Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Film icon, Miss Gene Marshall, is ready to ring in the New Year in my interpretation of a Bobby Taylor design called "Born to Sing".  The pattern was featured in a HLAYG Newsletter.  I redesigned the skirt, added the jet seed beading at the waist, and made matching gauntlet gloves. The fur is from Ashton Drake, and the hat is from the "Little Black Dress" ensemble.  Vintage veiling was added to the hat.  The shoes and purse are from Tonner's Brenda Starr. My muse is Swim Suited to a T Gene from Integrity Toys.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dinner Suits

Dinner suits made their appearance towards the end of the 1930's.  The early ones consisted of a short jacket often embroidered or beaded and a long, matching skirt.  Fabrics included crepe, wool, velvet and boucle.  The designer most associated with the dinner suit was Elsa Schiaparelli.

This fabulous jacket is from Schiaparelli's Modern Comedy Collection, Spring 1939.  It was originally worn over a slinky black evening dress. I would wear this today over a black skirt or pants or even jeans!  Black velvet patches embellish black wool with black buttons in the shape of harlequin masks add a touch of whimsy.  Image from "Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli", The Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The striking "Black Widow" Madra Lord strikes a pose in this marvelous dinner suit from "Jackpot".  It was from Ashton Drake's final Gene Marshall Collection.  Wine taffeta is accented with matching velvet bow and hemline flounce. Accessories included a hat (not shown), muff, gloves, and shoes.  The storycard indicates that it is circa 1947. However, I found an illustration of the suit in a 1941 issue of Vogue.

This is the illustration from a fashion spread promoting the American Haute Couture in the September 1941 issue of Vogue.  The dinner suit is black silk crepe and silk velvet accented with green muff, shoes and ostrich head-dress.  No particular designer was credited to it.  It was from the American Autumn Collection.  Salon Moderne, Saks-Fifth Avenue. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Beauty in Black

Du Barry Beauty in Black.  September 1941.  Hat by John-Frederics.  Jewels from Marcus & Co.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rich Girl, or.....Dressing To Please A Man

This delightful illustration is from an article featured in a 1939 issue of Vogue. The author, Jane Conway, explores the art of dressing to please a man! I can just imagine Gene in her elegant beige suit and hat sipping coffee with Trent when Madra struts by dressed to turn heads.
In this case it is Ivy Jordan who is dressed to please in Madra's "Rich Girl" ensemble. The wonderful floral hat is borrowed from 24Kt Madra.

Monday, December 27, 2010


I began sewing in grade school and Mattel's Barbie doll was my favorite muse.  My love of sewing and mid-century fashion came together with the introduction of the Gene Marshall doll by Mel Odom.

This is the first suit I designed for the Gene doll.  My inspirations come from old movies, vintage fashion magazines, antique clothing shows, and vintage sewing patterns.  I particularly love the styles from the mid-thirties through the late forties.  I always said I was born at the wrong time. I much prefer the elegance and glamour of the thirties and forties. In addition to the fabulous fashions are the accessories!  How I wish we still wore hats and gloves!