Monday, October 31, 2011

Costume Contest Entries #1

Here are the first entries in our Halloween Costume Contest!  Want to win a $50 Couture Allure gift certificate?  Send me your photos!

1.  Jessica Mautner as Marilyn Monroe singing "Happy Birthday Mr. President."

2.  Shannon Burchard as Goldie Hawn from Laugh-In.

3.  Brianna Dale of Baubles, Accoutrements and Garb  wore a vintage hat and brooch to her town's Nightmare on Main Street.

4.  Maral of Sarcasm-Hime wears a replica of Cyd Charisse's dress from "Singin' in the Rain."  Maral took 6 months to make this costume and did all the beading by hand.

5.  Jean Katter worn a 50s vintage dress as the Prom Queen.

6.  Laurence of Lost in the 50's dressed as a good witch in a 1930s velvet gown, 1940s shoes and 50s orange jewelry.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

New at Couture Allure - Little Black Vintage Party Dresses

It's been a week of little black dresses at Couture Allure!  If you've got a party to go to, we have your dress!  Be sure to check our What's New Page for all the latest listings.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekend Eye Candy - Robert Piguet, 1950

There is no more appropriate weekend for this gorgeous ensemble by Robert Piguet from 1950.  The designer combines a vibrant orange wool jacket and vest over a dress of black and white checked wool.  Add a matching jaunty hat, black gloves and a chunky silver bracelet and you are ready!

If you're headed to a Halloween party this weekend, have fun, stay safe and don't forget to take pictures of yourself in your costume!  Send my your photos and enter to win a $50 Couture Allure gift certificate!  Full details can be found here.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Fur - Maggy Rouff, 1953

I've been puzzling over the construction of this white mink jacket? stole? for the last couple of hours.  Designed by Maggy Rouff in 1953, I think this is is a jacket with splits in the sleeves at the elbows so it looks like you're holding a separate muff.  But it could certainly be a separate muff.  What's your theory?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Win a $50 Couture Allure Gift Certificate!

Maral from Sarcasm-Hime

Don't forget to enter our Halloween Costume Contest to win a $50 gift certificate to Couture Allure!   You'll find full details here.

What We Were Wearing - Fall 1961

50 years ago this month, this is what women were wearing.

Oleg Cassini
Perhaps the biggest influence on fashion here in the States, Jackie Kennedy personified the ladylike look most women tried to achieve.  Simple sheath dresses were very popular.

Jean Patou
Elegant suits had shorter and boxier jackets with 3/4 sleeves and big buttons.

Pillbox hats were the latest craze for the head, but hats were dwindling in popularity.  Long gloves were worn with suits and coats that had 3/4 sleeves.  Simple coats with fur wedding ring collars were everywhere.

Sue Brett
Full skirted dresses were having their last hurrah.  They were shorter in length and would disappear within a year or two.

Sweater by Braemar, pants by Geist & Geist
Skinny pants for casual wear were sometimes made of knits.  They were paired with sweaters or blouses.

Edward Abbott
Brocade was big.  Cocktail dresses were usually simple sheaths in opulent fabrics or full skirted styles in chiffon.

Pierre Balmain
Evening gowns usually had simple lines and were made of luxurious fabrics.  Brocades and heavy satins were most popular.  Every woman had or wanted a mink stole or jacket for evening.

Van Raalte
No matter what she was wearing on top, a woman in 1961 always wore a bra and girdle.  A slip was always worn under dresses and suits.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Choices, Choices

 Why can't we have choices like this anymore?  In this 2 page ad from 1956, Garland Orlon sweaters were offered in 6 styles.  Each style was made in 9 colors.  That's 54 possibilities to choose from.  There is something for everyone to love here.

Top row left:  "Put it atop your separate skirt, tuck it into your suit skirt - a sweater for all around the clock."
Center:  "The V neck classic that goes nicely over tailored shirts or with the separate collars you like to wear."
Right:  "Casual, flattering and completely versatile for skirts or suits.  Wear with or without your own costume pin."

Bottom row left:  "Pert sweater with collar that buttons as high or as low as you like."
Center:  "A three-way collar cardigan; button it higher, button it lower, leave it as is."
Right:  "The classic sweater set in harmony of line and color.  Match or mix the pullover and cardigan colors."

Which sweater in what colors would you choose?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How To Wash Vintage Silk Scarves

If you're like me, you love vintage scarves for the versatility they can add to your wardrobe.  Just as with all vintage clothing, I find the quality of vintage scarves to be much better than modern ones unless you're talking about a high end designer like Hermes whose quality has been consistent over the years.  But you don't have to have your vintage scarves dry cleaned!  I hand wash most of mine at home (exceptions would be those high end designers).  Today, I thought I'd pass along my trade secrets about how to wash your vintage scarves.

The most common stains you'll find on vintage scarves are from makeup, perfume and food.  Even if a scarf looks clean, I would recommend that you wash it before using it.  And don't iron a vintage scarf before cleaning!  The heat of the iron will often reveal invisible stains and will set them in permanently.  Hint: To avoid getting food stains on your scarves, turn them to your back or remove them entirely while eating.

1.  Examine your scarf closely for spots or stains.  Holding a scarf up to a strong light source will often reveal stains that are hiding in the print.  Here is a vintage Vera scarf that is a rayon/silk blend.  Upon inspection, I found two brown spots.  These look like old food stains to me and they may be tough to get out after 40 years, but let's see how it goes.

2.  My secret ingredient is Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds.  This is a mild biodegradable cleaner that I use diluted to wash dishes and clean my house.  It is free of color and preservatives and has never damaged any of the hundreds of scarves I have washed it with in several years.  If you'd rather use something else, choose a gentle baby shampoo or soap made to wash delicates, but be sure it has no dyes or perfumes in it.

3.  If your scarf is older than the mid 70s, test a tiny drop of whatever cleaner you are using on an inconspicuous spot.  Let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse to see if the dyes fade.  If so, skip steps 4 and 5 and just do an allover wash with no concentrated stain removal. 

4.  Lay the scarf on a clean surface that will not be affected by dye. Dribble a few drops of full-strength Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds on the spots.

5.  Rub the Sal Suds into the spots and let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes.  For greasy stains, I'll let it sit for about a half hour.

6.  Put the scarf in a basin and add tepid water.  There is enough Sal Suds on the stains to make plenty of suds, so you don't need to add more.  Swish the scarf around for a minute or so to clean the entire thing.  Lift the scarf out of the sudsy water, supporting it from underneath.  DON'T squeeze or wring it out!  You may see a bit of color come off in the water, but this is normal.  Don't leave your scarf to soak in the water for this reason, though.  Rinse the scarf thoroughly under running tepid or cool water.  When the water runs clear and all suds are gone, gently lift the scarf from underneath.  DON'T squeeze out the water.  DON'T wring or twist the wet scarf!  Let much of the water drain off the scarf while supporting it in your hands.

7.  Lay the wet scarf out on an absorbent bath towel.  Lay it flat with no folds or wrinkles.

8.  Roll the scarf up in the towel to remove the excess water.  Unroll the towel and let the scarf lay flat for about 10-15 minutes.  Important: Don't let it dry completely!
9.  You can see that the scarf has wrinkles and dimples from being rolled in the towel.  That's OK!

10.  While the scarf is STILL DAMP, iron it on a low/medium setting.  I use a poly/blend setting on my iron, as the silk setting is too hot for wet silk.  The warm iron will magically dry the silk as you iron it.  If your scarf has rolled edges, avoid flattening them by just ironing up to the edge, but not over it.

11.  Voila!  A clean scarf that is ready to wear!

As I suspected, those food stains were not destined to come out completely, but the stains faded quite a bit and the scarf brightened up nicely.  The beauty of wearing a scarf is that when you fold it or tie it, you can hide those stubborn spots that are permanent.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Couture Allure Halloween Costume Contest!

Contest is now closed.  Please plan to enter next year!

Want to win a $50.00 Couture Allure Gift Certificate?  
Announcing the 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 and on my Facebook fan page for all to enjoy.  The winner will be chosen by random drawing on Friday, November 4.  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 and on the Couture Allure Facebook page.  
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.  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 Wednesday, November 2, 2011.
5.  Winner will be chosen by random drawing on Friday, November 4.  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, 2012.  Gift certificate does not apply to shipping costs.  Item(s) purchased with the gift certificate cannot be returned. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

New at Couture Allure - A Little Bit of Everything

New this week at Couture Allure?  A bit of everything from a Christian Dior suit to fabulous silk scarves.  Be sure to check our What's New pages frequently to see all the latest listings!

1960s Christian Dior silk suit

1960s Bernetti beaded dress

1960s Bergdorf Goodman mink coat

1950s cashmere sweater with fox fur collar

1950s jacquard full skirt dress

1960s Valentina silk scarf

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekend Eye Candy - Balenciaga, 1948

For Fall 1948, Balenciaga designed this incredible coat in black silk faille covered in elaborate embroidery.  Genius!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Fur - Chombert, 1969

In 1969, world famous French furrier Henri Chombert created this red, white and blue patchwork cape in sheared rabbit fur.