January 30, 2012

Vintage Barbizon Label Library

There are a few vintage clothing labels that truly chronicle a company's styles, usually by assigning interesting stylized names to their designs. Barbizon Lingerie is among the most creative!
Its signature nomenclature is spelled out on every label, including not only the name of the style but also the name of the fabric.

After fifteen years cataloging vintage clothes, we've accumulated quite a list of Barbizon styles & fabrics:

  • Denise
  • Fleur At Ease
  • Lady At Ease (one of the best Barbizon labels we've ever seen!)
  • Pegnoir (a version of the French peignoir, which means a nightie + robe set)
Half Slips - These are a play on the word "petticoat" for a full-skirted half slip.
  • Petti Dance
  • Petti-Penny
  • Petti Pet
  • Petti-Sweet
  • Petti-Whirl
Bed Jackets
  • Ariel
  • Cadet
  • Claudia
  • Dainty Puff (the "puff" labels were used for quilted bed jackets)
  • Jodie
  • Pretti Puff
  • Puffett
  • Bon Claire
  • Capricious
  • Celeste
  • Devonshire
  • Flattery
  • Meta
  • Pennell
  • Symphony
Full Slips
  • Acclaim
  • Ariel
  • Bryn Fair
  • Bryn Fit
  • Bryn Mawr
  • Endear
  • Elegant In Nylon
  • Encore
  • Jaunty Fit
  • Rhapsody
  • Trubeau
  • Lazy Sue
  • Skipper-At-Ease
  • Roxbury

Even the proportions of the item were sometimes described on the label, with petites labeled as Little Lady or Little Miss, compared to an average height item marked as Medium Miss.

Besides the style names, Barbizon prized its custom fabrics created just for its own collection. Example fabric names are:

Batiste - Usually seen in summer-weight house coats & nightgowns
  • Blendaire Batiste
  • Glendaire Batiste
  • Zephaire Batiste
  • Crepe Remarque
  • Crepe Gartiere
  • Josette Crepe Avant
  • Rayon Crepe Lagere
  • Satin Dosche
  • Satin Seraphim
  • Satin Sylfaire
  • Taffreda (likely Barbizon's most popular fabric)
Quilted Fabrics
  • Recollection Quilt
  • Seraphim Satin Quilt

If you've seen another Barbizon style or fabric name on a vintage label, let us know!

January 26, 2012

A Page From A French Fashion Magazine, April 1956

Ooh la la, mademoiselles! Torn from the pages of Plaisir de France:

Jeanne Lanvin suit ensemble in black rayon canvas.

White two-piece ensemble by Christian Dior.

Two-piece ensemble in white pique by Hubert Givenchy,
a favorite designer of Audrey Hepburn's.

Christian Dior robe du soir in white tulle and point d'esprit.

Au revoir, until next time Vixens!

January 21, 2012

Eye Candy: Malcolm Starr Circa 1967

Malcolm Starr was a high-end name in the 1960s, and it's a label still sought-after today by vintage fashionistas in the know. This glamorously avant garde pose was taken in 1967.

The gown is crepe-backed satin with pave` bands of beadwork. Originally sold at Miss Bergdorf of Bergdorf Goodman. Ring by David Webb.

View our current selection of Malcolm Starr for your own elegant vintage find!

Reference: Bazaar, September 1967

January 18, 2012

Hunting for Vintage Clothing?

With vintage clothing online, do you ever wonder where to shop first? Who might have something cute & affordable? When it comes to unique clothes like vintage it can be a labyrinth of choices.

Our site has one of the best vintage clothing search functions available, where you can narrow your search based on such variables as price, size, color, type of item and decade. You can even whittle down items by fabric content and fabric print!

In the coming weeks, we are also sharpening the focus of our basic search box - the small text box you see on the top of our pages at VintageVixen.com. The goal is to provide more predictable and desirable results based on your keywords.

Beyond our site, there's a nifty list of vintage clothing shops provided by She's A Betty. This blog is about living well on a budget, and being the excellent writer that she is, she's culled the best of vintage clothing sites based on price range.

View the directory by price, or A-Z, and get a Betty's eye view of vintage clothing on the web.

Disclaimer: We don't know this Betty personally, and we have no connection with her. We just like her. :)

January 13, 2012

The Next Best Thing To Paris

A friend of mine on Long Island once told me this wonderful anecdote:

Her aunt lived in New York in the 1920s & 30s. As a young woman, she was a fashion buyer of sorts. Her crafty mission was to shop Bergdorf Goodman for the very best designs, purchase one of each, and take them back to the sewing department where she worked at a lesser-priced department store. Then the seamstresses would copy each gown, line for line, and make up copies of the designers' originals.

Such investment in "the latest from Paris" was once a matter of course, when French fashion was the pinnacle of style. It wasn't until mid-century that the notion of an American designer climbing the ranks was even considered here in the US. For example, this 1940s suit speaks volumes about the French influence:

Its label is clearly inspired by Paris, yet just below "The French Shops" it tells us a much more mundane origin - Filene's Department Store in Boston. Yet the look is exquisitely Parisian, wonderfully executed. Back in the 40s we could wish for a French name to the point of emulation like this, even if we Americans couldn't technically create it or afford it.

A 1921 advertisement for a "millinery copyist". Such plagiarism of fashion
was more blatant before branding and licensing grew in importance.

Even Hollywood starlets were hard pressed to purchase French originals. Marsha Hunt, an ingenue signed by Paramount at the tender age of 17, had the difficult task of existing in the limelight with a limited budget for her personal wardrobe. It was 1934, and the cameras were focused on her. She writes "the choice arose: whether to splurge on a very few fine originals, or for the same money to buy a much greater variety of less expensive things".

Marsha Hunt in 1937, wearing a pretty frock probably from her own wardrobe - and probably a copy!

Of course our friend from Long Island could've copied all the "fine originals" and made a wardrobe for Ms. Hunt for much less. And this is indeed the direction Marsha went. She shopped "often and carefully" at department stores and smaller shops, always seeking and finding more than she could afford. Indirectly, the couturiers must have been dismayed at such activity. But at least, thanks to the copyists, there was even the possibility!

Source: The Way We Wore: Styles of the 1930s & '40s and Our World Since Then by Marsha Hunt

January 08, 2012

Coro Vintage Jewelry: White Is So Chic!

According to this 1958 vintage advertisement, this is jewelry with a fashion point of view! And it still is today. Back then, Coro was a maker of quality fashion jewelry at low price points. Nowadays, Coro is a fun and affordable way to wear vintage jewelry with little investment.

Corocraft was a division of Coro. The upper necklace shown is called Nouvelle, and the lower is Marquette. Both are pretty, and in this season of white snow and white sales, white jewelry seems quite fitting.

View our current selection of white vintage necklaces, white vintage bracelets, and white vintage earrings for a fresh perspective - White is so chic!

January 06, 2012

Undiscovered Vintage Designers: Jackfin

Vintage Jackfin Pant Suits Label
When I was a teenager and had just started VintageVixen.com, I soon found a label I loved: Jackfin. Back then, I didn't know if Jackfin had been produced for many years, or was exclusive to one decade.

It turns out they have a pretty specific profile in the world of vintage clothing. Jackfin labels tend to be:
  • made in the 1960s/early 70s
  • better quality ready-to-wear
  • not often seen, but not sought after by most collectors
  • almost always pants outfits

The look is clean, sophisticated and always well put-together, as the ensembles are usually a jacket & pant, or shirt & pant. Occasionally we will see a skirt set, and often the shirt and its separate have long since been parted, so you'll find just the one piece or the other.

I've always placed Jackfin as something a forward-thinker would wear, definitely a Women's Libber in the 70s, who thought of her clothes (even everyday outfits) as investments. Today they're surprisingly affordable, often priced less on our site than the vintage price listed on the original tag.

January 04, 2012

She's a Doll! 70s Paper Doll Fashions

In our travels, we run across some real treasures that we can't wait to share with you because they're so interesting and vintage clothing-related.

Straight from the vintage vault is this fabulous 1977 paper doll.
Introducing... Denim Deb!

Denim Deb's stylish attire for business or play.

It's a wonderful day for a picnic and so many clothes to choose from!

Denim Deb is feeling a bit more bohemian today with all these hippie clothes. It's a great day to relax and enjoy living in the 70s.

If you are looking at any of these pieces of clothing and are wishing they'd come to life, visit Vintagevixen.com to view our similar 1970s vintage clothes.

January 03, 2012

How To Score Vintage Shoe Soles

... and why you'd want to do it! Check our free fashion history & clothing care section for this new bit of vintage fashion advice.