Category Archives: Vintage Miscellany

Vintage Miscellany – November 9, 2014

There’s nothing like a rousing game of croquet on a Sunday afternoon.  I cannot say why the woman in the center appears to be lifting her skirt so high.  It could be that she is just holding a cloth.  But do note the girls and the length of their dresses.  The very young girl on the right has a skirt that just skims her knees.  There are what looks to be two older girls in the background, as their skirts are just a little longer.

And now for the news…

*   The Patagonia company is getting serious about sustainability.

*   The fabric of the frontier: How textiles help us understand the American West.

*   John Galliano lost his suit against Dior for unfair dismissal.

*   There are times when I read something and I just jump up and shout, YES!”  It looks like skinny jeans may really be on their way out.

*  And even more good news: Barbara Hulaniicki is returning to designing for the label she started, Biba. Thanks to Jonathan for the link

*   What do you think happened to a woman who wore slacks to a courtroom in 1938?

*   Ann Demeulemeester discussed life after fashion: “It is the first time I don’t feel like I have a rope around my neck.”

*   I’d never heard of Maria Kipp, but her story is fascinating. Thanks to Mod Betty for the link.

*   A lot is written about how authentic – or not – movie and television costumes are, and this great post shows some examples.  It makes me wonder if all the retro sewing that is happening now will cause a lot of confusion for collectors in the future.

*   How about those matching Korean sweethearts?

*   All I can say is WHY?   The Paul Poiret name is up for sale, and a revival of Courrèges is under way.

*   Okay, this has nothing to do with fashion, but I’ve got to agree somewhat.  Twitter mourning is tacky.


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Vintage Miscellany – October 26, 2014

After showing off those riding pants earlier in the week, I thought I ought to show how the garment looked on a woman in the 1930s.  Now that is a sharp look!

And now for the news…

*   One of the problems that US makers have found in their quest to be more sustainable is that very little organic cotton is grown in the country.  Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin and designer Billy Reid solved the problem by planting their own field.  And more about the project.

*   Yesterday I mentioned how many women first wore pants in their work during WWI.  Today, there is a new generation of women’s workwear that gives a nod to the past. Thanks to Megan T for the link.

*   Converse (owned by Nike) is suing to protect the design of the Chuck Taylor All Star.  Good luck to them, but I can’t see them winning.

*   In the Good News/Bad News department, the wonderful Worn Fashion Journal is calling it quits after ten years.  The good news is that I was interviewed about vintage gymsuits for the final issue.  You can pre-order the last issue and there are some remaining former issues for sale.

*   If you are to be in Madrid before January 18, 2015, be sure to take in the Givenchy retrospective at the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum.  There is a bit of an interview with him at The Guardian.

*   If you’ve been thinking that buying goods from a country like Italy means that they were made under safe and fair working conditions, think again.

*   Jen at Pintucks gives us a great look at the history of Jonathan Logan.

*  I know there are several former and present academics who read The Vintage Traveler, so this one is for you.  First the question was asked of why academics dress so badly.  Then a female academic responded with the problems female academics face in dressing for their profession.

*  The next clothing auction from Karen Augusta is coming up at noon, Wednesday November 12th, at the Landmark on the Park at 160 Central Park West at the corner of 76th Street.  It sounds like a great sale, and I’ll be watching to see how this early Pendleton coat goes, as I have its sister in red, and the Met has one in black.

*   Why older women should become the new selfie generation.  I’m trying.


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Vintage Miscellany – October 12, 2014

It’s here, leaf season. The season we here in the southern Appalachians love and love to hate.  Love, because the mountains are at their most spectacular.  Hate, because everyone who can drives up to look at them.  Of course, you can’t blame them.  It is a special time of year.

And for those of you not caught up in gridlock on the Blue Ridge Parkway, here’s the news.

*  The University of Glasgow recently received a grant to spend on adding to their Scottish textile archive.

*   The next clothing sale at Augusta Actions takes place on November 12, and features six rare pieces from the Beatles’ Apple Boutique.  Click on one of the pieces to see more photos, and take mental notes on the label.  You’ll want to recognize it if you are ever lucky enough to stumble onto a piece.

*   John Galliano has been named creative director of Maison Martin Margiela.  Publicity stunt or genius move?

*   The word “heritage” gets thrown around a lot by clothing companies, but there are quite a few companies with interesting histories that need to be celebrated.  That takes us to Madison Avenue Fashion Heritage Week where  sixteen Madison Avenue luxury  stores will decorate their windows with a nod to the company history.  The windows will be on view from October 20th through the 26th, and there is a phone app to help with interpretation (available October 16th).  I hope to see pictures.

*   Michelle Obama finally wore an Oscar de la Renta dress and so everyone had to analyze it.

*  Mrs. Obama also held an event at the White House called the Fashion Education Workshop in which fashion students and major players from the world of fashion spent the day together talking the fashion business.  It ended with a talk by Obama and a panel discussion with several of the First Lady’s favorite designers and Jenna Lyons which you can view on Youtube.  It’s really interesting to hear what these people have to say to fashion students, thought I’m a bit tired of Diane von Furstenberg’s empowerment message. And don’t read the comments.

*  There is a new exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum, Fashioned in America, that celebrates the American fashion industry and American designers.  See it now through March 15, 2015.

*  The Guardian had an interesting article about used clothing donations and how charities have to compete with for-profit clothing recycling businesses.  I find it hard to believe that any charity like Goodwill is suffering for lack of donations, as I see how much goes through the outlet center without ever being sorted.

*    Fashion journalist Teri Agins has a new book out, Hijacking the Runway, which is about how celebrities are becoming more and more part of the stories surrounding fashion.  As an example, at the recent Paris fashion shows there was more attention focused on Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and daughter North West than on the shows they attended.

*  In a recent password change, I somehow “lost” access to my Vintage Traveler Pinterest pages.  I decided it was no great loss and have set up new boards under my old Fuzzylizzie account.  It will be strictly photos of my vintage collection and is a work in progress.


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Vintage Miscellany – September 28, 2014

To our modern eyes, these three women look a bit overdressed to be going for a bicycle ride, but look a bit closer and you can see that they are making some adjustments in their dress for the occasion.  Compare the length of their skirts to the woman’s in the background, and you see that theirs are several inches shorter.  Except for the woman in the middle, they have chosen hats that are less fussy and that have a sporty look.

Today we tend to think of the bicycle as a toy or a tool for recreation, but to these women, the bicycle was serious transportation.  It would be interesting to know where they were headed.

And on to the news…

*   The Fashion History Museum has found a permanent home and will be opening next year.  Congratulations to Kenn and Jonathan.

*   If you are in the UK, the Fashion and Textile Museum has a great-sound new exhibition, Knitwear – Chanel to Westwood. thanks to Brooke for the link

*   John Paul Gaultier just did his last women’s ready-to-wear show, and it brings up the question of whether designers are stretched too thin.

*   I love factory visits, and this one to the Johnstons of Elgin mill is really fun.

*   I am really disgusted with the “Look at me!” tactics of Urban Outfitters.  Please don’t shop there.

*   What does your wardrobe say about you?  thanks to scrapiana for the link

*  The Southeastern Region of the Costume Society of America will be holding their annual symposium in Nashville, Tennessee November 21 -23.  I hope to be there as these symposiums are always very worthwhile.  I’ll have more details later.

*   Museum visits are good for you.

*  And finally, how J.Crew bought the name of a defunct workwear company and turned its history into theirs.


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Vintage Miscellany – September 14, 2014

How did the 1930s woman manage to look so chic?  Even on horseback this woman is tailored and sleek.  Remove boots and breeches, put on skirt, and she’s ready for lunch at the club.  What a life!

*  Last week was New York Fashion Week, and Bill Cunningham noted a trend in the woman’s working uniform.

*  The Metropolitan Museum has announced the theme of next spring’s costume exhibition, Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film, and Fashion.  It sounds interesting, but from reading the press release, it seems like there is to be an overabundance of more modern fashion, with a John Galliano gown being chosen as the cover photo for the release.  With Andrew Bolton as the curator, I think that is what we can expect.

*   The latest product from Louboutin, a bottle of nail polish, costs $50.  How much does it cost to produce it?

*   Jen at Pintucks has added a great visual timeline of 1950s fashions.

*   When in New York, I love walking past the Stoll knitting factory to watch the machines.  It’s an amazing operation.

*   The LA Times had a good article on how the fashion industry there is having to change in order to survive.

*   Some shoppers are beginning to buy less, but spend more per garment.

*   An intriguing new book, Women in Clothes, is reviewed at NPR.  thanks to Brooke for the link.

*   An exhibition at the Canton Art Museum (Ohio) is about art forgeries.  The twist is that the visitor is given the chance to see if he or she can distinguish between the forgeries and the authentic art in the exhibition.  In February it travels to Oklahoma City.

* Lauren of Wearing History is working toward producing a line of vintage-inspired clothing.  She is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign that is going well, but could use a bit of support.  Even her fabrics are made in the USA!


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Vintage Miscellany – August 31, 2014

This photo is labeled “Mary & Tante Adafine Hartmann” so along with the wicker beach chair, I think this is probably German.  The beach chair was much more common in Europe than in the USA.  I’ve got to ask you European readers, do you ever see these for sale?

Mary’s white hat and shoes signal that this is probably late spring or summer, but it might serve as a reminder that with a little creative dressing, beach days can extend into the fall, especially here in the South.  September is especially nice, as it is still warm but all the kids are back in school and so the beaches are less crowded, and less noisy.

*  So, what’s the deal with Labor Day and wearing white?  Thanks to Brooke for the link.

*  And I guess I ought to just go ahead and get the issue of the President’s tan suit out of the way.  It used to be that we thought only the dress of women politicians was scrutinized.  No more; we are now a country of equal opportunity scrutinizers.

*  Levi’s made a custom denim tuxedo for Bing Crosby, and his niece is on a quest to find it.

*   Madison Avenue Fashion Heritage Week is a real thing, and will be October 20 through 26, 2014.  The windows of sixteen fashion houses will be turned over to the history of each one during the week.  I love this idea.

*   In “Sign of the Times,” Cathy Horyn discusses the trend toward wearability  in high fashion.  I really can’t see it as a totally bad trend.

*   “The Secret Life of Your Clothes” is an interesting video about how donated clothes end up in Africa and the effect they have on the African clothing industry.

*   Since many of the fast fashion chain designers are so obviously cultural nincompoops, they surely must start hiring history majors who will be able to explain why certain designs might not be a good idea.

*   The ALS ice challenge seems to have its course.  I  appreciate the millions of dollars it generated for research for this puzzling disease, a disease that claimed the life of one of my father’s brothers.  It’s great that something that went viral has actually has a good effect.

I didn’t do the ice challenge, but I did write a check, and another one for my local animal rescue group.  Then I sat with a glass full of ice and oj and cherry vodka.  That’s my kind of ice challenge.  I did really enjoy some of the ice bucket madness, but seeing Anna Wintour’s bob take a hit was the highlight for me.



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Vintage Miscellany – August 17, 2014

Click to enlarge

I really hate this time of year when people start thinking that summer is over. Yes, schools are starting and the days are noticeably shorter, but there’s no reason to go into hibernation just because there are Halloween decorations filling the aisles of your nearest discount store. Can you tell that I love summer?

And now for the news…

*  My favorite new find is Backstory with the American History Guys, a weekly podcast about American history, of course.  A recent show was about fashion, and included interviews with Ann Tartsinis (more from her later this week) and Linda Przybyszewski.

*   Just when I start to think fashion blogs are creating a giant homogenized  look for the world, I see this great video about street fashion in  Dakar, Senegal.

*   Art: coming to a billboard near you.

*   If you deal in vintage clothing, then it is likely you’ve encountered the Edith Flagg label.  It was a mid-priced line, produced in California.  To my surprise, I learned this week that Edith was a reality television star, appearing with her grandson on Million Dollar Listing on Bravo TV.  Who knew?  Edith died this past week at the age of 94.

*   I really, really, want to dislike Andre Leon Talley, but I just can’t.  He amuses me.  See why in this Q&A session with him and Isabel and Ruben Toledo.

*   Cathy Horyn is back with this essay on fashion friendship at Harper’s Bazaar.

*   Project Runway is back, and wackier than ever.

*  I may be confused by Project Runway, but I do love Tim Gunn.



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