• 'Taylor'ed Coats

    Posted by Laura Permalink

    Single-breasted wool coat by John Knight at Ann Taylor. Flannel plaid jacket and skirt by Cygne Designs at Ann Taylor.

    New York on a crisp autumn day is really the most perfect place in the world. Dressed in a chic coat, a sweater and maybe a scarf, it's impossible not to feel invigorated and excited running around the city. This editorial perfectly encapsulates the energy and sense of new beginnings that fall breeds - and all wrapped up in a perfect collection of clothes. Photographed in connection with a new Ann Taylor flagship store in NYC, which carried almost all the clothes seen from a wide variety of designers. Following the sale of the Ann Taylor shops and line by the original founder, Robert Liebskind, the previous year, the new owners started to expand away from the original eastern seaboard college towns to new markets—as well as beginning to sell creations by other designers. They concentrated on carrying brands not found at department stores, and had exclusive collaboration lines with certain designers. Below are a selection of the designs at the beginning of this shift in Ann Taylor's history—now that they have gone back to solely selling their own collection it is intriguing to look back and see how they found ways to satisfy their working women clients with fun yet work appropriate clothes.

    All photos by Jacques Malignon from Viva, October 1978.

    Fall is the season for city moves, the time of the year when you head for the brightest lights and try for the big time. The lure of a spot like New York City, that bustling bazaar of people, places, sights, sounds, and smells, become irresistible. Dressed in the wonderfully towny new coats from Ann Taylor's shops, you're drawn like a moth to a flame.

    (L) Single-breasted knit coat and knit sweater dress both by Bill Kaiserman for Rafael. Sweetpea fox scarf by Tepper Collection. (R) Flannel plaid coat by Cygne Designs at Ann Taylor.


    This fall, Ann Taylor salutes the traditional migration of young career women to New York by opening a fabulous new shop on East Fifty-seventh Street in Manhattan. Charles Broudy (the Philadelphia architect who recently won the Fifth Avenue Association Award) has designed a dazzling structure that will house a marvelous variety of exciting new clothes. The store will have three spacious floors plus an open galleria well and a mezzanine. A glass-enclosed elevator will transport you from level to level so that you can survey the array of goods as you travel from one floor to another. An espresso cafe will give respite to sauntering shoppers. (Decisions, decisions... Will it be the sexy clinging knit sweater dress, or the cuddly soft button-down cashmere dress - or that $500 Sweetpea fox scarf - or all three?)

    Autumn nights are for traveling to city lights in the sleekest, slimmest new coats to arrive on the style scene. Seventy-eight is the year to do it, to make the break and go for the glamour of that sparkling metropolitan life you've always dreamed of. Why wait another moment? This is the year to try for the biggest star, to fulfill aspirations, to aim high, and to make it big. Confident, cunning, and chic, you're going to do it in style this fall!


    (L) Button-down-back cashmere dress by Dominick Avellino at Ann Taylor. (R) Double-breasted wool coat by Daniel Hechter at Ann Taylor. Silk-gabardine dinner jacket, tuxedo trousers, silk-broadcloth ruffled shirt, leather cummerbund, silk square, all by Pinky and Dianne for Private Label at B. Altman.

  • Thea Porter

    Posted by Laura Permalink

    Floating caftan—white chiffon with sequins.

    As a historian you sometimes get to work on a worthy project that has been sorely neglected thus far—one that allows you really delve deeply into a subject, become consumed by it and an expert. For me I was lucky enough to have this happen with Thea Porter. While I had been a fan of her designs for years, after seeing them in old Vogue's and up for sale at auctions, it was not until I was doing my master's degree in fashion history that I realised how little research had been done on her, which led me to uncover her archive and find her daughter. This chance decision to start investigating her has resulted in the a book (published by the V & A) and an exhibition (at the Fashion & Textile Museum in London), both scheduled for February 2015. Thea's daughter, Venetia, edited the book and has written the introduction and afterword.

    As with any book full of beautiful images, there are always some that do not make the cut. Today i am sharing one of my favourite stories of Thea's designs, modeled by Bond Girl Barbara Bach.

    Barbara Bach photographed by David James for The Telegraph Sunday Magazine, April 3, 1977.

    Barbara Bach is the new James bond girl - who stars with Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me. She was photographed on location in Egypt wearing the most glamorous evening dresses we could find: some of Thea Porter's latest designs. These are evening clothes for the rich and famous (the prices are fabulous, but so are the fabrics). Who buys them? Thea Porter says her clientele is mainly from abroad. Each dress is unique.

    Dress for a thousand and one nights—of many fabrics.


    (L) Harem pants with many-coloured chiffon top. (R) Evening dress in moon-coloured brocade.

  • After dark... Big-time all the way!

    Posted by Laura Permalink

    Beading pyrotechnics! Halston's extravagant spills of gold and silver on midnight black silk chiffon in a sheer, kimono-sleeved jacket, over a bare halter top and slim pants sashed in black satin... the jewels of his fall collections!

    For the past few months I have been editing and finishing my book on Thea Porter (more on this and my exhibition in my next post) and have not been able to go out to events as much as I would like. Therefore I have been fantasizing about my ideal night out outfits and make-up, and I keep coming back to this editorial from a 1980 Harper's Bazaar—even making one of the images the background on my computer for maximum viewing pleasure... Full of sparkling glam gowns and incredibly chic pants ensembles, these images are pretty much my dream wardrobe (add in the dashing men in tuxes and they document my dream life).

    This falls' most exciting ways to catch the spotlight turn on a sleek, body-close line, and fabrics that play off sheerness with mega-watt dazzle. Maria Hansen, Pilar Crespi & unknown models photographed by Jacques Malignon for Harper's Bazaar, September 1980.

    (L) Soft, glimmering, ultra-feminine, Stephen Burrows' dress of coral/gold-striped silk mousseline, with a single ruffle edging the sleeves and neck...  the skirt: petal-hemmed for the longest possible look at beautiful legs! (R) The slimmest sheath—covered-up, body-conscious, and in a glorious color! The kind of sophisticated revealing Saint Laurent does best—bias-cut, purple silk mousseline with an asymmetrical neckline and long, narrowing sleeves... a stunner!


    (L) The look of separates—quilted, pleated, touched with lace! Krizia's coppery-gold evening suit—the chevron-quilted, cord-edged jacket, over a bronze V-neck sweater inset with gold lace, and pleated, mid-calf zoave pants... up-to-the-minute! (R) Gold-plus-red... fool-proof glamour! The way Geoffrey Beene does it: feather-light silk in a long, full-sleeved robe and matching pants... most seductive worn this way, with a touch of bareness!


    (L) In a tunic over pants—a seductive play of sheerness and shimmer. From Lanvin, the delight of coupe de velours—sheer, black silk chiffon scattered with hundreds of iridescent pink velvet "petals"... the kind of easy shaping and luxurious fabric you want for the big nights ahead! (R) The ease of pajama, the sizzle of beading. Adele Simpson's understated "harlequin" of violet/teal/green—a stock-tied silk blouse and narrowing trousers, to top with her matching beaded cardigan... covered-up, comfortable—and glamorous!

  • Paris and Rome: Inside the Couture, 1972

    Posted by Laura Permalink

    Nina Ricci. Presage. The romance of Ricci epitomized by beautiful Tina Aumont in black, three-tiered, ruffle evening dress flecked with sparkling sequins. Gazing out at the Seine with the famous Bridge Alexandre XIII in the background. Her hair fancifully coiffed by Alexandre. Smoothed into a snood, laced with braids, softened with tendrils at the side of her face.

    As fashion month comes to a close, here are some marvelous images of the Fall/Winter couture collections from Rome and Paris, along with some rather gossipy thoughts by James Brady...

    Photos by Hiro and text by James Brady from Harper's Bazaar, September 1972.

    "The Olympics are in Munich and Bobbu Fischer indulges himself in Iceland, but there are some Americas who swear the real action this summer was in Paris and Rome. The Fall-Winter couture showings began July 17 in Rome and ended ten days later in the French capital...Here is an inside report: Balentino is the big pasta in Rome and Saint Laurent and ungaro were the Paris stars. Dior, Givenchy, Ricci and patou were right behind. The dress made a comeback (only a few pairs of pants at couture prices), fashion was elegant in a sportive, relaxed way, there were no tricks and few vulgarities, the big coat surfaced, and hems were at or around the knee. The whole couture talks more about ready-to-wear for American customers and hints couture wll be for publicity and private clients only. In Rome it began when Valentino's curtain went up at 10 p.m. once Andy Warhol star Donna Jordan in white jodphurs found her place.

    Paris and Rome are both dead cities in the summer, dead as Pompeii, but for the fashion showings which attract what's left of society which flutters about the leading designs like moths. Saint Laurent was the beneficiary of a party given by Charlotte Aillaud in an incredible house in the rue du Dragon. Pierre Berge read Lauren Bacall's palm, Yves announced he was off to Tangiers on a holiday...

    Afterwards there were parties on terraces of the rich with cigar smoke and pretty girls in minidresses (they're back in Europe) everywhere. Audrey Hepburn arched her graceful neck and ate ice cream. When it was time to leave, she had the same trouble every wife has in getting her husband to say 'ciao' and go home..."

    Christian Dior. Number 9. A perfectly proportioned pantsuit. Divine on Manuela Papatakis. Bohan masterfully combines the elegance of easy jacket and soft bow-blouse with the precision of haberdashed trousers. Then add the fluff of dyed-to-match fox boa. Both jacket and trousers, in pale grey flannel. Jacket, bright green double-faced. Blouse, grey and green striped.


    Valentino. Number 174. Sexy starlet Tina Aumont. Distinct and dramatic in Valentino's superb suit of exquisite opaline silk crepe. Jacket, artfully embellished with cut-crystal ball buttons and boxy layered sleeves, gently glides over sheer beige, blue and gold Georgette crystal-buttoned blouse, bordered in same silk crepe, narrowly belted at the waist and panel-pleated skirt.


    Ungaro. Number 55. One of the stars of the collection... only coming out at night. Infused with all the excitement, exuberance, imagination Ungaro is esteemed for. And looking poised and pretty on Manuela Papatakis. Provocatively sheer, rhumba-ruffled, purple print silk blouse... sensational cinched under a black gazar wide wasp-waisted bell skirt.


    Christian Dior. Number 47. Moving like a sinuous cat - Pat Cleveland in Dior's immaculate fuchsia double-faced wool coat. Pyramid-shaped, it's neat and narrow at the top, full and flaring at the bottom and back. Set-in sleeves following the line of the body are limber and loose. Marvelously mated with a fuchsia and black printed dress in shimmering satin worn underneath.


    Saint Laurent. Number 24. Pat, really putting on the dog. Looking languid and lissome, in deep maroon crocheted cardigan jacket drowned in fox at collar and cuffs. Narrowly chain-belted over a wine and navy harlequin-printed wool dress. Bias-cut, gracefully bowed at the neck, feminine and flaring. Doubly dramatic worn with a sleek, snug skull cap.


    Givenchy. Number 246. Pat Cleveland looking pleased high-stepping it down the boulevard in Givenchy's new sportive suede coat. A very alive, cognac-colored, cap-sleeved, 7/8th-length beauty. With two pockets and the golden gleam of polished metal clip closures. Svelte and smart. Layered over a long-sleeved plaid suit in earthy tones of tobacco, grey and white.

  • Moving into Autumn with 'Courtly Gestures'

    Posted by Laura Permalink

    Perfectly plain: the right dresses have a top with the fit and ease of a body, and a dramatic bolt of fabric below the waist. High-neck, Empire-line dress in chestnut-brown velvet and slash-neck wool gauze dress, both by Donna Karan.

    In an attempt to peacefully let go of summer and joyfully face cooler temperatures I have been turning for inspiration to editorials that celebrate heavier, lusher materials. Slimline velvets, intricate headpieces and heavy gold necklaces are the centrepiece to this Medieval influenced story, photographed by Mario Testino at Bolton Abbey, Derbyshire for Vogue UK, December 1993. Surprisingly not styled by historically-minded Isabella Blow, the fashion editor was Jayne Pickering (Blow styled another memorable story in the same issue, 'Anglo-Saxon Attitude' by Steven Meisel with Stella Tennant, Bella Freud, Plum Sykes, Lady Louise Campbell, Honor Fraser).

    From cold castles and magic groves, this season's star pieces emerge fit for a Guinevere. What stops them looking too historical is their modern simplicity. These romantic velvet dresses, streamlined tunics and gilded accessories will wear and wear...
    Nadja Auermann, Kristen McMenemy, & Cecilia Chancelor by Mario Testino for Vogue UK, December 1993.


    (L) The Lady of Shalott: the key elements are tendrils of hair and make-up base that lets the skin shine through. Magenta velvet dress, fitted to the waist, by Callaghan. Matt-chain skull cap with iridescent glass drops, by Slim Barrett. (R) To provide all-important movement and to play up the impact of a heavy sweep of velvet, Gianfranco Ferré for Dior adds a fluttering train of fine chiffon. Full-length dress with velours crossover bodice and silk chiffon skirt.


    (L) Dress with suede thong sash, by Prada. Staff with glass cross, by Slim Barrett. (R) The new proportions: with boots a tunic can be a dress. Velvet, three-quarter-length tunic by Voyage. Wide leather belt with brass buckle and leather riding boots, Polo Ralph Lauren.


    (L) Romeo Gigli has always reveled in the play between indulgent fabrics; now his rich fabrics together with most basic materials - to emphasize the luxury of velvet. Claret velvet dress with dropped waist and full-length flared skirt tied with bell rope, by Romeo Gigli. (R) Nights in shining armour: historical influences are brought up to date with modern techniques. Here wool is coated with a shimmering paint. Silver wool tunic by Gianfranco Ferré.


    (L) Long, flared sleeves are appropriate now... with this necklace, it's perfect. Green bias-cut dress with trumpet sleeves, by Norma Kamali. Necklace with tassel by Slim Barrett. (R) Criss-cross lacing and a suede tunic come from the wardrobe of a medieval countryman; the news is they're now worn by a woman/ Suede dress fitted to the waist with a laced neck, and brown leather gloves. Both by Prada. 


    (L) A Golthic arch echoes the imposing simplicity of the new silhouette, which uses a fishtail to add extra curves. Black velvet and viscose twill layered top with shirred waist, and long, velvet skirt with a narrow train. Both by Ann Demeulemeester. Crown with faux pearls, crystals and moonstones; chain headpiece with glass drops; chain and glass choker; and matching necklace. All by Slim Barrett. (R) Reccuring themes from Arthurian legend: rich embroidery follows the line. Purple crushed-velvet dress with beading at collar and cuffs, by Amanda Wakeley.


    A way of keeping legs on show: in place of a dress, an opulent coat is thrown around a slim foundation. Tobacco brown crushed-velvet coat, embroidered corset, and cigarette pants by Anna Sui. Thigh-high boots with a row of buckles, at Pied à Terre Rouge.

  • Back to School Chic 1972

    Posted by Laura Permalink

    The Young You: Alive, agile, active. Bursting with energy. And having a happy time walking your baby back home in spirited threesome. Camel jacket, pants, and black rib blouse with stand-up collar, in Trevira knit. By Kimberly Threesome.

    The first few weeks of September, no matter what age you are, bring with them a sense of excitement and new beginnings. Though we are often desperate to carry on summer's sense of relaxation, it's inevitable that some of the weather changes and 'back-to-school' energy gets to us. This Harper's Bazaar editorial from September 1972 perfectly captures this - beautiful mother's taking their kids to school with smiling faces and perfect transitional clothes.

    Shelley Smith and an unknown model photographed by Otto Stupakoff, with hair Christiaan, from Harper's Bazaar, September 1972.


    A really good sport—pantsuit. Always looking right and relaxed, doing errands around home or taking in the sights on the roam. Shirtjacket, in Scotney Mills' natural camel hair. Grey flannel pants fit and flare. Twosome, by Schnell Sports for Ernst Strauss.


    (L) The Classic Kind: Simple and smashing. Taking to town in sure stride. Fluid and flowing. Three easy pieces by Giorgini. (R) Camel peppered with plaid outfit says something special about you. Topper, pants, turtleneck all by Emily M. at Franklin Simon.


    (L) The Neutral Knack: A wonderful way to look soft and sensational. All peaches and cream. Sweater, crepe blouse, wool skirt all designed by Patti Cappallo for Addenda. The verve of cotton velvet (right). Over touch-me turtleneck in blend of Angora, nylon and lamb's wool and wool pants. Designed by Patti Cappallo for Addenda. (R) The vim of a vest. Pig suede, side-buckling over dolman sleeve acrylic sweater. Pants. By Gunter for Project 2.


    (L) The Camel Clan: Clothes so casual and comfortable you will want to live in them first day of school 'til last. All in the camel family—fly-font jacket with billowy knit dolman sleeves and wool check pants. By Victor Joris for Cuddlecoat. Jacket, pants by Twosome. (R)  Straight and narrow pantsuit. Very zippy in Warren of Stafford's Woolmark wool, loomed in America. By Gare. 


    (L) The Softest Sell: Lovable camels as gentle as a child's touch. So comfy and cozy you won't want to take it off—Young Pendleton's three-piece outfit. (R) Capping off the season—trompe l'oeil cap-sleeve dress. Always on the go with printed wool challis sleeves matched to ascot, attached to wool flannel jersey dress. By Adele Simpson.

  • His Kind of Woman

    Posted by Laura Permalink

    Richard Burton: "What do I like a woman to wear? As little as possible!"
    Dressing at an irreducible minimum—an ingeniously wrapped dress of total simplicity. Between you and a light caress of matte jersey, nothing! But it all seems to work. By Scott Barrie.

    In fashion circles you always hear that women dress for other women - that our sartorial choices are primarily driven by a desire to impress other females, even at the loss of our sex appeal. Long before 'Man Repeller' this was a common explanation for fashion's more bizarre trends, but at the same time there has always been a vein of dressing that is strictly attraction based. Not always as well represented in the major fashion magazines, we have always been able to count on Cosmopolitan to make sure that a girl really knows how to dress to get the guy (into bed or into marriage, whichever you choose). Cosmopolitan's no nonsense approach to fashion is strictly about dating appeal—in this 1970 editorial they asked nine major male celebrities for their thoughts on female style then dressed models up in similar looks. Published right at the peak of Second Wave Feminism, it is a pretty outright renunciation of the movement and a bizarre intermingling of antiquated traditional gender roles in the quotes and often raunchy fashions. After all of that, though, there are some pretty great clothes...

    All photos by Ricco Montevecchi for Cosmopolitan, August 1970.

    His Kind of Woman
    That's what you really want to be deep down, don't you? We asked nine celebrated charmers about THEIR kind of woman and this is what they said:

    (L) Johnny Cash: "I like girls, period. I like to look at girls; a beautiful woman is the most wonderful thing in the world, and by 'beautiful' I mean a woman who has a pretty face, a nice figure, and a pleasant disposition—a man's woman. A soft woman. Yeah! With long hair and frilly things—like my wife, June!" - Soft and warm—plummy bogus broadtail, a shimmery satin tunic. By Leo Narducci. (R) Lee Marvin: "I can't stand women who are sheep, either physically or mentally... the ones that jump on the bandwagon for every latest 'trend' and end up looking like they came off an assembly line. Clothes should enhance, not detract from, a person's individuality. And this doesn't mean dressing like a carnival to prove you've got a personality. My own favorite look for a woman is probably basically Chanel—quiet, feminine, becoming." - Ruffled and bowed—a little lace suit in the prescribed manner. By Stan Herman for Mr. Mort.


    (L) Cary Grant: "Naturalness, love—that's the quality I look for in a woman. What;s really important is what goes on inside—brains, an interest in the world, a sense of humor. Just relax, that's my advice, don't try so hard. Exaggerated fashions, either outrageously avant-garde or so blatantly 'sexy' they're comic... reams of false hair.. uh-uh—not for my girl! Oh...one permissible excess—she can be drenched in anything Faberge!" - Coolly sophisticated cat's p'jams—leopard-spot velveteen smoking gear. By Geoffrey Beene for Beene Bazaar. (R) Donald Sutherland: "The perfect woman? Yes, I have a rather definite picture of her. She's twenty-nine to thirty-two... tall, very thin, dark. She has great eyes, deep-set and dark. Her cheekbones are prominent. So are all her other bones because, you know, she's so thin. She has big-little breasts. She wears simple dresses in lovely pastels—blues, pinks, purples. Her only underwear is a gold chain at her waist...is it soldered on. She wears no shoes... her feet have high arches and long, thin toes... perhaps she has a moustache..." - Handkerchief dress clings to the finest bones. Layered matte jersey skirt droops in wispy points. By Scott Barrie.


    (L) Bob Newhart: "Women are unpredictable creatures—perverse, irrational, helpless, opinionated, enchanting, fearless, frightened. To fit these bewildering moods, I advocate an 'eclectic' wardrobe... one that allows a woman to express herself through her clothes rather than letting fashion determine her attitudes. Marshall McLuhan describes clothes as weapons, and a woman should never lose the most formidable weapon in her arsenal—her femininity." - Formidable!—art moderne flowers spike a crepe dress of sheer sorcery. Separate shawl wraps the hips. By Geoffrey Beene for Beene Bazaar. (R) George Segal: "My kind of woman is husky-voiced, smoky, simple, and direct. She's sophisticated. Ideally, she's tall, slender, and dark with beautiful, expressive eyes. She scorns weird makeup. She dresses like a contemporary Gypsy—sure of herself and rather uninhibited. I see her barefoot or wearing simple sandals that lace up her legs. She wears interesting jewelry. Her look is free, natural, and strong." - On-target peasantry—mobile matte jersey gives air of abandon to embery blouse and skirt. Hipline, tops of sleeves are snugly smocked. By Marshall Klugman for STJ.


    (L) Tom Jones: "I insist that a woman be a woman—that is, to be completely feminine and loving toward her man. I can't stand to see a woman dress like a man or act like a man in any way." - Wee-size nightie—no mistaking you for a man! Snaky-printed nylon tricot is cunningly shaped and bowed and—bared! By Sears. (R) Charlton Heston: "I like a woman to look female. Clothes should make her look pretty, not on display like a special in a supermarket. I like waistlines and bustlines and materials that move. Can't abide unisex anything or freaky fads like the 'hardware look' that clank, clatter, grate on the nerves, and make me afraid to touch!" - Chantilly lace and a pretty face—girlish jumpsuit has flippy flared legs and sleeves, a ruffled lowish neckline. By Scott Barrie.

  • The Best Bodies in America

    Posted by Laura Permalink

    Cheryl Tiegs: "Tennis is my sport. There's nothing like playing a fast and energetic game outdoors. It involves stamina, skill and terrific timing... it makes me feel alive!"
    Left: The kind of color and cut to look for in a maillot this summer—Marina Ferrari's yellow suit with one twisting tie that wraps around the waist and twists over one shoulder. Right: The news of terry tennis gear—Danskin's white V-neck bodysuit and pull-on shorts.

    If you ever needed a push to start exercising, I'm pretty sure this editorial is it! Jerry Hall, Shaun Casey and Cheryl Tiegs looking lean, glamorous and super fit! It seems like this trio were Harper's Bazaar's go to girls in the early 1980s (see my post on Curate two weeks ago) and it is not hard to see why. All were at the height of their beauty (Hall was 23, Tiegs 32 and Casey 22) and were interviewed about and photographed doing their favourite summer sports. Being trapped in the city at the moment, all of these photos are making me incredibly jealous!

    Cheryl Tiegs, Jerry Hall & Shaun Casey photographed by Rico Puhlmann, with hair by Bruno Demetrio and makeup by Mark Nahmias, for Harper's Bazaar, May 1980.


    Cheryl Tiegs: "Sailing is a great way to relieve tension, clear the mind, and relax. The water is my mood-balancer... it can be tranquilizing, invigorating, cooling, refreshing. I love everything about it!"
    Right: The ultimate in bare T-shirting—Fiorucci's cool cotton mesh in yellow, over white silk muslin shorts... an eye-opener! Pinky & Dianne for Private Label shorts.


    Jerry Hall: "If I'm going to exercise, it's got to be fun! And if there's risk involved, all the better... I'm from Texas where we didn't get to surf much, so windsurfing is making up for lost time!"
    Left: The half-shell-inspired accessory stunner—Krizia's metallic pink plastic bra... great over a bikini bottom, wrappy sarong skirt or pants at night! OMO Norma Kamali bikini. Right: The jolt of striping in magenta-and-orange—Elon by Monika Tilley V-neck, criss-cross-back maillot.


    Jerry Hall: "For me, bicycling was just an easy way to get around... now I realize that it's one of the best ways to keep my legs in shape!"
    Inset: Sleekest for cycling, jogging, working-out—a short-sleeved, high-necked bodysuit to cover with shorts in white with black pinstripes... Watch for more and more one-piece looks—the new basics! By Didier Hagler for Cantone Collections.


    Shaun Casey: "When you waterski you work every muscle (especially stomach muscles for balance)... and you don't really know you're using them. It gives a nice line to the body!"
    Left: The perfect beach cover-up—J. Tiktiner's small-collared, buttonless blouse in orange linen/cotton. Right inset: A slick spearmint-colored maillot that's haltered, deep-plunging. By Danskin.


    Shaun Casey: "I love to exercise outdoors—it's the best thing you can do on the beach!... Jogging on the beach is terrific, too, especially in the early morning when the sand is flat—it's great for your feet!"
    Left: Great work-out gear in a play of stripes and color—in red-and-white, a stretchy cotton/Lycra tank top and pull-on cotton jogging pants. By Le Feu Cache.

  • Summer Cool

    Posted by Laura Permalink

    (L) The way you'll want to dress for summer. The easy shapes, cool fabrics, paleness that shows a tan — Marimekko's off-white T-shirt, color-sashed over waist-gathered pants in off-white cotton. (R) The playsuit — unexpectedly bare! The one-piecem, white cotton-knit... over a swimsuit or on it's own — terrific! By Marcasiano Knitwear. Summer Beauty: With bronzed skin, go for brighter colors for eyes and lips.

    Suddenly it's August and the summer is almost over - how did that happen? With so much going on I barely feel like I've gotten to enjoy it, or even figured out how to properly dress for it. When I look at this editorial (shot on location in Ocho Rios, Jamaica) I can see perfectly what I want to wear — easy, breezy American sportswear classics with just enough skin and a dusting of bronze makeup... It also doesn't get any better than all American babes like Cheryl Tiegs, Shaun Casey and Jerry Hall when plotting a perfect summer look!

    Cheryl Tiegs, Shaun Casey and Jerry Hall photographed by Rico Puhlmann for Harper's Bazaar, May 1980.

    Sip of chartreuse: The snap-front, terry-velour playsuit.. soft, slightly stretchy — the perfect cover-up! From Yuko by Jun Ashida. Firecracker color! The tunic-dress over knee pants! Thierry Mugler's broad-shouldered dress in lipstick-red terry, self-belted over matching knee pants. For the most mileage — the dress in terry. Sleeveless, aqua cotton, snapped to the waist... the easiest! By Sadimara.


    (L) Dramatic subtractions: Issey Miyake's ultimate leg-revealer — the sleek, fuchsia suit, cut hip-bone high, with a single curving shoulder strap. (R) In racing form: The slim-strapped, chrome yellow tank-suit... the close-fit and color zero in on a great shape — and it's just "enough" for serious swimming. By Ibiza Swimwear for Concorde Fashions.


    (L) Bi-colors on the bias: Adrienne Vittadini's roomy yellow/raspberry cotton-jersey T-shirt, and tiny raspberry jersey shorts... the brightest! One-piece coolness: The sleeveless, button-front playsuit in sheer yellow cotton... when you're in terrific shape, one of the best ways to show it! By Paul Ropp for India Nepal. (R) Summery "sweater-set": Cesarini's yellow cotton waffle-knit duo — the V-neck T-shirt and matching sweatshirt-style pullover, topping his front-pleated, divided skirt in natural colored cotton... watch for this kind of paired sweatering!


    (L) Delicate touches... eye-catching color. Albert Nipon's haltered, red cotton sundress, with tucking, ribbon-y straps and a sash in turquoise/periwinkle! (R) Madras — newest in a strapless sundress! Ralph Lauren's bodice-shirred dress in burgundy/yellow cotton... a new kind of classic!

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    • 1950s Beaded Fitted Scoop Back Dress
    • Give the Gift of Vintage with a Gift Card!
    • 1930s Puffed Sleeve Floral Silk Chiffon Gown
    • A/W 1980 Haute Couture Christian Dior Gown
    • 1978 Collection Rare Backless Red Halston Dress
    • 1950s Pink Herbet Sondheim Silk Dress & Jacket
    • A/W 1994 Documented Vivienne Westwood Riding Suit
    • 1950s Silk and Net Lace Beaded Cocktail Dress
    • 1960s Numbered Courreges Pink Skirt & Sweater Set
    • 1970s Leonard Pink & Coral Mini & Crop Jacket
    • Spring 2008 Giambattista Valli Strapless Ivory Fitted Dress
    • 1980s Valentino Pleated Back Silk Gown
    • 1950s Green Sculptural Lilli Diamond Dress & Jacket
    • Pretty 1970s Ted Lapidus Floral Skirt & Top Set
    • Rare 1970s Embroidered Exceptional Kenzo Suit
    • 1980s Nini Ricci Lame Black Cocktail Dress
    • 1950s Black Sequin & Cording Pin Up Dress
    • 1960s Silk Chiffon Floral Oscar De La Renta Jumpsuit
    • Late 1950s Rare Hermes Coated Cotton Trench Coat
    • 1960s Chic Larger Christian Dior Numbered Suit
    • 1960s Rich Hued Pucci Velvet Shift Dress
    • 1960s Beautiful Pink Velvet Emilio Pucci Skirt
    • 1970s Glossy Black Sequin Donald Brooks Dress
    • Spring 1999 Thierry Mugler Black Silk Chiffon Runway Dress
    • Fall 2003 Runway Ostrich Print Prada Leather Coat
    • 1960s Geoffrey Beene Burnt Pumpkin Colored Backless Chiffon Dress
    • 1950s Bonwit Teller Strapless Black Silk Dress w Full Skirts
    • Spring 2001 Tom Ford for Gucci Black Bustier Dress
    • Hermes 'Feu Du Ciel' by Kwumi Sefedin Silk Pocket Scarf
    • 1960s Blue Floral Formfit Pucci Nylon Dress & Panties
    • 1960s Rare Alice Pollock Moss Crepe Wrap Top
    • 1960s Andre Courreges Black Courduroy Vest & Skirt Set
  • The New Allure: Couture 1980

    Posted by Laura Permalink

    Yves Saint Laurent: Keep your eye on the legs... the beautiful blouse... on this very feminine, very soft approach to being in a suit—it's what the new allure is all about! Left, his one-button black alpaca suit, with its seductive little grosgrain gilet in black-and-white (still key Paris colors)... its leg-revealing wrap skirt. Right, another level of dressing, of sophistication in the contrast of a black wool gabardine suit—with an easy, gold buttoned jacket and wrap skirt—and his ravishing gold-sequined camisole, chiffon shot-with-gold pocket handkerchief. A very low-key but very unmistakable glamour... Unseen, but unmistakable glamour: Y fragrance by Yves Saint Laurent.

    While Raf Simons is riffing on Christian Dior's 50s designs for his latest Dior couture collection and Christian Lacroix attempts to revitalize Elsa Schiaparelli's 1930s silhouettes, I keep looking back to the couture of the 1980s. Even the leading caption from this editorial from Vogue, April 1980, matches my mood exactly:

    In the couture collections, there was a move in a new direction. It wasn't everywhere. It wasn't the whole story. But it was... a breath of fresh air. After seasons of extremes and exaggerations, a way of dressing emerged that was clearly different. With nothing retrospective about it: no overdone, squared-off shoulders; no too-short, too-tight jackets; no nipped-in waists. Nothing tough in either the tailoring or the fabrics. Nothing excessive or elaborate in the way of ornamentation. Instead, in the best collections, you find a whole new category of "in between" dressing for late day/easy evening... dressing with new options. Clothes that give you a feeling of being dressed without being overdressed; that provide a definite change from day without resorting to big evening theatrics. And, whether it's a new soft version of a suit with an unexpected and beautiful blouse, or the eye-catching flirt of a new dress, these are the clothes not easily typecast. But they share an immediate appeal, a modern sense of attractiveness and versatility. Quickest tip-off to that appeal: the look of legs—it's everywhere and brings a new raciness to fashion. That's the beginning. What follows on these fourteen pages, all the differences to keep your eye on now... the new elements in fashion that suggest certain changes—and delights—to come...

    All images and text from Vogue, April 1980 — Gia Carangi, Nancy Donahue & Terri May photographed by Andrea Blanch.


    (L) Yves Saint Laurent: A dress to convince nonbelievers—young, flirty, ready-to-move.His new long-torso shape, here in black-and-white flower print crêpe de Chine, with one soft, bias asymetric flounce, side-draped and tied. Photographed in a Paris apartment, interior design by Andrée Putman.

    (R) Ungaro: Brilliant, blatant colors set the tone—the style—for a very modern way of "dressing." The easy-fitting jacket—longer, looser—in vivid turquoise wool edged in black grosgrain. Over his one-of-a-kind special print, giant tulips scattered on black silk jacquard crêpe de Chine—a shorter leg-showing wrap dress, with bright red kidskin belt, sheer black chiffon a the neckline... out-and-out Ungaro bravado! Photographed at Ungaro, Paris.


    (L) Givenchy: ...does a "little dress." All scallops and flirt, and larger-than-life purple/yellow pansies on a navy ground, in a season of prints: a winner. The finishing touch: a matching silk georgette scarf. Photographed in a Paris apartment, interior design by Andrée Putman.

    (R) Yves Saint Laurent: There's more to this suit than the sensuous, curvy bolero, the tulip-shaped skirt. There's the feeling of femininity, the gentle turn to it all, the delight in just wrapping and tying the beautiful blouse behind your waist.


    (L) Givenchy: A white gabardine suit to wear over and over: the jacket not-too-short; a knee-length skirt; the impact of a black/white camisole in his key-look geometric stripe. Photographed in a Paris apartment, interior design by Andrée Putman.

    (R) Ungaro: The most modern take on "put-together"; a long, easy white wool ottoman jacket, black-satin edged; over a black/white/red silk crêpon chemise with a pretty little ruffle, a red satin cord at the neck. Photographed in the foyer at Ungaro, Paris.


    (L) Valentino: For the woman who, on certain evenings, wants the option of a pyjama—Valentino's appealing black silk crêpe. With his signatures—an organdy choirboy collar, cutouts of black chiffon on the sleeveless top, the trousers. Photographed in a Paris apartment, interior design by Andrée Putman.

    (R) Halston: What American women want from a suit: not only an attractive, finished look—they want performance. And that's what Halston delivers. His suit starts out with an assured "look" that goes from early morning to easy evening. But the pieces are thought-out, edited. The easy double-faced white wool jacket would work over anything you own. The white silk/wool jersey T-shirt top and the navy wool gabardine skirt are equally mobile. By Halston Made-to-Order at Olympic Tower, NYC. Photographed in the courtyard of the Plaza Athénée Hotel, Paris.


    (L) André Laug: A more relaxed, a different way of being in pants—and still being "dressed"—at night, André Laug's soft silk crêpon pyjama in a beautiful black, ivory, and purple floral print, with a violet, beige, and ivory "caviar" tweed silk knit pullover. Photographed in the M.A.F.I.A. offices, Paris. 

    (R) Mila Schön: A sharp, racy line for day—Mila Schön's navy wool gabardine pants suit with an easier jacket. And always—a beautiful blouse—here, in front-tucked white linen. Photographed at the new Forum des Halles in Paris.


    (L) Dior: Marc Bohan's soft-falling 3/4-length white wool coat and soft-edged grey herringbone wool pants suit with a longer jacket. Underneath, the all-out charm of a blouse: in pale-grey silk façonné chiffon, from the white Eton collar and cuffs to the grosgrain ribbon tie. Photographed at Dior, Paris.

    (R) Valentino: Tip off to a whole new mood: instead of a shirt or a sweater, a beautiful blouse... every time! Left, Valentino's ivory silk georgette with front-tucking and a Chantilly lace collar, a ribbed white wool longer cardigan-jacket and white wool gabardine wrap skirt. Right, Running throughout his collection—a blouse with a touch of unexpected bareness... Valentino's thin white wool gauze blouse, slashed in the back, filled in with sheer silk organdy, and white wool gabardine trousers. Photographed at the Longchamps Racetrack, Paris.

  • Jean-Louis Scherrer HC F/W 1986

    Posted by Laura Permalink

    As my Instagram feed once again gets flooded with photos from the couture shows I find myself thinking and looking back to Haute Couture greats of the past. At the moment I am finding myself totally enamored with the totally over-the-top glamour of Jean-Louis Scherrer. The fastest way to transport oneself into The Bonfire of the Vanities or Chic Savages is to simply view some of his 1980s collections. My favourite some-time fashion show photographer (more often photojournalist) Abbas (whose work on Lacroix I revealed previously) captured Scherrer's Fall/Winter 1986 Haute Couture collection in all of its glitzy, shiny, sparkly drama. They are clothes for socialites, for rich wives of oil tycoons and masters of the universe — there is nothing subtle, except for the lack of skin. The fabrics and embellishment are the draws here, not sex appeal - it is a look totally about wealth. While these designs could be thought of as too mature, they were ideal for the age range of the clients who could actually afford couture and were incredibly successful until the stock market crash of  October 1987 shifted financial priorities away from the maximalist approach to life.

  • Mexico: Clothes for the Endless Summer

    Posted by Laura Permalink

    Right into the resort scene—no acclimating necessary: separates layered to really separate, for lunch at Hacienda del Lobo Hotel and Tennis club—and reasonable for cool drive in the highlands. Roll-sleeved red sweater, showing lots of freshly checked shirt, and white-hot white pants. By Kasper for J.J. Sport. Provincial flower print, in rayon crepe de Chine, knife-pleated and wrapped in a long wool cardigan with dropped pockets. From the Arkin Collection.

    Something about the constant reports of all of the resort collections and seeing the Made in Mexico: The Rebozo in Art, Culture & Fashion (6 June – 31 August 2014) at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London last week has me fantasizing about a Mexican holiday—totally unlike my normal dream vacations I am thinking about sun, beaches and cocktails. It may be summer now but I'm still hard at work in the city (London now, NYC next week) and the world of margaritas feels very far away...

    As always these fantasies are fueled by editorials and in particular this 'Resort Report' from Mexico by Otto Stupakoff for Harper's Bazaar, December 1972, starring Shelley Smith & Margaretta. Not just inspiring for vacation planning, the styling is spot on both holiday and ordinary life. Some of these outfits may seem off-season in terms of the current weather in the northern hemisphere, but with the flowing seasonlessness of the collections on the runway and in stores the layering and variety of fabric weights begin to make more sense—it's a total wardrobe for those hot sweaty days that sometimes seem to be inexplicably followed by overly cool nights, and for those mornings and afternoons when your schedule continually shifts you from steamy outdoors to air-conditioned indoors.

    Drive up the coast and drop in on the beautiful resort town of Kino Bay and the fishing village, San Blas. Four for the road are soft Shetland wool sweaters and dunkable shape-holding pants. All smoothly interchangeable. By Erika Elias for Charlie's Girls.


    (L)The utmost jersey of tropical evenings, by Donald Brooks. Cool, luminous white draped to clasp the bodice, bare the midriff and then let pour. (M) One great way to take in the seascape of coastal Puerto Vallarta is to catch it at sundown on the cool, tiled terrace of the Hacienda del Lobo Hotel and Tennis Club, our base for excursions into the countryside. Angora-blend sweaters in sunset colors. Lazy good-for-everything godet pants. By Addenda by Patti Cappalli. Paco Rabanne sandals. (R) All along the coast, from the provincial bay towns to the highlands of Guadalajara, the white suit is the summit in great resort fabrics; cotton duck, silk linen, wool flannel. Long-skirted white by Saint Lauent hitting its stride South.


    Spectacular small-suit whites individualize with soft, easy tailorings and mobile young jacket shapes. Off-white Fablon wool flannel smocked jacket and fluid skirt, with melon-colored rib-knit jersey tank top underneath. By Jon Kloss for 499 Division of Kloss-Pruzan. Long jacket, angling out over a wrap skirt (right), in Couleur Dupioni silk linen. Coordinated cardigan. Very smooth going, by Kasper for Joan Leslie.


    Inundated quiet at Twin Beaches, where all the serenities come together. Clearest water, white sand, big rock formations like different sizes of chaise longues, smooth enough to bask on. A short drive from the Hacienda del Lobo Hotel and Tennis Club. This cotton caftan, cool as a shadow, flaring loose from a pleated bib. By Carol Horn.


    Latest of the pale new swimsuits, knitted in one lean piece. Sweater-rib, halter suit, in beige polyester/wool/rabbit hair. By Cole of California. Hat by Mr John.


    White maillot diving to a V in front, slashed deep in back. By Gottex of Israel. Chemise-strapped maillot of purest fit, to slick on over a prize tan. By Peter Pan Swimwear.


    Guided tour by Gabriel along a bright, placid beach with the green hills behind you. Puerto Vallarta's rent-a-donkey service doesn't have to try harder because nobody's in a hurry. Bright white pantsuit by Casa di Cole aligned in three parts. Tailored to loaf it up without losing its good sharp cool.


    (L) High-powered classic of the resort scene, the tennis sweater and its unbeatable counterpart, white flannel pants. All by Ralph Lauren. (R) This could be your place: Small, village-sized and tropical with great expanses of blue Pacific water to take the heat off, and a calm as big as the ocean it looks out on. Puerto Vallarta on Mexico's West Coast is always being discovered by informed escapees, but it manages never to crowd you. Neither will the clothes you unwind in, sure-fiery resort fashions with a brilliant new kind of cool. (They draw a small crowd called Gabriel). Bold, stratified colors in a halter top, flashing full skirt and coordinated stole that can wind up as a brilliant piece of headgear. By Jack Bodi for Concept VII.


    Hot glitter of Lurex in a cardigan looped over a striped halter knit top. Shown here with coordinated gabardine pants. Sleeveless chemise tank-top knitted in intaglio scallops, lighted with Lurex. Coordinated gabardine pants. Lurex and wool sweaters by Renee Taylor for Outlander Group Ltd. Pants by Alice Blaine for Benson & Partners.

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