A blog about vintage fashion, vintage jewels and art.....

Friday, January 27, 2012

Corset Parade

In front of the Mirror by Edouard Manet -  1876

1909 Corset

1924 Corset

Image from a vintage advertising pamphlet

 'In a Corset' by Lovis Coringh - 1910

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Toile it is

I recently was hovering around varied Etsy Treasuries and discovered this gorgeous Treasury called Toile Be or not Toile Be, that is the Question which was put lovingly together by the lovely Mom Wald of Mom Wald's Place on Etsy. I had never head of Toile although I have seen this design often enough in antique shops or antique market stalls. So.... I asked this Etsian to kindly illuminate us about this design and its origins... here is what she says, 

"Most of us are familiar with a style of fabric known as Toile. Many may not know the name, but recognize it. The actual name is Toile de Jouy, and although it is French, the style actually originated in Ireland. It found its home in France in the late 18th century and from there enchanted the world.

Toile began as cream or white fabric with intricate single color pictures of people or flowers repeated to make a lace like pattern. Nowadays every color combination imaginable can be found.

The popularity of Toile has helped it not only endure, but thrive through the centuries. Today this type of pattern can be found on everything from fabric to glass. Whether it the romance of a bygone era or the flavor of France that appeals to you, Toile is available in almost any form."

I was quite excited to discover this Etsian also has an adorable blog which you can visit here. It's all about vintage teacups, quilting, embroidery and beautiful things from times gone by. Be sure to visit.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Peter Pan and Mary Jane

Look at this 1939 picture taken in Australia. The lady on the right is wearing a Peter Pan collar. This style of collar became popular after the American stage actress Maude Adams wore such a collar in her costume when she played the role of Peter Pan in 1905. Most of us have had dresses with such a style of collar. I can think of coupling it with Mary Jane shoes. 

Mary Janes which have been all the rage recently, also have a strong connection with a popular story - this time a 1902 comic strip called Buster Brown. Mary Jane was the sister of Buster and they were both invented by Richard Outcault. So how did the shoes end up with name of the cartoon character? 

It appears that Outcault always drew both Buster Brown and Mary Jane wearing the same style of shoes. In 1904 Outcault went to the St Louis World Fair and sold a licence to 200 companies, permitting them to use Buster Brown characters to advertise their wares. One of these companies was the Brown Shoe Company. The Brown Shoe Company hired actors to tour different states whilst acting out the part of Buster Brown comic characters. The Brown Shoe Company and Buster Brown became synonymous and the style of shoe both Buster Brown and Mary Jane wore started being called Mary Janes. The picture ad above shows the Mary Janes worn by the little girl and in the close-up, the strap is shown tucked on the back of the shoe so that the shoe can be worn also as a slip-on. Cute!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Honiton Lace

I've been reading about Victorian fashions and Honiton Lace keeps being mentioned, so I decided to find some images to see what it really looks like...
I also found this link which does not seem to be going anywhere but it gives a couple of very good images of this variety of lace. Does anybody know where it originated from?

I cherish your comment, each and every time.....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hey Bloggers - It's Award-Time!

I just received a wonderful gift - a blog award from Deborah Piana Agostinetti  of the blog Easy and Chic. Researching the blog award, I found it has been given to a good number of bloggers, so thank you Deborah (the above image is from her blog) and I am very proud to have received the Liebster Blog Award.....

Liebster means "dearest" in German and is given to blogs with less than 200 followers.

When you're given the award you - 

1. Thank the one who gave you the award and post a link.
2. Mention 5 blogs to forward the award to (let them know by leaving a comment at their blog).
3. Keep your fingers crossed that the chosen ones want to keep forwarding the award ;)

Here are my chosen ones.....

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Cameo laced with Maltese Filigree

This incredibly beautiful cameo was recently embellished and turned into a fantastic brooch by Maltese filigree maker Charles Gerada. The 'frame' surrounding the cameo, which is reminiscent of 19th Century jewellery fashions, is in fact surrounded by a very delicate frame of Maltese filigree in gold and it is all worked by hand. 

See more Maltese filigree here and more cameos here and here

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hats on and let's Tango!

When I was in primary school we used to wear hats every day as part of our uniform. Dark green felt hat in winter, straw hat in summer. Each hat complemented each uniform and whilst they did not warm our head or cool it much, they were a staple and we accepted them as such.

You either love hats or you hate them. After my fair share of school hats and woolly hats which were demanded of me wearing in cold weather anyhow,  I cooled off somewhat and for many years refrained from wearing any form of head gear. 

Until I was convinced I should purchase a warm winter hat and realised not only how comfy it was but also how much it flattered my face. Today I count hats amongst my many invaluable accessories and would never dream of not wearing one every so often as the need arises. 

I came across this hats created by this wonderful milliner and could not resist featuring her hats on Fairyfiligree. Aren't they simply stunners? They remind me of the typical styles fashionable in the 194os and 1950s but the modern twist in each style makes them ideal contemporaries. These are literally head huggers.... 

As the late Mimi Weddell,  a great advocate of hats, used to say, "Hats give you a Frame." 

"If a woman rebels against high heeled shoes, she should take care to do it in a very smart hat." - George Bernard Shaw

Visit Behida Dolic Millinery and read more about her here

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Where on Art - 'Money and Beauty' in Florence

The Money-changer and his Wife - Marinus van Reymerswaele (1490-1567)

Have you ever wondered how the modern banking system developed in the Western World? To get an inkling and very good one at that, you have to travel to Italy. The coming few days offer you the last chance to visit an extraordinary exhibition still showing in Florence, which gives you the opportunity to take a journey to the roots of Florentine power in EUrope, the economic mechanisms which allowed the Florentines to dominate the world of trade and business 500 years ago and thus finance the whole machine that made the Renaissance happen.

Money and Beauty - Bankers, Botticelli and the Bonfire of the Vanities
is open until 22 January 2012 at Palazzo Strozzi, Piazza Strozzi, 50123 Firenze (Florence), Italy.
The exhibition includes masterpieces by BOtticelli, Beato Angelico, Piero del Pollaiolo, the Della Robbia family and Lorenzo di Credi - some of the best Renaissance artists.

Read more about it here.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Recycled and Chic

I recently received a lovely package in the post, all the way from New York City, from the lovely Suzanne of threepeats Jewelry. I couldn't believe just how refined her jewellery creations are. She admits she has always collected vintage jewelry but never wore it much until she realised she could use some of the vintage beads and chains to recreate something she could feel  more comfortable wearing. She says, "As a high school dance teacher, I wanted a necklace that I could get on and off easily and that would look good no matter how it slipped around my neck! The design I came up with included three chain sections interspersed with three beaded sections...three repeated sections...or threepeats. My designs evolved over time and now I also work with recycled t-shirt yarn, felted wool beads and vintage ribbon and lace and I started making earrings. I LOVE that I can recycle old things that people no longer wear into new things that are usable and affordable." Suzanne also blogs regularly about her jewelry making and more. 

This inventive jewellery creator is after my own heart for varied reasons...
 - First of all, her package was so well packed with care and attention to detail and presentation. You know, sometimes you buy gifts online and ask the seller if she/he would pack nicely to send directly to the person you want to gift it to. Then you sit and wonder whether the package will be really nice enough and whether the person who receives it will feel appreciative of your thought. So much depends on presentation doesn't it? Well, this seller really puts in that much effort even down to the tiny tag attached to each item and the pretty little string she used. Cute!
-  She recycles beautiful things to make them valid for today's lifestyle - The necklace pictured includes a variety of glass and plastic beads, all of fine quality. They are linked with a very sturdy chain that is securely connected so I daresay one would never imagine that it could have been used elsewhere before! I love the idea that beautiful old things do not get thrown away but are revived in this way. The earrings have these beautiful old mottled glass beads that are fantastic.
Visit threepeats Jewelry on Etsy. Check out her vintage Sari necklaces and her T-shirt yarn and ribbon necklaces

Friday, January 6, 2012

I invite you to visit Malta - Part 1

From time to time I get questions asked about where I come from. When I tell people that I come from an island in the Med, I usually get remarks such as... 'How exotic!' or 'Where exactly?' or 'Malta? What is your language?'....

So, for the first time on this blog, I am not going to tell you about the art and crafts of my country of origin but rather, treating you to something about its actual character, this tiny spec of an island that has been through its fair share of historical trials. 

As you fly in over Malta for the first time, it is not uncommon to think the pilot has just made a fatal error and that you're going to land in the sea. There is sea, sea and yet more sea all around so some landing manoeuvres can give you quite spectacular views.... the aerial shots were taken by husband during a trial flight he experienced some time ago..... then come a variety of images taken by yours truly with the countryside, the remains of ancient civilisations, the churches, the old cities..... more to follow in another post.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Why Wear Grey?

There was a day and a place where I used to hate the colour grey with a passion and for many years I never wore the colour at all. Perhaps because it reminded me of grey skies which are simply not my thing. Or perhaps because I considered it a non colour and failed to appreciate its potential.

Until I realised that it is one extremely versatile colour that combines well with all the bright and interesting colours around us including red, yellow, purples, browns, blacks, whites, oranges, creams, blues, pinks.... need I go on? Here is some inspiration for those grey days and for your shopping during the sales - if it's grey, pick it up, try it on and if it suits you, chances are you'll be using it time and again. What's so grey about that?