Sunday, November 27, 2016

Barbara Hulanicki and Biba

The design impact of the Biba brand by designer Barbara Hulanicki during the late 1960's and early 1970's on the more progressive fashion scene cannot be underestimated. Her 1920's and 1930's Art Deco influences helped to create a whole world of style that is iconic for that era.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

James Galanos: Documentary Video "Galanos by Galanos"

In 1996, a retrospective exhibition "Galanos" of the life works of James Galanos was shown by the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It featured a wide range of his fashions, from his early career through the later pieces.

Friday, November 11, 2016

James Galanos: California Couture, Part I

James Galanos will be known, not only as a California designer for the stars and first lady, Nancy Reagan, but also as one of the few American couture designers.  In light of Mr. Galanos recent passing, I am sharing this biography that was written as part of my graduate thesis.  I have divided it into two parts, to make this post less lengthy.

Monday, November 7, 2016

House Dresses: Swirl, Model's Coat and the Pop Over Dress

A stepchild of fashion, the humble house dress has been worn in one form or another for centuries. When women's fashionable gowns were silk, this was even more so. Wearing 'wash dresses' of cotton calico allowed mothers and maids to get their chores done, while wearing something cool, comfortable, and easy to launder.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Betty Barclay: Vintage 1950's Dress

This sweet 1950's dress with the "Betty Barclay" label is a follow-up to the "Hourglass Corsage Silhouettes" post on vintage dresses with fitted bodices that hint at a corset shaping.  I have a few examples of this style, and thought it might be fun to take a look.

This "Betty Barclay" design was a junior division of the Jonathan Logan group. I wrote an earlier post that included this dress, and have wanted to give it a full review ever since.

This close up view of the front and collar shows the cute butterfly print clearly. It seems to be screen printed on a fabric with some sheen that is probably acetate. Tiny rhinestones are scattered on the collar. With these details, I'm guessing it was not an everyday school dress, but something special for dates and family events.

The bodice is closely fitted in both front and back, without a belt or seam around the waist. It closes up the back with a simple metal zipper, which was common at the time. The gathered skirt is emphasized by the lower dropped level seam line. This creates the corsage fit and hourglass silhouette.

The small Peter Pan collar provides a demure look that was very popular.  The sleeves are cut in one with the bodice (small kimono style sleeves) and they have a narrow turned back cuff to compliment the collar detail.

The simple cut of this dress would have made it cheaper to manufacture for the junior budget.  While the rhinestones are few, they provide a bit of embellishment on a conservative collar.  Overall it's a very cute look, perfect for a high school girl to wear.

Bust: 35" / 89
Waist: 26" / 66
Hips: full skirt 
Length: 35.5" / 90 from shoulder/over bust/to hem

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Vintage 1950s Sewing: Pattern Measurement Chart for Women

If you want to learn how to sew vintage fashion, you will want to understand pattern measurements.  Using vintage patterns will differ because 50s sizes aren't the same as current sizes. This 1950s measurement chart is from the same McCall's pattern magazine featured in my last post.  I thought that this chart might help to give a better understanding of how dresses from the mid-1950s are a different fit from today's dresses.