Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Retro beauty: Bardot

Once in a while I like to feature retro women of style: women from the past whose individuality and self-possession continues to inspire and delight.

I usually focus on great style. But with Bardot, that's virtually impossible: she is so rarely photographed fully clothed.

It's easy to think of her as just another sex kitten, but I suspect that this particular bombshell was much more than that.

Coming into her own in the 1950s, she would have been an innovator, presenting female sexuality and sensuality to the world with a new, raw, and undeniable power that was very different from the mystique offered by the Dietrichs and Kellys and Hepburns of the world.

To me, Bardot is in some ways the quintessence of French femininity: intense and seductive, almost off-puttingly confident in its sensual power, yet somehow demure despite itself.

(Not to mention beautiful. Oo la la.)

In life, Bardot has been a walking contradiction. Open, sexual, caring (she is a well-known animal rights activist), yet incendiary in her right-wing political tendencies. Either way, she's always provocative.

Her film career is characterized by French films with hilariously translated titles, like Please Not Now and Plucking the Daisy, aka Mademoiselle Striptease.

I'm featuring her here as beauty inspiration, rather than style inspiration. Now I'm not saying we should strive to achieve her, uh, 18-inch waistline (good God). But I love how natural her beauty remains, despite the industrial-strength application of eyeliner and mascara. Somehow the balance of tousled hair, natural lips, clear beautiful skin, and dark smoky eyes works. What's more: it's very hot right now. I wonder what Bardot thinks of that?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Fancy Dress

I'm tooting the Posh Girl horn once again. They have an amazing new supply of party dresses, perfect for the festive season--with many more coming soon. Here are some of the choicest options, including this gorgeous 60s Pucci-esque number to the left (one of my all-time personal Posh Girl favourites).

Red is right for the holidays. The beautiful white embroidery makes this 50s swing dress a true standout.

Purple. Silk. 1930s. Comes with its original jacket. What's not to lust?

Now this somehow reminds me of that stunning Givenchy gown Audrey wore in Sabrina ----------->

Channel Audrey. Worship Audrey. Be Audrey in this fabulous piece that epitomizes the "party dress."

This uber-elegant shift looks deliciously tickly.

It's no secret that I'm a fan of bright, burn-your-eyeballs-out, oh-my-god-it-hurts yellow. Possibly, I am the only one out here with this affection.

Still, when I first saw this dress, I actually thought "wow...too yellow for me." But I bet it reads warmer and orangier in person, like a ripe slice of fresh citrus. In any case, it's probably more fun than a barrel of mangoes.

So elegant. Doesn't it just whisper I fluttered gaily to the marble patio and kissed my love beneath the silver moon.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Putting the 'Sweat' in 'Sweater' (and several other places)

Sweet Jeezus.

Where do you even start with this?

1965, I'd guess. The year smack infiltrated the Detroit Butterick Patterns factory:

"You know what would be really fresh and new? A skin-tight body-tube made with heavy wool!"

It's vintage, so I'm covering it here. But don't get any ideas, people. I swear to God, if I see a single woolitard...

Sigh. ...The worst part is, I bet I know what Paris Hilton will be wearing in Aspen this year.

See more scary vintage knit patterns with accompanying witty commentary at Stitchy McYarnpants.

I have a knitting sister-in-law who's gonna love this (if we could only convince her to use the Internet...those crazy knitters and their low-tech ways).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Salve of last re(sn)ort

It's a perfume. It's an antidepressant. It's scary. And it's smiley. I mean Smiley. As in Smiley(TM) Antidepressant Perfume.

There is a vintage element here: the smiley face was popularized in the early 70s. Read all about the history of Smiley at happytherapy.com. Read and behold the crumbling shambles that is our civilization latest in olfactory therapy.

Their motto: "I'm in therapy."


Monday, November 06, 2006

Why not?

Why not...

...Pick up a cute little plaid mini from the 60s? (Vintage Vixen) (Dig the pocket, sisters...)

...And pair it with tights, cute little kiltie-style stacked-heel loafers and a cool cardigan-jacket, like this newbie from JCrew.com.

Why not...

...Go 70s in these awesome Levi's disco jeans (Blacklight Vintage)...

...And this retro-cool turtleneck (Blacklight Vintage)...

Why not...

...Top either outfit off with this funky blue corduroy peacoat (Posh Girl)...

....And this adorable 60s scarab motif messenger bag (Posh Girl)...

(But move quickly...these great items are going to go fast!)