Saturday, October 31, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Bonnie Cashin 1956

What could be more perfect to wear on Halloween than this orange wool houndstooth dress and cape ensemble by Bonnie Cashin from 1956. Edged in leather binding, the cape has a large hook closure at the neck.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Jane Irwill Sweaters

The Jane Irwill Company was a manufacturer best known for their sweaters. Started in 1923 by Irving Louis, Jane Irwill produced basic and fashion sweaters, sometimes with co-ordinates. In the mid 1960s, the company tried to become more fashion forward by collaborating with designers Donald Brooks and Ingeborg Markus, and in 1973, Jane Irwill was contracted to make Yves St. Laurent's basic sweaters for the US and Canadian markets. The company disappeared from media mention by the late 1970s.

Here, from 1955, are examples of what Jane Irwill is best known for, basic sweaters with matching co-ordinates.

Sweaters in Super Orlon with matching wool skirts were produced in 15 colors and were sold in such stores as B. Altman and Marshall Field. The sweaters sold for $6.50 each (about $52.00 in today's dollar) and the skirts for $9.00 each (about $72.00 in today's dollar).

These sweater styles were made in Botany wool in 14 colors and coordinated with matching wool skirts. The sweaters sold for $6.50 each (about $52.00 in today's dollar) and the skirts for $11.00 each (about $88.00 in today's dollar).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vintage Hats from the 1930s

This is one of those posts where I don't have to say much. All you have to do is enjoy the pretty pictures! All hats from 1935 - 1937.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Full Skirts - 1959

By 1959, the heydey of the full skirt is starting to wane. The look is still popular, but we see much less volume and shorter hemlines. Crinoline petticoats are not worn as often. Bell shaped skirts and skirts with volume at the sides and back instead of all the way around give the appearance of fullness while using less fabric than the dresses of 5 years before.

As I said yesterday, women expected a dress they purchased to last several years. In order to keep up with fashion, most women shortened the hems of their dresses that they had purchased in the mid 1950s rather than buy new ones.

Mr. Mort dress with bolero jacket from 1959.

Left: Gold brocade dress with fullness at sides and back and shorter hem by Youth Guild. Sold for $30 in 1959 (about $220 in today's dollar).
Right: Black point d'esprit lace over black organdy lining by Anne Fogarty hemmed just at the knee. Sold for $50 in 1959 (about $366 in today's dollar).

Kasper white silk beaded dress with bell shaped skirt. Sold for $125 in 1960 (about $900 in today's dollar).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Full Skirts - 1954

By 1954 - 55, full skirts were an important part of fashion. While slim skirted styles were still popular, by this time most women who could wear a full skirt had at least one in her closet. Keep in mind, at this time in history, a dress was an investment that was expected to last for years, not weeks or months as is the norm today. In the 50s, most women had far fewer garments in their closets than we do today. Any dress that was purchased had to be versatile and well made, because it would be worn often.

Here, some full skirted styles from 1954 - 55.

Anne Fogarty cotton dress with pintucks from shoulder to hips. Sold for $25 in 1954 (about $195 in today's dollar).

Hubert de Givenchy floral silk taffeta dress in grey and yellow.

Adele Simpson navy silk taffeta dress. Sold for $155 in 1955 (about $1233 in today's dollar).

Ben Reig's grey flannel suit has a full pleated skirt. Sold for $295 in 1955 (about $2347 in today's dollar).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Full Skirts - 1951

Dior may have introduced the full skirt with his "New Look" collection of 1947, but the look wasn't adapted by most American women until 1951. In fact, it wasn't until the summer of 1951, that American Vogue magazine declared "The Full Skirt is the New Skirt". And it wasn't until 1951 that lingerie makers started offering crinoline petticoats in various shapes and fulnesses to be worn under these new full skirts.

Things to consider when wearing full skirts? They look best with high heeled, sleek shoes. Think about the coat you'll wear - a waist length narrow jacket or a long full coat that is the same length as the dress is required. To avoid too much bulk at the hips, consider a drop waisted style with the fullness flaring out from a hip yoke. And choose the proper petticoat with a shape and length that compliments the shape of your full skirt. Wear it inside out if the seams snag your stockings.

Here, some designer styles from 1951.

Black silk organdie suit by Jacques Fath.

Larry Aldrich's black faille dress has the hip yoke referred to above. Sold for $50 in 1951 (about $410 in today's dollar).

Adele Simpson silk brocade suit. Sold for $175 in 1951 (about $1435 in today's dollar).

Castillo white rayon net over silk faille party dress with contrasting silk faille "apron". Sold for $265 in 1951 (about $2173 in today's dollar).

Sunday, October 25, 2009

New at Couture Allure - Vintage Designer Dresses and Coats

New this week at Couture Allure are several vintage designer dresses and a coat, as well as more vintage scarves.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Bob Mackie 1972

cher, oscar dress, 1972Not as extreme as some of her later Oscar dresses, Cher still makes a splash in this Golden Harem ensemble by Bob Mackie at the 1972 Academy Awards. She and Sonny were presenters for Best Original Song. Cher donated this outfit to the Christie's "Unforgettable: Fashion of the Oscars" auction to benefit Aids research. It sold for $27,600, the fifth highest price of the entire auction. Oh, those abs.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Classic Twin Set Sweaters - 1955

Is there anyone in the world who can't wear a classic twin set?

All from 1955, these photos can serve as inspiration to get a vintage look from a modern twin set. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sparkle Pretty

They say you are either an ocean person or a mountain person. I am definitely an ocean gal and lucky enough to have views of the Atlantic Ocean out my windows. The depth and differing shades of greys, blues, and greens of the water change from day to day, hour to hour, and sometimes minute to minute. On sunny days, when the wind forms a light chop to the surface of the water, at just the right time, it looks like you are gazing at a surface of flashing rhinestones, a phenomenon I've come to call "Sparkle Pretty". I've never been able to capture this phenomenon with my camera, but German fashion photographer F.C. Gundlach sure did in this image from 1966. The model wears a silver brocade dress by Betty Barclay with glitter stockings and silver shoes. The sparkling water sets off the sparkling outfit to perfection. Click to enlarge the photo.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vintage Boots - 1958

I'll take one of each please! Boots and booties from 1958.

Clockwise starting at top:
- Zebra stripes on black brushed leather stadium boot with Borg nylon pile lining, back zipper by Kickerinos. Sold in 1958 for $12 (about $89 in today's dollar).
- Red corduroy buckle boot lined in deep pile fleece by Keds. Sold in 1958 for $8 (about $59 in today's dollar).
- Red calf with ponyskin collar and rippled rubber sole stadium boot by Moxees. Sold in 1958 for $15 (about $111 in today's dollar).
- Red suede chukka boot with leather cuff and black lacing by Penobscot Trampeze. Sold in 1958 for $9 (about $66 in today's dollar).
In center - Russet buckskin with leopard stencilled calf hair cuff, lined in acrilan by Lissak. Sold in 1958 for $16 (about $118 in today's dollar).

Clockwise starting at top left:
- Beige buckskin chukka boot with crepe sole by Golo. Sold in 1958 for $12 (about $74 in today's dollar).
- Russet red leather rodeo boot with pile lining and ribbed crepe sole by Huskies. Sold in 1958 for $12 (about $89 in today's dollar).
- Bright red pigsuede bootie with black elastic for a smooth-hugging fit by California Cobblers. Sold in 1958 for $11 (about $81 in today's dollar).
- Grey leather and suede stadium boot with faux fur cuff and fleece lining by Connie. Sold in 1958 for $10 (about $74 in today's dollar).

Aren't they great? Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

1949 Classic Beauty

A classic beauty from 1949 wears the "new" short hair and a black fox fur stole. I love the lighting from behind in this photo.

Monday, October 19, 2009

1973 Donald Brooks Coat and 1966 Vintage Furs

File this under "Lightening Strikes Twice". On Friday, I told you how rare it is to find a vintage advertisement that matches an item I am selling. Later that day, I received an email from my colleague Anthony Argo over at with a picture of a Lord & Taylor ad from the March 1973 issue of Vogue magazine. It showed a Donald Brooks coat with a print of peas in pods cleverly called "The Pea Coat". The coat sold for $250 in 1973 (about $1200 in today's dollar).

Vogue Magazine, March 1973

Oh look! I have the same coat for sale at my website! This Donald Brooks coat is such fun and is sure to bring a smile to everyone on those rainy and gloomy days. Thank you for sending a photo of the ad, Anthony!

In other news, it snowed here in Boston last night. In case you are new to this blog, I want you to know that I hate snow. I hate cold. I hate winter. But I love Boston, so here I stay. Now, we've had early snow before, but October 18th snow? That's pushing it. It's all gone this morning, and the temps are headed back up today, but in honor of the coming winter winds, here are some vintage fur coats from 1966.

I've told you about Emeric Partos, Bergdorf Goodman's custom furrier before. This full length evening coat of Russian Crown sable is worn over gold lamé harem pajamas, both by Partos.

Also by Emeric Partos, an Empress chinchilla fur cape. Love the metallic boots!

Christian Dior combines Jasmine white Emba mink with Lutetia gunmetal grey Emba mink, tied with a mink sash at the waist.

Maximilian uses Emba mink in tourmaline for this gorgeous coat with horizontal pelts.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New at Couture Allure - Vintage Dresses, Coats, and Scarves

We're working on a new look at Couture Allure with a new logo and a fresh look for the home page. We've also recently changed our item pages so you don't have to scroll to see all the pictures. How do you like it? Your feedback is welcome and appreciated.

New this week at Couture Allure are several vintage designer garments and many vintage scarves. Check our What's New section often!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Opera Coat 1937

Opera coats, like this one from 1937, are still pretty easy to find, as they were classic pieces that were always stored away in closets or attics. In fact, it wasn't unusual for a family to own one and pass it around between mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, and cousins for special occasions. Usually made of velvet, they often had ermine fur collars, as does this one.

Friday, October 16, 2009

1969 Velveteen Coat by Raincheetahs

This very rarely happens. This morning, I was flipping through the August 1, 1969 issue of Vogue magazine for inspiration, and this ad stopped me cold.

The ad is for a cotton velveteen coat with matching dress. "Raincheetahs by Naman puts a fire under fashion. A conflagration of color in an embroidered coat and dress ensemble of cotton velveteen. In the very spirit of autum, with all the easy comfort you need for the busy days of a new season. Flaming pink, as shown, or brown." The set was sold at Lord & Taylor, Burdine's, Jacobson's, etc. The dress is of the plain fabric, and the coat is very distinctively embroidered with a grid in pink.

Are you wondering why this ad stopped me cold? Look!

I have the exact coat in brown for sale on my site! It didn't come with the matching dress, but that's OK. It is an incredibly well made and unique coat, and I'm very surprised it hasn't been snatched up yet. That means that it is still there for you, though. I'll include a scan of the ad with the coat for the lucky buyer. Really, how often do you find a vintage garment and then find the advertisement for that garment? In my case, this is just the second time in 10 years and thousands of garments. Now that's rare!