This vintage 50s dress is made of heavy silk faille. I remember when I first touched the dress and determined the fabric by rubbing it together between my fingers - I know it sounds crazy, but after so many years of handling fabrics I've come to know that silk has a particular sound (does that mean I have synaesthesia?) The unknown designer has given the 3/4 sleeves a few pleats at the inside of the elbow to allow for ease of movement. The only label present if that of Nelly Gaffney, the upscale San Francisco boutique where it was sold.
So often, when people in my shop are looking at the vintage clothing, they'll comment about the quality of construction and materials and proclaim that "They just don't make things like this anymore!" It's true that the average garment available to the masses just does not have the same attention to detail and quality as was common just a few decades ago. In order to find such a level of quality as one can find in some vintage, one would have to shop at near couture level, and pay the price.
When I saw this Lilli Ann suit on ebay, my breathing stopped for just a little moment. The seamstress in my head started deconstructing the pleated fan-shaped panels and trying to lay out the pattern. It took me a few minutes to figure out what must be under the button panel, and how the jacket fastens open. It's quite amazing. And take a note of the many almost hourglass shaped panels that make up the back of the jacket, the vertical lines that create the wide shoulders, narrow waist, and peplum hips. Truly epic design.
Every time I look at this is makes me smile for a different reason. I made it yesterday to highlight my clown sweater, but I just keep falling in love with the bright colors and the happy/sad/nostalgic feeling of the images as a group. Anyway, visit the treasury on etsy by clicking the photo below.
Yesterday's post about Laura Laine was quick and on-the-go, but what I really wanted to do was point out how much her work reminds me of art Nouveau illustrator Aubrey Beardsley. Laine's work, like Beardsley's, emphasizes darkly exaggerated movement and expression, and elongated figures.
With 100 years between them, Laine and Beardsley could be illustration soul-mates. And I mean that in the nicest way.
Laura Laine is a Helsinki based illustrator. She has studied fashion design at University of Art and Design Helsinki, but during her studies focused on fashion illustration. After completing her studies she has been working full-time as a freelace illustrator and is also teaching fashion illustration at the university.
Her recent clients include Zara, Rad Hourani, The New York Times T magazine, Tommy Hilfiger, Elle Girl, Muse magazine, The Guardian, I.T Post magazine, Iben Hoej, and Daniel Palillo. She has also exhibited in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Something that visitors to a museum may not stop to consider are the structures underneath that support the weight of the potentially fragile fabric and structure of the garment. While reading the article, one thing that stood out to me immediately was this statement about the museum's mannequins:
We have male and female mannequins that were built to represent each dramatic change in the fashionable silhouette from the eighteenth through early twentieth centuries. For women, corsets, crinolines, and bustles dictated not only idealized waist-to-hip ratios, but also posture and whether “fat” was pushed up, down, in, or out.
Fashion designers have always created with an idealized figure in mind, and that ideal changes over time, right along with popular culture such as music and art, and the celebrities themselves. Before there were cameras, the celebrities of the day had the trendiest dresses made, and sat to have their portraits painted. Two hundres years ago, the fashionable silhouette was an Empire waist, which required not much structural alteration fo a woman's own figure. Fast forward fifty years, and in order to have the fashionable silhouette, a woman needed a tightly corseted waist and layers of pouffy crinolines. In the Twentieth Century, a similar timeline followed - Edwardian era fashion required a columnar silhouette with a more relaxed waistline, and Mid-Century gave us the New Look, with a girdle cinching the waist and again, the full skirted hourglass silhouette.
Today, instead of having portraits painted, celebutante wanna-be's put on the trendiest clothing and handbags, and dash about town to be photographed by paparazzi and end up on TMZ. We no longer have corsets or girdles, but there are waist-slimming spandex undergarments and fad fasts and diets. And don't forget the current epidemic of figure mutilating cosmetic surgeries. Many today would shudder at the idea that Victorian women had ribs removed to achieve the wasp waist (even if no such thing actually happened) but think nothing of liposuction or breast augmentation. All in the pursuit of the fashionable silhouette.
Wonderful, word of mouth is. A customer in my brick and mortar store just pointed me in the direction of Terri Timely, the production company of Bay Area filmmakers Ian Kibbey and Corey Creasey. The directors, as well as production designer Na Young Kim, obviously have a love of retro interiors and furniture, and have a knack for creating intimacy with those belovede obects and settings.
Their latest short. Synesthesia, explores seemingly unmatched sensory responses.