Saturday, October 29, 2011

White Shoes; Red Flags

What do Stella McCartney and Chanel Resort have in common?

They have both been conjuring a similar, curiously retro-ortho shoe shape.

When Nancy Shevell married Paul McCartney, Stella made her this pair of sandals to go with the dress:

I actually don't think that the sandals do go with the dress; whereas the dress evokes Wallis Simpson's vintage chic, the shoes evoke vintage dowdy.

This similar shape turned up as well at Chanel (but with a thong), far above, on Kristen McMenamy, and below:

To my mind, this shape reminds me of support socks and wavy Famolare soles:


What would I have shod Ms. Shevell in?  A closed-toe simple pump.  I feel a Stanley Kowalski-inspired guttural cry coming on: Stelllllaaaa!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vakko Memories

The lovely WendyB's recent post on peplums reminded me of my first leather jacket, made by Vakko. 

It had a dropped waist with a peplum, an assymetrical hidden zip flap with a top snap, a stand-up collar, and outrageous shoulder pads.  It was made from a textured dark brown leather with a hint of gray that evoked both Mad Max and elephants.

I bought it when I was an undergraduate, after swooning over it in a boutique, shuddering over the price tag, and returning a month later to find it reduced by 75 percent. 

I wore it till I wore it out. Or as I said chez WendyB, till it ran out of pep.

Aside from the general wonderfulness of the jacket, there was a certain thrill in owning a Vakko piece in the mid 1980s.  Vogue regularly sold that company a double-page ad up front, and Vakko delivered, with images of Elle in a Safari leather jacket, Cindy Crawford in a blue suede dress:

and in this swing coat:

There's an image of Elle for Vakko far above, in a jacket that's much more "mall" than my post-apocalyptic pachyderm number, but you can see the fun that Vakko had with shoulders and a peplum.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Giant" Style

For the last three nights I've watched the film Giant, which enthralled me.

My extended viewing was prompted by a James Dean exhibit I saw recently (more about that in a later post), which included his original Giant script.

In one scene, Carroll Baker (Luz Benedict II) wore a sparkling white evening gown (that she threatened to purchase from Neiman Marcus, and probably did) that set off her russet hair and character's rebellious personality (oh, such woe that she became a platinum blonde for the rest of her career!).

That's Baker, below, in the gown. 

Serendipitously, a quick internet search showed me that this very gown had been up for auction only a few months ago.

It was in the collection of actress Debbie Reynolds (along with two other Giant pieces) and was purchased this past June.

I wonder what other important, but perhaps forgotten film gowns are looking for new, loving homes.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Royal Cushions at GOOP

Why do I like this photo that was featured in GOOP's "See" newsletter?

The Union Jack chair is a plus, but it's the two royal cushions that amused me. 

As I have an identical one of these in my living room, I almost feel as if my decorating choice has been "knighted," so to speak (with tongue firmly in cheek, by the way).   

Now to strive for a Vivienne Westwood Union Jack cushion: 

Or--sigh--a hauntingly romantic Westwood rug by The Rug Company:

That would amount to a knighthood PLUS a successful dragon-taming. 

Or at least fooling one a la my favourite children's book for adults, The Paper Bag Princess:

By the way, I was experimenting with a new Blogger layout, but when I tried to return to my original template, I could only access this one.  Sooo, a new look, by default?

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Beautiful and the Damned: Sartorial Musings

Listening to the car radio this afternoon, I heard an interview with Siddhartha Deb, author of The Beautiful and the Damned: Life in the New India

The book, a look at how Indians are striving for virtual or literal affluence, sounded compelling enough for me to search for it on the Internet upon return.

When I did, I was struck by the American market cover, which you see above.  I thought it was strongly influenced by street-style bloggers; indeed, if you compare it to Scott Schuman's recent book, you'll see the similarities:

But whereas the cover of Schuman's book represents off-handed, yet studied "cool," the images within capture people wearing both extremely expensive as well as thrift-shop chic. Indeed, the guiding principle of The Sartorialist is personal style that's pleasing.

Deb's cover, on the other hand, depicts the "wannabe."  The large, gaudy accessories may, to the wearer, code as "expensive," but they read as "cheap."  I like Amit Chaudhuri's analysis of the cover here, in his glowing review of Deb's book for The Guardian.

While both women are clearly confronting the camera, one with a sidelong, almost disdainful gaze, one through her oversized sunnies, they own their images differently.  Schuman's cover girl inspires sartorial emulation; Deb's woman undergoes a sort of critical immolation for the sake of the pages within. 

The woman I want to learn more about?  She's beautiful, and she's damned, I guess, but it's her process of getting dressed that undergirds the premise of Deb's book, one that sounds like a fascinating read.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Swayed by Helen Bateman Suede Shoes

Does this look like a "sensible shoe"? 

To me it is: one could probably walk comfortably in it and wear it as a go-to shoe with trousers.  It's not a fashion shoe, as my heart did not flutter when I saw it, but I've been circling it ever since.

"Sensible" is something I avoid, which is probably why I'm hesitating posting this shoe here, but I think that the lime green details and suede laces take it a half-step above. 

Still, this could be a terrific shoe for work, though not for playing on the moors.

Venezia lace-up from  Helen Bateman, Scotland. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

A More Finnished Line, Yet Again from Marimekko

To prove to myself that Marimekko can also make a flattering fit, here is a detail from the Uuli dress, with an equally pretty print, all watercoloury teals and pink clay.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Finnish Line: Fall Pattern and Colour from Marimekko

One of my favorite colour combinations is a deep orchid, coupled with olive-brown.

Marimekko, a company I typically associate with more primary colours, has a very pretty interpretation of this colour scheme in its Unas dress, a detail of which is shown here.

The dress itself resembles an attractive duvet cover, hence the detail alone. 

But perhaps with a belt, or some capable tailoring, the dress could be as attractive as its fabric.