Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fall Fashion Inspiration - Deco and Daphne

I'm back in New York. Autumn is in the air. I'm sitting in my car on a strange street in a strange neighborhood. It's early morning and I'm on the hunt for something great. 

For me, autumn is a sort of rebirth. Excitement is all around. The fashion collections are about to be presented, fall fashion week is about to begin and the art world is coming out for the slew of art openings beginning this week. 

I am a September girl and this week I will celebrate my birthday. I have decided to reward myself for a year's worth of hard digging, fabulous finds and lucrative sales with an amazing mid-century necklace by Hattie Carnegie that I found a few months back. I have been waiting for the fall to present it in the Pearl Modern store, but over time I have begun to love it too much to share. Sorry, jewelry collectors! Maybe it's my goth past, but I am really drawn to this necklace's cold grey metal heart. There is something about the steely color and industrial design that thrills me. 

Hattie Carnegie was quite a character. As legend has it, somewhere on the journey from Austria to the United States in the year 1900, the young Henrietta Kanengeiser asked another passenger the name of the richest man in America, to which they responded "Andrew Carnegie". Soon, the entire family changed their last name to Carnegie, an obviously fortuitous decision.

Below is my favorite Hattie Carnegie large gold plated mechanical goose necklace.

                                                                                                                                           Available here

Below are a few beautiful Hattie Carnegie ads from the 1930s and 1940s.

I love the change in seasons, when you take a breath and the air is tinged with a hint of icy-cold alluding to the cold winter ahead, coat weather. I adore dramatic clothing. I can't wait to throw a voluminous velvet cape on over a fitted 50's dress. A great, well-cut coat can be so sexy, an anticipation of what's underneath. 

Below is a beautiful photograph of the actress Ida Vollmar.

Below is a mysterious photo of the Russian actress Olga Baclanova, also known as "The Russian Tigress". 

Recently, I have been inspired by film noir costuming, the genius orientalist fashions of Paul Poiret, the draped dresses of Madeleine Vionnet and the designs of fashion houses Berthe and Premet. 

Below is a portrait of the great couturier Paul Poiret.

Below is a photograph of the legendary art doyenne Peggy Guggenheim in a luxurious, oriental patterned Poiret dress.

Below is a 1920 illustration by Raoul Duffy, "Croquis de Modes no. 7" from the Gazette du Bon Ton.

Next are three examples of Madeleine Vionnet's designs.

 Below are illustrations from Berthe and Premet.

There is something wonderful about the outfit worn by this Romanian girl in the photo below from the 19th century. I have always had an affinity for the peasant dresses that Yves Saint Laurent designed. This skirt reminds me of those iconic designs, with its beautiful pattern and luxurious drape.

Below is a photograph from the 1920s of the actress Anna May Wong. I love the drama of the long sequin mesh scarf worn as a headdress.

There was a wonderful retrospective exhibition this summer of the great couturier Madame Gres at the Musee Bourdelle in Paris. Below are a few photos and illustrations from the designers oeuvre. 

Below is an illustration from 1948 of an outfit from Madame Gres (on the left) and another from Elsa Schiaparelli (on the right).

Below is a fantastic Madame Gres ensemble from 1960.

I am very excited to visit the upcoming exhibition of Daphne Guinness' select pieces from her vast wardrobe presented at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. The show runs from September 16, 2011 to January 7, 2012. This exhibition is not to be missed if you are at all enthralled with the mastery of the modern couturiers from Karl Lagerfeld to Alexander McQueen. 

In a decidedly goth mood, here are two photos of the perpetually dashing Rudolph Valentino, whose styling I am looking to for winter inspiration. This hat is gorgeous!

Below is a still from the 1921 film "Camille" starring Rudolph Valentino and Alla Nazimova.

Finally, being that it is September, one must start considering their Halloween costume. Inspired by the amazing photo below, I am considering dressing up as a manic and disheveled Cleopatra. Who will you be?


  1. Visiting from Etsy Vintage Group. Love your blog1 I'm so glad you included Vionnet, she is one of my favorites!

  2. What a fantastic blog. The collection of photographs are excellent. As both a photographer and an admirer of the 1920s, thank you for this.