Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"Puttin' on the Ritz" for New Year's Eve

Monolithic Studio's star, Miss Gene Marshall, is ready to make her New Year's Eve entrance in a stunning 1930's inspired gown borrowed from "Postcards from Cannes" Madra Lord. Floral corsage from Ashton Drake. Cigarette holder from The Couture Touch. J'Adore Gene Marshall is the FDQ exclusive BJD from Mel Odom and JamieShow. Platinum marcel wig is from facetsbymarcia.

Puttin' on the Ritz was written by Irving Berlin and published in 1929. The title of this popular song derives from the slang expression "putting on the Ritz" meaning to dress very fashionably. The expression was inspired by the opulent Ritz Hotel.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Inspirations: Theatre de la Mode, 1945

The French fashion industry was a vital part of France’s economic and cultural identity. After the liberation of Paris in 1944 couturiers, jewelers, milliners, hairdressers and theatre set designers joined together with unprecedented cooperation and creativity to present Théâtre de la Mode  (theater of fashion). Since materials were in short supply at the end of WWII, the exhibition featured miniature mannequins, or fashion dolls, to display the new designs.
These 27.5 inch mannequins with wire armatures were dressed in the most amazing fashions. The meticulous attention to detail was striking. The ensembles featured working zippers and buttons with real buttonholes. The handbags contained tiny wallets and compacts. Even miniature undergarments were crafted to go under the couture designs.

In March 1945, the Théâtre de la Mode opened with great success at the Louvre in Paris.
Photographer Béla Bernand covered the exhibition in 1945. His fascinating, previously unpublished,  behind the scenes photography including close-ups of some of the costumes can be seen here. 

All photos are from the Flickr Photostream of Béla Bernand.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fashion Doll Display Ideas

How do you display your dolls? Some collectors are lucky and have an entire room devoted to displaying their collection, however you don't necessarily need a lot of space. I have found that less is generally better when it comes to displaying fashion dolls. Over the past few years I have edited my collection and now display less dolls but rotate them more often for variety. For me it's all about the fashion; the doll is truly a miniature mannequin meant to complement the ensemble.

There are many ways to display a doll collection: Theme or subject matter, color, season, event, by size, type of doll, or by era. Dolls can be displayed with their furniture or other objects to create little scenes or vignettes. Shop your home, flea markets, garage sales, Goodwill, and party stores for inexpensive yet unique items to use in your displays.

Still life with doll from Glasgow School of Art
This still life painting shows a lovely doll displayed effectively with everyday objects. Tip: Why not display Gene Marshall dressed in Ashton Drake's "Baking Cookies" costume with a small collection of vintage baking items.

Moss Rose Ivy Jordan
A single doll artfully displayed on a stack of vintage sewing books can make the perfect statement on a small table or the corner of a desk. OOAK jerkin, hat, gloves, & jewelry from The Couture Touch, dress & shoes from Ashton Drake.

Photo courtesy StrayCat
Here's an example of a simple yet delightful Halloween display utilizing just a single doll. OOAK Madra Lord doll by StrayCat.

J'Adore resin BJD Gene Marshall
One of my favorite ways to display is with framed art. Here Miss Marshall is celebrating the Make Do & Mend era of the early 1940's. I framed a vintage Make and Mend sewing booklet and added some additional antique sewing objects and bottle brush trees to the vignette. Miss Marshall's OOAK jerkin, hat, & gloves are from The Couture Touch, dress and jewelry from Ashton Drake, & shoes from Integrity.  Tip: You can frame just about anything! Besides old photos; sheet music, maps, patterns, vintage cards, newspaper, advertisements, fashion illustrations, uncut paper dolls....just to name a few.

Dolls from the collection of Sue Tarr
Odd numbers are more visually appealing than even numbers. Three delightful Spanish dolls are artfully posed on a shelf. Tip: Research old fashion magazines and vintage fashion window displays for posing ideas for your articulated dolls.

Photo courtesy myhgtv.com
Shadow boxes mounted on a wall can be an effective space-saving display option but they can be expensive. Why not make your own. Here's a great idea using old dresser drawers and wallpaper to create a unique display for smaller sized dolls.

And here are some more ideas to get your creative juices flowing.....

Photo courtesy antiquewhs.com

Make Do & Mend display courtesy studio-seven.net

Window display homage to famed designer Dorothy Draper by Kate Kendall for Madeline Stuart Designs.
Photo courtesy fashionfrillsandbaileysthrills.wordpress.com

Monday, December 16, 2013

Inspiration: Vintage Window Displays

Vintage window displays can be a wonderful source of inspiration for creating unique fashion doll dioramas. Travel with me back in time to tour a sampling of delightful fashion windows from the 1930's, 1940's, and 1950's. 

1930's window courtesy johnnydepp-zone.com
1938 swimwear window from Grace Bros., Sydney Australia
Photo courtesy vintagevenus.blogspot.com

McCurdy Department Store display, 1940
Photo courtesy Rochester NY Public Library

McCurdy Department Store display, 1940
Photo courtesy Rochester NY Public Library

McCurdy Department Store display, 1940
Photo courtesy Rochester NY Public Library

Sibley Department Store display, 1940
Photo courtesy Rochester NY Public Library

Sibley Department Store display, 1941
Photo courtesy Rochester NY Public Library

Spring window display, circa 1950's

Window display for Fox stoles, Daytons, Minneapolis, MN., 1957
Photo courtesy wildrosevintage.blogspot.com

1940's Christmas window
Photo courtesy threadforthought.net

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cold Shoulder

Miss Marshall is stunning in the sage green, asymmetric gown designed originally for Madra Lord by Jose Ferrand, circa 1942. The Grecian-styled design was inspired by the illustrations of Salvador Dali, Christian Berard, and Marcel Vertes in the 1930's and 40's. OOAK cigarette holder is from Mystyna. Encore Gene Marshall is from Ashton Drake.

Salvador Dali illustration for Vogue, 1930's
Christian Berard illustration
Marcel Rochas design, c 1930's
Marcel Vertes illustration for Henri Bendel, 1936

Monday, December 9, 2013

Fashion Inspiration, 1948

Illustration by Eric for Coty's Emeraude fragrance from Vogue, November 1, 1948.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

"The Lady or The Spider"

Gene Marshall, who replaces Madra Lord in "The Lady or The Spider", tests a costume for a scene from this 1942 film noir about a black widow suspected of murdering her third husband. 

The original black crepe dress from Ashton Drake's "Dark Desire" is updated with dramatic accessories from The Couture Touch. Cigarette holder is from Madra Lord's "Anything But Nice" costume. J'Adore Gene Marshall borrows the brunette wig cap from White Orchid Gene. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Inspirations: Film Costume

The 1940's Howard Hawks film His Girl Friday starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell features one of my all-time favorite costumes: a fabulous chevron striped coat and matching hat worn by Russell in the scene where she arrives back in the newsroom.  It was designed by Columbia Pictures' resident costume designer Robert Kalloch.

For more detailed information and photos of this costume, visit Clothes on Film by Chris Laverty.