Friday, July 30, 2010

Duchess, Duchess

Miss Matilda's comment about the last Madame Yevonde photo being of the "infamous duchess" piqued my curiousity, as I must admit I had not heard about Margaret Cameron, the Duchess of Argyll or the scandals surrounding her, especially when certain polaroids of her and a man rumoured to be the Minister of Defense and then Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. surfaced during her divorce trial vs. the Duke of Argyll.  What a beautiful woman in her youth.  What a debauched Duchess in her later years.  Here's what one biographer had to say about her: "She had known everybody, been everywhere, had every material advantage, been bestowed with legendary good looks. Never had so much fortune been used to achieve so little." 

Drawing by Cecil Beaton

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Magnificence of Madame Yevonde

Sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake.  Even though the word "ye vonde" is visible in the right bottom corner of the image of the stunning gal in the red dress now appearing in my blog header, it was only after reading an article about 1930s fine art photographer Madame Yevonde in the first issue of the vintage magazine, Zelda, that I realized this image is an example of Yevonde's work!  In fact, it's from 1930 and it's called "A Fashion Study." A little more web research has yielded some more stunning glimpses at her work, including some portraiture, some commercial pieces, and some images which were part of a 1935 series she called The Goddesses collection (this series involved Yevonde having various 1930s socialites dress up as ancient mythological characters, like Helen of Troy, as shown in the bottom image). I did my MA about Victorian art photographer Julia Margaret Cameron and I'm noticing some really interesting parallels and lines of influence between Cameron's oeuvre and Yevonde's work, especially the Goddesses (maybe one day I'll even write an article about this).  Anyway, for more on  amazingly talented deco photographer, Madame Yevonde, including an explanation of the VIVEX color process responsible for the stunning hues apparent in her images, THIS site is worth checking out.

Untitled, Woman on Couch, 1933

Portrait of Unidentified Woman, 1937

Portrait of the Racing Driver Jill Thomas, 1938

Mrs. Charles Sweeny (Margaret, Duchess of Argyll) as Helen of Troy, 1935

Summer Vacation, Part Three

Inspired by the 1930s obsession with backs, a couple more cottage pics...
Sittin' on the dock of the bay...doing some catch and release fishing
I had to try out my 1930s Jantzen wool bathing suit.  Verdict: there is NO support up top and it is a little too short in the torso for me, so it's great for vintage photos, but not for active swimming.  The wool is also a little scratchy, but it didn't stretch out of shape at all!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Vacation, Part Two

A few more holiday photos...more coming when I get my other camera charged, etc.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Vacation, Part One

We took a LOT of pictures on our vacation, so I thought I would present photos in a few different posts. Here's Part One, which gives a brief glimpse at the lakeside "camp" we stayed at.

The cottage/cabin we called home sweet home for our stay
Finished my 30s halter in time, so I wore it a LOT, often with the cotton knit 30s skirt shown. I think I wore the skirt backwards, but I found it easier to walk with the vent in front.

As luck would have it, the cottage owner had a collection of Christie novels on hand!

Exterior view of what I have dubbed the retro reading grotto

View of lake from Retro Reading Grotto.  Notice my water-obsessed Cavalier spaniel staring longingly out at the lake.

Looking like a sea otter crossed with a skunk and a chipmunk, our boy Chance is shown doing what he loves best: playing a swimming version of fetch.

View from the dock at sunset

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Baroness is Back...

Hello, lovelies!!!  I'm back from a much-needed and much-enjoyed vacation, and looking very forward to catching up on all my favourite blogs.  In the mean-time, I must note that I didn't get to the gala as intended, due to a nasty summer cold bestowed on me during a visit with my darling little niece and nephew. However, I did snap a pic of what I WOULD have worn if all plans had gone as intended: a 1930s crocheted evening gown, which is my most prized vintage find to date.  In the next post, I'll bore you with a few photos of my lovely time at the cottage before I was leveled by that cold.

1930s Crocheted Gown

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'll Be Seeing You

Ahem...speaking of crocheted gowns.....hidden inside this post is a possible hint as to what a certain Baroness may or may not be wearing to a semi-formal gala this weekend.  Okay, I'm off for holidays.  "See" you all later this month!

Marry Me!?, Part Two

My 30s dream wedding gown hands down would be a crocheted one.  Wedding colors would likely be similar to one or more of the primaries reflected below: pink, blue, yellow, green. Of course, while we're dreaming, it wouldn't hurt to have Shirley Temple as a flower girl!

Marry Me!?

Oh, dear, bloggers, I'm officially off my nut.  Even though I've been married for four years now and our wedding was a lovely affair (if I do say so myself), a little part of me has always regretted that I didn't follow through on some of my youthful plans of opting for a bridal look very much like the ones my great aunts wore on their 1930s wedding days.  Well, today I actually got not one, but two vintage wedding gowns for the shop (one is mid-30s, the other late 30s to early 40s), and even though I have oodles of packing (and sewing) to do, I could not resist trying one of them on.  Thankfully, it does not quite fit me or I swear to you I would be keeping it in hopes that le baron and I can do a vintage vow renewal next year.  If you are on the hunt for a 30s wedding dress and think this might be THE gown, feel free to send me a convo in the shop.  Otherwise, I will likely be listing this, and the other wedding gown, some time later this month.

1930s wedding dress

Music that ironically started playing from my iPod as I was posting this:  
Janet Klein's rendition of "I don't know whether to do it" from Fanny Brice

Backless like Bette

As if I don't have a million things to do, I've decided to try to whip up a little halter or two.  I was gonna try to go for the whole halter and shorts set inspired by Bette Davis's get up in The Working Man (see below), but I am just not advanced enough to make wearable shorts in a day.  Wish me luck that I can get the halter(s) right, especially in time for mes vacances! Right now, as Hazel, the dress form is demonstrating, the pieces have been cut out but not sewn.  Thank goodness the pattern I am using (it's the halter top from Wearing History's late 30s halter and trousers pattern set) is so darn user-friendly!!

Plaid fabric is from the "Happy Campers" series from "American Jane" Patterns. I seriously could never tire of this fabric. I'm planning on making my kitchen curtains in this next!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blue Moon

Goodnight, lovelies.  

Blue, Blue Baby

Although today was a Tuesday, it sort of felt like a blue Monday.  The sky is overcast and the humidity levels are stifling.  Then the postman delivered a nice surprise: my 1930s bespoke/repro. dress created by nudeedudee.  I had bought this dress way back in the early spring with my birthday fundage.  As always, proprietress Kim was so accommodating when I contacted her, birthday $$ burning, to see if she could take an image of a dress from a 1930s catalogue (below) and turn it into reality.  Of course, I took forever deciding on the fabric and the right buttons (I'm such a fussy Baroness).  Then, we had to actually FIND said fabric and buttons.  Finally, voila!  I can't thank Ms. Kim enough for her patience and her creative genius.  The dress is BETTER than the picture!!  Would it be wrong to sleep in it tonight? That's how much I love it!

nudeedudee 1930s repro dress

nudeedudee repro 1930s dress

Monday, July 12, 2010

Modes & Travaux

Mmm, nothing breaks these Monday blues like perusing my July 1932 Modes & Travaux magazine.  Since I've got vacation-appropriate fashion on the brain, I'm hoping these fashion illustrations will help me be a bit more organized and strategic in relation to filling my suitcase for my upcoming cottage vacation. I'm also dying to make that scarf beach bag shown at bottom.  If only I had more TIME!  What's in your summer vacation suitcase?

Since some housecleaning led me to rediscover my old 80s music collections, here's a little "vintage" Depeche Mode to go with the "modes" above. Boy, how I loved this band as an angst ridden teen. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mad About Madras

In the 80s-early 90s, I had serious madras mania.  I had madras shorts, a madras dress, and even a turquoise madras bathing suit. Seems my madra madness has returned....or maybe it never left? It's sort of entwined with my addiction to anything plaid...which fits well with my 30s obsession.  Behold, two lovely specimens of distinctly madras-y summer garments from my favourite era in fashion history! That playsuit on the cover of Vogue reminds me so much of the "romper" my junior high bff used to wear religiously.  Nothing new under the sun and all that . . . My favourite madras bespoke dress is DEFINITELY the Catrina in nudeedudee's shop.  YUM! If only that money tree would hurry up and sprout those bills on its branches!!