What some in the fashion world had hoped to be among the most noble "green" fashion causes of the 2011 Oscars has turned out to be far from that. Instead, The 1930s Vintage Dress Massacre story has stolen the limelight.
South-East London fashion designer Gary Harvey was hired by Livia Firth, the lovely wife of the very handsome Oscar nominee (and winner) Colin Firth to design her dress for the Oscars. Her goal was to wear only eco-friendly, sustainable, and green fashion on the red carpet. The result? Eleven 1930s vintage dresses purchased at vintage clothing shop 360 Degrees were cut up to create one gown for her to wear.
360 Degrees was asked about the condition of the eleven gowns. " What was the condition of the 1930s gowns used to make Gary Harvey's dress? Were they already damaged beyond wearability or did he actually destroy 11 perfectly good vintage gowns?" (February 28, 2011 11:48 pm) source: 360 Degrees FB page
360 Degrees: "He bought the very best gowns..." (March 1, 2011 4:18 am) And later that same day: "I did say he bought the best gowns I didn't say they were perfect most vintage garments will have some sign of wear and tear." (March 1, 2011 2:18 pm) source: 360 Degrees FB page
Mr. Harvey was asked "Were the gowns that you used in wearable condition as they were, or would they have been considered damaged beyond repair?"
Mr. Harvey: "This is an unjust criticism...not one of these garments was suitable to wear in its current state, due to distress, damage, or decay, they had all been beautiful dresses once, this is the true nature of recycling. I have preserved and given new life to these vintage garments, some of which would have ended up in land-fill." (March 2, 2011)courtesy of Couture Allure Vintage Fashion
British journalist Lucy Siegle, who co-writes The Green Carpet Challenge blog on Vogue UK with Livia Firth and helped with the final touches of the gown stated:
"The pieces were damaged to such an extent and or so tiny that they had little to no chance of resale in their original state - sorry, there are not enough costume museums to accommodate. Rot on a hanger or make sustainable style history? You decide." (March 3, 2011 01:43 PM)courtesy of The Huffington Post
I've read that one of the gowns purchased was priced at 250 pounds. I wish I could sell a damaged, distressed, decaying, rotting vintage dress for that much...I understand Mrs. Firth was trying to do something good. I understand that Mr. Harvey is a very talented designer. I understand that 360 Degrees loves vintage clothing or they wouldn't exist. What I don't understand is how any of them can justify this, or call it eco-friendly, sustainable, and green fashion. Deleting critical comments and blocking commenters because they called this farce on the rug (which reportedly happened on the Vogue UK blog) is proof enough that all involved are guilty as charged.
I’m sure being contacted by a famous designer to shop in your store and create a dress for a swanky client who’s handsome husband is up for an Oscar is a shop owner’s dream come true. Let's face it, it's the break of a lifetime. But personally, if he waltzed into my shop, chose 11 of my best 1930s frocks and then informed me he was going to take the scissors to them, I couldn’t do it. I would refuse the sale. I’d rather remain the quiet shop on the corner than hear my name swirl around the fashion world for a week or two, where you’re here today and forgotten tomorrow. Let’s hope 360 Degrees didn’t know the scissors were coming.
In this vintage clothing lovers heart, it will be known as The 1930s Vintage Dress Massacre forevermore...
After a respite from work through the holidays and school vacation week, I'm finally back in my vintage lair. Where do I start? So many treasures, so little time. The family of an Atlantic city socialite born in the early 1900s has entrusted me with part of her estate~~her closets. I've been sorting through boxes and boxes of treasures...loads of gloves, turbans & scarves and a few amazing handbags. But the highlight of the lot is this amazing Art Deco 1930s sating evening gown with a WMCA silvertone & rhinestone buckle.
Stunning does not even come close to describe this gown. It was made by the owner's mother for a school dance~~she was crowned queen and I would venture to say this dress had a lot to do with it! The sleeves are slit from the shoulder to the elbow and it has a deep V back, but there is a panel of fabric sewn onto the right side so she must have literally been sewn into the dress when she wore the panel. Crystal buttons & a fabulous Art Deco WMCA s & rhinestone buckle put this in the Hollywood Starlet category~~I can almost see Hedy Lamarr sauntering across her dressing room in this! It's also one of the tiniest dresses I've ever seen~~the waist is barely 20 inches. I know, depressing, isn't it?
Unfortunately it was crumpled up in the bottom of a cardboard box (I gave it a light pressing before I photographed it) and is in desperate need of a visit to my trusty dry cleaner. I'll be sending it out tomorrow and will be trying to find a friend who can model it for the boutique listing. There is an area right along the hem that is very weak and threadbare, so I'm hoping it will survive the process. Even in this condition, this gown would melt any Art Deco aficionados heart!
I'd like to take a moment at this time to thank you for continuing to visit Tales From A Vintage Wardrobe through 2010 and hope to see you visit often in 2011! With all the blogs out there, I'm always amazed that you continue to visit and comment from time to time. I am truly grateful for your support & the camaraderie we've shared in the vintage corner of blogsville. My best wishes that this year will be a wonderful one for you and yours~~and for vintage!