Tag Archive | 1920s

Birthday Tribute to Silent Film Star Dorothy Gish

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Today marks the birthday of Dorothy Gish,  silent film star of the 1920s.   Born on March 11, 1898, many people are familiar with her famous sister, Lillian Gish.  But Dorothy was also a talented actress in her own right, known for her skill at pantomime and her comedic roles.   She had the more outgoing, vivacious personality of the two.  In 1927 her sister wrote of her-

“She is laughter, even on the cloudy days of life. Nothing bothers her or saddens her or concerns her lastingly.”

 

 

Actress Dorothy Gish

Actress Dorothy Gish

Dorothy Gish was only 4 years old when she began her acting career with her sister.  Her mother, also an actress, introduced her daughters to the stage at a young age to help with household expenses. Their father had abandoned the family and Dorothy and Lillian’s mom needed them to work to help pay the bills.

Dorothy and Lillian Gish publicity photo- Orphans of the Storm (1921)

Dorothy and Lillian Gish- Orphans of the Storm 1921

Dorothy and Lillian Gish -Orphans of the Storm 1921

They eventually were befriended by Mary Pickford, another silver screen legend, who later introduced the girls to renowned director D.W. Griffith, who immediately cast them in roles for several movies.  One of his most notable films, and one of the last the sisters starred in together was Orphans of the Storm(1921),  a movie about two orphaned girls during the French Revolution.   In one scene Dorothy was filmed with rats crawling all over her. The director later had to cut the scene because it was considered too horrifying for the general public.    From a 1963 article in the Harvard Crimson, Dorothy was quoted as saying-

Mr. Griffith was excited with the possibilities of a horde of rats, and photographed them covering me.  But I guess the effect was too strong for a ‘twenties’ audience…”

Imagine?  A scene like that would be considered tame by today’s standards!

After her last film appearance with her sister in Romola (1924), she was offered a part  as mistress of the King of England in the British film Nell Gwyn (1926). This was the first time she would star in a film without Lillian and she was really able to shine.   The director, Herbert Wilcox, said “She radiated with the joy of life. It was humor out of the top drawer and sex appeal to boot!”

Dorothy Gish in Nell Gwyn (1926)

Dorothy Gish-Nell Gwyn (1926)

Dorothy Gish-Nell Gwyn (1926)

Dorothy appeared in over 100 films, her first “talkie” being Wolves (1930), a British crime movie.  The “talkies” did not appeal to Dorothy , so she returned to the stage for most of the 1930s and 40s.  She acted in only three more films after that, the last being Otto Preminger’s The Cardinal (1963).  She suffered from ill health the last years of her life and died of pneumonia in 1968, with her sister by her side.

For more facts on the fascinating Dorothy Gish,  see this informative article on the Turner Classic Movies website and the book American Filmmakers Abroad-1945-1945.

Have a glamorous day!

 

 

 

 

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Customer Spotlight – Ella’s Divine Deco Style

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When  Ella Macedo, our customer from New Zealand, shared a photo of herself wearing one of our gowns at her engagement party – everyone here at Blue Velvet Vintage was blown away by how well she pulled off  her deco inspired  “Old Hollywood Glamour” look.   Ella ordered our 30s style  blue chiffon evening gown  for her cocktail party in June where,  in her part of the world, it was the dead of winter!

We had the open fires going and old favourites like Sinatra, BB King and Ella Fitzgerald playing. There was no theme, but it was a cocktail party and since it was our party, I thought it was a great excuse to get dressed up!”

Ella said she chose the blue gown because of it’s classic shape and color.  We definitely think she made the right choice!

The lovely couple at their engagement party. Ella is wearing our 1930s style blue flutter sleeve gown.

The lovely couple at their engagement party. Ella is wearing our 1930s style blue flutter sleeve gown.

Ella not only dresses up in vintage style glam for special events – this classy  swing dancer and hairstylist wears vintage inspired fashion every day!  Shortly after her successful engagement party she started looking for an outfit for her boss’s  Great Gatsby themed party.   And, once again, she  turned to Blue Velvet Vintage for her perfect party dress!

From Ella-  “…I was aware of the fact that the classic flapper styles would not suit my figure…”

A very smart lady!  It’s always good to know which silhouette is the most flattering for your body type.

Ella (right) and a flapper friend at a Great Gatsby themed party. Ella is wearing our Silver Beaded Sequined Lace Chiffon "Old Hollywood Glamour" Gown.

Ella (right) and a flapper friend at a Great Gatsby themed party. Ella is wearing our Silver Beaded Sequined Lace Chiffon “Old Hollywood Glamour” Gown.

So instead of going for the straight, sheath type style so popular during the 1920s, she opted for our silver beaded chiffon gown,  and accessorized it with long necklaces and a headpiece (that she bedazzled herself!) to complete her 1920’s Gatsby  inspired  look.

Ella's award-winning Great Gatsby inspired look.

Ella’s award-winning Great Gatsby inspired look.

And Ella actually took home the prize for Best Dressed! Well deserved, for sure.

Thanks, Ella,  for sharing your divine deco inspired photos, courtesy of Caron Nicole Photography and Ataahua Talavou Photography.

Have you dressed for a vintage themed event lately?  Please feel free to contact us, we love sharing customers’ photos and stories.

Have a glamorous day!

alison

Photos courtesy of Caron Nicole Photography and Ataahua Talavou Photography

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Happy Birthday Clara Bow-Hollywood’s First ‘It’ Girl

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Clara Bow

Clara Bow 7/29/1905 – 9/27/1965

Today is one of my favorite silent film stars birthdays. She had that rare superstar quality: sexy, sweet and sassy all at the same time. Clara Bow was named the “It” girl of the 1920s. Her most famous movie is centered around that mysterious quality – and appropriately named It. All the women wanted to be her and all the men wanted to be with her!  Plus she was a redhead – and I’ve got a soft spot for fellow gingers :)

“You think of Greta Garbo, Lillian Gish, all those great names, great actresses. Clara Bow was more popular in terms of box-office dollars, in terms of consistently bringing audiences into the theaters, she was right on top, ” said film historian Leonard Maltin. She worked with the cream of the crop in the industry, including famous costume designer Travis Banton.

Clara Bow in a stunning silver evening gown.

Clara Bow in a stunning silver evening gown.

In a 1936 interview with reporter Julie Lang Hunt  for Photoplay magazine, Banton described what it was like working with Clara.  He claimed her taste in clothes was noxious, she thwarted every move he made to improve it, and she “jazzed up” his most beautiful creations. And yet he continued to indulge her.

Clara Bow in a costume designed by Travis Banton for the 1929 film The Wild Party.

Clara Bow in a costume designed by Travis Banton for the 1929 film The Wild Party.

Clara Bow was apparently not a fan of the straightlaced, boring military costumes she wore in much of the film Wings. And neither was one of the designer’s apprentices.   “Putting Clara in a drab uniform was like bridling an untamed horse . She loved wild colors, the wilder the better. They reflected her personality.” That apprentice was none other than Edith Head, who went on to become one of the most famous Hollywood costumers in history.

Clara Bow in the 1927 film Wings. Costume designed by Travis Banton and Edith Head.

Clara Bow in the Academy Award winning 1927 film Wings. Costume designed by Travis Banton and Edith Head.

Clara Bow’s makeup also inspired huge trends in the 1920s and  have become a popular look once again with the resurgence of 1920s themed parties and events. Her famous lips – the red cupid’s bow lips defined the look of her era, along with her kohl lined eyes and pencil thin eyebrows. When her fans found out she was redhead,  not readily apparent in a world of black and white film, the sales of henna tripled!

Clara Bow 7/29/1905 - 9/27/1965 Color by DreamPinups.

Clara Bow’s signature make-up look.
Color by DreamPinups.

Clara Bow’s career in Hollywood was relatively short and often plagued with scandal – but no one can deny that whatever ‘It’ was, this gal definitely had it!

Have a glamorous day :-)

alison

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Style Tips-1920s Art Deco Wedding Fashions

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Boardwalk Empire, Downton Abbey, The Artist and the Great Gatsby have exposed  a whole new generation to the sophistication and glamour of the 1920s. So  it’s no surprise more and more brides are jumping on the bandwagon and planning high style art deco weddings.  Because  Roaring Twenties fashions have such a romantic, feminine flair, with their floaty handkerchief hems,  dropped waistlines, long strands of pearls, beaded details,  and statement making hair accessories and hats,  they are perfect to plan a wedding around! The look is so chic, and a great alternative for the bride who prefers not to go the big, pouffy, princess gown route.   Below are some photos and style tips  to inspire brides who are considering a vintage themed wedding based on the era of the flapper girl, the charleston and jazz music!

1920s wedding photo

1920s wedding photo

20s bride and groom

20s bride and groom

20s bride and groom

1920s bride, groom and beautiful bouquet

Note the use of wide brimmed floppy hats. Cloches were also popular.  And if a women wore a veil, the headpiece was often like a cap that covered the head and was embellished with flowers or beading.

Like this lovely one below available from Etsy seller, The Yellow Peony.

20s style bridal headpiece

1920s style bridal headpiece from the Yellow Peony

 For the proper bridal shoes to go with your 20s style wedding dress, Mary Janes or T Straps.

On left  ivory leather and suede Mary Janes by Rachel Simpson UK. Right  shimmery silver sequined T straps sold at Blue Velvet Vintage.

1920s style bridal shoes

1920s style bridal shoes

And if you want a 1920s look inspired by Carey Mulligan’s Daisy Buchanan character in the Great Gatsby,  we sell  lovely lace  handkerchief  hem dresses perfect for the deco  loving bride!

Lace Gatsby dresses

Lace Gatsby dresses

Have a glamorous day!

theresa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More 1920s Inspired Gatsby Glamour at Blue Velvet Vintage

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Got a Great Gatsby party of Art Deco wedding to attend?   Just arrived, these flirty 20s inspired cocktail dresses that are perfect for a Jazz Era event.  A classic look that’s  also on trend right now.  Just add ropes of pearls, long gloves, a cloche hat or feather headband, beaded purse and  Mary Jane  heels and head on out to your favorite speakeasy for a night of charleston dancing and chugging the bootleg !  Tell ‘em  Blue Velvet Vintage sent ya!

Dress in black lace over champagne satin,  comes in black lace over teal blue satin as well.

20s inspired Gatsby dress

Get your Gatsby on at Blue Velvet Vintage!

And to help you get into the proper frame of mind to  celebrate the era of  shieks, shebas and Gatsby style excess,  here are some 1920s slang expressions you may want to throw into your party conversation just for fun!

Bees Knees, Cat’s Meow or Cat’s Pajamas-  All mean something or someone really great, fantastic, the ultimate.  “That dress she is wearing is the Bee’s Knees.”  “That handsome guy is the Cat’s Meow”.
Copacetic-  Just fine, wonderful.  “Everything is copacetic.”
Bearcat-A hot blooded, wild girl.
Giggle Water-alcoholic beverage
Get a wiggle on- Get a move on.
Glad rags- Dressy, going out clothes.
Hootch- Bootleg liquor
Hoofer-Dancer
Juice Joint-Speakeasy
Moll- Gangster’s girlfriend
Puttin on the Ritz- Dressing very high fashion, stylishly
Corked, Jazzed, Zozzled, Primed, Tanked-  All words for being intoxicated
Hip to the Jive- Cool
Smarty- A cuter flapper girl.
Vamp-A flirt, seductress.

You may also like this “Swell” little number !

Beaded black flapper style dress

Beaded black flapper style dress

Thanks for visiting!

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