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Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Violet Ice Cream Recipe! A Lady Violette Dream Desert

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Violet Ice Cream ~ A Lady Violette Dream Desert

I am dedicated to all things Violet and sharing them and found this Recipe for Violet Ice Cream  on Meera Freeman’s blog yesterday. I’m trying to get organized to make it this weekend. I literally have thousands of violets blooming in my yard. They are scattered throughout the grass as well as the flower beds which is alright with me!

Here is what she says:

After quite a bit of thought and fiddling around, I finally came up with a violet ice-cream recipe.  Not too much colour… very subtle flavour, most of it coming as an after-taste, like most perfumes  (think truffle, jasmine… an ethereal waft that floats between the nostrils and the tip of your tongue).

Violet Ice-cream

4 egg yolks
135g sugar
400 ml full cream milk
100 ml heavy cream, chilled
1 tbsp Monin violet syrup
1 tbsp violet liqueur (Creme de Violettes)
2 drops pink food colouring
2 drops blue food colouring

Heat the milk with half the sugar taking care not to let it boil.
Beat the yolks with the remaining sugar until the mixture is thick and white.
Slowly pour the heated milk over the yolk mixture, beating well.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and simmer, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon.
Make sure it doesn’t boil.  If you have a candy thermometer, the temperature of the mixture should reach 85°C.  Remove from the heat immediately. Stir well and add the chilled cream. Flavour with the violet syrup and liqueur and tint with the food colouring.
Cool completely and churn in an ice-cream churn.
Garnish with fresh or crystallised violets.

This is almost a frozen Violette Cocktail as it is flavored with violet liquor! It sounds so delicious!

I am grateful to Meera Freeman who is a cooking teacher and cookbook writer and photographer for coming up with this elegant recipe as it  sounds pretty grand to me! Thanks Meera!

The Daring Viktor Jessen – Filming Gaite Parisienne and The Ballet Russe

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Amazingly Viktor Jessen filmed the ballet without the Ballet Russe’s permission. This was an act of incredible daring as the administration was terribly strict!

Cameras are not allowed in the live theater to this day and it is strictly enforced. Here Gary Lemco writes about Jessen daringly sneaking into the performances to film night after night, about his amazing dedication to his project and his shear love of the ballet and its stars. The 12 minute segment of the DVD explains how it was done.

Gaite Parisienne by Viktor Jessen

Aren’t we fortunate!

Here is an exceptional experience for the film lover, the ballet enthusiast, and the history buff: a relatively unknown Danish film-maker, Victor Jessen (1901-1995) wanted, in his own words, “to make a permanent record on film of some of the most important works of the most perfect living art: The Dance.” Between 1943-1954, Jessen neglected his work as an engineer so he could sneak filmed performances–wearing black and shooting from high in the loge or balcony from the back of the box with a special camera wrapped to muffle its mechanical sound–of classic ballet works performed in Los Angeles by visiting ballet companies; to wit, the 1954 Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo production of Offenbach’s Gaite Parisienne as choreographed by Leonide Massine and produced and mounted by Frederic Franklin and company. Jessen called this venture “The Ultimate Daring,” since it required him to return each night to shoot with film magazines limited to 2.5 minutes of film and having to rewind every 30 seconds. He had to memorize which portions of the ballet he had missed to fill in the gaps. To capture the sound, Jessen returned with a tape recorder to capture the orchestra of the Ballet Russe in concert.
The result presents us an astonishing performance–a virtual circus of dazzling movement–of Gaite Parisienne, with its colorful cast of characters, with Frederic Franklin as the Baron; Alexandra Danilova as The Glove Seller; and Leon Danielian as The Peruvian. Rife with dazzling intricacies of movement, a perpetually busy stage, densely packed, the action follows the courtship by the Peruvian and The Baron of the lovely Glove Seller. Before she settles upon the Baron as her love, she leads the Peruvian on a merry course of poses and dances, including the famous Can-Can with the Corps de Ballet from Orpheus in the Underworld, only to dance the Barcarolle with the Baron and leave the Peruvian bereft.   The costumes, designed by Etienne de Beaumont, even in black and white, seem sumptuous–though in the documentary part we see them in living color–and they will remind more than one spectator of John Huston’s pageant for his film Moulin Rouge with Jose Ferrer. Many of the dances assume a Spanish sense of décor, not only French, though the movement of the waiters–their effortless athleticism–and the drooping gestures and pirouettes ooze with Gallic color by way of the Russian emigration into Paris. The lighting becomes another character on stage; and in the Barcarolle, the trail of dancers becomes a human gondola providing a backdrop for the lovely duet of the Glove Seller and the Baron.
The bonus track interview with principal Frederic Franklin and John Mueller proves equally fascinating. Massine joined the troupe in 1938 and immediately instituted his own concepts. He liked Danilova–whom Frederic Ashton dubbed “the Queen of the skirt-wagging roles”–and he liked Franklin because “Freddy does everything I show him.” Franklin recalls that while Gaite did not do well in Britain, it created a sensation in America: “we brought a ballet that was down to their level,” quips Franklin. “The piece did not have men in tights but cabaret people and waiters, the working class.
“We had some fine conductors: Efrem Kurtz, Pierre Monteux, Eugene Goossens, and even Stravinsky. We did have trouble once–with Leopold Stokowski–who led the Beethoven Seventh Symphony so fast no one could dance to it, so the dancers all left the stage in bits and pieces, leaving Stokowski to conduct a symphony instead of a ballet!” Franklin eulogizes Massine constantly, but also Mme. Karinska, the costumier who would lend Franklin Massine’s own pantaloons for The Baron, which were filled out in the calves to compensate for Massine’s bowl legs!
Franklin laments the difficulty of maintaining the Massine tradition in both dance and choreography: “the trouble lies in not having the same requirements–mostly theatrical–for ballet training any more. We came from the theater, and so we could project a character in mime and gesture. We had timing and characterization in our blood–and it’s very hard to teach. So some new choreographers are beginning to realize this passing tradition and insist that their corps de ballet do preparatory theater work.”
The 12-minute segment, “The Saga of Victor Jessen” uses still period photos from the 1920s and a few color shots to highlight this obscure pioneer in aesthetic film-making. His accidental discovery by Massine while shooting a ballet and making too much noise led to Massine’s angry remark, “Why don’t you use a blimp?” And that ‘blimp’ idea triggered the engineer’s design of a wrap for his camera that would muffle the sound; he even wrapped the shiny parts of the machine in black to make his entire presence ‘invisible.’ Once discovered in the balcony of the Met by an usher and anticipating the demise of his entire career, Jessen heard the usher exclaim, “That’s what I should be doing!” and found an ally. That anonymous usher is the recipient of a credit at the end of the documentary. “When I die I want my films to be shown to anybody,” stated Jessen. His wish is our command.
–Gary Lemco

http://audaud.com/2010/07/offenbach-leonide-massine%E2%80%99s-gaite-parisienne/

Victor Jessen’s Film of Massine’s Gaite Parisienne

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Here is information on the production details and how to procure the film of Victor Jesson’s Gaite Parisienne. This is the production starring Alexandra Danilova,  Fredric Franklin and Leon Danielian in its entirety. I have just ordered it and can hardly wait to receive it!

Here is another excerpt from the film of the Cancan scene: Can Can From Gaite Parisienne as filmed by Victor Jesson.

Here is an interview from Frederic Franklin on the Jessen Film: Frederic Franklin Interview – the Jesson Film.

This is totally fascinating!  A total treat for vintage ballet fans!

Enjoy!

 

Viktor Jessen and How He Filmed Gaite Pariesienne

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Arts

HOME VIDEO/NEW RELEASES; Underground Ballet

By JENNIFER DUNNING
Published: August 21, 1988

GAITE PARISIENNE Starring Alexandra Danilova (in photo), Frederic Franklin (in photo) and Leon Danielian, with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Video Artists International, Inc. 38 minutes.

Victor Jessen’s ”Gaite Parisienne” is the maddest of ventures. Mr. Jessen, a Danish-born engineer and single-minded balletomane, surreptitiously filmed Leonide Massine’s ”Gaite Parisienne” at performances between 1944 and 1954, using a primitive camera that had to be wound up every 30 seconds. In 1954, he spliced the pieces together to make a film of the whole ballet, set to a single performance of the Offenbach score.

The three stars remain the same: the superbly chic and merry Alexandra Danilova as the Glove Seller, a radiantly romantic Frederic Franklin as the Baron and a surprisingly sexy Leon Danielian as the giddy Peruvian. Some subsidiary roles are performed by a variety of dancers, with a new face showing only at the completion of a turn or a new performance indicated only by a sudden shift of lighting, for instance, at the top of a lift.

The keen-eyed will spot other ballet luminaries within the ranks. And the performances are not only of historical value, but offer an instructive antidote to American Ballet Theater’s hyperactive recent production. This ”Gaite Parisienne” is not for the novice. But balletomanes will treasure it.

Films of The Glove Seller in Gaite Parissiene ~ Additional Commentary

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Apparently I was having some trouble with the link to the Waltz of the Baron and the Glove Seller the link should be working now. It was working when we tested it, but I just redid it and tested it again.

I have since added the last two additional posts with the history and the libretto of the ballet and another post with a Warner Brother’s film of the Ballet Russe Production. To my knowledge this blog is the only place all this information and footage is gathered together and presented in one location on the web or any place else. I will continue to add to it as I locate more.

Some things to observe:
Note how the Glove Seller blows into the glove to open the fingers before slipping in onto the Peruvian’s hand! I love the many authentic nuances she has used to fill out the performance.

Unfortunately Warner Bros. did not see it fit to film her little glove shop stall which, in the original ballet set is filled with gloves of all shapes and colors hanging from the awning style roof and backdrop and displayed on the tray like table top that is slanted toward the audience and shows many gloves looking very enticing and colorful!  I am hoping to find a photo of that part of the set to post. The flower girl also had a stall of colorful flowers and flowers in buckets French street stall style that they don’t show in the film! Too bad because they were absolutely charming sets! And of course made you want to buy both gloves and flowers in every possible color and style!

If you look closely you should be able to see a pair of long black gloves tucked into the belt of the Glove Seller’s white ruffled dress during part of the dancing!

In the Ballet Russe redition there was much mime work in the role of the Glove Seller showing the customers her gloves for sale in the stage production. And some customers buying them and putting them on – adding them to their costumes and dancing with them on for the rest of the evening. Apparently Warner’s felt this was too still and boring for film audiences – another mistake on their part as the mime scenes in ballets as well as operas are very important to the dramatic rendering and telling of the stories.

I was taken to a stage production of this ballet by my mother when I was about 5 yrs old and it was so colorful and lovely I still remember the costumes and dancing. The Glove Seller was enchanting! She was charming and elegant beyond description! A great actress. The audience applauded with a standing ovation before she even began to dance. She was so loved and respected for her interpretation that this became a customary part of the audience behavior and really set the mood for exalted dynamic dancing. I did not see Danilova dance her role as she had retired by the time I was born and taken to the ballet! I was witness to her tradition in the performances I saw. Because she had passed her role on to other dancers and taught them her interpretation.

As you can see the colorful vintage ballet costumes were just lovely!

My mother had seen the original productions with Franklin and Danilova and talked a great deal about the impact they had on her. She loved the ballet and The Ballet Russes.

So far I have not been able to find a portrait of Alexandra Danilova in her glove seller costume.

I am sad that Warner’s didn’t get her performance on film. We have to thank Viktor Jessen, the invisible amateur filmmaker who, in the 1950’s dressed all in black and filmed the Ballet Russe production from the wings over and over for two years with an old wind up super 8 camera night after night and finally pieced together all the footage of the Danilova/ Franklin performance that is all that is available today! If he had not done it there would not be any record of Danilova’s dancing that role!

It is truly only within the last decade that it had become customary to regularly video tape dance performances. Most of the old famous ones are only memories passed down by those who saw them. My mother talked so much about Danilova that I felt as if I had seen her perform the role myself! Her impression was so strong that it was conveyed from one generation to another in this way! Amazing when you think about it!

Unfortunately film really cannot capture the mystery and beauty of live dance performances. It is impossible. But something is much better than nothing!
I am so grateful to this ballet fan of old ~ Mr. Jessen, for diligently filming the production he loved so much!

Interesting to note, the Ballet Russe would not announce who was going to be dancing the role of the Glove Seller before the performances so Jessen arrived and set up his camera and waited backstage to see who would come out! If it was Danilova and Franklin he would film it. If not, he would pack up his equipment and leave! He recorded the orchestra playing the music at a different performance, then grafted the tape and the film together! It isn’t always right on, but it is pretty good considering his early primitive equipment! Once again, you have got to love the guy and his dedication!

Another interesting note, Jessen was so quiet and unobtrusive that the dancers were not aware he was there, in the wings, filming them. Thankfully the management allowed him to do so!

I hope you enjoy the beautiful and colorful vintage dance costumes which are captured nicely in the Warner’s Bros. Production No wonder people loved going to live theater and seeing the gorgeous clothes as well as the performances. Remember the audiences dressed to the nines for the occasion as well.

As a child I was told that we must dress up our very best when we attended the theater to show our respect for the dancers, actors and musicians who have gone to so much super human effort to create this magnificent production for our enjoyment. I was told we owed it to them, to show our appreciation by looking beautiful as well!

I agree with this philosophy to this day. Attending live theater is a special occasion and a privilege and an opportunity to show our respect and appreciation to the performers. My mother said it was our responsibility as audience members to dress beautifully as that was our part of the entire performance and experience. I have always enjoyed upholding my end of it by dressing up for the occasion! And I really enjoy seeing other people who dress up too.

A couple of years ago I attended a performance of Pacific Northwest Ballet and a bevy of about a dozen teenage girls were attending the event together. They had all dressed up in 1950’s long vintage tulle pastel ball gowns and real fur stoles and jackets, complete with high heels and vintage jewelry and little tiaras to attend the ballet. They had all had their hair done and made it a real dress up occasion and they were absolutely lovely! Obviously! As I still remember them and am writing about it today! It was a rare sight to see these days. I think they will all remember the event for their entire lives as well! What fun!

Since there are few occasions now that demand us to dress up it is a great idea to create our own, as this group of girls did. I am sure they had as wonderful a time deciding what to wear and getting ready as they did watching the ballet. I didn’t carry a camera to the performance ( you are not allowed to photograph the dancers) but I wish I had to photograph the audience! I think I will try to smuggle one in my evening bag just for this purpose in when I go again!

Violette

How to Wash Your Vintage Leather Gloves ~ From A 1940’s Woman’s Home Companion

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Interestingly here are the exact directions as I wrote them yesterday that my grandmother passed onto my mother which were then passed on to me for washing my vintage leather gloves! I guess it was common knowledge back in the day! On the blog Livin’ Vintage: as Found in Washing Your Vintage Leather Gloves  is a wonderful article, with old black and white photos to illustrate the washing process from a 1940’s Woman’s Home Companion. Enjoy! And happy spring cleaning!

It is true that washing a pair that has previously been dry cleaned is disastrous! I did it and they shriveled up as tiny horrid looking mummy hands! Photo coming soon! Yuck!

Leather Gloves Will Wash ~ From a 1940's Woman's Home Companion

Collecting, Cleaning & Caring for Vintage Gloves ~ With Some Advice & Photos From Circa in Australia

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

A Clothesline Full of Freshly Laundered Colored Vintage Gloves From Circa Vintage Clothing ~ photo Nicole Jenkins

While looking for more information on fitting, finding, and caring for vintage gloves I came across these wonderful photograph and a source of more information from Nicole Jenkins of Circa Vintage Clothing in Australia. Nicole writes extensively about The Joy of Gloves, explaining some past fashion history, telling how gloves were fitted, as I explained previously, to your shoe size, what length to wear with which dress style, how to clean them, etc. She also carries some new vintage style cloth gloves in her store in larger sizes so that ladies whose feet are larger than a size 8 can – luckily – find gloves that will fit! I am going to contact her right away to find out what she currently has in stock! I am always searching for real vintage gloves and nice modern ones with vintage style. * I did check out the store and she currently has 21 pairs of beautiful vintage gloves in stock! Just gorgeous and beautifully photographed too! go to Circa Vintage Clothing on the link above and search for gloves to view them.

Crescendoe Fashion glove Advertisement ~ Circa 1951

My grandmother and my mother often wore cream or white leather gloves for special occasions and I distinctively remember them telling me how to put them on and how to care for them. You were to ease the glove on carefully like a second skin. At first it seemed a bit tight, but as it warmed to your body temperature it would stretch and mold to your hand to “fit like a kid glove.”

If the glove became just the slightest bit soiled you were to change to another pair. You were advised to wash the soiled ones as soon as possible, while wearing them on your hands, as if you were washing your hands, in very gentle soap, in a basin of lukewarm water. Rinse thoroughly, remove from your hands with care and roll up in a clean dry white towel to absorb excess water. You could blow into them, as if blowing up a balloon, to puff them up a bit from the inside. Then you were to lay them out, flat, away from heat and sunlight, to dry. When almost dry, preferably not quite completely dry, you were to put them back on and ease them over your hand, smoothing out the fingers and lengthening them, to cover you hand comfortably. The gloves looked a bit wrinkly after hand washing, but looked fine and elegant again after a few minutes on the warm human hand had eased out the wrinkles. With proper hand washing and care a high quality pair would last a long time. I still have several pairs that have lasted 40 ~ 50 years and are in excellent condition. Of course colored gloves should always be washed and dried separately from white ones lest the dye run and inadvertently tint the white and cream ones! Washing directions from a 1940’s Woman’s Home companion will be posted on my blog tomorrow complete with photo illustrations.

In the Joy of Gloves Nicole Jenkins tells of collections of gloves she has come across when buying entire wardrobes for her shop. That must be fun! Reading this made me remember reading a biography of film actress Vivian Leigh. Miss Leigh loved white gloves and generally went through about three pairs a day, as she changed them regularly to keep them pristine. The most amazing thing was, that when she died, 500 pairs were found, neatly lined up in drawers in her dressing room!

I would absolutely love to have 500 pairs of vintage gloves arranged and ready to wear like that!

On that note I will end this post with Nicole Jenkin’s photo of her freshly laundered white gloves hung out to dry!

Freshly Laundered White Gloves ~ photo Nicole Jenkins

Violette Evening Gowns in Delicate Violet, Lavender and Lilac Colors

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Marcia Cross Looking Beautiful in a Beautiful Light Lavender~Violet Evening Gown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m always on the lookout for pictures of beautiful examples of successfully designed and beautifully worn evening gowns and party dresses in variations of my signature color violet.

Any variation of violet qualifies. Thus violet, lilac, lavender, pansy purple, deep velvet purple, even blue~white, blue~violet, pink~violet, and yellow~violet colors could qualify as real violet flowers actually occur in the wild in all these variations. The colors of violets are very flattering on women of all natural colorings. I believe this is because violet is the color of a flower, thus a natural color. It is the color that attracts bees and butterflies the most  ~ which is why so many flowers naturally occur in variations of this color!

Violet van be delicate, as demonstrated in this ultra~feminine tiered tulle gown by actress Marcia Cross, or strong and sophisticated. Marcia looks delicate and young in this gorgeous dress! It is an almost frosty shade of cool light violet and looks beautiful with her pale pink~toned complexion. She wore a much different makeup palette than she usually does to compliment this dress. Her makeup is specially chosen to compliment and co~ordinate with her coloring and her gown in delicate cool tones, with a pink~violet lipstick, cool pink blush and violet and lavender eye shadows. She normally wears apricot tones to compliment her red~head coloring, but she looks wonderful in this violet inspired makeup in this gorgeous flower~like dress.

Christian Dior famously said, “I design flower women.” when he came out with his New Look Collection. When I saw Marcia Cross in this amazing dress I immediately thought of his famous saying because I telt she epitomized his idea. I think Dior would have approved of this design and the way she wears it. Of course it is a beautiful dress on its own, but she makes it even more beautiful because she wears it perfectly.

Vintage Violet Makeup From Christian Dior ~ a Lady Like Halloween Look!

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Christian Dior ~ Paris ~ 2009

It is always fun to dress up somehow for a special holiday. I like trying out an extreme high fashion look for Halloween ~ something from a runway show that is too far out for me to sport in real life.

Not because I think it I too far out! Because the people I interact with would be too shocked. I live in a conservative area where you can only wear looks like this for holidays and special occasions.

This purple eye makeup and dark purple 30s inspired half moon manicure with deep plum/violet lipstick applied in a rosebud shape is great fun. It will give me a chance to actually use all five of the purple eye shadows in my five pan compact at the same time! I usually only use three.

So, I will be trying it tomorrow ~ for Halloween! To wear with a dark purple velvet slinky 1930’s evening dress.

The Dior 5 color eyeshadow palette used in this design is called Night Butterfly # 173 and the lipstick is called Decadent Plum. They are both from the Dior Jazz Club Collection for Fall/Winter 2009. The manicure is done with a beige for the moon and a dark purple for the main nail. More information on this exact makeup can be found on the Dior websites, but it is possible to achieve the look with similar colors from other makeup lines as well.

I really like the butterfly wing sweep shape of the eyes and I think it could be done in several color combinations ~ such as blues and teals, or blues and purples together. I love the idea of this design inspired by a butterfly’s wings and am anxious to try it in various colors ~ taking my inspiration from real butterflies. To me this photograph and design are just for inspiration!

For a fabulous tutorial on how to do the Dior’s 1920’s look check out this great tutorial.

Traveling in Violet is Possible ~ A Beautiful Purple Airport Fashion

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Dita Glamorously Making Her Way Through an Airport

It’s always hard to know what to wear to the airport and on the plane these days. But traveling, even getting there, can be an event worth planning a fabulous outfit for. Just for fun or, who knows who you might run into in an airport? Or meet on the plane? There is always the possibility of the photographers and fans following you. Thus, as Dita demonstrates, it is a great thing to always be well beautifully dressed, fully made up and perfectly prepared.

Dita Von Teese loves to dress up! Today I found this photo of her in a gorgeous purple trench coat with a huge fur collar in an airport! Marvelous traveling clothes! And I love her huge sunglasses which appear to have purple tinted lenses in the photograph.

Dita lives glamor 247. She obviously loves it and has a great time doing it. I love seeing what outfit she is going to come up with next! I don’t know who designed her coat or whether it is new or vintage. I do know that it is lovely! I would love to have one like it!

It seems to me that surrounding yourself in cloud of hazy violet light like this while en route could take the grunge out of traveling and make it much more pleasant.

I think I am going to dress up in a really fancy vintage coat with a fur collar the next time I fly someplace. Thanks for the inspiration Dita!

” I advocate glamour every day, every minute. Glamor above all else.” Dita Von Teese

Wonderful Mae West’s Vintage Viewpoint on Models! and Herself!

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Lovely, Curvy, Self Confident Mae West

“I’m no model lady. A model’s just an imitation of the real thing!” ~  Mae West

With all the controversy over models, their size, photo retouching and digital alterations to their appearances these days I loved this quote I found by Mae West.

Mae was no will o’ the wisp and she prided herself on being a real woman. Both men and women loved her earthy gutsy style. Mae was wonderful! And she had a great influence on fashion bringing back interest in the real female form after the 1920’s fad for the boyish flapper shape. Just look at those curves! Mae knew how to dress her body!

 

Revlon’s Ultra Violet Cosmetic Ad ~ Trick & Treat in Advertising & a Good Idea for a Halloween Costume!

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Dorian Leigh in the 2nd Revlon Ultra Violet ad of 1946

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE POWER OF ILLUSIONS IN ADVERTISING

There were two versions of the Ultra Violet ad I have been discussing lately made by Revlon in 1946 featuring Dorian Leigh. This is the second one. I love the way she looks and the colors in the ad, but I think some of the flowers are lilacs, not violets! Both types of flowers are purple so they are alluding to violets through color. Lilacs are tougher than violets and probably held up better under the hot photographic lights used on the sets in those days. They do appear to have used real flowers because you can see them drooping in places. They don’t seem to be holding up during the shoot as as well as Dorian did! The poor little things look like the heat from the lights was wilting them. Meanwhile, Dorian looks fresh as a daisy!

Also, I can tell that Dorian is wrapped in a violet colored sheet, not a beautiful designer gown. This disappoints me! I want to see her in an exotic creation ~ a dress or evening gown by Charles James or Christian Dior or Cecil Beaton for example. Cecil Beaton is the photographer here. I wonder why he wasn’t asked to make a special violet gown for this occasion? (Budget constrictions, perhaps?) She is wearing real jewels which were loaned out for the occasion by Harry Winston. She is every bit as beautiful as they are!

It is interesting to note, here, that Cecil Beaton was a costume and fashion designer par excellence and also created magnificent hats. He later did the costumes for the film My Fair Lady which included spectacular dresses and hats for the Ascot Races. He could have designed something magnificent for Dorian to wear in this campaign had Revlon been up for that! I’m sure it would have been worth the extra money!

Given that they had only a cotton sheet and a straw sun hat (again not a designer creation!) to work with for costuming, she and Beaton did a pretty good job of creating the illusion of glamor in these two photographs that made Revlon over $3 million dollars in 1946! Wow! On this one color alone! Ultra Violet was quite popular. Dorian was so elegant and charming that she could sell anything even wrapped in a sheet! They draped and tied it around her like a giant scarf, so this is an example of creative scarf tying and styling! Cecil Beaton was a master of illusion as a photographer, stage and costume designer. Between them, Dorian and Cecil were able to trick the female public into seeing this ridiculous set up as glamorous and treating themselves to the Ultra Violet cosmetics so that they could look just like Dorian.

Considering the amount of money Revlon spent on the ad campaign and the amount of profit they made back from doing it they should and could have sprung for a decent dress for their top model! Charles Revson was infatuated with Dorian and wanted to marry her. She turned him down repeatedly. I wonder why? Don’t you? I haven’t found out the reasons yet, but will post that juicy tidbit of information when I do. I suspect she may have found him cheap! Suzy Parker, Dorian’s sister, complained that Revlon paid them “peanuts” for modeling for these ads. The girls knew that Revlon was nothing without them, but Revlon hadn’t realized the value of its models yet. They didn’t until Lauren Hutten came along in the 1970’s and demanded an exclusive contract. That was the beginning of the big money for women who modeled in cosmetic ads.

This getup has gotten me thinking that I could make an Ultra Violet Girl costume to wear for Halloween! I always try to come up with a violet theme being Lady Violette. All I would have to do is apply my makeup like Dorian’s vintage makeup design in the picture; then, dye a white sheet violet in Ritt dye in my washing machine, artfully wrap and drape it as they have done in the photograph, pile on some costume jewelry, plop my big violet colored straw hat on my head and cover myself with artificial violets and lilacs which can be bought in garlands or individual stems at craft stores. I could even make myself a round box like the powder box she is holding, label it Ultra Violet, and hold it out for my treats! A little small for candy? I don’t want candy! I want big girl treats ~ some of those Harry Winston treats like Dorian’s will be just fine and should fit perfectly and discreetly in my little treat box!

 

Violet / Lavender Face Powder ~ Who Wore it First? John Singer Sargeant’s Muse, Madame X, of Course!

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Madame X by John Singer Sargeant 1884

It is always amusing to me to see who claims to have devised beauty treatments and colors first. I know for a fact that Revlon was not the first to come up with the idea of lavender or violet tinted face powder. Incidentally, both of these names refer to the same thing/color ~ a light purple. Whichever name is used is whichever appeals more to the creator of the face powder under discussion and works best for marketing it. The color and concept has been around for a very long time in France, England, Italy, Spain and the United States and there are many references to it in women’s literature and antique beauty manuals. Revlon claiming to have invented the color violet for face powder and cosmetic use in 1946 for their Ultra Violet campaign was simply a marketing ploy.

Lavender and Violet face powder ? … You may wonder, what is it’s purpose?

Well, originally it was considered an exotic makeup color, which it is, and it was scented delicately with violet or lavender perfume.

A Photograph of the Original Painting as Sargeant Displayed it in the Paris Salon of 1884 with Madame X Jeweled Strap Slipping Off Her Shoulder Which Caused a Scandal. He Repainted the Strap on Her Shoulder as We Know the Painting Now in an Attempt to Appease the Social Critics of the Time and Salvage His and His Subjects Reputations

Cosmetic and makeup specialists told women it would tone down a yellow complexion, making it much more attractive and desirable, giving it a more balanced white and pink look. Thus it was recommend as a color corrector. There is quite a bit of it available on the market today from various companies claiming to do this. Honestly, I do not know if it works. I cannot prove it by trying it out on myself because I do not have a yellow complexion. If someone out there has experience with this, please let me know how this works for you.

Study for Madame X

Next, it was marketed as an desirable colorful look in makeup as well as a delicate attractive floral scent. Honestly, I do know that this works! I have several violet and lavender colors of eye shadow powders, blushes, lip sticks and glosses, nail lacquers, and a luscious violet tinted loose face powder from Borghese which I love for its exotic color effect as a finishing touch to a violet themed face makeup.

 

 

 

 

I personally believe that John Singer Sargeant’s Muse, Madam X, who was Madame Virginie Amilie Avegno Gautreau in real life, used it this way and brushed it over her famous decolletage and white shoulders as well. I enjoy thinking about her doing that when I am applying the powder myself. I find the rituals of applying makeup very interesting and satisfying and filled with historical references. Women have always adorned themselves and I love getting inspiring ideas from history and literature on beauty and makeup. I have long been on the lookout for references in art and literature to use as inspiration.

Currently, purple, violet, and lavender is a very popular makeup color, and is offered in every conceivable shade and variation by many respectable cosmetic lines. These range from the most delicate hint of light violet to the darkest deepest almost black purple hue and every shade and variation of formula in between. Purples and violets and lavenders are made in nail polishes, lipsticks, eye shadows, blushes, mascaras, eyeliners, and powders of every imaginable type. I am always exploring these offerings because I love the color! The violet is my personal flower and violet is my personal color as well. As Lady Violette it is also my name, and it follows, of course, that violet should be foremost in my personal makeup palette.  And, as I have explained before having a personal flower and a personal color gives a woman a theme to explore in her dressing and grooming and the creation of her personal signature look. This is very useful as it gives one a starting point. I think Madame X would have loved all these modern purple these cosmetics!

Study for Madame X Sargeant 1883

Interestingly, there is no color on the current market that comes across as the ruby red infused with violet glimmer that Revlon’s Ultra Violet of 1946 claimed to be! I will be first to know if one comes out! And I’ll post that information immediately! I have not seen the 1946 Ultra Violet by Revlon in person. It came out way before my time! And I have yet to locate a vintage example, but I am looking for one! I deduce that the color so named was the color of the nail lacquer and the lipstick and the powder was a very softly, lightly violet tinted face powder sold to compliment the lips and tips that were done up in Ultra Violet.

 

Madame X Unfinished 1884

My own favorite wearer of this shade of face powder historically was Madame X ~ Virginie Amilie Avegno Gautreau, the Parisian socialite painted by John Singer Sargeant. She wore lavender face powder and prided herself on her appearance. Her use of this shade of cosmetic face powder was written about and documented as early as 1880. She was well known for wearing it in Paris. I doubt she actually invented it, or was the earliest person to wear it, but she became famous for her beauty and her use of this daring color was unusual at the time. Personally, I love Madame X and Sargeant’s drawings and paintings of her. And yes, I have seen many of them in person and they are masterpieces in my opinion. I am grateful to both the sitter and the painter for creating them. I am an ardent admirer of Sargeant’s art work and of Virginie Gautreau as a woman of great interest and beauty. I recommend seeing the painting in person if you get the chance. I also recommend reading about Madame X ~ there are several good biographies on her and several good books on Sargent the artist as well. They are both great inspiration to me ~ as people and as artists. I consider the great beauties of her type to be artists. Isn’t a beautiful woman, after all, a living moving work of art? A living sculpture? I think this way because I am a classically trained dancer and dancers are trained to think of themselves this way in relation to line, space, volume, form and color.

Madame X with champagne in an oil sketch by Sargeant

I, personally, first became consciously aware of violet and lavender face powder when I learned that Madame X had worn it so famously in Paris in the 1880s. Thus, for me, she is the person I know of who wore it first. When I ask the question, ” Who wore violet or lavender face powder first? ” her name immediately pops into my mind as the answer. So, you see, as far as I am concerned, just for me, she wore it first! Since no one really knows who dreamed it up initially, this answer will suffice for me! She is beautiful, exotic, mysterious and intriguing so her association with the color is perfect from an imaging standpoint.

Following is from the Wikipedia entry on The painting The Portrait of Madame X.

Portrait of Madame X

John Singer Sargent, Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), 1884, oil on canvas, 234.95 x 109.86 cm, Manhattan: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Madame X or Portrait of Madame X is the informal title of a portrait painting by John Singer Sargent of a young socialite named Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau, wife of Pierre Gautreau. The model was an American expatriate who married a French banker, and became notorious in Parisian high society for her beauty and rumored infidelities. She wore lavender powder and prided herself on her appearance.

Madame X was painted not as a commission, but at the request of Sargent.[1] It is a study in opposition. Sargent shows a woman posing in a black satin dress with jeweled straps, a dress that reveals and hides at the same time. The portrait is characterized by the pale flesh tone of the subject contrasted against a dark colored dress and background.

For Sargent, the scandal resulting from the painting’s controversial reception at the Paris Salon of 1884 amounted to the failure of a strategy to build a long-term career as a portrait painter in France.[2]

Background

Renowned for her beauty, Gautreau represented the parisienne, a new type of Frenchwoman recognized for her sophistication. The English term ‘professional beauty’, referring to a woman who uses personal skills to advance to elite status, was also used to describe her.[3] Her unconventional beauty made her an object of fascination for artists; the American painter Edward Simmons claimed that he “could not stop stalking her as one does a deer.”[4] Sargent was also impressed, and anticipated that a portrait of Gautreau would garner much attention at the upcoming Paris Salon, and increase interest in portrait commissions. He wrote to a friend:

” I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. If you are ‘bien avec elle’ and will see her in Paris, you might tell her I am a man of prodigious talent.”[5]

Although she had refused numerous similar requests from artists, Gautreau accepted Sargent’s offer in February 1883.[6] Sargent was an expatriate like Gautreau, and their collaboration has been interpreted as motivated by a shared desire to attain high status in French society.[7]

Studies

Little progress was made during the winter of 1883, as Gautreau was distracted by social engagements, and was not by nature inclined to the discipline of sitting for a portrait. At her suggestion, Sargent traveled to her estate in Brittany in June, where he commenced a series of preparatory works in pencil, watercolors, and oils.[8] About thirty drawings resulted from these sessions, in which many poses were attempted. Like the eventual portrait, an oil sketch entitled Madame Gautreau Drinking a Toast (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum), shows the subject’s profile and bare arms against a dark background, but is of a more freely brushed and informal character.

Just as she had been in Paris, in the country Gautreau was bored by the process of sitting; here, too, there were social engagements, as well as the responsibilities of tending to her four-year-old daughter, her mother, house guests, and a full domestic staff. Sargent complained of “the unpaintable beauty and hopeless laziness of Madame Gautreau.”[9]

Execution

As in his previous entries to the Salon, The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit and El Jaleo, Sargent chose a canvas of dimensions large enough to ensure notice on the crowded Salon walls. The pose proved to be different from any of those tried in the preliminary works. It necessitated that Gautreau stand with her body facing the artist while her head was turned away, her right arm extended behind her for support, her hand on a low table; the result was to create tension in the neck and arm as well as to emphasize the subject’s elegant contours.[10] For painting the artificial tone of Gautreau’s pale skin, Sargent used a palette composed of lead white, rose madder, vermilion, viridian, and bone black.[10]

Even when composition had been decided upon and painting started, work progressed slowly. In a letter to a friend Sargent wrote “One day I was dissatisfied with it and dashed a tone of light rose over the former gloomy background…The élancée figure of the model shows to much greater advantage.”[11] On September 7, Sargent wrote “still at Paramé, basking in the sunshine of my beautiful model’s countenance.”[11] By the fall, Sargent’s interest in the venture was nearing completion: “The summer is definitely over and with it, I admit, is my pleasure at being at Les Chênes (Gautreau’s estate).”[12]

Description

There is an assertion and showiness in the expanse of white skin — from her high forehead down her graceful neck, shoulders, and arms. Although the black of her dress is bold, it is also deep, recessive, and mysterious. She is surrounded by a rich brown which is at once luminous and dark enough to provide contrast to the skin tones. Most disconcerting is the whiteness of the skin, an overt contrivance of “aristocratic pallor”; by contrast her red ear is a jarring reminder of the color of flesh unadorned.[7]

Sargent chose the pose for Gautreau carefully: her body boldly faces forward while her head is turned in profile. A profile is both assertion and retreat; half of the face is hidden while, at the same time, the part that shows can seem more defined than full face.

Sargent in his Paris studio, ca. 1885

The table provides support for Gautreau, and echoes her curves and stance. At the time, her pose was considered sexually suggestive. As originally exhibited, one strap of her gown had fallen down Gautreau’s right shoulder, suggesting the possibility of further revealment; “One more struggle”, wrote a critic in Le Figaro, “and the lady will be free”. (Perhaps unknown to the critic, the bodice was constructed over a metal and whalebone foundation and could not have possibly fallen; the shoulder straps were ornamental).

The image’s erotic suggestion is of a distinctly upper-class sort: unnaturally pale skin, cinched waist, severity of profile and an emphasis on aristocratic bone structure all imply a distant sexuality “under the professional control of the sitter”, rather than offered for the viewer’s delectation.[7]

Classical sources, such as the figures in a fresco by Francesco de’ Rossi (Il Salviati), have been suggested as inspiration for the pose.[13] The painting features several subtle classical references: sirens of Greek mythology adorn the table’s legs, and the crescent tiara worn by Gautreau symbolizes the goddess Diana. The latter was not contrived by the artist, but was part of Gautreau’s self-display.[11]

Reception

Antonio de La Gandara, Madame Pierre Gautreau, 1898.

While the work was in progress, Gautreau was enthusiastic; she believed that Sargent was painting a masterpiece.[14] When the painting first appeared at the Paris Salon under the title Portrait de Mme *** in 1884, people were shocked and scandalized; the attempt to preserve the subject’s anonymity was unsuccessful, and the sitter’s mother requested that Sargent withdraw the painting from the exhibition. Sargent refused, saying he had painted her “exactly as she was dressed, that nothing could be said of the canvas worse than had been said in print of her appearance”.[15] Later, Sargent overpainted the shoulder strap to raise it up and make it look more securely fastened. He also changed the title, from the original Portrait de Mme ***, to Madame X — a name more assertive, dramatic and mysterious, and, by accenting the impersonal, giving the illusion of the woman archetype.

The poor public and critical reception was a disappointment to both artist and model. Gautreau was humiliated by the affair, and Sargent would soon leave Paris and move to London permanently.

Aftermath

Sargent hung Madame X first in his Paris studio, and later in his studio in London. Starting in 1905, he displayed it in a number of international exhibitions. In 1916, Sargent sold the painting to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, writing to its director “I suppose it is the best thing I have ever done.”[16][17] A second, unfinished version of the same pose, in which the position of the right shoulder strap remained unresolved, is in the Tate Gallery.[17]

Seven years after Sargent painted Madame Gautreau, Gustave Courtois painted her. As in the earlier painting, the portrait shows her face in profile. She wears the same style of dress, with Courtois’s portrait showing a bit more skin. The strap of her dress hangs off her shoulder much as it had in Sargent’s portrait. This time, however, the portrait was well received by the public. In 1897 Gautreau posed yet again for a standing portrait, for what would be her favorite version, by Antonio de la Gandara.[12]

Revlon’s Amazing 1946 Ultra Violet Ad with Beautiful Dorian Leigh Photographed by Sir Cecil Beaton

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

The Lovely Dorian Leigh Photographed by Cecil Beaton for Revlon’s 1946 Ultra Violet Lipstick & Nail Polish Ad Campaign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything about this 1946 Revlon Ultra Violet ad is amazing. First the color was really unusual and new at the time. It was a ruby red infused with a heavy dose of violet glimmer. They made an Ultra Violet trio of lipstick, nail polish and violet tinted face powder. The ad featured luscious Dorian Leigh, draped in a violet colored sheet and covered with bunches of violets. It was photographed by none other than Cecil Beaton. But that wasn’t only the beginning!

Time Magazine Monday Sept. 23, 1946 published this report on the Ultra Violet advertising launch: Remember, as you read this that this was in 1946!

ADVERTISING: Such a Color!
Monday Sept. 23, 1946
Violets, who’ll buy my violets? Take these cupid eyes of blue. Let them lead you for diversion On a little spring excursion From the old love to the new. On the peculiar workings of the advertising mind—as represented in New York’s McCann-Erickson agency—this saccharine ditty from the 1926 hit parade recently had a cataclysmic effect. For weeks the agency had been searching its accounts for a product that could be used as a tie-in to promote a lipstick and nail polish called “Ultra Violet,” put out by Manhattan’s Revlon Products Corp. It had also been worrying over the same sort of thing for Columbia Recording Corp.’s Dinah Shore. Then several of its geniuses remembered the old song. It was a natch. Lyric writers changed the first line to ‘Who will buy my ultra violets?” and substituted “fall” for “spring.” Dinah Shore recorded it. Admen hastily readied a $100,000 campaign for Dinah which mentioned Revlon and a $500,000 campaign for Revlon which mentioned Dinah. Copywriters rose to inspired heights: ‘Words can but weakly designate [the color] as ‘an unearthly violet fired with rubies! . . .’ Never before—perhaps never again—such a color!”
Within a fortnight the ultra violets will burst into full bloom on records, on the air, in ads everywhere.
For Revlon, which sells more lipstick and nail polish (other products: powder, rouge) than anyone else, all this was just new gilt on an old lily. When they founded Revlon in a $25-a-month office in 1932, Brothers Charlie, Martin and Joe Revlon decided to capitalize on names, beginning with their own. They had another cardinal principle: a woman’s most important points, unless she’s in a bathing suit, are her eyes, lips, hair and hands.
They started with nail enamels, soon did so well that they moved into their present smoke-grey quarters on Fifth Avenue, where they now promote two different shades a year (Charlie first decides on the name of the shade, then tries to get a color to fit it).
The Ultra Violet campaign is the costliest that Revlon has ever launched, may swell the company’s 1946 advertising bil to over $3 million. What Revlon expects in return, like all other figures in the industry, is a closely guarded secret. But largely on the sale of dollar lipsticks and 60¢ nail polishes which cost the makers about 10¢ to manufacture, Revlon this year will gross “well into the eight-figure bracket.”

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,777163,00.html#ixzz1bafRkblG

The Lady Violette Look of Vintage Haute Couture ~ Dorian Leigh

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Dorian Leigh in Amazing Violet Ensemble

Today I found this vintage Revlon makeup ad and I fell in love with the Beautiful Vintage Violet Hat and Gown, the Jewels and the Makeup!

Isn’t this gorgeous! This is Suzy Parker’s glamorous older sister Dorian Leigh who also modeled for many famous Revlon cosmetic ads. I love everything about this Vintage Violet Garden Party Ensemble ~ the hat, the gown, the makeup, the amazing earrings, her hair, and her fabulous attitude! She has it down! It being the Lady Violette Look of vintage haute couture.

I think this ensemble would be fabulous to wear to a contemporary wedding or any amazing formal outdoor garden party.

And the makeup is, again, just beautiful. She is wearing violet eyeshadow. And take note, her natural nails are filed to almost points ~ very long and graceful nearly pointed ovals! I love the combination of the violet eyes and bright 1950s red lips and fingertips. And the matching “lips and tips” of course!

Gorgeous delicate technicolor influenced color overload! Revlon was incomparably sophisticated back then! Women strove to look like this! It was high maintenance, but so so worth the effort!

Dorian Leigh was a brilliant woman as well as a great beauty. She had a degree in engineering, was a math wizard, an award winning chef who opened several successful restaurants in Paris, an author of several books, and opened and ran a modeling agency in Paris. She lived to the ripe age of 91. Not only did she look like this, she was also extremely well educated and accomplished. Her biography is titled Th Girl Who Had Everything.

Suzy Parker’s Trademark Makeup Circa 1950s ~ How To Achieve Her Vintage 50s Look ~ Recreated by Lady Violette de Courcy Using Cosmetic Products Available in 2011

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Suzy Parker in Her Trademark Makeup Circa 1950s

Suzy Parker’s Trademark Makeup was gorgeous in the 1950s. In those days models did their own hair and makeup most of the time. I have the same natural coloring as Suzy so I have always wanted to recreate her look to the best of my ability using products available today. I achieved this successfully today so I am going to share how I did it and what products I used.

Pre~Makeup: Start with a clean, conditioned face. The exact steps and products I used follow:

1) cleanse ~ MyChelle Honeydew Cleanser

2) tone ~ Lancome Tonique Radiance

3) apply serum ~ Elizabeth Arden Bye Lines

4) moisturize ~ Lancome Absolue Pemium RX

5) apply eye cream ~ Lancome Absolue Eye Premium RX

6) apply primer ~ Smashbox Photo Finish

MAKING UP: Step 1 ~ 10

1) Concealer ~ Estee Lauder Smoothing Cream Concealer, color Smooth Ivory -01C, applied with brush, to cover dark circles under eye to lash line and innermost corner of the eye, then blend with fingers.

2) Foundation ~ Nars sheer glow liquid foundation in color Siberia (the lightest foundation on he market that I know of) pat over the entire face with fingers.

3) Powder ~ Chanel Plein Jour in color Daylight Perfecting Pressed Powder – dust over entire face with a Kabuki Brush ( This is in a compact which you can carry in your purse, 50’s style for touch ups!)

4) Blush ~ Paula Dorf “Tootsie” color blushing powder, apply to cheekbones (see photo) with a blush brush. Also brush a bit over chin, into hairline, and over earlobes.

5) Lipstick ~ Chanel #70 Rouge a Leveres Red Coromandel, apply carefully directly from the tube as they did in the 50s. You can do so, perfectly, with a little practice. I recommend learning to do it this way so that you can skillfully reapply your lipstick, using the mirror in your powder compact, in public, like they did in the fifties and 60s. This is such a charming feminine vintage gesture, fascinating to behold and it drives men wild! ( Practice at home until you get it down skillfully as you don’t want to fumble with all eyes glued to you in a restaurant! or other public place.)

A vintage trick to keep your red lipstick from rubbing off on your teeth: Apply a generous coat at home, blot with a tissue, then stick your finger in your mouth, pucker up, and pull your finger out of the center of your mouth dragging it over your lips to remove the excess color that would otherwise come off on your teeth. Like magic, you have removed the exact right amount in the right place to avoid staining your teeth! This really works and doesn’t remove the color from your lips! When you reapply your lipstick in public you will just be touching up. You don’t need or want to do this move in the public eye! It would look awful and you would have lipstick all over your finger too! It is necessary to clean it off your hand after this maneuver. This should only be done at home before you leave the house. You can blot, later in the day, in the ladies room, if necessary, never in public!

If you need to define your lips with a pencil or keep them from feathering you can use a lip liner to do so after applying the lip color via your lipstick. You can use a lip brush to soften and blend hard edges if necessary. It has become customary to use a lip brush and liner to apply dark and bright colors that require precise application over the last couple of decades. They did not do his in the 50s. They applied their color straight from the tube and managed to it neatly freehand. It is not hard to develop that skill and also allows you to eliminate steps from your routine which is liberating! I personally prefer to do it the old fashioned way, particularly during the day when away from home! Remember, practice makes perfect, and it takes only a few tries to get it down to a science.

6) Lip Liner Pencil ~ if you need one I recommend Christian Dior’s Holiday Red which has been around for literally decades, or Lorac 03 pencil. The Dior lip pencil comes with a brush on one end. I also like the Dior lip brush.They didn’t have lip gloss in the 1950s. If they wanted shine they used a tiny dab of Vaseline. This was usually done only for photographs as it made your lipstick stick to your teeth in real life wear ~ the thing we are trying to avoid when waring red lipstick to attain a charming vintage look!

7) Brows ~ Pluck your brows neatly the night before applying your makeup. Suzy’s thin, highly arched brows are tweezed thin, then filled in and drawn on in an exaggerated arch with extended outside ends using only one sharpend pencil in an auburn shade to match her famous ref hair. I have searched and searched and experimented a lot to get the right color and styling tool for these brows. The very best tool and color in the cosmetic business is Chanel’s Sourcils Brow Definer in Auburn. It has a great pencil in a great color with a great little comb/brush for grooming your brows and blending the color on one end. It is the perfect eyebrow tool. I have used it to create brows just like these on myself freehand for a decade now and I love it! Of course it comes in other colors as well!

The only other brow tools you should ever need are an old soft toothbrush to brush your eyebrows out, and a tweezer man slant edged tweezer for a little plucking and shaping as needed. If you have an unruly brow now and then smooth them down at night to train them while you sleep with a heavy coat of Vaseline , then comb them neatly into place with the toothbrush and in the morning they should be trained to behave themselves! The Vaseline soothes any irritation you might have gotten from avid plucking while you sleep as well. I love thin arched 1930s – 50s brows, but I am also the first to warn anyone about over plucking theirs. Be conservative and just do a tiny bit at a time. You can always get used to that effect, then do a tiny bit more if you need to. Take your time to get used to the look. And be a bit conservative. No need to rush! Rushing is not glamorous!

8) Eye Shadow: I used three colors ~ Paula Dorf “Sea Shell” on the lid, (It is a very light flat peach with no shine.) Cargo Tundra under the brow on the brow bone and in the inside corner of the eyelid, (It is a flat, mat white with no shine.) Shu Uemura P Blue 630 (It is a flat light pale blue) as a faint and delicate feminine accent of color above the eye liner line and moving into the Sea Shell color on the lid.

9) Eye Liner ~ I used two eyeliner pencils, both black. I used Lancome’s Le Stylo Waterproof pen to line the top lash line with a wide heavy line close to the lashes and upsweep at the outer lid edge as in the picture. Then I used Cargo’s Black pencil/crayon to line the lower lash line. I used two different liners because they each have different properties which I prefer on the different areas of the eye. The Lancome is soft and dark and doesn’t scratch the eye. And it is easy to control. The Cargo pencil can be sharpened to a nice point to line the lower lid very narrowly and also doesn’t scratch. I have a hard time with eyeliners irritating my sensitive eyes, so I am very particular about them!

10) Mascara ~ Black Lancome Defencils Mascara ~ coat the upper lashes only.

To finish Step back and look at your face from a bit of a distance in your wall mirror. If you need to up the volume on the blush with another brush full. Apply another coat of powder if you think you need to. (I sometimes find that I have become shiny just working on the rest of my face! Then I need to matte out my shine for a nice cool look with a light dusting of powder. ) Check to see if you are wearing enough eyeshadow ~ in your opinion!)

This look should be a bit conservative, very ladylike and refined, nothing is too dark. It should look very pale. Only the lips are bright.

I have used the currently available products that I like the best to achieve the look I wanted. Because I do not work for any cosmetic companies I can pick and choose the things I use without concern for brand representation. This is a lot of freedom that you do not have if you work for a particular cosmetic company or store. I know this because I worked for Christian Dior and Estee Lauder for several years about a decade ago. Personally I like to pick my favorite products and tools from a variety of different companies. That way I feel that I can take what each has to offer that works best for me or for the look I want to achieve.

In the Suzy Parker era it was the epitome of fashion to wear matching lips and tips (finger tips) which is one reason I chose to use Chanel’s Red Coromandel #70 lipstick. It also comes in a matching nail polish, the classic 1950s red Le Vernis nail color Rouge Coromandel #70 by Chanel.

Suzy Modeling Red Lipstick for Coty in 1957 ~ Their "24" Lipstick You Could Sleep in and Still Be Wearing Bright Red & Perfectly Applied Red Lipstick When You Woke Up in the Morning ! And Apparently All Your Heavy Eye Makeup Too!

Suzy Modeling Touch-and-Glow Foundation Makeup & Bright Red Lipstick for Revlon in 1954. This is the Classic Suzy Parker Makeup I Have Recreated for You to Try in This Post. This is a Great Front View of the Makeup!

Suzy Parker Modeling a White 1950s Suit with a Bouquet of Roses. She is Wearing the Same Beautiful Makeup Design While Posing in the Gorgeous White Afternoon Suit for a Fashion Magazine!

Suzy Parker Wearing Red Lipstick and a Catalina Swimsuit in a 1957 Catalina Swimwear Ad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know that Suzy modeled for Coty and Revlon cosmetics. She undoubtedly used a lot of Coty and Revlon products herself as a result. Both she, and her sister, Dorian Leigh, were famous Revlon Cosmetics faces. I have displayed a few of these adds here. In the 1940s, 50s and 60s, and possibly before that time, Revlon was an upscale makeup and skincare brand sold in fine department stores and specialty cosmetic shops. It was not sold in drug stores as an inexpensive makeup line for women and teenage girls. The packaging was fancier than it is in the United States nowadays.

Interestingly Revlon is still a status cosmetic line in South America and Europe today. There it is sold in upscale shops and even has its own free standing stores selling the entire line of products. The beautiful contemporary Revlon ads we see in magazines are designed for those markets. In Brazil and Mexico I saw full scale billboards of the Revlon ads we see in US magazine towering overhead on busy city streets. There, the name Revlon is still associated with the same type of glamor it was in the days of Suzy Parker. I’m quite sure you could recreate her 1950s look today using Revlon’s cosmetics.  I mostly used products I had in my personal cosmetic collection already. I do have some Revlon products and I like them, but I didn’t have the colors I needed to do this look. It is interesting to note that the beautiful classic red color Revlon’s Fire and Ice that was modeled by Suzy’s sister Doria Leigh (Parker) is still being produced. It is still beautiful and the perfect red! I think I’ll get some for the holiday season. The great thing about Revlon nowadays is that you can get their high fashion makeup colors at very reasonable prices. For example the nail polish is $4.99 versus $30 for Chanel, $14 for Butter, $28 for Christian Dior, $18 for Deborah Lipman, $17 for Lancome and so on. The formulas are tried and true and traditional. I have used them and they look lovely and wear well. Many of the colors are gorgeous. The same goes for the lipsticks. They know what they are doing, after all, they have been at it for  very long time! Recently they have been using Julianne Moore and Susan Saradon as models and spokeswomen. The company seems to like redheads! They do consistently make a lot of colors that look good on them!

If you carefully study Suzy Parker’s photographs during the 1950s you will see that she used essentially this same makeup design throughout that decade no matter what she was showing and selling. She seemed to have found a look that worked for her, then stuck with it. It worked well on her in both black and white and color photographs. The other distinctive makeup design she wore was in another ad for Revlon which featured a deep beautiful pink on lips and nails. The ad reads, “Not Sissy Pink, Not Prissy Pink!” It was for a sophisticated bright deep pink for classic gorgeous women. I plan to recreate that look and post it soon as well. Later, in the 1960s she did a bright orange/coral lipstick and blush with bright orange/coral nails. She always matched her lips and tips, of course! She was the epitome of classy grown up sophisticated beauty. She always looked well groomed, sexy, feminine and glamorous! As these pictures prove her basic makeup, was perfect and appropriate for any occasion ~ modeling for magazines and cosmetic companies, sleeping, going out for a night on the town, shopping for flowers in the afternoon in a white suit, and heading to the pool for a swim, or a cocktail poolside!

Suzy Parker Inspires Looking Glamorous in Vintage Fashions After Car Accidents, Broken Arms, & Surgery in Elegant Long Gloves

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Suzy Parker at age 17 in 1950 Wearing Long Gloves in LIFE Magazine Photo Early in Her Modeling Career.

In the summer of 2003 I was doing research for an  article I was writing on the beautiful 1950s – 60s model Suzy Parker who had recently died. Before finishing that project I was in a very serious auto accident in which I was severely injured. I had to be cut out of the car by the jaws of life and taken to the trauma ward. I had many injuries, which resulted in multiple surgeries and scars. I  broke my left arm and had to have surgery on my right wrist, which left me with scars.

A Few Years Later Suzy on the Cover of LIFE Magazine Wearing a Red Sequined Dress by Norell and Long White Opera Gloves

I remembered that Suzy had also been in a terrible auto accident in which her father was killed and she broke both her arms. I also remembered she was in a second accident years later when filming an episode of the Twilight Zone. I looked terrible after my accident of course, and I thought of Suzy often as inspiration because she managed to come back, looking lovely and sophisticated, and working as a model and actress again after these accidents and injuries. She inspired me to keep going at times. I read in an interview that she had scars on her arms after this, but kept working because she learned to hold her arms to conceal them or wore gloves, which, luckily, were very fashionable during that time period. You can check out The Suzy Parker Glove Gallery for a collection of photos of Suzy wearing gloves.

Suzy Parker Modeling Crochet Gloves and a Long Flowing Scarf~ So Elegant!

Then, 3 and a half weeks ago, I broke my right wrist and arm in multiple places and ended up having to have a second surgery on my right arm and this time left the hospital with a metal plate and nine pins in my right wrist. I also have a nice neat surgical wound of several inches running up the inside of my right arm. This will become yet another distinctive scar on my right arm along with the other one on the side of that wrist.

Gorgeous Suzy Parker in a Stunning Cocktail Dress with Long White Gloves

Again, I thought of Suzy Parker. And the beautiful pictures of her wearing long gloves with almost every ensemble she modeled. I love vintage clothes, gloves and her look. Now, I’m in a cast/splint, enduring the tedious recovery process. and doing everything my doctor ordered, but this will take quite a while to heal. I’m thinking a lot about Suzy and her gloves and I want to incorporate gloves into most of my outfits when this is over. I already have a glove collection started. But now I am really inspired to acquire more! They are both practical and very elegant. I know I am going to have to keep this wrist and arm warm during the winter because injuries are always more vulnerable to cold. I’m going to wear gloves and think of Suzy when I’m getting dressed both casually and formally. Isn’t she beautiful and inspiring?

This last picture in the sequined evening gown was taken after she recovered and returned to work following the terrible accident in which her father was killed and both her arms were broken. She looks so elegant and beautiful because she was very professional and knew how to put herself together and carry on with life turning mishaps and misfortune into life experience and understanding that comes across in her photos. I find her grace and maturity appealing and glamorous. In the fifties and sixties women tried to look sophisticated and worldly. Personally, I like this look much more than the young looking models of today. It makes me happy with myself as I get older! I’m posting this in the hope other women will find it and be inspired by her as well! If you browse through the glove gallery of photos of her you will find many inspiring looks to emulate in makeup, hair styling, coats, suits, day dresses, cocktail gowns. evening dresses, furs and jewelry as well as gloves. Her photos epitomize 1950’s glamor! Enjoy!

Suzy Parker After She Recovered From Her Injuries Received in the 1958 Car Accident and Back at Work Modeling an Elegant Black Sequined Evening Gown With Long White Opera Gloves, Diamond Earrings & a Sterling Silver Mink Stole ~ If I Had to Walk the Red Carpet Today I Think I Would Like to Wear This Ensemble! I Think it is as Beautiful and Appropriate Today as When it was Originally Created.

Dates and some facts regarding Suzy Parker’s auto accidents:
On June 7, 1958, Suzy Parker аnd hеr father, George Parker, wеrе involved іn a horrific car-train collision. Apparently, nеіthеr Suzy οr George, thе latter οf whοm hаd bееn аt thе wheel, hаd heard thе oncoming train. George died οf hіѕ injuries аt thе hospital whіlе Suzy suffered several broken bones аnd embedded glass, though none tο hеr famous face. In 1964, whіlе rehearsing fοr hеr role аѕ Lana Cuberle/Simmons/Grace/Doe/Jane #12 іn Thе Twilight Zone episode “Number 12 Looks Jυѕt Lіkе Yου″ (1/24/64), Parker wаѕ involved іn another car accident. After that she said she retired to be the best possible wife and mother.

Lady Violette’s Amazing Manicure Survival Experience Using Butter of London’s HRH Purple Nail Polish

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

A Long Lasting Professional Quality Manicure Through Thick and Thin! This is Lady Violette de Courcy’s Amazing Survival Experience With Butter of London’s HRH Rich Royal Purple Polish! And how she did a manicure that lasted so extremely extraordinarily well!

My Butter of London pre-injury manicure using HRH color polish - in a rich royal purple shade - that lasted beautifully without a single chip or crack through this entire ordeal!

In my own words, of course, typed with my good left hand!

I recently bought 3 colors of Butter of London nail polish at Ulta. I loved it so much I went back and got 6 more, l loved them so much that I went back and got 12 more!
I bought them all at Ulta because they were having an amazing buy one get one free promotion! I have been longing to buy Butter for a long time, but it was very pricey so I was waiting for somebody to do this kind of introductory sale. The colors are amazing and very unusual. Many are truly unique to this company.

I read all the reviews on the Ulta website that people had written. This is what I concluded. Many of the writers don’t know how to do a decent manicure so they are not getting great results. I don’t think you can fail if you do it correctly! I did not buy Butter’s foundation or topcoat. (I do intend to soon!) I used the prep and finishing products I always have used with the many other polishes I own.

I am pretty experienced with polishes and doing my own nails and I own polish I love from the following companies: OPI, Essie, Revlon, L’Oreal, MAC, Christian Dior, Chanel, Estee Lauder, Nicole, Borghese, China Glaze, Orly and YSL. I have always bought polish from any company whose colors attracted me. FYI I get excellent manicure results with all these polishes too! I do not find the expensive ones to be a lot better than the others. I buy them for the colors! I have felt that all the companies make good products. I am sure this is because I have great manicure technique! It is really very simple. I think anyone can get professional results if they follow these steps and take their time. Drying time between each step is essential. So is thin even application. So is beginning with properly prepared clean nails. If you do all these things your manicure should last really well. Prepare to paint your nails as if you are preparing to make a great painting! I you do there is no way you cannot end up with nails that look like a work of art!

And, as I always say,”Rushing is not glamorous!” You must allow plenty of time, relax and pamper yourself!

When I was a little girl my mother had gorgeous natural nails. Every morning she redid her polish while drinking her coffee and reading a magazine or the New York Times. Reading allowed her drying time. She did her nails daily because she was a nurse and wanted them to look absolutely perfect and be very clean on the job. She was very concerned about hand sanitation. She put Christian Dior’s Creme Abricot on them every night. She had the longest, strongest, most perfectly shaped, and truly glamorous natural nails I have ever seen. She always wore red or bright polish colors: Christian Dior’s red called True True Dior or Revlon’s Cherries in the Snow were her favorites. She also liked a deep coral from Elizabeth Arden. She was so adept at painting her own nails that she could apply dark or bright red polish while leaving the white moons and tips perfectly exposed like a French manicure. She had seen this in an old Hollywood movie while she was in college and loved the look so she practiced it until she could do it herself. She never had a professional manicure. Being a nurse she was afraid of getting a fungus at a salon! She and her sister, who was my aunt, were home manicure fanatics. She kept a shoebox of nail polish colors in the refrigerator because she thought they lasted longer if cold!

Growing up in this atmosphere I was given great little girl manicures which consisted of filing and buffing and the use of clear pink polish. I was allowed to wear colored polish during the summer when school was out, but only light pink or white. They did not feel that the reds or the brights were age appropriate! When I grew up I cut loose! Many nail colors became available in every color imaginable and I had to try out a lot of them!

My Perfect Home Done Manicure Done As I Have Described Here

Here is what I do:

1) I begin with perfectly clean nude natural nails, file and shape as desired, wash hands again and dry thoroughly.

If you want to apply a strengthening product such as Grow Strong, Nail Tech II or Butter of London’s Horsepower do so on your natural nail before proceeding with the following basic manicure. Then:

2) I apply base coat ( any brand you have) and allow it to dry a few minutes.
This time I used L’Oreal Steel Stronger.

3) I apply two coats of nail color, I allow a few minutes to dry after each coat before the next step. I used Butter of London’s HRH a beautiful rich royal purple. Some colors may require three coats. I only needed two with this creamy polish.

4) I apply one coat of topcoat, and allow it to dry thoroughly.
This time I used Essie Good to Go

My manicure lasted 2 full weeks. Very unusual weeks as it turned out! The first week I had a normal life. Then, on Saturday night I turned my ankle and fell down and fractured my right hand, wrist and arm – a triple compound fracture, quite serious. The polish remained perfect through out! I was amazed!

I spent hours in the emergency room, I was examined, xrayed, sterilized with harsh hospital chemical agents, and put in a fiberglass splint and wrap. I went home until Monday when I went to see my hand surgeon who said I had 3! breaks and must have surgery immediately (the next day) and she would need to insert metal plates and pins to set the bones.

The next day, Tuesday, I checked into the hospital for surgery. My manicure was still perfect! I took nail polish remover and cotton balls with me and asked the doctor if I should remove my polish before the surgery. I thought they would want me to so they could see through my fingernails to check my circulation. But the color was so pretty and it was making me so happy I didn’t really want to take it off!

My doctor is a woman. She said, “You can leave it on! Why ruin a perfectly good manicure if you don’t absolutely have to? We can check your circulation by pressing the tips or sides of your fingers! By the way, what is that beautiful color?”

A Good View of The Color of Butter of London's HRH Purple Polish ~ I Now Consider This My Lady Violette de Courcy Signiture Purple Color & I Absolutely Love It!

I told her the name, HRH by Butter of London. She got a purple pen to match it, to sign her name to my right wrist and arm for the surgery! Only a woman doctor would do this! I was glad she was letting me keep my polish on and glad she liked the color so much!

When I came out of surgery and my anesthesia had worn off I was in a substantial cast wrap up to the elbow with only the ends of my fingers sticking out. And in a lot of pain! But my nails were sticking out of the cast at the end and looked really pretty and cheerful! And I could wiggle the ends of my fingers a little! and I could feel things with them! Yeah! What a relief!

I was amazed, honestly, that the manicure was still perfectly intact! The nurses all commented on how pretty my nails looked, too! They all wanted to know what brand and color I was wearing. Of course I told them, Butter of London HRH!

I’ve been home, recovering, for a week now. Today it was exactly 8 days actually.
I’ve had a really tough week! This afternoon I decided to change my polish because I had grown a little tired of the color and wanted to look at something else on my nails! I love the color HRH, I just want to try another one! I love purple and I felt it was time for me to try another of the Butter of London purple shades. I bought six of them and will photograph each one later so you can see what they look like on my hands.

I am able to use my left hand normally, but can only use my upper fingers on my right one. I wasn’t sure I could even do a manicure on myself! I was just terribly bored from having been confined all week! So I decided to attempt it.

I needed to remove my HRH polish. My first try was Studio -Tools acetone free nail polish remover on a cotton pad. I had a lot of trouble. I was unable to rub and apply enough pressure with my injured right hand to remove any of the polish on my left hand. This was discouraging. I thought, this polish has so much staying power it is hard to get off! Most of the time that is good! But with a broken hand, wrist and arm it was staying on too well when I finally wanted to remove it!

I was home alone with no one available to help me with this! I remembered that I had some Celine Polish-Off nail polish remover pads. I tried these. They are red pads saturated with non-acetone remover. Fortunately they worked and I was able to get the polish off by holding the pad around the nail for about a minute, then swirling it about to soften and finally remove the polish. This polish is long lasting which is what everyone wants! But when it comes time to remove it you have to have the time and patience to remove the polish – first by softening it so it dissolves the lacquer, then by carefully wiping it off. I held the red Celine Polish-Off pad against the nail for about a minute then swirled the pad around the nail to get the polish off. I had to do it really gently and carefully so I would not injure myself any further or disturb my healing process.

I got the polish off, then carefully washed my fingers which were sticking out at the end of the cast which could not be gotten wet! I used a washcloth so I could control the soap and water and where it went. I succeeded because I took my time and it worked out! I then towel dried my hands and took a rest! Everything takes so much patience and so much longer to do when you are injured! I succeeded at this because I was determined and I like a challenge!

I took a break and elevated my broken arm for awhile as I am supposed to do through out the day. Then I got up the courage to try to re-polish my nails. I was able to do my injured right hand by standing at my bathroom counter and propping it up on top of a kleenex box and using my left hand. I was actually able to do my my left hand by using the fingers only of my right hand to carefully paint them. I again used the kleenex box as a left hand support. I just took my time and rested a bit between coats which allowed my arm to recuperate and my nails to dry some!

A Close Up of the Very Royal Deep Dark Shiny Rich and Rare Looking Purple HRH Polish by Butter of London

I used a quick drying top coat from Essie this time called Good to Go because I was getting tired! I also find it works really well. I now have another beautiful perfect manicure!

I put a cuticle oil or cream on my nail beds every night. It keeps me from getting hang nails and my nails look absolutely perfect!

I am very limited by my right wrist, hand, arm injury! There are many things I can’t do for the next 8 weeks, then I will have to ease back into things and go through a lot of therapy. But, at least, I am relieved and a little happier to have found that I can paint my nails! I love painting and making art out of anything! I’m quite limited by this injury so it is good to know I have this way of expressing myself!

I have decided that I will try out lots of new colors and see how long I can grow my natural nails during my recovery time! Nail polish is a nice treat and I feel I deserve a few treats after going through all this! I see it as one of the lovely feminine arts! I am an artist and I enjoy painting my nails as a form of self expression. This injury is limiting me from making a lot of the art that I normally do so it is especially nice to have this colorful nail painting outlet at this particular time!

I am typing left handed by the way! And I keep my right hand elevated or in a sling I made out of a scarf while I do it!

Instructions for making a designer scarf into a medically functional sling and pictures on my pre-injury HRH Butter manicure are currently posted on my blog at ladyviolette.com. I cannot take a photo myself and my post-injury manicure, but I will get a friend to do so when somebody visits me and we will add it to this post!

I am so happy with the deep gorgeous purple of Butter of London’s HRH polish that I am officially making it my Lady Violette de Courcy signature purple shade of polish. I am also amazingly happy with its tough long lasting properties, no matter what happens while I am wearing it! This polish is no shrinking violet! Thus, I am officially proclaiming Butter of London’s HRH to be a fantastic formula all the way around ! In color, in durability. in fashion! It held up surprisingly well in my totally unplanned spontaneous testing experience!

Instructions for Tying the Grace Kelly Hermes Scarf Sling for a Broken Arm ~ by Lady Violette de Courcy

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Having broken my Right arm, and wrist, for real, last Saturday night, and had surgery for a compound fracture with metal plates and screws inserted on Tuesday, I have learned a lot about slings over the last few days. This is my Left handed typing too, which is getting pretty good, pretty quickly! This is a serious injury and actually quite painful. And, of course, I have to keep my arm elevated. It also feels like it weighs a ton!

I am small and the two slings I was issued from the hospital, one from the ER and one after my surgery, were both way too big and slipped all over the place and were, consequently, inadequate! They were both terribly uncomfortable and would not stay in place at all! I  found this very annoying!

I immediately remembered Grace Kelly using her Hermes scarf as an elegant sling in a similar situation and got right down to trying it. There is nothing unusual about using a square piece of cloth or a scarf for a sling! It has been standard emergency medical practice forever. I found quite a few how to directions online. One instructed actors as well as injured people on how to make a proper sling until you could get professional medical attention.Being an actress I wondered if Grace had studied this in acting classes? It was easy to follow so it is the one I decided to use and link to. How to Make a Sling Out of a Scarf Instructions. This is from eHow Trusted advice for the curiuos life.

They didn’t give specific Instructions for Tying the Grace Kelly Hermes Scarf Sling for a Broken Arm or Hermes or Other Scarf Sling Size Instructions so I will. They assume many scarf shapes or sizes will work.  And they probably will with experimentation. I was interested in what Grace Kelly used and how she did it. So here is that specific information.

Instructions for Tying the Grace Kelly Hermes Scarf Sling for a Broken Arm

And Hermes or Other Scarf Sling Size Instructions

by Lady Violette de Courcy

1). Grace Kelly used a 35 inch square Hermes silk scarf laid out on a flat surface and brought the opposite corners together folding the scarf in half in a triangle. She then tied the diagonal corners into a secure knot.

2) Grace then placed  the knot over her head so that the scarf draped down over her chest in a loop and the knot rested on her shoulder just to the side of her neck. (Not directly on the spine as that can injure the neck and or spine.)

3) She then gathered the Hermes scarf loop together and pulled it up in front of her injured arm. She positioned her scarf with the wide striped outside border to the outside (her shoulder side) as you can see in the top photograph.

4) Then Grace slowly slid her injured hand and injured arm into the scarf loop. She continued to gently slide the injured arm into the loop until the entire forearm was tucked inside.

5) Grace then tucked her elbow and hand into the loop ensuring that her entire arm was protected within the sling. The Hermes scarf was large and she had excess fabric on the end of the elbow. She folded this excess fabric over the front of the arm and pinned it to the sling with a large 24K gold safety pin, concealed discreetly inside the folds of the Hermes scarf for extra support. This last step kept her elegant Hermes scarf sling from slipping and held her injured arm secure and close to her torso.

I followed these instructions to the letter with a friend’s help tying and pinning my 35 inch square Hermes scarf the first time because it was impossible for me to do it alone with a broken arm! I am quite sure Grace Kelly had to have help as well when her arm was broken! However, once we got it sized and adjusted and perfectly tied to fit it stayed that way and I could slip it on and off and slip my injured right arm in and out of it quite easily and safely all by myself! I, incidentally, used a sterling silver pin, instead of a 24K gold one! And it worked just perfectly!

I made note of the fact that Grace Kelly had also broken her right arm!

It is perfectly fine to use a Hermes scarf or any other strong scarf, vintage or new, designer or not, to make an elegant, secure custom fitted sling! The point is to make it out of a scarf you like and to have a tidy fit that will be secure and stay put while your injured arm heels safely.

Thank you Grace Kelly for this wonderful stylish idea that makes me feel better both physically and psychologically while recovering from an unpleasant injury! It helps!

 

 

Sharing Collections of Delicate Antique Textiles & Vintage Shoes ~ A Few Important Words of Caution

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

On Parade ~ Six Pairs of Treasured Vintage Alligator Shoes From the Lady Violette Shoe Collection. On the Left From Front to Back: DeLiso Debs, Herbert Levine, Anne Klein. On the Right From Front to Back: Andrew Geller, Via Spiga, Foot Flairs

I am eager to share my enthusiasm for vintage shoes and clothing with anyone who is interested. And I am always happy to share my knowledge and my collections – as long as nothing bad happens to them! I am delighted to be able to blog about them and post pictures and discuss the details with people online. I am pleased that this venue for sharing has evolved because it is so much safer and easier on the vulnerable vintage clothing and shoes to share them this way. Lending your physical collections out can be risky and hard on the delicate items. Please be warned by my past experiences.

Green Vintage Alligator Shoes by Maraolo ~ circa 1980's

I learned this the hard way when I loaned three dozen pairs of prize vintage one of a kind shoes to a venerable institution for display. They displayed them in light boxes which were supposed to be archival and safe for delicate dyes, cloth and leathers. Unfortunately, their museum light boxes turned out to be regular light. Even more unfortunately the dyes in my shoes were bleached or the colors turned by the strong light and the delicate old leathers dried out and shriveled up in some cases. The fabric shoes were bleached out beyond recognition. Just as your skin would be by over exposure to the sun. Remember, leather is skin!

All the shoes loaned out in that display were completely ruined. Fortunately, I had insurance, but it was an awful experience. And the shoes I lost can never be replaced. The worst of it is that I had carefully inquired to be sure the light boxes were safe and the shoes would be protected before they went on display and I was assured, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the light boxes were museum safe. As it turned out, the people in charge of the loaning and display contracts did not know what they were talking about!

Unfortunately I have heard horror stories of owners of delicate vintage clothing and accessories loaning them to local museums and department stores to display in their exterior facing store windows. The antiques are exposed to natural sunlight in store window displays. The sun exposure lasts all day, day after day. And, within a very short time, (it can happen in just one day!) the delicate old clothing and accessories are bleached and damaged beyond recognition by the sun! And permanently ruined. I think it is absolutely tragic to have something exquisite that has lasted decades or generations or centuries ruined in an instant of carelessness! It is completely irresponsible and tragic!

A large and very well known (and extremely successful) store in my city expanded a few years ago and sent out a call to the local citizenry for “interesting fashion objects that might have been bought there over the last 100 years” to put on display during the month of their grand opening. People with interesting items to loan sprang out of nowhere. The array of unique things was amazing and filled every store window. People were eager to participate and contribute to this bit of local history. Special things like Grandma’s wedding dress with a 30 foot train and Grandpa’s wedding tuxedo from 1910 were graciously loaned for their historical relevance and sentimental value.

Alligator Pumps by Foot Flairs ~ circa 1950's

Incidentally no one was compensated for loaning out their priceless family and personal treasures. Unfortunately, every article was returned to the owners, after being on display for a month, with terrible sun damage. The department store did not take any responsibility for any of this. They did not even apologize! Instead, they would not answer phone calls or inquiries or respond to calls or letters from concerned and disappointed owners when they received their damaged antique textiles back after the show. No one knew what to do because this place who had borrowed and displayed the items was well known and well respected in the community and therefore, expected to be responsible and know what they were doing! They didn’t. And when it came right down to it, they didn’t care!

Alligator Springolators By Beth Levine ~ circa 1950's

The same thing, essentially,  happened to me when my vintage shoes were returned to me, damaged, after I loaned them out for display as described above! Had I heard about the antique clothing incident prior to my own experience I would have been much more guarded that I was. I only learned about the above people who loaned things for the ill-fated window displays after my own shoe loan fiasco!

What I learned from this experience is that big businesses and corporations love to associate themselves with interesting people who have interesting collections that make them (the stores in this case) look good. These corporations are completely self serving. If something goes wrong, as in the cases with the antique clothing described above, or my vintage shoes being on display, they vanish, taking no responsibility for the items or individuals involved. This was all very unfortunate. Not to mention impolite and inconsiderate!

Another thing I learned from this is never to let other people handle my collections when I am not present. They will not be respectful or careful enough. No matter what they say! They do not have the knowledge or experience in most cases to handle valuable and delicate antiques with proper care. Now, if other people want to view or photograph my collections, I insist on being present so I can watch over the entire process.

I also insist on being paid for my time. After the shoe collection fiasco described here I also make sure the collection is adequately insured. However, insurance doesn’t completely protect one – it cannot even replace items like these because there are no replacements to be had! It can only compensate you with a little money if you are lucky, for irreplaceable items you have lost. This isn’t enough to make it worth it. I know because I have been through it.

Photograph by Frederic Lehrman, styled by Violette de Courcy.

Shoes from The Lady Violette Shoe Collection.