Saturday, July 22, 2006

1960s Designer Profile: Count Ferdinando Sarmi

Ferdinando Sarmi designed some of the most exquisite couture of the 1960s. His designs and his use of colour were both beautiful and refined. He didn't go to the crazy acid psychadelia place like so many did at this time, but still managed to mix and select colours in ways that were new and exciting. His gowns feature amazing beadwork, gorgeous fabrics and textures, and silhouettes that are flattering and modern. Enjoy...

This silk polkadot beauty embodies the optimism of the 60s.

Just once, I'd love to wear a gown like this. I know what you're thinking: bridesmaid's dress from hell. But no--as I've said before, it's all about cut and colour. This dress is profoundly feminine. I can just imagine how it must move. Like a dream.

I love this Pucci-print silk gown. The tie at the neck is playful--adding interesting femininity to an otherwise fairly minimalist, slightly masculine cut. I've included a close-up of the bodice with its zillions of self-covered buttons. Again, this is a dress that must have amazing flow. And it looks like it would feel as light and airy as a summer breeze...

Actress Kirsten Dunst once wore a dress (to some awards ceremony or other) very similar to this. Again, Sarmi's use of colour is exciting--warm navy chiffon and rich purple silk. This dress must be gorgeous in person.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

J'adore ruffles

Hello, gorgeous. Goodbye, bank account.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Falling for leg-gauntlets

You may have heard the 80s are back, but don't buy too completely into the hype. The real inspiration for Fall 2006 is an entirely different 80s altogether: the 1480s. The original leggings era.

In a sort of 'ultimate newage' moment, the world's top fashion tempests are giving a nod to the stylin' farthingales and gauntlets sported by the likes of those post-Medieval rockstars, Queen Elizabeth 1 ("QE1") and Fra Lippo Lippi ("FraLo").

The House of Chanel is, for me, the couturier that no doubt supplies the well-dressed set in Heaven. Just as I picture Bjork's being the voice played throughout the Heavenly firmament, I imagine that the Big G himself turns to Coco for styling advice.

However, (although I would probably be throttled for it were my readership to exceed five) I must say that I have never been the biggest Lagerfeld fan. I haven't always liked where he has taken Chanel in the past. In Fall 06, though, he has made a few cool innovations that are in a vintage/newage vein and which deserve some airplay on this rarely viewed blog.

For instance, the full-leg-jean-boots. These are like gauntlets for the legs. Gleglets. And I love them. In his own show in NYC, he did them in the softest kid leather. Love, love, love. Here, he pairs denim ones with his Renaissance designs for Chanel. I think they are just so rock and roll.

I normally HATE suits (especially on me) but I LOVE this pom-pomy Chanel Renaissuit.

This red hooded coat would make QE1 herself drool. And the hair jewellery along the models’ parts is very cool.

I feel strongly that Coco herself would adore this gown. Oh la la.

When the concept goes too far

Airport security around the world must be quaking in their gleglets over this little trend. Suits of armour. Oh, sorry—make that half suits of armour. A full suit would be too 'obvious'. The model doesn’t look like she’s enjoying it any more than we are. Sorry Dior, but the armoured duds are duds.

Back to the pretty

Valentino, Gaultier, and Lacroix—shown here respectively--are all on the Renaissance bandwagon (or I guess that would be wooden cart in this case?), all with a subtle vintage/newage nod that is profoundly modern. Beautiful.

Here’s to a regal Fall 06.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"I didn't buy a new pair of shoes today."

On top of its innumerable benefits explored in this blog, it turns out that vintage clothing may well save the world.

I think we all knew, somewhere deep in the style portion of our cerebral cortexes, that vintage is destined to serve a higher purpose than mere fabulosity. And now I find that a group of shopping-refusers in San Francisco has pinpointed this higher purpose, namely: anti-consumerist pro-environment world-saving recyclish vintage purchase justification. Or ACPEWSRVIPJ, for short.

This enterprising group of empowered non-shoppers, who call themselves "The Compact" (cute--and I love the reference to a makeup item) has vowed not to purchase a single new item this year, except for food, drugs, and undies. They are only allowed. To buy. Second-hand. Including vintage. (Last point added by me.)

Rather than calling up their friends to dish about their beautiful new $300 shoes, they call them up to dish about the beautiful new $300 shoes they didn't buy. Bragging about status symbols has shifted to bragging about one's disregard for status. Alice, welcome to the far side of the looking-glass.

They help each other out by triangulating Craigslist, thrift shops, and word-of-mouth to find things they need that are usually purchased new, like shower curtain liners and drywall. I'm not sure I want to know where they got the second-hand shower curtain liner, but the point here is that vintage is finally getting due recognition for its importance to the world.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle article: "American consumerism, they say, has led to global environmental and socioeconomic crises, and the only way to reverse it is to stop buying into it." (I would add that it has also contributed to some really tacky dressing, an epidemic of $700 purses, and more plastic surgery than bears thinking about.)

Not shopping seems to be driving some members to drink ("I find that I have more money to spend on the dried cherries for my Manhattans"), no doubt in search of a substitute for the adrenaline rush of a snappy new purchase. Still, I give this movement a solid two thumbs up, liver be damned.

Some final words from "Perry," who "loves to shop" and "went into withdrawal the first few weeks of entering the Compact":

"...After a few weeks the buzzing in your head subsides. Although if I continue to shop crazily at thrift stores, is that any better? [He thinks about it for a moment...] I think it is."

I think so too, Perry. I think so too.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

But for the men, not so much with the pink...

A little pink is nice on a man. It doesn't have to be baby pink or hot pink or cherry pink. It can be part of a subtle stripe or something more in the peachy vein.

What it shouldn't be is this. Ever.

If the Fab 5 organized a golf tournament, this is what the caddies would wear. Outside of that fictional circumstance, this outfit should never again be viewed by human eyes.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

If a woman's got to think, she might as well think pink!

That's a (paraphrased) quote from one of my favourite AH movies, Funny Face. As a redhead, I often steered clear of pink when I was younger. Except for that hot pink Flashdance sweatshirt in the mid 80s. But we won't talk about that.

I've since learned to appreciate what a versatile colour pink is. I wonder if any of these gorgeous 1950s dresses were inspired by that 'Think Pink' number in Funny Face...(All from Posh Girl...and unfortunately all sold.)

Speaking of Funny Face, this little number looks exactly like the wedding dress AH wears for the fashion shoot at the church, when she admits to Fred Astaire that she's in love with him and tells him his dancing's like totally off the hook, yo. Okay I made that up. Here's the dress...