About Joyatri

Avid thrifter and vintage clothes wearer. Love 1960s and early 1970s styles. Partial to Art Nouveau, Pre-Raphaelite, Victorian, Renaissance and Medieval art. Former art historian. Current packrat. On a continual quest for good-looking, comfortable vegan shoes. Bhangra dancer since 2002. Fascinated by all things Indian. Vegan and animal advocate. 

Click on Products to browse hand-crafted scarves, bags, and jewelry from India for sale.

The Joyatri on Etsy shop will be temporarily closed until mid-January, 2015.


 

 

 

Please do leave a comment and let me know that you stopped by! I love hearing from you.

Words I like:

"She was dressed, as usual, in an odd assortment of clothes, most of which had belonged to other people." 

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (1913-1980)

 

 

“I said "Somebody should do something about that." Then I realized I am somebody.”

 Lily Tomlin

 

 

 

Why Vegan?

 


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Wednesday
Jan302013

To me you are a work of art

Have you ever been in a thrift store and saw something highly desirable and someone else was looking at it? What did you do?

I went into a local store that is slightly more curated, and has somewhat higher prices than the place I usually shop. But, I’ve gotten some real gems there. Like my vintage, Made-in-Pakistan corduroy and velvet tote bag that I picked up for $10.00.

Last week, I saw a woman sorting through a large bin of linens and fabrics. She had taken one piece out and placed it aside. When I saw what it was, I HAD TO HAVE IT.

Had she taken it out because she was going to buy it? Was she just trying to make more room in the bin to see what else was there? I was tormented and had to come up with a plan of action.

I decided to befriend her, figuring that in the event she did want to buy it, I could convince her why it had to be mine. I moseyed up next to her and started chatting about what nice things were in the bin, blocking her view of the one she had set aside, hoping she would forget about it. It worked!

I also picked up these textiles.

Clockwise from left: hand-worked needlepoint; vintage purple velvet yardage; embroidered pillow cover; hand-loomed cotton fabric; and pom-pom trim.  Now for the pièce de résistance. At first I thought it was just heavyweight cotton yardage.


Recognize it?


I bought this 1960s dress, which I first posted about last year (and later wore here and here), in the 1980s. As I wrote before, there is no label and it was obviously made by a skilled sewer.

This fabric is identical. I got it home and took a good look.

It’s a shower curtain!

 

Even weirder – the grommets for the shower curtain hooks are at the bottom.

My guess is that there was a run of ‘seconds’ in this print, all manufactured upside-down. Some clever seamstress turned one into the dress that I now own.

I haven’t decided yet what to do with the shower curtain. Maybe…use it as a shower curtain?

This little discovery is definitely Ta-Dah! Tuesday-worthy.

Monday
Jan282013

Vested interest

In spite of having 5 closets full of clothes, I have a dearth of vests, and was pleased to find this 1960s knitted wool vest at my local thrift store. It’s machine-knit, with off-white bands down the front and around the pockets.

I was intrigued by the label, which was sewn in by hand and reads, “Asani’s Select Age/ASA/for Original Goods.” I googled the heck out of this and came up blank. There are two other small tags, one has fabric care symbols with Chinese characters and the other reads, “Made in Rep. of China.” It’s a mystery.

After decades of donning black, I rarely wear it these days. But, I liked the mod, graphic quality of the vest. What to wear it with?

Cotton/nylon/rubber (those crazy Italians and their innovative fabrics) pants, Made in Italy by Vassali. Black cotton knit turtleneck, acquired at a clothing swap. M & S non-leather boots, purchased on sale last year. Rubber bracelet, pewter bracelet purchased in the 1980s. First I paired it with ‘newly vintage’ wavy-print trousers, ones I bought at Filene’s Basement in the early 1990s, and a black turtle neck.

Large 1980s star face pin, thrifted. Victorian starburst and moon and star pins, I’ve had for decadesI  put a scattering of cosmic pins on as well.

That look was a bit dreary, so I decided to up the ‘mod’ quotient a bit by pairing it with a fellow 1960s garment – a dress that I thrifted and altered (took up the sleeves and shortened) in the 1980s.

1960s polyester double knit dress, no label, thrifted in the 1980s. 1960s wool knit vest, thrifted. Black tights, retail. Restricted Barricade non-leather boots, purchased on sale. Greek fisherman’s cap, purchased in the early 1990s in London. Metal Indian necklace and armlet, owned for decades. Red bangles purchased in India. Indian metal bangle purchased at a yard sale. 

I’m remembering the time I met this fella in the park. His name’s Terry, he’s got a Triumph six-fifty. He said he was lookin’ for a wife…I says he’d hafta get rid of that motorbike afore I went steady with him. He laughs and says, "We'll see about that!" I'm almost frightened to go with him  'cos I know he'll be able to do anything he wants with me...

Oops, no, sorry, that wasn't me. That was Rube in Up the Junction.

Other items I’ve thrifted recently.

1970s Nancy Greer -- New York polyester blouse with its original cord and tassel belt. I’m guessing this originally had a matching skirt. Late 1960s Young Victorian by Arpeja rayon blouse with puffy sleeves and flouncy cuffs. The Young Victorian and Young Edwardian labels had some wonderfully illustrated ads, but that is a topic for another post.

I’m squeaking in under the wire for Not Dead Yet Style’s Visible Monday shindig.

Saturday
Jan192013

Long-term commitments

Usually I post about clothes that I’ve purchased at thrift stores or vintage clothing shops. In light of the Ethical Fashion Bloggers January Freestyle Outfit Challenge, I thought I’d focus on another category of clothing that I wear – items I’ve purchased new but are vintage because I bought them 20+ years ago.

Yes, long, long ago, I purchased new clothes. Mostly discounted because I shopped at the original and legendary Filene’s Basement, where everything was marked down, and the longer it remained on the racks, the deeper the discount. I fell in love with the gorgeous fabrics, excellent craftsmanship and interesting styles of designer clothes. I didn’t care about the labels or being "in style" (everything I bought was from past seasons anyway). I just appreciated the quality.

Iridescent taffeta jacket by Anna Sui. Embroidered sheer silk blouse by the French label, Equipment. Black wool trousers by Antwerp designer Dirk Bikkembergs. All purchased at Filene’s Basement in the early 1990s. Boots purchased at Shelly’s in London in the early 1990s.  English Eccentrics devore velvet scarf. Purchased in the early 1990s at Filene's Basement.Although my photos are lousy and don't show details well, each item has something special. For the jacket, it’s the cut and quality of the fabric. The blouse is embroidered all over with off-white and gold metallic threads. The trousers fit well and have a flap just below the knee which hides a zipper so that you can remove the lower part (not that I've ever done that).

I wear the English Eccentrics scarf every winter. What with being orange and purple, velvet and having a heraldic pattern with unicorns, lions and Tudor roses, how could it not be my favorite?

The blouse and jacket (and boots) have appeared here previously, so there's proof that I do still wear them. Although I no longer buy new items derived from animals, I wear ones from my "pre-gan" (pre-vegan) days and will continue to until they fall apart.

Christmas 2011. February 2012

I have lots of clothes that I've had for a very long time. Do you?

Friday
Jan182013

Funky by Dexter: It takes a Funky Chicken to Lay a Funky Egg

More shoe fashions from 1971, this time desert boots, oxfords and bowling shoes.

Lady Dexter shoe ad from Seventeen magazine, March 1971.Penneys shirts and jeans ad from Seventeen magazine, March 1971.

I’m guessing my love of stripey jeans and star motifs started around this year. This ad isn’t for shoes but it shows more two-toned desert boots.

I’ll find some Famolare crepe-soled shoes and clogs for Joni.

What a coincidence that Curtise posted a Horrible Histories video yesterday. I didn’t know what Horrible Histories were until her post, but I had recently stumbled on these videos by History Teachers – mini history lessons put to the music of pop songs. I was in grad school studying medieval art history in the early 1980s, so I particularly like their videos on the medieval period as well as the revamped 1980s songs.

I've posted some of my other favorites on my Facebook page, including one with a chorus of "Ooh, ooh fleas on rats, fleas on rats" and another that begins,

"“Mummification equals immortality
Your brain’s pulled out your nose by an embalmer-priest”

Catchy, no?

Wednesday
Jan162013

It's the thought that counts

I was crafty over the holidays, making belated Christmas presents for my man in London. He’s received them in the mail now, so I can post pictures.

And there’s no better day to do so than Ta-Dah! Tuesday.

I’ve posted before about painting shoes and a bag and experimenting with stenciling on fabric. I decided to stencil t-shirts for A. 

I had read about the ease of using freezer paper, which can be ironed onto fabric, to make stencils and thought I’d give it a try. I purchased two plain t-shirts at the thrift store (at $1.99 each).

The first design was the ‘PH5’ pendant lamp designed by Danish architect Poul Henningsen (1894 – 1967) in 1958.

I used a photo in one of my books and did a sketch. I then put the drawing under a piece of freezer paper and cut out the stencil. I left off the little vertical bits.

Stencil was ironed on t-shirt.

Mixed some white with a bit of pewter and black and painted several coats, allowing paint to dry thoroughly between coats.

The moment of truth – peeling off the freezer paper. It worked! No paint seeped under the paper and all the edges were clean.

Ta-Dah! Finished t-shirt.

Once my boyfriend modeled the t-shirt for me over skype I saw that the whole design was crooked. And, if you look closely, it's obvious that this was not drafted with any precision. Oh, well. I still have the drawing (luckily, I made a photocopy before cutting out the stencil) and can fix it and make a new stencil easily enough.

For the second design, I found a stencil pattern online of Cthulhu.  I saved the image, enlarged it, and printed it out.

Then did the same freezer paper stencil thing.

This time I used metallic pewter paint with a bit of black to tone it down.

Ta-dah again! This one isn’t wonky.

A. tells me that he loves them both.

Check out the clever capers at Lakota's Ta-Dah! Tuesday.

Sunday
Jan132013

Medieval me

Bill Cunningham’s Sunday video for The New York Times documents trends he notices on the streets of New York City. I got excited when I saw that today’s was “Legs of Manhattan: The gothic and medieval eras are casting their spells over fashion. Today's look of black leggings and abbreviated coats suggests men in the 1400s.”

Really, Bill, that’s the best you’ve got? Black tights or leggings and short coats do not a medieval look make. Granted there were two doublet-like jackets (shown in the still) that fit the bill, but the rest just did not impress.

As I’ve mentioned many times, I’m fascinated by all things medieval (and have been accused of having a medieval lifestyle based on my lack of interest in technology, electronics and many items of convenience). One of my first posts when I switched this blog to be about vintage/thrift clothing was about the tunic/legging look.

Some of my favorite fashion elements are drawn from medieval and Renaissance times: puffy sleeves, double sleeves, short dresses or tunics over leggings, colorful tights, lace-up bodices, talisman-like pendants, big silver rings, capes, cloaks, shawls, boots, anything velvet, earth tones, and the color purple.

Just looking through some of my pics (some which I’ve not posted before) of the past couple years, I came up with the following (i.e., without really trying):

 

If some of these outfits look a tiny bit costume-y, well, frankly, I wish life was more of a costume party than it is. It’s not like I go out in chain mail or anything. At least, not often.

I'm not in a New York Times video, but I'll pop into Visible Monday.

Friday
Jan112013

Capezio: the show stoppers

It is such a shame that the wonderful, wearable styles of 1960s and 1970s shoes are not made today. I love all the colors, shapes and attention to comfort (roomy toe-box and 1 to 2-inch heels) that styles from this period have. My fantasy is to start a company that reproduces these styles in vegan materials.

Photo credit: Green Shoes's Facebook page (click pic for link)Step one of my plan for world shoe domination (maybe it’s just me who thinks millions will clamor for these styles) is to learn how to make shoes myself. As I found out last year from Norma’s blog, a handmade shoe company in Devon, UK, whose range of vegan shoes I’ve always admired, offers shoemaking workshops. The photo above shows the results from one of Green Shoes' workshops.

As a celebration of vintage shoe styles, my goal is to post images of vintage shoes each week. This way I’ll be ready and have all the images in one place when I have my shoe company.

Capezio show ad from Seventeen magazine, March 1971 The shapes! The colors! The brightly hued tights!

I was trying to pick my favorite here, but it's hard. I want them all. If I had to pick, I’d say the ‘Shepherd’ and the ‘Woodstock’ (which are similar). Which is your favorite?

Monday
Jan072013

Picture not perfect

How I envy bloggers with outdoor spaces and live-in photographers. I’m about to call it quits on outfit shots until the summer.

How not to take photos:

  • Wait for a day when the weather is slightly cloudy. Don’t even think about taking photos if it’s sunny or overcast.
  • Wait until between 12:37pm and 2:17pm when the light comes through living room window.
  • Move couch away from wall. (First move end table away from couch.)
  • Set up ironing board in center of living room. Place camera on table-top tripod. Place tripod on ironing board. Place a small book under one leg of tripod seeing as how tripod is broken and won’t hold camera exactly vertical.
  • Set self-timer and stand near bureau, maybe in front of it, Or next to it. Repeat 10 times.
  • Download images onto computer. Delete most. Choose least horrible one and adjust size, orientation, lighting, and color. Rename and save.

But I really wanted to show off the lovely 1970s maxi dress that A. got me for Christmas.

He readily admits that he is able to buy me things I actually like due to the “power of Etsy” and the fact that all my ‘favorited’ items are public.

1970s Vicky Vaughn Junior maxi dress, present from my boyfriend. Necklace, present from my mother. Bangles from India. The sleeves are a bit short, but all the bettter for wearing bangles. I love the wine color and the bit of tapestry on the bodice and the back. And, of course, the full sleeves.

I might as well tell you about my co-star, the painted chest of drawers. It's another one of my trash finds.

About 20 years ago, a friend found it on the street outside a store that had gone out of business. It's metal and the drawers are each divided into 6 compartments. It was all scratched up and didn't have a top. I painted it the same color that my woodwork used to be, sort of a light 'raisin' (it looks a bit washed out in the photos in this post). I salvaged a nice piece of birch from the trash where I worked at the time and painted it silver and affixed it to the chest. And painted the drawer handles silver. The interior is quite cavernous and it has served me well.

Label from my dress.

If anyone has a better way to take photos, please let me know.

Linking up with Lakota's Ta-Dah! Tuesday.

I post more on my Facebook page, so please 'like' it if you haven't already.

Sunday
Dec302012

Reading, baking and sewing

I’ve been hunkered down the past couple weeks, catching up on household chores, baking lots, and being crafty.

Even though temps have been below freezing this week and we’ve just come through a snowstorm, I made a pair of summer trousers with Indian striped cotton I got on sale ($6) and a pattern purchased in London (49p). Other than mistakenly putting the lapped zipper on the right side instead of the left (I really do need better lighting in my apartment), they came out pretty well.

Striped Indian cotton trousers, made by me. 1970s Indian calico peasant blouse, thrifted. Black tank top, purchased retail many years ago. 1970s braid and brass belt, thrifted. Indian brass disc earrings, I’ve owned for decades. Masai bean necklaces, purchased at Cultural Survival Bazaar. Bangles from India. Non-leather embroidered shoes by Chinese Laundry, purchased on sale 5 years ago.I purchased the two Masai necklaces made of beans at the Cultural Survival bazaar, where I had a booth with Indian wares a couple weekends ago. The Cultural Survival bazaars have been going on for decades and have a dedicated following. Most of the attendees are interested in supporting the mission of the organizing nonprofit, which works for the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide. It seems as though every other person I spoke to had been in the Peace Corps, and most had traveled extensively. So, between the other vendors and the members of the public, there’s a non-stop parade of fascinating people to talk to.

Where I bought my necklaces. Jewelry sold to support The Warriors Organization, which helps Tanzania’s tribal communities. My vending neighbors were a Masai warrior from Tanzania and a man selling Ecuadorean folk paintings and silver jewelry. The latter vendor served in the Peace Corps in India in the 1970s, and prior to that witnessed the burgeoning hippie scene in London in 1966.

I bought a vintage Indian necklace at this booth. One of the dangling bits was missing so I found the brass tree pendant in my pile of stray jewelry bits and added it in the center.Fair-trade chocolate to sample and buy. I did both. A vendor selling Bolivian sweaters and hats also had this bizarre carnival-mask-inspired balaklava. I was told that they sold a number of them over the course of the weekend. I’ve also been reading. In the past couple years, in my never-ending -- and mostly Sisyphean -- effort to de-clutter, I’ve been doing my best to read books I own instead of popping over to the public library. Once I read a book, I pass it on if I don’t want it for reference or can’t imagine re-reading it.

In that vein, I just finished Only My Dreams: An English Girlhood by Hilda Ann Salusbury, published in 1990. It’s a memoir of a girl growing up in a Norfolk village and later, as a young woman, going out into the world, spanning the years 1913 to 1930. Written in a very matter-of-fact voice in spite of hardship (the author’s mother deserted her, her father, and 3 younger siblings early on) and disappointments (being forced to take care of the household instead of furthering her education).

I found the account of daily life of a working- class girl-- what she ate, how she did household chores, what she wore – fascinating. Later, when the author is training to be a nurse in London, she gives a vivid account of East London slums:

“One thing I discovered early in my course was that East Enders were allergic to soap and hot water. Their attitude to cleanliness was appalling; their knowledge of hygiene non-existent.”

Her romantic relationships with men aren’t too different from what you’d find in contemporary chick lit as most of them turn out to be cads (except for one, of course).

I’m lending the book to a friend, but will get it back and offer it as a give-away here at some point.

I’m off to read some blogs now with a cup of tea and an orange-walnut biscotti (or two). Recipe from Holy Cow!: A Vegan Recipe Blog.

Linking up to Not Dead Yet Style's last Visible Monday of 2013.

Thursday
Dec202012

Label love round-up

This is the first post for which I’ve asked other bloggers to share some of their favorite vintage fashion labels.

Since it’s my blog, I’ll go first.

In my last post, I wrote about the Landlubber label (i.e., brand). I’m more literal here. These are two actual labels I think are rather sweet-looking -- and I know virtually nothing about the brands.

How can you not love a poodle with a bow tie and a monocle? Actually, this is how poodles dressed in the early 1970s when this label was current.

Photo taken by Vix.Funnily enough, the label appears on a dress I purchased in Birmingham, UK, on my shopping excursion with Vix and Annie.

My online research revealed that Juniors By Jove, Inc. registered their name in the state of California in 1970. And that a Juniors By Jove dress (described in buyer feedback as ‘awesome’) sold on eBay in 2009. I guess the Internet can’t always be as helpful as one would like.

A line drawing of a moon-faced woman with flower-strewn, flowing hair appears on this label on a blouse made by Amanda.

Sorry, it’s been too dark to take photos lately. This is all I could salvage from an outfit shoot that didn’t go well The blouse is quintessentially late 1970s with its watercolor-hued polyester fabric, pussy bow, puffy sleeves and tight cuffs. Zodiac International Trading Corporation in the U.S. filed for the trademark for the Amanda label in 1976 and specialized in blouses. I’ve seen a few others with the same label available for sale online. But mine is prettier.

Lizzie of The Vintage Traveler™ knows a thing or two about vintage clothing labels (your label research may have landed you on her contributions to the Vintage Fashion Guild’s Label Resource, or her earlier website, Fuzzylizzie Vintage Clothing).

The iconic American sportswear company White Stag bears Lizzie’s favorite label.

 

Don’t you just love it when you find an original advertisement that relates to something you own? Check out Lizzie’s post on White Stag in the mid-1950s to see her polka-dot capri pants in the same fabric as the skirt in this ad.

Another of her posts about White Stag shows later variations of the label and decries the lack of label photos in listings of vintage clothing for sale online. I find this annoying as well and have emailed more than one seller asking for a label photo.

The more we learn and share about vintage fashion the greater the number of coincidences and ‘ah-ha’ moments we’ll experience. For example, Lizzie posted a White Stag ad at the very moment a jacket in a style similar to one in the ad was making its way through the U.S. Postal Service to her, as she relates here.

Another love affair with one label is between Kelly of Grunge Queen and a mysterious Mr. John Hort, a maker of handbags in western Canada.

What on earth is that squiggle on the left of the label? Kelly shares her research here

In the same post, Kelly delves into more Canadian fashion history, and investigates the James Bay Coat and Blanket Corporation, the maker of her gorgeous vintage coat.

The Secondhand Years’ Curtise spotted a label that was not like the others at her local charity shop and bagged a piece of haute couture.

Doesn’t this Jacques Heim label just reek elegance? Check out Curtise’s post about this lesser-known French couturier. 

Curtise’s favorite label appears on a red and white herringbone tweed coat with lovely details. When I looked up “Feminella” on eBay, I found a couple of blouses and coats that are later than Curtise’s 1970s gem plus, as you might expect, a brand of tablets used to treat yeast infections.

Vix of Vintage Vixen, who does nothing in moderation, sent this collage of labels in her closet. Between the typography, the color and the actual names, this selection shows the exuberance of 1960s and 1970s fashion. Contemporary clothing labels are just so boring in comparison! 

From left to right, top to bottom:
Biba, Young Edwardian, Collection Egon Shop

Sambo, Miss Revolution London, Quad

Shubette of London, Dollyrockers of London, Gabar New York

Barry Artist, Romantica by Victor Costa, Kati at Laura Phillips

Thank you, all, for sending your photos and links. I know I’m not the only one who fancies some edu-ma-cation now and then.

Thursday
Dec132012

Nothing is better than Landlubber clothes

Ad in National Lampoon magazine, November 1971. (Click pic for source)I’ve always been drawn to the Landlubber brand because it has a local history and the brand's label because of the groovy font and the purple/orange color combination.

1970s Landlubber denim dress, thrifted, $6.99. 1970s DR (Design Research) t-shirt, purchased at a yard sale 20 years ago. 1930s bakelite pin, owned for decades. 1970s Lucite ring, thrifted, 50 cents. Bangles from India. Blue tights, thrifted, 99 cents. Metallic blue clogs, thrifted and painted by me. Landlubber brand bell bottoms were the coolest jeans to have in the 1970s. Probably dating from the latter part of the 1970s is this Landlubber denim dress I found recently in my local thrift store.

The Landlubber brand started in Boston. M. Hoffman & Co., a company that made flared trousers for the Navy during World War II and sold them to ex-sailors after the war, had the idea of trying to sell this style to both men and women. They altered the design by shortening the rise and began selling unisex trousers in 1963. These hip-hugger bell bottoms took off like wildfire and reached the peak of their popularity in the early 1970s.

At that time, the company expanded its range and made overalls, dresses, shirts and other item until the end of the decade, when manufacturing ceased.

I once owned a Landlubber maroon corduroy overall skirt (i.e., a skirt with a bib).

Label from overall skirt, from mid-1970s.The label in my dress, probably from around 1976-77. In the early 1990s, a former Landlubber Co. salesman decided to revive the bell bottom look from a generation earlier and bought licensing rights to the Landlubber label. He manufactured them in Greensboro, North Carolina, but the business didn’t last long. A third launch took place in 2004, but from what I can find, it doesn’t seem to have survived either.

It appears that the Hoffman family in Boston still own rights to the label and there is still a very visible remnant, right in my own neighborhood, of how popular these jeans were.

Sign dating from the 1970s on the back of a building in Central Square, Cambridge. I remember aspiring to Landlubbers in the 1970s, but didn't own any. Until now, that is.

Once again, I'm putting a call out for your 'label love' posts. Send me a link to a recent post that shows your favorite vintage clothing labels (for garments you actually own) by December 16. Or if you don't have a blog, you can just email me the photos and your text. I’ll post a ‘round up’ with photos and a link to your post next week.

Sunday
Dec092012

Cottage industry, or how I spent hours on the Internet

A belated thank you for the birthday wishes of a couple weeks ago. I haven’t posted in a while as I just returned home from London and have had some computer difficulties.

1970s knit dress, no label, purchased at the consignment and vintage shop Raspberry Beret. Steve Madden non-leather shoes, thrifted. 1970s vinyl applique bag, purchased on Etsy. Jewelry: moonface pendant and beads I’ve had since the 1970s. Beaded bracelets made by me. I went far outside of my comfort zone both in color and style when I bought this ribbed-knit cowl neck dress, but I’ve always loved the heathery colors of knits of the early 1970s. And the great thing about knits from the 1970s is that they aren’t too clingy.

Why, yes, I almost feel comfortable in it.

But, this post is about the bag. I couldn’t believe my luck when I stumbled on this vinyl appliqued bag on Etsy a few months ago. I’ve always had a thing for late 1960s-early 1970s designs of cottages (I know that is a pretty specific and weird thing to like, but I also like 1920s and 30s cottage designs, a topic perhaps for another post).

For example, the design on this midi skirt in this editorial from the December 1970s issue of Seventeen magazine called “Now You’re Part of the Earth Picture: Landscapes here and landscapes there. These you wear!” The skirt is by Bagatelle.

So, to find a similar design in vinyl cheered my animal-loving heart. The only label in the bag reads ‘Made in Japan’ but I was curious about its maker.

Then, a couple weeks ago, I was perusing Vogue magazines on the Youthquaker site and saw this page from the March 1970 issue of Vogue UK.

Now doesn't that bag look familar? The text reads: Pop goes the shoulder bag. Disney cottage garden, idyllic applique on spring green leather, silver chained. By Nigel Lofthouse, £19, Foale & Tuffin.

And then I found this image in a October, 1970 issue of French Vogue on the same site. 

The text states the source of the bag is ‘Renoma.’ Since this bag is nearly identical to the one above, except that it has a strap (like mine) instead of a chain and is a different color, I assume this is also made by Nigel Lofthouse and was sold at the hip Renoma boutique in Paris.

Same issue of French vogue includes this boot, but the caption is cut off.

This led me to a search for ‘Renoma’ and, lo and behold, I found an article with this photo.

This article states that the Renoma brothers’ fashions were favored by rock stars in the late 1960s and 1970s. In addition, they introduced a number of hippie American, English and Indian fashions and accessories into France. The year mentioned in the caption that accompanies the photo of the leather jacket can’t possibly be correct. “The year 1964 was a time of crazy tops and outlandish jackets.” Again the design is the same as on the Lofthouse bag.

I haven’t been able to find out much about Nigel Lofthouse accept that he designed jewelry and, later elaborate leather handbags, in the 1960s and 70s, and that his bags accessorized the collections of Jean Muir and Bill Gibb. And I've been unable to turn up any more images of these bags with landscapes. The closest thing is this belt

I’m guessing that my bag is a knock-off of the Lofthouse bag, likely also dating from the 1970s when it was still worth imitating. If you have any other insights or info on Lofthouse, please let me know.

Due to my computer difficulties, I’m extending my ‘label love’ round up challenge. I want to show off some interesting vintage clothing labels and I want to see yours -- any label that has a fun design, humorous name or is just graphically pleasing. Send me a link to a recent post that shows your favorite label(s) by December 16, and I’ll post a ‘round up’ with photos and a link to your post.

Joining in Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday get-together.

Friday
Nov302012

Collars and cuffs

The Hays Code went into affect in Hollywood in mid-1934 and determined what could and could not be shown in films (for example, a couple could not be shown in the same bed, crime could not go unpunished, and drug use was verboten).

This week, A and I went to see the pre-code cut of "Baby Face" with Barbara Stanwyck, made in 1933. Stanwyck plays Lily Powers, a small-town girl whose father prostituted her at age 14 (uh, yeah, that tidbit got cut out of the post-code version) and who eventually becomes a 'master of her own destiny' by sleeping her way to the top. You can read about the changes eventually made to the film to bring it up to code here (warning: there are spoilers if you plan to see the film).

Stanwyck's performance was stellar and the racy story was riveting. I was also riveted by Lily's costumes, particularly her office looks, as she her fortune rose.

As a bar girl "working the night shift" in her father's speakeasy, Lily wears a simple top with a pointy collar and white trim on the sleeves.

In her first office job in a bank in New York City, she wears a floral print dress suitable to her small-town past, with short, puffy sleeves that look girlish. The collar reminds me of a Puritan collar, perhaps suggesting the innocent image she was trying to convey. A very young John Wayne was her first conquest.

A few promotions later Lily wears a large crocheted collar and cuffs with a sleek, dark dress. I couldn't find more images online, but as her 'power' grows, her collars and cuffs become more elaborate.

Of course, once she no longer has to work, her everyday wardrobe consists of stunning velvet and satin gowns, ornamented with sequins and fur.

Have you seen the pre-code version of "Baby Face"? If so, please do let me know if you saw a similar progression in Lily's office outfits.

The screening that A and I saw included a discussion afterwards with my favorite director, Mike Leigh -- a treat all around.

Wednesday
Nov282012

A special dress for a special day

Yesterday was my birthday. This is what I wore.

Indian necklace purchased from yard sale. Bastar necklace purchased in India. Vintage amber beads I've had for decades. Vintage silver and bead necklace, present from A. 1970s maxi purchased from Rasberry Beret, Cambridge, MA. Fleur boots from Vegetarian Shoes, Brighton, UK.I purchased this dress recently and was looking for a special day on which to wear it, and yesterday was the day. I love this dress so much that I plan to do another post about it later.

A and I had a low-key celebration at one of my favorite restaurants in London. An Italian veggie restaurant, Amico Bio has lots of vegan options, fresh homemade food, a warm ambiance, and friendly staff.

These homemade grissini with roasted courgettes and aubergines made an impressive starter. I LOVE artichokes, here with quinoaMy boyfriend called ahead and asked if they could make a vegan dessert and serve it with a lit candle. They said they could. Well, as much as I love this restaurant, I have to say that the dessert was so bad as to be laughable.

They had simply covered three rice cakes (or pieces of Styrofoam, I'm not sure which) with chocolate and then served them layered with jam and bits of fruit. The chocolate and fruit were fine, but, in my view, rice cakes should not be classified as food. Frankly, I think the restaurant just threw together something from ingredients they had on hand and didn’t put any thought into actually making a dessert. At least A and I enjoyed a nice dinner and had a good laugh. I’ll still go back there; I just won’t be requesting any birthday cakes from them.

A had already given me a fabulous present – he funded my shopping expedition in Birmingham with Vix and Annie (although, I’m a pretty cheap date and spent less on four vintage dresses, two scarves, and a hat than most women spend on a new dress purchased retail).

He surprised me by also giving me the catalogue to the exhibition 'Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde' that we saw at the Tate Britain. Now, I get to paw over all those luscious color plates at my leisure.

I’m bummed that I’ll miss the lectures, ‘The Fabric of Art: Legacy of the Pre-Raphaelites in contemporary fashion’ on December 13 and ‘Why the Pre-Raphaelites are modern’ on January 7 at the Tate Britain.

Speaking of the Pre-Raphaelites, after my visit to the Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum, I had posted that I was obsessed with John William Waterhouse’s painting, The Lady of Shalott when I was in college.

This painting, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem that it is based on, come to life in a newly released short film by WAG Screen. You can watch it here:

Enjoy!