On padding and a new suit

I’ve been thinking about Schiaparelli jackets because I’ve been working on a new suit, heavily inspired by those elegant late 1930’s Schiaparelli jackets with interesting buttons. My old favourite jacket, a taupe wool blend twill affair with oak leaf leather appliqués, made about four years ago, has been getting an awful lot of use, needs a new lining and is beginning to look and feel rather well-loved by now. It’s not anywhere near worn out, but I wanted a new one, in a rougher, tweedier fabric with less showy details. Continue reading “On padding and a new suit”

Vintage reading: Nancy Mitford and Schiaparelli

I remember that my mother, during one of her rare visits to England, brought me a little jacket in scarlet cloth from Schiaparelli. It seemed to me quite plain and uninteresting except for the label in its lining, and I longed to put this on the outside so that people would know where it came from. I was wearing it, instead of a cardigan, in my house when Cedric happened to call, and the first thing he said was,
‘Aha! So now we dress at Schiaparelli, I see! Whatever next?’
‘Cedric! How can you tell?’
‘My dear, one can always tell. Things have a signature, if you use your eyes, and mine seem to be trained over a greater range of objects than yours, Schiaparelli – Reboux – Fabergé – Viollet-le-Duc – I can tell at a glance, literally a glance. So your wicked mother the Bolter has been here since last I saw you?’
‘Might I not have bought it for myself?’
‘No, no my love, you are saving up to educate your twelve brilliant sons, how could you possibly afford twenty-five pounds for a little jacket?’
‘Don’t tell me!’ I said. ‘Twenty-five pounds for this?’
‘Quite that, I should guess.’
‘Simply silly. Why, I could have made it myself.’
‘But could you? And if you had would I have come into the room and said Schiaparelli?’

That’s Nancy Mitford, in the partly autobiographical Love in a Cold Climate, published in 1945. Continue reading “Vintage reading: Nancy Mitford and Schiaparelli”

Kesudalen, around 1950

It’s weird how surprising it is that things sometimes look almost exactly the same 70 years later. This is the first time Kesudalen shows up in the 8mm films, and for some reason it felt very surreal that it hasn’t changed more than that when I saw it the first time.

It’s rather wonderful too. And, of course, the potty makes an appearance. Some day I’ll make a complete collection of all the potty jokes on these 14 rolls of film.

Dress clips!

I’ve been looking for a good pair of vintage dress clips for a while. These are a good start; 1930’s, silver and marcasite, a fairly conservative, but elegant Art Deco design. Dress clips really are the quintessential 1930’s accessory, infinitely adaptable, easy to wear in different ways on different types of garments, often cheap and cheerful in paste, bakelite, wood and pot metal, although there are expensive dress clips in gold and platinum with real stones as well, of course. They are an oddly sensible bit of frivolousness, which makes perfect sense in the hard economic times of the decade. This pair made me long for some playful plastic, wood and pot metal ones, too.

I mean, Elsa Schiaparelli wore them. Tamara de Lempicka wore them. Diana Vreeland wore them, fabulously, in a turban. Those are three of the most stylish women of the 20th century right there. What better endorsement could you wish for?