Tag Archives: 1950s

Calendar Girls @ What Katie Did

What Katie DidI met the lovely Katie, from What Katie Did yesterday. Oh what joy to talk suspenders, corselettes, and knickers with one in the know!

If you’re in Portobello you must pop into the shop, it’s just…heaven!

I will write my interview up very soon but, in the meantime, take a look at this cheeky calendar-girl video. All lingerie What Katie Did – of course!

Have a good weekend.

Why Don’t You….watch “The Eye Has to Travel”

I watched the documentary Diana Vreeland – The Eye Has To Travel over the weekend and it is an absolute must-see. I was totally transfixed from beginning to end.

Diana Vreeland

“I was the most hideous thing in the world”, Diana Vreeland told an interviewer in 1977 and perhaps because of this, she became the champion of the eclectic woman and the unconventional beauties of the world.

I won’t spoil her story here, you must definitely watch the film, but she was well known for her “Why Don’t You…” column in Harper’s Bazaar in the late 30’s which involved bizarre suggestions like “Why don’t you twist (your child’s) pigtails round her ears like macaroons!”

As you can imagine as fashion editor for Harper’s Bizarre and then Vogue, she delighted in the extraordinary and her fashion shots are still some of the most talked about. She launched many a face and made a huge impact in developing a more cosmopolitan consciousness in the world of fashion.

So I thought I would just highlight a few of her favourite people so you can get a taste for the film. Do, do watch it – it’s total escapism and a history of fashion all in one …..

Lauren Bacall, Diana Vreeland

The lady who discovered Lauren Bacall

Irving Penn, Geisha, Diana VreelandDiana loved Geisha girls (as pictured by Irving Penn in 1970)

Barbara Steisand, Vogue, Diana Vreeland

Barbara Streisand

Mick Jagger, Diana Vreeland

Mick Jagger photographed by David Bailey 1964

Rouge et Noir, Diaghliev's Ballet Russes, Diana Vreeland 1939

Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes 1939

Maria Callas, Diana Vreeland

Maria Callas

Lauren Hutton, Diana VreelandLauren Hutton

I shall now leave you for a week, as it’s half term here and it will no doubt be chaos….Cx

Decades of Desire

I now know the best way to get the presents you desire and that’s to write a post about them. Oh yes, some of those lovely 10 Best Books found their way into my stocking this year and I am one happy gal!

Now I’m not favouring one present over another, but I have to say Decades by Cameron Silver, which my cousin’s in law gave me, had me, (rather unfortunately for my family), totally mesmerised on Boxing Day.

The pictures are gorgeous. But the story of how this young cabaret singer who randomly started to collect vintage fashion, established a prestigious vintage store and essentially waited for the vintage trend to unfold, is totally fascinating. Needless to say Cameron Silver now dresses Oscar tipped celebrities.

So I guess you would like a sneak peek?

Decades by Cameron Silver,, Camille Clifford, Gibson Girl

Camille Clifford 1905, Gibson Girl

Decades by Cameron Silver, Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Johanna Staude

Gustav Klimt 1918, Portrait of Johanna Staude

Decades by Cameron Silver, Chanel Dress 1924

1924 Dress by Chanel

Decades by Cameron Silver, 1930


Decades by Cameron Silver, Frida Kahlo by Nickolas Muray

Frida Kahlo by Nickolas Muray 1938

Decades by Cameron Silver, Red scarf by Clare McCardell

Red Scarf by Clare McCardell 1946

Decades by Cameron Silver, Grace Kelly, To Catch a Thief

Grace Kelly, To Catch a Thief, 1955

Decades by Cameron Silver, Monica Vitti 1965

Monica Vitti 1965

Decades by Cameron Silver, Bianca Jagger, yellow kaftan, Zandra Rhodes

Bianca Jagger in Zandra Rhodes

Decades by Cameron Silver,

1980’s gets edgy! Loving those canary yellow knickers!

Now you know why I was rather uncommunicative!

Igetakickoutofyou 10 Best Books for Christmas

I’ve seen so many books I want to get for Christmas that I’ve started making a list. Which has now turned into a post!

And if your loved ones are anything like me then these are sure to please on Christmas Day.

I’ve even added them to my Amazon affiliate store, so you can buy them straight from the links below:

My problem is I want ALL of them!


Dressed to Kill, Jazz Age Fashion by Virginia & Daisy Bates

Decades, A Century of Fashion by Cameron Silver20121204-205145.jpg

Hollywood Sketchbook by Deborah Nadoolman Landis

Sieff Fashion 1960 – 2000

20121204-205227.jpgThe Essential Cecil Beaton 1920 – 1970

Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast

20121204-205249.jpgMaster Photographers

Muses, Women Who Inspire

Happy Shopping! Cx

Lana Del Rey, Vintage Americana & Hair Brushing Bikers

I watched Lana del Rey’s new video “Ride” yesterday courtesy of a post by Refinery 29 and boy it produced a wave of impassioned responses.

I decided to repost it, partly because I guess you could loosely call it vintage Americana (and I quite like that Kerouac style) but more because I just wanted to see what you guys thought about it.

I actually love Lana’s music and the lyrics. Part of me, the parent side of me, finds her videos (this one in particular) rather disturbing, from the view-point of her playing this dark Lolita character who is dominated by men, her youth and her looks, and the message that sends to young women.

Lana, honey, have you not seen my post on Jane Fonda? It’s time to take control!

She talks about living free and believing in the country America used to be but actually the character she plays is anything but free and I’m slightly wary of longing for a time when so many different people were being repressed. If I were her I’m not sure I would want that comment “hanging in the wind” without further explanation. And as for the much older biker guys? What is that about?

On the the other hand I find myself totally fascinated by the stories in the video. With most music videos you can just anticipate the usual bump and grind and switch off but at least this has engaged some part of my brain and left me thinking.

Do we take it all too literally? Is this actually a more accurate portrayal of life? Not that we are all going to disappear on the back of a Harley Davidson but that life means different things to different people and sometimes it throws some crazy curved balls.

Ultimately it’s not all about cute girls in cute shorts but sweaty, hair-brushing bikers too. A melting pot of crazy and confused bods.

Having said that she is a cute girl in cute shorts…..anyone confused?

Vintage Ballet Gets Edgy – Part 2

Continuing on from Vintage Ballet Part 1, here are some more gorgeous images.

I don’t know about you but these seem much more West Side Story than Swan Lake. I love the first image – she looks such a cool cat.

Serge Lido, Vintage Ballet,

Serge Lido, Vintage Ballet, 1950's dance

Serge Lido, Vintage Ballet,

Serge Lido, Vintage Ballet,

Serge Lido, Vintage Ballet,

Serge Lido, Vintage Ballet,

Baron Encore, Vintage Ballet,

Nothing left to say other than loving those zebra pants!

(All images by Serge Lido, last image by Baron)

Vintage Ballet by Serge Lido Part 1

At the weekend I was extremely fortunate to have been given these exquisite vintage ballet books from the 1950’s. Basically two of my greatest passions rolled into one – vintage and dance.

Serge Lido was born in Moscow and became one of the greatest photographers of dance in the twentieth century. Based in Paris he and his wife Irene Lidova travelled Europe creating a magnificent record of contemporary and classical ballet.

Since there are so many images to choose from I think it would be rather rude to do just one post. So watch out for more:

Serge Lido, Annual ballet magazine, photographer, vintage dance photographs

Serge Lido, Annual ballet magazine, photographer, vintage dance photographs

Serge Lido, Annual ballet magazine, photographer, vintage dance photographs

Serge Lido, Annual ballet magazine, photographer, vintage dance photographs

Serge Lido, Annual ballet magazine, photographer, vintage dance photographs

Serge Lido, Annual ballet magazine, photographer, vintage dance photographs

Serge Lido, Annual ballet magazine, photographer, vintage dance photographs

Serge Lido, Annual ballet magazine, photographer, vintage dance photographs

Serge Lido, Annual ballet magazine, photographer, vintage dance photographs

I don’t know about you but the dancers don’t seem to display the fragility that modern day dancers do. Now is that because of the way they’ve been photographed, or because the style at the time leant towards a fuller figure or just a different attitude in dance itself?

I’d be interested to know your thoughts?

Personally, I find it rather refreshing. My favourites are the feathered lady in the third picture and the last one. She looks like my mum in her youth.

Thank you for the books Miranda!

All photographs by Serge Lido 1951.

Marilyn – Pin Up vs Portrait

This weekend was the 50th anniversary of Marilyn’s death.

I wanted to do a “10 favourite images” but a) I couldn’t narrow it down to 10 and b) there seemed such a distinction between the pin up shots and the portrait shots, I thought I’d make a point of it.

So which do you prefer – the pin-up or portraits?

From Pin Up

Marilyn Monroe, Milk and Eggs in bed, Playboy

Photo: Andre de DienesYoung pin up Marilyn in a towel and tan lines

Playboy 1953Marilyn Monroe, suspenders, milton greene

Photo: Milton GreeneMarilyn Monroe in a slip, looking out window

Photo: Sam ShawMarilyn Monroe, pin up, in a towel

Marilyn Monroe, black cardigan coat, Milton GreenePhoto: Milton Greene

To Portrait

Marilyn Monroe, glamours, strapless dress
Marilyn Monroe, Turquoise pantsuit, Milton Greene

Photo: Milton GreeneMarilyn Monroe, White tulle skirt, Milton Greene

Photo: Milton GreeneMarilyn Monroe, Corbis, 1952

Photo: Hulton Deutsche CollectionMarilyn Monroe, Chanel No 5, floral wallpaper

Photo: Michael Ochs ArchiveMarilyn Monroe, peasant outfit, Milton Greene

Photo: Milton GreeneMarilyn Monroe, side portrait

Photo: Eve Arnold

How can anyone make sexiness seem so vulnerable and vulnerability so sexy? Only Marilyn……..

The legend lives on..

Weekend Vintage Finds

I visited my favourite vintage/antiques shop, Barn Antiques in Long Marston, at the weekend. There were so many little gems I thought I would take some pics and show you some of them.

The shop has these incredible illuminated ER jubilee letter lights, which are shown below, which I lust after every time I visit – but sadly they’re not for sale – if the owners ever change they’re mind I’ll be there like a shot!

Barn Antiques, Long Marston, UK

Illuminated jubilee E R letter lights

french style kitchen cabinet with a fruit designed top

Fruit covered kitchen cabinet.

Grey distressed kitchen cabinet

Grey distressed kitchen storage with an array of vintage tins.French chocolate wooden box

Chocolate Box!
Huge vintage glass Jars

Huge vintage glass jars.VIntage enamel jewellery box

Lacquered jewellery box – I succumbed to this I’m afraid. It’s totally gorgeous.

Vintage shop storage, jars packed with wool reels

Glass jars filled with multi-coloured vintage wool reels.
Industrial style filing cabinetIndustrial style filing cabinet.

It would be rude of me not to mention the Olympics, since it’s in my home town. On Sunday we were lucky enough to have some tickets for the Judo at Excel – took an age to get there and we really don’t live that far away, but once there, it was pretty impressive. You can see the action very clearly – the kids absolutely loved it – shame the Brit didn’t win a medal!

The Olympics, London 2012, Judo

How can you look so naughty and feel so nice?

I recently bought the book “Lingerie” featuring the beautiful photography of Lillan Bassman.

Bassman became a photographer in the late 1940’s. Her images of women broke the mould, emphasising a more intimate portrayal and establishing a niche in lingerie and night-wear photography.

Lillian Bassman, Black basque, LingerieHarpers Bazaar, March 1954

Lillian Bassman, Carmen Dell'Orefice, white basque

Carmen Dell’Orefice, Merry Widow 1951

Bassman was an avid watcher of women and in the book it describes how, in the mid 1940’s, she began to study the body language of those who made a living out of their sensuousness and were not afraid to show it.

“It was too late to get served at the hotel so I decided to walk down the Avenue. I spotted my corner carefully and then proceeded. It’s strange how similar and how different French girls are (to American girls). In the majority they look like old victory girls of B’way. High pompadours, long hair over their shoulders, skirt at above knee length and heavy high-heeled shoes. It wasn’t too light and I was shy about staring too much, so all I got were quick outlines”

A few days later. she watched the prostitutes make easy pickings of American GIs: “There’s no denying a French girl once she spots you along, it’s done on the streets, in doorways, anywheres. There’s a special drape to the way her body clings to a man and she takes the initiative on all occasions.”

And from there, Bassman embarked on a special relationship with her photography, where women felt comfortable in her company and who thus photographed with an air of effortless self-possession. Warner lingerie subsequently enjoyed a huge rise in sales with their Merry Widow campaign, shot by Bassman and named after the Lana Turner movie – with the tagline How can you look so naughty and feel so nice?”  

This campaign was so successful it continued right up to the early 1960’s.

Lillian Bassman, Merry Widow 1954, Venetian masks, black basque

Lillian Bassman, Merry Widow, Venetian Masks, Black Basque, white tulle skirt

Lillian would often take her models out of the studios, preferring a room with abundant natural light and a more reportage style of work.

Lillian Bassman, woman looking in the mirror, white basque

Corselet by Perma-lift 1956Lillian Bassman, black basque

Betty Biehn 1955Lillian Bassman, bra and pants, lady doing hair

Margie Cato late 1940’sLillian Bassman, smoking on the train, pyjamas

Pyjamas by Kicknernick 1951Lillian Bassman, Under the sheet, white basque

Advertisement for La Roche early 1950’s (my favourite!)Lillian Bassman, Suzy Parker, Nightgown, lingerie

Suzy Parker 1951Lillian Bassman, painting toes, Lingerie

Maidenform 1956Lillian Bassman, white basque, wallpaper, Lingerie

Warner’s advertisement 1957
Lillian Bassman, white basque, Lingerie

Barbara Vaughn early 1950’sLillian Bassman, Gossard Ultrabra 1997

Gossard Ultrabra 1997

Makes you want to go and buy a corset, doesn’t it!

I know they were probably extremely uncomfortable but the corsets with the tulle skirts do look pretty. I showed my husband to get his opinion and he said “I prefer sexy lingerie to pretty lingerie”. Men eh!

I suppose that’s exactly where Bassman differed – she photographed women for women. Personally, I think pretty can be sexy and these are very sexy indeed.

Lililan Bassman in the studio

Lillian died in February of this year. She was 94 and still working. The book Lingerie is a fabulous tribute to a woman who revolutionised women’s photography and the photography of the female form.

I can’t recommend it enough!