Saturday, July 30, 2011

Weekend Swimwear Glamour

Encore Gene Marshall from Ashton Drake is dripping in icy 1940's glamour!  The sensational silver swimsuit is from Integrity's Star Entrance Gene Marshall Gift Set and the silver shoes are also from Integrity.  The filmy wrap is borrowed from Gene's Cascade in Blue evening ensemble and the necklace from Best Bet, both by Ashton Drake.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dior Wasp-Waist Dress

Two silhouettes dominated in the late 1940's:  The first consisted of a fitted bodice, relaxed shoulders, tight belted waist, and a longer billowing full skirt dubbed "The New Look".  The second differed only that the skirt was pencil slim with a vent or pleat to permit movement.  Both silhouettes accented Dior's corseted "wasp" waist.

This early 1950's Vogue photo by Irving Penn shows Dior's wasp-waist black satin dress.  The skirt was pinned in the back to highlight the silhouette and had to be unpinned so that the model could walk.  It's a cinch that Gene Marshall fans will recognize this dress.  It was the inspiration for Integrity's "It's a Cinch" Gene Marshall Dressed doll.

A Lady Knows that's It's a Cinch to look fabulous when wearing Dior!   Ashton Drake's A Lady Knows Gene (minus her bangs and given an Integrity articulated body) models the dress and earrings from It's a Cinch.  The gloves are borrowed from Fringe Festival Ivy Jordan, the hat from Bogue's Vogues, and the shoes are from Joe Tai.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Weekend Swimwear Glamour

Mattel's reproduction Picnic Set Barbie doll is fashionably chic while relaxing on the Riviera in Joshard's black and white swimsuit.  Black straw hat from Mattel's Audrey Hepburn line. Randall Craig bracelet.  Shoes and sunglasses from Mattel.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

1940's Hairstyles: Pompadours, Rolls, and Bangs

Carmen Miranda

What's a woman's most versatile accessory?  Well hair, of course!  Women in the early 1940's certainly mastered the art of keeping their hair in place while still looking their most attractive and glamorous.  My absolute favorites of the 1940's hairstyles are the fabulous variations of pompadours, rolls, and bangs.

Madame Pompadour

1940's pompadour hairstyles can have many variations.  The high rolled top section can be smoothed straight back off the forehead or combed into forward roll bangs.  It can be used in combination with rolls at the nape of the neck or with "Victory" rolls.  Sometimes the hair is left to fall in soft waves in the back.  The true pompadour has a lot of volume which was achieved by back-combing or by utilizing a "rat" to support the hair. During the war years, women used to save the hair that accumulated in their hair brush and then used it to stuff a stocking. This "rat" was then used to roll the hair to achieve the needed volume. Tip: You could actually recreate this method for styling the hair on your own Gene Marshall doll.

I was lucky to find these marvelous hair rollers at a flea market.  The rayon covered flexible wire made it easy to achieve rolls at the nape of the neck.  There were several variations of these rollers available on the market.

These Simply Gene dolls from Ashton Drake's Gene Marshall Collection were perfect for hair play.  I was able to use a vintage Solo hair roller to achieve the roll at the nape of the neck and then just played with the sides and top sections to get this glamorous look.  The gown is borrowed from Black Ice Madra Lord by Ashton Drake.

Here's an early restyled Gene with just the sides and top sections rolled.  The hat is positioned so that the pompadour style is emphasized.  OOAK hat, necklace, and belt are from The Couture Touch.  The blouse and skirt are from Bogue's Vogues for Fashion Boulevard.

I find Integrity's hair fiber to be extremely difficult to handle, but decided to rework the rolls on Ooh La La Gene's updo to give her an earlier 40's look.  I designed the hat just for her hairstyle and to compliment Mark Middendorf's Fond Farewell 1940's era suit ensemble.

Carmen Miranda shows off her 40's style in this fabulous ensemble.  I love how the veiling accents her asymmetrical rolled bangs.

A last look at this popular 1940's hairstyle.  From the archives:  A platinum Simply Gene from Ashton Drake restyled in true pompadour glory!  Suit from Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Weekend Swimwear Glamour

Sunset Serenade Violet Waters from Integrity is a Bathing Beauty in this circa 1940's 2-piece navy and white dotted swimwear ensemble from Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection.  Her warm make-up colors are a nice contrast with the cool navy outfit.  The large navy straw picture hat from Madame Alexander is accented with a white floral hair ornament borrowed from Queen of Hearts Gene Marshall by Ashton Drake.  Bracelet from Liz Cole/Retros, sunglasses from Integrity.  The umbrella is from Ashton Drake's April Showers Coca-Cola Calendar Girl Gene Marshall.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tutti-Frutti Girls

Carmen Miranda, popular Brazilian singer and actress during the 1930's and throughout the 1940's, popularized the fruit and floral adorned turban that she wore when she performed "The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat" routine in Busby Berkeley's 1943 musical "The Gang's All Here".  Exotic millinery became her trademark and even as early as 1939, Saks Fifth Avenue developed a line of turbans and jewelry inspired by her fabulous costumes.  In 1943, Macy's featured Carmen Miranda themed windows. 

Film star Gene Marshall [Caribbean Kiss] shows her exotic flair by adding miniature fruit and floral accents to her Rio Rumba turban.  This fabulous 40's inspired costume was designed by Tim Kennedy for Ashton Drake's Gene Marshall Collection.  Circa 1956.  I added the opera-length gloves and restyled Gene's hair.

Usherette Barbie from Mattel's Silkstone Fashion Model Collection gives my original Sheath Sensation [1961-1964] 40's flair with a turban fashioned from a scarf and accented with miniature fruit.  The red platform shoes were a lucky find from a doll show.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Three Dobbs Resorters

A trio of Dobbs famous Resorters for 1939.  Each one is distinguished by a new wool "masque" treatment on their smart crowns.  Pictured from the left:  A swing brim for sports, a Directoire for town, and a dashing side roll for travel.  Ad from Vogue.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Weekend Swimwear Glamour

All this month, the weekends are reserved for swimwear glamour!

There is nothing quite like the elegance of basic black.  Trench Setter Barbie from Mattel's Silkstone Fashion Model Collection wears a classic one-piece suit accented with the hot colors of Uptown Chic Barbie's striped wrap.  Vintage flowers adorn the cartwheel style straw hat borrowed from an early Candi doll ensemble.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Adventures in Dyeing

When I recently discovered that my Ashton Drake Croquet, Anyone? white linen ensemble had begun to show signs of tea staining, I decided to try my hand at dyeing. 

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USO Gene wears Croquet, Anyone?  a circa 1941 ensemble designed by Lynne Day for Ashton Drake's 2000 Gene Marshall Collection.  My little blue OOAK suede hat was an experiment.  I wanted to bring out the powder blue top-stitching detail.

Now the last time I dyed anything was back in the 1970's for a school project.  So I consulted the RIT website for hints and color options.  They even have a blog!  Who knew there was a community of faithful RIT users.  It's amazing all the stuff that can be dyed.

I removed all of the buttons and snaps from the jacket and dress. Boy were there a lot of them!  I also removed the attached belt and tie on the dress.  I gathered my supplies:  dye, rubber gloves, bleach (to clean up afterwards), stainless steel pot, wooden spoon, and lots and lots of paper towels.  I even lined my sink with foil leaving an opening around the drain.  I sure hope I can dye better than I can cook!!!

And now for the reveal......

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I have to say I'm totally pleased with the results.  I love how the top-stitching now pops.  I replaced the original buttons with tiny grey ones eliminating the ones on the lapel.  And of course I had to make a new hat and purse just for this "new" ensemble.  The gloves are from Ashton Drake and the fabulous oxfords are from Integrity's C'est Moi Madra.  My model/muse is Azure Elegance Madra Lord from Ashton Drake. 

Wondering what happened to the original hat?  I decided at the last minute not to dye it, but reshaped it to make it more of a cloche style.

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I always thought this great 30's dress needed a hat.  I reshaped the hat and replaced the original trim.  Luckily it doesn't show any signs of changing colors.  The dress, shoes, and gloves are borrowed from Integrity's Silhouette of the 1930's Zita Charles.  My model/muse is a wigged It's a Cinch Gene Marshall from Integrity.

Thanks for joining me in this adventure in dyeing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blonde Lace

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For the 1937 film Angel, Travis Banton applied one of his signature trademarks of using men's clothing for women in this fabulous costume designed for Marlene Dietrich.  Dietrich often chose to wear masculine clothes off screen as well as on.  Other actresses tried to emulate her style, but few could pull it off as well as she could. 

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Here is a scene from the Ernst Lubitsch film showing Marlene Dietrich in the costume designed by Travis Banton.  Like many of the costume designers in Hollywood, Banton designed for Dietrich on and off the screen.

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Golden Gala Madra Lord looking sophisticated in the miniature version called "Blonde Lace".  The ensemble was designed by Tim Kennedy exclusively for the 1995 Ashton Drake Gene Marshall Collection.  Circa 1941.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday America!

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Barbie is ready for the July 4th parade in "Roman Holiday" ensemble.  Both doll and outfit are reproductions from Mattel.

Friday, July 1, 2011


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Our favorite film star is seen soaking up the sun in Integrity's "Swim Suited to a T" ensemble.  Table, Tiki, and grape cluster from Liz Cole/Retros.  Umbrella and miniature Coke bottle from Ashton Drake's 2001 "April Showers Coca-Cola Calendar Girl" ensemble. Bracelet from Ashton Drake.  Shoes from Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection.  Relaxing on the wicker chaise is Ashton Drake's "Spring In Central Park"  Gene Marshall with an Integrity articulated body.

Look for more swimwear glamour throughout the month.