Friday, March 30, 2012

Design Inspiration

André Fashion Studios, a New York design firm specializing in ladies coats and suits, sold fashion sketches to various clothing manufacturers.  Thanks to a collaboration between the Fashion Institute of Technology and New York Public Library, there is a wonderful digital archive of these fantastic fashion drawings and sketches from the 1930's to early 1940's.  The archive lets you refine your search by year, season, design detail, or famous designers such as Schiaparelli, Creed, or Paquin, to name a few.  The following is just a small sampling of fashion sketches from the archive. 

Click HERE to visit this fabulous archive.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Queen of the Prom

Spring is in the air and a young girl's fancy turns to prom.

An exquisite reproduction Barbie doll proves she is still the Queen of the Prom in Mattel's reproduction of "Senior Prom" (1963-64).  A dreamy confection of tulle and satin, this icy blue and sea green strapless gown remains a perennial favorite.  Pearl accented open-toe green shoes comes with the ensemble.  I added the opera-length white gloves and pearl jewelry.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


"Promenade" is a fabulous orchid suit accented with navy and white gingham.  It was designed by Tim Kennedy exclusively for Ashton Drake's 1997 Gene Marshall Collection, Circa 1945.   Gene is out for a stroll with her delightful pair of terriers, "Dottie" and "Dashiell" in the original look.  I decided to kick it up a notch and give this Spring ensemble a chic and sassy alternative.

What a difference an 1/8th of a yard of gingham makes.  By changing the style of the hat and replacing the original white gloves with gingham ones, this ensemble takes on a totally different attitude.  My model/muse is "Symphony in G" Gene Marshall, the purse on the table is from "Sunday Afternoon" ensemble, and the chair and table are from Gene's Patio Set.  All by Ashton Drake.  The actual color of the suit is more of a periwinkle blue than the orchid color pictured in the promotional shot.

I removed the veil from the original hat and added a scarf tied as a turban with the ends pulled through the opening in the crown.  The dragonfly "pins" are actually buttons I found at a craft store a few years back.  The miniature navy and white gingham cotton fabric was found at my local Hancock Fabrics.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Barbie Returns to 1950's Glamour

Gay Parisienne, from 1959, is probably the most desirable fashion for collectors of the Barbie doll.  Shown only in Mattel's 1959 catalog along with Roman Holiday and Easter Parade, it evokes the glamour of the late 1950's when Haute Couture was at it's peak. 

I'm excited that the Barbie Fashion Model Collection is finally returning to it's high fashion roots.  I recently received two of the new dolls: Walking Suit and the 2012 Fan Club exclusive, Afternoon Suit.

Walking Suit is a beautifully tailored, houndstooth suit with a fabulous blouse with fringed bow detailing at the neckline.  Accessories include the unique gauntlet gloves, umbrella, hat box, purse (not shown), stilettos and stockings.  Instead of using the black veiled hat that came with the ensemble, I remade a hat from Gene Marshall's Little Black Dress costume.  It was a wired, black velvet headband hat that I coiled to form a pillbox style.  The trim is original to the hat. 

This is my take on the Afternoon Suit.  I paired the belted jacket with a long and narrow black skirt.  I added the matching pink corsage and replaced the original pink buttons on the front of the jacket to black for contrast.  The hat is from an early Candi doll ensemble that I accented with the bow and feather trim from the original hat.  The structured handbag and jewelry are from D.A.E. Originals.  My model/muse is a wigged Suite Retreat Silkstone doll from BFMC.  Unfortunately there were some QC issues with my doll.  The hair was a choppy mess, so she will probably get a new wig.  The jacket was not as crisp looking as in the publicity still, and it did not fit well over the full skirt of the original costume.  With all that said, I am still happy with how the ensemble turned out.  I'm looking forward to what the rest of the year holds for the BFMC.

Set Credits:
Backdrop wall from RaiHing
Flooring is scrapbook paper
Table is the BFMC vanity with the mirror removed
A tea cup from a miniature tea set holds a miniature floral arrangement
Picture on table is a Mel Odom reproduction illustration
Leopard "statue" is a collectible trinket box from Hobby Lobby

1959 Gay Parisienne costume and doll are reproductions from Mattel.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

3 Ways To Wear A Pinstripe Suit

Joan Crawford (my repainted "Pin-Up" Gene Marshall, artist unknown) demonstrates how to change the look of her favorite pinstripe suit from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection.

The dramatic boucle hat with vintage feather spray and coordinating color-blocked gauntlet gloves, both from The Couture Touch, gives this suit a sophisticated edge.  Fur stole from PD Root, black knit top from Greene and Lam's "A Woman of Means" ensemble, shoes from Integrity, cigarette holder from Ashton Drake.

A different look with softer color accents and a mix of patterns.  The delightful pink and black houndstooth hat and purse set is from Ashton Drake,  neck scarf from Sandra Stillwell's "Bandolier Morado" ensemble, fur from Greene and Lam's "A Woman of Means", gloves from Integrity, and shoes from Tonner's Joan Crawford Collection.

The pinstripe suit and bold shoulders became synonymous with Joan Crawford after her Oscar winning performance in the 1945 film noir classic "Mildred Pierce".  D.A.E. Original's dramatic fur cape from their "Star Maker" evening ensemble provides the strong shoulder line to this classic suit.  A "diamond" brooch was added to the "Bandolier Morado floral scarf at the neckline.  Gloves and purse from Integrity, shoes from Joe Tai, and the felt tilt topper from The Couture Touch.

Backdrop from RaiHing