Sunday, 27 July 2014

Outfit of the day: Vintage 1930s Chimayo vest

Today’s outfit is fresh out of the mailbox, and I just couldn’t wait to wear it! I bought this bad boy nearly six weeks ago, and I’d almost given up hope it would ever arrive, when suddenly it turned up. I was so excited, I HAD to wear it immediately, even though I was only going to the supermarket.

I’m not an expert on Chimayo history, but I believe this vest is from the 1930s. The seller told me her mother bought it in the 1960s before handing it down to her when she was a teenager. Her mother was a jewellery designer, and often used the vest to display her creations in her store… I plan to do the same!

Love a good label!

Chimayo vest: Vitnage La Azteca from etsy
Jeans: Freddies of Pinewood
Studded belt: Shag
Holster earrings: Forbidden Charm

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Fashion archaeology: The green satin jacket

When you love vintage clothing, there's nothing more exciting than finding original photos featuring pieces from your own collection. It really is like archaeology! 

With some popular and well-advertised labels, it can be quite easy to find images from catalogues and advertisements. Brands like Cole, Lilli Ann, Jantzen and Catalina can all be easily documented this way. But with other labels, it takes a lot of detective work or a whole lot of luck. And in the case of this one satin top (and it's accompanying press photo) it was all about luck.

It all started one slow afternoon at work, when I was possessed by the inexplicable urge to type "satin shirt" into the vintage section on ebay. I had never searched for "satin shirt" before, and I don't know why I chose a Thursday afternoon to start.

Within seconds, I had found THIS. 

It had half an hour to go, and it had some ridiculous opening bid like $30. The photos were terrible, but something told me this top would be amazing in person. It was. It really really was.

I had never heard of the label Monte-Sano & Pruzan, but the Vintage Fashion Guild had some interesting background information, with a tantalising mention of their designer Jacques Tiffeau, who worked at the label from 1952-1958. It turns out that Tiffeau was quite the flamboyant figure, and began his career as Dior's apprentice (and lover) in 1950. You can read more about Tiffeau in this post from Couture Allure. He sounds like my kind of lunch companion!

I've had the jacket for years, but then a few weeks ago, I was browsing on ebay when this vintage photograph came up as "items you may be interested in". Normally I'm not interested in ebay's suggestions, but they certainly delivered the goods that day. I thought the outfits in the picture looked familiar, so I examined the listing closely, and sure enough, it was an original press photo for Monte-Sano & Pruzan, featuring jackets from the same range as my lucky green one. 

Press photo for Monte-Sano & Pruzan silk satin jackets
Press photo back
The copy on the photo reads:

NEW YORK: For important evenings, Monte-Sano and Pruzan present a handsome pair of wraps, both fashioned of pure silk slipper satin. The brief jacket at left, done in narrow red and brown stripes, has spectacular puffed sleeves that gather into pleats at the shoulder and a stiff, standing collar. The chartreuse double-breasted coat at right features an enormous chalic collar and flattering moulded waistline. 1/11/49

They certainly knew how to write spine-tingling copy back then, didn't they? Makes you want to build a time machine just so you can go back and buy the whole range. 

Here's to lucky finds and beautiful pictures... Do you have any lucky find stories? Feel free to comment with yours. Lucky finds are the best!

Friday, 4 July 2014

The outfits that sold the albums: sizzling fashions from 1950s album covers

The best album covers don’t just catch your eye. They draw you into the world created by the music. And in the early 1950s, that world was consumed by driving Latin beats, exotic rhythms and sultry crooners... Not surprisingly, the fashions depicted on these album covers were as sexy and exotic as the music itself. So feast your eyes on the top five fashion trends, straight from album covers of the 1950s!


Proving that more is actually more, sequins really came into their own in the early 1950s. Even the Devil himself can't resist the allure of a sequin dress.


Gold dresses make gold records... Well, they definitely can't hurt!


When it comes to attracting attention at the record store, plunging necklines reign supreme. A low-cut back is also acceptable, or possibly both at the same time.  


Only bad girls wear capri pants... Bad girls, and good singers!


The early 1950s, the Latin music craze took America by storm. People everywhere flocked to learn the sexy new dances, and purchase sexy new mermaid dresses. 


This outfit has everything, in golden tone hi-fidelity. Cleavage? Check. Metallic fabric? Check. Mermaid styling? Check. Super tight? Double check. 

So there you have it. Flamboyant fashions of 1950s album covers, which still have the power to capture our attention over 50 years later... Do you think we'll be saying the same about the clothes on album covers today?