Monday, March 31, 2014

Bernardo Moon Sandals - 1967

Bernardo Rudofsky began business in Italy in 1946.  He is credited with inventing the modern day sandal for women.  This full page ad for Bernardo's "Moon Sandal" appeared in Vogue in 1967.  Picnic at a monastary, anyone?  I love the fact there is a portable record player with several rock and roll albums on the blanket.  The monk sure is having fun!

The copy from the ad reads as follows:

"The Un-Ascetic Sandal
When you get down to the basics in sandals, you get pretty close to what a 15th century monk wore around the monastery.
Bernardo says even the sandal that's basic enough to be right with bathing suits, party pyjamas and everything in between, doesn't have to be a bore.
These bright shining discs, more at home on the moon than in a monastery, are Bernardo's "Moon Sandals" designed for 20th century people by Eva Sonnino."

 The Bernardo Footwear company is still in business today.  In Spring 2011, the company re-released two vintage styles in limited editions.  The Moon in Madras sandal was one of them.  The sandals are hand crafted in Italy and there are still limited sizes available of the Moon Sandal in red.  You can shop for them here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Saks Ad - 1970

Here's something I just don't get.  This is a full page ad placed by Saks Fifth Avenue in a 1970 issue of Vogue magazine.  You and I both know how wild and colorful the prints used in clothing were at this time. The ad copy even states, "Liberated spirit. Coloring around-and-around, deep-beaded and braided on pure silk surah."

Why, then, did Saks chose to print this ad in black and white instead of full color?  Yes, the advertising cost would have been higher, but this ad just doesn't convey the dress as it should.  Perhaps 1970 was a time of belt-tightening and cutting costs. I find this a lot in the pages of most fashion magazines from this time period.  Clothing that should be shown in all its colorful glory is disappointingly printed in black and white.  OK, rant over.

I love the way the elaborate beading and braid at the neckline complements the wild print.  There is no designer mentioned, so this is likely by Saks' custom design department. Sophie Gimbel had just retired the year before, so I don't know who designed this beauty. I can tell you that the dress was $130 in 1970 (about $787 in today's dollar) and was worth every penny.

Photo from a Saks ad appearing in Vogue 1970.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Neutral Navy - 1956

Navy blue.  It's one of those neutral colors that is flattering on most everyone. It goes with every other color. It is perfect if black is too harsh on you. And, subliminally, navy says "success."

This two page ad for Rayon fabric from 1956 features 5 different navy blue dresses, all available at Henri Bendel. The hats are by Adolfo of Emme.

Above left:  Sheath dress with short jacket by Rembrant.
Above right:  Full skirt princess dress by Junior Sophisticate.

Left:  Sheath dress with short cape by Highlight.
Center:  Shirtwaist dress by Ira Rentner.
Right:  Full skirted dress by Richard Cole.

Which dress is perfect for you?  How do you wear navy blue?

Both photos from a 2 page advertisement for Rayon in Harper's Bazaar, 1956.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Welcome Spring!

Christian Dior, 1951
Now that Spring has officially sprung, I thought you might enjoy these takes on combining Mother Nature's floral bounty with fashion.
Maggy Rouff, 1951

1950, cartwheel hat in the form of a daisy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

David Crystal Pastel Rainbow - 1956

The perfect dress for a sultry summer evening, don't you think?  The pastel rainbow of a skirt is knife pleated all the way around and set off to perfection with the solid blue bodice that buttons down the back.  Dress by David Crystal in Celanese Arnel jersey for spring 1956.  Sold for $40 (about $345 in today's dollar.)  Oh, and the wicker chair is by Widdicomb, another famous mid-century brand.

Photo by Louise Dahl-Woolfe for Harper's Bazaar, 1956.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Adele Simpson Convertible Dress - 1956

A seemingly simple dress and jacket set by Adele Simpson from the spring of 1956 takes a surprising turn.  In the small photo at the left, the dress appears to be one piece.  But remove that little bolero....and is that a strapless dress now?  Why, yes!  I believe it is!  3 looks in 1!  The ad calls this ensemble the "Important 'peel off' costume."  Made in imported Italian silk by Chardon Marche.

Photo from a full page ad for Adele Simpson that appeared in Harper's Bazaar, 1956.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Designer Hats from Paris - 1960

Pierre Balmain
I posted these gorgeous hat photos on my Facebook page yesterday.  Everyone loved them so much, I thought you might like to see them here. All from Paris, all from the spring of 1960.

Rose Valois


Gilbert Orcel

Jean Patou

Claude St. Cyr

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Diana Vreeland Puts St. Laurent on the Cover of Vogue - 1963

April, 1963.  Diana Vreeland is making her influence known at Vogue magazine, where she was hired the previous year.  Sometime during 1963, Vreeland took over as Editor-in-Chief from Jessica Daves, though her name would not show up on the masthead as such until sometime in the spring of 1964.  Until March or April of 1964, Daves is listed on the masthead as Editorial Advisor and Vreeland's name is not listed at all.  But I digress.

Diana Vreeland was an early champion of the work of Yves St. Laurent, after he opened his own couture house in 1962.  In her efforts to bring a more youthful vibe to the pages of Vogue magazine, she featured St. Laurent's fresh take on fashion frequently.

For the cover of the April 15, 1963 issue of Vogue, Jean Shrimpton wears Yves St. Laurent's polka dotted silk evening gown with separate beaded top.

In the same issue, St. Laurent is given a full page color image of another of his evening looks in the editorial spread, "Paris - When it Shimmers."  Vreeland calls the two piece evening dress "ravishing."  And she features St. Laurent's look one page ahead of Dior's linen daytime dress.  Oh la la!

Both images by William Klein for Vogue, April 1963.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Rare 1954 Documented Jacket by Claire McCardell

When I found this Claire McCardell jacket, I recognized it immediately as being featured on the cover of the May 1954 issue of Harper's Bazaar magazine, a magazine I have in my archives.

While Bazaar calls it a bateau-neck shirt, this garment is really a kimono styled jacket that is open in the front.  I can just see Diana Vreeland telling the model to "put in on backwards" for the photo shoot! Perfect to wear over a swimsuit or with a simple black dress or pants, this piece bears the rare Claire McCardell Pieces label and was originally sold at Lord & Taylor.

The jacket is ingeniously cut in parallelogram shaped pieces and there is a 6" gap between the front opening edges when it is laid flat. The fact that McCardell juxtaposed the very angular geometric shape with polka dots delights me! If it didn't have the labels and the documentation, I'd swear the jacket was from the 1980s.  That's how forward-thinking McCardell was.  She made simple, unfussy clothing in great fabrics.  All of her garments are still relevant and completely wearable today.

Now that you know the shape of the jacket flat, look at the cover photo once again.  As the model is posed, the jacket is completely gaping open in the back!  It can't be clipped or pinned together.  If it was, the bottom hem wouldn't flare out as it is.

This rare Claire McCardell Pieces jacket is now available at Couture Allure.  Check it out to see lots more photos!  For another interesting perspective on the styling of this jacket for Vogue, check out Jonathan's post about it on his blog Kickshaw Productions.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Incredible Use of Gingham - 1954

I am always amazed that designer Jerry Parnis doesn't garner as much recognition today as her sister Mollie.  Jerry did incredible things with cotton, her favorite fabric.  Here she uses black and white gingham check to great effect.  I hope you can see the details of the curving bands appliqued to the skirt and accented with gathered bows.  And what could be a design that is too "girly" is heated up with a deeply cut neckline.  Do you love it as much as I do?  Dress by Jerry Parnis, 1954.  Hat by John Frederics.

Photo from a full page ad for Mooresville fabric in Harper's Bazaar, 1954.