Sunday, March 22, 2009

Vintage Heaven

If I had been able to attend the 'Evening of 20th Century Glamour' at the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA this week, I no doubt would have felt as thought I had died and gone to heaven. As it is I was at home in Bondi enjoying the sun and surf and watching some Flight of the Conchords. So overall, not too bad of a weekend, and at least I can enjoy some vintage couture via my laptop.

Anyway, famous LA high-end vintage retailer Decades - which is owned by Cameron Silver, a man often credited with starting the trend of red-carpet vintage in Hollywood - hosted this gala event which showcased a selection of the beautiful designer 50's, 60's and 70's gowns he has hanging up in his store. His co-host was none other than the very talented and appealing Aussie actress Rachel Griffiths, who has a soft spot in my heart for 1. Muriel's Wedding and 2. playing Brenda for 5 years in my fave TV show of all time, Six Feet Under.

How cute does she look all pregnant and glowing in this vintage Sarmi dress? Cameron Silver is the dapper gentleman embracing her.
Cameron had a lot of his famous and not so famous clientele in the audience wearing some of his one-of-a-kind clothes too, and by far my favourite dress was Marisa Tomei's knockout 1958 hot pink Dior gown. Christian Dior was one of the first truly global fashion designers. He knew how to market a brand probably before anyone knew what a brand was, and thus he had a diffusion line called Christian Dior NY, which was made up of pret-a-porter copies of his Parisian haute couture designs. This meant he could exploit the American market and American clients could feel like they were buying a little piece of Paris. This dress is a 1958 design from that line, and as that was the year - I think - after Dior passed away, this dress would have been created when YSL was the head of the house.
The belt, the gorgeous big bow, the vibrant colour - Galliano has definitely be borrowing from this era when designing his most recent work for the fashion house. And this dress you can actually BUY right now - check out the Decades blog at for more details - no doubt at some exorbitant price, but I suspect quite a bit more affordable than the latest Dior couture, such as the dress that SJP wore to the Oscars. But I dare someone to email Decades and ask them how much it is!
Love Marisa's hair too. She looks about 30 in this photo. Does this woman ever age?
The Decades blog gives you a good idea of the amazing quality of the items they have for sale. Everything is collectable and would have cost a small fortune back in its day.
Here is a little peak at some of the gowns that made it down the catwalk at the 'Evening of 20th Century Glamour'. The parade concentrated on red-carpet looks, so mostly elegant and chic evening-wear that wouldn't look out of place on a modern runway, rather than more esoteric items or day-wear. All the dresses were super colourful though - love! - and there appeats to have been no black or white in sight. Accessories were kept to a minimum and footwear was nice and simple, as was hair and make-up.
I love the orange coat dress and the salmon maxi dress, which would look stunning on someone like Nicole Richie, who is a BIG vintage fan, especially of 1970's items.

Rachel and Marisa have inspired me and I'm going to be on the look-out now for any dresses featuring giant over-sized bows.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

More Valentino

Did you know that Valentino has five pugs? If you watched the preview of Valentino: The Last Emporer, then you surely do know. Apparently they travel everywhere with him, and this warms the cuckolds of my heart. Oh puggies.

But back to fashion ...

I've been checking out a lot of Valentino retrospectives and did you know he designed Elizabeth Taylor's wedding dress for her eighth wedding to Larry Fortensky.?Rather fittingly (considering that she was definitely no virgin) Elizabeth chose yellow for the ceremony. Love her. And that tan was - scary to think now - all natural.
Jackie Onassis made the name Valentino famous world-wide when she wore one of his designs at her wedding to Aristotle Onassis. Jackie is high up there on my all-time best dressed list. Plus I love her for the rebelliousness of marrying a Greek shipping heir and for being a book editor.

And my BFF Cate B wore Valentino when she won her Oscar in 05. Divine, divine, divine. I was talking bridesmaid dresses today with my friend Lee (I'm a bridesmaid at her forthcoming wedding in October) and I suggested a yellow not dissimilar to this dress as a possible colour, and she quite liked the idea. A shopping expedition is on the agenda though, so early days as yet. Bridesmaid dress shopping is always fraught.

And I've never forgotten the gorgeous vintage Valentino Julia Roberts wore when she won her Best Actress Oscar. I remember watching the back of the dress as she walked up to collect her award and sighing. One of the most memorable Oscar dresses for me.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dress of the Week

After Anne Hathaway's not so amazing outfit choices over the Awards season (especially noticeable because she is usually so spot on) it was good to see her looking lovely in this white draped one-shouldered Valentino, which she wore to none other than the premiere of the new film about Valentino called Valentino: The Last Emporer. By all reports it is great, so I'll have to try and check it out.

Valentino retired from the fashion scene last year after almost fifty years in the industry.

Love the cut-out detail on the bust-line of this dress, and her clutch is cute too. I'm also impressed with her hair is the photo. She looks so much better with her hair out than when it is all pulled back.

You can check out the trailer for the Valentino documentary here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More Girlcrushing

My style crush at the Met's 125th birthday party in NY the other night looking stunning in a YSL gown.

I love this photo as well as her boyfriend Josh looks adorable. Look how in love he looks! Sigh.

Vintage Costume Jewellery Joy

I finally got around to checking out the Vanity Fair monthly vintage markets in Leichhardt this past weekend Leichhardt is a bit of a hike for me, but I'm glad I finally made the trip as they were really fantastic. They aren't a huge market - only 30 dealers in all - but there were quite a few dealers that I hadn't come across before.

I bought a fantastic 70's dress which is very on trend with the whole painterly print thing that was big last season. The dealer I bought the dress from - which she said she picked up in the US - also gave me these fab vintage clip-on earrings that I'm wearing in this photo. The petals are made of plastic of varying pastel shades. She gave me the clips as they make a nice accessory on the dress - I wore them pinned on the shoulder straps - but maybe I might actually wear them as earrings as some time. I don't have my ears pierced and I generally avoid wearing clip-on's because they tend to pinch the earlobe. There was one dealer at the Fair, however, who had a whole table full of awesome clip-on earrings. Could this open up a whole new avenue of accessorising for me? My bank balance hopes not.

The lady I bought the dress from has a shopfront in Waterloo called the Butterfield Tate Gallery and she collects vintage textiles and soft furnishings, costume jewellery, lampshades, artworks, as well as some clothes, mostly from Paris, LA and New York. Her number is 040 811 2819 if you are interested in checking her out. The small selection she had at the Fair looked really special. Unfortunately I forgot to note down her number.

For more vintage joy, The Way We Wear vintage fair is on this weekend at the Hunters Hill Town Hall in Northern Sydney.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Crushing on Milla Jovovich

Actress, model and fashion designer Milla Jovovich has been out and about at lots of the fashion shows in Paris and Milan over the last night, and I am loving her style. I must admit I always have. The girl is absolutely stunning, but she isn't a slave to trends, nor does she flaunt her hot body all over the shop. She is elegant and quirky at the same time.
I read somewhere that she is discontinuing her fashion line Jovovich and Hawk. Not that I could ever afford to buy any of her pieces, I consider it a pity nonetheless. Her clothes were really pretty and right up my alley. On the website the last collection is Spring 2008.

It looks very 1930's California and I'm completely in love with the Kathy Ly Cape. E-bay maybe?
For your information, the pink dress she is wearing is Galliano, and that photo was taken at the Galliano show. Apparently Milla is huge in France, like my other girl style crush Diane Kruger. Those French people really know a style icon when they see one.

Everything is coming up Chanel

The Paris Fall collections were shown last week and I haven't had the time to trawl through all the designers as yet, but I did make time to check out Karl Lagerfield's latest for Chanel. Chanel is invariably one of my favourite collections, even though I never wear pant suits or little black dresses, two trends Coco Chanel has been credited with creating.
Like Karl's haute couture collection there was a lot of black and white, interspersed with some mint green and baby pink, as above. I love the pink woollen tights - I hope someone rips these off as I desperately want a pair - and love, love all the wool. The T-Bar platforms are also super cool.
Chatswood Chase shopping centre, in Sydney's north, is currently hosting an exhibition of Hollywood photographer Douglas Kirkland's photographs of Coco Chanel. Now that I'll be working north side again, I'll have to try and check it out.

Meanwhile there is a Coco Chanel biopic coming out later this year, starring none other than the amazing Audrey Tatou in the title role. I really hope this film gets a cinema release in Australia as the costumes look phenomenal. And there haven't been many films - or books, come to think of it - that explore the creative art of fashion. You can check out the French trailer here. I can't understand a word, but it looks interesting nonetheless.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Barbie!

Barbie officially turned 50 today and Mattel has managed to mount a tremendously successful publicity and marketing campaign around the event because Barbie has been absolutely everywhere.

Amongst the myriad marketing gumph Mattel has put out there for the birthday - including the fab fashion show I posted about a couple of weeks ago - is this great video which takes a road trip down Barbie memory lane. So many of these Barbies and their homes and cars remind me of my childhood.

Wasn't the original 1959 Barbie awesome? I've been rather obsessing over vintage swimwear of late, and Barbie's eponymous strapless black and white number is rather inspirational. I've been thinking getting a one piece - great for lounging down at Icebergs methinks, which I've been doing more often than not lately as I figure sharks can't get in the pool - all summer, but I haven't found one yet that fits quite right. And though I love the retro styles which offer one a little bit more bottom coverage, I think you have to have a lot of confidence to pull them off. Not because of the flesh baring (because they expose less flesh than your average swimsuit), but more because if you don't have the right panache, you can look a bit of a granny.

But I love the idea of wearing one under shorts, and of having the option of not having my tummy exposed.

I just found this new label Hotel Bondi inspired by my very own Ben Buckler. I rather like their one pieces, and purchasing one might be a nice stepping stone into that territory. Maybe then I'll be brave enough to wear genuine vintage next summer.

But back to Barbie ... Oh, how I lusted after the Barbie with the super long crimped hair back in the 80's. I had almost forgotten all about her.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Twilight Again

I actually finished the Twilight series a few weeks ago and right away went on a Stephenie Meyer detox by reading some non-fiction and prize-winning literature.

But while I was on the Stephenie Meyer ride, it was a lot of fun. And I suspect in a few months I'll start desiring that high again and I might even return to the series again.
New Moon may have been my favourite of all the books in the series. Stephenie brilliantly captured a teenagers first heartbreak. The unremitting pain, the feeling like you are watching your life from behind a pane of glass, and then the gradual coming back to life, the salvation coming in a new friendship with a member of the opposite sex. Even the way Bella clung to Jacob, even though she knew he was falling for her, reminded me of how I behaved after my first broken heart. She couldn't stay away from Jacob because she needed someone to love her so badly.
Plus there was so much Jacob hotness in New Moon. Much to my former assistant's joy, I rather fell for young Jacob. He never wavers in his love for Bella, he is 16 (not 100 and something) and he is very much ALIVE. I was very conflicted throughout New Moon and Eclipse, wishing sometimes that the love triangle could resolve itself in another way, while knowing full well it wouldn't.
Eclipse didn't advance the series very far plot wise, and the early part of the book frustrated me somewhat as Bella became pretty annoying at times (for a character that inspires so much adoration from others, her lack of self esteem and insipidness was a little bit incongruous), but the latter half of the book really amped up the tension. Who would Bella choose? How would the Cullens and the werewolves defeat her enemies? And would she become a vampire?
And then there was the final book, Breaking Dawn. Breaking Dawn really divided fans of the series. Some people I spoke to thought it was the best book of the lot, while others thought it was the weakest. From my point of view Meyers writing improved over the series. The dialogue in particular was much better in Breaking Dawn as compared to Twilight, where some exchanges were embarrassingly cheesy. But as Meyers plotting thickened - and she was certainly fantastic at maintaining momentum - I felt like the fantasy world she had created splintered a bit. Some of the plot developments just didn't make sense to me.
I didn't have a problem with the increasingly fantastical stuff she came up with, but the pieces didn't fit together quite right for me. The other big issue I had, and which some other Twilight fans had too, was that the central thrust of the series was actually solved in the middle of Breaking Dawn and the second half felt like a kind of coda to the books, albeit a really long one. I was still really interested in what was happening, but I had lost that loving feeling.
My darling friend Louisa sent me a copy of the Twilight Movie Companion which I absolutely love. Daggy but true. For your viewing pleasure, I've included the above shot of Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson as Bella and Edward. That Rob Pattinson is such a spunk. And seeing as I've seen the film twice now and drooled over the movie companion, I should know. I can't wait to see the transformation of Jacob's character in the film of New Moon, out this November worldwide I believe.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dress of the Week

Is there something awry with me that I love this dress more than any of the Oscars dresses from last week? What I wouldn't give to be set lose in this woman's wardrobe. This is Diane Kruger at the Cesar Film Awards in Paris.

The dress is Valentino and the draping, the embellishments, the sheer bodice, the colour - all of it is divine.

I happened to be checking out the infamous the other day and noted that around 75% of their readers who could be bothered voting thought this dress was not all that.

Maybe mustard only appeals to the minority. Que sera.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The delinquent blogger rises again and finally analyses the Oscars ...

I have been somewhat remiss with my blogging of late, but I am working two jobs and I am completely and utterly exhausted. I've only got two weeks to go in my old job - phew - and then I'll be back to my regular hours. All my laptop home time has been devoted to work, work, work. Not to mention that I've been travelling interstate a lot of late, with no time even for scoping out vintage stores in far flung places. Very upsetting.

So, the Oscars. Everyone has had plenty of time to debrief, analyse and judge, so a lot of what I say will probably be a bit repetitive, including the statement that the colour palette this year was very humdrum indeed. There was so much beige and white that the red-carpet looked eerily art directed, but not in a good way.

One person who didn't jump on the blah bandwagon was Natalie Portman. This woman can do no wrong in my eyes. Not only is she stunningly beautiful, a fantastic actress and gives all the appearance of not being annoying or stupid, she makes a truly amazing clotheshorse. I love the candy pink colour of this classic strapless dress. The bodice is absolutely divine; it fits her like a glove and the multi-coloured freckle looking inserts make the dress look even more delicious. This look is so, so pretty and was a real standout in a sea of bridal like gowns.

Marion Cotillard is so frenchy and so chic. Remember the amazing fish scale dress which she wore to accept her Best Actress Oscar last year? Marion didn't let her fans down this year, rocking up in an equally arresting Dior Haute Couture black net gown, cinched beautifully at the waist with a tasteful belt and accented with a beautiful blue pattern in the bodice, continuing down into the top part of the skirt. Well, you can see for yourself. Though I'm not a black dress girl myself, it is definitely a toss up for me over Marion's dress and Natalie's dress for best of the night.

SJP turned up in a Dior Haute Couture gown not dissimilar in style to Marion's. She copped a lot of flak for this dress for some reason. I suspect people thought it was a bit too young for her. But I've got to say that I pretty much always love what Sarah Jessica wears, even if it is not my style. Although I think she should have toned down the ridiculous bosom spillage (not that evident in this photograph) I don't think she looked like mutton dressed as lamb. The dress is truly beautiful and it seriously appeals to the inner Princess in me. I definitely want this one in my dress up box. Nice hair and make-up too.

Nicole Kidman's dress divided people as well, but I give her snaps for being able to pull off the dramatic. I love the feathers and the pattern - actually, it was nice to see a few prints this year - although I would have liked to see this dress in another colour. Nicole's been wearing a lot of white, beige and metallic lately, but I prefer her in colour. Remember her wearing red and green back in the Tom days when she still had her lovely natural red hair? Ahhh ... those were the days ...

I've included images of Marisa Tomei's red-carpet gown as well as her post Oscars party gown, because they are both pretty hot. Her Versace Oscars gown is super sexy - you'd never guess that she is 44 - and this dress is definitely my favourite of the parade of pale gowns which touched the carpet. The tiers on the fishtail are gorgeous.
Marisa showed off her amazing figure again in her asymmetrical party dress.

Alicia Keys is just about my favourite current singer (I saw her late last year and her live show blew me away), so I had to include her in my best-dressed. Alicia's pretty gown resembles Natalie's gown, and I chose this photo because the rather revealing leg split in the skirt isn't visible in this one. That was the only element of the dress I didn't like. I wasn't sure about the hair and make-up when she presented, but the girl is so physically beautiful that she can get away with just about anything, even a bad switch.

Penelope is the only star I'm aware of that wore vintage to the Oscars this year, so big snaps for her. Her dress is vintage Balmain, and while the dress is undeniably stunning, I so wish it was a different colour because it is very, very bridal. White, strapless and lace all scream bride to me, and while I do like some bridal style, I prefer them on a bride, not at an actress at the Oscars. Imagine how awesome this dress would have been in a deep blue? Not that I would suggest tampering with vintage Balmain, but I kind of wished she'd saved this outfit for her wedding.

And finally, Miley Cyrus didn't wear vintage, but she definitely wore a vintage rip-off. This dress is by some new designer that I haven't heard of (excuse me if that makes me fash pack Persona Non Grata), but it is clearly an almost direct copy of a Christian Dior classic from around 1950 (seen below). In my mind the Christian Dior version is better, because the bodice is more subtle against the frou-frou scalloped skirt, and the original doesn't contain a ridiculous butterfly motif belt. I love belts in evening wear, but this one isn't doing it for me.
I do love the original Dior dress, but bitchy comments for the post:
1. Isn't this dress a little bit old for a sixteen year-old and
2. Why is Miley Cyrus at the Oscars exactly? Last time I checked she wasn't appearing in any Oscar-worthy films and she wasn't even a presenter. Me confused.
Anyway, I've reached my curfew now and I've been ordered to bed. Let me know your thoughts.