Friday, July 03, 2015

Valentino 1989

Just added to the Couture Allure website is this stunning Valentino 2-piece evening ensemble from the Spring/Summer 1989 collection.  This set was featured in the book "Valentino: 30 Years of Magic", published by Rizzoli in 1992.  An identical ensemble was also featured in the exhibit "Nan Kempner: American Chic" which was on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from December 2006 - March 2007 and at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco from June - November 2007.  Kempner owned and wore the same set.

As stated in the Valentino book, this design was inspired by a 16th century wooden stool inlaid with tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl.  Valentino was known to be inspired often by medieval art.

You'll see the set on the runway in this video at 1:11.  Look at the movement of that skirt!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Vintage Butterfly Dress

This image came across my Pinterest feed last night.  I can't find any attribution for the designer or year.  I'm pretty sure this dates to right around 1959-62 and it sure looks like a Vera Neumann print, but until I can find out for sure, I'll just say......isn't it fabulous?  Can anyone help with pinning down a date, designer, photographer, etc?

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Fantastic Floral Hats from 1954

Evidently French milliners had decided 1954 was the year of fanciful floral confections, judging by these marvelous hats from that year.  Some are stunning, some are silly, all are striking.  Which one is your favorite?

Gilbert Orcel

Gilbert Orcel





Legroux Souers

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

1930s Chanel Adaptation Dress and Jacket Ensemble

In the days before Chanel made ready-to-wear clothing, it was common practice for Mme. Coco to authorize American department stores and high end boutiques to make reproductions of her designs for women in the U.S.  Buyers and designers for these stores would attend the Paris couture shows, then purchase the designs they wanted to reproduce here in America.  Hence, the Chanel Adaptation label.

In 1934, Chanel was showing many garments with fly-away sleeves and capelets in her couture line.

Now available for purchase at Couture Allure is this rare Chanel Adaptation label dress and jacket that I have dated to 1934.  Even though adaptation garments are not original couture, they are still of the highest quality and were made specifically for well-to-do clients by the American stores that offered them.  Remember, in 1934, America was struggling through the Great Depression, and the women that could afford to purchase garments like this were few and far between.

This ensemble is made of dusky pink rayon crepe and is in an even harder-to-find larger size with a 42" bust and 32" waist.
All of the pulled thread work and faggoting stitches are done by hand and the sleeves of both pieces are adorned with the tiniest pintucks I've ever seen.  The ensemble was well taken care of and stored properly for decades until it came to me.  I hope you'll go check out the many photos of this rare set on my website.  It's a joy to behold!