Monday, August 30, 2010

How To Decorate Your Post-Apocalyptic Home

I received in the mail today the newest Restoration Hardware catalog.  I had not even realized I was on the mailing list, but, as these things go, it came through the mail slot.  It was timely, as my husband and I (as we gleefully covered the last of the Restoration Hardware 1990's colorless "silver" paint in our kitchen with green) had been ruminating aloud about the post-economic-collapse fate of the place.  As chain retailers go, it sort of catered to three elements that have evaporated over the past year and a half; upper middle class careless spending, more-expensive-than-necessary home improvements, and the impulse buy.  Since we thought it on its way out, I was interested to see the catalog arrive announcing "Reinvented. Remodeled. Reborn." across the front.  I thought "Oh well then, they are smarter than we are. They have restyled the brand to knock down the prices and keep sales coming in."  Silly me.  The opposite is true.

It seems that while other retailers are marketing towards those being "frugal" and the trite bounce we all take into escapism of color and whimsy during hard times, Restoration Hardware is taking a different stand.  They evidently think that removing all color from the world, jacking up prices, and creating an ambiance that says "The solar blast and subsequent ash clouds removed all colors and finishes from my world but I will struggle on." will bring in the new customers in droves.

 Since we cannot all be lucky enough to sift through French rubble after the blast, this 5' tall clock-face based on the clock at a small French village tower can be yours for a mere $1495.

In the "rebirth" they did  not remove paint from their inventory; they just somehow managed to remove EVEN MORE color from the hues offered. 

"The solar blast bleached just about all pattern out of my rugs but since they seem to be intact I will struggle on with my home decor."

Since humans were able to take shelter, but the animals were not so lucky, mounting the bleached skulls of the poor creatures is a post-apocalyptic trend in Restoration Hardware-land.  Admire their beauty and natural form, and mourn the loss of color and art as you gaze at your collection and rest your feet on stacks of salvaged and stripped  books, once used for reading.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fashion Addendum

Don't hate me because I'm obsessed.

See, I went back to the local flea this morning.  No rain, my friend and I got an early start (there at 6:30 - still late to the hard-core who arrive at 5:00) and we leisurely took in the whole place over the next four hours.  On the last side of the last row, which, because we started at the back was the first row from the parking lot, I spied a stack of the mags above.  I asked "How much?" and while I did not get the crazy low price from last week, $2 each was what I was told.  I quickly counted up four Harper's Bazaar's, a Vogue and a Glamour and asked if he'd take $10 for the six.  Bien sur!

I have not even finished going through these, and, the illustrations are too many to even think about at the moment.  I did want to share, however, this two-page spread in the January 1966 Harper's (all others were 1950's).  The artist is noted only as "Elia" and I cannot find any information on them.  Love the mod style of illustration partnering with the mod clothing!
I am still working my way through these magazines and have also been noting the costume jewelry details to share.  Both advertisements and fashion layout credits abound!  I hope to get them scanned and on the web as a resource to collectors and researchers over the next few weeks.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fashion Illustration 201

Last week at the local flea, the day did not go as planned.  The forecast was for sun until about noon which was perfect for the flea.  The reality was that as soon as everyone got set up and out there in the field, the skies kept spitting, then stopping, then spitting then stopping before finally opening up into showers that clearly were there to stay.  It was right after the showers, as I was making my way past desperate dealers frantically trying to pack away their goods, that I spied a stack of vintage magazines.  I always look for vintage fashion, but rarely find it, so was excited to see several vintage Harper's Bazaar and a vintage Vogue at the bottom of the stack.  "How much?" I asked. "A dollar for the entire stack." was the reply.  Well, I truthfully could not carry the entire stack but I took those I REALLY wanted, plus about ten more magazines and hoofed it for my car.  A little wet but still perfectly good for studying, and, drooling over!
There are so many great items in the magazines to share, but, I decided to begin with a bit more fashion illustration.  Aside from those still seen in the Sunday Times (also headed rapidly for distinction) the art of fashion illustration is sadly lost nowadays in the mainstream.  The 1950's, however, was it's heyday!
Although the models were just as beautiful then as they are now, a fashion illustration could offer something most models could not: an impossible figure and posture!  Take the woman above, for instance. This illustration, in a fashion context, is amazing!  Beautifully drawn with great movement and style and drape to the clothing.  And I love the hot pink background.  But if you look at the woman, REALLY look at her, you can see that if she were real, her neck would be twice as long as a normal person's, her arms look like they could reach to her knees if straightened and she is missing about half her ribs.  These things do not matter, however, as she is an illustration.  Just like illustrated bird guides are the best reference for people looking to identify birds, illustrated fashion is wonderful for those selling wearable goods.
A Hattie Carnegie illustrated advertisement from 1953.
One reason I was inspired to post again about fashion illustration (see Fashion Illustration 101 here), is that I discovered more Andy Warhol shoes!   Flipping through Harper's Bazaar, there they were.  I will share some of them with you below: (click on any image to zoom in for details.)
All Andy Warhol illustrations courtesy Harper's Bazaar, March, 1955
I also came across another illustrator similar in style to Warhol who is credited as Mary Suzuki.  I could not find much about her on the web at all aside from this one other post of another of her illustrations.  (This by the way is a great site devoted to female illustrators of the same time period and is worth a peek at once you are done here!)  Here are a few of her illustrations that I found in the same stack:
All Mary Suzuki illustrations courtesy Harper's Bazaar, August, 1953.
I had not before heard the name Bobri but clearly his illustrations are of a completely different ilk than those shown above!
These two ads for Hanes show a completely different aesthetic from any of those shown above or below, which is also what makes the modernist approach to illustration so exciting for 1950's fashion illustration.  For more about this fascinating artist, click here.

I believe I found this image and the one below in the Vogue which dates to April, 1960.  I love the flattened look of the above illustration.  It retains the same basic silhouette as the more traditional drawings above, but, the simplified, flattened shapes, and, fact that the figure cuts-off the page in several places clearly shows a more abstract influence.  Also, love the dress!
Also dating to 1960, this drawing has great technique and style but of course the beatnik theme is what I love, love, LOVE about it!  Right down to the berets, checkered tablecloth and bottle of chianti...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Goin' to the Fair...

I truly love summer state and regional fairs but, my husband hates crowds (as do I) so today we compromised and attended a small fair in Old Lyme, Connecticut.  We hopped on some rides right away, including the Sizzler, which I rode with my right arm pinned to the inside of the car as I forgot to take it out before it started to spin!  We also took a ride on the slide but sadly, I must avoid things like ferris wheels which really do not do nice things to my insides.  Personally, I had to investigate Planet Rock with it's loud classic rock blasting across the fairway.  My husband chose to wait outside for me so I serenaded him from the balcony by lip-syncing to Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here.  He was mildly amused.


True to tradition, the fair included a modest, but still delightful group of small farm animals and poultry to be judged.  I just never tire of going pen to pen and cage to cage inspecting these lovely creatures!


I believe there was also some sort of judging of antique tractors which were displayed throughout the fair.  Although, where the award-winning vintage VW bus fits in I'm not quite sure!

My favorite aspect of any state or county fair, however, is the fresh produce, flowers and hand-made items submitted for judging.  I find the entire process incredibly charming.  Not in a patronizing way, but, in a completely sincere form of respect for the hard work and skill that goes into such things, and, the sense of pride and community that comes from both putting them on display and stopping by to take a look.  Since we live in a large city in another state, our experience is somewhat voyeuristic.  I still enjoyed it, nonetheless...
Look at all those awesome tomatoes in one place!  Bravo!
Flowers, fruit, veggies and baskets all on display.
I heard the pumpkins have all been ripening too early this year in the northeast and that we may have a shortage come October.  That situation certainly did not hurt this guy who won a "Best in Show" ribbon!
Not sure what type of hen lays these but loved the blue eggs!
There were some nice handmade items upstairs in the grange hall....
This hooked rug was impressive up close.  Now that I see it from a ways back, I think it is after a Gauguin painting.  Would have liked it better as an original design but the craftwork is certainly noteworthy...
There was something for everyone at the fair today.  The Hamburg Fair.  It ends tomorrow so if you are in the area check it out in Old Lyme Connecticut, Route 156 north off of Route 95.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We Love You Peggy Olson

Mad Men is filled with such engaging and complicated characters, it is hard to pick favorites.  For today, however, we will pay a little more attention to the style of Miss Peggy Olson.  Since she is typically outfitted in dresses with fitted tops and full skirts, we thought the two dresses below, each with matching skinny belts, perfectly capture her style!



This one even has the necktie Peggy is so often seen sporting!
Both of these dresses come fresh from an estate and date to the early 1960's.  They are also synthetic knits so the patterns are vibrant and they wash and wear so well!  I will make the photos "live links" to each listing as I get through them, also, visit Carmen and Ginger to see all items in this posting listed in the next few days. 

Peggy is known to be more demure compared to her colleagues, so, this vintage 1950's cotton bullet bra with lace inserts might be just the thing she would sport beneath those dresses!  (It is a 38B and a little large on my petite form!)

This set of Coro thermoset earrings in two sizes and four colors would be the perfect Peggy accessory!  She could match to her outfits but still not get too wild for sharing the table with her male colleagues.

On a day when she reveals a little more neckline, a funky thermoset necklace in demure blues would be the perfect mid-century accessory for her!  This is also a great day to night piece...

We love you Peggy Olson!


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