Monday, January 24, 2011

Gene Marshall & Company Discover Anne Harper

Dateline Hollywood:  Director Ivy Jordan will use the studio's new costume designer Anne Harper for her latest film "Broadway Babes" starring Gene Marshall and Madra Lord.

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The new Anne Harper Collection by Robert Tonner features a selection of fabulous suits and gowns worthy of a Hollywood star of the 1940's and 1950's era. 

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"Captivatingly Coy" is my favorite of the 3 outfits I have.  I love the asymmetrical detailing of this pink and black ensemble.  A perfect choice for Ashton Drake's "Black Widow" Madra Lord with an Integrity articulated body.  I was pleasantly surprised as to how well this one fits.  Most Tonner fashions can be a little big especially in the waistline area. 

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Here is a close-up of the fabulous hat and intricate detailing of the jacket.  Jewelry from Ashton Drake.  OOAK cigarette holder.

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The best part of this "Fresh Take" black suit is the woven ribbon detailing. So 1940's!  As you can see, I replaced the original white blouse trimmed with pom-poms with a more tailored version in green.  I love this shade of green with red. I also eliminated the cuffs and added the oversized corsage.  The shoes are borrowed from Silo 30's Zita and the muff from Dark Desire.  This suit did not fit as well as "Captivatingly Coy".  I pinned both the jacket and skirt in the back for a closer fit.

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I wish the hat looked more like Tonner's prototype pic.  But I think this works with my restyled Ashton Drake Gene's new hairdo.  The feather detailing on the hat is wonderful.

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"Venus Rising" is a fabulous charmeuse gown with chiffon ruffles at the hemline.  The chiffon arm drapes really make this gown a stand-out.  The wonderful color looks perfect on this redhead diva, Metropolitan Madra from Metrodolls.  I also love the grey t-strap shoes with rhinestones.  Why is it the best shoes are hidden under gowns? 

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Here is a shot of the gown without the arm drapes.  I just love those hemline ruffles!  The neckline is a tad low on Madra, but she can certainly pull it off! 

Gene & Company (and I) will be looking forward to future collections by Anne Harper, studio designer.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The New Look

The New Look was primarily the creation of one man, Christian Dior.  After the fabric restrictions of World War 2, The New Look utilized luxurious fabrics and lavish designs.  Skirts became full, sweeping to almost ankle length (11 inches from the ground).  Each panel of a New Look skirt was individually lined with an extra ruffle at the waist to make pleats or gathers jut out sharply over the hips.  Jackets were figure hugging with decollete necklines, long narrow sleeves, and often accented with pockets, tucks, and button details.  To achieve the ultra narrow waistline, Dior devised a special built-in "waspie" corset. 

The New Look suits and dresses were accompanied by the most glamorous hats.  From dramatic, wide brimmed black hats to the delightful head-hugging hats that were artfully decorated with elaborate embroidery and trimmings.

For his first major collection in the Spring of 1947, Dior created his now iconic "Bar Suit".

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The "Bar Suit" was comprised of a silk shantung fitted jacket with sloped shoulders, cinched waist, and padded hips.  The black pleated wool skirt was full and longer in length.  Accessories often included a wide brimmed hat, umbrella, pumps, and short leather gloves.  Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Collection.

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In 1996, Mattel produced the 50th Anniversary Christian Dior Barbie Doll.  This wonderful miniature replica of the famous "Bar Suit" is worn by "The Interview" BFM Silkstone Barbie doll.  Leopard muff borrowed from another Mattel ensemble.

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In 1999, Ashton Drake produced "Love, Paris" Gene Marshall, a dressed doll designed by Jose Ferrand.  It consisted of a grey fitted jacket over a full circle skirt with the new longer length, supported by an underskirt of ruffled black organza that provides fullness and lift.  It is worn by Integrity's Silhouette of the 1950's Ivy Jordan.

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Original accessories consisted of a pink wide brimmed hat and matching purse.  For this photo shoot, I used the hat from Ashton Drake's "Lucky Stripe", black beaded gloves from AD's "Embassy Luncheon", umbrella from Fashion Boulevard, and pumps from Joe Tai.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dressing for Victory

Every type of cloth was in short supply worldwide due to World War 2.  Rationing was set up in America in 1942 and became a way of life.  Fashion magazines and home sewing publications showed a variety of ways to change the look of a woman's wardrobe.

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"Make and Mend for Victory" was published in 1942 by The Spool Cotton Co.  These books were a wealth of information from altering and caring for garments to remaking a man's suit into a woman's suit or dress.  Also included were instructions for making accessories.

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Dickeys and removeable collars were a popular way to change the look of suits or basic dresses.  This excerpt from "Make and Mend" shows the many different styles you could make.

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A similar book called "Build Your Own Wardrobe" was published in 1943 by The American Thread Co.  It focused on updating and expanding a woman's wardrobe with accessories.

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Would you believe these delightful hats were made from pillowcases?  Because of the fabric shortages, women were encouraged to recycle textiles.  Excerpt from "Build Your Own Wardrobe".

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In 2000, Ashton Drake released the "Little Black Dress" designed by Tim Kennedy.  This circa 1943 ensemble included a wide variety of accessories to mix and match with a basic black crepe dress.  This is my favorite look worn by Ashton Drake's "Love at First Sight" Gene.  The basic dress is paired with the hunter green vest and accented with the red and black checked hat and gloves.  Furniture by Retros.

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The strap of the hat is positioned in the back as was often seen in the 40's.  How I wish the gloves were the gauntlet style that was originally designed by Kennedy.  The necklace, bracelet, and muff are from other outfits.

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Ashton Drake's "Spring in Central Park" Gene with an Integrity articulated body wears the same dress with the lace jabot/cuffs and black crepe belt.  The horsehair hat is accented with the floral headband hat that I tucked in her hair.  Earrings and cigarette holder are OOAK.

Additional "Little Black Dress" accessories not shown included a red and black checked waist wrap, black crepe envelope purse, gold chain belt, and a variety of jewelry pieces.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Diamonds and White Mink"

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Here is something to warm you on a cold Winter night. Dana Parfum ad from the October 1946 issue of Harper's Bazaar.  Harry Winston jewels.  Photo by Rawlings.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Tilt Hats, Part 2

I love this cover of the October 1940 issue of Vogue Pattern Book.  It shows a simple tilt hat with a sensational tailored suit.  I often use these vintage pattern books for research as they contain wonderful line drawings and are beautifully illustrated to show the entire look.

This color illustration from Vogue magazine shows 3 examples of different crown heights for Spring 1941.  All hats by Howard Hodge.  Tilt hats were the perfect accent for tailored suits, dresses, and coats.

This circa 1940's tri-color hat with brass nailheads features a twisted bandeau in the back.  From my private collection.

Aren't these pink ostrich feathers on this 40's felt topper fabulous?  It's labeled Dayton Co., Minneapolis. From my private collection.

Here is another example of a hat from the 40's meant to be worn toward the front and tilted to the side. Who can't resist black Persian lamb and an expertly placed feather?  From my private collection.

Integrity's Willow Madra is wearing a prototype ensemble called Golden Falcon.  I love the contrasting colors of the hat. The ensemble is circa 1940's.

Integrity's Ivy Jordan is wearing the revised version called Maltese Jaguar that now resides in a private collection, and graces my blog header.  The tilt hat is accented with a vintage bird and veiling.

Ashton Drake's Mel Loves Marsha Gene models Lunch at Delmonico's, an OOAK exclusive for MetroDolls. This late 30's suit ensemble features a stovetop style tilt hat. In a private collection. 

For your viewing enjoyment, be sure to click on any picture to enlarge.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tilt Hats, Part 1

Tilt hats were seen in the late thirties often with a high crown and were designed to be worn either at an angle or perched toward the front of the head.  The early 40's saw tilt hats that were smaller in size and were referred to as "toy tilt hats".  Many had a "bandeau" or strap attached to the back of the hat to help secure it to the head.  Decorations ranged from a simple grosgrain band or single feather to the extreme with flowers, feathers, birds, fruit, and veiling.

This fabulous photo by George Platt Lynes appeared in the 1938 Vogue Autumn Forecast issue for furs and hats.  The wonderful lynx fur coat was from the fur salon at Marshall Field & Company, Chicago.  The marvelous Dache hat from the French Room.

This Rose Valois' topper of red felt banded with wide black grosgrain fashioned into a bow in the front was featured in a fashion spread called "Straightforward Paris Hats" from the 1939 Vogue Autumn Forecast issue for furs and hats. Photo by Horst.

A Suzy black felt with a satin ribbon snood accented with Mauboussin jewels. From "Straightforward Paris Hats", Vogue 1939 Autumn Forecast issue.  Photo by Horst.

I found this wonderful 1940's grey felt topper at a local thrift store. I love those tall, dramatic feathers. From my personal collection.

This red leather 1940's topper is labeled "Sunnycrest Original".  From my personal collection.

This late thirties OOAK topper was inspired by a hat worn by the villainess in a Sherlock Holmes film called "Dressed To Kill".

I made this tilt hat to go with Tonner's Brenda Starr, "Reporter In Red" suit. The bird and red veiling are vintage pieces.

One of my favorite Ashton Drake dolls, Top This Madra Lord. I did tweek the topper by removing the original veil and added the bird and vintage veiling. Fur by Dimithia.

Stay tuned for Part 2, More Tilt Hats. For your viewing enjoyment, be sure to click on the pictures to enlarge.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Persia Channels Dheei

From her elegant facial features to her high-fashion, European wardrobe, my fascination with Mdvanii by BillyBoy Toys has been unyielding.  Unfortunately she has also been unattainable.  Then I discovered Persia Idols by Darrell Wallace. These hand-made, resin dolls reminiscent of Mdvanii are miniature works of art.  Recently I was lucky enough to purchase one that resembles Mdvanii's best friend, Dheei.

I wanted an ensemble to compliment her gorgeous copper-colored eye shadow and prune-colored lips. Here she is in her first photo shoot in a royal blue wool jersey, form fitting sheath with the classic Mdvanii-style silk sash with matching pill-box hat and suede structured handbag.  OOAK ensemble from The Couture Touch. Necklace borrowed from the Gene Marshall Collection. [To increase the size of the pic, click on the photo.]