December 31, 2012

Happy New Year, Vixen!

We at Vintage Vixen want to wish you all a beautiful, fashionable 2013.  Cheers!

December 26, 2012

Jewelry in the Early 20th Century

1920s Egyptian Revival Necklace Set
1920s Egyptian Revival
From the Egyptian Revival jewels of the mid-1920s and early 1930s, to the gold chain necklaces of the 1940s, the fashioning of jewelry to accommodate modes of dress in the 20th century certainly mirrored political, social, and especially artistic trends. The excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 spurred the incorporation of Egyptian and stylized Oriental motifs in earrings, brooches, and necklaces. This exceptional necklace offers an idea of the exotic Egyptian-inspired works meant to grace the body with unique and eye-catching decorations. 

Miriam Haskell Pendant
The theme can also be observed in the following Miriam Haskell piece, which connects the 1940s draping gold chain motif design to a pharaoh’s mask and a carved scarab pendant. Fashions fluidly adapted to the times throughout the decades, and costume jewelry provided an affordable way to follow the changing styles when precious stones were not within one’s means. 

Edwardian Amethyst Glass
Another early 20th century movement which produced remarkably ornamented pieces of jewelry was Art Nouveau. The sensuous elements and the intense elaboration of the designs varied by country, yet the characteristics of the Art Nouveau style are unmistakable. Curls, coils, and romantic, symmetrically curved designs marked many of the unconventional necklaces, brooches, and pins produced throughout this period. Semi-precious stones also experienced popularity within the ornate designs. This was naturally dependent on consumer preferences and was also arguably proportionate to the growth of the Art Nouveau trend. The following two pieces demonstrate the primary facets of Art Nouveau’s signature distinctions. In the first, sinuous flowers and leaves connect to a lattice motif and frame a rectangular amethyst glass stone. The size of the pin suggests a versatility of use for a variety of dress styles and accessories. 

Edwardian Stone Trio Brooch
The second piece provides an example of three carved stones set within gracefully curving flowers and leaves. This intricate circular design rests on an ornate geometric background. The similarities and differences between these pieces illustrate the diversity of Art Nouveau jewelry.

Art Deco designs were also quite popular in the 1920s and 1930s, with their staged, geometrically sharp lines and the controlled, formalized motion of the jewelry’s focal point. Travel and exoticism were widespread themes for the designs, some of which included symbols of speed, transportation, and luxury, or alternatively, ancient historical motifs. ­ 

While this greyhound pin is from the 1960s/70s, the trend to use greyhounds or gazelles to signify fast and nimble animals dates to the 1930s. Pins and brooches in particular were produced to characterize the excitement of victory and speed on the racing track, often times with precious stones set within the geometric background. This motif is present on the rhinestone-studded blanket which has been placed on the greyhound’s sharply pronounced back.
Racing Greyhound

Brooches made in chrome and enamel, or plastic, were widely produced as well. In the United States, Art Deco jewelry was greatly shaped by Hollywood style, with artificial replacements for precious stones, and often restrained in color but glamorous in choice of background metal.

Although these artistic trends had unique characteristics, they continued to influence designs throughout the latter part of the 20th century. The rise of abstract, geometric patterns contributed to the emergence of a strikingly distinctive modernist style. Less ornate jewelry, with a more simplistic emphasis, became available in many materials, which provided increased accessibility to these trends for the general public. Modernist jewelry would come to be defined by soft abstraction, forgiving geometry, and understated sophistication. Perhaps this was an amalgam of complementary details, inherited from its diverse early roots. 

 -Blog post contributed by Ivayla Ivanova

December 14, 2012

Viewing The Collection

Cleaning up old files today, and I ran across this exquisite antique photo.  I wish I knew the origin of this one.  The clothes are heavenly, the room seems European, the salesman certainly eager to accommodate his visitors.  Such a beautiful glimpse at shopping more than one hundred years ago.

December 07, 2012

Rockabilly Dancer Mid-Twirl

A hepcat and his rockabilly kitten at the dance hall in the mid-1950s.

This fantastic image captures so many facets of rockabilly vintage fashion... First, we've got to acknowledge that incredible leopard jacket on the guy!  And note the triangle-pointed sideburns and quintessential two-tone shoes.  Super cool.... we'd like to see that closet.

But on to the Vixen... this gal, she's a-rockin!  And she's a stellar example of what goes on under a vintage full skirt of the 1950s.  Let's break it down... First, that skirt is a true circle.  You can tell because as she swings around, the fabric of the skirt hem lifts as high as the waist of it.  A skirt that skimps on fabric wouldn't flare up and out like that, instead it would just "bell" out with the hem remaining low.

Then there's the essential petticoat, probably in tulle or maybe organdy.  It looks like it's designed to be two layers, though we do hear of young ladies who doubled and tripled their petticoats in the 50s for extra "flounce".

Everything else from panties to shoes is a seductive black, a fabulous contrast with the light-colored dress.  The panties are probably full-cut like most in the 1950s, very much the look Bettie Page was known for.  The garters usually attach to a garter belt, though sometimes it's a panty-garter combo.  And the stockings are fishnet, of course.  Va-va-va-voom!

If you're looking for full-skirted vintage dresses, vintage panties, petticoats and anything else "unmentionable", check our site at for a huge selection - all authentic vintage!

Photo Source: The Way We Lived: The 20th Century.

December 02, 2012

Who Designed It | Vintage Ski Outfit

This skiing ensemble was designed by a name any vintage clothing collector knows... Do you know?  Here's some hints:
  • It's key that it's a skiing outfit.
  • He dabbled in men's wear (like this ensemble), but he's really known for women's clothing.
  • Though the photo is black and white, he's known for color.  Lots of color.
Be first to post the right answer and get a $10 gift certificate from!  We'll fill in the answer if there's no reply by December 9.