Ok, I admit I feel a bit poorly about ranting on (and on, and on, and on....) about the whole eco-UNfriendly recycled vintage dress/gown controversy that I wrote about yesterday and a few weeks ago. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to read about a much more "friendly" and well executed vintage gown makeover in the May issue of Vogue.
Elettra Wiedemann is one very fortunate (and beautiful) young lady. Daughter of the stunning Isabella Rossellini and granddaughter of the iconic screen beauty Ingrid Bergman, she found herself the heir of a trunk full of Ms. Bergman's evening dresses that had somehow been long forgotten (a vintage treasure hunters dream find!) She humbly admits: "My family is so amazing, but it's also so overwhelming and overpowering...I'd felt honored to be part of my family but also not sure what accomplishments were mine and what accomplishments belonged to someone else bigger than me." She also makes this insightful comment: "It's interesting how clothes can connect you to a sentimentality that can be very complicated sometimes." (I nod my head in silent agreement as I contemplate the part of my grandmothers wardrobe I've inherited...)
Ms. Wiedemann, in honor of her grandmother, has chosen to wear one of her gowns to the Costume Institute Gala (aka The Met Ball ) on the 2nd of May. The gown she chose was created for Ms. Bergman by the postwar Roman couturiere Fernanda Gattinoni, who also created the costumes for Ms. Bergman in the 1952 film Europa '51. Designer Prabal Gurung was called upon as the "cosmetic surgeon" for the dress, as there were a few issues with fit & fabric. Both heir & designer agreed that it was important to maintain the integrity of the dress and to pay homage to it's original owner, which, being her grandmother, would be of utmost importance to any grateful heir of such beautiful pieces of the past.
"It's still the same dress," says Wiedemann, "but it feels a little bit sexier, more contemporary, and younger."
"The beauty of this dress," Gurung adds, "is it's history."
You may recall that awhile back I was moaning about being a bit disappointed by Vogue and other fashion magazines and that I had let my subscriptions run out. Then I saw this amazing photo shoot and offered a public apology to Vogue and once again, I found myself filling out subscription forms like a woman obsessed.
I couldn't have timed it better. With a record breaking snow fall winter here in the North East, they proved a welcome distraction with a hot cup of tea or a glass of wine to help get through the long winter we endured.
Marie Claire arrived yesterday, so I grabbed it off the table on the way out the door for an appointment. As my daughter and I sat in the waiting room, I flipped through it casually, pointing out eye catching ads and tearing open the "sniffer" for euphoria by Calvin Klein (which is quite lovely, in case your wondering).
Then I turned the page and found this:
(Photo credit: May 2011 issue Marie Claire p.74 & 76)
Livia Firth gets a great plug as "The Queen of Green" in "Feel-Good Fashion". I make a sound that comes out as a sigh tinged with just a bit of disgust. (In case you missed my previous post @ not-so friendly fashion you can find it here.) A conversation ensues between my 9 year old daugther and I.
"What's the problem?" "Oh, nothing....well, remember the lady at the Oscars who had her dress made by cutting up those 11 lovely 1930s gowns?" "Oh, Colin Firth's wife? Yeah, I remember." "Yes, her name is Livia Firth. Well, she gets a great plug in this article about how eco-friendly and conscious she is. Except that I don't think what she did with those dresses was very friendly at all." "Hey, did you ever hear back from the designer? What did he say?" "His name is Gary Harvey. Yes, he said that "Just because you don't believe it doesn't make it untrue." That may be so, but I still don't believe it." "Cool. But what's the big deal about THIS article?" "Well, it's just that, I guess, I mean -- oh, I don't know! Listen to what she says: "The story of a piece of clothing or an accessory is as important as how it looks." What about the story those 11 dresses told? What about their history? Doesn't that matter? Or the story is only important if it's a new story made from old stuff? That's practically fashion plagiarism." (Our eyes meet, she knows what plagiarism is. She tilts her head to the side, her eyes widen and she looks up with raised brows.) "Mom, please!" "I know, I know. I can't help it...."
As I'm quite certain you know, the long awaited series "The Kennedys" aired earlier this month. Between that popping up here and there, and my recent visit to The Kennedy Library & Museum in Boston, she's been on my mind. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.
As I began gathering things for my next color story, I saw a theme develop before my eyes. Pink Elegance. Suits, dresses, swimwear, kitten heels & clutches. And again, I thought of her. That's the story behind my color story.
All coming soon to The Red Velvet Shoe (the kitten heels are already available here.)
How do you wear a turban without feeling like your grandmother? I pondered over this question for the last few weeks as I was preparing to list some vintage turbans in The Shoe. This led to one of my favorite parts of my job: image search, which led me to this post.
I'm quite sure you agree there is nothing "grandmother-ish" about Kate Moss in this gold vintage turban designed by Stephen Jones which she wore rather well at the 2009 MET Costume Gala.
Fast forward a bit, to May of 2010 and we saw Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw in SATC 2 looking rather lovely in her gold turban with the Western Sahara Dunes as a very fitting backdrop.
"Since its opening on the Place Vendôme in Paris in 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels has played a leading role in style and design innovation. Its timeless pieces have been worn by style icons including the Duchess of Windsor, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor. This exhibition will explore the historical significance of the firm's contributions to jewelry design in the 20th century, including the establishment of Van Cleef & Arpels in New York with the advent of World War II. On view will be more than 350 works including jewels, timepieces, fashion accessories and objets d'art by Van Cleef & Arpels, many of which were created exclusively for the American market. The exhibition will examine the work through the lenses of innovation, transformation, nature as inspiration, exoticism, fashion and personalities, and will include design drawings from the Van Cleef & Arpels archives." (Smithsonian)
After being stood up for an appointment yesterday afternoon, I decided to take a drive to one of my treasure hunting haunts, as I hadn't been in awhile and I needed some cheering up. Every light was red. Every Sunday driver was out on a Wednesday afternoon. Every pedestrian decided to cross right in front of me. As the minutes ticked by, I almost turned around. But something inside me kept saying to press onward.
That something turned out to be this...labeless but gorgeous on every count~a 1950s teal green silk satin dress with rosette floral detail & belt...
And this...Emanuel Ungaro Parallele Paris black velvet & satin wrap dress & collar...
Look for the teal green number soon (off to drycleaners), but you'll have to wait a little while for the black velvet, unless you absolutely cannot, then email me for details.