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Archive for the ‘Vintage’ Category

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Colleen Atwood accepting her Oscar for Best Costumes, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The ampersand pin she’s sporting is in support of  GLAAD – Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. 

I was in a panic because I knew it was a massive project and there’s not that much stock actually left from this period, so the first thing I did was go to every costume house in the world and pull the stock that we’re working with, with the help of some assistants. I started in L.A., because they have a lot of that stock between all the different costume houses there and also I felt that America embraced the 1920s in a bigger way than Europe, in a fashion sense. I wanted it to have a real American feel to it.

– Colleen Atwood, American costume designer

 

 

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Some costumes were built for the film including Eddie Redmayne’s peacock blue coat.

Ms. Atwood is speaking about her work on the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (set in 1920s NYC), for which she just won the 2017 Oscar for Best Costumes.

A seasoned professional, Ms. Atwood has won now four Oscars, including for Chicago 2003 and Memoirs of a Geisha in 2006.

In an interview with online publication Pottermore, Ms. Atwood says she’s not a seamstress and she doesn’t have the time sketch every costume. As the designer she does the concept work and gives notes to her sketch artist. She’s known for always being on set and for having an keen eye for detail. No wonder she’s a Oscar winner!

Congratulations to Colleen Atwood and to all the 2017 Oscar winners.

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March 14, 1896 Harper’s Bazar cover. Illustration by Harry Whitney McVickar

Harper’s Bazaar is celebrating their 150th anniversary in 2017.

Founded in 1867, Harper’s Bazar (spelled back then with one a) was the first American fashion magazine. It was inspired by Der Bazar from Berlin, a general magazine that also covered women’s fashions complete with elaborate woodcut illustrations. Harper & Brothers publishing house in New York picked up on the novel idea of a women’s publication and created their own version.

The magazine’s mission stated at the time was to become “… a vast repository for all the rare and costly things of earth – silks, velvets, cashmeres, spices, perfumes, and glittering gems; in a word, whatever can comfort the heart and delight the eye.”

In addition to fashions and the finer things of life, within the pages of HB could be found fictional stories, poetry, articles on family and work not to mention society and all things good mannered.

But off limits was politics, which must have been a challenge for the publication’s editor Mary Louise Booth, the first women reporter for the New York Times and a women’s rights activist. Still, in 1869 HB was among the few large publications to support the suffrage movement.

Harper’s Bazaar is my favorite fashion magazine. I appreciate its elegant yet modern sensibilities in style and content.

Congratulations Harper’s Bazaar! Here’s to many more years of fashion and all things that matter to women.

 

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Edith Head design for Grace Kelly in the 1954 film Rear Window.

My favorite era in Hollywood costume design was the 1930s with Dietrich and Lombard and their glamour. But the films of the 1950s came about as close to that kind of glamour as Hollywood will ever see again. The films of the decade did not have the look of the 1930s, where everybody was rich and totally unrealistic, but they offered an opportunity to show different levels of society as well as different values.

Edith Head (1897-1981), Hollywood film costume designer.

Speaking of Hollywood and costume designers, the Academy Award nominees have been announced. Up for best costumes are:

Colleen Atwood – Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

Consolata Boyle – Florence Foster Jenkins

Madeline Fontaine –  Jackie

Joanna Johnston – Allied

Mary Zophres – La La Land

 

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The London shop Christopher St. James offers an array of Lea Stein pieces.

Each visit to London I look forward to finding a Lea Stein brooch to add to my collection. I first discovered the whimsical works of Ms. Stein back in 2003 in a stall at the weekly Antique Market in Covent Garden. I’m drawn to her pieces for their multi-dimensional quality, unusual textures and … her images make me smile.

It used to be that these brooches were impossible to find in the US, however, Etsy has changed that. But for me part of the fun is searching out just the right one at markets and it’s become part of my UK travel tradition.

Although there’s a bit of mystery surrounding Ms. Stein, we know that she is a French artist who in the 1960s, with her husband, came up with a way to layer and laminate thin sheets of plastic. This layering technique allows Ms. Stein to create texture by adding pieces of material, such as lace or metal, in between the layers. After cooling, the plastic is cut into all kinds of shapes from Art Deco women in hats (an early design) to owls, cats, and dogs. Animals seemed to be favored and today they are among the most collectible.

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My small but growing collection. The cat on the left is the latest find. The pink bar in the middle is vintage and may be the most valuable. It came from a thrift store in Walnut Creek years ago.

My latest addition is a cat, which came from (ironically) an expat American dealer and his wife at the Bermondsey Antique Market. The couple told me they think this one is vintage 1980s but since Ms. Stein continues to produce older images (as well as new ones) it’s really hard to date her work. Many people say you just know from experience. I do think the cat isn’t brand new as the clasp isn’t stiff and it doesn’t have that shinny never-been-touched look.

No matter to me if it’s vintage or not. Any Lea Stein critter is a pleasure to have and to wear.

 

 

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When I launched my television series That Girl in 1966, I never expected to set fashion trends. I was just excited to be bringing something groundbreaking to viewers: TV’s first independent working woman. Still, my character’s colorful, mod outfits resonated with That Girls everywhere. Her wardrobe announced that a new kind of woman- and a new age – had arrived.

– Marlo Thomas, star and executive producer of the television series That Girl, 1966-1971.

Ms. Thomas goes on to say in a recent interview that she has discovered, since maturing from a girl to a woman (she’s 79), that there are few sartorial choices for women such as herself that “express who we are.” What she finds are bare midriffs, slits up too high, etc. She wants a look that is covered but not covered up.

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Marlo Thomas models clothing from her new line That Woman.

Inspired, Ms. Thomas set about creating clothing that announces another new kind of woman:one of age and style.

Her clothing line is called That Woman and it debuted this month on HSN. The line offers fashions for women over 40 that both compliment and empower. Included in the 15 piece collection are dresses, tops, skirts, pants, and dusters.

Hey, have you ever watched That Girl? It’s a vintage sartorial treat! Check it out on Youtube.

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RUN-DMC signed a million dollar contract with Adidas in 1985.

Who knew sneakers were such a rich topic? The casual shoe once only worn for sports has, since the 1980s, grown into a cultural phenomenon and become a highly collectable item for mostly men but women, too. (They don’t come in women’s sizes.) It’s big business with certain styles selling on the secondary market for triple the original retail price. Collectors often don’t wear the shoes, but instead house them in specially designed closets or custom built display cases.  Hmm … intriguing.

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Early Sneaker from the 19th Century

I recently attended the Oakland Museum of California’s new exhibit Out of the Box: The Rise of the Sneaker on now through April 2, 2017. This traveling exhibit from the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto explores the sneaker, tracing its history from the first 19th century athletic versions to the current craze among collectors for the next It Shoe.

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These Pumas were designed by Hussein Chalayan in 2011. My favorite of the show. Love the simplicity with all the interest unexpectedly at the heel.

Over 140 pairs of shoes are on display including styles from Adidas, Nike, Puma and Reebok. There are vintage styles, hand-painted, limited editions, and designer sneakers from the likes of Christian Louboutin (complete with red sole).

The exhibit is arranged in six sections, helpfully outlining the development of the sneaker. Remember Converse? Basketball player Chuck Taylor endorsed the Converse making them the must-have shoe for every teenage boy across America.

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Customized/hand-painted sneakers by artist Mache. Joker from The Dark Night.

 

The sneaker as status symbol really kicked in during the 1970s as Americans embraced fitness and brands like Puma and Adidas. Later in the 1980s, Hip-Hop and Rap artists took to  the casual shoe style as part of their overall look catapulting sneakers into a celebrity stardom of their own.

An entire section is devoted to Air Jordans, the signature sneaker styles of basketball player Michael Jordon by Nike.

Evelyn Orantes, OMCA Curator of Public Practice says: Sneakers are more than just a shoe – they are an expression of personal identity and a reflection of pop culture, whether it’s the latest sports fashion or technology-driven creations.

What a fascinating exhibit! I recommend this to anyone interested in fashion history, pop culture, pop music and of course all those sneaker collectors out there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wishing my readers a Merry Christmas

Happy Hanukkah

Happy Kwanzaa

We are all celebrating together this year!

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