9 posts categorized "Vogue"

In The Press: US Vogue

July 2011 US Vogue Cover 

Talking Back US Vogue July 2011 Charles James 

An article in April in the Nostalgia column of US Vogue prompted a letter from yours truly.  I had just discovered Charles James, thanks to that fabulous gray dress Angelina Jolie wore in "The Tourist" and was thrilled to see the article was about a woman who knew him well and her memories of their time together...you can read what I thought of it in the July issue of US Vogue, Talking Back, page 38. 

(You can read my letter in it's entirety here. )





xx ~ Michelle

Kimono Craze

I've had a bit of a "Kimono" thing going on lately.  It started when I found a great polished cotton cherry red one while out thrifting one day and decided it would be the perfect thing to wear when I am "beautifying"~~you know: masking, waxing, coloring, & painting myself in an effort to fend off the damages of time.  Considering it cost less than a Stella at my favorite watering hole, I can justify the chance of "ruining" it~~and it looks much more elegant than an oversized t~shirt & boxers.

Vintage black Haori Kimono Jacket  (2) Vintage black Haori Kimono Jacket

A few weeks later, I scored this amazing vintage Haori and I was hooked.  You can, literally, wear it with just about anything from lingerie to jeans and it looks amazing.  I was in love.

Dries Van Noten Spring 2011 kimono top 
When I saw this image from Dries Van Noten's Spring 2011 collection it caught my eye...not quite Haori or Kimono, but there was just something about it...

Vintage Pomare Hawaii Bold Floral Kimono Top Vintage Pomare Hawaii Bold Floral Kimono Top (6)

Then in March, I came across this little beauty: a vintage Pomare Hawaii Kimono style top with a keyhole neck & frog closure and just like the little piggy I carried it all the way home...because it reminded me of something I had seen but just could not seem to recall what or where...

Dries Van Noten Spring 2011 kimono top (2) 

Until I was flipping through my March issue of US Vogue and there it was:  an ad for the very same Dries Van Noten top!  

The Hovey Sisters Kimono perfection! 
(photo source: Hollister Hovey)

To wrap it up, today I visited one of my favorite blogs of all time: Hollister Hovey.  And there she was, with her sister Porter, showing us exactly how to wear a Kimono perfectly

Vintage Pomare Hawaii Bold Floral Kimono Top (3) 

This one is for the shop and will have to feed your Kimono craze and not mine as we were not made for each other.










xx ~ Michelle

And In This Corner...

Ok, I admit I feel a bit poorly about ranting on (and on, and on, and on....) about the whole eco-UNfriendly recycled vintage dress/gown controversy that I wrote about yesterday and a few weeks ago.  So you can imagine how thrilled I was to read about a much more "friendly" and well executed vintage gown makeover in the May issue of Vogue.

Elettra Wiedemann Prabal Gurung Ingrid Bergman gown Costume Institue Gala Met Ball 2011 Vogue May 2011

Elettra Wiedemann is one very fortunate (and beautiful) young lady.  Daughter of the stunning Isabella Rossellini and granddaughter of the iconic screen beauty Ingrid Bergman, she found herself the heir of a trunk full of Ms. Bergman's evening dresses that had somehow been long forgotten (a vintage treasure hunters dream find!)   She humbly admits: "My family is so amazing, but it's also so overwhelming and overpowering...I'd felt honored to be part of my family but also not sure what accomplishments were mine and what accomplishments belonged to someone else bigger than me."  She also makes this insightful comment:  "It's interesting how clothes can connect you to a sentimentality that can be very complicated sometimes."  (I nod my head in silent agreement as I contemplate the part of my grandmothers wardrobe I've inherited...)

Ms. Wiedemann, in honor of her grandmother, has chosen to wear one of her gowns to the Costume Institute Gala (aka The Met Ball ) on the 2nd of May.  The gown she chose was created for Ms. Bergman by the postwar Roman couturiere Fernanda Gattinoni, who also created the costumes for Ms. Bergman in the 1952 film Europa '51.  Designer Prabal Gurung was called upon as the "cosmetic surgeon" for the dress, as there were a few issues with fit & fabric.  Both heir & designer agreed that it was important to maintain the integrity of the dress and to pay homage to it's original owner, which, being her grandmother, would be of utmost importance to any grateful heir of such beautiful pieces of the past.

"It's still the same dress," says Wiedemann, "but it feels a little bit sexier, more contemporary, and younger."

"The beauty of this dress," Gurung adds, "is it's history."

I think we have a winner.


(All quotes from May 2011 US Vogue p. 172 & 174)

xx ~ Michelle

Magazines & A Waiting Room

You may recall that awhile back I was moaning about being a bit disappointed by Vogue and other fashion magazines and that I had let my subscriptions run out.  Then I saw this amazing photo shoot and offered a public apology to Vogue and once again, I found myself filling out subscription forms like a woman obsessed.

I couldn't have timed it better.  With a record breaking snow fall winter here in the North East, they proved a welcome distraction with a hot cup of tea or a glass of wine to help get through the long winter we endured.

Marie Claire arrived yesterday, so I grabbed it off the table on the way out the door for an appointment.  As my daughter and I sat in the waiting room, I flipped through it casually, pointing out eye catching ads and tearing open the "sniffer" for euphoria by Calvin Klein (which is quite lovely, in case your wondering).

Then I turned the page and found this:

Livia Firth featured in Marie Claire May 2011 1
(Photo credit: May 2011 issue Marie Claire p.74 & 76)

Livia Firth gets a great plug as "The Queen of Green" in "Feel-Good Fashion".  I make a sound that comes out as a sigh tinged with just a bit of disgust. (In case you missed my previous post @ not-so friendly fashion you can find it here.) A conversation ensues between my 9 year old daugther and I.

"What's the problem?"
"Oh, nothing....well, remember the lady at the Oscars who had her dress made by cutting up those 11 lovely 1930s gowns?"
"Oh, Colin Firth's wife?  Yeah, I remember."
"Yes, her name is Livia Firth.  Well, she gets a great plug in this article about how eco-friendly and conscious she is.  Except that I don't think what she did with those dresses was very friendly at all."
"Hey, did you ever hear back from the designer?  What did he say?"
"His name is Gary Harvey.  Yes, he said that  "Just because you don't believe it doesn't make it untrue."   That may be so, but I still don't believe it."
"Cool.  But what's the big deal about THIS article?"
"Well, it's just that, I guess, I mean -- oh, I don't know!  Listen to what she says: "The story of a piece of clothing or an accessory is as important as how it looks."  What about the story those 11 dresses told?  What about their history?  Doesn't that matter?  Or the story is only important if it's a new story made from old stuff?  That's practically fashion plagiarism."
(Our eyes meet, she knows what plagiarism is.  She tilts her head to the side, her eyes widen and she looks up with raised brows.)
"Mom, please!" 
"I know, I know.  I can't help it...."

The nurse appears and calls our name.





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


I have been spending quite a bit of time updating my type-lists & links~~you will see some new ones that are well worth a visit~~you will also see a bit of a "Francophile" theme going on rather than much new in a vintage clothing kind~of way. . . I figure I should only add a bit of beauty at a time.  Do not fear, the vintage list is in the works! 

I have also finally created a Flickr account & designed a link to My Vintage Fashion Show . . . proper dress required.

As for what's new around here, first, I'd like to introduce you to my friend Karina of the World Famous Karina's Bags.  A few months ago, she purchased this vintage bag from my boutique:


and turned it into this:


The bag itself had seen better days, but she took the Vintage Bakelite frame and created this couture purse from it. . .talk about talent!  Check out the amazing bags she has~~I especially love the clutches which she accents with vintage scarves. . .she's all over England with her Haute~Spun designs, and British Vogue even did a feature on her last month!

Onto more excitement from talented designers, my good friend Lisa of Pink Lemonade Boutique was invited to participate in The Foundry Artists Association Show in Providence, RI, USA which will be held over the next two weeks.  Take a peek at these photos of Lisa's work and you will see why she was invited to this exclusive artists venue:

Newpinklemonadeboutiquepurses  100_0915_edited  Pinklemonadepurses 


  Here she is, hard at work selling her wares!  Congratulations, Lisa, I know it will be a wonderful success story for you!


I've also been surfing a few on~line magazine sites and have found these beautiful images to share; they are enough to melt one's Vintage~Lovin'~Heart. . .


This is, of course, a Chanel ensemble. . .

(the hat is similar to this one, don't you think?)


Another Chanel ensemble from the Spring collection, and yet a true classic,
timeless . . .







xx ~ Michelle