Monday, September 15, 2014

Valentino Cape, 1969

This exquisite cape by Valentino comes from his couture collection for Spring 1969.  The coral branches on the ivory satin are completely painted by hand.  Worn with coral colored crepe pants.  Exquisite, no?

Monday, September 08, 2014

6 Hilariously Awkward Model Poses - 1960

I was perusing a fashion magazine from 1960 this morning and kept coming across pictures in which the model was posed in a very awkward way.  I thought they might bring a little fun to your day.

This girl looks like she is holding a dress that is far too large for her up with her armpits.  If she lifts her arms, that dress is going to slide right down.

Sit on the chair, but don't wrinkle the dress!  Isn't this one of those difficult yoga poses?

No one will notice your hair if you hold this rose.  Caress the rose, make love to the rose, it's all about the rose.

She needs a prop.  Get her a book!  Reading a book while standing in heels and wearing gloves and a big fur hat is perfectly normal!

Model with long legs and chair with short legs.  Make it work!

The gal on the left looks like she definitely has an opinion about the gal on the right, and it's not pretty!


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Plaids the Couture Way - 1952

Today I want to show you some couture garments from 1952 that are made with plaid fabrics.  When looking at these designs, notice how perfectly the plaids are matched at the seams, across openings and even on pockets and pleats.  If you've ever sewn with plaid, you know how difficult this is to do.  Enjoy, appreciate, then be inspired!

Dress by Germaine Lecomte.  Note the the plaid on the lapels and the perfect matching across the diagonal opening on the bias cut skirt.  Oh...and those sleeves!

Dress by Agnes Drecoll.  See that line that crosses above the bust?  Look how perfectly it drops across the sleeve. 

Dress by Germaine Lecomte.  Matching plaid is difficult enough.  Matching it on the bias?  That makes my brain hurt.  Note the pockets at the hips.  Perfectly matched.

Dress by Henry a la Pensee.  Take a plaid and play with pleats to make a new design.  Then make it perfectly symmetrical.  Oh and match the first pleat to the flat fabric at the center front from waist to hem.  How did he do that?

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

La Vigna Vicuna Trench Coat - 1954

Thinking about your winter coat yet?  You can't go wrong with a classic trench style like this one by La Vigna from 1954.  La Vigna was a coat and suit manufacturer based in New York that was best known for their use of vicuna and vicuna blend fabrics.

The underdown of the vicuna is the softest and most luxurious in the world, and the warmest for its weight.  So popular was this fiber in the luxury market, the poaching of the animals in the high Andes Mountains led to vicuna being listed as endangered in 1974.  In 2002, the rebound of vicuna allowed the classification to be changed to threatened in certain countries of South America and the fiber is again being used in manufacture under strict requirements.

In 1958, Fred La Vigna formed the "Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Vicuna", as he was very concerned about the poaching of these animals.  His company only used fabrics made from vicuna fibers collected in the wild during the once-yearly natural shedding process.  It takes the fleece from about 40 vicuna to make one coat.  Pure vicuna fabric sold for $75 a yard in 1958 (about $620 a yard in today's dollar,) and a pure vicuna coat sold for around $1000 (about $8,245 in today's dollar.)

As for the coat shown above, it is made of "Vicunaire", a fabric made by Einiger of 90% imported wool and 10% pure vicuna.  It sold for $110 in 1954 (about $974 in today's dollar.)

How do you make a classic coat more classic?  Add the touch of a leopard print scarf at the neck, of course!


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Exciting News at Couture Allure!

You may have noticed that the Couture Allure website and this blog have been quiet lately.  There's a very good reason for that.  I have been working very hard over the last couple of months opening 3 retail spaces where you can now buy vintage and vintage-inspired clothing, accessories and jewelry from Couture Allure live and in person!  It's been a lot of work, but I am thrilled with the results.

This is the Couture Allure space at Antiques & Uniques in Ozona, FL.  Here, you'll find vintage from the 1930s - 1970s mixed with a few modern pieces that have a bohemian vibe.  


Vintage hats, scarves, jewelry handbags, shoes and home textiles round out the mix, along with some select vintage furniture finds.

Couture Allure goes tropical at House to Home in Clearwater, FL.  Here you'll find vintage clothing and accessories in brighter prints and colors, as well as smaller furniture pieces with a true Floridian flair.

In this space, you'll find lots of 1960s - 70s clothing mixed with vintage-inspired pieces that have that beachy, patio party style.

For the fun and funky, shop my space in Patina Retro and Modern, opening soon on Main St. in Dunedin, FL.  Here's a sneak peek at some of the vintage sparkle and shine you'll find there, along with vintage lingerie and accessories.  This is where you'll see vintage from the 1950s - 80s to add a little spice and glam to your style.

If you are visiting the Gulf Coast of Florida, I hope you'll stop in to see my retail shops. The website will be back in full swing in September with loads of fabulous vintage finds for fall and winter.  I promise!


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Teal Traina Suit - 1966

Here's another good example of a fashion trying to bridge the gap between classic clients and the newer Mod looks for the younger generation in 1966.  Venerable old New England department store Jordan Marsh placed this full page ad in Harper's Bazaar.  The dinner suit by Teal Traina is made from a fabulous brocade with a large scale pattern and has a shorter skirt length to appeal to the younger woman.  The choice of the dark tights, gloves and helmet hat are trying to appeal to the Teal Traina and Jordan Marsh client of the past.  What you end up with is a muddled mess.  For this to work, the model should be wearing silver sparkle hosiery, no hat, no gloves and big hair.  It's too bad, as that suit is GORGEOUS!!!!!  Suit sold for $250 in 1966 (about $1836 in today's dollar.)

Photo from a full page ad for Jordan Marsh appearing in Harper's Bazaar, 1966.  No credit given.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Monte-Sano and Pruzan Suit, 1966

Monte-Sano and Pruzan was a high-end maker of tailored suits and coats based in New York.  For the Fall of 1966, they embrace the Mod era with a marvelous wool check enhanced with gold lurex threads for sparkle.  The knee-grazing length of the skirt would still appeal to the company's classic clients by being just mini enough, as would the appearance of the gloves in the photo.  Remember though, most women had abandoned wearing gloves by this time.  There is no notation of who made the shoes, but aren't they wonderful?

Photo by John Engstead for I. Magnin, appeared in Harper's Bazaaar,1966