Book Review-The Glamorous World of Helen Rose

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The Glamorous World of Helen Rose

The Glamorous World of Helen Rose

A while back I wrote a blog post about Helen Rose, the famous Hollywood costume designer. In that post I mentioned she had written two books, one of them being The Glamorous World of Helen Rose, published in 1983, just two years before she died.

Recently, on one of my vintage treasure hunts, I actually found an autographed copy of this book in near perfect condition.  I was so excited, especially when I got home and found out these books sell for $80-$125.00. I only paid $12.00 for mine!!!

The book is written by Helen, herself, and is full of fantastic photos and fashion illustrations of her designs, including movie costumes, famous wedding gowns and dresses from her couture line.

And aside from the history of her career, from designing for showgirls at nightclub Chez Pierre, to the costumes for the Ice Follies, and then onto Hollywood, she also gives the  inside scoop on what it was like working at the  movie studios and dealing with directors, other designers,actors and actresses.  So lots of fun, interesting tibits here!

Below is just a small sampling of the type of images that are included in this truly special book.

Helen Rose fashion illustration for Mae West gown

Helen Rose fashion illustration for Mae West gown

According to Helen, her first big celebrity she designed for was Mae West.

Costume illustrations for Doris Day

Costume illustrations for Doris Day

Costumes for Doris Day in Love Me or Leave Me (1956)

Gown designed for Cyd Charisse

Gown designed for Cyd Charisse

There are several photos of beautiful costumes she designed  for Cyd Charisse.
This one from Unfinished Dance (1947).

Fashion sketch for Debbie Reynolds dress

Fashion sketch for Debbie Reynolds dress

Fashion sketch for Debbie Reynolds in the Tender Trap (1955)

Helen Rose Couture "Cat" dress

Helen Rose Couture “Cat” dress

 Helen Rose designed the white chiffon dress for Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,’
then added a version to her collection due to popular demand.
Apparently back in the 50s they sold for 250.00 and sold in the hundreds!

 

Grecian gown, Helen Rose Couture

Grecian gown, Helen Rose Couture

Beautiful grecian style gown by Helen Rose, 1954.

There are also photos of her designs for Ziegfeld Follies (1944), High Society(1956) with the stunning Grace Kelly,  Merry Widow (1952) with Lana Turner , Designing Women (1957) with Lauren Bacall, her famous wedding dresses for Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and Ann Blyth and so much more!

But another thing I love about this book is it is sprinkled throughout with her own fashion advice for women. As a matter of fact, the last chapter in the book is titled You Don’t Have to Be Beautiful to Be Beautiful and includes style tips for becoming a well groomed, well dressed lady.

Someone reading this book today might find some of her advice to be a little outdated (or possibly politically incorrect) when it comes to some of her opinions about women and body image. But I found the majority of her advice to be just as relevant today, as back then.

Take these gems, for instance.

How many times have you bought a suit or a dress on sale or on impulse, brought it home and then never wore it because you had nothing with which to accessorize it? To be well groomed, every outfit you own should be complete to give you that “tip to toe” look. The idea is not fill your closets to over flowing with clothes you seldom wear, but to always be neatly put together.”

You have only one body, you’ll never have another. Take good care of it. You will have to start to like and respect yourself if you want others to like and respect you. This isn’t conceit, it’s just good common sense.”

Take a little time to dress properly when you appear in public. When you step out of your house be proud of how you look. This has nothing to do with age or how much money you can spend on your wardrobe. Don’t go around looking like and “unmade bed!”

So, my recommendation, if you run across this book for less than 80.00 in great condition, then grab it. But it is certainly a collectible treasure, worth the current values if you are interested in vintage fashions,designers and fashion history.

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50% Off Clearance Sale at Blue Velvet Vintage

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Need a dress for an upcoming event, prom or wedding, but are strapped for cash after the holidays?  Then shop the Blue Velvet Vintage Clearance Sale to get 50% off on select vintage inspired gowns, cocktail dresses and shoes. We can help save you  a lot of money and you can help us make room for new stock coming in.  So it’s a win-win deal!

This is a sale we have only once a year where we sell off overstocked inventory at deeply discounted prices.  You get top quality merchandise, but at great savings, just so we can make more space in our warehouse.  So act fast, because once these styles are gone, they’re gone!

Below are just a few examples of the fab styles to choose from.

Burgundy jewel neck gown

Burgundy jewel neck gown

 You can buy this  beautiful burgundy gown for only $60.00!
Comes in black and champagne too.

Blue chiffon one shoulder gown

Draped Blue chiffon gown

Blue chiffon gown bodice

Blue chiffon gown bodice

 Midnight blue chiffon gown is stunning with its draping, ruching and rhinestones and beaded accents.
Only one size  8, 10, 12 left. A steal at only $79. 50!

Gold lace cocktail dress

Gold satin and cream  lace cocktail dress

Ivory crochet lace over pale gold satin cocktail dress with a sexy strapless sweetheart bodice.
Only one M, L and XL left. Get one now for only $55.00!

White tulle dress

White tulle dress

White tulle 50s inspired dress with sequined bodice.
Small-XL in limited quantities. Shop now get one for only $59.00!

To see the whole collection of sale items, click here

Happy shopping!.

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Bringing You Shabby Chic Inspiration from The Vintage Garden, Arcadia Florida

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Store Sign Vintage Garden Arcadia Florida

Store Sign Vintage Garden Arcadia Florida

When travelling through the middle of Florida, one of my favorite shopping stops is Arcadia, a small town whose main street is filled with quaint antique shops that offer something for every collector. You can see my previous post about shopping Arcadia by clicking here.

On my most recent visit I stopped in another of my favorite stores, “The Vintage Garden ” a shabby chic lover’s dream! This is one of the most beautifully merchandised shops I’ve seen and it really captures the romance of the vintage shabby chic style aesthetic.  Even if you never decorated this way, it’s hard not to start envisioning a home makeover after visiting this charming gem of a store. It’s full of authentic vintage fashion and home decor all artfully displayed, which offers all sorts of inspiration for decorating ideas.

So here is some shabby chic eye candy that may inspire you to add a touch of feminine vintage romance to your home.

Vintage Garden hallway view

Vintage Garden hallway view

From the main entrance room of the store you travel down a hallway off of which are rooms each with their own distinct personalities and themes.

Vintage shabby chic table and chairs

Vintage shabby chic table and chairs

Love the distressed wood table and chairs mixed with the  flower covered wrought iron chairs. I envision ladies sipping tea in a garden wearing pretty vintage sundresses and wide brimmed hats!

Vintage slip display

Vintage slip display

A lovely idea for displaying a vintage slip collection either in your bedroom, or, if you’re really fortunate, your large dressing room! Also, notice the distressed picture frame in the background. A wire was attached so that a collection of vintage heels could be hung across. A piece of lace fabric is tacked at the top and drapes down behind the shoes.  This is a fantastic way to display those damaged or extra small vintage shoes that no one can fit into anymore.  They can often be found inexpensively at flea markets and many are just too pretty to discard. Working them into your decor gives them a new life, so they can still be admired!

Shabby chic boudoir inspiration

Shabby chic boudoir inspiration

Inspiration here for a shabby chic look for your boudoir.  Vintage hats, linens, fabric boxes, flower print lampshades are used as accents to create a soft, feminine ambiance.  The tufted pink chair is TDF! And the wire dress form wrapped in tulle with a large silk rose pinned to it would be a fabulous focal point in a shabby chic bedroom.

Mirror display

Mirror display

Rescue an old mirror that came from an antique dresser by painting it and propping on a narrow table or shelf.   Accessorize accordingly!  And the vintage rose print wallpaper complements the ornate carved frame perfectly.

Vintage jewelry table display

Vintage jewelry table display

Antique shadow box table is a great way to display a vintage jewelry collection or any other small collectibles. You can make your own with salvaged vintage wooden boxes or old dresser drawers. Paint and distress for a shabby chic look.  Attach some interesting legs (again salvaged)  or even attach boxes or drawers to an old end table,  then set a piece of glass on the top. Voila! Fabulous shadow box display.

Vintage apron display

Vintage apron display

Now here’s an easy idea if you collect vintage aprons.  They’re so cute, they need to be out in the open, not in a drawer!  So string up a clothesline against a wall in your kitchen and use old clothespins to hang your favorite aprons for all to admire!

Birdbath with glass marbles

Birdbath with glass stones

A vintage birdbath filled with glass stones would be an eyecatching focal point in a foyer, on a porch or in a sunroom.  Use for displaying plants or even place candles in glass candleholders of varying heights.

Vintage planter display

Vintage planter display

A vintage wicker planter box would be a great accent in a shabby chic bedroom or bath. This one is filled with branches of silk flowers, a framed vintage photo and flower adorned straw hat. Would be fun to change out according to season or holidays.

Vintage vanity display

Vintage vanity display

No shabby chic boudoir is complete without some kind of vanity table to display your bottles and baubles.  Old tufted satin glove box used as an organizer really adds a charming vintage touch and  gives a lovely item from the past a new use.

Clipboard display

Clipboard display

Cute way to display a collection of old postcards and greeting cards.  Gluing bits of lace and broken pieces of vintage jewelry adds a nice, feminine touch.

Well, I hope my photos of The Vintage Garden got you psyched to try some shabby chic decorating.  Unfortunately they don’t have an ecommerce site. But  if you’re ever anywhere near central Florida, I strongly suggest you make a trip to this shop.I guarantee you won’t leave there without something fabulously shabby and chic!

Have a glamorous day!

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Staff Picks-Top 5 Favorite Vintage Little Black Dresses

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Following up on my recent post on incorporating vintage so you’ll stand out in that sea of little black dresses at holiday parties, I asked the classy dames here at Blue Velvet Vintage to pick their favorites. So from our selection of authentic 50s and 60s little black dresses, they chose the following for getting your vintage glam on!  Any one of these is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.

50s rhinestone studded shelf bust wiggle dress

50s rhinestone studded little black dress

50’s black wiggle dress, studded with rhinestones and features a sexy gathered shelf bust.
Measures 37/29/39 Find it here!

50s lace little black dress

50s lace little black dress

This 50s black lace stunner by Ferman O’Grady has an eyecatching rear view with its full, gathered bustle style waterfall skirt.  Measures 38/31/42 Find it here!

1950s Eisenberg Originals little black dress

1950s Eisenberg Originals little black dress

1950s Ladylike elegance in black crepe and ivory satin by Eisenberg Originals.
Flattering draped neckline and glitzy rhinestone decorative buttons add distinctive panache.
Measures 40/29/42  Find it here!

60s sequined little black dress

60s sequined little black dress

Chic Mad Men style is this sleek black sequined 60s cocktail dress.
Simple lines, but plenty of shimmer to keep all eyes on you!
Measure 35/29/40 Find it here!

1960s lace little black dress

1960s lace little black dress

This fabulous little 1960s vintage lace cocktail dress answers the question, “what would
Audrey wear?”  Classic style, figure hugging fit with v back neckline framed by pointed flaps.
It’s all in the details!  Measures 36/38/38 Find it here.

Have a glamorous day!

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7 Vintage Style Tips to Help You Stand Out in Your Little Black Dress

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The zenith of elegance in any woman’s wardrobe is the little black dress, the power of which suggests dash and refinement.    Andre Leon Talley, Vogue Editor and author of “The Little Black Dress”

Little black dress 1953

Little black dress 1953

Image source

Almost every woman owns a LBD. And why? Because it is the work horse of any woman’s wardrobe.  It’s the one piece of clothing that, when chosen with care,  can embody simplicity, versatility, timelessness, elegance, class and sex appeal all at once.

Coco Chanel is attributed to making the little black dress popular. When her sketches of a simple black sheath dress worn with pearls showed up in Vogue Magazine in 1926, it was compared to the Ford Model T, which of course was classic, black and reliable. Vogue later claimed it would become the “uniform for the modern woman.” And Vogue was right!

Audrey looking fabulous in her little black dress

Audrey looking fabulous in her little black dress

Of course, one can’t think of little black dresses without thinking of Audrey Hepburn.  No one else in history excelled as much as she did at taking the little black dress to a whole new level of chicness. And women have been inspired by her iconic  look ever since.

Which brings me to the reason for this post. Since this is the holiday season, you’re bound to see lots of gals in little black dresses at every party.   So if you want to stay with the classic, but don’t want to get lost in the crowd, a great way to stand out is to wear an authentic vintage dress or style a new LBD with vintage flair.

When women wore a black dress back in the day, they were often accessorized perfectly.  Back then gloves, hats, jewelry, stockings and makeup all played a part in creating a totally pulled together look when worn with a LBD, one that worked for cocktail  soirees,  dinner parties, the theater etc.   The black dress was always ladylike and feminine, even if it was curve hugging, and was the foundation on which a woman could build a masterpiece that expressed her own individual style!

 

vintage little black dress

On my way to a Christmas party

Here I am on my way to a Christmas party, a couple of years ago, to show you how I styled my little black dress so the overall look was vintage.

New vintage inspired black pencil dress.
Authentic vintage black silk shantung cropped  3/4 sleeve jacket.
3/4 length vintage black ruched gloves (am holding)
Black beaded velvet vintage style purse.
Black and gold brocade authentic 60s pumps.
Poinsettia flower brooch and authentic 50s clip on earrings.
French twist, red lipstick and nails, of course!

1. The Dress  If you can,  find yourself an authentic little black dress, preferably from the 50s or 60s. The cut and details of dresses from these eras is very distinctive, and that alone will make you stand out.   But if you can’t find one you like in your size, look for a new black dress that is inspired by the past or has a very classic silhouette.  Look for knee length or just below, fitted bodice, either pencil or full skirt.  A bateau ,sweetheart or draped neckline are all flattering choices. For fabrics with a vintage vibe look for crepe, damask, lace, satin, silk jersey or chiffon. Once you’ve found your perfect LBD,  the finishing touches are what will give you that ultimate classic glamour look that will make you standout.

2. Gloves Long black gloves or even metallic knit lamé ones are a must. Slip a glitzy vintage bracelet over one of them if you’re just going out dancing and having cocktails, as gloves would have to be removed at dinner.

3. Jewelry As a matter of fact, because of the simplicity of the little black dress, you can go all out with glitzy vintage necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Or a beautiful rhinestone brooch or two would look nice pinned to one side of the bodice.

4. Shoes Wear kitten heels or closed toe slingbacks. If you can find a pair in brocade, patent leather or with a bow at the back of heel or on the vamp, all the better!

5. Stockings I know a lot of women are for the bare legged look  these days, no matter what time of year or occasion. But if you want a polished classic glamour look you need hosiery.  You can buy very sheer, barely there stockings or pantyhose online. Just look for a low denier count. Anything under 10 denier will be pretty sheer.  And for an authentic sexy retro look, buy them with back seams. I recommend Secrets in Lace. They have a stunning collection.

6Cocktail Hat It thrills me to see how many milliners are making smart little cocktail hats and fascinators these days. So between the true vintage ones that are available and the new recreations, there is no excuse not to add one of these beauties to complete your outfit.  Wear one with a black birdcage veil to add a bit of the femme fatale to your look.

7. Makeup & Hair  A defined brow,  cat eye liner and red lipstick.  For hair, try a bouffant updo or french twist with a jeweled comb or  roller set your hair for a wavy side parted look with your chic cocktail hat!

Now you’re ready to hit the town in a look that would make Audrey proud!

 

Have a glamorous day!

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