40 posts categorized "Designers"

Go With Your Gut

After being stood up for an appointment yesterday afternoon, I decided to take a drive to one of my treasure hunting haunts, as I hadn't been in awhile and I needed some cheering up.  Every light was red.  Every Sunday driver was out on a Wednesday afternoon.  Every pedestrian decided to cross right in front of me.  As the minutes ticked by, I almost turned around.  But something inside me kept saying to press onward.

Vintage teal green silk satin dress flower detail 
Vintage teal green silk satin dress flower detail (2) 

That something turned out to be this...labeless but gorgeous on every count~a 1950s teal green silk satin dress with rosette floral detail & belt...

Vintage Emanuel Ungaro Parallele Paris black velvet & satin wrap dress  (4)
Vintage Emanuel Ungaro Parallele Paris black velvet & satin wrap dress  (5) 
Vintage Emanuel Ungaro Parallele Paris black velvet & satin wrap dress  

And this...Emanuel Ungaro Parallele Paris black velvet & satin wrap dress & collar...

Look for the teal green number soon (off to drycleaners), but you'll have to wait a little while for the black velvet, unless you absolutely cannot, then email me for details.



xx ~ Michelle

The 1930s Vintage Dress Massacre

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.

The victims lie helpless 
(photo credit: Vogue.com )

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

 A close-up of the victims
(photo credit: Vogue.com )

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...


xx ~ Michelle

"Mr. Ford" on Vintage & The Trendistas

I (finally) just read the December 2010 US Vogue article "Mr. Ford Returns" .  In a nut shell, he has grown up.  He got off the train at the last stop before it veered off the track to that point of no return and, after what sounds like a much~needed respite, now purports to be the designer for real women of the world. 

Translation:  Grown up, sophisticated, elegant, well~made, tasteful, timeless fashion. 

Lauren Hutton models for Mr. Ford 
I am far from a "trendista".....I try to flip through Vogue, Elle, Bazaar & Vanity Fair every month, not so much to decide what I will wear, but to have some idea of what the "trendistas" will be looking to wear~~at what is "trending" and how to market that in The Red Velvet Shoe.  Most of the fashions in the magazines are just not the sort of thing a suburban Mom wears to the schoolyard for afternoon pick up. . .

There is also that internal conflict of loving vintage clothing and style for it's classic, timeless, tasteful design and trying to market it to trendistas who will buy/wear anything just because it's in the magazines, on the red carpet and in every store window display right now.   "Do not be throwing your pearls before swine...." as the saying goes.  Trendistas are an unfaithful lot.  They only want the latest, the greatest and the up~to~datest.  Trendistas only want to wear vintage if it's "in".   A truly stylish woman knows that it takes a lifetime to build a wardrobe that is grown~up, sophisticated, elegant, well~made, tasteful and timeless.  The woman of style knows it's not always about the thrill of buying something new, but the discipline of keeping what she has and that innate sense of knowing how to wear it well.  Yes, trends help me sell vintage clothing because trendistas love to shop, but I don't know that I'm proud of that.   I think Mr. Ford feels the same way.

"I don't think fashion has to change every five minutes.  I'd like these to be clothes you can wear for a long time--ten, 20 years; pass on to your daughter.  Why buy vintage when you can open your own closet!"  Mr. Ford ~ Vogue December 2010 p. 259


Well said.  Welcome back, Mr. Ford.


xx ~ Michelle

Estate Sale Spoils

I went shopping for you today.  I dragged my tired body out of bed at 5:45 am to get in line to get a number to see if, by chance, I could find some vintage frocks and fancies for you.  Here's what I found:

Cosa Belle Shannon McLean dress coat
Starting at the top left and working clockwise (to a point):

  • A fabulous 1960s very "Jackie O" pink dress suit.  Slim fitted dress has long sleeves and the jacket has a wide point collar lapel and gorgeous gold buttons.  The label reads simply "T Jones" and so far I can't seem to find any information about this label, so please inform if you know anything about it.
  • The ultimate vintage pea coat by "The Villager" in the prettiest shade of blue with faux reptile skin trim & buttons.  What's better than vintage preppy?
  • Hold onto your hat.  That's a "Cosa Belle" by Shannon McLean (of bespoke tailoring fame) 1960s inspired coat dress hiding behind Coco.  Priceless.  Look for a blog post about Ms. McLean soon.
  • Coco looks stunning in this "Fabian Molina" black rayon evening gown.  Ruched through the entire bodice and falling~off~her~shoulder~sleeves...and we won't mention that slit. XXX
  • A lovely set of vintage leather luggage in my so very favorite "saddle tan" complete with (yet another) travel bar to match! 
  • Sitting on said travel bar is a lovely Morris Moskowitz evening purse...every girl should have one.
  • 1920s/30s bridal veil & shoes~~I did not purchase the dress (as I already have three) and now, post~martini, am suffering deep non~buyer's regret...
  • Left of the shoes is a 1940s "RONAY" black suede purse~~full mirror inside the top and the original change purse...amazing.
  • Resting between the two: "After Such Pleasures" by Dorothy Parker (1933 first edition, fifth printing).....sigh.
  • Shedding such lovely light on this collection is a sweet boudoir lamp with a ruffles & bow shade made for Marie Antoinette.
  • Last, but surely not least:  a set of vintage boudoir organizers in pretty french blue quilted silk, unopened.  (I may have to be selfish, ladies.)

1930s Bridal Veil & Shoes
 Fabian Molina black ruched evening gown @ The Red Velvet Shoe

A day well spent and I met some wonderful people along the way.  Not to mention my darling husband had wine, Shrimp Mozambique over pasta & fresh bread waiting for me...talk about spoil(s)! 

xx ~ Michelle


Having grown up on a beautiful old New England estate surrounded by close to 200 acres of beautiful farmland and woods to explore on horseback,
anything "equestrian-related" is close to my heart. 

My sisters and I used to spend hours first trying to find our horses, as my grandfather (the dairy farmer) seemed to feel it was the loving thing to do to let them roam free on said 200 acres.  This part of the day could take hours, and my older sister was most devoted to this task.  I would start out on the search party, but my stamina would soon weaken at the thought of the long walk back to the farm, and she would say "Oh, go back and read your dumb book, I'll come get you when I'm back in the stable with them!!" 

This was, secretly, what I wanted, to be able to finish my Trixie Belden book and still be able to go riding and have the picnic my dear grandmother was packing up for us at that very moment.

This scenario plays out so often in my childhood memories that, at times, it seems like it was one long, lazy summer day of reading, riding and roaming around the farm in my beloved riding boots.  It is one of my most cherished memories...it was the happiest time of my life...

So, when I was out "treasure hunting" a few weeks ago, you can imagine my delight when I made this amazing discovery:



Be-still my beating heart...I opened the shaft of the boot and saw RL 7 1/2 B...can this be possible?
I tear off my right shoe, close my eyes, take a deep breath and slip my foot into the boot...
and suddenly,
I knew what it was like
to be...

If the shoe fits

no, not Cinderella...

Stepsister tries shoe
More like one of her wicked step~sisters!

They did not fit!
 Well, not properly anyway.  I managed to squeeze my foot into the boot, but knew I would not wear them with that same comfort and casual nonchalance as I did back on the farm. 

Deeply saddened, I set them down...

Goodbye, lovely vintage Ralph Lauren riding boots...


"Wait a minute, are you crazy????  Put those in your basket before someone else grabs them!!!" 
I thought to myself.  I brought them home, stared at them for weeks, tried them on a few more times before coming to terms with my grief.

I went through the seven stages, ending up at Acceptance & Hope...

Acceptance of the sad fact these boots just don't fit me no matter how much I love them
Hope that someone out there will love them just as much as I do and find them a new home!

You can find them HERE.

Riding boot oil painting by Hollister Hovey
(Painting by the talented Hollister H. Hovey) 


Take a peek at my Etsy Treasury for more lovely Equine treasures...

Now, back to my treasure hunting...




xx ~ Michelle