Pale Reflections, 1959

Posted by Laura
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Left: Bell-sleeved apricot-beige that's like discovering a new fashion continent—or a particularly fortunate face powder. Velvet hat is black. Shoes are came; shade with no actual colour relation to apricot-beige, but everything in common. By Mollie Parnis, in rayon-and-acetate crêpe, about $110. / Right: A profile of a bisque crêpe shirt reflected at a walk in the mirror—two views out of a dozen we can think of, offhand, for a dress like this. Hat is black-grey, shoes are pitch brown. Dress by Herbert Sondheim, in rayon-and-acetate crepe, about $70. All hats: Lilly Daché.



Last week I was disclosing my excitement for spring dressing but now I am looking forward to summer—but with an eye for year-round dressing. This rather beautiful reflected editorial, shot on the streets of New York by William Klein, lays out Vogue's opinions on how to expand beyond the little black dress and shoes. The captions detail what colours you should be paring together for fashion innovation, and they also discuss what shoes, hats, gloves will take these dresses into the winter and spring seasons. I'm rather captivated by the idea of finding an apricot-beige dress for summer now, especially if it is "like discovering a new fashion continent—or a particularly fortunate face powder".

Klein repeatedly used mirrors in his fashion work as they enabled him to multiple perspectives on the garments (better for the editors and advertisers) while allowing him to create striking compositions. Not only can the reader at home see a much clearer description of the dress, but Klein found a way to convey depth on the magazine page. As he said himself, "Every picture was an experiment."


Editorial by William Klein for Vogue, July 1959.

You don't replace black in fashion (or pearls, or furs, or cashmere sweaters), but you can, with astonishingly pretty results, give black that notable fashion tonic—a breather. Six pages of ways here, beginning with beige. Summer prerequisites for beige are a confirmed sun tan, or an intentional fairness; a stock of smallish velvet hats; brownish shoes. Later prop: a little black coat. 



Mirrored close-up of the kind of beige dress that proves that a good time to start wearing beige is anytime. Pale-beige silk crêpe like this is marvellously jewel-able in later hours, later months, is worn here with a darker beige velvet turban, off-white gloves. By Talmack, about $125.



Silk shirt dress with a pleasant disregard for any colour rules but new ones—mauve worn with a plum velveteen hat, a plum brown handbag. The silk is habutai which means it's Japanese, fairly satiny. By Maria Krum, about $145.



The black dress in a color is the answer for the woman who's looked into the black question thoroughly and knows that a good many of the same rules apply: a perfected make-up, some kind of small slim point of news (the hats here, to note), shoes not necessarily black.
Left: The black dress in a degree of pinkness that finds itself in black-dress situations increasingly as the months go by. In October (or January) pink and mink make a pleasantly warm scheme. The hat is four-faceted velveteen ruby box. By Sally Slade. / Right: A creamy crêpe dress that flies along on shirt power and a flattering amount of decolletage. The Madcaps pillbox is cream-colored velvet—instead of black. Both dresses by Hannah Troy. Each about $70.



Pale black, pitch grey—however you look at it, the idea means a distraction from black forever, and a new colour medium to work in. This is the place for the chamois glove, the plum-red shoe (Renaissance is a term you'll be hearing re colour), the brilliant wool coat that you thought might have used up its devastating phases.
Left: Reflected in the mirror, pale-black silk tussah dress worn here—around drinks-and-dinner time, obviously—with a plateau-ish jet black velvet pillbox, brief white gloves, and a cool minimum of jewels. The shoes might be a glazed cordovan colour, not red and not black. Dress by H. Charles, about $145. / Right: Silk tussah again with a definite shapeliness, a definite off-blackness that is as right now as off-white was before you tore the page off the calendar the last time. Black velvet pillbox (it might have been a wine velvet), jet beads, white gloves. Dress by H. Charles, about $145.



Long-jacketed suit of jet-grey silk tussah given the virtuoso treatment—blond velvet hat, pearl and jet beads, black suède shoes that show all the stocking they can. Four months from now: blond brocade hat, sandals of cognac suède. Dress by Couture Int'l. About $60.

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