Thursday, May 31, 2012

Meet Stacy!

Meet Stacy and her husband Rick.  Rick bought this gorgeous 1950s dress for Stacy from Couture Allure and she wore it to the Kentucky Derby.  Don't they make a rather dashing couple?  Stacy, you are beautiful and your husband is quite debonair!

1950s cream lace over pink taffeta dress from Couture Allure.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Meet Angela!

Meet Angela!  She and her husband own a 1966 Plymouth Satellite Convertible.  Angela wore this 1960s floral print cotton dress that she purchased at Couture Allure to a Vintage Car Tour in Canada.  Doesn't she look fabulous?  And how about that car!!!

Vintage 1960s dress from Couture Allure.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Yay Peggy!

As Peggy moves on from under Don's wing, all I can say is, "You GO, Girl!"  At a time in history when women struggled to step up the ladder and out of the secretarial pool, Peggy had the guts to do it with integrity and a single-minded sense of purpose.  While I know all will not be roses and sunshine at her new job, Peggy has my utmost respect for her courage to take this leap of faith.  If you haven't watched this week's episode of "Mad Men", be sure to catch it, as it was one of the best ever.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

An impromtu parade celebrates the end of the war in August, 1945.
Today, in the US, we remember and give thanks to to all the brave men and women who have served and given their lives in the Armed Forces.  Thank you.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

New at Couture Allure - Vintage Party Dresses

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Weekend Eye Candy - Norman Hartnell, 1960

From the collection of the Fashion Museum in Bath, UK.  This Norman Hartnell gown from 1960 is fashioned of silk jersey that is embroidered and encrusted with rhinestones.  The matching jacket is trimmed in fox fur.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Another Side of Nina Ricci

Lest you think after yesterday's post that Nina Ricci only excelled at suits, here is a Ricci draped silk jersey wedding gown from 1957.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vintage Nina Ricci Ensembles

It takes a certain kind of woman to wear vintage Nina Ricci.  My favorite pieces are always those designed by Jules Francois Crahay during his years as the head designer from 1954 - 1963.  His designs feature fabulous tailoring with the addition of wonderful, whimsical details.  Here are some examples of his work.





I had planned this post in order to feature this Crahay-designed dress and jacket ensemble from Nina Ricci Paris that I listed on my website yesterday.  Not surprisingly, the ensemble sold almost immediately, but you can still enjoy the photos and details of the design by checking out the listing at Couture Allure

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Givenchy Dress - 1955

Hubert de Givenchy created this haute couture black silk taffeta dress for Spring 1955.  Having learned pattern drafting many years ago, I view this dress from a sewer's standpoint.  I can't look at this photo without wondering how in the world Givenchy made the fabric do what it does here and what do the pattern pieces for that skirt look like?  I'm sure the dress is built upon a stiff foundation so the skirt holds its bell shape.  There appear to be seams between the front buttoned panel and the draped side pieces.  That front panel probably falls straight to the hem and the side panels are pulled around to the front and sewn one on top of the other at the hem  And, even though you can't see them, I am sure those soft folds are held in place with hundreds of tiny invisible hand-worked stitches.  In the end, what looks like a dress with lots of movement and softness is actually just the opposite.  And that is one example of the art of couture.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Larry Aldrich Cocktail Suit - 1949

The cocktail suit - another fashion staple from the past that has disappeared from modern life.  This beauty by Larry Aldrich, from the spring of 1949, has a long slender skirt that hits right above the ankle.  It is fashioned from jacquard twill that has a subtle gleam to it.  A dramatic hat is just the right accessory, don't you think?  Larry Aldrich suit sold for $70 in 1949 (about $677 in today's dollar.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Vanity Fair Zebra Print - 1954

After it's very successful launch of leopard print lingerie in 1952, Vanity Fair introduced the black and white zebra print pieces in the spring of 1954.  This ad from June 1954, shows the model wearing just a pair of briefs with her back turned to the camera.  It is one of the most striking Vanity Fair ads I've ever seen.

The zebra print came in several pieces including a bra, pettiskirt slip, dressing gown, lounging pajamas and a peignoir set (now shown). I think they're all wonderful. How about you?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

New at Couture Allure - Prints and Shimmer

Over the past couple of weeks at Couture Allure, we've added lots of dresses with metallic sparkle, shimmer and shine, as well as some fabulous prints.  Be sure to check out our What's New pages for all the latest listings!

1960s silk gold brocade party dress, probably Hattie Carnegie.

1960s shiny gold foil palazzo jumpsuit.

1960s silver metallic evening dress.

1960s Mr. Dino plus size print dress.

1970s Robert David Morton maxi dress.

1980s Alverado Bessi op art print dress.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Weekend Eye Candy - Schiaparelli and Dali, 1937

In May of 1937, Cecil Beaton shot official photographs of Wallis Simpson right before her marriage to the Duke of Windsor.  Here, she stands in the garden of the Chateau de Cande wearing the very famous lobster dress that was a design collaboration between Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali.  Schiaparelli designed the dress, while Dali did the artwork of the lobster and parsley sprigs.  Dali's sketch was printed onto the fabric by silk designer Sache.

The dress is now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute in New York.  It can currently be seen on display as part of the exhibit "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations" through August 19, 2012.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ever Wonder Why an Hermes Scarf is so Expensive?

Because every step is done by hand by individual craftsmen.

In this video, you will first see an artist working on the design for a scarf.  Then you will see the process for screening the 10th and final color on a scarf.  As the gentleman says, if the printing of any of the colors is off, the scarf is destroyed.

In this video, you will see the intricate process of hand rolling the hem on an Hermes scarf.  Each scarf is a work of art!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Christian Dior Fringed Dress - 1958

Brilliant red silk faille fashions this gorgeous party gown by Christian Dior for Spring, 1958.  Christian Dior died in October of 1957 and Yves St. Laurent was promoted to head designer in 1958.  We'll never know if Dior himself had conceived of this gown before his death, or if the design is purely St. Laurent's.  But isn't it wonderful?  The silk has been fringed at the edges of the underskirt and at the ends of the bow.  Fringing silk is a time consuming process.  This is not a separate trim that is applied to the hem of the dress.  Rather, the edge is left unfinished and the weft threads are removed one by one, leaving the warp threads to form the fringe.

You've probably seen the same technique used on the edges of napkins.

Here you can see a seamstress removing the weft threads on a decorative collar.  This technique is pretty easy to do on a loosely woven linen, as shown here.  I cannot imagine the hours it must have taken to get the same effect on the tightly woven silk faille used in the Dior gown. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Flash Sale - 20% Off Any Purchase

Ends at midnight Eastern time tonight!  Take 20% off any purchase today at Couture Allure.  Sale includes all items on the site, even the newest listings and markdowns!  Simply enter coupon code "may20" at checkout and the discount will automatically be applied.  Discount does not apply to shipping cost or previous purchases.  Go shop!  Go save!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Red Swimsuit - 1970

Love, love, love this little red swimsuit.  Fun cut-outs make this a one-piece trying to be two.  And the brass zipper with a large ring pull is pretty darn sexy.  Suit by Silhouette, 1970.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Irish Linen Guild - 1958

The Irish Linen Guild was founded in 1928 and is still active today.  The Guild promotes and protects the good name of Irish linen worldwide.  In 1958, the Guild teamed up with many American designers and fashion houses and placed full page ads throughout major fashion magazines.  Here are just 5 of those ads.  It is interesting to note the various ways the designers used the Irish linen fabric.

Jane Derby

Oleg Cassini

Adele Martin

Herbert Sondheim

M. Nadler
Which is your favorite?  I'm partial to the feminie collar on the M. Nadler dress, but that Oleg Cassini sex kitten version is quite something!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms, especially to mine who is still one of the classiest women I know!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Weekend Eye Candy - Dior Insect Dress, 1951

1951 - Christian Dior designed this white pique dress embroidered with insects.  Dragonflies, bumblebees, beetles, and more become inspiration for haute couture.  You've got to love that!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Marilyn Monroe 1952

Marilyn Monroe relaxes at home listening to classical music in 1952.  This photo was taken for Life Magazine right before the actress made it big in her leading role in Niagra.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Difference Between Just Right and Overwhelming

Two 2-piece pantsuits from 1969. Two bold prints. One just right and one overwhelming. Can you see the difference?

This set by Adele Simpson (that's the designer peeking out behind the model) is fashioned from a bold, large scale floral print.  What makes this work is the fact that the print is broken up by the bare midriff and short sleeves.  The beading also gives the eye a rest by giving it a place to stop.  Everything about this set works to perfection.

Now look at this tunic and pants set by Saks Fifth Avenue.  The bold black and white print long-sleeved tunic with it's buttoned up collar and the wide-legged pants overwhelm the model.  Your eye can't settle because that print is everywhere.  You don't even see the model's face.  How would this work better?  Short sleeves would help.  A lower neckline would help. A solid color wide belt would help.  But this set would probably be best broken up.  Wear the tunic with solid pants or wear the pants with a solid top.  Both together?  Too much.  Do you agree?

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Another Lilli Ann Dress - 1956

What are the chances?  I open another magazine from 1956 and there is another dress by Lilli Ann!  It makes me wonder if the company was just starting to manufacture dresses at this time, or if it was just that they advertised dresses during the summer months instead of suits.  This deserves more investigation.  This fitted sheath has jutting pockets at the hips and the bust is adorned with embroidery, rhinestones and pearls.  I have to be honest.  I'm not sure if the placement of all that decoration is attractive or unfortunate.  What's your opinion?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Lilli Ann Dress - 1956

Are you surprised?  Yes, this dress from 1956 is by Lilli Ann!  The company did offer a few dresses in their line, but they were best known, of course, for their fabulous suits.  This dress was made from a Lilli Ann exclusive fabric, as all their suits were.  Striped fabric was hand blocked with a print inspired by the Siege of Troy.  The print is accented with hand-cut Austrian crystal rhinestones.  The dress came in black and white or turquoise and white.  Sold for $40 in 1956 (about $337 in today's dollar.)  Do you love it?

And congrats to Vintage Suburbia who was the only person to guess correctly!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Guess the Designer!

Can you guess the maker of this dress from 1956?  Hint: It's by a company you don't normally associate with dresses.  Answer tomorrow!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

New at Couture Allure - Vintage Dresses

I don't have much to show you this morning because...well....because almost everything that went live on the site this week is already sold.  But these two very special beauties are still available, along with some fun 60s dresses.  Be sure to check our What's New pages to see all the latest listings!

Early 1960s red silk dress with dramatic drapes.

1930s yellow and cream dress with soutache trimmed jacket.