Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Vintage Flavoured Weekend

I hitched my wagon to Pia Anderson's star today and joined her at her regular Rozelle Markets stall. I was selling vintage and recycled clothing, fashion magazines (of which I have many) and books (of which I have even more).
Pia sells vintage clothing too, but she specialises in vintage costume jewellery which is all gorgeous, unique and fairly priced. I had to restrain myself from spending the cash I pocketed at the very same stall!

Jane, visiting from Las Vegas, kept us company for the day. She was a suitably stunning mascot.
Pia's stall will be at Rozelle next week too, so if you are in the area and you like all things sparkly, it is worth a bit of a wander.

Somewhere else Pia is going to be, judging the Best Dressed prize no less, is the annual Fifties Fair at Rose Seidler House, happening tomorrow. Unfortunately I'm going to have to give it a miss this year because of work commitments (I don't think I'm allowed much of a life between now and December. I will be travelling a lot, but will try and keep the blog going as much as possible).
The Fifties Fair can't really be anywhere else other than the Rose Seidler House; the Historic Houses Trust runs it after all, and it is such a beautiful fit. But the fact remains that it is pandemonium on the day and the property is packed to the rafters. There is no way that everyone who attends will get around to checking out the Harry Seidler designed house. I would seriously recommend fans of mid-century design to visit outside of the Fair, to appreciate the serenity of its setting, and the gorgeous simplicity of its design.
It is a house I could very happily live in today.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Why we still love 1930s frocks ...

The 1930s and 1950s are widely regarded as the most elegant decades of the last century. Where the 1950s was all cinched waists and voluminous skirts, the 1930s was all about thigh skimming fabrics and long and lean silhouettes. Evening wear from the 30s can still look startlingly modern today. Just remember the collective sigh when Keira Knightley appeared on screen in this beautiful green gown in the 30s/40s period film Atonement. The September issue of The Australian Women's Weekly just selected this dress as one of the ten most memorable of all time.

So in celebration of sleek beauty, here are a few genuine 1930s gowns that I can't afford and have no where to wear. But I love to gaze on them regardless, and I like knowing that they are out there.

Torso Vintages/Madison Avenue Couture/Coquette/Torso Vintages/Torso Vintages

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekend Wear

This weekend has been a varied and busy one: my parents and puppy came to stay, we visited my brother & family and had a tour of their new house & we watched with increasing bemusement as the Federal election that wasn't really an election unfolded.
But somewhere in there the hubby and I managed to enjoy a bite to eat at one of my favourite spots in Mosman, overlooking the harbour towards Watsons Bay. Despite all my cities problems - and it has a few - on a clear day like the one we had on Saturday, my love affair with it can't help but be energised.
Sandie over at Sandie Bizy's in Annandale is currently in the midst of a sale, with only one week to go. I picked up this lolly pink 1960s sweater last week and I took it for a spin to lunch on Saturday. It is great worn open with a cute frock too. Perfect for spring which is, thankfully, just around the corner.
Sandie also has her own blog going, where you can check out her latest vintage arrivals and her millinery masterpieces. Worth checking out.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Frock of the Week: Glamour

Christina Hendrick was pure glamour at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards this weekend. The gown is Christian Siriano and I love the feature on the bust line, the belt, and the double skirt.
Her hair is pretty too.
Mad Men picked up the award for Best Casting on the night, but Janie Bryant missed out on the costuming award; that one went to The Tudors, which I haven't got around to watching yet (so I can't really offer my two cents worth!).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oh Olga ...

You are so, so pretty in your demure button up frock, teased hair and thick black eyeliner.

Thanks to the lovely Laurel of Ooh La La for putting my onto this shoot with Ukrainian actress Olga Kurylenko from photographer Greg Williams. She looks like she could be caught up in a Cold War spy and sex scandal a la Christine Keeler, and I'm seriously lusting after that hounds tooth skirt.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Real People, Real Style

The inaugural Vintage at Goodwood Festival - a celebration of vintage fashion, lifestyles and music - was held this weekend in the UK. Online reviews of the three day gig have been mixed, trending towards the negative, but seeing as I live way on the other side of the world, I'm quite content to simply admire all the fabulous style of the Festival goers.

These pics are all courtesy of Jessica Bumpus and Vogue; you can check more out here.
Each lovely lady talks about her style inspirations and the eras she loves. I admire anyone who can mix up their decades and take the best bits of the past, mix them with the current, and come out with a uniquely stylish look that doesn't scream fancy dress.
You can see some more gorgeous 'real people' pics over at Natasha Bailie's blog & Mien Magazine too.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Your own Mad Men momento?

Now that Sterling Cooper has morphed into SCDP and the heart of the show had moved to groovy new digs, the producers of Mad Men are auctioning off a bunch of the items from the old SC set to raise money for cancer charity City of Hope. What a nifty idea.
Also on offer is three outfits from the show, including this stunning turquoise evening gown that Betty Draper wore in Season 2. Not sure if this is a genuine vintage dress or whether Janie Bryant whipped this one up herself, but it'd sure be fun to own a piece of Mad Men.

The other two pieces on offer are this gorgeous brocade cocktail frock as worn by Bobbie Barrett in Season 2 and this green wiggle dress (sans faux blood) as worn by Joan in Series 3. I just had to include the picture with the Dr Pepper vending machine too, because it is AWESOME.

Along with my mates Sonia, Michael, Emma and Cath, we've established a little Mad Men collective and we are getting together every few weeks to gorge on Season 4. The first couple of episodes of the new season left nothing to be desired in either plot, performance or design. I can't wait for our next meeting.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Frock of the Week: Thrift Store Find

Drew Barrymore wore this backless geometric print dress to a magazine party this week and lo and behold she picked it up for $25 from a thrift store. Snaps for Drew and P.S. I love her bombshell hair. Drew is always so adventurous with her look, so I can't help but admire her.
I only wish she'd start starring in some better films. I watched Whip It recently and was pretty underwhelmed; I thought it lacked the originality that Drew brings to her red-carpet style.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

On Tour: Catching the Afternoon Sun

In the last three weeks I've flown eight times and been to Fiji, Brisbane, Noosa, the Gold Coast, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast again. Travelling for work can be fun at times (room service, weird and wacky happenings with authors, frequent flyer's), but also exhausting and sometimes lonely. Not to mention that I find it very hard to cull my heaving wardrobe down to a few select travel friendly items.
This time around I've relied on a couple of trusty dresses, a coat and a wool jacket to keep out the winter cold, one pair of pants and a skirt and a couple of wool jumpers. Summer is so much easier. I also find that the best trick if you want to avoid the time wasting luggage carousel is to invest in one pair of comfy but pretty low heels that will take you from the bookstore signing cue to a night out at a restaurant with relative ease.
This is me enjoying one of my frocks in the afternoon sun in my hotel room. Don't you love a broderie anglaise? The dress is vintage and the belt is vintage crocodile.

And some shoes I picked up in Melbourne - only the 2nd pair of new ones I've bought this year. Thanks winter sales and thanks Costume National.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Models of the Past: Part 2

When I think of 1960s style and beauty trends, the first thing that springs to mind is youth.
The 60s saw a massive cultural shift, where young people started to become the drivers of popular culture and fashion. Trends stopped starting in the great haute couture houses of Paris, and started on the streets of London and New York instead. The womanly New Look was replaced by baby doll dresses, Mary-Jane's and models with the wide-eyed and button nosed beauty reminiscent of children.
Models had always been young, but now they looked young too.

Dutch beauty Wilhelmina Cooper was a top model in the 50s and early 60s, and once she moved behind the camera, she established Wilhelmina Models which, alongside Ford Models, became a top model agency for many decades.
These pics of brown eyed Wilhelmina are quintessentially sixties; I love the coquettish poses and the heavy eye make-up.

Wilhelmina - who was played by Faye Dunaway in the movie Gia (Angelina Jolie starred in the tragic leading role) - worked with models as diverse as Lauren Hutton, Janice Dickinson, and Angelica Huston. She also discovered Donyale Luna, who is often named as the first black supermodel. A statuesque beauty with a phenomenal figure, she appeared on the cover of UK Vogue and TIME magazine in 1966.
Sadly Donyale's life turned out to be almost as tragic as Gia's, and she passed away due to drug abuse at a young age.

Where would the 60s have been without Veruschka? Veruschka was a German aristocratic head turner (and I mean that she was actually an aristocrat, not that she just looked like one), who was discovered at 20 and whisked away to Paris to become one of the world's highest paid models. She was over 6 foot tall with piercing blue eyes and lusturous hair and like most of the models well into the 1990s, she was instrumental in creating her own signature look.

With an animalistic sex appeal, Veruschka became a household name after she appeared as herself in the cult 60s film Blow Up. She dated stars like Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty, and quit fashion in 1975 after a falling out with Vogue editor Grace Mirabella. Oh, and her father was a Nazi turned conspirator who was executed after a failed attempt to murder Hitler. Someone could write a seriously fascinating novel based on Veruschka's life.

Jean Shrimpton was the ideal 1960s beauty, and her face still continues to take my breath away. It is hard to turn away from a photo of The Shrimp.

Jean started modelling in 1960 and soon hit the big time thanks to her boyfriend, photographer David Bailey. Jean became his muse and appeared on covers all over the world; soon she was being labelled the face of the decade, recognised as one of the key components of swinging London.

Jean's face and figure suited the bold new styles of the 1960s to a tee, although funnily enough she never cared much for fashion.

Lucky for Jean she didn't marry David, who would soon move on to other models, and now she leads the quiet life managing a hotel in Cornwall. She'll be forever remembered in Australia as that girl who dared to wear a mini-skirt and no hat to the Melbourne Cup.

Celia Hammond was another blonde British beauty who made the big time. It is rather fitting that I've included a photograph of her with some kittens, as post modelling Celia has become an animal welfare campaigner, with a particular interest in feral cats.

While Verushchka's Amazonian proportions were unusual for the time, Twiggy came in at the other end of the size scale. She was only five feet six and when the Twiggy phenomenon was at it's peak - Leslie Hornby was only 17 - her measurements were a very petite 31 - 22 - 32.

She was flat-chested, had a pixie haircut and freckles and highlighted her already arresting eyes with layer upon layer of false eyelashes. Twiggy said she modelled her look on Jean Shrimpton, but she was soon an icon in her own right. Her look inspired its own magazine as well as countless other items of merchandise, and thankfully she was able to leverage her fame into an acting career.

After his relationship with Jean Shrimpton ended, David Bailey started dating American born model Penelope Tree, who was first photographed by Diane Arbus at only thirteen years old. Another icon of the 60s, Penelope's elfin features - framed beautifully by ever present bangs - are still revered and emulated by hip young things today.

Patti Boyd is probably best known for being married to George Harrison and then Eric Clapton - and for inspiring the song Layla - but before she was a famous wife, Patti was also a top model.

Patti is one of a long line of models - Lee Miller and Helena Christensen are two that spring to mind now - who ventured behind the camera post modelling. There was an exhibition of Patti's photographs in Sydney just last year.

Marisa Berenson - who like Verushcka came from an aristocratic lineage - was huge throughout the 60s and 70s. She must have been destined for glamour, seeing as she was the grand-daughter of Elsa Schiparelli. David Bailey called Marisa his "dream woman" and she certainly had a chameleon like face, stunning both bare or made-up.
One of the 'IT' girls of the 60s and 70s, Marisa was good mates with Andy Warhol, and continues to have a film career. She was even in Cabaret with Liza Minnelli!

Lauren Hutton is another slashie (model slash actress), whose face and body paved the way for the all American beauties like Cheryl Tiegs and Christie Brinkley who'd dominate covers in the 70s. Lauren was a big name in fashion in the 1960s and appeared on 25 Vogue covers. She's particularly famous for being the first model to negotiate a major cosmetics contract, and for looking drop dead stunning and sartorially brilliant in American Gigolo.
These shots are from the 1960s, when Lauren was at the top of her game. Of course she still works as a model sometimes today, and she is as drop dead gorgeous as ever.

And last but not least, who cannot be moved by the lovely face of Italian model Benedetta Barzini? Don't you love the big eyes and big hair? Along with Marisa Berenson, she was one of the most famous models on the 'scene' in New York in her heyday, and she became a feminist activist in the 1970s, and now teacher back in her native Italy. She sounds like a fascinating woman.