this beaded evening gown has a touch of Egyptian flair, don't you think?

Ice blue silk shantung fashions a 1960's dress with matching beaded jacket.

And this 3-piece 1960's suit was styled after one that Jackie Kennedy wore on her trip to Mexico in 1962.
Finally, this sweet 1950's Kay Windsor gingham dress is perfect to wear for your next picnic or daytime stroll through the farmer's market.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Sally Rand

sally rand1920's burlesque queen Sally Rand with her famous ostrich feather fans.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Black and White Graphic Prints 1965

Lately I've been drawn to the bold graphic prints of the mid 1960's. Maybe it's because of all the gloom and doom in the news every day. Maybe it's because I'm so tired of winter and need some zing in my life. Or maybe, just maybe, it's because these prints are just so much fun. Can't we all use a little bit of fun?

"Prints are exploding all over the place. Bold black and white prints in blazing geometrics, in madly swirling abstracts, in dream-world florals. Wild and wonderful prints designed with reckless abandon, in head-spinning colors and uninhibited patterns." Yeah, I'll have me some of that.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

1964 Beauty Tips and Trends

A few beauty tips and trends from 1964:

- A deep suntan is in style now. Ads for suntan lotions and oils occur frequently in summer magazines.

- Long fingernails become popular as women have more leisure time due to time (and nail) saving appliances. The newest nail polish shades are neutrals and rose pinks.

- Eyebrows are always neatly shaped and colored with brow make-up for drama.

- As with nails, the new lipstick shades are neutrals and rosy pinks.

- Eyeliner is drawn on wide and swept up at the ends for that cat's-eye look.

- False eyelashes supplement your own.

- Blush is relatively new and is used to hollow and contour cheeks.

- Hair is teased for day and up-swept at night.

- Pale eyeshadows complement the current pastels in your wardrobe.

- Two-toned hair with streaks or tips are a new trend in hair.

- Matte finishes rule, from powdered faces to blotted lips.

Written content is copyright of Couture Allure. If you are reading this anywhere but on the Couture Allure Vintage Fashion Blog, it is via RSS feed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Vintage Swimsuits 1964 - Modeled by Suzy Parker

More swimsuits from 1964. By the way, all the swimsuits from yesterday and today were modeled by Suzy Parker. Parker was 33 years old in these photos, which were taken near the end of her modeling career. Doesn't she look great?

1964, maidenform swimsuit, suzy parkerA tomato red velour maillot with a high turtleneck in the front that is hollowed out with a deep scoop in the back by Maidenform Sportswear.

1964, catalina swimsuit, suzy parkerThis blue and white polka dot suit has a dashing red belt topping off the boy shorts. In nylon/lycra by Catalina. Red vinyl hat by Adolfo.

1964, oleg cassini swimsuit, suzy parkerBlack and white printed cotton bikini with an underwire bra-top by Oleg Cassini for Peter Pan.

1964, Suzy ParkerA brown and pink sweater knit beach cover-up by Harbor Road.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vintage Swimsuits 1964 - Modeled by Suzy Parker

1964, rudi gernreich swimsuit, suzy parkerRed wool knit suit by Rudi Gernreich for Harmon Knitwear. Gernreich swimsuits are highly sought after today and are often found in museum collections.

1964, maidenform swimsuit, suzy parkerPink demi-bikini in rayon crepe by Maidenform Sportswear.

1964, jantzen swimsuit, suzy parkerLemon yellow rayon/cotton/rubber blend spiked with brass buttons by Jantzen Juniors.

1964, rose marie reid swimsuit, suzy parkerA black and white nylon tricot blouson suit by Rose Marie Reid. A hidden zipper at the front lets you show as much skin as you like.

Of course, you know where to find the best selection of vintage swimwear on the web, don't you? Check out Glamoursurf.com! More tomorrow!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Vogue Magazine Under Grace Mirabelli

helmut newton photo, Vogue 1975I own several issues of Vogue magazine from the 1970's, but when I look through them, I find them to be disjointed and uninteresting. Grace Mirabelli became Editor in Chief when Diana Vreeland left the magazine in 1971. Under Mirabelli's watch, the magazine changed from a bi-weekly to a monthly publication. It also underwent extensive editorial and stylistic changes to respond to the lifestyle changes of its target audience.

Women's liberation and the sexual revolution of the late 1960's and early 70s changed the way women lived their lives. Mirabelli believed that elaborate couture clothing was out of style, and she favored using ready-to-wear and off-the-rack clothing in the magazine. She felt that Vogue magazine under Vreeland was out of touch with its readers, their lifestyles, and their pocketbooks. She remade the magazine to appeal to the practical side of the 1970's woman.

But, it is also true that Vogue under Mirabelli became boring and staid. Many couture houses and high end department stores no longer advertised with Vogue, since their clothing was not featured in the magazine's editorials. Mirabelli was dismissed from Vogue in 1988, when 3 year-old magazine Elle started making headway against Vogue's market domination.

In an attempt to garner waning reader interest, Mirabelli often used fashion photographer Helmut Newton, known for the erotic and sometimes violent overtones of his images. While I do conceed that Helmut Newton is an artist of extraordinary talent, I don't enjoy fashion protrayed in this manner. Show me the clothes, not the sex and violence. Following are a few examples from Vogue, May 1975. How do you feel about these images?

helmut newton photo, Vogue 1975"Halston's long, thin, perfect summer evening in red and white cotton knit stripes. (If you have to ask what to wear in the way of a bra, this may not be the dress for you.)"

helmut newton photo, Vogue 1975
"...and just as she has the imatination to knot a streak of fishnet around her bare throat, she sometimes has the wit to wear the new Silver Sage perfume on her earlobes..."

helmut newton photo, Vogue 1975" The ultra-pretty lacy and embroidered white bra with a plunging neckline, plunging sides, thin, thin straps...and the kind of easy front-closing anyone can manage." Bra by Flair of nylon tricot, about $5.

helmut newton photo, Vogue 1975"The string-tied bikini in sienna brown jersey with a matching wrap skirt by Eres."