Monday, September 24, 2012


"Simply wearing red is an act of confidence that commands attention"..... from Fashion and Color by Mary Garthe.

From bright red to the deepest burgandy, red evokes strong emotion.  Red advances visually, an attribute that makes it seem closer to the viewer than any other color.  When worn alone, red is hot, passionate, and powerful.  When subdued by the addition of black or white, as in burgandy, red retains its impact, but takes on an air of mystery.

Here's a look at red through the decades as modeled by the stars of Monolithic Studios.

Gene Marshall is sublimely elegant in the berry colored wool suit from Robert Tonner's Mrs. Coulter. The tri-corne hat from Diane on Whidbey Island with the addition of vintage veiling lends a mysterious aire to this circa 1930's ensemble.  Shoes and purse from Integrity, gloves from Ashton Drake, and jewelry from Bogue's Vogues.  My model is "Everything's Coming Up Roses" Gene Marshall by Ashton Drake.

Madra Lord knows that opposites attract in this delightful pairing of the black dress from Integrity's "It's A Cinch" with the green jerkin (vest) from Ashton Drake's "Little Black Dress" costume.  Black and green make the perfect backdrop to red in this circa 1940's ensemble.  The ooak red and black houndstooth tilt topper is accented with the black snood from "Fascination".  Hat, beaded suede color-blocked gauntlet gloves, and jewelry are from The Couture Touch.  Shoes from Integrity, purse from Tonner's Brenda Starr collection.  My model is "Top This" Madra Lord enhanced with an Integrity articulated body.

The perfect ensemble for late afternoon cocktails, circa 1950's, is worn by a no bangs "A Lady Knows" Gene Marshall by Ashton Drake.  Red accessories become the punctuation mark for this classic navy tweed suit called "Travel in Tweed" designed by Lynne Day.  Underneath is the red knit playsuit from Ashton Drake's "Crimson Sun" costume.  The dramatic navy straw picture hat borrowed from Madame Alexander's Aunt Amanda Fairchild is accented with an artfully tied, red jersey scarf with vintage millinery floral.  OOAK lucite purse, navy suede gloves, and earrings are from The Couture Touch, bracelet from Ashton Drake, pin from Mattel.

Table from CED
Telephone from Ashton Drake's "A Hot Day in Hollywood" Accessory Set

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Autumn Forecast, 1941

During World War II, British Vogue continued to provide information and guidance on how women could look their best.  The emphasis was on good design and good fabrics, interchangeable wardrobe pieces, accessories, and brilliant colours to uplift the spirits.  Rationing and the scarcity of certain fabrics gave rise to a new standard of design excellence based on chic, understated simplicity.  The following scans highlight this imaginative and intriguing period in fashion history.  They are from the September 1941 Autumn Forecast and Fabrics issue of British Vogue magazine from my personal collection.

Photo by Horst
Sophisticated Brown and Black suit ensemble accented with braided pockets and embroidered motifs.  I love the unexpected addition of the rhubarb-colored scarf.  Suit by Falkenstein.  Hat by Lilly Dache.

Photo by Lee Miller
The jacket dress by Matita.  Honeycomb tweed with blue and wine stripes on a mustard yellow background.  Paired with a delightful tilt hat with checked crown.

Illustration from Vogue Pattern Book that accompanied the Autumn Forecast & Fabrics issue of British Vogue, September 1941.  On the left, a cut-away jacket over a pleated dress perfect for all-day, every-day.  Both the jacket and dress can double with other outfits.  Pictured on the right, a beautifully detailed day dress for dressed-up occasions.

Hat & Bag-Muff by Otto Lucas
Add drama to a basic suit with a fabulous leopard trimmed tilt topper and matching muff-bag.  I want!

Wolsey fashion ad for a timeless soft jersey shirtmaker dress in a grand, brilliant colour, and underneath.....pure wool Brevets underwear (vest and panties) to wrap you in comfort and warmth; plus Klirsheers artificial silk stockings.

The colors and textures for Fall.  Perfect for a new suit or coat.  For linings, try using discarded print dresses or linings from other things no longer wearable.  Watch the fabric counters for remnants.  For your suit blouse, a woolen shirt for the coldest weather, cotton velveteen, and unrationed lace to wear with tweeds as well as for evening wear.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Eight Dramatic Paris Hats, 1936

High Drama Out of Paris....Marlene Dietrich purchased eight dramatic hats recently in Paris.

Hats by Agnes
Top left:  Blue and red suede hat with a cascade of blue feathers and a suede scarf to match.
Top right:  Black felt hat with red and blue suede and misted feathers.
Bottom left:  Wine-red suede hat with rolled brim jutting forward from a peaked crown.  A red feather quill streaks up one side.
Bottom right:  Fantastic black suede hat with the crown tweaked to a point and a tassel of fringe so long it may be looped around like a scarf.

Hats by Reboux
Left:  Cone shaped hat of wine felt with a woolen cord, and a dramatic wine dotted tie-silk scarf.
Right:  Peaked hat of alternating stripes of dull and shiny felt.

Hats by Reboux
Left:  Flower-pot hat of white and black felt with matching velvet scarf.
Right:  Amusing horn-like hat of furry purple felt with a silk scarf, combining pale and royal blue with purple.

Marlene Dietrich wears these hats with simple clothes - for a clever woman never goes dramatic in all directions at once.

Source:   November 15, 1936 issue of Vogue magazine

Monday, September 10, 2012

Prescription for Beauty

Eyeglasses have been a vision aid long before the invention of contact lenses, but it wasn't until the 20th Century that they truly evolved into a fashion accessory in their own right.  During the 1930's, manufacturers began to make eyeglasses more becoming, if only in some cases making them look as inconspicuous as possible.  Glasses were still considered a necessary evil as echoed in Dorothy Parker's 1927 poem titled "News Item":  "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses".  Well, not unless you happen to be Marilyn Monroe!

Marilyn Monroe in
"How To Marry A Millionaire"
In the 1940's. eyeglasses were available in a wide variety of colored plastic frames to complement the wearer and women were encouraged to build a wardrobe of frame styles including jeweled frames for evening and specialty frames for the beach.  After WW2, the cat-eye or cat's-eye style (a variation of the harlequin that was designed by Altina Sanders in 1939) became the popular look for women long into the 1950's.  They were available in a wide variety of colors, finishes, and embellishments.

1940's ad for American Optical Company
Courtesy of Vintage Designer Sunglasses

Eleanor Parker, 1947
Photo courtesy of  Fine Art America

"All About Eve" Madra Lord
Monolithic Studio's diva Miss Madra Lord looking chic in fabulous tortoise eyeglasses from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection.  Suit from Tonner's "Tres Jolie Sydney" from the 2005 Paris Fashion Doll Festival.  Necklace from The Couture Touch.  Earrings from Ashton Drake.

"Top This" Madra Lord
Miss Madra Lord wears the hottest new frames from Horsman's Vita Collection.  The fabulous jeweled retro eyeglasses come in a set, one with clear lenses, the other sunglasses.  The sets are available in either gold or silver at  M & M TreasureNet.

Madra's sensational silk ensemble called "Grand Marnier" is by D.A.E. Originals.  Leopard fur hat from Mattel and the cigarette holder from Ashton Drake.

Fashion Tip:  When wearing glasses, keep accessories simple and uncluttered with off-the-face hats, and button style earrings.  Short or pulled back hairdos look best.

Source:  Clothing and Fashion Encyclopedia

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


1940's Knitted Cape

Capes were worn over the dress for fashion as well as for function.  They were usually considered outer-wear, but most women treated them as a complementary accessory to their ensemble.  Capes are generally shorter versions of the full-length cloak, from fingertip length to as small as a shoulder cape.  Fabrics range from lace to sheers, plain wools to velvet to mohair, and of course.....furs!   They could also be embellished with beading, braiding, and piping, just to name a few.

Capes were a fashion force in the 1930's.  I love the mix of patterns in this wonderful bias-cut knit dress with coordinating cape.  And wouldn't you just love a pair of those delightful patterned gloves?

Make mine ermine please!  Monolithic Studio's top star Gene Marshall looks divine in a luxurious white cape from Affordable Designs worn over the dramatic, bias-cut, sequin and feathered dress from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection called "Platinum Panache".

Director Ivy Jordan wears a black fur cape from Affordable Designs over her classic pinstriped suit borrowed from Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection.  Blouse from Ashton Drake's "Blonde Lace" costume, gloves from Integrity, purse from PD Root.  OOAK hat and corsage from The Couture Touch.

The black crepe dress from Ashton Drake's "Dark Desire" costume gets a new look with a wool boucle shoulder cape, matching gauntlet gloves, belt, and black suede topper, all from The Couture Touch.  This early 1940's smart ensemble is modeled by "A Lady Knows" Gene Marshall.

 Hat & Cape Vogue Pattern, circa 1930's
1942 pattern for knitted cape,
included sewing instructions for 2 hat styles
There were many sewing and knitting patterns available for the 1930's and 40's DIYers. Here are two great examples of cape patterns that included hats.

A restyled "Heat Wave" Violet Waters from Integrity wears the figure hugging sheath "Afternoon Out" from the 2001 Madame Alexander Alex Fairchild Collection with a fabulous 1940's style fur cape from Dimitha.  Gloves from Ashton Drake, purse from PD Root, bracelet from Facets by Marcia, and the OOAK floral cocktail hat from The Couture Touch.