Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

Sari Maritza, circa 1930's.
Photo courtesy Sheris-Musings.

Monday, December 28, 2015

What Will the Stars Wear...

to those New Year's Eve festivities? Whether celebrating at home or out on the town, you can be sure our favorite stars will be attired in glamorous style!

Claudette Colbert, circa 1939.
Photo courtesy Vintage Everyday

Madra Lord, circa 1940's. The jacket & halter from Ashton Drake's "Song of Spain" ensemble
is layered over the under-dress from Integrity's "Dream Sequence" costume.
 Jewels are from Ashton Drake.

Irene Dunne, circa 1940's. Photo courtesy

Eva Peron, circa 1940's. Photo courtesy

Rita Hayworth, circa 1940's. 

Susan Hayward, circa 1940's. Photo courtesy

Jane Wyman, circa 1940's. Photo courtesy

Let the New Year's Festivities begin!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Pincushion Dolls

Hertwig Art Deco half-doll pincushion.
Photo courtesy

China half-dolls, also referred to as pincushion dolls, are not really dolls at all. These delightfully coquettish figures often adorned dressing tables as merely decorative objects of desire as early as the 1900's through the 1930's.  The best quality came from Germany and were intended to top utilitarian objects such as powder boxes, perfume bottles, and of course pincushions. Glazed china legs with painted gold slippers were sold separately to be sewn onto a pincushion underneath the dolls skirt.

Spectacular Art Deco half-doll with attached legs courtesy

A wonderful German 1920's flapper pincushion doll..
Photo courtesy

A Dressel & Kister porcelain half-doll based on a portrait of Mme. Mole Raymond
by Vigee-Lebrun, which hangs in the Louvre, Paris. Photo courtesy

An Art Deco half-doll from my personal collection. Her original skirt was replaced
utilizing a satin dress from Integrity.

A German porcelain "Pierrot" half-doll.
Photo courtesy

A fabulous Marie Antoinette German half-doll.
Photo courtesy

Phoenix Gene Marshall looks perfectly divine as a half-doll.
Don't worry, her legs are still attached, hidden beneath the vintage fur muff.
Top and hat were borrowed from Madra's "So Evil My Love" ensemble.

Bibliography: China Half-Figures called Pincushion Dolls by Frieda Marion, J. Palmer Publishers.

Phoenix Gene Marshall doll is from Mel Odom and JamieShow.

1920's Japanese porcelain pincushion doll.
Photo courtesy

Thursday, December 3, 2015

An Inspired Holiday: Vintage Window Displays

From a mannequins perspective. 1940's Life photo of a NYC Fifth Avenue
fashion store window display. Courtesy Greg Beam/inuwindows &

A fabulous Christmas window from Wertheim Department Store, Berlin, circa 1925.
Photo courtesy

A delightfully cozy Holiday window from Sibley Department Store in Rochester, NY, circa 1940.
Photo courtesy

Simple yet elegant window from Daytons in Minneapolis, circa 1959.
Photo courtesy

A festive idea for decorating your mannequin for the Holidays.
Oscar de la Renta window photo courtesy

A marvelous millinery shop window in Newcastle, England, circa 1947.
Hollywood Fashion Limited Milliners photo courtesy

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Holidays

Window shopping in Washington DC, circa 1930's.
Photo courtesy

May all your Holiday wishes come true.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hair Play

In 1963, Mattel embraced the concept of hair play with their popular Barbie Fashion Queen doll which featured a wardrobe of interchangeable wigs. Barbie could now change her hairstyle as often as she changed her outfit. In the same year, American Character introduced Tressy with an ingenious mechanism that allows the hair to "grow". A style booklet, showing how to create a variety of hair styles, accompanied each doll.

"Short or long or in-between, Tressy's hair makes her a queen!"

1963 Sears catalog scan courtesy vintagedollcollector
In 1999, Ashton-Drake introduced three "Simply Gene" dolls with long hair that could be cut and styled. She was available as a blonde, brunette, and redhead. In 2000 a platinum "Simply Gene" was added, and in 2001 a brunette sporting a new lip color and coordinating nail polish. Each doll included a hairstyling guide showing authentic 1940's and 50's styles that could be recreated.

Simply Gene (Platinum) courtesy

Simply Gene (Platinum)
Miss Marshall's long platinum locks are fashioned into a fabulous Forties pompadour, the perfect summertime style. Bathing suit is from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection. Jewelry and hair ornament are from Ashton-Drake.

Destiny Gene Marshall
Ashton-Drake's "Destiny" Gene Marshall (1998) updates her look with a chic rolled updo, circa early 1940's. Dress, gloves, and jewelry are from The Couture Touch. Fur drape is from miniature furrier PD Root.

Deep Rose Madra Lord
A pile of curls refreshes Miss Lord's classic 40's updo. A great style for a girl who wears glasses! Silk tweed jerkin is from The Couture Touch, shirt is from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection, and the skirt is from Sandra Stillwell. OOAK cigarette holder is from Mystyna. Miss Lord's eyewear is from Horsman's Vita Collection. "Deep Rose" Madra Lord is from Integrity's Stepping High Collection.

Shadow Song Gene Marshall
Miss Marshall replaces her original barrel curls with a sleek new look perfect for late afternoon cocktails, and for throwing Miss Lord off her game. "Anything but Nice" cocktail dress, circa 1950, is from Ashton Drake, cigarette holder is from Mystyna, and earrings are from Integrity. "Shadow Song" Gene Marshall is from Integrity's 2007 Gene Convention.

Hairstyles are from The Couture Touch salon.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Gene Marshall: Star Extraordinaire

"But Don't Give Madra the Cold Shoulder"

"Monaco" Gene Marshall

"Close your eyes. A dream is about to come true." And with those words, a beautifully sculpted, miniature mannequin with stunning features and meticulous period hairstyles captivated my heart. And of course there was her enviable wardrobe, firmly rooted in Hollywood's Golden Age of the 1940's and 50's, that appealed to my love of vintage fashion. "In a place called Hollywood, a magical star was born." Gene Marshall made her first appearance in 1995. Twenty years later, she is still a Star Extraordinaire!

Gene Marshall

Miss Marshall, newly coiffed in a chic curly style, wears a stunning cocktail dress circa 1950's. "Blue Heaven" was designed by Lynne Day exclusively for Ashton Drake's 2001 Gene Marshall Collection. Fur is from Integrity.

Madra Lord

Inspired by the Hollywood stars of the 1930's, 40's, and 50's, Miss Lord burst upon the scene in 2000 as Gene's rival. Fabulous 1940's Victory rolls updates "Cold Shoulder" Madra Lord's bombshell evening look. Her lavender sheath was borrowed from Integrity's "Fringe Festival" Ivy Jordan, fur from Hunter-Goldblatt, and jewelry from StrayCat.


"Monaco" Gene Marshall (1995) and "Cold Shoulder" Madra Lord (2001) are from Mel Odom and Ashton Drake.

Quotes are excerpts from Ashton Drake's first direct mail campaign in 1995.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

"Montage", 1948

Suspense and intrigue in the world of art.

In this 1948 film noir classic, Gene Marshall stars as the glamorous owner of a renowned New York City art gallery who purchases a mysterious portrait painted by her father. Who are the shadowy figures now following her?  And who kidnapped her father?  Could all this intrigue be linked to the painting?

Gene Marshall
For her film role, Miss Marshall wears an updated version of Ashton Drake's "Secret Sleuth" costume. The cape was shortened and the shoulder seams were given a subtle reshaping. The dress was narrowed for a slimmer silhouette. A new hat and fur muff add drama to this chic ensemble. 

Gene Marshall
Credits: The marvelous, high crown black wool felt hat with contrast is from The Couture Touch. Fur is from Mattel. Shoes from D.A.E. Originals. The original "Secret Sleuth" was designed by Tim Kennedy, based on an authentic period design from Valentino's in Hollywood, CA. Cocoa Crisp Gene Marshall is from Integrity.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A New DIY Hat Project for Gene Marshall

It's that time of the year when all eyes are on the new hats for Fall. Here's a delightful 1940's Style Sculptural Wool Felt Hat to make for your favorite Monolithic Studios' star.

The tutorial also includes this whimsical, yet chic cocktail hat variation. Click HERE for the instructions.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Felts with Flair

Gene Marshall
"The lady definitely has flair!" Naturally she's wearing a chic little winter white, draped, wool felt hat accented with a dramatic feather from The Couture Touch. It's the perfect topper for her smart, fur-trimmed, travel suit.

Goodbye New York suit, designed by Doug James, is from Ashton Drake.
Suede color-blocked gauntlet gloves, hat, and earrings are from The Couture Touch.
A re-styled "Blue Belle" Gene Marshall, enhanced with an articulated body from Integrity, is from Ashton Drake.

Madra Lord
A divine unusual-shaped, wool felt hat from The Couture Touch adds flair to the ultimate IT girl's sophisticated daytime ensemble.

Dress from Madame Alexander, cape from The Couture Touch.
Fur muff from D.A.E. Originals, gloves from Ashton Drake, and necklace from Michael Scott.
C'est Moi Madra Lord is from Integrity.

For more on imaginative and whimsical felt hats from the late 1930's, early 1940's, visit my blog Chapeaux à la Mode

Saturday, July 4, 2015

1940's Beach Glamour

Sunset Serenade Violet Waters from Integrity is ready to celebrate summer 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.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Memorial Day!

Gene Marshall

Want to know the secret to Miss Marshall's chic straw topper?  Click HERE to see how it was made.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Madra Lord: Night and Day

Celebrating the glamour of 1950's fashion photography, Miss Lord shows her day and night style in black and white.

Gown from "Glammed Up Ivy" by Integrity.
Earrings from Ashton Drake.

Suit from Sandra Stillwell. Wrap from The Couture Touch.
Hat from D.A.E. Originals. Gloves from Ashton Drake.

"Spotted in Manhattan" Madra Lord is from JamieShow.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

1950's Fashion Photography

A Study in Black and White

Erwin Blumenfeld
Photo courtesy

The black and white fashion photography of the 1950's evoked the essence of the decade and captured the grandeur and drama of haute couture. It was often editorial in nature and had two distinctive styles: abstract and realistic. Both styles seem to complement the glamour and elegance of the fashion and the polished perfection of the high-fashion models of the era. The sharp contrast of the black and white medium lends itself perfectly to the graphic and artistic nature of the abstract style, as well as the gritty realism of the couture fashion juxtaposed against a background of exterior locations.

Some photographers used simple backdrops in a studio setting, letting the subject speak for itself as in a still-life painting. Light was used to sculpt the silhouette and enhance the texture of a garment. Others chose to place their models in urban, street scenes using the natural light to give a sense of reality, yet there was a choreography to their poses.

Although photographers such as Horst P. Horst and Cecil Beaton continued to have contributions well into the 1950's, it was Erwin Blumenfeld and Irving Penn along with such notables as Norman Parkinson, Gordon Parks, Henry Clarke and others that dominated the decade.

An interesting behind the scenes of Horst directing a fashion shoot with Lisa Fonssagrives, 1949.
Photo by Roy Stevens for Time. Courtesy Victoria & Albert Museum

Lisa Fonssagrives in Dior.
Photo by Irving Penn courtesy Sara Rose Leone on Pinterest

Bettina photographed by Jean-Philippe Charbonnier

Photography by F.C. Gundlach courtesy

Bruno Bernini, 1956
Photo courtesy Bruno-Bernini on Tumbir

Dovima in Christian Dior, 1950.
Photo by Richard Avedon courtesy 

Photo by Gordon Parks for Life.

Photo by Norman Parkinson

Henry Clarke for French Vogue, 1954.
Photo courtesy

Pierre Balmain suit, circa 1955.
Photo by Philippe Pottier courtesy


The Art of Vogue, Photographic Covers, Fifty Years of Fashion and Design by Valerie Lloyd.

Hollywood Portraits by Roger Hicks and Christopher Nisperos.

The Fashion Book from Phaidon Press Ltd.