Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vintage Inspirations

Perhaps it's teaching Hollywood Before 1960--where I'm currently spending several weeks discussing the early 1930s--or maybe it's a reaction against the snow piling up outside. Either way, I'm coveting the delicate clothing seen in backstage musicals like The Broadway Melody or Gold Diggers of 1933, the scalloped edge of a voile dress like the one worn by the daughter in Applause or any variant of hand knitted cardigans, silky tops, and silken gowns.


Other than making me think about how I could copy such pieces in my own sewing (with difficulty, I know, as these fabrics are tough to work with), they've also made me turn to some of my Lyell pieces, including the new jacket that I can't wear until it warms up. Here's a picture of one of my favorite Lyell dresses from 2005--the Bonnie and Clyde dress (taken from the lookbook as my camera is broken--the dress is far lovelier in real life, if a little longer than I'd like).

While I don't know if I can really dress like a showgirl from 1931 and actually go to work and teach a class, I love the way that fashion allows this kind of reinvention--a play with the construction of self, space and time.


Jeffrey Sconce said...

I recently met someone at a screening, mid-40s, completely decked out in what looked to be a 1930s era suit and tie--the whole bit, heavy wool tweed, tie-pin, etc. As he was accompanying an artist from LA, I assumed it was the next wave in hipster quotation. But then it turned out he was just a friend from Boston and has dressed this way his entire adult life. Very striking.

Those fashions definitely work better on women, I think. They tend to make men look much older. For example, I watched "Ninotchka" on cable the other night. At one point Melvyn Douglas reveals he's 36--but he looks to be 56!

LivKate said...

I love this post. The clothes are so inspirational. If only I had the gams to pull off such adorable styled outfits.