Vintage Miscellany – March 30, 2014

Sister Dorothy is wearing the outing outfit that was almost a uniform for young women in the late 1910s and early 20s:  middy blouse, large brimmed felt hat, full skirt and sturdy boots.  But is that a necklace I’m seeing?

*   It could happen that 100% cotton fabric could be a thing of the past.  Thanks to Pintucks for the link.

*   I posted a bit about Avoca Weavers several weeks ago, and here is a lovely film about them.  Thanks to Scrapiana for the link.

*   This one is for the guys:  Nettleton shoes has re-released a shoe that was THE shoe in Greensboro, NC.  Who knew?  Thanks to Jan S.  for the link.

*   L’Wren Scott as remembered by her friend, Cathy Horyn.

*   This blog post about Bill Cunningham’s Facades photo exhibition really makes me want to see it.

*   Museums are now working to recycle their exhibition materials.

*   Chanel and the Scottish Cashmere industry.

*   Here’s an interesting look inside a dressmaker’s dummy factory.

*   Thread Cult has an interesting podcast interview with couture expert Claire Shaeffer.

And finally, it seems that everyone has an opinion of the latest Vogue cover.  After years of rumors about how Anna Wintour hated Kim Kardashian, about how she was refused a ticket to the Met Gala, and how she would never grace the cover of Vogue, we now know that at least two of the above are no longer true.

I really don’t see what the big deal is.  People argue that Vogue is a fashion magazine, and Kim has nothing to do with fashion.  The way I see it, Vogue covers have not been about fashion for a very long time.  They are about money and celebrity and selling issues of Vogue.  Period.  Ever since Wintour replaced models with the celebrity du jour, (in the 1990s?) it stopped being about fashion.

You can almost predict who is going to be on the cover by following movies, TV and music.  Crazy Great Gatsby movie being released?  Get Carey Mulligan and have her dressed in faux Twenties look!  New Beyonce CD?  Put her on the cover!  We love a good cross-promotion.

Just so we don’t forget, Wintour did not originate the idea of celebrity covers on Vogue.  Diana Vreeland was doing it in the 1960s.  But there’s a difference.  Look at the vintage covers of Audrey Hepburn or Cher or Sophia Loren, and you see photos that show women of style.  And then there were the cover photos of the models, like Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton, who Vogue helped make into celebrities.  But always it was about fashion and what was intriguing about each woman.

But getting back to the present, another complaint about the cover is that Kanye West had to have pressured/paid/whatever to get his woman on the cover of Vogue.  Wintour anticipated this, and even denied it in her letter from the editor.  The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

14 Comments

Filed under Vintage Miscellany

14 responses to “Vintage Miscellany – March 30, 2014

  1. That dress form video is fascinating! Great bunch of links this week, Lizzie.

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  2. I always wondered how the collapsible shoulder mechanism worked on dress forms! Thanks for the great video link! Your links are always so interesting. =)

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  3. Christina

    Your piece about Vogue is how I and I imagine a lot of other readers feel about the magazine. I am not interested in reading it anymore. Sometimes I laugh out loud because it insults my intelligence. It has so lost the plot.

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  4. It’s not so much the cover of the magazine (which is sitting on my desk) as the annual “shape issue” concept. Every year, there’s short, tall, pregnant, and fitness buff, and then the one who’s a little shlumpy (in this case, Mindy Kaling), who’s always sitting down in a big dress that totally covers her up. Vogue has pretty much been a “Social X-ray” fantasy for the majority of Wintour’s reign. That said, the devil who wears Prada is not going to be bought off by anyone, particularly a passing fad like those two. And the magazine is like “Vanity Fair.” It’s not really real, but it is something that’s fun to dream about.

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    • Okay, maybe saying West “paid” to get Kim on the cover was over-stating, but I still believe his presence influenced the decision.

      People tend to say that Vogue is aspirational, and in the past that was true. The magazine would show couture from Paris, but there were pages devoted to home sewing and pages of clothes that were less costly. It was possible to take the fashion information and use it to create a high fashion look. Wintour’s idea of a bargain – The Steal of the Month – is a pair of $425 Sarah Jessica Parker shoes.

      Last month’s issue had us “aspiring” to be Rihanna, with her taking the poor dowdy, mumsy Plum Sykes (who has been an contributing editor at Vogue for as long as I can remember) to Alexander Wang to style her. Really? It made me cringe.

      Yes, it is a fantasy.

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  5. Very happy to see the dress form video–I missed it a few years back, so this was a fun surprise.
    Vogue: like you, my library includes issues from many decades of that publication, but only the Sept. issue has been retained for the past years. It’s just not the valuable fashion resource it once was.

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  6. Great round-up. I particularly enjoyed the NYT article about the recycling of museum display materials. And thanks for the hat-tip, Lizzie.

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