Thanks to my friend Elizabeth, I now have a new Regency gown – a full day dress ensemble – that fits! She asked me to be her model for a Regency fashion lecture at Modesto’s Jane Austen-themed JaneCon, and I agreed! She kindly made me the entire ensemble for the cost of materials and washing/ironing labor, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a good thing she loves to sew, because I sure don’t! I do love paying my friends, or doing them favors, in exchange for beautiful clothes! The look and fit is just perfect.
The outfit consists of an 1805-ish gown made from a block-printed almost-sheer cotton muslin from Renaissance Fabrics. It’s the first front-opening Regency gown I’ve had, as my other, smaller gowns were all of the slightly later frock (back buttons) variety. Since this gown has a bib front that pins in place, it’s taken a bit of getting used to. I think eventually I’ll add period-incorrect snaps and ties to help keep it in place so I won’t stab myself or flash anybody by accident. Continue reading “A new Regency gown!”
Wilton House in Salisbury, which crops up in a ton of period films and television shows. Portions of the 2005 Pride & Prejudice and 1995 Sense & Sensibility adaptations were filmed there (the ball scenes during which Marianne confronts Willoughby). The house’s famous Single and Double Cube rooms are well known as the secret planning locations for World War II’s famous D Day invasion. I’ve been here, and the house and grounds are well worth a visit.
Lower Slaughter, a village in the Cotswolds, stands in for Highbury. I’ve been here, too. Seems like every Cotswolds village is picturesque and charming in its own way.
2017 was the year I finally replaced my old Ikea sofa with some midcentury fabulous Joybird reproduction furniture (I loved that Ikea sofa – it just wasn’t me anymore) and realized my dream of some SWEET OCEANIC ARTS LAMPS! In bittersweet news, our beloved family realtor and friend Florence Trelford passed away, leaving me the Heywood Wakefield bookcase and round coffee table that had previously belonged to my grandmother.
So I have fun tiki-themed pinup photos by Holly West Photography to share, this time from Skipper World Headquarters.
The Skippers have added a beautiful tiki lounge to their home, complete with huts, outrigger canoes, a bar, and a swanky seating area. It went perfectly with my vintage Alfred Shaheen bombax print dress, bakelite tribal necklace, and Dixiefried leopard-print Glamor swimsuit. The lovely and talented Rockwell DeVil did my makeup and hair.
I always tell people that my basic style descends from a combination of Bettie Page (e.g. the bangs), film costume designer Edith Head (e.g. bangs, Mexican and gypsy skirts), and artist Mary Blair. It’s an odd mix, but it begins to make sense if you know me fairly well and think on it for a few moments. You may be aware that my signature hair accessory is a black grosgrain ribbon, something I picked up years ago from photos of Blair. I’m also a huge fan of the colors and shapes she incorporated into her artwork and designs for everything from Disney films and theme park attractions (It’s a Small World!) to advertisements to fashion.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when Pinup Girl Clothing announced that they would be adapting some of Blair’s (non-Disney, of course) art to fabrics for a special “Magic of Mary Blair” collection, but I ended up ordering and enjoying several of the pieces. Most items from the collection are existing Pinup Girl Clothing staple pieces, like the popular gathered Jenny skirt and Ella dress, that feature commercial illustrations by Blair. Some of the art comes from textile prints (like the parasols) and others from things like advertisements (e.g. the kittens). They are all constructed from PUG’s favorite cotton sateen fabrics, which look and wear well in casual settings. Continue reading “Fashion & Style Influences: Mary Blair at Pinup Girl Clothing”
After a massive restoration conducted in the late 1990s and early 2000s, this gorgeous 1930 theater is a clean, bright, luminous connection to an earlier time. While you might see anyone from George Lopez to Tony Bennett headlining at the Fox, the best attractions are the ones that offer the visitor a connection to the theater’s roots as a mid 20th century movie palace – the monthly Friends of the Fox classic movie events featuring concerts on the 1928 Robert Morton theater organ!
Click for more Fox Theater and more outfit pictures!
Like most people, I get my style cues from so many different sources I can’t keep track of them all. More, I’m sure a huge proportion of my influences are so subliminal I couldn’t articulate them if I wanted to. That said, the spirit of self-exploration has taken hold and inspired me to try. So with that, I’m presenting my first style influences. Not the first in the chronological sense of my life, but the first I’m bringing to the blog: Piero Gherardi – art, set, and costume designer for many of Federico Fellini’s iconic films – and the luminous Anita Ekberg, one of the talented female stars of my favorite Fellini, La Dolce Vita (1960).
Since Ekberg just passed away, she’s a logical first choice. The designs that she – and everyone else in La Dolce Vita – wore also happen to be some of my favorite clothes ever. Her strapless velvet gown from the famous Baths of Caracalla and Trevi Fountain scenes is legendary, but I’d love it even if it were 1/1,000,000th as famous as it is. With its sweetheart neckline, carefully-engineered bodice, and sweeping, diaphanous silk underlayers, it’s truly a dream dress. The way Ekberg whirls through the Caracalla scene, it’s almost like the dress has taken on a life of its own.
My other favorite Ekberg ensemble from the film includes the off-shoulder, v-neck lace top her character, Sylvia, wears during the press suite scene soon after her arrival in Rome. It’s perfect – just the right balance of structure and femininity, balanced delicately on the pinnacle fulcrum of the best fashion era that ever was or will be – the late 1950s and early 1960s.
It helps that Ekberg didn’t have a standard body. While not exactly plus, she had bigger curves than the average actress and looked amazing. This inspired me, as a girl who is nothing if not curvy.