Friday, December 15, 2006

Vintage Hang Tags II

Since my last post, I've been having lots of fun looking at hang tags on vintage garments from my inventory. I ran across this one from a company named Weingarten yesterday. Its on a 1950's plus size dress fashioned from beige linen with soutache braid and rhinestone accents.

Here's what it says:
"Dear Miss America: This is a Weingarten Original created in our design studios by America's top designers. This dress combines the latest style trends with the elegance of fit and construction that has identified the work of our master craftsmen for two generations...."

I don't know about you, but any company that addresses me as Miss America and makes me feel special is going to get my business! Here's the dress:

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Vintage Hang Tags

We just listed this lovely early 1950's nightgown by Luxite. This beauty still has the original hang tag attached, and in reading it, I am struck by the fact that the manufacturer truly cared about the product they made and the woman who was their customer.

When you read the hang tag, you get a feel for the time and attention given to details, the consideration used when choosing the right fabric, trims, and thread so the garment would last, and the thoughtfulness in providing the customer with detailed instructions on how to launder the nightgown so it would last for years.

It just makes me feel more beautiful to read, "Wear and enjoy Luxite nylon tricot lingerie....its daintiness is enduring. Follow these easy washing instructions.", instead of today's terse "Hand Wash, Line Dry, Do Not Iron."

See this nightgown and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oh, Maybelle! We like your style!

We recently traveled to Maine to attend an all day auction featuring the entire collection of the Webb Museum of Vintage Fashion in Island Falls, Maine. Frances Stratton, the owner and curator of the museum was a vintage clothing collector for 45 years and filled her 14 room home with displays of vintage fashion. She recently passed, and the entire collection was auctioned off to support several Maine charities. 800 lots of clothing and accessories were auctioned off in a day long affair. We were lucky enough to bring home a huge assortment of garments including some of the finest hats we've found in quite a while.

Many of the hats were tagged "Maybelle Farrell Collection" and were donated by her son Bill. I've seen women express their sense of style through jewelry, color, and specific key wardrobe items. Maybelle expressed hers through her extraordinary hats.

I love hats, and some of Maybelle's will stay in my closet. The rest will be offered for sale in our store at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion . We've got enough hats to last for months, so check back often!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

An Exciting Estate Buy

I recently got a call from a lovely woman who was selling her home and downsizing to an apartment in a senior community. She told me she had some of her mother's things she needed to get rid of and would I be interested? I agreed to go and visit her the next day to see what she had. Mrs. S. had a lovely home with many treasures lovingly collected over the years. I could tell that she was having a difficult time letting go of some of the things she had lived with for a lifetime, but I could also see that she was excited about her move and ready to begin anew.

Mrs. S. had set aside three small boxes of clothing for me to go through. I opened the first box, and the lilac silk velvet devore fabric and peeks of ostrich plumes and rhinestones took my breath away. As I continued to explore, Mrs. S. told me that her mother had lovingly stored her trousseau after returning from her honeymoon, and that she couldn't bear to part with it when her mother passed in the 80's. Now it was time to find a new home for these fabulous garments.

We are now beginning to offer these items for sale on EBay. Over the next several weeks we will be offering a selection of 20's and 30's dresses and lingerie that are some of the finest we've ever seen. Don't miss them!

And Mrs. S.? As I carried the boxes of treasures to my car, I promised her that her mother's garments would go to new homes where the new owners would love the clothing just as much as her mother had. She shed a tear, gave me a hug, and returned to her packing. I sure hope she is happy in her new home!

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Sad Story - Beware of Vintage Buttons

My good customer, Linda, recently purchased a vintage 1940's rayon suit from me. Linda was thrilled with the suit because it fit her perfectly. She took it to her favorite dry cleaner, whom she trusts with all her vintage garments. Sadly, the suit did not survive.

During the war years, garment manufacturers often had to make do with inferior quality fabrics and notions. This particular suit had pretty clear plastic buttons that complimented the white chiffon ruffles nicely.

Linda's dry cleaner didn't think the buttons were a problem, and so did not cover or remove them. Unfortunately, they melted during the dry cleaning process and made holes and stains on the suit jacket.

Linda asked me to share this with all of you. Please, please always remember to cover or remove the buttons from your fine vintage garments before having them cleaned. Older buttons, especially those from the war era, were not made to withstand the chemicals and heat of modern dry cleaning. By taking the time to protect your garment, you'll save yourself possible vintage heartache.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Why I Love Vintage Clothing - The Gusset

1950's Dress with High Cut Armholes

Have you ever noticed when donning a vintage garment that the armholes are cut much higher than you are used to? A higher armhole gives a much better and more defined fit through the bustline and sleeve. In the 70's, as clothing manufacture was streamlined, clothing became less expensive, and knits were used more frequently, designers sacrificed fit for speed and lower cost. Tops became looser and more square shaped, many loosing the bust darts altogether.

1980's Dress with no Bust Shaping

But, I digress. Back to the gorgeous 1950's Gigi Young dress shown at the top of the page. The armholes are cut quite high and the bodice is shaped with two princess seams and darts. How can the dress be comfortable with all those seams bunched up under the arm? The solution is a gusset.

A gusset is a diamond shaped piece of fabric inserted into a slit in the underarm to provide ease , relieve strain, and add comfort for the wearer. They are usually cut on the bias to provide maximum ease of movement. Inserting a gusset into an underarm involves great skill and accurate stitching of a bias seam onto a straight one so the corners match and the gusset lays flat. You just don't see this attention to detail in modern more reason why I love vintage clothing!

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Vionnet Reborn

1930's Vionnet Bias Cut Gown

Madeleine Vionnet was arguably one of the most important fashion designers of all time. She was a master at draping and the inventor of the use of the bias cut. Her ingenious details and intricate seaming have fascinated designers and vintage clothing lovers for decades. For a detailed look at Vionnet's designs, we highly recommend
Betty Kirk's book.

Late 20's Vionnet Dress

Madeleine Vionnet closed her company in 1939, on the eve of WWII, but interest in her designs has never died. In 1988, Guy de Lummen, head of the ready-to-wear department at Balmain, bought the rights to Vionnet's name and spent two decades exploring ways to re-establish the brand, experimenting with perfume, scarves, and bags. Now, de Lummen's son Arnaud has announced the rebirth of the Vionnet clothing line. He has hired Greek designer, Sophia Kokosalaki, as creative director, and a line of high-end ready to wear will be offered in January 2007 through Barney's, New York and the Vionnet studio in Paris.

Fall 2006 Kokosalaki Dress

Kokosalaki was chosen "because her interest in technical innovations, combined with her romantic, feminine clothes, fit nicely with Vionnet’s legacy." Like Vionnet, Sophia drapes her designs, rather than using a flat pattern. Since bursting on to the fashion scene in 1999, she has consistently won praise for her artfully draped but thoroughly modern designs.

The first runway show of the new Vionnet line will debut in Spring 2007. It remains to be seen whether Kokosalaki can pay proper homage to the genious that was Madeleine Vionnet. We'll keep you posted!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Height of Fancy

In the late 1930's, new heights were reached in millinery designs, and I mean that literally! Perhaps influenced by the fanciful designs of Elsa Schiaparelli, daring women wore hats with extended tall crowns. This hat is by American designer Marion Valle. The cream wool hat is accented with a magenta velvet band and large velvet roses.

The style of this hat brings to mind the 1939 movie "Ninotchka" in which Greta Garbo is enthralled with a hat in a store window. She eventually succumbs to her desire and wears it with great panache.

See this hat and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Manipulating Stripes

When is a stripe not a stripe? When it is manipulated into other patterns by the use of cutting and sewing. Designers can use seams to great effect in changing the directions of stripes. Seams can be used to form angles, zig-zags, diamonds, and a myriad of other designs, all with a simple striped fabric.

This vintage 1950's full skirted sundress makes great use of this technique. The designer has used a simple blue and white cotton stripe, and by cutting the fabric in to rectangles and sewing those rectangles back together with the stripes facing in different directions, he has formed a bulls-eye design in the skirt.

The skirt of this dress is formed from 24 rectangles, all seamed together so the stripes line up perfectly. That's alot of work for one dress, and is just another example of why I love vintage so much more than modern clothing!

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fall Fashion Trend - Brocade

Beautiful brocades are bountiful for cocktail and evening dresses this fall as seen on the runway by Oscar de le Renta and Dries van Notten. These gorgeous fabrics have lots of texture and shimmer and are a perfect antidote to those little black dresses from seasons past. Stand out from the crowd during the holiday season!

If you're adding a touch of brocade to your wardrobe this fall, why not make yours vintage? Here are a few example available at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

A 1950's brocade dress & jacket

A 1950's draped brocade dress

A 1960's tone on tone brocade dress

Monday, July 03, 2006

Fall Fashion Trend - Capes

Drama is coming your way this fall, and what better way is there to show off your style than to sweep into a room wearing a sensational cape, such as those shown above by Derek Lam, Ralph Lauren, and Marc Jacobs.

Of course, capes are not new. From dramatic velvet evening capes in the 30's, to caped dinner suits in the 40's, to structured Mod styles in the 60's, and hippie ponchos in the 70's, we've seen capes return again and again. If you're adding a cape to your wardrobe this fall, why not make it vintage? Here are a few examples available at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

A 60's Mod era camel wool cape

A 70's wool herringbone cape with matching fedora

An 80's flowing black wool cape with faux leopard fur trim

See these capes and more great vintage coats at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Fall Fashion Trend - Fur Trim

It's time to start looking ahead to our Fall and Winter wardrobes! Even though I sell vintage fashion, I feel its important to study current designer runway trends so I can help you stay stylish while adding unique vintage pieces to your closet.

Designers have been showing lots of fur coats in the last two years. While fur is still hot, we're seeing alot more fur used just as trim this year. Coats, jackets, capes, and suits are adorned with exotic fur at the collar, sleeve cuffs, front openings, and hems.

Here are a few vintage pieces from my store that will keep you "in style" this fall.

A gorgeous late 1950's Lilli Ann coat in pink mohair with a silver fox fur collar. Did I mention it's PINK?

A striking late 1960's grey tweed coat with raccoon fur trim at the hem.

A glamourous 1970's black leather trench coat with fox fur collar.

A sophisticated 1950's salt 'n pepper tweed suit with black mouton fur collar and cuffs.

See these items and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Friday, May 26, 2006

What a Beauty!

It's not often that I run into a dress like this - what I like to call "Over the Top". This dress dates to the early to mid 1950's, when tulle confections were all the rage. And what a beauty this is!

Pink tulle is layered over more pink tulle with a lining of pink taffeta. Adorned with silver embroidery, silver beads, and silver sequins, this dress literally sparkles. Add to that the white ribbons that are woven over and under the silver beading, and you've got a real attention grabber! Notice how the skirt side panels are even more elaborate than the front and back.

And all of that embroidery and beadwork? Completely done by hand!

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

70's Bohemian Brilliance

In the late 1960's, as hippies influenced fashion with their use of antique, folkloric, and ethnic clothing, mainstream designers began to incorporate these styles into their runway fashions. This dress from the early 1970's is an example of the use of folk art in high fashion.

There are no labels, but the designer has used a tablecloth with intricate hand-worked cross stitch as the fabric for the dress. The resulting dress is suitable for evening or entertaining at home.

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Day to Date

It's an age old problem...what do you wear when you've got to look professional at the office, but jazzed up for an evening out with no time to go home and change? This vintage 1950's outfit by Jerry Gilden solves the problem in a simple but effective manner. The strappy black fitted dress is perfect for a date. Add the matching overblouse for wearing during the day.

When it's time to transform your look, simply remove the overblouse, pop on some sparkly jewels and those fabulous heels you brought from home! Problem solved!!!

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Slip Into Something

I am an admitted old movie addict. You know that line where the femme fatale says, "Let me slip into something a little more comfortable...". These pajama sets are what she was talking about. Ah, those were the days, when sweatpants and oversized t-shirts didn't exist!

Pale peach silk charmeuse pajamas from the 1930's.

Luxurious rayon satin pajamas from the 1940's.

Asian influence rayon pajamas, also from the 1940's.

See these pajamas and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .