Archives

Our selection of articles covering period fashion from the 1920s to the 1970s, fashion and designer history, style tips for putting together vintage looks.

New Arrivals! Lace and Tulle Gowns with Glam 1930s Flair

By

I absolutely adore the fashions from the 1930s. In the  1920s  the trend was toward a more loose fitting silhouette that reflected womens’ rebellion against the restrictive styles of the turn of the century. But when the 30s rolled around dresses became more form fitting with an emphasis on  the waistline and back.

Also, in the 1930s  designer Madliene Vionnet popularized the “bias cut”  with her sensual figure flattering gowns. Many of the glamorous silver screen stars at the time wore costumes of this style in their movies, fueling the trend for these looks.

Because of this, the fashions from the 1930s tend to be very feminine, sleek and body conscious, but in a very classy way.

Mary Brian actress

Mary Brian actress

Publicity still of Mary Brian in a Robert Kalloch gown, for the movie “Fog” in 1933
Image source

30s dresses like the one above inspired my latest offering of gowns. Capturing the romantic elegance and styling of this decade,  they’d make a lovely  choice for a spring or summer wedding for a vintage loving bride or  her wedding guests. Click on images for more information.

30s inspired champagne lace gown

30s inspired champagne lace gown

Ivory lace over palest champagne jersey. Shimmery beaded appliques decorate this 30’s inspired gown and matching capelet.  Available in Sizes Med-XXL  $279.00

Silver tulle and lace illusion bodice gown

Silver tulle and lace illusion bodice gown

Gold illusion bodice tulle and lace gown

Gold illusion bodice tulle and lace gown

Embroidered lace gown with tulle godets for a beautiful flared hem. Illusion bodice with sheer back. Waist enhancing bow belt.  Available in small-XL. $199.00  Comes in robins egg blue as well.

Have a glamorous day!

Related posts:

What They Wore-1926 Spring Fashion

By

Here’s a look at what the fashion trends were for spring 1926 as featured in Woman’s Home Companion. There were no glossy multi page fashion spreads with models back then. But the illustrations were beautiful!

The dropped waist silhouette was still popular, as were handkerchief hems, cloche hats, bobbed hair, capes and chiffon prints.

The 1920s was the first decade where young people started to really influence fashion.  From an article called “Where Do Styles Start?” in the editorial section, here is a quote referring to this new phenomenon.

“With  a bow in the direction of our fashion editors, at home and in Paris, we must concede much truth to a recent comment in the commercial news about style. It is that no designer can create a style trend. The only thing to do is to watch the young people.”

Chiffon print dresses 1926

Chiffon print dresses 1926

Above is an illustration by John La Gatta that features flower print chiffon dresses. The one on left has a skirt with fluttery pleated fans and jabots. The one on the right actually has a circular skirt.

Katherine Sturgis design

Katherine Sturgis design

A frock and fabric design called “Camillias” by Katharine Sturgis.

Dress with capes-1926

Dress with capes-1926

Dresses with matching capes sold at Neiman Marcus.
The one on left in black dragon satin. On right printed red, yellow, black and white crepe de chine.

 

1926 cape coats

1926 cape coats

Another trend was a coat with attached cape. From the article.
“It’s a silhouette for youth and swagger, for vivid novelty fabrics of the
tweed school.”

The one on the left is very interesting with it’s striped top and checkered bottom.

 

Chiffon dresses with handkerchief hems

Chiffon dresses with handkerchief hems

I love the band and tied collar attached above the V neckline on dress at left and the shoulder bow
with long sash on right.

Dresses from the Bella Hess Catalog 1926

Dresses from the Bella Hess Catalog

I am completely smitten with these dresses from the Spring/Summer Bellas Hess Catalog!
It was  one of the first of the big mail order companies and was based out of Greenwich Village
in New York.

Molyneux red and black crepe dress

Molyneux red and black crepe dress

An actual photograph of model wearing a red and black crepe dress by famous designer Edward Molyneux, who opened his own couture house in 1919. Known for his elegant, streamlined creations and exquisite fabrics, he was a favorite of  film stars and the high society set, including the Duchess of Windsor. Photograph by Paul O’Doye, Paris.

Hats in felt and taffeta

Hats in felt and taffeta

Felt cloche hats and  an adorable taffeta hat with upturned front brim  by Rollé.

These Jazz Era looks were chic, feminine and timeless.  Which ones would you consider wearing today?

Related posts:

Lesser Know Label- Roger Van S for Fine Quality 50s 60s Purses

By
roger Van S purse

Roger Van S purse

Did I ever mention I love vintage purses?  I’m embarrassed to admit to how many I have stored in my closet! And one of my new favorite vintage purse labels is Roger Van S. Anyone who loves to collect and wear authentic vintage purses needs to know about Roger Van S bags, if you haven’t discovered them already!  I truly have no idea how I had never heard of this company before, up until I recently found this chic little black handbag at a flea market.  I was attracted to it for it’s beautiful pebble textured soft leather, interesting shape and lovely red lining inside. And it was obvious from the construction that it was a high quality piece.

So once I saw the label inside, I had to find out more about the company behind Roger Van S. I love to find out the history behind a label, which often adds to my appreciation of the piece.  And this case is no exception!

 

Doris Bryn in leotards

Doris Bryn in leggings

Doris Bryn, a model, who appeared in many magazines in the 1940s and 50s, met and married Roger Van Shoyck when they were both attending the University of Cincinatti.  While she was still a cover girl she and her husband started an accessory line with the labels Roger Van S. and Mr.R. And, though their products bore her husband’s name,  Doris was the actually the chief designer.

The photo above shows two models wearing what we now call “Leggings”. Doris is on right wearing hers beneath a dress. Yes,  these were popular even back in 1943! She also appeared in Vogue, Ladies Home Journal,  Cosmopolitan and Look magazine, was a Palmolive Girl and appeared in ads for Camay Soap before she took up her career in accessory design.

Anyway, according to this article from Duke University, which houses a whole collection of historical manuscripts called the “Doris Bryn Papers”,  not only did Doris design beautiful, fine quality purses, she also designed, belts, shoes, jewelry and dresses.  And originally the business ran as a craft cooperative to employ disabled veterans.

Their cutting edge designs were elegant and sophisticated, selling at Lord and Taylor, Neiman Marcus, B. Altman and other high end department stores. And in 1966 Doris won a design award from the Leather Industries of America.

Roger Van S umbrella purse

Roger Van S umbrella purse

Here is a photo of one of their unique handbag designs from 1949

Buyer at Thalheimers' department store & Roger Van S.

Buyer at Thalheimers’ department store & Roger Van S.

Above two photos are courtesy of Bag Lady Emporium.

After my find, I immediately started looking for more Roger Van S. bags. And I discovered there is a limited selection on line. Here are a few that have caught my eye. Click on images to take you to product page.

Black Roger Van S bag with brass filigree trim

Black Roger Van S handbag with brass filigree trim

 Available on Poshmark for &74.00

The ones below are all on Etsy.

Roger Van S. Wicker and leather purse

Roger Van S. Wicker and leather purse

For the jetsetter! Vintage Roger Van S wicker purse with  leather patches embossed with famous travel destinations!  $40.00

Roger Van S envelope clutch

Roger Van S envelope clutch

60s Roger Van S. tapestry envelope clutch. $48.00

Roger Van S black leather belt

Roger Van S black leather belt

 I even found this black leather Roger Van S. belt with fabulously unique buckle! Only $39.99

Do you own any Roger Van S. bags or other accessories? If not, be sure make a note to keep an eye out for this lesser known  label when out shopping antique malls, flea markets, etc.  The quality is definitely superior to  new handbags in the same price range.

Have a glamorous day!

Related posts:

Morgan and Joe’s Glam Halloween Wedding

By
Morgan Nielsen Ellis

Morgan Nielsen Ellis looking gothicly gorgeous! Headpiece by Batcakes Couture

All of us at Blue Velvet Vintage absolutely love when a customer is kind enough to  send us photos of themselves at an event wearing an outfit they purchased from us.  Selling on the internet doesn’t give us tons of opportunity to meet our customers in person, never mind actually seeing them in action wearing our clothes!  So it is truly a treat when we get to see gals rocking our dresses and how they accessorized and styled their look.

Recently our customer, Morgan Nielsen, sent us photos of her wedding to her sweetheart Joe Ellis. And she had a Halloween themed wedding!  Now I think this was a brilliant idea, as I always wanted to be married on Halloween. It is my favorite holiday.  But the year I married, there were so many hurricanes in Florida in October, I had to move my wedding date up to December :(

Morgan and Joe Wedding

Morgan and Joe Wedding at haunted dairy plantation!  So cool!

Anyway,  I was really intrigued by Morgan’s choice of a gothic Old Hollywood Glamour look to go with her wedding theme. Like she says below, she was going for a “Rita Hayworth meets Morticia Addams vibe.”  How  cool and creative is that?  Plus I think non- traditional themed weddings are so much fun and a great option for having your wedding day reflect your own unique personality, interests, hobbies or lifestyle.

morgan nielsen 5

Morgan is a total doll for answering all my busybody questions about what led her to her wedding day choices. So read on to find out the details.

1. What  inspired the theme for your wedding?

We knew we wanted a huge party and less of a “wedding”. Basically, an excuse to get dressed up and drink a lot! We are both big horror fans and love Halloween. It made sense that it would be a perfect day to get married. And this way he would have no excuse to forget our anniversary! We choose a haunted dairy plantation as our venue and it was absolutely perfect for us. Our guests really enjoyed wandering around the property “hunting” for spooky things. We debated whether or not we wanted our guests in costume, but ultimately decided that we would leave the option to them. I come from a very large family with lots of kids so we wanted no only to engage our guests as much as possible, but to still let the children have fun. It proved to be the right choice, as everyone seemed to let loose a little more in costume.

morgan nielsen wedding 3

2.What made you decide to go non-traditional in your choice of dress?  Did anything (movie, book, era, etc) inspire your choice?

I’ve always known that I didn’t want to wear white on my wedding. I’ve never worn a lot of white in my day to day wardrobe and I wanted to feel as comfortable as possible. It was too concerned about staining and couldn’t bring myself to spend an ungodly amount on a dress I was only going to wear for a few hours. I choose instead, to look for something that fit my style, and leave more to budget elsewhere. I love old Hollywood glamour and the style of gowns from that era. I was going for a Rita Hayworth meets Morticia Addams type vibe. Besides, with a Halloween wedding, I knew I needed to step up my dress game!

morgan nielsen wedding 2

3.Do you dress in vintage or vintage inspired clothing on a regular basis?

I consider myself a “pinup in training”. I adore everything vintage and vintage inspired and dress as so when I have a night out. I am slowly building up my collection to more work appropriate pieces that provide more comfort and functionality for an office desk job and a two year old. I’m a bit on the curvier side, so I tend to lean more towards vintage repro since it can often times be difficult to find vintage pieces that will accommodate my measurements. 

morgan nielsen wedding

4. What were the reactions of your husband, family, friends and guests  toward your wedding dress choice?

I distinctly remember getting a few, “You can’t wear a BLACK dress” reactions. I think there was a lot of initial skepticism, but once the vision on the wedding came to light, it was obvious that this was the perfect choice for us. Since I ordered the dress from the site, I didn’t have the “traditional” dress hunting at bridal salons that a lot of girls do. Because of this and living in a different city than my family, most everyone did not see me in my dress until the day of the wedding! Everyone gushed about how much they loved this dress and how unique it was.

morgan nielsen 4

 

5. How did you find us?  Had you heard of us before?

Someone had posted a link to one of your dresses in one of the pinup communities when searching for their wedding gown. This prompted me to immediately check out your site. That’s one of the great things about being part of these communities is that you are introduced to brands you didn’t know about before as well as getting honest feedback from people that have worn the same styles you’re interested in. As soon as I saw my dress, I knew it was meant to be. 

 

So happy, we were able to contribute to Morgan’s special day by supplying her with her gown. And  I hope this post inspires more brides-to-be to consider a unique theme for their wedding.  Not only will it be a memorable day for you, but your guests will never forget it either!!!

All these gorgeous Photos were taken by Jennifer Crowder of Stretch Photos

Related posts:

Book Review-The Glamorous World of Helen Rose

By
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.

Related posts: