Monday, January 31, 2011

Red-carpet Vintage Spot

I always love seeing vintage on the red-carpet. Glee actress Dianna Agron wore vintage Chanel couture to yesterdays Screen Actors Guild Awards. It's a navy lace strapless dress courtesy of Rare Vintage, although I'm not sure what era (although the nineties can be considered vintage now, right?). I love the length of this dress, and it is classic, beautiful, flawless Chanel. I'm not totally loving her hair and her shoes - a bit clunky perhaps - but I'm loving everything about January Jones in brand new Carolina Herrera on the same carpet.

All this Chanel talk has got me lusting after vintage Chanel suits. Suits or gowns, what a pity I can't afford either. Knock off anyone?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Inspired Haute Couture

I know I gush over the Dior Haute Couture collections every season, but Galliano's workmanship and drama get me every time. For this latest Spring collection Galliano mined Christian Dior's back-catalogue again, taking inspiration from the 40s and 50s illustrations of Dior's work by master illustrator Rene Gruau. Gruau, who worked for all the top magazines of the day, is so revered that some of his work even hangs in the Louvre. Style.Com says 'the graphite smears, pencil strokes and scribbles, erasure marks, and gouache washes of Gruau's illustrations were duplicated in cloth and embroidery.'
The results are spectacular.

The second last dress is my favourite. I would love to see this on the Oscars red-carpet, but I think it is unlikely. Actresses love to play it safe these days.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

If I died and went to vintage heaven ...

I might just wake up in George Cukor's 1939 film The Women. Last night it felt a little bit like I had. I've been unwell the last few days and I woke up in the wee hours last night feeling very ill and unable to sleep. I ventured out to the couch for a while, only to discover this film - with Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell and more resplendent in Adrian gowns - playing on late night TV.

Adrian's designs for this film were out of this world; completely unique, often ridiculous (but in a good way) and with a very high glamour quotient. Rosalind Russell's character is particularly spectacular, with all manner of mad head wear and check out this blouse covered in eyes!
Before I fell back into the land of sleep, I was lucky enough to catch the technicolour segue (the film is otherwise B&W) fashion show. Unfortunately I can't find a complete clip of it on You Tube which I can embed, but you can watch some of it here (not sure about the soundtrack?) or Casey from the blog Elegant Musings has posted extensively about it, including screen caps, here.

I particularly love the play suits and the evening gowns with capes. Who doesn't love a pair of gloves with built in light bulbs? Not even Patricia Field managed anything this weird in Sex and the City 2.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Colour and Prints for Spring

I know the pre-Fall collections are already making the rounds (how many collections can one designer have per year? That's some crazy creative output) but the magazines are still focusing on S/S 2011 and I found my eye drawn to all the beautiful colours and striking prints (hello Prada) from that season. I'm particularly enamoured of UK designer Jonathan Saunders who showed feminine pieces drenched or dipped in various brilliantly coordinated colours. Saunders has said his S/S 2011 line was inspired by Erwin Blumenthal's fashion photographs from the 40s and 50s and great American designer Claire McCardell. I can certainly see where he is coming from; these clothes are ladylike but modern, with a sporty influenced wearability that is reminiscent of McCardell.

Photos courtesy of Style.Com.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A little bit of 60s glamour

Periodically I'll start obsessing over a particular style of clothing or accessory and over the last couple of months that obsession had been brocade 60s party dresses. I even told my friend Helen that I would attend her New Years Eve do only on the proviso that she allow me to get dressed up in one, although I didn't yet own one!
Lucky for me on the day before New Years Eve I popped into Grandma Takes a Trip and spotted this lovely repro 1960s shift from their Altered State label, made from a gorgeous vintage fabric threaded with gold. Best of all their seamstress who works on site was able to alter it for me so that it fit to a tee. I was pleased because, despite my obsession, my pear shaped figure has prevented me owning many shift dresses in the past.
This is my friend Liana and I on our way out to Helen's party (her boyfriend proposed to her at midnight and she said yes!) and below you can check out the back of the dress, with sexy cut out detail and cute faux pearl buttons.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Best Frocks of 2010

When I think about the most jaw-dropping celeb fashion moments of 2010, the first images that come to mind not unsurprisingly feature the forever perfect Cate Blanchett. Now that she's keeping a relatively low profile in Sydney (I was in Hunter's Hill the other week but I didn't see her, although the hubby caught sight of her a couple of weeks ago), she doesn't walk the red-carpet as much, but when she does, golly she's gorgeous. LOVED her in Alexander McQueen at Cannes this year and she was equally as lovely in vintage Lacroix in Japan.

Another highlight: Kristin Davis' efforts for the SATC 2 promo trail. She wore designer vintage from Decades for every event and looked spectacular each and every time. It's hard to pick a favourite, but the Balmain and Jean Desses were flawless.
(By the way I relented and finally watched the film in a hotel room one night while I was working. It was entertaining in parts but I thought it was culturally insensitive and the overt displays of wealth left me feeling queasy. Is it just me, or is Sex and the City not really Sex and the City if it isn't set in New York? And Stanford and Anthony hated each other. No way should they have got married).

The Costume Institute ball always brings me vicarious frock joy, even more so than the Oscars or the Globes I'd say. Particularly memorable in 2010 were Bee Schaffer's Balenciaga Edition (a copy of an original from 1948) and Dutch supermodel Doutzen Kroes in Zac Posen. I'm a sucker for periwinkle blue.

Though Diane Kruger looked very, very pretty in Lacroix at the Golden Globes.

Shoe designer Charlotte Dellal wore the wedding dress of the year back in May, in this custom designed Giambattista Valli. AMAZING.

And outside of these lovely ladies, my picks for the consistently best dressed celebs of the year go to Sarah-Jessica Parker, Anne Hathaway, Keira Knightley and Michelle Williams.

What were your favourite frocks?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Fashion on Film: Elephant Walk

Its been lovely over the Christmas break to catch up on some non work related reading and watch lots of old movies, swim everyday at the beach, and generally do nothing much. One film I just watched was Elephant Walk with Peter Finch and Elizabeth Taylor. The dear hubby bought me a copy of Jay Jorgensen's beautifully illustrated Edith Head biography for Christmas (more on that later) and Head was the costume designer on this 1954 film.
Taylor plays a young English woman who marries a tea plantation owner who whisks her away to his plantation, Elephant Walk, in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon). The spectre of her husband's dead father hangs over the plantation, plus there is a creepy housekeeper, disgruntled elephants who are upset that their access to water has been blocked by the plantation's bungalow, and a love triangle with one of the plantation employees. There are echoes of Daphne du Maurier's classic Rebecca in the new bride's isolation and in the dramatic and fiery ending. I found the love triangle not particularly convincing, nor were the tense scenes particularly scary, but the film looks beautiful as it was shot on location in Sri Lanka. For a clothing tragic like me though Taylor looks absolutely breathtaking. Vivien Leigh was originally meant to play the role of newlywed Ruth but had to pull out of shooting because of ill health, and Taylor replaced her at the last minute. Here's a quote about the costuming for Elephant Walk from the Edith Head book:

The incredible wardrobe worn by the character throughout the film is explained in the script by a reference that the newlywed couple stopped off in Paris to buy a trousseau on the way back to Ceylon. The standout design was a gown of draped white chiffon with a gold corselet, which was very similar to a gown Edith had designed for Patricia Morison in The Magnificent Fraud. Edith also incorporated Indian design in a dress of silk linen with a molded later neckline with a full skirt that resembled an Indian sari, that was accessorized with a narrow belt embroidered with gold and pink pearls and a pink East Indian sari stole.

Personally my favourites are the candy striped dress with the asymmetrical neckline and the beautiful white evening gown with the gold belt. Taylor's waistline is very flatteringly highlighted throughout, and its very interesting to note that this film came out the same year that Head won the Oscar for Sabrina, for which the most famous gowns were actually designed by Givenchy, and unduly credited to Head.