Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hats They Choose

When an actress is her own costume designer for her off-screen role, what does she wear? These three busy, beautiful stars were invited to come to our studio and bring their favorite hat. Here are the results.

Joan Crawford
Miss Crawford graciously stopped by our studio on her way to a benefit luncheon wearing a stylish checked topper perfectly coordinated with her jacket ensemble. Hat, jacket, necklace and earrings are from The Couture Touch. Gloves are from PD Root, handbag and bracelet from Integrity. The belt was borrowed from J'Adore Gene Marshall. Underneath is the strapless black sheath from Cherry Smash.

The asymmetric topper utilizes the same fabric as the covered buttons on the jacket. The floral trim was recycled from an Ashton Drake hair ornament. Miss Crawford was originally a Pin-Up Gene Marshall (artist unknown).

Ivy Jordan
Miss Jordan, who prefers being behind the camera instead of in front of it, drove up to the studio wearing a smart royal blue fedora accented with a dramatic feather and netting detail. Hat and fur from miniature furrier PD Root, jacket from The Couture Touch, and earrings from Ashton Drake. Dress is a dyed version of Croquet, Anyone?

Gene Marshall
Miss Marshall arrived in a tweed jacket and black skirt. The hat she chose - an extravagant red felt topper. Hat and scarf from The Couture Touch, fur drape from PD Root, jacket from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

DIY Vintage-Style Hat for Gene Marshall

It's that time of the year again when all eyes are on a ladies Easter bonnet. You can easily make your own 1940's disk-style tilt hat for Miss Marshall. Here's what you will need:

Fabric of your choice
matching thread
buckram  (available at most fabric stores or millinery supply shops)
assorted trimmings
straight pins
glue  (I use Fabri-Tac by Beacon Adhesives)
Fray Check or Fray Block by June Tailor (optional)

Draw a circle on the buckram and cut out. I used a glass that measured just under 2 1/2" in diameter as a guide. You can make your hat smaller or larger. The beauty of buckram is that it can be shaped while wet and when it is dry, it will hold it's shape. I use it for many of my hats. Cut out a circle of fabric 3/8" larger than the buckram circle. If your chosen fabric is loosely woven, I recommend you apply either Fray Check or Fray Block to the outer edge of the fabric to help prevent raveling.

Run a gathering stitch around the fabric approximately 1/8" from the edge. Center the buckram and gently pull the gathers around the disk.

Tighten the gathers around the buckram and secure thread with a knot.  Cut out a circle in felt approximately 1/8" to 1/4" smaller than your hat.

Center the felt circle and pin. Hand stitch the felt circle to the hat with a tiny whip-stitch. This clean-finishes the underside of your hat.

Now for the fun part.  Embellish your hat as desired. The floral spray was tacked to the hat with hand stitching. The remaining flowers, leaf, and bird were glued in position. It's best to work from the back of the hat forward once the foundation pieces have been attached. Netting, feathers, miniature birds, ribbons, beads, buttons, braids, and flowers are readily available at local craft and fabric stores such as Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Jo Ann Fabrics, etc. I also look for vintage millinery pieces at flea markets and antique malls. And as you know, I also like to re-purpose items I already own.

And Viola! You now have a smart new hat for Miss Marshall.  Jacket is from Ashton Drake's "Doing Her Part", scarf from Mattel, and fur from miniature furrier PD Root.

And just to get your creative juices flowing......

George Beigel tilt hat using a fabulous white ostrich feather, velvet ribbons, & flowers, circa 1940's.
Bes Ben hat, circa 1944
Joan Crawford, circa 1940's
Photo courtesy

And 4 more courtesy


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Creative Millinery

During WWII, the U.S. implemented clothing restrictions (referred to as Limitation Order L-85) to the apparel industry in order to conserve materials needed for the war effort. The rationing of supplies sparked creativity as well as renewed self-expression.

Even Hollywood was impacted by the wartime restrictions. At the Monolithic Studio's wardrobe department, stylists work their millinery magic with available materials to refresh some of their early costumes.

The result:  Five glorious hats....each one star-approved by Monolithic's leading ladies, Miss Gene Marshall and Miss Madra Lord.

J'Adore Gene Marshall wears a fashionable red leather tilt hat made from a vintage shoe clip. The clip was removed and a circle of felt was added to finish the underside of the hat. Ashton Drake's red crepe jacket/dress ensemble is now the perfect "Smart Set".

Blue Fox Gene Marshall accents her black and cream striped dress with a delightful black ribbon tilt hat that began as a flower lapel pin. "Lucky Stripe" gets a make-over by adding a belt and moving the side drape so the beautiful pleating is visible. Dress, jewelry, gloves, and Miss Marshall are all from Ashton Drake.

The hat from Robert Tonner's "Fresh Take" gets a fresh re-take by re-shaping the wired bandeau into a dramatic red feathered tilt topper perfect for Tonner's Reporter in Red suit ensemble from the Brenda Starr Collection. Jewelry from The Couture Touch. "Fresh Take" costume is from the Ann Harper Collection. Like A Fox Madra Lord is from Ashton Drake.

The satin ribbon hat from Ashton Drake's Star Wardrobe Collection brown accessories set was updated with vintage millinery trim for a spectacular floral confection. Suit, gloves, and jewelry are from Ashton Drake. J'Adore Gene Marshall is the FDQ exclusive doll from Mel Odom and JamieShow.

Dark Desire Madra Lord graciously poses for the cover of Movie Star magazine wearing a fabulous tilt hat that was once the little tam from Ashton Drake's "Bonnie and Blythe" costume. The red pom pom and black vinyl trim were removed from the original hat. Buckram was inserted for shape and support and the underside finished with felt. Dramatic vintage trim accents the "new" hat. Dress, jewelry, and Miss Lord are from Ashton Drake. Fur cape from Dimitha.

Next time:  Make a circa 1940's tilt hat for Miss Marshall.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dressing for the Cocktail Hour

A chic daytime dress superbly executed in sumptuous silks or satins and topped with an elegant chapeau. Gloves, handbag, and costume jewelry mandatory. In the late 1940's, Dior coined the term "cocktail dress", and with it our fascination with the cocktail culture.

1945 OOAK Feathered Cocktail Toque

During the 1940's. black was the favorite color for the cocktail dress. J'Adore Gene Marshall wears a classic Bogue's Vogues black silk sheath accented with a side drape. Accessories include a marvelous black suede and pleated faille toque with jet beading accented with a lavish turquoise feather cockade and a matching structured handbag, both from The Couture Touch. "Diamond" jewelry and bow-enhanced black gloves are from Ashton Drake.

1950's cocktail dresses were either form-fitting or full-skirted with low plunging necklines and cinched waists. Silkstone Barbie Parisienne Pretty wears the navy silk stunner from Haute Doll Magazine's D.A.E. Original's exclusive "Weekend in New York" set. She wears her original earrings and hat. Pearl necklace and fur are from Mattel.

By the 1960's pastel colors were the preferred choice for cocktail dresses. Mattel's Mad Men Joan Holloway wears Integrity's Fashion Royalty yummy "Purple Factor" wiggle sheath borrowed from Adele Makeda. A perfect color for her titan tresses.

Source: metmuseum

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Midnight Mischief of a Madcap Modiste

The mischief?  A madcap murder featuring a most unusual weapon - a specially designed cape with a brooch laced with poison!  Follow: A decidedly deceptive modiste (French for fashionable dressmaker) designs an evening cape that must be closed with both hands thus prompting the intended victim, a model, to put the brooch in her mouth.

The murderess or intended victim?  Victoire Roux models the late afternoon cocktail cape ensemble Midnight Mischief from Mattel's Silkstone Barbie Fashion Model Collection. The original self-bow at the neckline was replaced with a "diamond" brooch. The extravagant, high-crown, beaded and feathered pink silk hat is from The Couture Touch.


Buenos Aires Victoire Roux is from Integrity.

The Case of the Madcap Modiste from the Perry Mason series originally aired on April 30, 1960. Charles le Maire was credited for the special gowns and fashion sketches used in the episode.

Leslie Parrish tries on the cape as
Dorothy Neumann looks on. From the
Perry Mason episode, The Case of the
Madcap Modiste, 1960.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

On The Plaza with Miss Gene Marshall

On The Plaza is an impeccably tailored suit ensemble from Sandra Stillwell's Holiday Collection that she presented at the 2013 Every Day's A Holiday event held in Kansas City. It was inspired by a Betty Rose design, circa 1950's.

Photo courtesy
The Betty Rose label was trademarked in 1926 by the Stern-Slegman Prins Company, Kansas City, MO. The company designed women's coats and suits as well as girl's coats under the Betty Rose label.

This chic and sophisticated black and white tweed suit is accented with subtle shots of silver metallic thread woven throughout the fabric. The highlight is the perfectly scaled decorative tabs and Swarovski crystal buttons. Accessories include a red wool felt platter hat trimmed with wine velvet, red gloves, drop earrings, and the most marvelously detailed red-trimmed black suede shoes.

Join Miss Marshall On The Plaza as she models this fabulous suit styled by The Couture Touch.

The original hat was re-modeled to form a heart shape meant to be worn off the face. The fur stole is from Integrity's "C'est Moi" Madra Lord ensemble, shoes and purse are from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection, and the gloves are from Ashton Drake. A pre-made satin bow is tucked under the front overlay and accented with a tiny matching flower. A restyled "To Have and To Hold" Gene Marshall from Ashton Drake has been enhanced with an Integrity articulated body.

Perfect for Spring: red and black accessories. The perfect topper: the black straw hat from Mattel's Muffy Roberts Silkstone Barbie doll. Red gloves are from Robert Tonner, the red corsage and black alligator handbag are from Integrity, and the earrings and white with black dotted scarf are from The Couture Touch. J'Adore Gene Marshall is the FDQ Exclusive BJD from Mel Odom and JamieShow. She wears the black, one-bun chignon from JamieShow.

Another delightful Spring look courtesy of the OOAK floral hat from Hunter-Goldblatt Designs. Yellow scarf and black gloves are from Ashton Drake, the OOAK "lucite" handbag is from The Couture Touch, shoes are from Integrity. The tweed jacket is paired with a black skirt from Bogue's Vogues. A white with black dotted pre-made bow is again tucked under the front overlay for accent. "Cocoa Crisp" Gene Marshall is from Integrity.

A fabulous tilt hat from The Couture Touch and the fur drape from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection provide the drama and gives this 50's suit a 40's flair. Brooch and gloves are from Ashton Drake, and the handbag is from Mark Middendorf. The gray feathered hair ornament from Integrity's Rich Girl ensemble was re-purposed as trim for the hat. "Symphony in G" Gene Marshall is from Ashton Drake.

Be sure to visit for availability of fashions from her events.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A New Hat to Lift the Spirits

It's been a long, hard winter and even a miniature Hollywood film diva occasionally needs to rejuvenate the soul. And what better way to lift the spirits than with a new hairstyle and a new hat!  After a trip to the beauty salon, Miss Gene Marshall visits her favorite milliner at The Couture Touch atelier. Miss Marshall selects an off-the-face style chapeau to complement her new bangs. The winter white, wool felt hat features a split-brim accented with black marabou.

Miss Marshall's re-styled tweed jacket is from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr collection. The black leather handbag and fur drape are from miniature furrier PD Root. Print scarf is from Sandra Stillwell. Hat, jewelry, and black suede gauntlet gloves are from The Couture Touch. Fashion Plot Gene Marshall is from Ashton Drake.