Sunday, March 31, 2013

New at Couture Allure - 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s Dresses

New this week at Couture Allure are dresses from the 1920s right through the 1950s.  Be sure to check our What's New pages to see all the latest listings!

1920s dress with elaborate embroidered sleeves

1940s draped rayon print dress

1930s silk dress with matching sheer coat

1950s silk satin ball gown

1940s magenta evening gown with sequins

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Weekend Eye Candy - Bruyere, 1948

How does one take a simple wide brimmed hat and make it extraordinary?  Instead of putting the bow on top of the brim, put it underneath to bring attention to the face.  I love this hat.  Marie-Louise Bruyere, 1948.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Century of Easter Bonnets

"In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, you'll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade!"











Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book Review - "Going Vintage" by Lindsey Leavitt

I was given a copy of Lindsey Leavitt's latest book for tweens and teens, Going Vintage to review for my blog.  I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining read.

16-year-old Mallory finds out that her boyfriend in cheating on her with an online girlfriend.  A break-up ensues which turns into a very public fiasco via the internet.  While working with her dad to clean out her grandma's house, Mallory finds a list of goals her grandmother wrote at age 16 in 1962 and decides to "go vintage" by completing the same goals.  Mallory mistakenly assumes it was easier to be a teenager way back when.  To accomplish the goals, she gives up modern technology.  No cell phone, no computer, no texting, no online research.  This isn't so easy after all!

One of the most delightful things about Going Vintage is Mallory's decision to wear vintage clothing from the early 60s.  Wait until you read about what she wears to the homecoming dance!  I also found it fun and interesting that Mallory works with her dad who buys storage units and cleans out houses for a living.  Her mom sells what they find online, as well as managing a successful blog.  Mallory's modern family is quirky and completely believable.

Of course, there's a bit of romance in the story when Mallory becomes friends with her former boyfriend's cousin.  Her confusion and wary approach to this budding relationship are charming.  One thing is for sure....Mallory is a lot smarter about boys than I was at 16!

If you've got a young reader in your family who happens to love vintage, she'll certainly enjoy Going Vintage.  And you are sure to as well!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The 100 Best Vintage Shops Online

Couture Allure is very proud to have been chosen as one of the top 100 online vintage shops in Sammy Davis' new ebook, "The 100 Best Vintage Shops Online."

Couture Allure is featured as one of the top 10 independent online sellers, and we are in some stellar company!  You'll want to purchase Sammy's ebook about vintage shopping online, as you're sure to discover some great sellers you may not know about!

The book is not just a list of shops, though.  You'll also find some great information about why wearing vintage matters, a list of fabulous vintage resources, as well as the best shops that specialize in various categories.  The 100 Best Vintage Shops Online is a stellar source of information, one you'll refer to over and over when looking for the best vintage e-tailers on the planet!  Thanks for including us Sammy!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Missoni, 1972

It's a cold and dreary Monday.  I had a crazy busy weekend.  This photo expresses exactly how much energy I have right now.  Missoni can help anyone fight the blues.  Co-ordinating green and white checked separates in wool jersey by Missoni, 1972.

Photo by Helmut Newton for Vogue, February 1972

Sunday, March 24, 2013

New at Couture Allure - Pierre Cardin, Fred Perlberg and More!

New at Couture Allure this week are vintage designer dresses and a fabulous selection of 1950s cotton dresses for summer.  Be sure to check our What's New pages to see all the latest listings!

1960s Pierre Cardin mini dress with vinyl appliques

1950s Fred Perlberg draped strapless evening gown

1960s St. John boucle knit dress with metallic accents

1950s cotton floral full skirt dress in a larger size!

1950s cotton floral full skirt dress

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Weekend Eye Candy - Dior, 1956

Pretty roses printed on silk and fashioned into a deceptively simple dress by Christian Dior, 1956.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Last Chance Sale!

It's our famous Last Chance Sale! OK, I have to admit the sale started yesterday and the amount of deeply discounted vintage I shipped out today has overwhelmed my postman.  But there are still plenty of bargains to be had.  All Last Chance items are priced at $50 or less.  This sale ends on Saturday, March 23 when all remaining Last Chance items will be removed from the site forever.  Go!  Grab your bargain right now!

1950s Arnold Fox draped sash dress, now just $50!

60s silver brocade dress and jacket, now just $50!

50s cotton sexy secretary dress, now just $50!

60s black cocktail dress, now just $50!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Monet Bracelets, 1955

"You can't have too much of a good thing...."  I agree 100% and I love this look of piled on bracelets.  Monet jewelry ad from 1955.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Forgotten Designer Nelly de Grab

Nelly de Grab separates, 1955
Designer Nelly de Grab was born in Vienna in 1899 and married into a well-to-do Czechoslovakian family with roots in manufacturing.  Nelly always had a flair with fashion and dressed with panache and style.  When the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939, she was forced to flee with her husband and son.  The de Grabs smuggled out the family Stradivarius violin, which they sold to survive and make it to America.

Evening sweater and skirt, 1952
The family spent some time in Lisbon while waiting to emigrate to the U.S.  Nelly de Grab knew that she and her husband would need to work to support themselves, so she turned to fashion.  She became fascinated with the native Portuguese pleated and printed cotton fabrics and knew they would work beautifully for skirts.

Nelly de Grab separates in evening fabrics, 1954
After settling in New York, de Grab designed softly pleated cotton skirts based on the textiles she had seen in Portugal and took samples to the Peck & Peck store on 5th Avenue.  Buyer Fred Mayer was delighted with her skirts and placed the first order.  Nelly de Grab was in business.

Navy wool twin set and glazed cotton skirt, 1955
By 1955, Nelly de Grab was a large firm headquartered on Seventh Avenue in New York.  The company made separates that co-ordinated and could mix-and-match.  Many of de Grab's tops and skirts looked like dresses when worn together.  The designer brought versatility to evening wear by designing separates in fancy fabrics like taffeta, brocade and velvet.

Nelly de Grab continued to design separates up until her death in 1972.  Lowell Judson took over as designer for the firm after her death and the company stayed in business through at least 1976.  There is no media mention of the firm after that date.

Much of the information in this article was based on an interview with Nelly de Grab printed in the Anapolis Capital newspaper, August 16, 1952.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I woke up this morning to yet more snow.  Mother Nature has dumped another 6-8 inches of heavy, wet stuff on us overnight and it will continue to fall all day.  I can't help but long for warm breezes and sunshine.  Today, I want to be her.

Marissa Berenson wears a silk bare backed harem top with billowing palazzo pants by Savita.  Photo taken in Sardinia by Henry Clarke for British Vogue, 1968.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Weekend Eye Candy - Alix, 1935

A backless black crepe evening gown by Alix Barton, 1935.  Alix is better known as Mme. Gres today.  I love how the drapey sleeves accent that open back. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Wearing Vintage in 1966

This is Jane Ormsby Gore in 1966.  Jane is the daughter of Lord Harlech who was the British Ambassador to America in the early 60s.  In the days before hippies made dressing in antique, vintage and ethnic clothing popular, Jane was buying her wardrobe from antique shops and raiding her great-grandmother's closet.  Here, she wears a striped silk jacket by Paul Poiret that she found at the Portobello Road antiques market.  With it she is wearing her great-grandmother's Edwardian motoring hat, an Edwardian silk and lace handmade blouse found at the Marche aux Puces in Paris and an 18th century military belt.  Gore is considered a fashion leader of her generation, and she did it wearing vintage.  That makes me smile.

Photo by Traeger for British Vogue, January 1966.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Doris Raymond Wearing Sophie of Saks, 1966

Last week, Doris Raymond of The Way We Wore in Los Angeles wore this stunning gown and feather trimmed stole by Sophie of Saks to the premiere of her new reality show, "L.A. Frock Stars" on The Smithsonian Channel.

This morning, I was perusing the March 1, 1966 issue of Vogue magazine and look what I found!  Doris, here's your dress!  The caption says, "Feather print on a long halter dress of silk twill; a stole edged in marabou. All clean black and white.  From the ready-to-wear collection by Sophie, at Saks Fifth Avenue.  (Dear Vogue, that's ostrich, not marabou.  But I forgive you.)  House of Berland earrings.

I love it when this happens!  Don't forget to watch episode 2 of "L.A. Frock Stars - The Awards Season" tonight!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Meet Bride Pia

Lovely bride Pia purchased this stunning 1970s wedding gown by Christos from Couture Allure last year.  Pia and her husband had a wedding celebration in Australia a few months ago where she wore the gown.  She was kind enough to send me some of the gorgeous photos taken on the beach at Rainbow Bay.  Pia, you look stunning and you are glowing with happiness.  Best wishes and congratulations to you and your husband, and thank you for sharing your pictures!

1970s Christos wedding gown purchased at Couture Allure

Back of gown

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Runner Up Winners!

Since I never heard back from two of the winners of the book, "Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style" I drew runner up winners this morning.  Congratulations to:

The Queen of Fifty Cents and Amber! 

I'll be in contact with you via email this morning.  I must hear back from you today, as there is a deadline to get your address in to the PR firm.  Thank you again to everyone who participated!  And don't forget to watch "L.A. Frock Stars" Thursday nights at 8pm on the Smithsonian Channel!