Tag Archive | 1920s

Birthday Tribute to Silent Film Star Dorothy Gish


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


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!


Photos courtesy of Caron Nicole Photography and Ataahua Talavou Photography

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

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 :-)


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Style Tips-1920s Art Deco Wedding Fashions


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!










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More 1920s Inspired Gatsby Glamour at Blue Velvet Vintage


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
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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Happy Customer Dressed for a 1920s Wedding


Check out this swanky photo of Blue Velvet Vintage customer, Karla, wearing one of our  beaded flapper style dresses as the bridesmaid in her best friend’s 20s themed wedding.  Karla’s husband also got into the spirit looking quite dapper in his 1920s vintage suit and bow tie. Looks like he just stepped out of an episode of Boardwalk Empire.  Nucky Thompson’s got nothing on this guy!

Karla told us, “ At first I wasn’t sure I could pull it off with my long hair, and didn’t want to do a fake bob. But with the feather headband (I got it on Etsy), and curling my hair, I think I pulled it off well. The wedding was beautiful and everyone asked us about the dresses and thought we looked great! I felt lucky to have a husband who was all for dressing up with me.”    

And we couldn’t agree more. They certainly make  a stunning Jazz Age couple! Thanks for sharing, Karla!

1920s theme wedding clothing

Customer Karla and husband are the Bees Knees in 1920s themed wedding attire!

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Movie Trivia-Great Gatsby 1974


With the release of the Baz Luhrman’s version just around the corner, the Gatsby buzz is everywhere! But who can forget the beauty of the 1974 film starring Mia Farrow and Robert Redford, with its gorgeous scenery and fabulous 1920s fashions? Below is some trivia about Francis Ford Coppola’s version of this great American classic:

Truman Capote was the first screenwriter for  the film. But  his draft included making characters Nick Carraway a homosexual and Jordan Baker a lesbian.   He was fired and Coppola ended up rewriting the screenplay in three weeks.

•Ali MacGraw was originally promised the role of Daisy Buchanan by her producer husband Robert Evans. But when she left him for her co-star Steve McQueen, she lost the role.

• Other stars who were rumored to be considered for the role were Candice Bergen, Natalie Wood, Fay Dunaway and Cybil Shepard.

Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post

Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post

•When F. Scott Fitzgerald’s daughter spotted Mia Farrow on the set of the movie she was quoted as saying, “The New England summer sun was hitting her face under this lilac chiffon hat and she looked just like my father’s Daisy Buchanan should look .”

•Marlon Brando turned down the role of Jay Gatsby because producers wouldn’t meet his salary demands. And Warren Beatty lost the part to Robert Redford.

Daisy's fabulous flapper fashions - vogue December 1973

Daisy’s fabulous flapper fashions – Vogue December 1973

•Ralph Lauren assisted costume designer Theoni Aldredge with the film’s wardrobe.  Three time Tony award winner, Aldredge, produced hundreds of costumes for the film in two weeks time and also incorporated authentic 1920s dresses. She won an Academy Award for her work on the film, but failed to mention Ralph Lauren’s name during the ceremonies because she was a bit miffed over the fact that he had been trying to take credit for the designing of Robert Redford’s clothes himself.

•The popular 20s  fashions from the movie inspired a clothing line that was available at Bloomingdale’s.

•Art deco jewelry supplied by Cartier was used in the movie and it is rumored that the producers purchased over 5 million dollars worth of the baubles worn by Mia Farrow and Lois Chiles .

Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan in the Great Gatsby 1974

Mia Farrow in romantic 20s attire. Great Gatsby 1974.

mia farrow gatsby flapper

Mia Farrow and her fab flapper look. Great Gatsby 1974.

•A Gastby-inspired line of sportswear, whiskey, beauty products and even cookware were introduced around the 1974 premiere. The Paramount Promotion Director at the the time said “The idea is to Gatsbyize the entire country.”

Ballantines Scotch Ad - 1974

Ballantine’s Scotch Ad – 1974

…and Gatsbyized we are once again! Can’t wait to see the new version – out this Friday , May 10th.

And if you’re inspired by these fashion looks from the 1920s, then please check out the lovely beaded flapper dresses and romantic 20s inspired party dresses on the Blue Velvet Vintage website. We’ve got what you need to get your Gatsby on in style!

Thanks for visiting:)





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How to Get the 1920s Screen Siren Make Up Look


From Boardwalk Empire to Downton Abbey to the remake of the Great Gatsby, the interest in Roaring 20s fashions has never been hotter.  The 1920s was a liberating time for women,  resulting in less restrictive clothing that downplayed a woman’s curves.   And just like today, young women emulated celebrities, resulting in the popularity of  make up looks worn by their favorite silver screen stars.  This very feminine, dramatic look contrasted nicely with the looser, less curve revealing silhouettes.

To recreate the 1920s make up look you need  dark, smoky, kohl-rimmed eyes,  high thin eyebrows and heavily rouged cheeks,  along with the iconic ‘cupid’s bow’ lip inspired by the  actress,  Clara Bow. Women would accentuate the curve of their upper lip – so it resembled a bow – and fill in their bottom lip to meet the top, almost like a permanent ‘kissy’ face.  The vogue lip colors were plums and deep reds. There were even metal lip tracers to ensure women got that perfect ‘bow’ shape.

Below is a photo of the beautiful Clara Bow. Notice those adorable “cupid’s bow”  lips?  And I love how she has the head scarf wrapped!

clara bow

Clara Bow in 1926. Photo by Eugene Robert Richee

This is a cute and entertaining video from the  Glamourdaze  YouTube channel of actress Colleen Moore and her flapper makeup routine in 1923.

I love cupid’s bow lips but I’m not sure I could pull off those eyebrows – what about you? Would you wear this look out on the town?







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How to Put Together a 1920s Style Great Gatsby Look


With television shows such as Boardwalk Empire, Downton Abbey and the movie remake of the Great Gatsby, fashion looks  of the 1920s are currently hot, hot, hot!   This trend means there is an increase in Jazz Era, Roaring Twenties themed parties, events and weddings to which gals get to have fun dressing up in 1920’s inspired outfits.  And, the good thing is many of the styles from the 20s are very flattering on a wide variety of figures.

Lately we’ve been receiving a lot of emails from customers asking for advice on how to put together this look.  And though we do sell a lovely line of beaded reproduction flapper dresses,  not everyone going to a 20s themed party wishes to wear that style or sometimes they are attending an event that is not quite as dressy.  So I’ve included a little graphic below to show you a 1920s inspired outfit I put together with items we sell on our website.

Most people don’t realize that the 1920s fashions were not just about fringed flapper dresses.  Women wore many other styles and they weren’t all short! Most hemlines in the 20’s varied from just above ankle length to just below knee.  The Nataya dress I’m wearing in the photo has that loose,  unstructured silhouette that was popular in the 20s, plus the sheer overlay over a slip liner that was also popular back then.  I added some long strands of pearls, 3/4 length gloves, deco style bracelet, cloche hat and T strap heels to complete the look.  It’s a really nice alternative  for a 1920’s themed event  if you’re not looking to go with a full on fancy flapper style.


 1920s Great Gatsby Look 1920's style fashion

A 1920s inspired Great Gatsby Look

And the links to shop this look!

Nataya Art Nouveau dress

Cream color pearls and champagne pearl strands

Black stretch satin ruched gloves

Beaded gunmetal stretch cuff bracelet

Black cloche hat with jewels and feathers

Black satin T strap pumps

Don’t forget to add red cupid bow lips and dark, smoky shadow for the  eyes!




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Great Gatsby Fashion


The remake of “The Great Gatsby” is scheduled for its premiere in December 0f this year.   And the costumes are sure to be outstanding!  Along with Boardwalk Empire and the Artist,  this movie is is fueling a renewed interest in 1920s fashions.  Many people think Jazz Era fashions consisted only of beaded and fringed flapper dresses.    But most women wore styles quite different from the young, wild flapper girl who danced the night away in speakeasies.  Romantic, floaty dresses with dropped waistlines and handkerchief hemlines were also popular for special occasions.

Here is a photo of  Cary Mulligan who plays Daisy Buchanan in the “Gatsby” remake. On the set in a beautiful cream lace gown with assymetrical hem.

gatsby dress

Carrie Mulligan in The Great Gatsby

And here is Mia Farrow from the 1974 version of “The Great Gatsby”


Mia Farrow and Robert Redford in 1974 The Great Gatsby

This is a great look for a 1920’s vintage inspired wedding.  Below  is  a dress  we carry at Blue Velvet Vintage that is reminiscent of these romantic “Gatsby Era” fashions.

Finish off with t-strap pumps, cloche hat and long strands of pearls .

Click on image for more information.

Nataya 20s inspired ivory lace and embroidered tulle handkerchief hem dress

Nataya 20s inspired ivory lace and embroidered tulle handkerchief hem dress


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