1950s

The Incomparable Edith Head

“A dress should be tight enough to show you’re a woman, but loose enough to show you’re a lady”

Wise words from Edith Head, the most prolific costume designer of the 20th century, and the creator of the tight but loose dress I sketched for my Miss Pin Up New Zealand 2017 talent. Edith’s costumes fueled my early love affair with the transformative power of fashion. Elegant, luxurious and crisply tailored her signature style was the epitome of vintage glamour and everything I wanted to be in life.

 

Costume Designer Edith Head helped define old Hollywood Style and paved the way for women being recognised in the male dominated film industry.

Costume Designer Edith Head helped define old Hollywood Style and paved the way for women being recognised in the male dominated film industry.

Ginger Roger’s Wearing an Edith Head costume in ‘Lady in the Dark’.

“A designer is only as good as the star who wears her clothes.”

Involved in over 1100 movies Edith helped define silver screen style. She worked closely with Hollywood actresses designing costumes that they actually loved, believing that you can lead a horse to water and you can even make it drink, but you can’t make actresses wear what they don’t want to wear. This close working relationship made her a favourite of actresses in the 1940’s and 1950’s, who would demand that studios rent Edith from Paramount for their films.
Edith created iconic costumes for screen legends like Audrey Hepburn, popularised the sarong dress with Dorothy L’Amour and delivered fierce glamour in films like Sunset Boulevard. Grace Kelly was a favourite client and wore Edith’s designs in the classic film Rear Window.

Costume Designer Edith Head helped define old Hollywood Style and paved the way for women being recognised in the male dominated film industry.

Edith Head with Gloria Swanson who she dressed in the fabulous film Sunset Boulevard

Costume Designer Edith Head helped define old Hollywood Style and paved the way for women being recognised in the male dominated film industry.

“Building a proper wardrobe is like building a home. Indeed, you should think of it like a home, because it is something you’re going to live in. It must be comfortable and suit all your needs.”

Film costuming didn’t command all of Edith’s time however. With no nonsense approach she designed everything from full wardrobes to uniforms for the United States Coastguard. I adore her power dressing philosophy, which encapsulates her opinion that fashion changes not only our physical proportions, but how we feel and what we can achieve. Daily style didn’t require money, it required thought, practicality and imagination. Edith advocated dressing for the life you want rather than the life you have.

 

Costume Designer Edith Head helped define old Hollywood Style and paved the way for women being recognised in the male dominated film industry.

 

In 1967 Edith’s style book “How to Dress for Success” was released. Containing this gem which is possibly even more relevant today!

‘No matter in which direction your strivings for success are pointed, what you wear and how you look can make the difference between moving steadily toward your goal or just rocking back and forth in the same spot. In these days of mass-marketing techniques, you know that when a product lacks eye-appeal it gathers dust on the shelf. So at the very outset, we say, “Think of yourself as a product.” In order to achieve success you have to sell that product, so start right now thinking of how you can improve it.’

 

Costume Designer Edith Head helped define old Hollywood Style and paved the way for women being recognised in the male dominated film industry.

Costume Designer Edith Head helped define old Hollywood Style and paved the way for women being recognised in the male dominated film industry.

 

Edith may have created glamour, but she didn’t embody it herself. Known for her diplomatic skill with tempestuous actresses Edith dressed to blend in, not to stand out. Edith preferred conservative skirt suits in neutral tones, with a wardrobe that reflected her low key personality.

“I always wear beige, black or white. For one thing I look good in them. For another, when I’m beside a star at a fitting, and she looks into the mirror, I don’t want to be competing in any way.”

Even her distinct blue tinted glasses weren’t the bold fashion choice they appeared. The blue lenses muted colours, helping Edith see how costumes would appear on black and white film.
But Edith wasn’t without scandal. She scammed her way into her first Hollywood job using sketches that weren’t even hers! Her talent was undeniable though, and she went on to win 8 Oscars, becoming the most awarded WOMAN AND COSTUME DESIGNER ever in the Academy’s history! ( Can you tell I’m excited about that? )

 

Costume Designer Edith Head helped define old Hollywood Style and paved the way for women being recognised in the male dominated film industry.

Costume Designer Edith Head helped define old Hollywood Style and paved the way for women being recognised in the male dominated film industry.

 

Today Edith’s legend lives on in popular culture. Pixar‘s The Incredibles character Edna Mode is based on Edith. She’s adorned a postage stamp, a google doodle, and will forever be imprinted on our idea of classic pinup glamour. Above all, Edith was a role model, proving that women could excel in the male dominated Hollywood industry.
I’ll leave you with one final quote from my design idol;

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.”

With Style & Sass,

     Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 1 comment

Cadillac Dreams | Hollywood Inspired Pinup Photoshoot

Bad girls may have more fun, but Paramount girls get away with it.

Inspired by the elegance of classic Hollywood and it’s movie starlets this is the sister set to Start Your Engines | A bad Girl Photo Shoot. Shot in the same location with the same magnificent Cadillac this set takes style inspiration from the publicity shots of 1930’s – 1950’s cinema stars. (With a few ‘paparazzi’ style shots thrown in for fun and accuracy).

 

Cadillac Hollywood Starlet | Pinup Photoshoot | Velvet DeCollete

Cadillac Hollywood Starlet | Pinup Photoshoot | Velvet DeCollete

The Inspiration

Back in the golden age of Hollywood film companies like Paramount and MGM would arrange photographers to snap their new stars at home ( usually not even their real home!) and at social events. These not so candid images were vintage equivalent of an intentionally unintentional looking celebrity Instagram photo.

My outfit inspiration was a chic movie star. Is she attending a cocktail party as some luxe resort? Heading to a rendezvous with her lover? Or is she on her way home, in the clothes she wore the night before? Either way, her studio will cover up any indiscretions.

Inspired by these totally posed but supposedly unexpected publicity photos, we shot a mix of classic glamour and paparazzi style images. This is one of the first photoshoots I worked with Froger on and it’s still one of my favourites today.

 

 

Outfit Breakdown 

Wiggle Dress | Velvet DeCollete – sewn from a Vintage Vogue pattern
Gloves, Sunglasses, Bag & Fur | Tock Tick Vintage
Shoes | Pulp Noir
Vintage Imitation Pearl Necklace | Gifted
Earrings | Diva
Hosiery | Pretty Polly

 

Cadillac Hollywood Starlet | Pinup Photoshoot | Velvet DeCollete

Cadillac Hollywood Starlet | Pinup Photoshoot | Velvet DeCollete

How beautiful is the vintage fawn skin bag in the photo above? I nicknamed it ‘The Bambi Bag’. Unsurprisingly it’s part of La Vonne’s personal collection, alongside the fur stole.

Oh and did I mention Elvis stopped by? He’s such a hoot!

Cadillac Dreams | Velvet DeCollete

Photographer | Froger
Shoot Assistant | LaVonne from Tock Tick Vintage
Model | Velvet DeCollete (moi)

With Style & Sass,

               Velvet DeCollete

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 1 comment

Velvet Loves | The Retro Cartoons of Sveta Shubina

Sveta Shubina is a 21st century artist drawing 20th century dames.

Russian born Sveta’s bad girls, pinups and sci-fi broads are hyper feminized females with strong personalities. You might recognise their curves and sass from Flaming Mamie T-shirts, or vintage inspired sportswear brand Hobo and Sailor. Mixing humour, sex appeal and fetish, her art is playful and bold. Drawing on 50’s and 60’s comics and pop culture references her illustrations feel vintage but stay current. I’m a huge fan of her vivacious characters and I just know you will be too!

PS: I was SO EXCITED when Sveta agreed to answer a few questions for us!

Reclining pinup girl art by graphic designer Sveta ShubinaWhat inspires the characters in your illustrations?

Midcentury illustrations and design have always been my main source of inspiration.

 I’ve admired early Disney and Fleisher’s animation since I was a child, and you can see this influence in the Hobo and Sailor project, which I founded with my partner in 2011. Several years ago I found Humorama comics, got acquainted closer with Playboy illustrations and discovered great artists such as Dan Decarlo, Jack Cole, Bill Wenzel and many others.

I love the way these artists show women, how they express woman’s sexuality in a funny form. This is something I try to display in my works. But for me it’s important to just draw girls in midcentury dresses, I want my pictures look like they have been created in 40s or 50s. That’s why I pay so much attention to textures, color fading and scratched effects.

 

Cat Fight by graphic designer Sveta Shubina

What sparked your journey as a graphic designer and illustrator?

I’ve been drawing since I was a child, I graduated from the University of Architecture and Arts and it was rather obvious for me to connect the rest of my life with design and illustrations. And I’ve never regretted it.

 

Halloween Trio and Creature poster by graphic designer Sveta Shubina

 

How did you come to your signature halftone dot style?

One day I just decided to try another tool in Photoshop and realized that this halftone dot effect was something that I’d always needed to achieve an authentic vintage effect. Since then I just can’t stop, colored halftones are my passion! I can happily spend hours coloring my illustrations.

 

Rocky Horror Picture show art by graphic designer Sveta Shubina

Which 3 people, dead or alive, would you invite to a dinner party and why?

Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill maybe, to give them thanks for a great victory.

 

Playboy Bunnies illustration by Russian graphic designer Sveta Shubina

 

Favourite item of clothing in your wardrobe?

Well that’d be my Halloween Costume Winner sweatshirt. I just love it, this is the first sweatshirt that fits me!
( I wish I’d had this for my Halloween Lookbook! – Velvet )

 

Hobo and Sailor Halloween Costume Winner Sweatshirt

Halloween Pumpkin Pinup by graphic designer Sveta Shubina

 

Sveta’s Instagram feed is packed with incredible illustrations and is an easter egg hunt of pop culture and pinup personalities. Fans can find Mosh and the Vintage Vandal alongside the girls of Twin Peaks and Oogie Boogie from Nightmare Before Christmas. She also designs logos! I literally spend hours appreciating her adorable characters!

 

Mosh by Russian graphic designer Sveta Shubina

Girls of Twin Peaks by graphic designer Sveta Shubina

Show Sveta Some Love

Instagram 
Hobo and Sailor / Flaming Mamie Store
Etsy Print Store

Who’s your favourite artist? Who should I interview next? Leave me a comment below letting me know which artists I should check out!

With Style and Sass,

           Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, 0 comments

What Your Legs Say About You | Beauty Parade 1950

What do your legs say about you?
According to the January 1950 issue of  Beauty Parade they’re sending coded messages to every man around! This vintage guide to body language is such a giggle I just had to share.

Beauty Parade January 1950 ladies legs | Velvet DeCollete
Beauty Parade January 1950 ladies legs | Velvet DeCollete

Thank goodness the helpful men of 1950 are here to enlighten us! Without them, I might have carried on blissfully unaware that my sitting habits were leading on that guy across the bar.

Do you have any priceless lad’s mag advice tucked away? Share it here or on my facebook page and we’ll make a whole post of it!

With style and sass,

                      Velvet

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, OTHER, PINUP, 0 comments
The Pastel Sleep Set | A (Vintage) Lingerie Addict’s Diary

The Pastel Sleep Set | A (Vintage) Lingerie Addict’s Diary

 

Suzan Pecka Blue Vintage Nightgown | Velvet Decollete

“Suzan Pecka of Vienna
Made in New Zealand”

The label displays a brand and country of origin in slanting pink letters, but that’s all this mysterious sleep set gives away. Suzan Pecka of Vienna seems to have vanished from New Zealand and the world without a trace.  Apart from this sugary pastel confection that is.

Crafted in baby blue with swirling pink embroidery and ribbons this nightgown and jacket set is a slightly stiffer, more opaque synthetic fabric than most of my  sleepwear. Based on simple shapes the nightie hugs the bust with the aid of a triangular smocking panel. The jacket is rectangular in nature, its flat planes a perfect canvas to showcase delicate embroidered overlays.

The embroidery is a wide sinuous  border pattern on sheer nylon. Pale pink ribbon ties, narrow pink piping and a large rolled rose made of the embroidered nylon complete the feminine embellishment.

Suzan Pecka Blue Vintage Nightgown | Velvet Decollete

Lengthwise, I admit this set is a tad awkward on me. At 5.3″ the hem floats at mid calf, not a terrible length but not the best either. I feel a taller woman would find the hem sits just above the calf – a more flattering length accentuating the slimmer part of the leg and the curve of the calf muscle. While the stiffer fabric isn’t as comfortable as my Starway nightie the dreamy colourway makes up for it, and the set is still lovely to wear. I really enjoy having the matching jacket in case I feel like a teensy bit more coverage.

Suzan Pecka Blue Vintage Nightgown | Velvet Decollete

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Photos | Duke Debonair
Model, Hair, MUA | Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 3 comments
Happy Endings and Disney Dreams | A Floral Fifties Wedding Dress

Happy Endings and Disney Dreams | A Floral Fifties Wedding Dress

I’m a sucker for a cute love story . Occupational hazard I guess. But Justine’s, Justine’s got me right in the feels…

A Disneyland visit,  a teacup ride proposal, a fun romantic country wedding – it was a happy ending fit for a fairytale! But a Disney heroine needs a suitably wonderful dress. That’s were I come in.

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Justine is a hilarious, energetic, no nonsense kind of gal. She wanted a wedding dress, but liked the idea of a high-low skirt that wouldn’t get in the way of dancing, carousing or shenanigans . It had to suit her sassy personality and vintage fete wedding. . Most of all it had to be sexy; in a classy, classic kind of way.

With Justine’s desires in mind I designed a bold yet timeless floral gown. A 1950’s inspired dress with a full skirt and  boned sash to define the waist. The fluttering satin train is removable, making her dress more versatile (both on the wedding day and after), while matching satin trim defines the sleeve hems and flattering boatneck. I love how the peacock blues made her red hair pop!

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Photos | Kate Little Photography

Justine knew what she wanted from her wedding dress and it made me think: There can be a lot of pressure to please people on your wedding day. Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunties, they all have their idea of what a bride should wear.
What really matters is what you want to wear. I’ve made coloured dresses, short dresses, enormous dresses, and yes – white dresses – and every bride has been beautiful, confident and most importantly… herself.  No two women are the same, so don’t feel like your dress should fit someone else’s mold.

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Birthday Snaps | A Retro Luau Party

Birthday Snaps | A Retro Luau Party

Remember that lost weekend between Christmas and New Years Eve? The one when everyone (hospo staff included) are on holiday and nothing opens. Nothing.

That’s my birthday weekend.

So this year I celebrated in true pinup style with a vintage inspired Luau at home!

It started with cool drinks on a hot day and ended with burlesque dancers lip syncing the Chicago soundtrack under disco lights. Lei’s and fruity cocktails for all!

Here’s some candid poolside snaps so you can see how it went down. Plus a bonus picture of my not-quite-one-year-old niece dressed like the island princess she is. Because she’s a cutie patootie.

(I forgot to take pictures of the idyllic decorations my awesome lover set up, but trust me, they were amazing )

pinup girls tropical2016-15-2--22-14-01luau, tiki party, tropical, cocktails, drink station, fancy, fruit, garnish, hawaiian, party, pool party2016-15-2--22-22-59

 

 

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in ADVENTURES, LIFESTYLE, 0 comments
Easter Eggs and Swing Skirts

Easter Eggs and Swing Skirts

Did a little Easter shoot with Zandy J Photography and Miss Charlotte Cake yesterday. By which I mean I played dressups in a park with a couple of rad girls and a bunch of easter eggs (nom nom nom).  Zandy’s shared a couple of preview pics, check out our cheesy Easter pinup smiles!

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Miss Charlotte Cake has some juicy juicy gossip, don’t you wish you knew what it was?

Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 3 comments
Meet Me in the Olive Grove

Meet Me in the Olive Grove

I feel like I’m running a sewing marathon at the moment! But a nice marathon, where I decide the route and you don’t end up sweaty and red faced at the end. With awesome retro events like the Beach Hop and Very Vintage Day Outnot the mention the Tiki Afterparty – waving on the horizon I feel it’s time to broaden my vintage style wardrobe. After all, I can’t just wear lingerie everywhere … can I?
Thus, I’ve made the Olive dress.

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The Pattern: Burda 5882 – this is a ‘Designed by Gertie’ pattern, she has a rad sewing blog that’s actually a life saver if you’re a beginner sewer, or an expert needing inspiration or a plain english translation of a technique you haven’t tried. This pattern would be easy enough for a beginner sewer, with only the bust shelf being a bit tricky at points.

The Fabric: Before you ask, I found it in the furnishing section. 82% of my fabrics are probably upholstery or curtain fabrics as I find them lovely to work with and a source of super cool prints, like this retro-as olive number. Sadly it’s a 3 way pattern and was a nightmare to match. Normally I’d fight it out but as it’s just for me I didn’t worry about it. The lining is standard rayon lining, often I’d use something else but this is all I could find at the time that didn’t clash horribly. I looked for a matching green but grey to match the black olives works fine.
The contrast bust is a faux raw silk left over from a jacket I made a million years ago for a wedding.

The Details: I might go back and add a horsehair braid to the hem for extra volume, and a belt for extra definition. Also I can’t decide whether I like the strap turned up or down under the bust.

The Style: I accessorised this dress with a pair of white vintage gloves and white leather peep toes. I won’t lie, I borrowed/stole the shoes from my mother. I really need to buy some heels that aren’t 4-6″! I think I’ll make a teeny olive hat to match too.

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Photos | James Beck
(also known as the EverPatient Husband, and The Man Who Remembered We Have Olive Trees.)
Model, MUA, Hair | Moi

P.S : I’d just like ya’ll to appreciate how much better I’m getting at this girly hairstyling thing.

 

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 3 comments

The Vintage Textiles Fair (or ‘How to Test Your Willpower’)

Visited a gorgeous vintage textiles fair today! A plethora of fabrics, fashion and miscellany to make any second hand store trawler weak at the knees.

I must say I was the epitome of restraint, leaving with only a few bags of metal stampings and a top secret purchase (Christmas gift) for my Mother. My companions Annie and Natalie were similarly well behaved, although we were all sorely tempted by the lush vintage vanity sets and 1950’s headgear!

Vintage Textiles Fair Retro Hats Fur Coats and Collars Vintage brown ladies Shoes 1950s leaf green hatIt’s a good thing I look silly in hats, or the leaf green 1950s number would be mine. That green is my colour, and it’s so very hard to find!

Posted by velvetdecollete in ADVENTURES, OTHER, 0 comments