Friday, June 23, 2006

Proof that you can make a business of anything...

Vintage furniture. Expect more on the subject here in the future. In the meantime, I recently came across this little online business. Devoted exclusively to reupholstering mid-century Eames chairs. Talk about your vintage specialty stores!

An Eames chair can look like this:

Or this (eek! it's aliiiiyyyyve!) (it rocks, and yet it doesn't):

Or possibly this:

The Eames brothers, if you've never heard of them, were crazy whacked-out experimental industrial designer types who played around with architecture, design, film, photography, and lots of other media in the 1950s. Ray and Charles Eames. Their official Web site is here. It is a very interesting read for anyone fascinated by design and systems.

My main point, though, is: isn't it cool that this little online company has found such an interesting little niche--taking beautifully designed vintage chairs, and either restoring them exactly (they can often match the original fabric) or translating them for the modern esthetic with beautiful fabrics from designers like this one.

And after all, aren't our chairs worth it? They really are furniture's most underappreciated labourers. Their job is long, thankless, and sometimes scary.

Like beautiful, well-designed vintage clothing, exceptional vintage furniture never loses its cool--it just needs a little refurbishing once in a while.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Cat in a Hot Little Dress

Am I mistaken...or is this dress not identical to Liz Taylor's party dress in C on a HTR? Just looking at it, I can hear her Southern drawl...faintly...'Oh Briiiick, whut's happenin' to us? Cayn't yuh evah fugive me, Briiiiick?'

Love it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Antique Chic: The Edwardian Period

The period from 1901 to 1910 is known as the Edwardian period. That's when good old Edward VII sat upon the British throne, pip-pip-what-what. The period just before that, when Eddie's mama, Victoria, was in charge of things, thank you very much, is known as the Victorian period. She reigned from about 1837 to 1901.

The bottom line here is the clothes, people. They were beautiful--outstanding--during both periods.

Personally, I prefer Edwardian clothing. Victorians were kind of creepy. They used to save the hair of their dead relatives in lockets. Really. Here's one on the right. See that braidy part in the middle? Someone's hair. Creepy.

Ah, but the Edwardians were not into all that crazy death nonsense. Remember, this was the era when women were escaping their cinchers (I've included a pic of one on the left--this one opened to a MAXIMUM of 7--that's SEVEN--inches in diameter. That's a 7-inch waist...).

Yep, nothing like airing out the old midsection, fighting for the right to vote and to be considered 'persons under the law', and generally disturbing the poop. This social change is reflected in the clothes, I think. One foot in the old world--hence the beautiful attention to detail--check out this amazing Irish lace dress with raised crochet-work. One foot in the new world--playing around with old silhouettes, loosening things up a little.

In the late 70s/early 80s, Vic-Ed style clothing came back for a while. I recently saw an older woman (I'd say in her 70s) at the grocery store wearing a Victorian-look white ruffle-high-collared blouse with tiny red polkadots and a little red bow at the neck. It was from the late 70s. I had to stop myself from running up to her and offering her money for it. It was so cute...She was one funky granny.

So let's go through this beautiful clothing from the Vic-Ed period. Note that none of this was, or could possibly have been, machine-made. Because such machines didn't exist. All hand-made. And, of course, all one-of-a-kind.

When you think of Edwardian clothing (and I know you do), this is probably what you think of: the beautiful Edwardian ballgown. This black hand-made lace over champagne silk epitomizes it, for me. Think of all the movies you've seen set in this period. They always have a ball scene, just to show off some gorgeous antique dresses like this one.

Had you lived during the era, and had you been filthy rich and/or of the gentried classes, you would have taken tea in this French silk lilac tea ensemble. Lucky you.

Remember how your best friend made you wear that hideous red organza bridesmaid's dress in 1988? Too bad the wedding hadn't happened 80 years earlier. Because then you would've been wearing THIS bridesmaid's dress.

Oh how I'd love to flounce about the garden party in this number. Flouncetastic. Note the lovely cameo at the neck. No dead people's hair in sight.

In the evening, ladies would retire to their dressing chambers and put on a lovely peignoir in which to perform their evening toilette. This Victorian peignoir is absolutely gorgeous.

Before we called 'em shirts, we called 'em shirtwaists. Here's a breezy cotton Edwardian one. And a gorgeous lace camisole.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Oh how I want the $200 cashmere panties...

Mon dieu. Mon bon, bon dieu. Que ces culottes sont jolies. Sacre bleu!

Featured here because they are so incredibly fabulicious and made in a vintage tradition, using the lost art of silk-thread panty fabrication, and because they are CASHMERE PANTIES, and because you can tell just by looking at them that they're so, so soft. In fact, all of this designer's lingerie looks like every fantasy you or your man has ever had about French lingerie. (One is called 'Kept Woman'--how scintillatingly Parisian...) Made of silk. And feathers. And ribbony things!

Behold the sexiness and weep.

Designed by Gentry Lane, whose Francophilia is an obsession that I can completely relate to. Fabricated by beautiful, slim, well-paid French women in a gorgeous courture house in Paris. Ooo la la.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Paging Gidget! 1950s looks I intend to steal this summer...

Call the other kids; we're having a party!

I have always adored the Sweater Girl look...I especially love it with these little shorts. Too cute, don't you think?

I live nowhere near the ocean, but I'm crazy about clamdiggers. I remember when these reincarnated as 'knickers' in the early 80s (mine were purple corduroy...). Even then, I was a slave to style...

This little lace blouse ain't bad either.

On a related note, I'm not entirely shocked to find myself drawn to the rising waistlines on the runways over the last few seasons. The whole how-d'ya-like-my-crack? thing was getting tired...Let's celebrate the hourglass again, just for a change of scenery.

How hot is this? I can't imagine where you'd wear this little number, but I love it anyways. Very glamorous.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Pre-plastic fantastic!

In the 20s, 30s, 40s, before plastic was popularlized, we had bakelite. And something called celluloid.

These necklaces are adorable, as is the very special bakelite cigarette case. Perfect to tap your ciggie on as you knock back a scotch and soda and gaze teasingly through false lashes at the dashing young man making passionate love to you (which just meant dating back then, people.) (Yeah, right.)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Men's summer vintage--cool out, hang ten, be groovy baby

This little 50s number almost makes the Speedo acceptable. Almost.

It's hard to see, but those images are little gladiators. Tee hee.

Some cool men's summer shirts from the 50s and 60s with cuts and fabrics that are very au courant.

This one from the 30s features funky red Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Shirts almost exactly like this one, which is from the 40s, are in every menswear store this season.

This shirt from the 70s is a fabulous cherry red. It takes a real man to wear cherry red...
 had to be the late 50s/early 60s. When else has it ever been acceptable to:
A) own--and possibly wear--a lounge lizardy smoking jacket that is
B) made of fire-engine red corduroy ( which is
C) trimmed in black velvet
Summary (in case you missed it): This is a cherry red corduroy and black velvet smoking jacket.