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1970s Fashion Designers – Timeless, Innovative, Inspiring...

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 Much of the colourful, casual fashions of the 1970s counterculture was about the relaxed and unstructured styles which embodied the hippie, folk and roots movements and designers such as Thea Porter, Bob Gibb and Missoni contributed to this look. Porter translated her experiences of travelling and multicultural influences into stylish pieces that defined the bohemian essence ~ while Gibb mixed prints, textures, and embellishments with ethnic, medieval and romantic influences to create iconic 1970s fashion with a hippie vibe (the influence of artist and textile designer Kaffe Fassett also inspired the wild use of colour and pattern in Gibb’s designs). Missoni was best known for its unusual knitwear and psychedelic, bold and bright space-dyed weave patterns ~ and although it reached the peak of its fashion influence in the 70s, it continues to be a top designer brand and its iconic zig-zag pattern remains instantly recognisable.

 

However, it was also a time when other amazing fashion designers came into their own to effect another style revolution ~ more elegant, sexy, sophisticated and cutting edge, but no less central to iconic clothing, 70s shoes, and its embodiment of outstanding fashion design.

 

The advent of the boutique culture had established the likes of Barbara Hulanicki and Biba ~ stunning, sophisticated designs resulting in fabulous clothing which, in keeping with the times, was romantic, dreamy and inspired by history. Her original designs are now increasingly coveted by fashion collectors and are still, to this day, infinitely wearable and Hulanicki remains synonymous with evocative design, while continuing to collaborate on collections for the high street.

 

 

70s-shoes-1970s-fashion.jpgOssie Clark was another very major figure on the scene and an innovator of 1970s fashion who collaborated with print designer Celia Birtwell to produce the most desirable dresses. His design style was influenced by Hollywood glamour ~ exquisite, flowing maxi dresses in fabulous colours and bold flower prints, smocks in light chiffon and halter-neck and tea dresses in stunning patterns. Ghost’s diaphanous gowns are certainly reminiscent of Clark’s pieces and his influence on a raft of modern designers endures, while his vintage designs and collaborative collections remain highly regarded and sought after.

 

The multi-award winning Oscar de la Renta was already an internationally renowned couturier and having worked for Balenciaga and Lanvin, his success continued throughout the 70s as his elegant red carpet gowns and evening wear became his trademark. His clothing has always been opulent, romantic, extravagant and ornate while his simpler daywear is defined in the detail. One of fashion’s designer heavyweights, his eponymous fashion house continues to dress the great and the good, film stars and royalty.

 

The sophistication and elegance of 1970s fashion can also be attributed to another list of luminaries whose pioneering styles and contribution to 70s fashion prevails.

 

Diane von Furstenburg became an icon in 1972 with the creation of her signature jersey wrap dress, a design that launched her career and labelled her ‘the most marketable woman since Coco Chanel’. The elegant yet understated shape flattered all body types and sizes and was suited to daywear as well as becoming a staple of evening and club wear. This landmark in design influenced all dress design by establishing a standard for ease and comfort in women’s clothing and became so popular that in 1997, von Furstenburg relaunched the wrap and it continues to be a classic, elegant yet infinitely wearable ‘must have’.

 

The eponymous Yves Saint Laurent made trousers an acceptable form of clothing for women ~ for daywear and as glamorous evening wear ~ and the trend became an important and enduring feature within 1970s fashion. Thanks to his revolutionary long and lean look, suits, trousers and the ‘Annie Hall’ style became accepted as part of the female dress code and his shamelessly chic and sexy clothes dovetailed perfectly with feminism's new wave. His suits, slinky tuxedos and straight line dresses still look as modern and as desirable today as they did on their debuts.

 

 

70s-shoes-1970s-fashion-05.jpgYves Saint Laurent was also responsible for mainstreaming the idea of wearing and reworking the shapes and silhouettes from the 1920s, 30s and 40s, and is credited with beginning to democratise the fashion world by shifting focus from the rarefied and generally unattainable world of haute couture to the relatively more accessible prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear) lines.

 

While other 70s designers created fashion works of art, Bill Blass focused on clean, modern and simply elegant designs which influenced a myriad of other collections and formed the blueprint for classic clothes that are still indisputably fashionable. Influenced by Hollywood inspired-fashions, he concentrated on ease and comfort for the wearer while creating the most chic and beautifully tailored pieces.

 

 

Roy Halston Frowick became a definitive designer of the 1970s, with his draped jersey dresses, lean trouser suits and the use of ultra-suede fabric. He was also famous for his evening wear, and the maxi dresses that draped and shimmered in sensuous swathes became synonymous with 1970s fashion almost exclusively because of Halston’s designs.

 

 

Music styles such as disco had a huge influence not only on the club scene, but on 70s clothing styles more generally. Halston’s designs were perfect for dancing because of their draped and free-moving construction and his most replicated halter-neck and one shoulder styles were the dresses to be seen in as you shimmied across the dancefloor.70s-shoes-1970s-fashion-01.jpg

 

The explosion of disco saw a drastic difference in mainstream fashion and created a change which hadn’t been seen since the 1920s. The jumpsuit was popular with both sexes, and clothing inspired by modern dance such as wrap skirts and dresses of rayon and jersey ~ form clinging and sexy yet unrestrictive ~ became de rigueur on the ubiquitous, illuminated dance floors which we all remember from films such as Saturday Night Fever in 1977. Silk neck scarves were a popular accessory while skin tight trousers, tube tops, slit skirts (often worn with leotards), spaghetti straps, silk blouses and shirt-waist dresses helped to work the disco look. Such shapes and styles, created in and defined by the 70s and a scene that epitomised a defining mood and movement, have since become classic and timeless items which have evolved to work as separate pieces to form the foundations of so many designs and effortlessly wearable pieces in the eras which followed.

 

70s-shoes-1970s-fashion-04.jpgThe glamour and sparkle of 70s elegant evening wear and the sexiness of its sophisticated styling was mirrored in footwear that evoked the 1940s. 70s shoes and boots were influenced by all the best attributes of the 1940s, especially its signature shoe: the platform. This towering triumph of the shoe world featured metallic finishes, stripes, two-tone and cut-out and tooled designs in leather, suede and vintage-inspired velvets.

 

 

Towards the end of the decade, footwear fit for the dancefloor also began to echo the 1940s shape of high-heeled, lower-platform mules and stilettos. Indeed, platforms were already making way for ankle-strapped shoes, wedges, clogs, loafers, Oxfords and Mary Janes ~ an assortment of 70s shoes in a fiesta of fabrics, colours and models by innovative designers such as Beth Levine. Levine's greatest influence is considered to be the re-introduction of boots to women’s fashion and the popularisation of mules. New York based shoe designer Fred Braun’s 70s shoes were beautifully made and came in speciality sizes ~ and now have a cult following. And no mention of 70s shoes would be complete without reference to Manolo Blahnik ~ established in the 70s and having designed his first collections for Ossie Clark in the early part of the decade, his London boutique Zapata opened in 1973.

 

70s-shoes-1970s-fashion-06.jpgA pillar of 1970s fashion royalty, Blahnik has become world famous. His beautiful shoes exude a level of craftsmanship rare in today's age of mass production. His designs have a wonderful sense of line and silhouette and can transform any outfit into a spectacular fashion statement. His talent ensures he shares the mantle worn by other brilliant shoe designers of the 20th century:  Yanturni, Vionnet, Perugia, Ferragamo, and the one Blahnik most admires, Roger Vivier.

 

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_70s-shoes-1970s-fashion-08.jpgThe flared ‘disco’ look was gradually replaced by straight, cigarette-legged jeans steered by the influence of punk on fashion, while 70s shoes shaped by the new musical influences included Beatle shoes and the now eponymous and legendary Dr Marten boots.

 

Vivienne Westwood, who continues to be a major force in design with creations that are outlandish and outré yet breathtakingly beautiful, began her career in the early seventies by making 50s influenced Teddy Boy clothes. By 1972 the designer’s interests had turned to biker clothing, zips, leather and provocative clothing, rebranding her shop ‘Sex’ for the third time in 1974 ~ a shop ‘unlike anything else going on in England at the time’. In 1976, the shop reopened yet again, as Seditionaires, transforming the straps and zips of fetishism into fashion and inspiring
a D.I.Y. aesthetic. Her relationship with Malcolm McLaren created ‘a symbiotic relationship between music and fashion that effectively set the tone of popular culture for decades to come’ and her career continues to flourish with desirable designs that evoke period drama and renaissance while retaining the rebellious spirit that has permeated her always colourful and sometimes controversial career

 


The 1970s was a nostalgic era that looked to the past for fashion stimulation and drew inspiration from previous eras such as Edwardian, 30s and 40s, while the younger ‘mod’ look was replaced by the glamour and gorgeousness that resembled the red carpet styles of Hollywood movie stars. It’s a decade that still remains relevant to fashion today, with touches of the 70s in nearly every contemporary runway collection.

 

The shining lights of 70s design left their mark and their legacy with a glorious and beautiful imprint of 1970s fashion and a stampede of 70s shoes that continues to inspire, excite, innovate and endure. In a century of so many changes, innovations and defining moments, the style, sophistication and sexiness of this evocative era will never go out of fashion.

 

Follow Theatre Of Fashion's board 70s shoes 1970s designers 1970s fashion on Pinterest.

 

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1970s Fashion ~ Dreaming in Colour

 

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1970s clothing is often associated with a typical palette of beiges and browns ~ or a number of variations on that theme.  In truth, the sexy, sultry, sensational 70s took up the baton from the trend-setting 60s and continued on a trailblazing trajectory that established 70s clothing as a more fabulous and flamboyant force to be reckoned with, setting the scene for a decade of colour, creativity and bohemian beauty and forging its own style revolution. It also combined some of the best elements that had gone before and perfected and/or exaggerated them for a new generation: 70s fashion was fun!

 

By the birth of the 70s, the festival scene had taken hold and the bohemian counterculture was thriving. Loose and relaxed clothing ~ such as brightly coloured bursts of clashing prints and patterns, bell bottoms, tunic tops and tie-dye, velvet waistcoats, frills and beads ~ continued to reflect the mood and the music while headbands, scarves and flowers adorned longer, looser, free-flowing hairstyles to complete the look and character of these 70s outfits that charmed and captivated.

 

70s clothing personified that sustained sense of empowerment and liberation which prevailed with an explosion of bright colours and unstructured fashion that embodied the hippie, folk and roots movements and defined the zeitgeist of this memorable decade.  Wide and wonderful culottes and flares were worn alongside the tightest of trousers and jeans that splayed into fabulous bell-bottoms; t-shirts, tunics, vests and peasant blouses complemented magical maxi dresses, tiered gypsy skirts and vibrant kaftans in a rich riot of colour and vivacity.70s-outfits-70s-clothing-2.jpg 70s outfits which were inspired by an emerging ‘back to nature’, homespun ethos and culture also saw the growing popularity of natural fibres such as cotton and cheesecloth, not just in t-shirts and the like, but increasingly in garments of hand-made crochet of the sweetest summery whites and brightly coloured ‘granny squares’, all contributing to the laid-back and laissez-faire feel of 70s clothing.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_70s-outfits-70s-clothing-3.jpgFabulous floral designs, inspirational Indian prints and ethnic patterns enhanced flowing silks and chiffons and sheer, sensual cotton gauze to epitomise the billowing, bohemian feel of endless hot summers, dreamy days and sultry nights. Non-Western inspired clothing with Native American, Asian, Indian, African and Latin American motifs were also popular, due to the religious and cultural diversity espoused by the hippie and folk values and a renewed interest in travelling and exploring,  while the influence of Eastern philosophy and spiritual concepts was seen in a variety of beautiful 70s outfits and prints.

 

 

The earlier Indian pilgrimage of the Beatles had, in part, sparked an increased interest in Eastern spirituality and the resulting heritage prints of twisted teardrops, florals, swirls and circles were seen on floaty swathes of sensual silks in clashes of hot and spicy colours, reminiscent of bustling bazaars. Indian colour block prints of psychedelic paisley in the lightest of cotton gauze also adorned dresses, skirts and tunics ~ in muted ethnic colours or in the boldest and brightest kaleidoscopes of mystical shapes and designs.

 

70s outfits consisted of so many shapes and styles, forged in an era of groundbreaking and daring design. Flares, platforms, tight trousers, maxis, midis, waistcoats, wide collars, pantsuits, tracksuits, flower-patterned dress shirts, have all, in one form or another, evolved to become timeless, classic styles ~ or indeed, have continued to be revived and redesigned for a modern, contemporary outlook which brings the essence of 70s outfits right up to date.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_70s-outfits-70s-clothing-90.jpgBut it’s the iconic 70s clothing whose look was distinctive and dreamy, beautifully bohemian, fabulous and floaty with bold, bright
 colours and ethnic influences that captured a moment in time which can never be fully recreated but which will always evoke those sunny, carefree heady days of summers in the city, country roads and seasons in the sun: the smells and the sounds, the heat and the hope, the feel of soft, cool grass under your feet and flowers in your hair ~ ice-cream, idols and immutable, inspirational music buoyed by the flourishing festival scene and the musicians and artists who sought to change the world. 70s clothing will forever resonate with revolutions in art, music and politics and with fashion-forward flamboyance and freedom which came to define an era of inspirational ideology and infinite possibilities.

 

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Amazing vintage footage... A window on a beautiful world, a beautiful way to look at fashion. London in the 1960s and the beautiful fashion shops with it.

 

 

People today are still living off the table scraps of the sixties. They are still being passed around - the music and the ideas.

 

~ Bob Dylan

 

The most wonderful time to be in the art world was in the sixties, because it wasn't a business - there was no business of doing art.

 

~ Arne Glimcher

 

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Vintage leather jacket

Posted by on in leather

vintage-leather-jacket_20140224-203859_1.jpgVintage Leather Jacket

 

The perfect vintage leather jacket will change the way you view your wardrobe. Suddenly plain dresses are transformed into chic ensembles. Jeans become dressy with a vintage leather jacket, creating an effortlessly laid back style that is ideal for any daytime look. Even formal wear can be made more sophisticated with a vintage leather jacket to pair with evening dresses, or elegant trousers. Once you’ve found the vintage leather jacket of your dreams, the pairing possibilities are endless, making it a must-have for your current wardrobe.b2ap3_thumbnail_vintage-leather-jacket-01_20140224-205703_1.jpg

Over the years, there have been three prominent styles in leather wear: motorbike style leather jackets, colorful statement leather jackets, and sleek and sophisticated leather jackets. These three categories have yielded brilliant pieces over the years and vintage examples are still sought after today. The lasting quality of leather allows brilliant designs to last for decades, providing modern fashionistas with the opportunity to wear fabulous designs from the past. A vintage leather jacket has an element of nostalgia which cannot be found in modern looks, making them extremely desirable. They are the heart and soul of edgy style and rugged sophistication. The unique style of a vintage leather jacket paired with a contemporary outfit creates a perfect ensemble. The wide array of vintage designs makes a vintage leather jacket intriguing and unique. Shawl collars, square collars, the use of knit, studding, lacing, or suede, and variations in sleeve designs, are just a few distinguishing differences to be found in a vintage leather jacket, providing the modern wearer with countless options to explore. 

 

 

Vintage Leather Motorbike Jackets: Motorcycle styles are iconic, appearing in movies and on celebrated celebrities as signature looks. Just think of Marlon Brando or James Dean…and many films and rock stars over the years have inspired female versions of the leather biker look: strong, independent and empowered.

 

vintage-leather-jacket-02.jpgAll Saint’s contemporary yet vintage inspired leather jackets are similar to nostalgic vintage designs, featuring motorcycle style with an added element of sophistication. Buckles, studs and metal detailing make an All Saint’s vintage leather jacket stand out from other designers’ pieces, looking fierce and fabulous ~ and always tailored to perfection. All Saint’s vintage biker jackets are known for their edgy vibe, making them some of the world’s most loved designs.

 

 

Vintage motorcycle jackets were inspired by military and aviator styles from as far back as the 1920s and 1930s ~ and these designs often imitated A-1 jackets used by the Army Air Corp, before the second world war. Carefully chosen leather was used to create supple pieces with lasting quality, allowing the jackets to be worn for years. These A-1 jacket designs influenced vintage biker wear, as designers incorporated zipper fronts and pockets which created the iconic biker style which reached such popularity in the early 1950s.

 

A motorcycle style vintage leather jacket is the perfect piece to bring an added element of edginess to your wardrobe. The iconically famous ‘biker’ style with the ‘zipper’ detailing, and the very flattering ‘biker’ fit, which works for all body shapes, creates a unique look which has influenced ‘street style’ throughout the world.

 

 

Colorful Vintage Leather Jackets: Another well-know vintage leather jacket style is the colorful statement jacket, which has, over the years, often been worn by rock stars, bands and celebrities.

 

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Gucci has created some fabulous statement leather jackets over the years featuring bold and beautiful colours, such as pink and turquoise. Gucci’s first colorful leather jackets appeared in classic designs, mimicking biker styles from the 1950s. The difference was in the vibrant hues that Gucci incorporated ~ mustard yellow, bright reds, bright blues, among others, were often seen in vintage Gucci styles. When their colorful biker leather looks were a huge success, Gucci began experimenting with leather trench coat styles in bold colours also. Colourful leather in a vintage leather jacket still makes a bold, statement piece today ~ and as these jackets become rarer to find they become more and more sought after by those who adore vintage pieces.

 

Sophisticated Vintage Leather Jackets: A sharp and tailored silhouette is the standout element of a sophisticated and sleek vintage leather jacket.

 

Designers such as Michael Kors focus on creating this classic piece of leather clothing, resulting in a sleek style that is undeniably chic. Celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Carrie Underwood, and Jennifer Lopez are often spotted in sophisticated vintage leather jackets, pairing them with almost everything in their wardrobe. Sleek leather jackets which feature pretty and unusual details are also very popular. Ruffled sleeves, innovative collars and pleats are all additions which top designers may include to add interest to their leather pieces.

 

The best part about a sophisticated vintage leather jacket ~ and vintage biker jackets also ~ is its element of timelessness, knowing that it will never go out of style. The original sophisticated leather jackets were often inspired by military jackets ~ often double breasted designs, and in chic black leather. This look was innovative in the fashion industry, taking it by force. Designers throughout the years have borrowed from military looks and paired and updated this style with iconic leather details and clever tailoring to create jackets which are chic and contemporary.

 

vintage-leather-jacket-05_20140224-213213_1.jpgThese three popular leather jacket designs make great staple pieces in your wardrobe, but a standout vintage leather jacket often takes leather to the next level, incorporating outlandish and unique elements of design such as coat tails, amazing collars and flared sleeves for example. Top designers, including Gucci, Prada, All Saint’s, and Burberry have all created iconic leather jackets throughout the years, offering the modern woman a chance to wear outlandish a vintage leather jacket with a contemporary edge and look absolutely fabulous.

 

Burberry is known for taking their leather to the next level, and they have become know for incorporating extensive studding into their motorcycle style jackets. Their designers were inspired by the edgy vibe and iconic appeal of the motorcycle jacket, and sought to extend the style by focusing on the detailing and embellishment of the leather. Sleeves and collars, and sometimes the body of the jacket itself, were covered in silver studs, creating a glamorous, edgy, very rock star look, which really catches the eye. Although the fit of the jacket remained the same, the detailing transformed the look of leather jackets, and is still a very popular trend today. Zip up sleeves and extensive quilted leather are another standout element of Burberry’s vintage leather jackets, marking them unique among their contemporaries.

 

Gucci’s colorful leather jackets not only incorporate stunning hues, but also complex patterning which marks Gucci’s vintage leather as unique. Stripes and other geometric patterns are pieced together from bright leather, creating mesmerizing designs which are unrivaled in intricacy. One of Gucci’s iconic pieces features two yellow stripes that contrast with a pink background ~ very striking. Coloured leather jackets also utilize quilting to add another dimension to the vintage leather jacket, and metallic material is often used also, giving a futuristic vibe to these vintage pieces.

 


Prada’s sophisticated leather jackets embody beautiful design, while often including fresh details such as tails and flared sleeves. These aspects were unheard of in the leather design world, until Prada included them in their designs, when people began to take notice. Prada incorporates inspiration from many sources, including the more flamboyant elements of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and from the even earlier military brocade styles, creating perfect and stunning leather pieces to mix and match with more conservative pieces.

 

These top designers have revolutionized the world of leather jackets, creating vintage leather pieces that are still sought after today.

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30s-wedding-30s-fashion.jpgThe 1930s influence on modern day fashion.

 

When Kate Moss, the fashion icon and supermodel, got married, she took inspiration from the 1930s and The Great Gatsby to create a wedding so glamorous, elegant and romantic it has influenced thousands of brides to turn to the roaring twenties and thirties for inspiration...

 

The model showed off her 30s inspired theme in a Galliano gown, with a sheer slip dress, bias cut in silk, with a bodice detailed with a sheer overlay embroidered with gold sequins ~ while the skirt was an intricate web of beading, embroidery and rhinestones. Kate perfected the look with a 1920s inspired lace cap veil, embroidered with flowers, thirteen beautiful bridesmaids dressed in flowing white gowns and of course her husband Jamie Hince, dressed in a pale blue suit. Brides to be and the fashion world alike, waited in baited breath for this glamorous union, and it certainly didn't disappoint ~ and ever since, Kate’s 30s inspired nuptials have sparked a vintage wedding frenzy for 20s/30s Great Gatsby inspired vintage weddings and vintage wedding dresses...

 

Think of Pippa Middleton in THAT beautiful sheath of a dress...Think of Jean Harlow in all her sleek glamour...Think of Marilyn Monroe, the platinum blonde in platinum silk...

 

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Equestrian fashion - Riding jackets

Posted by on in Styles

b2ap3_thumbnail_Equestrian-fashion---Riding-jackets-20s.jpgThe Equestrian and Victorian Trend

 

  'Equestrian is always in...' ~ Ralph Lauren

 

 

The distinctive and very elegantly sexy Victorian and equestrian looks are very on trend ~ and with their timeless elegance, always will be...

 

As design icon Ralph Lauren asserts, 'equestrian is always in' ~ perhaps because it can be worn with as much flair as fits your personality and always instils a sense of timeless class and subtle femininity as inherited by the Victorians who were able to achieve both rather admirably. So, don the leather riding boots and delight in the gorgeous hour glass silhouette intrinsic of the riding jacket, Equestrian-fashion--1.jpgor just as striking, the tailcoat, harking back again to the Victorian and Edwardian era.....

 

Women have always styled and worn their own versions of what is, or was, considered to be ostensibly men’s fashionable dress, with riding coats and all things ‘equestriana’ being no exception. From the 1870s, the more 'masculine' shape of women’s’ riding costume began to evolve into garments reminiscent of their daywear bodices ~  keeping the lapels and collars of men's jackets, but defining the shape of things to come in terms of the now familiar fitted silhouette with its rather romantic look of defined waist and long frock coat shape.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Equestrian-fashion.jpgThe dawn of the Edwardian age saw the emergence of the blazer and, with the addition of darts, this new coat shape became trimmed to flatter the female form ~ a silhouette still echoed today in riding coats and jackets. 

 

By the 1910s, women's riding jackets had lengthened ~ a modification that adhered to the long lines of the columnar fashions, resulting in a style that would dominate riding wear well into the 1920s.b2ap3_thumbnail_Equestrian-fashion---Riding-jackets-40s.jpg  The introduction of jackets that were cut away at the front came from a solution to the previous square-fronted jackets being damaged against the saddle when riding, while the outer skirt became flared at the back to drape comfortably over the saddle ~ and with the flattering, form-enhancing darts back in place, the cutaway frock coat was quickly adopted as a fashion staple by equestriennes and non-sporting women alike to become the classic, definitive 'riding' jacket or coat.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Equestrian-fashion---Riding-jackets-01.jpgThe distinctive, beautiful and timeless shapes of Victorian and Edwardian riding wear are fully evident in the modern trend for the equestrian look, with smart yet sexy coat and jacket shapes in various styles and lengths ~ single or double breasted, in wool/cashmere, tweed or velvet; short, chic jackets with military embellishment in the form of buttons, loops or braiding; long, flowing velvet coats with contrast trim, corset-style lacing, fitted or belted waists and bustle-style backs; the classic shape and authentic look of riding coats with smart tailoring and asymmetrical buttoning ~  it’s little wonder that contemporary designers and brands such as Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Stella McCartney and Hermès constantly extol the virtues of, and continue to rework, the equestrian aesthetic.

 

 

Equestrian-fashion-010.jpgRiding wear often stands out from other looks with its fabulous and fitted tailoring, powerful silhouettes, romantic elegance, smart detailing and the often huge sweeping coat skirts. These are garments that continue to stand the test of time and whether vintage or contemporary, they evoke the Victorian ethos for quality, shape and style that’s perfect for a trend able to traverse so many modern looks; from the elegance of the courtyard and countryside via Gothic Noir, Dandy, Poet, Mistress, Steampunk, military, pirate and more...equestrian style is endlessly evocative and beautifully timeless...

 

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60s style dresses - 60s style

Posted by on in The 60s - 1960s fashion

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 1960s Fashion ~ Focus on Design      

While the flamboyant and outlandish fashions of the Swinging Sixties exploded through the music scene, another style revolution was taking place ~ more demure, elegant and refined, but no less central to 60s style and its embodiment of cutting edge fashion design.

The elegance of Jacqueline Kennedy (a style icon throughout the decade) was reflected in fashions of the early 60s: aside from her Oleg Cassini coats and neat pillbox hats, she And 60s style itemspopularised fitted suits with short, boxy jackets and oversized buttons in diverse colours that were smart and chic. Simple but flattering geometric dresses (shifts) were also in style and for evening wear, full-skirted, often low cut gowns with close-fitting waists were popular.

 

60s-style-dresses-8.jpgHowever, the epitome of 60s style undoubtedly belongs to the brilliance of its fashion designers, the iconic 60s style dresses they created and their outstanding influence that has since permeated a multitude of collections. The roll call of revolutionaries to be relished and revered includes Mary Quant, Barbara Hulanicki, Ossie Clark, Jean Muir, Emilio Pucci, Guy Laroche, Oscar de la Renta and Yves St Laurent ~ fashion pioneers whose contribution to 60s style remains legendary.

 

Mary Quant is one of the most influential designers associated with 60s style dresses and ranks alongside luminaries such as Chanel and Dior. Already possessing an avant-garde, modish look with her new razor-sharp haircut, she introduced the boundary-crossing mini in 1965 (popularising an earlier Courrèges design), with a hemline and a shape that was to revolutionise fashion. Her remit was to make youthful, simple clothes in which one could move more easily ~ so hem lengths simply got shorter (and shorter!) in line with her customer’s requirements (a design that she credited to ‘the girls on the King’s Road’).  In 1963, she won the first Dress of the Year award for an outfit that best represented the most important new ideas in contemporary fashion.

 

60s-style-dresses-011.jpgHer position at the heart of London’s stylish fashion quarter was instrumental in rocketing the mini from street fashion to major international trend, with top models working the iconic leggy looks in A-line dresses or sleeveless shifts of cotton, Crimplene and lace-adorned velvet or the micro-mini ‘Angel’ dress. The model Twiggy (the ‘mini-girl of the mini-era’) shattered the previously perceived ideal of beauty with her gamine, doe-eyed image and slim figure and Quant’s genius was to capture that zeitgeist of 60s style by clothing her in dresses that showed off the designer’s talent for the contemporary which distinguished British designers as a breed apart. The mini is one shape that will never date:  it encapsulates 60s style dresses absolutely, and works as well with today’s essential, ubiquitous opaques as it did with Quant’s innovative coloured tights. Simply fabulous!

 

On the subject of ‘mini magic’, YSL’s Mondrian dress (inspired by the Dutch artist), a wool shift printed with primary block colours, became one of the dresses epitomising 60s style and generated an array of copies. Indeed, it looks as modern now as it did in 1965.

 

60s-style-dresses-767.jpgPierre Cardin, André Courrèges and Paco Rabanne introduced futuristic fashion and space-age silhouettes, (Rabanne’s metal mini dress was truly ahead of its time), and Emilio Pucci pioneered psychedelic patterned prints ~ while the likes of Jean Muir, Barbara Hulanicki for Biba, and Ossie Clark continued to fly the flag for designs that were smart, beautiful and desirable.

 

60s-style.jpgMiss Muir was known for her precision cut and considered herself a craftswoman ~ disciplined, skilled and dedicated, and her formidable attention to detail belied her statement minimalist shapes. She was one of the first designers to produce ready-to-wear with a couture aesthetic and while she didn’t officially invent the ‘little black dress’ (a look immortalised in 1961 with Givenchy’s creation for Holly Golightly), she did perpetuate its all-round use with other dark signature colours. Muir was the doyenne of the little dress, engineering seriously elegant clothes for grown-ups. The ineffable elegance of her designs, renowned for their quality and deceptively simple but sinuous lines, continue to impress with their timeless, effortless chic while her label still attracts new admirers and clientele who wish to look demure in Muir.

 


Biba opened its first shop door in 1964 ~ its stylish décor, lavish decadence and hatstands of gorgeous garments in dark, jewel coloured velvets, tie-dye, feathers and felt became a melting pot of fabulous fashion and cool creativity, attracting the glitterati of the day. Artists, film stars and rock stars rubbed shoulders with the beautiful young clientele who epitomised trendy 60s London and devoured Barbara Hulanicki’s stunning designs. From her original sleeveless gingham shifts and her faux fur trimmed maxi coats, to her billowing chiffon dresses and richly-coloured mini dresses ~ often expressing her ornate William Morris aesthetic (her vibrant, purple and yellow zig-zag print mini dress with fitted waist and slightly flared skirt has been displayed at London’s V&A) ~ the Hulanicki name remains synonymous with evocative design. Indeed, her 2009 30-piece collection of 60s style dresses for Topshop flew off the rails and she continues to collaborate on collections for the high street. Her original 60s and 70s Biba designs helped to iconically define an era and are coveted by fashion collectors worldwide, and still infinitely wearable ~ not bad for someone whose first shop stocked a solitary brown pinstriped smock!

 

60s-style-01_20140128-183347_1.jpg60s-style-02.jpgFinally, to Ossie Clark ~ a major figure on the scene and another innovator of 60s style who produced the most desirable dresses, often in collaboration with print designer Celia Birtwell. His design style in the mid 60s was heavily influenced by pop-art and Hollywood glamour and while he may have attracted major attention from the fashion press with that ‘light bulb’ moment at his degree show (an illuminating design that boosted his career), he’s renowned for his vintage designs ~ exquisite, flowing and sensuous maxi dresses in both fabulous plain colours and in bold flower prints, smocks in soft chiffon, wrap dresses, halter-necks and tea dresses in stunning patterns ~ and has influenced the likes of Anna Sui, Tom Ford and Manolo Blahnik. Ghost’s diaphanous gowns are certainly reminiscent of Clark’s vintage pieces and his original and collaborative vintage collections remain highly regarded and sought after, very often seen on celebrities at red carpet events.

 

The shining lights of 60s fashion design left their mark and their legacy with a glorious imprint of 60s style dresses that continues to inspire, excite, innovate and endure; as they say, style never goes out of fashion.

 

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1960s Fashion

 

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Music and passion were always the fashion..”  ~ but it was during the 1960s that music and fashion became forever entwined and redefined for a new generation who eagerly embraced the pop culture that marked out the Swinging Sixties as a decade unlike any that had gone before.

 


This was a time of upheaval in politics, fashion, attitudes and music and while the ‘teenager’ may have been 50s borne, the 60s delivered a new-found sense of freedom as society moved away from the conservative values of the previous decade and discovered colour, flamboyance, style and ownership that gave rise to a multitude of groundbreaking fashion trends. These new looks not only mirrored the social movements of the time, but were particularly influenced by the iconography of the popstars, music, dances and the burgeoning festival scene. Music led the way in ‘alternative’ fashion for the young and the restless, the ‘in’ crowd and the trendsetters, and designers began producing clothing suitable for those eager to find their own identities. The first major fashion movement of the 60s emerged from the ‘British Invasion’ ~ the Beatles phenomenon (and their much emulated ‘Liverpool Sound’), the Rolling Stones and many others who were enjoying immense popularity.

 

1960s-fashion.jpgIn the early to mid 60s, the London Modernists (the Mods) shaped a look for a British subculture of young women and men ~ a counter culture movement which became widely imitated and identified by their classy, tailored suits, Levis jeans and slim button-down shirts contrasted with their trademark anoraks. Both female and male Mods dressed very similarly and both had a sense of ‘alternative cool’ with their instantly recognisable customised scooters and mopeds  ~ and bands such as The Who, The Kinks and The Small Faces were to emerge with a faithful following.  By contrast, the Rockers of the time were still heavily influenced by 50s rock and roll icons, bringing black leather again into 1960s fashion. The decade also gave birth to drainpipe jeans, for women and men, an item that has remained forever in fashion (having latterly evolved into the ‘skinny’ jeans trend we are seeing again today).

 

TV music shows of the time featured a plethora of groups and artists from the established crooners to the up and coming rebels that were ready to revolutionise the music scene. Boy Meets Girl, Juke Box Jury, Ready Steady Go! and Shindig! were among the latter, alongside the iconic juggernaut that was Top of the Pops (first aired in 1964), a show that would later become the nostalgia-laden popfest for millions. They showcased the main chart toppers and heart-throbs of the day, among them Cilla Black, Lulu and Sandie Shaw who all played their part in defining the fashion of the era ~ and the Beatles and the Stones whose definitive 60s outfits were to have a huge influence on fashion (and music) which still endures ~ from sharp suits and Nehru jackets to velvet, brocade and ‘jazz band’ chic, via leather drainpipes, billowing blouses, that white ‘dress’ and iconic pop-art logos.

60s-fashion-Jimi-Hendrix-01.jpgDance crazes such as the Twist, the Mashed Potato, the Swim, the Freddie, all demanded a new freedom of movement for women and evolving fashion styles reflected this ~ the 60s saw curve hugging satin sheath dresses to match the sultry sounds of Motown and R&B, and the cute swing shifts of the sophisticated Supremes and the Detroit sound. But one image that so often defines 60s outfits, almost more than any other, is the fabulous monochrome mini dress, quirky white boots, pale lips, false eyelashes on feline flicks and hair that was bobbed and bouffant or sleek and chic. Once Mary Quant had introduced the mini-skirt in 1965, everything changed and this embodiment of 1960s fashion was popularised by chanteuses such as Sandie Shaw, Petula Clark, Cilla 1960s-fashion-1960s-outfits-01.jpgBlack and Kathy Kirby. These young pop stars, who were becoming household names, wowed in sleeveless minis and groovy A-line and shift dresses with colour pop geometrics, big bright flower prints and patterned tights; and crop tops with hip-hugging trousers and bell bottoms (often embellished with sequins) were also seen on screen ~ while marvellous maxis and floaty frocks with billowing sleeves in velvet, chiffon and satin were modelled by the likes of Marianne Faithfull and Jane Birkin, hidden under floppy hats and layers of cool and sultry chic.

 

The achingly trendy style arenas of London’s Kings Road and Carnaby Street gave rise to an explosion of flamboyance, flair and ‘far out’ fashion in 60s outfits that saw A-lines, Angel dresses, bell-bottoms, boas, capri trousers, cravats, Cuban heels, culottes, Go-Go boots, kaftans, maxis, minis, shifts, space-age, stilettos, swing coats, tunics and winklepickers parade through the decade in a refreshing riot of batik, brocade, chiffon, crocheted lace, faux fur, frills, leather, neon, PVC, paisley, patent, psychedelic prints, stripes, suede, tie-dye and velvet. 1960s fashion continued its evolution into the later decade, influenced by the growing popularity of rock and its subgenres: surf, roots, hard, psychedelic, folk ~ and the boom in music festivals.

 


Festivals were flourishing and artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Grace Slick shaped the Hippie movement. A sense of empowerment and liberation became apparent in 60s outfits of the time as a bohemian counterculture took hold: clothes became loose and relaxed with brightly coloured, clashing prints and patterns, bell bottoms, tunic tops and tie-dye, velvet waistcoats, flowers, frills, headbands and beads that reflected the mood and the music, while longer, looser, hair replaced the structured beehives and bouffants. This sense of idealism, freedom and optimism was captured at a moment in time which can never truly be recreated, but which will always evoke those sunny, carefree, heady days of 60s Summers and immutable music ~ represented by the gorgeously gregarious and bohemian fashions that freed the spirit and blazed a trail for generations to come.

 

Joni-Mitchell-60s-outfits.jpgThe politically charged decade also saw the emergence of folk artists like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell who lent their working class American values not just to their outspoken lyrics, but to their look ~ soon, fans were embracing denim, military style jackets and western-inspired shirts. Jeans became the indispensable, integral item in any self-respecting music fan’s wardrobe, a discipline and a ‘rock solid’ fashion staple that still prevails.

 

1960s FashionWith gender definition becoming less limiting, and with the resurgence of the Women’s Liberation Movement and a new wave of feminism, the androgynous look of 60s outfits
 became more pervasive: women blended the feminine and masculine and wore Nehru jackets with miniskirts and short sculpted haircuts; while men sported polo necks, billowing shirts, decorative scarves and skirted coats, and long flowing hairstyles. The ‘dandy’ look, celebrated by Brian Jones et al, became ‘de rigeur’ with bands who rocked the outlandish, the outré and the outrageous in tight fitting trousers and double-breasted suits of crushed velvet, brocade waistcoats and frilled shirts. This look was perfectly summed up at the Stones’ Hyde Park concert of July 1969 by the ‘King of Peacocks’, Mick Jagger ~ his white voile smock with bishop’s sleeves, ruffled neck and wrists, and bow-laced front is surely one of the outfits, alongside Mary Quant’s iconic mini skirts and dresses, most redolent of the exhilaration, the empowerment, the revolution and the zeitgeist of 1960s fashion.

 

For the first time in history, 1960s fashion was geared towards the youth market, a trend that set the mood for the rest of the century and beyond. Styles changed more frequently than ever before (and continued to do so throughout the decade), undeniably influenced by the pop and rock stars, the ever-changing music scene and the flourishing TV and media culture that portrayed them. The music scene was the voice of the 60s generation, heavily influencing style statements that continue to impact on modern fashion in a way that perhaps no other decade has done since.

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1930s Fashion : 1930s dresses, 1930s hairstyles, 1930s style

 

Women’s fashion in the 1930s moved away from the daring frivolity of the previous decade and became more streamlined; 1930s dresses in particular revived a subtle and reassuring elegance and sophistication, ushering in a more refined look that lent itself to a romantic, graceful and sleek silhouette.

 


The infamous shorter skirt lengths of the previous decade were replaced in 1930s dresses by a longer, sleek shape with a restoration of the waistline and a renewed appreciation of the bust, enhanced in flatteringly
soft, slim-fitting day dresses, and moulded to the body’s form in the most stunning, opulent, often backless, evening gowns. These were frequently inspired by the screen goddesses and celebrities of the time who had an immense  influence on the clothes of the day  ~ an example being the broad shouldered look favoured by 30s movie stars, and which was present throughout the decade, squaring the shape of dresses, blouses and coats (half a century before the power dressing 80s). Zips became widely used, lower necklines sought attention with v-necks, crossovers, ruffles, scallop-edges or lace accents, while muted and deep colours became popular, as did abstract and geometric patterns in cotton and silks and the new synthetic materials such as rayon.

 

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The day look for 1930s dresses was floaty and delightful ~ sleeves fluttered and flounced; bodices became fitted, emphasising the sleek lines of the torso and the slim waist. Elaborate collars and necklines which incorporated folds, ruffles or draping, and peplums too, became popular towards the end of the decade.  Mid-calf or full length dresses and skirts traced the line of the hips then flared out from the knee ~ and many 1930s dresses fitted this mould and style, focussing as they did on the classic hourglass shape.

 

1930s-dresses.jpgFor ladies who meant business, a well fitting suit was ‘de rigeur’ with an overall more ‘masculine’ look (borrowed from men’s tailoring) which retained its chic essence with slim or slightly flared skirts elegantly pleated, and gorgeous fitted jackets which enhanced the figure. Overcoats were chosen to match outfits and an individual’s unique style but, as today, they were purchased and worn as classic pieces which were often mixed with more inexpensive and ‘fun’ items. Coats in general were smart and usually mid to calf-length, single or double breasted. Wrap coats were also popular and familiar features included roll collars, yokes, shoulder capes, belts and trimmed collars and cuffs. Jackets were smart and fitted, in wool, tweed and leather, while bolero jackets and short, classy capes were also in the style spotlight.

 

Any 1930s woman worth her style credentials knew that elegance extended from head to toe and no outfit was complete without a chic hat. Wide brims were often worn at an angle and pill box hats and turbans would become popular later in the decade, to accentuate the shorter 1930s hairstyles. Short or opera-length gloves in fabric or leather, matched to shoes and handbags, were worn during the day, while adorable fabric flowers or bows decorated hats, collars and bodices.

 

For the most part, footwear of the period carried on where the 20s had left off ~ the stylish Cuban heels, round toed Mary Janes and T-straps with moderate heels were popular, as were flats, pumps and ballet shoes. Sophisticated strappy sandals (often in metallic or mesh) and peep toes came out at night, setting off the most sumptuous, sensuous and sultry evening wear!

 

1930s-dresses-1.jpgNew, opulent materials such as velvet, silk and lamé, enhanced and embellished by sequins, diamonte stones and beads, were used to create luxurious evening dresses that shimmered and shone.  Elegant dresses inspired by the cross cut bias method of innovative French designer Madeleine Vionnet marked a resurgence in the female form with the cut allowing the fabric to drape softly and accentuate body lines. Most evening gowns of this period were cut this way and were ultimately designed to accentuate and flatter the figure to perfection ~ whether svelte or curvaceous ~ cleverly enhancing the often simple, sleek designs.Silk was commonly worn due to its tendency to enhance this form-fitting look, while designers like Coco Chanel began experimenting with rayon to mimic the look and feel of silk. Beautifully draped Empire line dresses were popular but 1930s dresses as evening wear were often backless, with bodices draped, pleated or shirred. Halter necks and plunging necklines were also an alluring addition, while bare shoulders and backs were draped and beautifully accessorised with stoles, boas, capes and embellished shrugs and shawls. Trimming were used on many evening dresses and fabric flowers and bows could be found on one shoulder, on the neckline or Greta-Garbo_20140202-211926_1.jpgon the centre of the waist ~ the most opulent gowns and cover ups were adorned, of course, with beautiful brooches and glittering gems.  As a finishing flourish, achingly chic elbow length gloves in satin, silk, lace or velvet complemented many a sumptuous evening gown.

 


1930s hairstyles saw the 20s bob replaced with modest yet elegant short to shoulder length perms. Finger-waves or soft curls were common 1930s hairstyles, worn with a side or middle parting, and towards the end of the decade women's hair would start to become longer ~ arranged in looser bobs or pulled back in glamorous chignons to reflect the popular styles of the Hollywood icons... think of the 1930s hairstyles of Greta Garbo, Barbara Stanwyck or the iconic platinum waves that were Jean Harlow’s crowning glory!

 

1930s-hairstyles-3.jpgThis was truly a decade of pioneering design, innovative shaping and cutting-edge chic as seen in the broad, exaggerated shoulders and slim, sleek lines that defined womenswear. Prominent designers such as Madeleine Vionnet and Elsa Schiaparelli rewrote the design book ~ Vionnet’s new bias cut and handkerchief hems were cutting edge (literally) and launched a myriad of evening dresses that dripped and draped with style, opulence and glamour. It’s not surprising that this form-flattering cut has remained a staple of styling and exquisite tailoring ever since. Schiaparelli, along with her greatest rival Chanel, is regarded as one of the most important figures in fashion between the wars. Renowned initially for her knitwear and her surrealist collaborations, she made the zipper popular, strengthened her profile with sumptuous evening wear in luxury silks, and innovated ski wear, bathing suits and the ‘divided skirt’ (the forerunner of shorts).

 

Indeed, although clothing (1930s dresses in particular) would today, in many ways, be considered very ‘feminised’ in style and intention, the ‘in’ shape for women’s bodies was toned and athletic and the increase in outdoor activities to achieve the neo-classical, slimmer figure led to couturiers manufacturing what we now call sportswear or leisurewear. The chief impetus here came from America, and a group of female designers who were determined to liberate fashion from the Parisian embrace, eschewing fussiness and the ornament in favour of choice and versatility to create casual clothing that firmly established the sportswear tradition, leading to the formation of the modern and more casual, informal dress code we know today.

 

However, the 1930s was the decade which blazed a trail, in so many ways, for couture and iconography in clothing ~ and remains the decade where fashion celebrated opulence, style and innovation...a decade which continues to inspire, endure and influence fashion, especially evening wear, to this day.

 

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1930s Fashion ~ Hollywood Style

 "...So while there's moonlight and music and love and romance ~

 let's face the music and dance”

~ Irving Berlin, 1936

 

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There’s much debate about when the silent film era began and certainly the idea of combining motion pictures with recorded sound is nearly as old as film itself ~ but ‘silents’ continued throughout the 1920s until the release of The Jazz Singer (1927), the first commercially successful sound film, which marked the introduction of ‘talkies’ ~ and within a decade, popular widespread production of silent films had ceased and Hollywood’s Golden Age had swept in!

 

This groundbreaking era not only sparkled with the timeless movies we know so well, it also heralded the dawn of the new screen goddesses...Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo were just a handful of the silver screen icons who ushered in a new age of 30s fashion with beauty, allure and sophistication. The glamour of 1930s fashion, epitomised by Hollywood, provided fantasy and escape ahead of the looming depression, propelling new styles into the limelight to replace the 20s Jazz Age look with a revelatory style ‘du jour’ which was to influence women’s fashion the world over.

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30s-Fashion-011.jpgGone was the 20s styling: the ditsy quirkiness of the flapper, the boxy shapes and the loose forms. 1930s fashion brought a more genteel, sophisticated and sleek look that was heavily influenced by the movie stars of the time and lent itself to the most glamorous and gorgeous garments that graced the famous and the infamous, the vamps and the vixens! 

 

The shorter skirt lengths of the previous decade were replaced in 1930s fashion by mid-calf or full length dresses and gowns, with a return to the natural waistline and clothing which was more moulded to the body’s natural form. 1930s fashion favoured a longer, sleeker, streamlined shape enhanced in flatteringly soft, more fitted day dresses, and the most stunning, opulent evening gowns. These were frequently inspired by the screen goddesses and celebrities of the time who had an immense influence on 30s fashion. Fabric flowers or bows decorated hats, collars and bodices, while hats (wide brims, cloches, berets or turbans ~ very ‘à la mode’!) were worn at jaunty angles to compliment all manner of outfits. 30s fashion shoes often carried on where the 20s had left off ~ Cuban heels, Mary Janes and T-straps were the order of the day, while sophisticated strappy sandals (often in metallic or mesh) and peep toes were worn at night, setting off the most sumptuous evening wear which, over time, has lost none of its ability to wow and delight.

 

1930s-Fashion-045.jpgNew, opulent materials such as velvet, silk and lamé, enhanced and embellished by sequins, diamonte stones and beads, were used to create luxurious evening dresses that shimmered and shone.  Elegant dresses inspired by the cross cut bias method of innovative French designer Madeleine Vionnet marked a resurgence in the female form with the cut allowing the fabric to drape softly and accentuate body lines. Most evening gowns of this period were cut this way and 30s-Fashion-30s.jpgwere ultimately designed to accentuate and flatter the figure to perfection ~ whether svelte or curvaceous ~ cleverly enhancing the often simple, sleek designs.Silk was commonly worn due to its tendency to enhance this form-fitting look, while designers like Coco Chanel began experimenting with rayon to mimic the look and feel of silk. Beautifully draped Empire line dresses were popular but 1930s dresses as evening wear were often backless, with bodices draped, pleated or shirred. Halter necks and plunging necklines were also an alluring addition, while bare shoulders and backs were draped and beautifully accessorised with stoles, boas, capes and embellished shrugs and shawls. The bias cut has remained a staple of fashion styling ever since, dressing sultry sirens and irrepressible starlets through the decades. Refined by Galliano in the 90s, it continues to influence modern contemporary design with vintage inspired 30s Noir gowns currently gracing the collections of Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton. 30s fashion shapes have also inspired the collections of Valentino, Lanvin et al while 30s-Fashion-30s_20140203-001544_1.jpgembellished evening and daywear continues to be ‘in vogue’. This period’s sleek, sumptuous and stylish fashion influences will always be relevant in modern designs – and rightly so!

 

 

1930s-Fashion-30s-Fashion.jpgThe style and elegance of 1930s Hollywood tells of an era that basked in opulent glamour and is immortalised by the screen goddesses who influenced the fashion of the Golden Age ~ from the luminescent Jean Harlow draped in white and cream liquid satin, to the intelligence and allure of Garbo in all her dark and dangerous glamour, via the evocative and stylised Art Deco elegance, drama and exhilaration coming to life in those unforgettable dance partnerships such as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

 

 

Today, heavenly 30s fashion has been showcased in recent films such as Atonement, Bright Young Things and Gosford Park, among others, and is buoyed by current period dramas, and the vintage 30s inspired wardrobes of modern fashionistas such Gwen Stefani and Paloma Faith ~ and many others who choose true vintage 30s pieces for red carpet events, special occasions and especially for their weddings. 1930s fashion continues to inspire and excite: to wear a true vintage 30s piece is to know why these items endure in the imagination and command their rightful and significant place in influential fashion history.

 

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40s Fashion - Hollywood Style

 

Hollywood ~ a word that conjures up the modern day film industry while forever evoking memories of a bygone era:  the Golden Age of the Silver Screen, decorated by the eternal movie stars who epitomised glamour, style and sophistication and who defined 40s fashion.

 

Rita-Hayworth-40s-1940s-1940.jpgThe end of silent film in the late 1920s had seen the dawn of Hollywood’s Golden Age which took hold in the 30s, ushering in an era of prolific film making which continued to sashay its way through the 40s with sustained style and creativity, carried aloft by the screen goddesses, the vamps and the sultry sirens. These iconic movie stars mesmerised with their performances and epitomised 1940s fashion with their memorable looks and screen personalities:  Dorothy Lamour, Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable, Veronica Lake, Ginger Rogers, Ingrid Bergman, Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, Vivien Leigh, Ava Gardner, Hedy Lamarr...what a fabulous rollcall. In 1940 fashion would be defined by these film stars, and in the following years, until the 50s, their iconic wardrobes would influence a generation of women recovering from war torn austerity.

 

Despite the hardships of World War II and the utilitarian chic generally espoused by the West, Hollywood stars dazzled in 40s fashion which set the template for so many classic shapes and styles that have become timeless and continue to influence today’s designers and culture. In 1940 fashion, movie star’s hairstyles and make-up, and even their shoes and handbags, were copied by women everywhere.

 

The 40s fashion silhouette accentuated the female form ~ skirts were raised from ankle to knee-length while broad padded shoulders, nipped-in waists and slim lines became typical with square jackets usually worn over blouses or shirts. Later, Dior’s groundbreaking ‘New Look’ collection (1947) would feature more waist-cinching and gorgeously full skirts.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_veronica-lake-40s-fashon.jpgHollywood embraced this and more ~ elegance, glamour and sophistication meant dreamy cocktail dresses and fabulous evening gowns (full or tight), emphasising a sensual silhouette with, often, a dramatic open back. Stoles or cover ups were the order of the day (and night), accessorised with elegant, long gloves in satin, silk, lace or velvet ~ and, of course, diamonds (the bigger the better!). Waves, side partings and ‘peekaboo’ hairstyles ~ à la Veronica Lake ~ were widely imitated. 

 

40s film stars epitomised glamour, elegance and allure, often with a seductive dark side. The wardrobe of the ‘femme fatale’ always had an evening edge, while those who populated the era’s beloved ‘film noir’ dressed to kill ~ courtesy of designers who understood the needs of actresses and their characters.

 

Designer Edith Head understood Barbara Stanwyck’s ‘femme fatale’ in Double Indemnity (1944) and dressed her to impress in expensive jewellery and clothes, classily cut (as if to conceal her amoral intentions) ~ and in a silk jumpsuit, 30 years before it would be interpreted and restyled by Halston.

 

Irene Letz became MGM’s head of costume design in 1943 and turned the antagonist/protagonist colour code on its head by dressing Lana Turner in (almost) all white for her turn as the sultry seductress in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946). Her stunning wardrobe and iconic outfits were all about the form, with clothes that framed Lana’s face and figure to perfection. Her appearance in a turban, high waisted shorts and heels became one of the best known movie entrances ever.

 

40s-fashion-1940s-fashion-lauren-bacall.jpgLauren Bacall, one of the defining style icons of the age, epitomised ice-cool chic and effortless elegance in whatever she wore. In To Have and Have Not (1944), she blended elegant separates with fashion-forward menswear-inspired tailoring that led the way in androgynous dressing, while the evening dress she wore was overtly glamorous ~ slinky floor length black satin, split to the thigh, with defined shoulders to create a structured silhouette and a subtly exposed midriff. Just exquisite.


Another breathtakingly beautiful gown was worn by Loretta Young in He Stayed for Breakfast (1940) ~ a vision of a floorsweeper in black lace that could effortlessly convert to modern day style as a wonderfully wearable and glamorous vampish creation.loretta-young-1940s-fashion_20140123-192630_1.jpg

 

Perhaps one of the most iconic garments from 1940s fashion and Hollywood is that dress worn by Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946); designed by Jean Louis, the strapless long black satin sheath with side split ~ paired with long, elegant evening gloves ~ has helped to consolidate and define the image of the ‘femme fatale’ while remaining a universal reference for classic fashion in cinema.Claudette-Colbert1940s-fashion-40s-fashion_20140123-195935_1.jpg

Indeed, so much of what we recognise in today’s trends and styling has come directly from 40s fashion and Hollywood:

Androgynous (Katharine Hepburn opted to wear trousers rather than skirts, a statement that ultimately changed the perception of how women should dress ~ and was echoed in the movies to such stylish effect by other luminous stars such as Lauren Bacall)

Belted waists

Crop tops (a very big look in early 1940 fashion)

Decadent jewels, huge cocktail rings (real and imitation)

Floral prints and tea dresses

High waisted shorts

Huge floral corsages (from Carrie Bradshaw via Hedy Lamarr)

Metallics, midi length skirts and monochrome (the latter, worked so well by Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, became a staple of 40s fashion)

Nautical

Pastels

Pleats, zips, ruching

Preppy chic and Peter Pan collars

Shoulder pads (power dressing’s been around for some time!)

Statement headwear

Tailored swimwear

Wedges and wide legged trousers

... and Claudette Colbert looked fabulously decadent in a floor-length hooded pink gown while filming The Palm Beach Story in 1942 ~ a look that has since been given a contemporary spin by, amongst others, Kylie Minogue and Cheryl Cole.

 

 

Like a fine wine, original 40s fashion is a superb vintage which is as desirable today as ever ~ thanks in no small part to the Hollywood icons who lit up the screen and whose timeless beauty and style continues to influence today’s collections and be justifiably referenced in modern trends.

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LINKS

40s Hollywood, The magic of Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall

 

 

 

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The 1940s were undoubtedly defined by the hardships and austerity of World War II and by the re-adjustment of the post-war years ~ and fashion was no exception.

 

Europe, and especially Paris, had always been the centre of fashion and had been a great (if not the main) influence on styles and trends, particularly in America. During the war however, many of the Parisian fashion houses were forced to close and the stylish Parisienne and her couture fashion was slowly being replaced with a new definition of what is was to be a young woman: robust and independent with a more active and demanding life.

 

This sea change in the perception of women’s changing, and increasingly independent, roles during the war years, and how they had to adapt to the new mode of austerity, was felt everywhere, particularly in the shortage of clothing. Fewer colours were available (chemical dyes were needed for explosives) so clothing colours became lighter. Due to fabric restrictions, hemlines on 1940 dresses crept upward in both evening wear and day wear, the latter of which was made more and more using substitute materials whenever possible (e.g. viscose and rayon) ~ and waistlines started to be more defined as again fabric was scarce. Materials such as silk, nylon and elastics were hard to find, and wool and leather were also hard to source as they had to be used for uniforms ~ shoes, and even metal for buttons and clasps, were also scarce. Utility clothing in the UK became regulatory ~ garments were slim cut and it became illegal to embellish 1940 dresses with extra embroidery, buttons, or pockets.

 

The UK also introduced ‘Make-Do-and-Mend’, with more sewing at home and outdated or worn fashions being remade into useable garments. Even Hollywood’s studio designers had to follow suit by conserving fabric: “No pockets, no pleats, the less material the better” even on a 1940s fancy dress.1940-dresses-5.jpg

 

1940-dresses-6.jpgDespite the imposition of utilitarian chic and the rationing of fabric, the subsequent metamorphosis of ‘function into fashionable’ found its way into fashion design ~ with super-stylish 1940 dresses being a perfect example. Dresses, and especially the 1940s fancy dress, kept for special occasions such as weddings and dances, were often showed off at special functions and dance halls, which were extremely popular in the 1940s. The seductive Latin rhythms of the Rumba etc were a soothing counterpoint to the turbulence of the war years, and the popular Big Band leaders helped spread the syncopated sound of swing, while the improvisational music of Jazz artists electrified audiences. Dresses with flowing skirts were essential to fashionable dance lovers ~ although these ‘swing dresses’, with their nipped-in waists and sweeping gored skirts, became more popular after the war ended and fabric became more readily available.

 

Wartime day dresses, including the 1940s fancy dress, fell to just above the knee and were practical yet demure: simple, elegant shirt dresses were accentuated with shoulder pads and belted waists, while pretty tea dresses, often in floral or gingham prints, featured short or capped sleeves with v-necks or sweetheart necklines ~ and the ‘princess line’ on 1940 dresses was softly shirred to gather under the bust and create a flattering shape.

 

1940-dresses-7.jpgAs 1940 dresses became shorter to save on fabric, sheath evening dresses replaced the long, flowing and more voluminous gowns of the 1930s and legs emerged as the most prominent and accentuated feature of the early 1940s figure. Additionally, as women's clothing adhered to slimmer designs all over, with tailoring cutting down on fabric where possible, shoulder pads became widely popular, to highlight the boxy look as a way to add interest to the silhouette. At this time the military look grew in popularity, and suits, tailored jackets and trousers, with a more masculine edge, was becoming a very sought after style option. This look took a cue from actresses such as Rita Hayworth, Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich 1940-dresses-01.jpgwho had a significant impact on popular fashion and made the more androgynous look, including tuxedos and tails, very fashionable ~ a style that today is still copied by numerous designers including Yves Saint Laurent, and worn by many celebrities and models including Kate Moss.

 

The ‘Kitty Foyle’ dress (named after a Ginger Rogers character in her film of the same name) was characterised by dark fabric and contrasting light (often white) collar and cuffs on a shirtwaister with short or elbow length sleeves.  As a modest and practical style that could be easily copied or modified, it became popular during the wartime period and has rarely been out of fashion since. It featured in the 70s collections of Jill Richards (also a Hollywood actress in the 40s) and has been adapted by designers more recently in the neo-Victorian ‘gothic’ style, taking its themes of modesty, tradition and monochrome colours of a dark base with a light contrast and applying them with simpler lines.

 

Pencil dresses of the 40s hugged the shape, and highlighted hourglass figures, which were popular at the time, and evoked the cool allure of film noir and the femme fatale. These dresses were considered the ultimate in chic and sophistication, often with square necklines and deep collars, ruching under the bust and a vented skirt (Roland Mouret and Victoria Beckham are just two of the modern designers to have incorporated this iconic 40s shape into their signature designs). 1940 dresses may have had to reflect the hardships of the decade, but their defining styles are as important and influential as ever.

 

1947-Dior-introduced-his-New-Look.jpgAs the world eased into the post-war era and restrictions started to relax, fashion began to reflect the changes. Designers began to look for more elegant and luxurious styles and in 1947 Dior introduced his ‘New Look’ collection as a direct response to wartime austerity. It was a dramatic change from the broad shoulders, boxy torsos and the shorter skirts of the war years. Dior’s revolutionary silhouette featured nipped in waists, peplums and full and fabulous frocks and skirts that flared out to mid-calf length in place of the ‘leggy’ look. The lavish use of fabric and the elegance of his designs appealed to post-war clientele and ensured Dior's meteoric rise to fame; it would reinstate the glamour that many women felt had been missing during the past decade.

 

 

Nowhere was the contrast with the 1940s dresses of wartime more clearly displayed than at the parties and balls of the rich and elite. Fabulous mansions, embassies and stately homes hosted glitzy gatherings surrounded by raised terraces, pergolas, pavilions, bath houses and statues that created the look and atmosphere of a glamorous film set. Here, the great and the good, the famous (and the infamous!) rubbed shoulders with celebrities, royalty and those at the upper echelons of a society still very much defined by finance and class ~ and with this a new style of elite 1940s fancy dress and fashion style was emerging for those who could afford or aspire to it.

 

Cocktail attire, popular in the late 40s, was billed as more elegant than daywear but a step down from formal wear; dresses were made in sumptuous fabrics such as velvet, taffeta, lace, brocade or rayon, often with long sleeves and a mid-calf or knee-length hem and featured elements such as a low-cut bodice, a short bolero jacket, or a frothy skirt enhanced with tulle or chiffon. Additions could include lace or velvet trims, scalloped hems, bows and other embellishments. Stunning satin halterneck prom dresses which enhanced the shoulders and back and caressed the figure oozed style and exuded confidence. Spaghetti straps were also seen on many a cocktail dress and these timeless features are still to be found in modern evening and party wear.

 

1940s-fancy-dress-40s.jpgAs ever, the stylish party set would embrace the fashions worn by the Hollywood stars who dazzled in 1940s fancy dresses ~ dreamy, softly draped evening gowns in silk and velvet and skimmed the floor, were the height of sophistication and elegance, embellished with beads, sequins and huge cocktail jewels, and accessorised with matching gloves and cover-ups. Decadent high necked gowns in sheens and metallics were another stunning option and often featured a draped, open back, while simpler styles were still the height of elegance, made from luxurious fabrics like chiffon with beads and sequins adorning the waist and bodice.

 

Opulence and luxury notwithstanding, a co-ordinated elegance in dress and appearance defined the stand out fashions of the late 40s. Wrap dresses appeared and the gradual change in 1940s dresses would see the emphasis shifting to wider shoulders and hips, accented further by belted waists and the emergence of the fuller skirted ‘prom’ style dress which would become a defining look of the 1950s as fashion continued to evolve and borrow from the previous decade in terms of shape and styling. Dresses in opulent material with corseted waists and swirling skirts to mid-calf led the new decade and as fashion looked to the past, haute couture’s fortunes were revived, creating a myriad of noteworthy designers. Paris fashion had experienced a resurgence after the war thanks to Dior, who would later be joined in the influential design ranks by luminaries such as Balenciaga, Givenchy and Balmain.

 

 

1940s dresses ~ in all their guises ~ have undeniably influenced many of today’s designers and continue to evoke, inspire and flatter; this ‘decade of two halves’ is certain to remain as stylish as ever thanks to its timeless creations that defined a generation.

 

 

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Best Winter Jackets - Riding jackets

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Best Winter Jackets - Click for a beautiful range of vintage and vintage inspired jackets

 

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“…Blue kid gloves and half-boots, a high-standing collar trimmed with lace, a muslin cravat, narrow lace ruffles at the wrists, and a tall-crowned hat, with a peak over the eyes, and a plume of curled ostrich feathers completed her dashing toilette…”

 

 

~ The Grand Sophy, Georgette Heyer

 

Jane Austen’s pride and prejudice, set during the turn of the nineteenth century, is filled with sharp observation, romance and regency charm. The characters call to the reader, beckoning us to enter a world of fascinating and interwoven relationships with each turn of the page. The fashion of the nineteenth century also holds much nostalgic fascination for us. The lavish evening ball gowns, the empire line day dresses in soft muslins, and of course the winter jackets, capes and long duster style coats have us longing for an era of vintage style that epitomises a simple and refined sophistication. You can just envision the Bennet sisters strolling through the rolling hills of the English countryside in their muslins and silks, with their cropped jackets, or shawls, looking elegant and beautiful together against the endless green and verdant landscape.

 

 

During this era, women's clothing, was generally very thin, especially as thin muslin dresses were so popular during this period, and so outerwear and winter jackets and coats were very important to any fashionable heroine’s wardrobe. A short cape called the mantelet was often favoured, as was the redingote which was a long coat with an elegantly cutaway front. The Indian shawl was popular also, for day and evening wear, both outdoors and indoors as English town houses and the typical English country house were generally very draughty. Shawls were made of soft cashmere or silk, or even muslin for summer ~ and paisley patterns were extremely popular at the time. Short, high-waisted, crop-style jackets which fastened down to the empire line covering the bust were worn often, and added elegance, and some warmth, to autumn or winter ensembles. The cropped style jacket is still, today, a very popular winter jacket, especially in leather  ~ and in the 19c, these short fitted ‘spencers’ in wool were worn considerably outdoors, along with long-hooded cloaks, exotic Turkish wraps, mantles, flowing capes, and overcoats called pelisses, which were sometimes sleeveless and very long, reaching down as far as the ankles.

 

Best-Winter-Jackets.jpg~ Jane Austen writing to her sister Cassandra

 

Today as in the past, from the fashions of Elizabeth Bennet’s regency wardrobe to the modern day woman, the best winter jackets combine timeless design and quality materials to create looks that will last for centuries. So many designs which we see today have filtered down through history, and although adapted throughout the years with each passing generation, many garments of today still have their origins in a past era or historical context.

 

If you’re looking for the best winter jackets to add to your winter wardrobe, riding jackets, and the longer riding coats, offer the best choice, being, warm chic and incredibly elegant. Made in wool, and today often with a mix of cashmere, the riding jacket or coat creates a fitted and stunning silhouette and often has generous cascading skirts, or a bustle style back, and are tailored to fit into the waist, or belted to accentuate the waistline.

 

 

The riding jacket dates back to as early as 1625 ~ and the fashion for riding habits has evolved throughout history creating an iconic look that is still seen in women’s fashion today. In the very gender delineated society which has existed throughout history, women often used riding clothes to challenge formal social mores and gender roles, reworking masculine riding attire to make a statement not only about fashion, but also about their own ability to be physical beings, active and proficient.

 

 

Best-Winter-Jackets-1.jpgBy the 1750s, the skirt of riding outerwear was often shortened dramatically and flared, with special emphasis at the back to drape over the saddle, and this style evolved into the look we love and recognise today as the classic riding jacket. Riding coats and jackets were worn historically as specifically functional equestrian dress, but in the second half of the 18th century, they became fashionable attire as well ~ and in addition to riding they were worn for traveling, walking and visiting. Author Fanny Burney noted that riding habits were being worn to a ball at Bath in 1782. The promenade coat ~ so named as it was used for walking and ‘promenading’ ~ has evolved from the riding coat, and is very similar in style and fabric, and another very popular choice as one of the best winter jackets or coats to choose for special occasions especially.



The fabric used for making women’s habits could be very expensive and because of the amount of cloth needed, it often cost substantially more than an evening gown. The materials worn for riding from the mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries were easily distinguished from the silks, muslins, and velvets of fashionable evening wear. Equestrian activities, especially in the autumn and winter months, required very durable and robust fabrics such as wool, camlet (a silk and wool mix), felted smooth melton wool, or gabardine ~ and linen or cotton twill for summer. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, habits were frequently subtly embellished with gold, silver, or later, with woollen braiding, often imitating the frogging on military uniforms. During the Victorian period, women’s riding habits were made by tailors rather than dressmakers and were cut and fashioned with the same techniques from the same selection of fabrics as men’s attire, so as men’s dress became more somber through this period, so did women’s riding habits.

 

 

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Riding attire throughout the ages has always symbolised grace and leisured elegance. It implied that its wearer belonged, or aspired to belong, to the elite horse-owning classes ~ historically hierarchical and elitist though this is, the equestrian look, even today, has always emulated that country estate style refinement. The colours are kept to the palette of classic blacks, greys and dark blues ~ with the occasional addition of the subtle elegance of racing green, and sometimes the heritage influenced tweeds. In the Victorian period, any woman who wore gaudy or overly ornate habits, and thereby making a seemingly ‘vulgar’ spectacle of herself, was in danger of being labeled a shameless ‘fast woman’ rather than a ‘fair equestrienne’. Such was the power of colour and embellishment in fashion.

 

"Equestrian clothes are perfect; streamlined, functional and elegant….”

 

~ Frida Giannini, Gucci's creative director

 

Best-Winter-Jackets-2.jpgContemporary fashion designers continue to rework traditional equestrian motifs and fabrics in haute couture and prêt-à-porter collections. In this context, contemporary riding style costume and fashion is most often used to connote country elegance and traditional elite English style. These early riding styles have had an enduring influence on modern fashion and top designers such as Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren, among others, have continuously modeled their couture winter wear collections after them. “There is an attitude and allure that goes beyond fashion,” the designer Ralph Lauren muses about the equestrian aesthetic, “Its history and elegance are very much in keeping with the things that I’ve always loved. There is the style of the cowboy, and there is the style of the English rider. The cowboy is a hardworking horseman, whereas English riding has an aristocratic sensibility, yet they are both part of my world.”

 

The pieces we love, both vintage and contemporary are body-conscious and flattering with defined silhouettes, beautiful tailoring, with the flared or bustle style hem for jackets and the huge sweep skirts for coats ~ and the intricate, often velvet detailing, to cuffs and collars differentiates riding style wear from other winter looks which are often rather plain, and too often bulky and shapeless. One of the reasons that the riding style jacket is considered one of the best winter jackets is because of the beautiful shape which has proved the test of time ~ as lovely today as it was in past eras. No wonder brands from Ralph Lauren's Polo to Hermès constantly reference this world. The couture designer Stella McCartney argues that the appeal of horses is universal and eternal and says that there is “…Something very sensual about riding…” So if you’re looking for one of the best winter jackets this season, then vintage or contemporary style riding jackets are a fabulous way to look stylish, powerful, sexy and chic, while still staying warm. London Fashion Week this season again proved the lasting power of the riding style as new designs replicated old world fashion. Winter wardrobes looked like they could have been spotted on Miss Bennet herself as she walked with Mr. Darcy in Pemberley.

 

Best-Winter-Jackets-3.jpgThe tweed jacket is another of the best winter jackets available. The textured wool, imitating stately style from the early twentieth century, often appears in blazer designs, and is also seen extensively in riding style jackets, both vintage and contemporary. “After we were married, Ricky and I were shopping in one of those authentic riding stores, and I bought her a boy’s tweed hacking jacket,” recalls Ralph Lauren. “Whenever she’d wear it, other women would say, ‘Oh, I love that jacket.’ That’s when I decided to do women’s clothes. I started with tweed hacking jackets. I’ve always thought they had real style.” Tweed jackets will pair brilliantly and easily with many pieces in your current wardrobe, making them the perfect addition to many outfits needing an autumnal or winter touch and certainly one of the best winter jackets to choose this season.

 

Riding jackets, riding coats and tweed jackets will quickly become staples in your winter wardrobe. Their ability to reappear decade after decade, without much real reinvention to their design, speaks volumes about their intrinsic appeal throughout the ages, and to women today looking for fabulous winter wear. The equestrian style is a look steeped in history and rich with elegant aristocratic associations, and with more than a touch of independent spirit ~ and qualities such as timeless style and sophistication set these jackets and coats apart from other styles, making them the best winter jackets available. 

 

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Biker soul. Bikers and leather jackets

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“In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.

 

On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”

 

- Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

 

Driving a motorcycle is like flying. All your senses are alive. When I ride through Beverly Hills in the early morning, and all the sprinklers have turned off, the scents that wash over me are just heavenly.

 

- Hugh Laurie

It wasn't until I went to college and I got my first motorcycle that I understood the thrill of speed.

 

 

- Vin Diesel

 

Video from Harley-Davidson

 

 

I really love to ride my motorcycle. When I want to just get away and be by myself and clear my head, that's what I do.

 

- Kyle Chandler

 

The one road video, from Harley-Davidson

 

 

 

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Leather jacket women

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Leather Jacket Women: A Expression of Biker Culture

 

“Every day I'd say I look different. Sometimes I look really formal, sometimes I love the classic Stella McCartney, Chloe Sevigny and Gwyneth Paltrow thing. Other days I like being ‘rock star’ and wearing leather jackets and studs. I love wearing Burberry ~ it’s the perfect combination of formal and punky.”  ~ Ellie Goulding

 

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Couture designers love leather. Rock star and biker leather street wear storms the catwalks season after season, embodying vintage biker fashion and giving it a chic update. Vintage style leather and biker jackets, in varying different designs, compliment both casual day wear and beautiful evening wear ~ from jeans to silk dresses. Biker style’s increasing popularity in the fashion industry is due to the lifestyle that iconic leather jackets represent. Leather jacket women, throughout the eras, and especially biker women, have always worn timeless and iconically sexy and empowering clothing which appeals to each new generation of women. If you identify with leather jacket women and love to look and feel strong and sophisticated, then you are sure to love the trends that promote the evolution of biker style.

 

Biker style is inspired by biker culture and incorporates several trends that can be seen in traditional motorcycle wear. Stud detailing, intricate leather designs, heavy zips, and rough and ready low heel boots have all played an influential role in the creation of the fashion industry’s version of biker style. A quick look at the collections of high-profile designers, such as Burberry, reveal the extensive use of quality materials, including, among others, suede and shearling, to create an edgy vibe that parallels biker style. All Saints is another upmarket outlet where the designers create a new and different take on biker jackets each season ~ distressed leather, sheepskin, unusual tailoring and antiqued metal-wear all play a part in each season’s eagerly awaited, and endlessly reinterpreted, biker style jackets.  Leather jacket women love this new trend, as it compliments their fashion style, shining the spotlight on the biker chic look which they have been sporting for years. Motorcycle style is taking the fashion industry in full force, and we could not be

 

Leather-jacket-women.jpgBiker inspired fashion is more than clothing. It represents a lifestyle of daring ambition, free spirit and independence. Leather biker jackets exude a sense of this empowerment. Leather jacket women are not afraid of being themselves ~ of standing their ground, speaking their mind, of being adventurous and, not least, daring to be unconfined by society’s limiting expectations of what a women should be and look like. There is a real and lasting beauty in the leather biker look, for this very reason ~ because it speaks to the rebellious essence in all women, to be whoever they are, whoever that might be. If you are a leather jacket woman, then you are proudly saying, in your style, in your relationship to the world, that you possess the power within you which enables you to be true to yourself. Biker jackets say this ~ and have done so for generations. Although biker jackets were made famous, iconic and sought after by famous male film stars such as Marlon Brando and James Dean, for example ~ there have been, over the years, hundreds of women, who, although they have not famously starred in movies or modeled for glossy magazines, have nevertheless taken the essence of the iconic biker jacket into their everyday lives and worn them with conviction, and as a statement of their strength and almost political-like assertion that they will remain outside of society’s definition of what women are supposed to be. However leather jacket women choose to wear their leathers,  biker style, sleek, rugged, vintage, cutting edge ~ there is always a real beauty in this strength of conviction and assertion of self. It is a look which women have always admired and craved, partly because of this subliminal message which leather jackets always carry ~ strength, selfhood and societal rejection of conformity.

 

Leather-jacket-women-3.jpgAdding a vintage biker or leather jacket to your wardrobe will open up thousands of outfit possibilities. Vintage leather jackets which incorporate detailing such as belts, studs, patchwork, suede, shearling, zips are the perfect addition to your wardrobe, adding a commentary on the evolution of biker style. If you prefer a modern cutting edge design, then look to designers such as Michael Kors, All Saints, Burberry and Balmain whose designs often encompass the culture of biker style with a new and inspiring angle each season, creating different looks and unique styles.

 

 


Have a look at the leather and faux leather jackets on offer in vintage stores, in markets, in online stores, on eBay, in high street stores, in couture salons ~ have a look and you’ll find a myriad different styles to choose from…and you will fall in love with the one that most deeply reflects to you who you are and who you want to be. Remember that a leather jacket is an investment which will last you for years to come ~ so buy what you love. Find it, love it, wear it…and join the leather jacket women who have discovered the unique elements that leather can bring to their sense of self, and start to recognise the new potential that biker-inspired pieces can bring not only to all your outfits, but to the way you relate to the world. Fashion is sometimes more than just items of clothing. Sometimes, fashion says something about us, and leather jackets, biker jackets especially, say something rather beautifully strong and empowered about us ~ which, regardless of what society might say, is actually the truth of women everywhere.  

 

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Laura Ashley clothing - Theatre of Fashion

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Laura Ashley originally made furnishing materials in the 1950s. She later expanded into clothing design and manufacture in the 1960s. The Laura Ashley style is characterized by Romantic English designs and high quality— often with a 19th-century rural feel — and the use of natural fabrics.

In this video you will see a few of our beautiful vintage Laura Ashley items. 

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Theatre of fashion a selection of Laura Ashley clothing

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Laura Ashley 60th Anniversary Archive Event

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LAURA ASHLEY FASHION FILM 2013

Bohemian Style & Crochet

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Links Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.

 

~ Coco Chanel 

 

 

My dream is to become a farmer. Just a bohemian pulling up My own sweet potatoes for dinner.

 

~ Lenny Kravitz

 

Bohemian Style.

A sweet little film showcasing Bahamian style, Vintage crochet and Hippie fashion.

 

 

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White crochet dress - Black crochet dress

Vintage Crochet - 60s, 70s, Boho, Hippie, Festival, Gypsy,

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Indian Designer Dresses

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Iconic Creators of Indian Designer Dresses  ~ Click here to see a beautiful selection of Indian dresses

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion  is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with the ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” -- Coco Chanel 

b2ap3_thumbnail_indian-designer-dresses-indian_dresses-boho-01.jpgIt takes a skilled eye to see beauty in the mundane and recognize commonplace happenings as a source of beauty. Designers that possess the rare innate ability to draw inspiration from the world around them create fashion that is unmatched in style and charm. Coco Chanel is an example of a designer that understood that inspiration for fashion and beauty can be found in a multitude of untraditional places, resulting in a one-of-a-kind brand that is known for its sophistication. This defining attribute separates Coco Chanel and other brilliant designers from the masses, distinguishing them as original and unique visionaries. Great designers keep their eyes open in every circumstance, searching for the perfect quality of nature or humanity to inspire the newest trends and styles. Past trends may also serve as inspiration for modern pieces. Iconic designers such as Gucci, Missoni, Lanvin, Givenchy, and Pucci have chosen to draw from Indian block prints, a design that originated around 200 A.D., to create glamorous indian designer dresses. 

Indian designer dresses are seen in these top designers’ collections repeatedly, but made their biggest debut in the 70s. During the 1970s, fashion was about cultivating a bohemian chic, relaxed style that promoted hippie bliss. Paisley patterns painted simple dresses with vibrant hues and stand-out shapes, creating pieces that highlighted the woman’s femininity and vibrant personality. The result is the famous, psychedelic vibe that has continued to have an influence on fashion. Paisley is the most popular Indian block print, and is still used frequently in modern fashion. 

Emilio Pucci fashion was made famous for these bold prints and set the standard for creative style. In 1947, Pucci began his designing career, creating skiwear that was photographed by a female friend that worked for Harper’s Bazaar. In the 1960s, Pucci found greater success when Marilyn Monroe became an enthusiastic fan of his designs. Monroe was photographed and even buried in one of Pucci’s dresses. His pieces were made from fabrics covered in swirling floral prints. These indian designer dresses soon became iconic of the Pucci fashion line and modern stars still seek to sport Pucci’s paisley prints. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_indian_designer_dresses_indian_dresses_boho_05.jpgOther designers such as Gucci, Missoni, Lanvin and Givenchy took note of Pucci’s success with prints and decided to incorporate the vibrant Indian patterns into their own fashion lines. The style of the 70s quickly transformed into something bold and undeniably unique. Prints became prevalent, appearing on scarves, dress, and swimwear. Still to this day, indian designer dresses are noted as 70s style gems. Loud prints from Gucci are viewed with awe at formal events, and paisley day dresses by Givenchy are adamantly admired. Both designers used the print on a variety of dress styles, from A-line skirts to drop waist pieces, creating standout dresses. 


Lanvin has recently created a modern take on indian designer dresses, employing the bold print in a block pattern. Solid side panels highlight the historic print, adding an interesting twist on a classic look. The result is a dress that maintains a sophisticated level of drama that all fashionistas crave. Missoni employs Indian block prints in similar ways. Missoni describes their approach to fashion as “a well-orchestrated mix b2ap3_thumbnail_indian_designer_dresses_indian_dresses_boho_04_20131106-233806_1.jpgof references, suggestions and experiences. A contemporary interpretation of fashion heritage.” This quote beautifully summarizes their use of Indian block prints. Missoni has drawn on this fashion heritage from 200 A.D., and interpreted it in a modern way to create a flawless reference to the 70s. The result is fantastic, leaving no room to question their celebrated status when it comes to indian designer dresses. 


All of these phenomenal designers have created glamorous indian designer dresses, proving that these prints are a timeless addition to any woman’s wardrobe. While fashion has continuously evolved throughout the years, indian designer dresses have remained a large part of the fashion industry, proving their ability to remain relevant. The unmistakable print adds a fun pop of color to any dress design, which is why these iconic designers will continue to incorporate Indian block prints into their elegant collections. Gucci, Missoni, Lanvin, Givenchy, Pucci and many other designers will continue to create wearable works of art that celebrate the past of indian designer dresses and press forward into the future of fashion and design.  

Click here to see a beautiful selection of Indian dresses

Kalamkari Block Printed Cotton - Kalamkari Dress Materials - 54 Designs

 

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1950s wedding - 50s style wedding dresses

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Even casual lovers of fine fashion have undoubtedly worn or at least admired the classy elegant styles of fashion’s golden age, the glamorous 1950’s era. Some of the world’s best loved designs and designers hailed from this time and are credited with introducing styles and fabrics that are popular even today. 1950s wedding dresses and ball gowns are all about volume and layered skirts and with slim and sexy silhouettes. Here are a few videos to give you an idea. 

 

Below is footage from the wedding of Jacqueline & John F. Kennedy - 9/12/1953, and the marriage of Grace Kelly & Prince Rainier in Monaco - April 19, 1956. The third video is something a little bit more contemporary. Some beautiful Wedding dresses that have been heavily influenced by the 1950s.

 

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The wedding of Jacqueline & John F. Kennedy - 

Click to see  - PHOTOS: JFK AND JACKIE’S WEDDING

 

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier and John F. Kennedy were married on the morning of September 12, 1953, in the picturesque St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Newport, Rhode Island. 

On the morning of September 12, 1953, more than 750 guests filled St. Mary's Church to watch as John Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier exchanged wedding vows in a ceremony presided over by Archbishop Richard Cushing. For the occasion, the church had been decorated with pink gladioli and white chrysanthemums. Boston tenor Luigi Vena sang "Ave Maria."

After two hours of greeting family and friends in a receiving line, the bridal couple joined the 1,200 invited guests for champagne and dancing to the music of Meyer Davis and his orchestra. For the first dance, the Kennedy's chose "I Married an Angel."  

 

Grace Kelly & Prince Rainier Wedding In Monaco - April 19, 1956 

Click to see  - PHOTOS:  GRACE KELLY & PRINCE RAINIER

 

 

On April 19, 1956, stunning American Film Star, Grace Kelly marries His Serene Highness Prince Rainier III of Monaco, and becomes Her Serene Highness Grace, Princess of Monaco. This is just a small clip of the religious ceremony. The day before on April 18, 1956, the civil ceremony took place in the throne room of the palace. 

Click to see - longer video

 

Justin Alexander -  50s style wedding dresses

 

Justin's 50s style wedding dresses and ball gowns are all about volume and layered skirts that echo 1950’s couture. Slim and sexy silhouettes using fine Chantilly, Venice and Corded laces adorned with splash of beading. Distinctive necklines and exceptional design elements from fans to feathers makes this collection extraordinary. 

 

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 Click to see - our current collection of 50s dresses and 50 style dresses

 

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Urban Hippie video - This video embodies vintage crochet, it is what it's about, is the soul behind the clothes.  Click to see our beautiful range of crochet dresses

 

The fashion-short movie depicts a young girl's journey to the realms of her deepest imagination. In the first act we experience her feelings of loneliness. She is longing for love, light, the unknown, a world yet to be discovered behind the web that entangles the tender bird of her existence - her desire for freedom is symbolized by the delicate beauty of wings and feathers.

 

When she receives a letter, her day-dreaming is ignited by the anticipation of his love in the form of elements and motions representing thoughts, images of freedom, flying, love, colors, energy, strength - intensifying and finally exploding. This image slowly fades back to a dull surreal scene where she finally awakes.

 

 

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.”

 

― L.M. Montgomery

 

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