A Little Sound and a Little Glamour Go a Long Way

It’s almost hard to believe that it was eighty years ago that movies–that commonplace commodity now so easily accessible with Netflix and the internet–began to introduce sound to its silent pictures. It’s 1930, and audiences around the world crowd into stuffy theaters to escape the outside world of economic distress and political unrest, just for a few hours of immersion in all the vice and wonder that the silver screen brings. The picture starts rolling, and though the sound crackles and voices come across a bit high-pitched, the viewers are transfixed by a sultry creature gracing the screen. She’s  just some German actress named Marlene Dietrich, but those eyes…those indifferent eyes gazing out from behind heavy lashes and topped off with minutely plucked eyebrows…

The picture is called “The Blue Angel,” and is one of Germany’s first major sound films. Any vocal richness lost by the insufficient recording technology of the time is certainly made up for in visual glamour and Dietrich’s striking presence. The young actress’s character, “Lola Lola,”  is a cabaret singer, whose cheeky, frilly, leg-bearing stage costumes  and brash sexuality had the film facing censorship in California after its release to the public. Though a second, censored version of the story was released in the States, the original remained a paragon of style in the eye of moviegoers worldwide, and Marlene Dietrich came to epitomize old Hollywood glamour. To this day, who can argue that oversized fur coats, long, sensual gloves and swept-back curls are not the embodiment of glamourous allure?


Monster Vintage Mini Lookbook

Our loveliest fashion photographer let me play dress-up with one of her starlet models one last time before jet-setting off to Europe. You can follow Brianne’s travels here.

These were taken a few weeks ago in one of the fun studios at Towne Storage on the Eastside waterfront. All pieces are from Monster Vintage. Yay. Oh, and that Grateful Dead tee? Here’s where to buy it!

Vintage 1970’s Fashion Continues on the Catwalks

It’s not over yet. The 1970’s have made a huge impact on designers this year and from the looks of the Spring 2011 collections, the prediction that bohemian styles will still be huge in the new year is confident. Wide legged trousers in wool, easy and loose-fitting blouses in all flavors of colors, patterns and details like fun buttons, collars, cuffs and trim. Flowing skirts, mod slip-over dresses and fit-for-business button-ups.

Below are a sampling of what Bazaar magazine saw on the runways in New York. Some of the designers are new names for me so I’m looking forward to exploring their portfolios more in future posts. As always, the models are followed by similar wares from our clutches.

Proenza Schouler
Proenza Schouler
Peter Som
Peter Som
Chris Benz
Chris Benz
Michael Kors lemon shift dress
Michael Kors lemon shift dress
Suno mixing prints
Suno mixing prints
Gregory Parkinson prints
Gregory Parkinson mixing prints
Derek Lam denim trousers
Derek Lam denim trousers
Rodarte wool plaids
Rodarte wool plaids
Chris Benz easy outift
Chris Benz easy outfit
1970's matching mod print set
1970's matching mod print set
1970's petal pink metallic threaded set
1970's petal pink metallic threaded set
1970's polyester black floral blouse
1970's polyester black floral blouse
1970's vintage patchwork pencil skirt
1970's vintage patchwork pencil skirt
1970's vintage modernized white flapper fringe dress
1970's vintage modernized white flapper fringe dress

The Truth Behind Vintage Pendleton

All year long, but particularly now and all through the blustery Fall and Winter, we are up to our armpits in Pendleton orders. We have seen every single colorway plaid, button and cut style imaginable. When I first came on the Monster Vintage good ship, I was told that since the company has been pumping these out, in many of the same patterns, for over 100 years, rendering them impossible to decade-date. With a lovely new hire on board who questioned this, I was prompted to call the Pendleton headquarters and get to the bottom of the vintage wool mystery.

Turns out to be factual – the nice representative I spoke with on the phone confirmed the difficulty in pin-pointing Pendletons. The company has been using many of the same patterns for the last 150 years. That’s a long time. Especially when your production numbers reach into the hundreds of thousands each year. So, alas, we continue to title all these woolen beauties as simply, “vintage”.

Below, a few of their most popular models, which include the Board shirts and Sir Pendleton lines. Following, as is my method of operation, are a few selections from our site. And boss man just got back from an epic picking journey – all I saw were brief flashes of wool plaid but rest assured there will be lots of new (vintage) picks to purchase on the website soon. Very soon.

Dolce & Gabbana 2010 Ad Campaign

With every issue of W Magazine that gets dropped off on my stoop, I’ve been ripping out these ads and scotch taping them voraciously to the blank wall above my ironing board. They are the one of the very best ad campaigns I’ve ever seen from a major fashion house. The collaboration with Madge, the other casted models, clothing and set designs are brilliant. The crisp black and white color scheme adds to the sheen tenfold.

Shot in Italy, the photos do an amazing job conveying days in the life of one wealthy and gorgeous Italian-American Madonna. Shopping for potatoes and onions, getting fitted for a made-to-measure blazer, dining with the family, dancing off the glasses of red wine, playing with baby. They each drip with sentimental emotion – I’m not Italian-American but I have clear memories of walking to the corner store with my Czechoslovakian grandmother to purchase raw potatoes and onions for that evening’s meal, of seeing her mend clothing with adept nimbleness, of watching my parents dance to scratchy records in our living room, of playing with my baby brother in grandma’s Los Angeles house, among fig and palm trees and the smell of clean linens.

The Dolce & Gabbana portion of the ads are, simply, exquisite. Perfect tailoring, perfect shades of black silk and white lace, perfect cleavage. Below are images posted with credited rights to D&G, followed by a few select pieces from our warehouse that I think emulate what it is to be a definitive glamorous woman, of any mixed country descent.