Thursday, December 4, 2014

When a Vintage Purse Holds a Secret

While selecting items for my website, I decided to photograph what appeared to be a matching set of purse and gloves, in a lush blue velvet from the 1930's.

1930's Blue Velvet Gloves with Matching Purse

Only to make an interesting discovery within.  A secret held by the purse for over 75 years.  I wrote about it here, on the Vintage Fashion Guild website blog.  Check it out!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Charles James at the MMA

Fantastical dresses and Cinderella-like gowns filled three galleries at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s featured presentation, “Charles James: Beyond Fashion”. 

I was pleased to find that photography was allowed, albeit ‘no flash’ in the darkened halls, and tried to capture the essence of each piece amidst shadows and subdued directional lighting.

It was a visual feast for the eyes with sumptuous, nearly decadent dresses comprised of towering layers of pleats, swags, and sculptural shapes, each presented in its own display like a special dessert.

One of the fascinating features of the exhibit was the special computer screen at the foot of each dress, showing its deconstruction in 3D animation, exploring every element of its design in blue print form.

I found the backs of each garment to be every bit as beautiful as the front, if not more so, with its fine attention to detail.

Here are a few highlights and close-ups.

Entrance to the first gallery of the exhibit.

Ball Gown, 1949-50.  Red Silk Velvet and Satin & White Cotton Organdy.  
Worn by Mrs. William (Babe) S. Paley in portrait.

Ball Gown, 1951.  Ivory Silk Satin with voluminous draping and ruching front and back, and shown in 3D.

One of Mr. James’ dissected mannequins.  
Scrap book photos displays James at work with mannequin.

A collection of sculptural dresses and gowns as displayed in the second gallery of the exhibit.

The exhibit runs through August 10th.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Lure of Mexican Silver

Ever since the Spanish conquistadors introduced metalsmithing to the Americas, the art of working the precious silver mines of Mexico have provided a lucrative craft.

But it wasn’t until a young designer named William Spratling -- artist, silversmith, and great visionary -- did Mexican silver receive its long due artistic recognition and respect, as well as cater to the wealthy tastes of the upwardly mobile and socially important trend setters of the period.

Spratling’s simple shop or Taller, opened in the once sleepy Mexican town of Taxco back in 1931, helped develop the many popular Silver Masters and techniques so highly prized today, surviving well into the wartime years and into the ever popular Mid-Century exploration of geo, abstract, and tribal designs.

Here are some of my favorite Mexican jewelry pieces from the Metro Retro Vintage shop, which exhibit excellence, and at times whimsy, in both craftsmanship and design.

Margot de Taxco Sterling & Enamel Dove Brooch

Chunky Sterling Silver & Amethyst Taxco Bracelet

Jose Federico Sterling & Guilloche Enameled Frog Brooch

Antonio Pineda 970 Silver & Pearls Modernist Cuff Bracelet

Mexican Sterling Love Bird Brooch 

Margot de Taxco Champleve Enameled Bracelet