Saturday, November 30, 2013

Weekend Eye Candy - Givenchy, 1958

Suddenly, the holiday party season is upon us.  How about an oh-so-feminine velvet bubble dress with matching fur lined hooded bolero?  Yes, please!  Ensemble by Hubert de Givenchy, 1958.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Enjoy an Old Fashioned Friday after Thanksgiving

When did this become what Thanksgiving is all about?  Instead, I hope you'll enjoy today in other ways that have some meaning.

 Spend time with your family.

 Sit down and watch your kids at play.  Even better, get down on the floor and play with them.

 Warm your tootsies by a cozy fire.

 Play a game of cards with grandma.

Read a book or two.  

 Take a long walk in the woods.

Enjoy some leftovers.

Continue to give thanks.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

I'm Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S. It's a day when we stop to think about all the things in our lives that we're thankful for. Today, I am thankful for you.

I'm thankful for all my dear readers who come here each day to share a bit of my world.

I'm thankful for the online friends I've made who also enjoy vintage fashion.

I'm thankful that I have a place to share things the that I am passionate about.

I'm thankful that you "get" me, that you understand, and that you love the same things I do.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Going to Grandma's

Tomorrow is the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US. Today will be one of the busiest travel days of the year. So whether you're going to grandma's by car,

by train,

by ship,

or by plane,

please travel safely!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ceil Chapman Evening Gown - 1954

This full page ad for Lurex from 1954 features an evening gown by Ceil Chapman and jewels by Harry Winston.  The gown is white taffeta woven with gold Lurex threads.  I would love to see this gown shimmer and shine in person!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel

I finally watched the film "Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel" last night.  To watch this film is to "get" me and my fascination with fashion in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.  To watch this film is to understand the allure of vintage clothing from those eras.  To watch this film is to see why today's fast fashion is such a tragedy.  The film is now available to watch for free on Amazon Prime if you are a subscriber.  It is also available on DVD.  I urge you to watch it, then watch it again.

And, as Diana says, please, "Don't be boring!"

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It Must be Pucci - 1957

In this full page ad from 1957, Lord & Taylor featured this dress with the headline, "That flair - it's pure Emilio."  They've got to mean Emilio Pucci, don't you think?  "Black cotton ribbing and a brilliant print, 75.00, from the Italian resort collection imported for Lord & Taylor."  It must be Pucci. 

Illustration by Dorothy Hood for Lord & Taylor, 1957

Monday, November 18, 2013

Forgotten Fashion House Foxbrownie

Late 1930s evening gown by Foxbrownie in the collection of The Mint Museum of Art
Designer Stella Brownie Kaufman joined with William Fox in 1937 to form a high end fashion house called Foxbrownie.  Once referred to as "the high priestess of youth in fashion", Kaufman designed expensive clothing for day and evening in the finest fabrics. The Foxbrownie Company was a member of the Fashion Originators Guild and their clothing was carried by the best department stores and high end boutiques, such as Jay Thorpe in New York City.  Not much is known about the company today beyond these few details, and Foxbrownie disappears from media mention by 1949.  Stella Brownie Kaufman died in 1997 and her obituary in the New York Times simply said, "During her lifetime, she was very active in, and made several important contributions to, the fashion industry."

Following are fashion drawings of Foxbrownie fashions from the 1940s.

 These Foxbrownie suits sold for $100 each in 1945 (equivalent to about $1300 each in today's dollar.)


These dresses sold for $79.95 each in 1947 (equivalent to about $840.00 each in today's dollar.)


Friday, November 15, 2013

Eva Marie Saint, 1954

Richard Avedon shot this photo of Eva Marie Saint in 1954, just before the release of the film On the Waterfront.  Her performance as Edie Doyle was her debut on the big screen and garnered her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress that year.  Here's one of her most memorable scenes from the film.

Photo by Richard Avedon for Harper's Bazaar, 1954

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Gloria Vanderbilt Wearing Christian Dior - 1954

The pages of my vintage Vogue and Harper's Bazaar magazines are often graced with images of well-known socialites, royalty and actresses of the time modeling fashion.  Our fascination with celebrity goes back many, many years. 

The caption for this 1954 photo says, "Mrs. Leopold Stokowski, whose career as an actress is off to a flourishing start, is chairman of the Patron's Committee for the Little Orchestra Society's series of Holiday Concerts for children, which are to benefit the St. Luke's Hospital Building Fund.  She wears a challis coat and trousers, flowered in brilliant red and green; and a chiffon blouse of the same creamy white.  By Christian Dior-New York."

Mrs. Leopold Stokowski is none other than Gloria Vanderbilt, whose acting career and marriage to the famous conductor would be over within the next year.  She likely made the plug for the hospital building fund  a condition of her posing for the magazine.  Vanderbilt would build a fashion empire with her famous jeans in the 1970s.

I do like this lovely little at-home ensemble by Christian Dior-New York.  It's a lot less formal than the clothing we usually associate with this label.  The set sold for $210 in 1954 (about $1,828 in today's dollar.)

Photo by Louise Dahl-Woolfe for Harper's Bazaar, 1954.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Jo Copeland Suit - 1943

After being in a box for the last 6 months, I finally unearthed my scanner and I have all my vintage fashion magazines out of storage.  Yay!

How I wish this image were in color, but Harper's Bazaar and all magazines were judicious with full color pages at this time, especially during the war years.  This fabulous suit is by Jo Copeland for Patullo.  The jacket is a blue, white and yellow check, the skirt is navy blue and the blouse is yellow rayon crepe. I really like that buckle at the waist.

The model?  None other than Lauren Bacall.

Photo by George Hoyningen-Huene for Harper's Bazaar, 1943.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

50% Off Everything at Couture Allure!


My post yesterday about transformation and the new and exciting things coming into my life also made me realize that it is time to reward you.  Why?  Because during all the many moves and changes over the last few months, I have not been as active here or on my website as I (and I'm sure you) would like.  The fact of the matter is, Couture Allure is loaded with hundreds of gorgeous vintage garments and accessories that need to find new homes before I can begin to list the hundreds more that are waiting in the wings.

For the first time ever, and for 4 days only, I am offering 50% off everything on the website.  Yes, 50% off every vintage dress, evening gown, and fur.  50% off every vintage scarf, purse and belt.  50% off dresses from the 1920s, 50% off vintage designer garments, 50% off vintage jewelry.  Everything!  Simply enter coupon code "50off" at checkout and the discount will automatically be applied.  Sale starts now and ends at midnight Eastern time on Sunday, November 10.  I am unlikely to ever do this again, so don't miss your opportunity!  Shop now!  Note: Discount does not apply to shipping costs or previous purchases.  Sorry, there will be no layaways or holds allowed during this sale.  All items will be considered a final sale and no returns will be accepted.

Thanks for sticking with me this year.  Now, go get your reward!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Vertigo and Transformation

I've always been a control freak.  My life was arranged in neat and orderly rows, everything in its place, schedules followed, no deviations from the straight and narrow.  That was my safety net.  Nothing random, no flying by the seat of my pants, no chaos, always in control.

This is what my life looks like right now.  There is no order, no control.  The universe is teaching me about randomness, about letting go, about jumping into the void to see what happens.  It's quite wonderful and very scary. And it's quite dizzying, hence the vertigo.

If you follow my blog, you know that in the past year, my husband and I have sold our home in Massachusetts, shed our lives of all our "stuff", and moved to Florida to embrace a warmer climate and a far friendlier community.  During the past 5 months we have lived in 2 temporary homes while enjoying the summer in New England and then while searching for a house here in our new city.  We've been living out of boxes and have packed, unpacked and packed 3 times.  Last week, we moved into our new permanent home.  This week, I am settling into my new studio space.

They say our lives change in 12 year cycles.  In my case, the cycles are sometimes shorter, sometimes longer, but they are definitely real. In thinking about the chaos that controls my life right now, I suddenly realized that the last big change in my life was exactly 12 years ago when I left a corporate job to pursue my dream and started Couture Allure in 2001.  Wow.

I don't know what any of this has to do with vintage clothing, but I do know that there are new and exciting things happening in my tumultuous world right now.  I am ready to embrace a less rigid existence, hence the transforrmation.  I hope you'll stick around to see what happens next!

By the way,I want to thank each and every one of you who took the time to write your thoughtful and insightful comments regarding the question "Are you tired of vintage clothing?" last week. I continue to contemplate them with great interest.