Meet Jenn!

 Meet Jenn!  Here she is at her cousin's wedding wearing a Pauline Trigere evening gown she purchased at Couture Allure.  Both she and the bride are beautiful, but I'm kind of partial to the shimmering gold of that Trigere dress.  Thank you for sharing the photo Jenn!

Pauline Trigere evening gown purchased at Couture Allure.

Introducing the New Couture Allure Website!

My web designer and I have been working on a Couture Allure website update all summer and it is finally live and ready for prime time!

In addition to larger pictures and easier to read descriptions, one of my favorite improvements is the ability for you to narrow down the search results within the site.  On the old site, you could search by size or era, but not both.  Now you can narrow your search within a collection to a particular size AND era!  So if you want to see the selection of vintage evening dresses in a size small from the 1950s, you can do it!

Even better?  The site is now completely optimized for use on your tablet or smart phone to make shopping even easier for you.  Now if you see something new on the site while you are out and about, you can purchase it on the go with ease and complete security.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback on the new site.  And please let me know if you run into any issues while perusing the new set-up so we can address those right away.  Thank you and enjoy the new Couture Allure.....Where Vintage Happens!

Weekend Eye Candy - Jean Desses, 1951

Fall, 1951.  Jean Desses covers the sleeve of this black wool suit with a smocked black taffeta muff.  A matching hat completes the ensemble.  Love, love!

The Making of Dior Haute Couture

Here's a little film to watch with your morning coffee. Take note of how many steps are involved and how many people it takes to produce this gorgeous dress from Dior Haute Couture Spring 2011. Enjoy!

Paquin Suit - 1951

An astounding suit by the House of Paquin, 1951.  Lou Claverie was the designer for Paquin at this time.  The typical menswear fabric is made ultra-feminine with that pocket/peplum combination.  Love, love!

Summer Dress - 1936

Simply lovely and oh, so romantic!  Navy and white silk crepe dress by Jane Duverne, 1936.

Marcelle Chaumont, Paris Couturier

Couturier Marcel Chaumont, at left, with a suit of her design, late 1940.
We don't often hear of couturier Marcel Chaumont, but her talent is clear in the garments she designed.

Chaumont, 1947

There is not much known about this designer today, save for a few details.  Chaumont was born in the French countryside in 1891.  After WWI, she moved to Paris to work in the world of haute couture.  She was hired by Jeanne Lanvin, who was the assistant principal designer for Madeleine Vionnet at the time.

Chaumont, 1947
By the late 1930s, Chaumont had established her own design house which first shows up on the list of haute couture houses in 1940 at 19 ave. George V.  Unfortunate timing (due to WWII) and health issues meant that Chaumont's business never received the notoriety of others and by the early 1950s, it was closed.  Chaumont died in Paris in 1980.

Weekend Eye Candy - Pierre Cardin, 1959

Pierre Cardin at work in his atelier, 1950.  Before he became known for his Mod Space Age looks, Cardin designed very ladylike suits, dresses and gowns for his couture clients.

Norman Norell - 1967

Had you asked, I never would have guessed this maxi coat, pants and top set was by Norman Norell, but some of the best designers surprise me over and over.  If you look closely, you can tell this set was made by a master.  Look how the design is matched precisely.  The white stripes match both horizontally and vertically from the coat to the pants.  Even the sleeves are perfectly matched and the opening edges of the coat split the design perfectly in half.  That is not easy to do and takes skill from the designer, the pattern maker, the fabric cutter and the seamstress.  And doesn't Benedetta Barzini do this set justice?

Photo by Richard Avedon for Vogue, 1967

Last Chance Sale!

Our famous Last Chance Sale is on now!  It's time to clear the racks and make room for fall items that are arriving daily.  All items included in our Last Chance Sale are priced at $50.  Go grab yourself a summer bargain today at Couture Allure!  Sale ends Saturday, July 20.  Note:  Only items marked Last Chance are included in this sale.

1950s Dresses - The Swish Without the Pouf

The popularity of 1950s full skirted dresses has been on the wane for the last few months, but I now find that they are coming back in a big way with one significant difference.  Women who wear this style now prefer to wear their full skirted dresses without crinolines.  They want the swish of a full skirt without the fullness of a petticoat. 

For that reason, I will be photographing 1950s dresses both ways for you so you can see how they look when worn with and without that slip.  This 1950s Suzy Perette dress is a great example of how a 50s dress can look great no matter how you choose to wear it.  

Here's another example of how the look changes with a crinoline and without.

What is your preference when wearing 50s dresses?  With or without?

Win One of Three $50 Etsy Gift Certificates!

What do you look for when shopping for vintage clothing online?  What could vintage sellers do to make your experience a better one?  What are vintage clothing sellers doing right?  And what are they doing wrong?  Sammy Davis Vintage is conducting a customer survey so that you can voice your opinions.  When taking the survey, you will be entered for a chance to win one of three $50 Etsy gift certificates!  Your opinions are important to me, and to all vintage sellers, so please take a few minutes to share your thoughts by filling out the survey today!  Giveaway ends on Monday, July 22.  Thank you!

Weekend Eye Candy - Pierre Balmain, 1953

Pure perfection in my mind.   Those white roses at the waist are just the right finishing touch.  Pierre Balmain, 1953.

Renaissance Inspiration, 1970

The fall of 1970 saw fashion inspiration from many sources including the Renaissance.  These three rich, luxurious looks are by Thea Porter.  Velvets, brocades, tapestries.  Embroidery, lace and fur.  All are filling my imagination at the moment as I look forward toward the fall.  Where does your inspiration come from today?

Orange was a Hot Color in the 1930s

I listed this gorgeous 1930s burnt orange velvet bias cut velvet dress for sale on my website yesterday.  The color is so striking and unusual compared to most 1930s velvet dresses I find in black, navy and burgundy, that it piqued my curiosity.  That sent me on another research adventure.

Color fashion photography was not common at this time, so we have to rely on artist's renderings to see clothing in color.  But some fabric manufacturers did go to the expense of having color photographs done of fabric swatches so women could see the fabrics and colors that would be popular that year.  These are both from the fall of 1935.

And here are the fabrics that Mme. Chanel was using for her fall line in 1935. 

Here are velvets from 1934.  Notice the stand-out color in each?  Orange.  Orange shows up in fabric swatches from about 1934 through 1939.  This tells me the velvet dress I showed you above was the height of fashion in the mid-to-late 1930s.

Below are some artist renderings of orange used in fashion in the 1930s.

Dress by Jodelle, 1935.
Suit by Madeleine de Rauch, 1938

Black hat with orange bird of paradise feather by Chanel, 1935.

Evening gowns by Vionnet, 1935.

Sturbridge Textile Show

3 times a year on the Monday of Brimfield week, the Sturbridge Textile Show is held in Sturbridge, MA.  I always attend the show to see and buy fabulous vintage that has been sourced from around the world and to visit and connect with fellow vintage dealers and friends that I only get to see at this show.  July's show is about half the size of the ones in May and September, but it is still great fun and I brought home some wonderful goodies for you! 

Here's a great article about the show with loads of pictures so you get an idea of what you'll find.  If you plan to be in MA for Brimfield week, then do make an effort to come a day early and attend the Textile Show.  You'll be glad you did!

Summer Vacation Fun Vintage Style #5

No matter what you're doing this summer, remember to just have fun.  Don't be an onlooker like the ladies in the second car.  Don't just endure until it's over like the ladies in the third car.  Don't be distracted by petty details like the ladies in the fourth car.  Embrace life fully and laugh all the way.

Summer Vacation Fun, Vintage Style #4

I can't finish up a series on summertime fun without including a jump in the water. Whether you just like to dip your toes or get out there and surf the waves, get in the water and take a swim!