Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Crimplene & Cardin in the Swinging Sixties ♥

First off, I have become mildly obsessed with this new fabric that I have discovered, courtesy of my university research. I find it amazing that this seemingly unattractive, coarse, stiff fabric could have caused such a sensation, and impact on the clothin of the last 60's. Crimplene was developed by ICI fabrics (Imperial Chemical Industries) in the early 1950's, and slowly gained popularity, due to its wearability, durability and crease resistant nature. The fabric itself is pretty crazy- it's thick and has a highly textural nature; so can create highly scultptural pieces. This worked particularly well with the A-line dresses that characterised the look of 1960's. Some of the resultant garments are, pretty kitsch and garish to say the least, but to me, that just makes them so much more interesting (especially as a budding fashion historian).
The shape of the 1960's is not only due to the emergence of some snazzy new fabrics, but due to some forward thinking designers. Pierre Cardin is perhaps my favourite of the era: his radical garments were extreme, progressive and modern- echoing the space race culminating in the moon landing of 1969. This was an era of change, of looking forward to a bright new future, ofcourse this is transparently reflected in the fashion of the period.
Here are some pictures I've come across in my Research:

Crimplene Dresses  ♥

The Dress which I was given for my analysis based presentation. Hmm tricky!

A dress I nicked from my lovely grandma's closet :) As you can see it is crimplene and a similar style. This pleased my tutor no end!

Research from British Vogue  ♥

Crimplene Ads are from March and August editions of British Vogue, 1967.

The Mini and A-Line Shift ♥
Crimplene and the mini-skirt are two peas of a sixties pod. They were both crucial to the stereotypical aesthetic of this era, and worked effortlessly alongside eachother to create the iconic stiff little mini. In many cases the mini was combined with an A-line shift style of dress, such as the examples below.

British Model Jean Shrimpton, Melbourne Races October 1967.
This is seen as a pivotol event in the mini-skirt's history: Read all about it here:
From Look Magazine, April 5th 1966.

From British Vogue, January 1967.

From British Vogue, April 1967.

Advert for YSL. From British Vogue, February 1967.

Not strictly relevant, but I just loved the dude on the left, so I had to include it...
For the laughs: A hilarious old crimplene commercial:
As my research progressed I realised that not only did crimplene work well with the stiff mini skirted designs of the sixties, but it as it gained popularity it began to influence designers, and thus impact on the styles of the era.
Mary Quant: THE iconic designer of the swinging sixties

Quant recieving an OBE for services to Fashion in 1966. Wearing one of her own designs. Mini's in Buckingham Palace?! OH MY!

With three of her muses showing off Quant pieces, 1968.
Collar Dress, Mary Quant, 1964.

Skater Dress, Mary Quant, 1967.
Thhe three above images are from the V and A archives: Essential reading for any fashion/art student, but still well worth a rummage if not!

Pierre Cardin ♥
With three of his house models in 1965

Circa Space age collection, 1967

A-line Crepe Shift Pierre Cardin, 1968.

 AndrĂ© Courrèges
The designer of the mini skirt is an ambigious subject, I believe that Courrege was the first high end designer to integrate the mini succesful into his collections and present it as the only wearable length, but Quant was the person who introduced it to the street, which was very much a big part of the sixties look.

 From Andre Courreges Space Age Collection of 1964 (The birth of the mini)

Rudi Gernreich

Gernreich was the first designer to use unconventional plastics in his designs, such as PVC and Acrylics.
This is him on the cover of TIME, December 1967.

PVC panel dress, Rudi Gernreich, 1967

These styles are so interesting, and relevant to today's fashion; you can see evidence of Gernriech's panelling in the dresses of today. The styles of the sixties were not only iconic, and crucial to the shift in twentieth century styles, but are timeless- a mark of great and inspired design.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Mulberry Procrastination ♥

A healthy level of Procrastination, balanced with frenzied essay writing is key to any conscientious University student's life. However there is a point at which a relaxed dilly-dallying becomes a day of doing sweet F.A. This point has been reached by myself many-a-time. This is ussually down to:

A. Reading magazines, even the classified pages. (I keep telling myself that this is ESSENTIAL market research for my future career. Even I know this is a hollow lie.)

B. Brillaint sartorial quips about the many and varied celebrity fashion disasters. Personally I love the stories about Boobs Legsly/Blake Lively, so true.

C. Because no matter how bad your life may feel, This website proves that someone has it worse. Albeit in a rather hilarious manner.

D. Come on, how can anyone not love this website?! Cut price designer goodies at genuinely affordable prices. Always See by Chloe, Twenty8Twelve by Sienna Miller, By Malene Birger at amazingly cheap prices. Best for Jeans and good quality plain T's, but if you want to stretch to a couple of hundred, you can get some really WOW pieces.

E. Last, but certainly not least, is Just seeing that little tree mades my heart leap with joy, tinged with sadness that I cannot afford every last one of those handbags. In my opinion, Mulberry make the most classic, elegant pieces around, which are still very much trend led, without being a slave fashion's every whim. This season I'm covetting the mint green Mini Taylor Satchel and the ostritch Alexa Absolute Perfection in bag form.
Whilst I love these pieces now, no doubt by next week, there will be a new bag that will make me want to sell my grandma. This constant stream of seductive leathery beauties is tempting, but will never take my eye away from my ultimate goal..... The Mulberry Bayswater. An eternal icon of grace and class, this bag is re-invented in new textures and shades each season, never losing its effortless appeal. Yes the Alexa has all of those snazzy clasps, and *GASP* A long strap which is oh so ontrend, but for me, the glory of the Bayswater will never fade. The only question is... Which colour? Obviously the coral version flaunted by many a sloane girl last season was glorious, but for £775 I'm thinking longetivity is key.
Looks like its going to be:

1: Oak

2: Chocolate

3: Black.
Hmmm Luckily/ Unluckily for me, I've got a good few months of scrimping until I realise my Mulberry Dreams, so I have plenty of time to decide!
Hmm I should probably get back to writing my highly deep and intelligent presentation.*

*doodling hearts on my notepad.

Friday, 25 March 2011

How I got my Fashion Magazine Internship!

Well, after many MANY months of trying I finally recieved an email from well known fashion weekly 'Look' Magazine, asking if I wanted an internship. Ofcourse the logical response to this email was to scream very loudly, did I mention I was in a lecture when this happened? Quite frankly I did not give two hoots as these Internships are imfamously impossible to come by!


I have literally been buying every copy in anticipation and screaming at anyone who is foolish enough to be in the vicinity- "LOOK AT THAT BALENCIAGA BAG, I'LL BE TOUCHING THINGS LIKE THAT!! AHHH!" Literally insufferable...

Just thought I'd share how I managed to snag the internship, as I know that it can seem like its an impossible goal most of the time.

I started by first looking in each magazine for contact emails/ postal addresses, and then on the website of each title. For most magazines, this is usually an editorial assistant's email. But for some titles, such as 'Now' magazine, there are guidelines for what to put in your application. You should try an stick to these, whilst retaining some personality, as magazines will recieve dozens, if not hundreds, of these emails every day. So make sure yours is the email they open! Keep in mind that most people only read the first and last paragraph of each piece of writing, so make these bits the best! Keep it snappy, light, dedicated, but most of importantly DON'T say the words 'fashion magazines have always been my passion' Double cringe. For each magazine, I kept to the same basic framework but tailored each different application to each magazine.
I literally sent an email and also a letter to every magazine, from 'Vogue' to 'Pick me up'. For months I recieved no replies, until I got an email from 'Look'. I also met someone by chance who worked at 'Glamour' magazine who kindly gave me her email when I explained how I would kill for an internship. Unfortunately I recieved no reply, but in the industry this is expected, not a personal refusal, so if you get this don't be disheartened!
As somebody once told me:
You have to send 10 applications for an interview, and you have to have 10 interviews to get a job.
As this was the mantra for getting a normal job, I assume for magazines the effects will be atleast 10-fold! Eeek! So keep persevering, because internships are a magazine hopefuls 'foot in the door' and one day you will get lucky!

As of the 20th of June I will officially be a fashion intern on Look Magazine, I will be posting my adventures (and some of the gorgeous clothes I will no doubt encounter) on this blog for all you lovelies.
♥ Enjoy ♥

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Gorgeous Golden Age of Couture ♥

My university course has been taking over my life over the past few weeks, but I don't mind too much since my presentation last week was on 'London and Paris Couture, 1947 to 1957. As you can imagine its not that gruelling a topic! Here is selection of the most stunning images I found during my research (They are way too amazing to keep to myself!)

= This is the book I used for my research, not only is it the most informative source I found on the subject, but it has so many pretty pictures. It totally brings out the magpie in me. (Wilcox, Claire. The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57. London, V&A publishing, 2008.) Our friends over at A White Carousel had so many pretty images I just had to give them a mention!(

The gorgeous gowns ♥

= Everybody loves abit of Dior ('Ecarlate' dress, Christian Dior. 1955, La Ligne Y collection.)

= ('Soiree de Decembre', Christian Dior. Autumn/Winter 1955, Y line collection.)

= The Iconic New Look that started it all (Bar Suit, Christain Dior. 1947, Ligne Corolle et en Huit Collection.)

= (Pierre Balmain, C.1950)

= (Jean Desses, 1953)

= ('Les Muguets'- Lily of the Valley. Hubert De Givenchy, 1955)

= (Dior 'Zemire Dress', 1954)

= JUST STUNNING (Organza emroidered with feathers and rhinestones, Pierre Balmain, c. 1955)

= And up close!

= (Cristobel Balenciaga, Autumn/Winter 1934)

= (Pierre Balmain, Spring/Summer 1957)

= The Queen has style! (Worn by Queen Elizabeth 2nd, on state visit to Paris. Norman Hartnell, 1957.)

= Oh and don't forget the shoes! (Roger Vivier for Christian Dior, 1958 and 1954 respectively)
Almost all of these images are from the Victoria and Albert Museum Archives.

Some period image inspiration ♥

= The ultimate in couture glam (image from Vogue, June 1948, photographed by Cecil Beaton)

= Janine Klein wearing Diors New look (Zig-Zag collection, Christian Dior. Autumn/ Winter 1950-51. British Vogue, 1948. Photographed by Clifford Coffin.)

= (Zig-Zag collection, Christian Dior. Autumn/ Winter 1950-51. British Vogue, 1948. Photographed by Clifford Coffin.)

= Opulence personified (Mary Jane Russel modelling Dior's 'Fish Scale' evening gown. American Harpers Bazaar, 1951.)

= (Dior evening gown, 1950)

= ('Zemire' dress in British Vogue, 1954. Christian Dior.)

= The main man himself checking out his designs (Christian Dior circa 1954)

= (1948, Coats by Molyneux and Hardy Amies)

= I don't know the sources for the above images (cheers Google) but I just had to include them!

= Audrey Hepburn you absolute doll ♥ (Hepburn wears Givenchy couture in the film 'Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1961)

= Again in one of her bff Hubert de Givenchy's designs (Givenchy Wedding Gown in the film 'Sabrina', 1954)

= The custom of Royalty was incredibley important to couturiers (Maid of honour Dress worn for Princess Elizabeth's wedding by Princess Margaret. Designed by Norman Hartnell in 1947.)

= (Princess Margaret in a Norman Hartnell gown, photographed by Cecil Beaton.)

= (Circa 1955)

= Dior Haute Salon, 1957.

Legacy ♥

= Galliano created this collection using the brand through the ages as inspiration. This resulted in the New Look, translated for a modern audience.(Dior, Couture Fall 2007. Designed by John Galliano.)

= Simply Brilliant. (Alexander Mcqueen, Spring/Summer RTW 2011. Designed by Sarah Burton.)