Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It's June! Time to get married wearing a vintage gown from Retrodress!

I never really wanted to get married, but I always wanted to be a bride, i.e., have a huge party all about ME, have all my relatives feeling obliged to give a present to ME, and, most especially, buy a super-duper dress just for ME. (See? Another human being, like an actual husband, is simply superfluous in Gidget's world.) As a result, I spend a lot of time looking at wedding gowns, only to find most of them boring or ugly, leaving me to despair of ever finding the perfect fuel for my fantasy. So when I clicked on the Retrodress link over at A Dress A Day, I melted into a little puddle of fantasy goo gazing at Ms. Retrodress' beautiful collection of vintage bridal wear.

Look at this 1950s princess model. It's so exquisitely shapely and simple that the wearer could actually be convincing as a virgin bride. And do check out the sleeves (yea! sleeves!) -- those pleats are just the perfect little detail.

I love this 60's Audrey meets Jackie number, too. That unadorned column would make any bride look tall and slender. Add the jacket and it becomes an outfit a bride of any age and experience could wear.

Then there's this vanilla wool Yves Saint Laurent suit, not listed in the wedding section, but perfect for a civil ceremony -- in Paris. It should be worn with a polka-dot blouse and a boater hat for the full Saint Laurent effect. Damn, that suit's so sharp it hurts to look at it.

The beaded Malcolm Starr dress at left (also not listed in the wedding section, but heck, it's white) has one of my favorite details, a Watteau train. The whole dress is so damn sophisticated: I see the wearer going straight from a Las Vegas wedding to her third or fourth millionaire husband to the baccarat tables. Not a bad way to kill a weekend, no?

Do go visit Retrodress. It's full of the stuff dreams are made of.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Las Vegas wedding dilema solved -- right quick!

Well, that was unexpectedly easy. I posted my tale of shopping woe, then I went browsing at e-bay and found this beauty. With a matching coat, no less! I do lurve the whole idea of the evening coat, and I always think of such coats when I see celebrities shivering on the red carpet (even Los Angeles isn't that warm in February, folks). Then I point and laugh at all those skinny beeyotches who sacrificed comfort to advertise a designer-donated dress. Of course, I don't think I'll be needing the coat in Las Vegas in June; the temperature is already hitting the 90s there.

Anyhoo, this dress meets all my criteria -- it's shapely, structured, not too revealing (actually, I would have loved three-quarter sleeves, but one can't have everything) but not at all Church Lady, a wedding-friendly color (this seasons' dresses are all in white, black or brown; very chic but not really festive), and not too expensive, especially not for two pieces. I think instead of wearing a necklace I'll pin dress-clips on the corners of the sweetheart neckline. Or maybe I'll break out the three-strand pearls, and really work the lady thing. Whatever, me happy.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Carnivale of the Couture, May 29, 2006 -- Farrah Fawcett made me miserable!

Oh, okay, okay, her hair -- and the hair of every other woman of that era -- made me miserable. That's because, gentle reader, I am among the hair impaired, and nothing short of a full wig will give me winged mall hair. I felt left out at the time, but I have since become reconciled to my handicap . . . although I still think I deserve a sticker and a special parking place, dammit.

Speaking of things that make me miserable -- I went dress shopping today. A friend of mine is getting married in Las Vegas, around cocktail time, in a suite at the Wynn. Muy glamorous, no? So after I went through my closet and determined that nothing I owned would be appropriate to the occassion, I girded my loins (literally -- brand new undies) and waded into the Memorial Day sales, only to be beaten into the dirt by wave after wave of fug. All the designers or buyers for the limited shopping immediately available to me are thinking either Keira* Knightly in Pride & Prejudice (sheer, empire waist, low cut, spaghetti straps; there's a film-related trend for me to dislike, because I am SOOOOO not Keira Knightly!), Nicole Richie on the Strip (sleazy draped jersey halters), or the Church Lady (ruffled, calf-length floral prints). Meanwhile I'm thinking Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra, after she hooked up with Richard Burton, only with less decolletage (alas, I own no honking big diamond necklaces). As usual, I'm out of the mainstream, fashion-wise.

I did try on a bubble skirt while I was shopping. Interesting, but I couldn't figure out what the hell to wear with it. So I left it in the store and vowed to keep looking.

Oh, how rude of moi! This week's Carnivale of the Couture comes to us from Fashion is a Verb.

*Thanks to Go Fug Yourself for the correct spelling of Keira that I was too lazy to find on my own!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Carnival of the Couture, May 21: 18th Century Austrian Hussar Hookers from Outer Space.

The Style Graduate asks:
"For this week's Carnivale, I want to know what runway look you would wear as a Halloween costume. And no cheating; it has to be an outfit actually sent down a runway by a designer! So go forth, fashion bloggers, and find photos of your costumes!"

Well, I looked, as far as I was able (the people who pay me actually expected some product this week, dammit) for the Ultimate Designer Carmen Miranda costume, because I can never pass up a good fruit hat. Alas, some of the formerly reliable sources of outrage, for example, Australian Fashion Week, let me down. So I went for that fallback Halloween standard: the Hooker Costume.

Remember those Ferre boots posted by the Superfantastic Manolo, the ones I said were obviously designed for the "dominatrix who caters to men with the fetish for the Hussar of the Austrian Empire?" Top left, A.F. Vandervorst has thoughtfully designed the complete outfit (well, it could use a shako) for that same dominatrix.

And long live and Lucifer Bless (hello! Halloween!) our Funky Little Fashion Troll, John Galliano. In this celibacy-enforcing outfit, he gives us, by way of the French Revolution, Mad Max and the Da Vinci Code -- the Opus Dei Vampire Hooker! All she needs is a cilice to match that mantrap on her panties and one of those cute plastic jack-o-latern buckets to be completely ready for Trick or Treat! Vive le Dior!

Here's the Marie Antoinette hooker to complete the Revolution theme in case you want to go for the group prize at the party. From World at Australian Fashion Week.

And last, but obviously, far far far far far from least, we have your Madison Avenue gray flannel Inuit Crustacean Hooker from Mars. The down filled garment is not only chic, but it converts to a sleeping bag good to -20 F, covers a variety of alien appendages, and offers convenient button access to the naughty bits!

By Yegor Zaitsev, from Russian Fashion Week.

"Svim Vare, Effening Vare!"

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Look at this dress -- why the heck do I like it?

The auction for this dress has already ended, and thank goodness, because if it hadn't I might have done something really really foolish -- like bought it! If I wore this dress I'd look like a weird combination of kitchen curtains, an over-stuffed couch and mutton dressed as lamb. Whatever -- when I first saw this frivolous frock I had a full-bodied "ooooooh cute!" reaction, and, dammit, I still think it's cute. I love the retro flower-power print even though it renders the dress appropriate only for girls ages 16 to 21, and 21 may be pushing it. I love its ruffly ruffly sleeves, even though only very tall women or Marie Antoinette should wear them. I love its not-quite-empire high-waisted silhouette, even though I don't think it would flatter me at all.

If I had a pretty teenaged daughter I would have bought this dress for her, and she no doubt would have taken one look at it and said "ewwwwwwwwwww, MOM!" And then I would have carried it off to my closet so that I could have it to look at on sad rainy days. *lesigh*

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Let the Carnival begin! The Carnival of the Couture

The topic: Clothes on Film. The question:

"What movie, TV show or video featured clothes that made an impression on you? What movie, TV or video wardrobe did you try to emulate? How many times did you dress up as Emma Peel (or for the mens, John Steed) at Halloween, and if not, why not? 'Fess up, I know you have at least one vest a la Annie Hall, or torn sweat-shirt a la Flashdance, stuffed back there in your Closet of Shame."

People are feeling a lot of 50s love right now.

The Style Graduate is loving the 50s through
Reese Witherspoon's "Ring of Fire" wardrobe. She's also seeking ways to reproduce the look in real life. Go Style Graduate!

Erin at A Dress A Day wants to start a movement, a
"What Would Doris Wear" movement. I'd sure wear the tee shirt -- WWDD!

The Petulant Feminine goes 50s upscale with
Grace Kelly in "Rear Window." The icy Hitchcock blonde never goes out of fashion, does she? I only wish we had more ice and less hott, if you get my drift.

The Fashionable Kiffen isn't crying over the New Look a la Evita.

Lisa writes:
"One movie that's not well known (because it isn't very good) is just full of the most magnificent New Look clothing: THE LAST TIME I SAW PARIS (1954), starring Elizabeth Taylor and Van Johnson. Lots of other famous people are in it, too: Donna Reed (playing a bad girl, no less!), Walter Pidgeon, Eva Gabor, Roger Moore. The clothes are simply stunning; they're by Helen Rose."

Yes, "The Last Time I Saw Paris" (a film version of "Babylon Revisited", poor F. Scott Fitzgerald) is a truly bad film with a truly fantastic wardrobe. Lovers of the New Look have to put up with a lot to get a Clothes on Film fix.

Tailypo writes:

"When I was in high school the popular silhouette was the inverted triangle: oversized tops with enormous shoulder pads and dropped shoulder seams whittling down to lean, long legs. Even footwear was made unnecessarily complicated and fussy – fold down boots, elaborate shoelaces, and oversized slouchy socks. Clothing and makeup were fluorescent and the hair was whipped into permed and frosted whale spouts with cantilevered bangs.

As a sturdy, big-legged farm girl with a face like a frying pan, this was not my best look. So when I went to a college screening of Jean-Luc Goddard’s A Bout de Souffle I was as captivated by the Jean Seberg look. It was as refreshing to me as it must have been in girdled and bouffanted 1960.

Seberg was petite, gamine, and had fragile, doll-like features – her boy cut and capris didn’t really suit me. But the freedom of her style! So trim and simple, perfect for scampering around Paris with your ugly/gorgeous gangster boyfriend. Black and white striped boatnecks or a white fitted newsboy sweatshirt over fitted black Capri pants and ballet flats, elevated from looking sloppy by an interesting shaped handbag or a lovely tailored coat. Her face was fresh and unpainted and her hair clipped to a man’s cut, which came across as soft rather than severe simply because of her youth. In an era that was all about trying too hard, her look typified an effortless cool."

Thanks to Wikipedia, Jean Seberg in "A Bout de Souffle"

Scarpediem at Shoesense breaks the mold (doesn't she always?) with a little "Moonlighting" love.

Shoelover is all over Wonder Woman. (I always wanted a pair of bullet proof cuffs myself!)

Maria at The Runway Scoop liked the funky 80s fashion of "Desperately Seeking Susan" and "Pretty in Pink," and she lived the dream!

Kiss Me, Stace, is right up to date with some Traveling Pants, and turns it into the Defense of the Skirt.

Speaking of the 80s, IFC ran "sex, lies, and videotape" a week or two ago, and watching it I realized that not only do I still own the pieces of Cynthia Bishop's (Laura San Giacomo) iconic outfit of tank top, short denim skirt and cowboy boots,
I still wear it. All together. Like that. My usual venue for that look involves motorcycles and barbequed turkey legs, so it's not out of place, but still, the outfit is pushing the 20-year mark and my knees aren't what they used to be. I'm going to retire the look, unless I find one of those kewl Bundeswehr tank tops, in which case the outfit will get another five years.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Oooooooooh, pretty, 1 and 2

I found these two patterns while cruising for inspiration on ebay (my home away from home, if you hadn't figured that out from my previous posts). The Fabiani pattern plays to my current mod/sixties obsession. It's so structured and space-age (and I bet the model is picking up satellite signals on that hairdo). Apparently a lot of other people are feeling the sixties vibe, because there are 15 bids on the Fabiani pattern at this writing. It's a good size, bust 38, although for the real vintage look a bit of chest binding would be in order.

The Nina Ricci pattern is just plain pretty, what with the lace and bows and fringe. Gets all my girly juices flowing. This pattern is also in the hard-to find-in-vintage bust 38.

Both of these patterns are from the collection of vintagecassandra.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Carnival of the Couture, May 8

It is the Clothesaholic's privilege to host the Carnivale of the Couture for the week of May 8, 2006. My theme is -- Clothes on Film! What movie, TV show or video featured clothes that made an impression on you? What movie, TV or video wardrobe did you try to emulate? How many times did you dress up as Emma Peel (or for the mens, John Steed) at Halloween, and if not, why not? 'Fess up, I know you have at least one vest a la Annie Hall, or torn sweat-shirt a la Flashdance, stuffed back there in your Closet of Shame.

The movie still is from the awkwardly re-titled film "In the Mood for Love." The elegant cheongsams worn by Maggie Cheung are mentioned in every review of the film, and rightly so. Each dress admirably reflected the the theme of the movie -- sexuality restrained. Watching "In the Mood for Love" made me regret having recently sold my cheongsam on ebay, even though it never fit me quite right since I bear no resemblance in any way to a willowy Asian beauty. But heck, I can dream, can't I? And that's exactly the point.

Please sent your links to me at double_m_one(AT) I'll try to get them posted by noon PT on Monday.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Forget the Oscars! It's the Metropolitan Costume Institute gala.

Yes, it's that time of year again -- The Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual Costume Institute Gala, when almost everyone who is anyone in fashion works the red carpet with a designer on her arm in a display of the best and the worst fashion of the year. This year the Gala is celebrating the opening of the exhibit "AngloMania," and at left you see Diane von Furstenberg, whom I adore, taking the theme a leeeetle too far.

Jessica at Go Fug Yourself has provided her usual brilliant commentary. I agree with her assessments except for her approval of Michelle Monaghan's dress, which is entirely too night-gowny for me. I'm also on the fence about Linda Evangalista's rather Grandma's curtains outfit, although I must agree that the woman is fierce! Fierce! I tell you!

Trendwise, there was a lot of white on the Red Carpet. There also seemed to be less bosom, thank goodness. I'm so over other women's breasts. I'm particularly over Donatella Versace's, even though it appears that she recently acquired a new pair so large that she needs two escorts to keep her level. But when Victoria Beckham is more or less covered up (and I think Posh looks quite nice there, which is not something I thought I'd ever say) I think it's safe to identify a legitimate trend.

Anyway, enough from me. Look, enjoy, snark!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Caftans and tunics and turbans, oh my!

If I were a lady of leisure, and I mean true leisure, spared even little but sleeve-threatening tasks like making a cup of tea (gas range) or scooping the litter box, I'd spend the day swanning around in a caftan. Sweeping robes are certainly a more elegant, in fact, downright regal, alternative to my usual loungewear, which at the moment consists of two well-worn pairs of flannel pajamas and a cat-hair covered robe.

Last spring, I think designers tried to revive the caftan as an evening look. I'm not surprised that trend didn't get very far; I'm sure no fashionista now would wear one lest her public think she put on a few pounds.

Anyway, look at this beauty for sale by Wild Swans Vintage Clothing Auctions. Here's a Moroccan-style tunic version (djellaba) from Nelda's Vintage Clothing for those days when too much fabric around the arms will be a safety hazard for a lady of leisure. The pattern is from Chez Centarian. I'm very tempted to make the orange view, although I wonder if I have the patience to pile on all the ornamentation I'd like.

I'd wear my caftan with a turban and some kid of sparkly mule or sandal to get the full Gloria Swanson/chubby-but-still-beautiful-Elizabeth-Taylor-in-the-70s effect. Then I'd put on a pair of ginormous sunglasses and waft around my garden, languidly dead-heading roses while waiting for Joe Gillis to appear. "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."