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.

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