Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Short Break

Couture Allure will be on a short break for the next couple of weeks while we host family visiting from the frozen tundra of the north.  I'll be back with new blog posts and new items for the website soon!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Rose Marie Reid Swimsuits, 1954

Tired of winter?  Here's a bit of relief.  This ad for Rose Marie swimsuits is from November of 1954 and featured two jewel-toned suits for tropical vacations during the winter of that year.  The suits are incredible, but note the matching scarves that were designed specifically to coordinate by Rex.  And then note the addition of the rhinestone starfish brooch on the pink scarf.  Love!

"Pouf go those winter winds! Blaze goes the sun...and from Trinidad to Tuscan, Majorca to Miami, you're part of the fun!  Smart girl, if you're a second-vacation traveler, revitalizing for the rest of the year. Lucky girl, if your first flight is in fashion...a new shape that says you've arrived!  The shape, a feather boned sheath.  The suits, "Court Lady," left, $19.95. "Beau Catcher," right, $17.95." (That's about $173 and $156 in today's dollar.)

Photo from a full page ad appearing in Harper's Bazaar for Rose Marie Reid, 1954.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Every Day Will Count

Today marks the 4th anniversary of the tragic death of my sister Barbara. As I do each year, I want to share her words with you. This is a reprint of a post I wrote in February, 2010. Please hug someone you love today.

Thank you all so very much for your heartfelt thoughts, prayers, and words of condolence over the past week. The loss of my dear sister has been devastating to me and my entire family. Your words meant a lot.

My sister Barbara was 5 years younger than me, which disproves the theory "Older is wiser", as she taught me many life lessons through the years. Barbara taught me how important it is to define your dreams and then go and get them for yourself. She taught me that it was OK to pursue being happy with my life. She taught me to take care of myself first, so I could be the best mom possible for my children. She taught me what it means to be a friend through her ability to listen and care. She taught me what it means to be a sister through her love for me, Pam, Becky and Brenda. She taught me what it means to be a daughter through her abiding love and respect for our parents. She taught me what it means to be a mother through her willingness to do anything for her children. She taught me what it means to be an aunt through her caring for all her nieces and nephews.

Barbara's passing has left a rift in my family that will never be filled. I wish that I had spoken with her in the week before she died and told her how much I loved her. As it is, I must believe that she knows it somehow.

Please reach out to someone in your family today and tell them that you love them. You never know if it will be your last chance.

During the past week, I found the following passage written by Barbara in her journal. It was written sometime in 2000, the year she turned 39. It was read at her memorial service on Thursday, and I want to share it with you here.

"What can I say, but be true to you and you will never disappoint yourself.
Try to treat your children as you would see your perfect self behave.
Don't sell yourself short. Amazing things can happen - even at 39.
If you were to know that you would have your last year on earth - how would you live your life?
Don't settle.
Know that every day will count.
Go surf, ride the bike with the kids, plant a tree, put a fence in, put a hot tub in.
Try to make a difference for your children."

Rest in peace now, my beautiful sister. I love you.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mystery Solved

 In April 2012, I shared with you a post about a dress that was worn on Mad Men during season 5.

I had the identical dress for sale at Couture Allure at the time.  I knew it was a high end dress, but it only had a label from the store that sold it, Galosy's.

This morning, the mystery is solved.  The dress was designed by Malcolm Starr in 1967.  "Dress for dreams: royal blue cuffed in a rainbow of paillettes, wooden beads, crystals. By Malcolm Starr, in William Rose fabric of Celanese rayon, worsted and silk.  $265."  That's about $1,848 in today's dollar and the dress would be worth every penny if you could find anything remotely as well made today.  Stockings by Dior, shoes by Julianelli.

Photo by Neal Barr for Harper's Bazaar, 1967.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Donald Brooks - 1956

Did you guess correctly? Many of you were close, and many of you thought this was a modern image.   The photo was taken in 1956.  The dress is by Donald Brooks, the sandals by Bernardo. The sleeves are likely full or 3/4 length and have been rolled to the elbow.  The addition of a wide sash instead of the self fabric belt that probably came with the dress is another stylish touch. I chose this photo to show that if you wear vintage, you can still look very modern. 

Before he started his own company, Donald Brooks started his career working for the junior sportswear company Darbury.  This classic cotton check shirt dress by Brooks for Darbury is very different from what he would later design for his own label.  He was likely working within the guidelines of what Darbury wanted for its customers and this was very early in his career.  But the dress is so classic that it could have been made last month and still look in-style and of-the-moment.  Do you have a classic shirtwaist dress in your closet?  Do you wear it over and over?  If not, perhaps you should consider it!

Photo by Francesco Scavullo for Harper's Bazaar, 1956.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Guess the Date

Is it new or is it old? You tell me.  Was this dress made in the last 10 years or is it older than that?  Answer tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Givenchy - 1959 and 1984

  Last night, I found this photo of an Hubert de Givenchy couture evening gown from 1959. I love polka dots!

In a serendipitous chance of symmetry, this morning, I found this image of an Hubert de Givenchy couture gown from 1984.  What goes around comes around...again and again.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Arbus Fashion Photograph - 1949

This photograph captured my attention this morning.  It is from a full page ad for Enka Rayon from 1949.  The striped rayon dress is by Harvey Berin.  But it's the composition of the photo that I like.  The model is posed far off to the side and the dress that is being featured is almost an afterthought.  The model looks askance at a piece of sculpture in the American Museum of Natural History.

The photograph was taken by Arbus; not Diane but her husband, Allan.  Diane would have been the art director for the shot, though, and her genius is apparent even though she hated doing fashion work.  Pose a model in a purple striped dress against a busy painted wall?  Yes, please!

Photo by Allan Arbus is from a full page ad for Enka Rayon from Mademoiselle Magazine, 1949.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Weekend Eye Candy - Mathilde Geral, 1939

Mathilde Geral.  I'd never heard of this French couture house and in doing research, I can only find mention of the designer in 1938 and 1939. The house was located on the Place Vendome in Paris.  Since Paris was occupied by the Germans staring in 1940, one can only guess what happened to the designer.  Geral's business did not survive the war.  I know nothing else, but if anyone out there can provide more information, please do so in the comments.

This stunning one shoulder gown from 1939 has a huge silk tulle skirt accented with velvet petals and a large silk tulle flower at the neckline. 

Photo by George Saad for L'Art et la Mode, 1939.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Before They Were on the Ed Sullivan Show

Diana Vreeland famously became an authority on people and places that were happening in her "People are Talking About..." column in Vogue magazine.  Before The Beatles appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" 50 years ago today, they were featured in Vreeland's column in the January 1, 1964 issue of Vogue.  This full page portrait was taken by London writer and photographer Peter Laurie.  The band had just played a gig in Northampton and the flowers were collected from the stage where young female fans had thrown them.  It was the first portrait of The Beatles published in an American magazine...a full month before they were on Ed Sullivan.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Dan River Stripes - 1948

If you are buried under ice and snow, this image should warm you up a bit.  From 1948, Ciro's swim suit and companion dress, both made from Dan River Dantone combed cotton in a woven stripe.  All pieces came in black stripes on yellow, pink or aqua.  Look how perfectly those stripes are matched at the center front of the skirt!

Read more about Dan River here.  It's a sad story.

Photo from a full page ad that appeared in Mademoiselle, 1948.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Polka Dots - 1949

 Polka dots and pretty prints were popular for dresses in 1949.  Skirts were fuller and longer, but not as poofy as we would see in a few short years.  I love the graceful femininity of these beauties.

Above: Townfield dress of polka dotted rayon surah.

Triple tiered flounces make this dress by Marcy Lee.  Made of rayon crepe in gray, brown, navy or red, all with white polka dots.

If you love to wear polka dots, don't miss this post of mine from 2009 with tips for doing just that!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Roxanne Swimsuit - 1964

Who says you need a teeny bikini or a skin tight swimsuit to be sexy?  The blouson bodice was all the rage in 1964.  Here, Roxanne Swimsuits translates that fashion trend into a smoldering hot swimsuit in nylon.  That blouson outer layer floats over a fitted lining and the sash tie adds just the right touch. 

Monday, February 03, 2014

Nelly de Grab - 1955

In 1955, Nelly de Grab joined forces with Peck and Peck and Everglaze cottons to produce this 3 page advertising spread for the pretty blouses and skirts made by the company.  For more information about Nelly de Grab, please see my biographical post about the company here.

Stripes and flowers mix in this blouse and skirt, available in turquoise or pink polished cotton. 

Wallpaper rose print combined with panels of solid cotton, available in royal blue or gray with whtie.

Solid cotton blouse is black or chartreuse combined with a full skirt in brown with black and gold print or navy with chartreuse and white print.

All photos from full page advertisements for Nelly de Grab, 1955.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Weekend Eye Candy - Jean Desses, 1953

I am in love with everything about this image.  The dress, yes of course.  But note how the model's hair is pulled back tightly to the head.  She wears large dangling earrings and no other jewelry.  The rolled neckline accents the scoop that exposes just enough, but not too much.  Evening dress by Jean Desses, 1953.