Vintage Couture

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Actress Gong Li arrives for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala 2015

“They are unique garments with an unmatched quality of construction,” says William Banks-Blaney, explaining the lure of vintage couture. “And they give women freedom to shop for what suits them rather than being tied into a designer’s latest collection.”

Banks-Blaney, who runs the by-appointment-only WilliamVintage boutique in Marylebone, London, has played a major role in lifting beautiful old dresses away from any connotations of shabbiness – or even shabby-chicness – and onto a new, elevated, beyond-luxury plane.

His book 25 Dresses: Iconic Moments in 20th-Century Fashion, immortalises in print the very best of the pieces that have passed through his shop. They are all incredible garments, whether a Chanel “ribbon dress” from 1924 (a flapper fantasy of black silk georgette ribbons heavy with black glass bugle beads) or a timeless Thierry Mugler ballgown in pale pink Duchesse satin from 1999.

Although the book’s subtitle makes it sound like a history – and it is, full of fascinating insights into who designed what and whom they influenced – many of the dresses look astonishingly modern, like the strapless scarlet chiffon dress from the largely forgotten designer Jean Dessès. It may be haute couture from 1953, but its neat ruched bodice and pleated knee-length skirt would fit perfectly today, too.

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Designer and stylist Rachel Zoe in a 1967 Jean Patou dress

“Ten years ago, people thought vintage clothing rather bohemian,” says Banks-Blaney. “It was an unusual choice. Now, women can see that a fantastic vintage dress has its place in the wardrobe. Vintage has gone from something that’s less expensive but esoteric to something that’s mainstream. With the book I really wanted to show how vintage is the lifeblood of contemporary fashion; it’s fashion DNA.”

The phenomenon translates differently into different countries. “Vintage clothing is very popular in France, but tends to be about designer pieces and is mostly Paris-centric,” says Lynnette Peck, who runs online boutique Lovely’s Vintage and finds that the internet brings her a Europe-wide audience. “When I sell pieces to France, they are always designer pieces such as Chanel, Dior and Hermès.” Scandinavians go for vintage boho or hippy garments from the 1970s, while she has never sold anything to Spain or Italy.

And Germany? “It can’t be categorised as one place,” says Esma Dil, a contributing editor to Vogue Germany who divides her time between Germany and Hollywood. “Our history as a federal republic and divide into East and West is reflected in our style. Lifestyle-wise, Berlin and LA have more in common than Berlin and other big German cities. People in Berlin are more into offbeat labels and vintage fashion. The wealthier Western cities such as Munich, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt have a more traditional vibe: fitting in socially, status and quality are valued higher than individuality.”

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MIA decked out in Vintage Gianni Versace

While it is generally true that the further east you go across Europe, the more likely old clothes are to be seen as undesirable, whoever’s name is on the label, attitudes everywhere are changing rapidly. “The demographic is shifting,” says Banks-Blaney. “England and France have a long history of beautiful fashion and have understood the appeal of vintage for much longer, but now Japan and China are huge markets for vintage haute couture as personal wealth increases. Even the Russian oligarchy is looking at what the opinion-formers in Europe are wearing and Arab clients often want spectacular evening wear at haute couture level, not because of their value but just because they are extraordinary dresses.”

Perhaps the clearest marker of high-end acceptance for vintage is the increasing number of appearances it is making on the red carpet. When Julia Roberts chose a vintage Valentino dress for the 2001 Oscars, it was a curiosity, but vintage is now seen as an intelligent choice, with the Olsen twins wearing vintage Dior to the recent Met gala in New York. “The red carpet has become increasingly commercialised,” explains Banks-Blaney. “Celebrities are finding that vintage is a great way of saying, ‘I look knockout, but I still look like me’.”

Old, but not that old

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Reese Witherspoon in a vintage Christian Dior dress from the 1950s

The other big trend in old clothes is “pre-loved” – designer labels that are not yet old enough to be vintage, but no longer new enough to excite their high-maintenance owners, who off-load them in order to free up wardrobe space. Shops like The Dresser in central London, or online boutiques like Covetique or vestiairecollective usually take a substantial cut from the seller but offer the buyer a guarantee of authenticity and the luxury of designer fashion at a fraction of the price – a win-win for all involved.

Source: Europe Newsweek

Tee Up

Vintage influences and minimalism are still dominating in the fashion world.  The most versatile way to wear vintage minimalism is to start with grabbing your favorite plain white t-shirt.  The white t-shirt is great because it is affordable, everybody is comfortable in them and it’s used as a blank canvas for your favorite statement pieces.  Here are three of Rebena’s favorite ways to wear a white tee right now.

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White Tee and Khaki Combo

The white T-shirt and khakis combo has been absent in fashion for years, as everyone tried to forget those creepy Gap commercials from the late ‘90s but what’s old is new again.  Go for a flashier shoe – say, an on-trend espadrille in bold neon if you are trying to keep things out of normcore territory.

 

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White On White

 

We’ve got a good few months until Labor Day – make ’em count with a monochomatic ensemble!  It might feel tough to pull off but it’s actually a breeze to style.  Pair white on white with sandals, pumps, statement heels, even slip-on sneakers could all work with a silhouette this simple.

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If you really want to get folks talking, pair your white tee with the most dramatic skirt in your closet, whether it’s a bright wiggle, floor-grazing maxi or a flouncy tutu!  Add sophistication with streamlined, modern shoes and edgier accessories.  If you are finding yourself headed to your t-shirt drawer more often this Spring, let us know how you like to tee-up your white t-shirts in the comments below.

Source: Pinterest, TumblrToronto Sun

10 Decades of Beauty

Wanna see something cool?  This is a seamless transition of 10 decades of beauty trends in less than 90 seconds!

Cut Video’s “100 Years of Beauty in 1 Minute” takes a model through 10 transformations, revealing the hair and makeup styles of years past. The clip speeds by quickly, but it takes a team of styling professionals to mold a pretty girl into each decade’s beauty standard.

As the looks range from the bobbed pin curls and cupid lips of the 1920s to the bouffant and crimson smile of the 1950s, the video also explores popular expressions of femininity. A woman in the 1960s might sport a peace sign along with bright blue eye shadow, and a more recent style of glossy lips likely demanded a selfie in 2010.

It’s no secret that hair and makeup styles evolve over the years, and we’re broadly influenced by popular media, conforming to certain trends to fit in. But with the stance on what is considered beautiful changing so drastically every 10 years or so, maybe we can hold off on jumping on each and every fashion bandwagon. As someone who irreparably fried her hair, I recommend not beating your appearance into submission simply for a style that will fade. Also, that picture of you sticking out your tongue and making a horn symbol with your hand could haunt you on the Internet forever.

As for today’s beauty standards? Looks like they don’t mean much, and they’re likely to mean even less tomorrow.

Source: Samantha Cowan contributor for TakePart

Hello Dream Boat

OctoberRinging in the month of October is dream boat, Sean O’Pry.  Yeah yeah, this is a dated Spring photoshoot, but you can’t help but agree that this may be one of the most magical photo magic of all time.  Supersonic stylist Way Perry is the actual dream boat here.  Check out Way Perry’s Instagram for mega fashion inspiration and heaps of seedy hilarity.  And Way, if you are out there listening, we’d love if you’d instagram a peek into your wardrobe.  We are willing to bet fat stacks that Way’s wardrobe takes you to a sort of cosmic Narnia, where you walk into a Labyrinth of fancy fashion freaks.  Not too deep inside the the wardrobe, we’d be greeted by Simon Doonan, dressed as the Queen of England of course, whom leads us onto a psychedelic boat ride.  We begin to trip on the hundreds fishnet clad legs rowing us away in unison.  Cue in the floaters.

There we go on again with our heads in the clouds.. or nosing in a stylists wardrobe.  Damn you dream boats.
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Photographer Alexei Hay, stylist Way Perry and model Sean O’Pry teamed up for a editorial in GQ Germany.  Love the silhouettes and most importantly the fun factor.  I wish I could crawl into these photographs and play with the clothes and people behind it.
WardrobeHelloooo October!