Pandora (yes, that is her given government name) is a fairy princess who dropped down out of the vintage clothing heavens to spread joy, light and much priceless label education to 1980’s obsessed moi. This morning, she showed me an over-sized pullover knit sweater from the 80’s-born label, Generra. I knew Gitano, Guess and Girbaud but had never heard of Generra. The sweater was nothing short of awesome. Boxy cut with a high neck, it featured a bright color-blocked back and raglan sleeves with a cartoon-like image of a man and woman on the front, looking ever the part of an 80’s couple. After much frantic researching and a website disappointment (www.generra.com – such a fantastic opening home page to…nowhere), I found runway images of the company’s latest 2010/11 Winter line and a bit of back history. It appears that the boldly patterned pullovers peaked in popularity from 1985-1987 and according to the fashionistas of the day, they were worn with skin tight jeans, tights or leggings, pumps and lots of hair spray. And Generra was the front runner of the Hypercolor tee shirt movement. Remember? The special screen print changed colors depending on how hot or cold you were. So totally mega like, awesome!
Below are a few images from the company’s latest line and one shot of blouse I found online. If Miss Pandora comes around again, I’ll try and snap her find to give you the full perspective.
What were your favorite 80’s labels?
Here at the Monster Vintage warehouse, we do our best to pinpoint the exact decades, if not specific years, of each and every item that comes through our graces. Usually we’re able to hit the mark with ease and confidence but sometimes, the clothing stumps us and we end up doing some guesswork. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to meet and hang out with a woman who has worked for many years as a costumer for the theatre and ballet. Her photographic portfolio of hand-sewn garments for productions like Little Red Riding Hood and Scheherazade is stunning. Yards and yards of crinoline, silks, wool blends and velvet have become her life calling. She has also, subsequently, become a vintage historian expert. So much so, that while perusing our website, she kindly let me know that fear of all fears, some of our decades were off. Mostly in the 40’s-50’s department. And then she shared with me a tip – that her gauge for determining if a garment was from the 1950’s was to ask herself if Lucy would wear it. Brilliant! My homework was set, I would research past I Love Lucy shows and hone in on perfecting our decade blunders.
I Love Lucy aired from 1951-1957. In the show, Mrs. Ball donned dresses by the dozen from famous designers of the day (some of whom are still relevant), like Christian Dior, Charles Creed, Hardy Amies and Lanvin (Alber Elbaz is my lifetime hero). Silhouettes sharpened a bit from the boxier style lines of the flapper 30’s and post-war 40’s. Fabric was less rationed and therefore, fuller skirts, dresses and jackets were back en vogue. Three quarter length sleeves were still prevalent and hemlines remained just below the knee until the latter part of the decade when shorter, flirtier garments came out. Lots of over-sized bows, bare shoulders and low-scoop backs also made appearances from ’55-’59.
Below, googled I Love Lucy and Vogue images of 50’s dressing followed by a sampling of our 1950’s apparel for sale.
It seems that velvet blazers, constructed from either sturdy and soft cotton velvet or the creme de la creme buttery silk version, make a runway appearance at least once a season. The blazer style, of course, never leaves the style party and velvet, while extremely tricky to work with, looks sleek and modern when made into dinner jackets and paired with dressy jeans or slacks and any variety of tops selection. Silk velvet worn over a ratty vintage tee shirt equals a little bit of handsome heaven. The color palette for this is best left to rich red wine burgundys, navy blues, eggplant purples, jet black and any variety of gray. Simple single or dapper double breasted, modest lapels and patch or classy welted pockets seem to polish off the cut beautifully.
Enjoy the below googled images, followed by our current selection from the warehouse.
The men of Mad Men. The tall, dark, handsome and dangerously slick men of Mad Men. How I haven’t serenaded this subject yet is beyond me. I’m blaming weak office coffee and gray skies. My first disclaimer is that I have only of recent become chained to the laptop, watching one precious episode at a time. Currently at the beginning of season 3, I am way behind. But that’s okay. More to look forward to before I’ve fully caught up to where the rest of the world is. My second disclaimer is feeling overwhelmed in thinking about composing a blog entry to cover these men. So I’ll just jump in.
The show’s portrayal of professional men working in an advertising company in the early 60’s (the show starts in 1959) is genius. It’s been written, blogged, tweeted and talked about ad nauseam by now. But that’s okay too. It’s well deserving of all chit chat. Head costume mistress Janie Bryant does the most cohesive job finding and putting together picture perfect power suits for the Manhattan boys. Maybe that’s it; they work in the heart of New York City, where all stylish gems are born and prosper. And I have to assume all the dark liquor sipping and cigarette sucking add to the allure altogether.
The two main office objects are Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and silver fox Roger Sterling (John Slattery). There are others, not to be ignored, but for the purpose of this blog, Draper and Sterling are the fashion focus. Both men are slyly intelligent, hard-working and ride slippery slopes when it comes to the ladies. Exquisitely tailored suits are their daily wares and according to Bryant, the decision to dress them in a sleek and masculine color palette of grays is conscious. Sterling has more trinkets to his look; watch fobs and handkerchiefs. This is to help convey his senior to Draper as well as his ability to dress with expensive flair, due to his deeper pockets. Both don conservative ties, but Sterling wears the true 3-piece suit, which includes the matching vest.
Tailored mens clothing is, in itself, an art that is coveted by those who care. Made-to-measure houses are hard to find and I distinctly remember that while living in New York for a brief time, alteration shops were much more prevalent than here on the West coast. There is something deliciously sexy about a man who takes the care to have his jackets and slacks fit perfectly. There are many lessons from the 1960’s which we have learned to steer away from but maybe playing dress up is one worth passing on to the aught generations.
Below, snap shots of Hamm and Slattery, followed by our offerings. I feel inclined to do a follow-up post regarding top designers who have fallen under the Mad Men spell and created modern interpretations for their 2010/2011 lines…