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Marilyn Monroe’s Record Breaking Seven Year Itch Dress

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The auction of Debbie Reynold’s  Hollywood costumes and memorabilia collection  raised 22.8 million last weekend.  Included in this amazing collection  was Marilyn Monroe’s famous “subway grate” dress designed by William Travilla.  Worn in the movie  the Seven Year Itch,  it fetched a record breaking 4.6 million, far surpassing the pre-sale estimates of $1  to $2 million dollars.  Apparently Debbie Reynolds purchased the dress for 200.o0 when the MGM Studio went out of business back in the 1970s.

Among other noteworthy sales from this auction were Marilyn’s  red sequined gown worn in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” ( 1.2 million, with a pre sale estimate of $200,000 to $300,000),  the  Ascot Dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady” ($4.4 million) and Judy Garland’s blue dress and ruby slippers worn for the screen test of the “Wizard of Oz” (1.4 million) . BTW, none of these prices included the buyer’s premium or taxes.  According to the many stories about this auction, it seems many of the pieces went to buyers from Saudi Arabia and Japan.

Debbie’s dream was to have a museum for her treasures, which consist of over 3500 costumes along with photographs, costume sketches, posters and props. But, unfortunately, due to financial difficulties, she has to auction it all off instead.  Is it just me,  or are there others who  think it’s kind of sad that many of these iconic pieces ended up with buyers from other countries?   Seems to me a collection of  this calibre is such an  important part of US culture and history, that it belongs here where Americans can enjoy and appreciate it.  It is our loss that her dream of a museum for this impressive collection never came true.

But this auction is only the first  in a series to liquidate her  massive collection. The next one will be held in December 2011.

 

 

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Home Fashions-May 1945 Ladies Home Journal

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Here’s a peek into what was happening on the home fashions front in May of 1945.

This ad is for Crane Co, manufacturers of  plumbing fixtures and steel cabinets. Many ads like this mention the new products and technologies to look forward to once the second World War was over.  Then companies could switch back to manufacturing for the general public, instead of for the military.

“And of course you’ll want a modern sink and storage cabinets selected from the Crane Line of tomorrow. This line-which promises the last word in styling and step saving efficiency-will be available as soon as regulations permit it’s manufacture.”

cinderella kitchen ladies home journal may 1945

Cinderella kitchen- Ladies Home Journal May 1945

This ad is for Meyercord Wall Borders, which were a very popular way to spruce up a room back in the 40s.  I just love the graphics, especially the bubble dancers, blue morning glories, and the berry festival.   I never see modern wallpaper borders that are this adorable. The Meyercord company made some fabulous decals as well. Sometimes you can still find unused ones online.  Original borders are harder to come by, but they are out there, like this gorgeous chartreuse drape pattern border for sale on etsy.

meyercord wallpaper border ad May 1945

Meyercord wallpaper border ad May 1945

Actress Merle Oberon says “To keep fresh and alluring, I prize my Serta, perfect sleeper” If only it was that easy! Love the gown and the shoes though. This mattress and box spring cost 39.50!   Ad also says “Make victory complete, buy more war bonds.”

Serta Perfect Sleeper Merle Oberon Ad 1945

Serta Perfect Sleeper- Merle Oberon Ad 1945

World War 11 was coming to an end and there would be government approved housing available for our returning servicemen and women via the GI Bill, and in the case of the house showcased in this issue, the California Veterans Welfare Board.  The article , titled “Home for the Veteran” features a design by architect, Mario Corbett, famous for his Northern California Modern style homes.

It’s interesting how he designed the house so that each bedroom opened up to its own individual garden.  I think I would enjoy a little private space for myself like that!

Mario Corbett House Plan-May 1945

Architect Mario Corbett House Plan-May 1945

From the article “here is a typical post war living room fully constructed, furnished and photographed for your immediate inspection. You can see that it is altogether different from the family rooms you are used to seeing”

“If you have been living in tight little rooms, those floor to ceiling windows will be the first things to catch your eye.  They are the kind of luxurious feature we have been seeing only in very expensive modern houses up to now.  After the war, even small houses can have them”

Living Room Mario Corbett Design May 1945

Living Room Mario Corbett Design May 1945

A view of the dining area.  The article states that the newest trend is to paint your ceiling to match your walls.  The color scheme used is turquoise, chartreuse and coral.   Think that’s a great combination, very tropical and cheerful and makes me feel like redecorating!

Dining area-Mario Corbett Design 1945

Dining area-Mario Corbett Design 1945

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Vintage Theme Wedding Invitations

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Weddings with a vintage theme are becoming increasingly popular. It’s not surprising,  since more and more brides are looking  for unique ways to make their special day especially memorable.  And many girls who plan on wearing a vintage or retro wedding dress also want a celebration that reflects their appreciation of the romance and nostalgia of days gone by.

Part of pulling together a vintage themed wedding includes having the proper invitations to complement the vintage vibe you are going for.  And  a great place to get creative retro style wedding invitations is from Vintage Wedding Invitations.com.   From the same clever people at Retro Gift Ideas who I wrote about in a previous post on retro party invites and gifts.

Below are examples of their various invitations, including a Vintage Vegas wedding, Fabulous Fifties, Art Deco, Classic 40s and Hooray for Hollywood.  They’re so adorable I think I may have get married again so I can order some!

Vintage wedding invitations

Vintage Style Wedding Invitations

Of course, they offer the whole matchy matchy she-bang, including RSVP’s, directions cards, save that date magnets with the bride and groom picture on it, thank you notes,etc.

Retro Wedding Invitations

More Vintage Wedding Invitations

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Beauty and Personal Hygiene Ads-1925 Delineator Magazine

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Modern day women are certainly familiar with ads hawking various beauty products for ways to make themselves either look or smell better. And while many of them live up to their claims, are quite lovely and even beneficial,we all know  there are plenty out there that just play on a woman’s insecurities about herself, but don’t do a darned thing!

And this isn’t something new. Just take a look at these ads from the April 1925 edition of Delineator Magazine to see how advertisers even back then operated the same way!   Apparently the suffragette sisters of the 1920s also had a myriad of dreadful cosmetic flaws that needed tending to,   including superfluous hair, relaxed contours, unsightly skin eruptions,  intolerant perspiration odor, dried up mouth glands, and, of course feminine hygiene issues because they were so germy “down there”

 

This ad for Elizabeth Arden Skin Tonic supposedly made your face look younger and firmer.  Your “relaxed contours” (aka sagging jowls) are to be dreaded as much as wrinkles or skin blemishes.  I don’t know about you, but I am totally terrified of my contours relaxing and wish I had a vat full of this stuff!

Elizabeth Arden Treatment Delineator 1925
Elizabeth Arden Skin Treatment- Delineator 1925

And there’s nothing like a sulphur preparation to heal your “unsightly skin eruptions, rashes and blotches on face,neck, arms or body. You do not have to wait for relief from torture or embarassment.” So what if you smell like rotten eggs. At least you’ll look good!

Beauty ads delineator magazine april 1925
Sulpur to heal your skin-Delineator Magazine 1925 Beauty Ad

Superfluous hair no more, with Zip depilatory cream.  Apparently permanent removal was achieved, even for bearded society ladies. A five o’clock shadow would look so inappropriate with their country club attire!

Beauty Ad Zip Depilatory Delineator Magazine 1925
Zip Hair Remover-Beauty Ad Delineator April 1925

Then there was the dreaded “dry mouth glands”. Happens from lack of chewing. Who knew?

From the ad-“Dentists say that practically no mouth today is normally moist and safe for teeth. Modern cooked food, too soft, too quickly swallowed, does not require enough chewing. From sheer lack of exercise your mouth glands dry up.”  What the heck were they eating back then that didn’t require chewing?  Was pureed meat and vegetables a big fad? I’m going to have to look into this.  The claims in this ad in particular really seem a bit of a stretch.

Toothpaste ad Delineator Magazine 1925
For Dry Mouth Glands-Pebeco Toothpaste Ad-Delineator Magazine 1925

No careful woman in the 1920s would “Tolerate even the suspicion of perpiration odor.” That’s why she had to use MUM deodorant cream.

And to ensure they weren’t offending anyone once a month, thousands of women even used it regularly with their sanitary napkins.  Gotta safeguard that feminine daintiness and charm at all costs!

Mum Deodorant Ad- Delineator Magazine 1925
Mum Deodorant Ad- Delineator Magazine 1925

Speaking of feminine daintiness and charm.  How about  Zonite? It’s was so much safer than the dangerous poisons of bichloride of mercury and carbolic acid that women used to use.  Of course the ingredients in Zonite aren’t  listed. But supposedly it was more than 40 times as strong as hydrogen peroxide. For decades women have been brainwashed into thinking they were dirty, smelly and germy in their nether regions.   Because ingredients weren’t  required on the packaging, many products actually ended up burning and permanently scarring the ladies who used them.

This particular product was also recommended for use as a mouthwash, antiseptic for cuts, wounds, burns, and prevention against colds, coughs, grippe and influenza.  It does all that and leaves you fresh as a daisy down there!  Better to risk permanent scarring than rejection by male suitors because of imaginary feminine odors.

 

Zonite Ad-Delineator Magazine 1925

Zonite Ad-Delineator Magazine 1925

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Interview with Trixie Lane of Old School Pinups Photography

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Ever fantasize about what it would be like to get primped, pampered and dolled up to look like a vintage calender girl? Well, Trixie Lane and Lance Wagner, of Old School Pinups Photography Studio in Seattle, are experts  in helping women of all ages, shapes and sizes channel their inner Betty Grable.

With Lance’s 30 years of professional photography experience and Trixie’s background in cabaret and burlesque, they are the dynamic duo of  the retro glamour shoot.  Providing five different sets and a complete hair, makeup and wardrobe makeover, they’ll magically transform you into the pinup girl of your dreams.

Old School Pinups

Old School Pin up Shots

The lovely Trixie Lane was kind enough to answer a bunch of questions I had about her business.  So you can get a fascinating look  into what goes on during a shoot and what motivates her clientele.  Hopefully it will encourage more ladies to strike a pose the old school way!

Is pinup photography just for young women or do you see a wide range of ages in the ladies who book your shoots?

Our oldest client was 67! Her husband choked us all up at her edit as he cried and said she was as beautiful as the day he laid eyes on her!

No matter the age, weight, or reason, you will come away with a new sense of sexy in a confidence building session that will yield the most beautiful images you ever imagined.

What do you think it is about pinup photography that makes it so popular?

When done right, the photos are classic and timeless and will never go out of style. Also I think people are nostalgic for pin ups over the “in your face” sexuality portrayed in today’s media and “Boudoir” photography.  Perhaps we all crave a little mystery.

What are some of the main reasons ladies want to do a pinup shoot?Do  most clients want photos just to keep for  themselves or do they have them done to give to their boyfriends, husbands, etc?

For the most part they are looking for a special gift for a loved one. For grooms’ gifts, Valentine’s Day, birthdays;

But often  they come to us to boost their self esteem after a divorce and even prior to mastectomies and post reconstruction in breast cancer survivors. Also, celebrating weight loss , turning 30 or 40 or just because they are lovers of vintage style and fashion.

Military wives especially love purchasing a keep sake book for the sweethearts serving abroad. They want intimate within the realms of good taste and not something they will be embarrassed of, but rather something they will consider a keepsake.

I’ll bet there are  lots of girls out there who would love to try this, but don’t feel confident they can get the poses right.  What do you do to help them feel more comfortable with that?

We guide our clients through the entire process. The Old School Pin Ups Experience entails Lance and myself making our clients comfortable, helping them choose the set that is right for them, finding the perfect lingerie or costume that enhances their figure, designing the perfect retro hairstyle, and the classic pin up make up to bring out their best look.

I have the opportunity to get to know the client while we are working in my Silver Star Dressing Room, so that I can prepare Lance during the shoot for little things that make all the difference.

I help them with pin up facial expressions and poses before we go onto the set. Lance verbally guides them into their poses. He lights each pose with old fashion hot lights.   If she is struggling with the pose, I am there to demonstrate or put her in them. I assure them that both Lance and I are watching every detail concerning their hair and costume so that every detail is perfect. Also, Lance is a perfect gentleman.  If costume adjustments need to be made, he turns his back or leaves the room till we’re set.

What is your favorite era(s) to recreate for a shoot and why?

I particularly  love the 40’s and the early 60’s. I adore “constructing” the hair. Victory Rolls and Barrel Curls and Bouffants are an area in which I LOVE to show off and delight the client who did not think their hair would style that way.  I often joke that hair does anything I want it too. No matter the texture or the length, it will purr like a kitten for me. But mostly, I think women look so beautiful in those styles and they’re positively giddy when they see their hair like that for the first time! It puts a light in their eyes for the photos.

Can you give us a little run down on what a girl can expect when she shows up for her first shoot?

We help choose her set first, if she has not already decided, then bring her into my Dressing Room/ Pin Up Salon and get started on her choosing her costume. Based on our discussions about body issues and era I pull a lot of things for her to try on. I give her privacy and wait till she wants my opinion.   Then it’s on to her hair & make up.

During that time Lance is preparing her set. Once she is dressed in her pin up outfit, I pop a pretty hair flower in her hair (I create those),  then on to the set  to pose in about 12 to 14 poses and about 300 frames.

When we’ve completed her shoot, Lance does a quick edit of the photos as she gets into her street clothes. I then give her a hair flower of her choice. While she is viewing the slide show on our 30 inch monitor with me, Lance creates two “Peek-A-Boo” viewers, a novelty key chain viewer with her image inside, to take home as a memento of her shoot.

When she is ready, she can return to the studio for an hour long edit with Lance to choose the perfect photos for her printing options, which includes books, calendars, playing cards, beautiful metallic based prints, jigsaw puzzles, zippo like lighters, bbq aprons, car license plates, coasters and much much more to choose from. She is welcome to bring her sweetheart or friend during the editing process or she can trust Lance’s male sensibilities and editing experience to help her choose the perfect pin up images she’ll always treasure.

Old school pinups

Old School Pinup Shots

Trixie also mentioned that because many couples have little private  jokes or stories between them,  she and Lance also enjoy helping ladies add more personalization to their shoots by incorporating little extras  that have special meaning for them.

For example, one client was a military wife to be.   She and her deployed fiance’ were not able to see much of each other during their engagement and he was  sent to war again just a month after their wedding. During one of his brief visits home they took a bubble bath using “Sponge Bob” bubble bath,  the only stuff they could find at the local drug store.  They saved the plastic tops off the bottles and  keep the little SB toys with them when talking on the phone, so they can remember that happy time together. We placed the toy in the backgrounds of her shoot. A sweet little private joke between them.

Another client, a High School English Teacher, relayed to me that she and her husband R.I.B., I shook my head and asked what she was talking about, “Read In Bed!” she exclaimed! So we set her up with a funny vintage Trashy dime novel called “Flesh Baron” (one of our many many props) and put a martini in her hand and shot a really sexy and tongue in cheek photo she adores.

We have had military wives bring their husbands coats and we’ll place them on a chair in the foreground, slightly out of focus to indicate he is in the room. I always suggest to our clients they bring something personal along to work it into the photos without being obvious.

So, ladies, next time you’re trying to  come up with a unique way to gift a special someone or commemorate a special event in your life, why not try this fun, empowering , nostalgic way to celebrate your love for  yourself or your sweetheart?

Many, many thanks to Trixie Lane for taking the time to give us this inside scoop on the pin up shoot. It was very enlightening!

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