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Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘Shoes’

A Fashion Ode to Janis Joplin Jacket Part II ~ Philosophy & Ensemble

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

The Ode to Janis Joplin Jacket Inside Worn Outside is a Customized Vintage Fur Coat Made For Janis Joplin

The Ode to Janis Joplin Jacket ~ a Customized Vintage Fur Coat, Eight Strand Ode to Janis Joplin Love Bead Necklace, and The Styled for Janis Joplin Vintage 1930's Persian Lamb and Fur Felt Hat.

 

I recently posted photos of this Fantastic Ode to Janis Joplin Jacket in my first post about her contribution to fashion  The Fantastic Ode to Janis Joplin Jacket ~ One Way to Use Vintage Ties and Furs.

The Back of The Ode to Janis Joplin Jacket Inside Worn Outside

Today I am showing the rest of the opulent characteristic of Janis Joplin Ensemble and The Janis Joplin Accessories that go with it.

The Front of the Ode to Janis Joplin Jacket with the Fur Side Out

Janis loved beads and piled on many strands at once. She was even photographed for Rolling Stone wearing only her necklaces and joked that you couldn’t tell she was nude because she was covered with beads.

The Magnificent Ode to Janis Joplin Necklace

Here is the beautiful eight strand Ode to Janis Joplin Bead Necklace of silver, marcasite, garnets, Swarovsky crystals, rubies, and antique and contemporary glass artist lamp work beads. The ornate clasp is antique silver studded with marcasites.

The Antique Silver & Marcasite Clasp on the Ode to Janis Joplin Necklace

The Ode to Janis Joplin Necklace Over a Wine Silk Burnout Velvet Blouse & Midnight Blue Velvet Tiered Gypsy Style Skirt

The necklace is worn over a wine burnout silk velvet blouse with a dark blue velvet bohemian style three tiered gypsy skirt.

The Crazy Quilted Inside of The Ode to Janis Joplin Jacket is Made of Many Kinds of Beautiful Antique Fabrics and Pieces of Needlework Which Make It a Unique Piece of Bohemian Style Handmade Textile Art.

Janis loved opulent fabrics in deep rich colors.

Legendary Ode to Janis Joplin Antique Black Leather Boots

Janis also loved collected and wore antique boots.

Ode to Janis Joplin Real Victorian Brown Leather Boots

Here is a brown pair of real Victorian Boot Janis Joplin loved and a black pair.

Janis was notoriously quoted in ” FASHION NEWS: I went out & bought myself a $35 pair of boots. Oh they are so groovey!! They’re old-fashioned in their style-tight w/buttons up the front. Black. FANTASTIC! When I get back, I’m going to rent a sewing machine & make myself some sort of beautiful/outlandish dress to go w/them. ”
– Janis Joplin, September 1966

The Ode to Janis Joplin Jacket & The One of a Kind Eight Strand Ode to Janis Joplin Bead Necklace Worn with A Characteristic Janis Joplin Style Ensemble of a Wine Burnout Velvet Blouse and a Midnight Blue Velvet Skirt is Opulent and Amazing!

Here ~ in the gorgeous exotic fabrics Janis Joplin loved ~ is the Ode to Janis Joplin Jacket with the full ensemble of vintage midnight blue velvet three tiered gypsy skirt, vintage wine burnout velvet blouse, custom made one of a kind eight strand Ode to Janice Joplin Necklace of love beads, real Victorian boots and two men’s silk ties worn overlapping each other as a neck scarf. Her fans loved her homemade dresses, skirts and bell bottom pants, and piles of jewelry. And, of course, her customized vintage real fur jackets and hats.

Ode to Janis Joplin Vintage 1930's New Orleans Hat Trimmed in Persian Lamb and Custom Decorated for Janis with Burgundy Ostrich Feathers and A Jeweled Antique Brooch

To top off her outfits Janis often wore vintage fur or felt hats. This Ode to Janis Joplin Hat is originally from New Orleans and is trimmed in curly black Persian lamb fur and decorated with a fantastic jeweled antique brooch, and ostrich feathers! It was picked up at a thrift shop on a jazz festival tour of New Orleans and further embellished with her trademark curling ostrich feathers dyed a rich pink red and a gigantic jeweled brooch. Like everything she owned it is personalized and one of a kind. Janis loved to add colorful ostrich feathers in this form or in elaborate feather boas pinned into her hair.

Janis Joplin sewed! And she shopped in thrift stores. She sought out fabrics, notions and vintage clothes that inspired her. She put things together in her own way. Because she was on stage she inspired the people who saw her live in the 1960s to do the same thing for themselves in their own way. Everything was individually  done in this way of dressing and one of a kind, This look was very personal. You had to create much of it yourself from found objects so how you combined things became highly personal. You could not go out to a mall and successfully create such a look.  Janis Joplin made and designed many of her own costumes. She also worked with a designer friend to help execute her ideas as she became more successful. She always dressed as a performer ~ simply because she liked to ~ both on and off stage. For her life was really a continual performance. And she dressed accordingly. To her clothing was another form of her artistic expression and she derived great joy in expressing herself this way.

Her fans loved her style. Her influence on the way people dressed in the 60s effected the entire world. She became one of the 100 most influential people in fashion of all time. Because of the way she herself dressed and how much people liked that. Other people wanted to express themselves and their own individuality in a similar way. How she dressed epitomized  freedom of choice and self expression and inspired the rest of the world to do the same. No one copied her exactly. That was not the point of her influence. The main point she got across to other people was it is a good thing to be yourself and dress in your own way.

She collected fabrics. She loved exotic materials such as silks, velvets, brocades and metallic jerseys. She wore luxurious leathers, furs, and many beads and jewels.~ particularly armloads of bracelets and many rings on every fingers all at the same time.  She wore fluffy colorfully dyed ostrich feather boas in her free flowing long naturally wavy hair. The custom made Ode to Janis Joplin Jacket is hand sewn and skillfully embroidery stitched with many of these types of collected fabrics, including ribbons, hand crocheted lace doilies, embroidered birds and flowers and thrifted Italian silks taken from vintage men’s neckties. People loved Janis Joplin for her music and for her fashion sense. And most of all for her sense of freedom of self.

Janis Joplin’s self made image and often home made style and fashion choices perfectly symbolized what was going on in the world and society at the time. She became the bohemian fashion queen of the hippie movement. She had been ridiculed as unattractive and ugly during her high school years and it must have been tremendously empowering for her ~ in a good way ~ to be admired and respected for her artistic taste and fashion sense! She would probably be amazed to know what long lasting effect she has had on fashion today. Janis Joplin was also innocent and pure in her fashion choices because they came from her heart and soul in the same way her music did. It was improvised spontaneously in the same way she interpreted her songs. Janis always put her own unique twist on things!  Her fashions were in no way commercial or mass produced. Her lovely clothes were lovingly chosen and made either by herself or by other artists. She spearheaded a movement to dress the way you wanted to that swept across the world. In her way she was the ultimate dress reformist. And she accomplished this as a side line to her music and unintentionally. She became tremendously influential in fashion just by doing her own thing.

Slashed Fur Sleeves Patched With Silk From Vintage Italian Designer Neckties.

“Do Your Own Thing” incidentally became a catch phrase of the times! And the basic theme and message of many songs and stage musicals like Hair, and Do Your Own Thing, and OH! Calcutta. I think Janis would have loved that! Janis Joplin’s style was not commercially created by stylists and promotion experts.  She did not have a huge clothing budget or makeup artists and hair stylists following her around at all times. She did not get done up with hours and hours of preparation for interviews and personal appearances. She refused to wear makeup because she hated the way it looked and felt and she allowed her hair to naturally do its own thing – which meant grow and be wavy and simply put some scarves or feather boas in it to add color and volume.

I think she got dressed like some 3 – 5 year old girls do! They have a closet full of clothes and a costume box and left to their own devices put on and mix up colors and styles wearing whatever appeals to them with no care for what others think every time they get dressed. They often look great in a mix of colors and accessories worn in unconventional ways. It is all done quite spontaneously and I hear grown ups say, “Wow! That looks great! I wish we could wear those things and those colors and fabrics together!” And the mother of the child says, “I don’t choose her clothes or accessories. she does it all herself!”  I, personally believe that Janis Joplin got dressed in this same way. And, as she made more money and could afford to buy what she wanted she became all the more colorful and free and self expressive in her clothing choices.

These were simple natural choices for her that were fun and lighthearted and easy for her to accomplish. She had a tremendous natural ease and vulnerability and that was very appealing. It came through in her singing and dancing of course, but it was also how she looked. It amazes me to consider this in contrast to the singers of today – such as Lady Gaga, Boyonce, Gwen Stefani, Rhianna, Madonna and many others who have such commercialized, highly manufactured, expensive to produce and high maintenance personal and stage styles. Janis had none of this “Professional Help.” It is important to realize that she was completely responsible for creating her look herself. I find it hard to see the person under the modern stars styling whereas Janis Joplin was personally completely exposed at all times.

In The Ode to Janis Joplin Jacket- Slashed Furs Reveal Black Cloth Sections of Inner Darkness Beneath the Outer Layers. Rich Deep Colors of Soft Silk Like the Depths of Janis Joplin's Voice and Amazingly Warm and Beautiful Yet Damaged and Vulnerable Furs Enable the Artist to Wear Her Soul On Her Sleeves.

Janice Joplin sang as if she cut herself open and showed us the very insides of her own self and soul in her music in every performance she did. This was the essence of her style and way of dressing as well. Thus, in the Ode to Janis Joplin Jacket the slashed skin sleeves and torn furs revealing sky colored satin embellished with birds embroidered in psychedelic colors of thread perched next to dark rich silks and patches of exotic brocade that symbolize the person and artist Janis Joplin was to those who saw her in the clothing. There are some important patches of personal darkness too in exposed inner sections of black fabric that are open to view under the the torn away outer sections of the amazingly warm and beautiful, yet vulnerable and damaged fur. The Ode to Janis Joplin Jacket is really just like she was ~ original, unusual, delicate, beautiful but rough and exquisite and raw and different all at the same time.

It is important to note that Janis had no aversion to wearing real furs or leather and openly did both. She also loved animals and most notoriously owned a beautiful and affectionate sheep dog. Janis loved her dog. And other furry animals. As far as I know she only wore vintage furs made from pelts of animals killed long before that she rescued from thrift shops. I think she felt, as I do, that rescuing an old fur and giving it new life by wearing it or making it into a beautiful new article of clothing was a way of honoring the already long dead animal from whom it came.

Two Beautiful Men;s Vintage Silk Ties Are Overlapped and Used as a Woman's Scarf Encircling the Lapels of the Ode to Janis Joplin Jacket. The Navy Paisley Tie ifs Vintage Liberty of London and The Wine Colored Floral is Vintage From the Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection.

In Janis Joplin’s  characteristically creative personal way of repurposing materials she loved beautiful thrifted silk men’s ties – a vintage navy blue paisley patterned one from Liberty of London and a vintage burgundy floral one from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection are overlapped and used as a woman’s scarf to frame the neckline lapels on the fur side of the Ode to Janis Joplin Jacket. This “scarf of ties”  treatment works in nicely with the crazy quilting of velvets, brocades, lace, ribbons, embroidery and antique silks used in the jacket. some of the silk patches in the jacket came from old neckties as well.

Janice influenced other people to do their own thing and express themselves through their clothes as much as she did. Many people, especially in the 1960s and 70s did so really well. Because, like she did, they “got down! ” They got down and dressed themselves with things they found and made and put together in their own way.They created their own version of an artistic and eclectic look. And this really worked. People were very often beautifully and very individually dressed  in that time. It was a very experimental period. People wore things they really loved with boldness and confidence. It was wonderful to see the things they came up with.

Ever since she came on the scene she has been copied commercially. The mass market has tried to benefit from her style and vision by mass producing cheap imitation versions of her look. They usually look like chap imitations too! It is not exactly a mass produced look! To achieve it and pull off something with a similar success you have to get to the soul of the matter of self dressing. You can do it inexpensively or using expensive fabrics and jewels. You can do anything as long as it is honest and original, preferably self made, found or artist made. It is best done by artists that are your friends or do work that is meaningful to you personally.

You will not be able to go to a mall and assemble pieces to give you such a look. If you do that, or follow the conservative commercial version of “Getting The Janis Joplin Look” as advised in a teen or adult woman’s fashion magazines and certain advice online your attempt to achieve the real Janis Joplin Look will fail completely! I have seen some ridiculous articles and advice columns in magazines and online with utterly tepid versions of the look. You cannot be conservative about this. You have to be absolutely fearless as Janis was. She actually often used very fine luxurious fabrics, furs, beads and jewelry and had a passion for beautiful old high quality boots. She found many of her beautiful fabrics and clothes antique and second hand and this can still be done. As an artist Janis gave old things a new life in her assemblages. Her clothes and outfits were actually artistic collages of wearable items and they became art with her interpretation. Again and again and again her fashion interpretations were like her musical interpretations ~ original and unique with a very personal twist. That is the secret to achieving her look. If you can do that for yourself you will be able to achieve a truly Janis Joplin inspired personal look.

All the Ode to Janis Joplin Clothing and Accessories pictured are from Lady Violette de Courcy’s personal collection, The Lady Violette de Courcy Vintage Clothing Collection.  She is a writer, art and vintage clothing collector and fashion historian.

Photos for this article are by Violette de Courcy

Meet LaMarelle ~ An Artist Who Coutures Her Own Gallery of Unique Designs From Treasures of the Past

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

HER TRUNK RUNNETH OVER! ~ A Still Life Assemblage by La Marelle Featuring a Grandiose Selection of Her Coutured Vintage Designs: photograph by Mike Burnside

 

I have a talented friend named Marelle, an artist and designer, whom I want to introduce to my readers. La Marelle loves vintage fashions and accessories as much as I do! I met her on Etsy where we both have shops. Marelle finds previously owned, loved and gently used vintage purses, handbags, hats, shoes, jewelry and hair ornaments and waves her magic wand over them to couture them into new transformed pieces using the original old piece as a base or canvas, on which to create a unique new piece of fashionable wearable art. She describes what she does to a vintage item to recreate it as one of her own the process of couturing it.

Every item Marelle coutures is different and one of a kind. She has tremendous range and creates items inspired by sources as diverse and varied as the contemporary rebellious youthful street punk scene, to the elegant era of the court life at Versailles, or the refined Victorian period. She is inspired to new levels of interpretation by each vintage piece she finds. Her imagination seems boundless! She is also a painter.

This photo is of a still life composed (by Marelle herself, of course,) of her handbags, shoes, collars, gloves, compacts, photographs, jewelry, perfume bottles and other objects d’art pouring out of a transformed vintage trunk that has been appropriated for a display presentation of her work for the photographer Mike Burnside when he visited her recently in her in her old four bedroom Victorian house and studio where she both lives and works in a small town in northeast Pennsylvania. I like this photo because it reminds me of a pirate’s chest overflowing with choice vintage treasures!

Marelle’s work is so diverse and extensive – she currently has over 400 pieces listed for sale in her Etsy shop alone ~ that I have decided to introduce her in today’s post, with the beautiful still life photo shown above; and follow up with several additional posts that showcase and describe in depth more beautiful individual examples of her work. In this way I will be able to lead you through an extensive  tour of La Marelle’s Gallery viewing and savoring one work of art at a time.

By the way, La Marelle means hopscotch in French, so Marelle named her shop on Etsy Hopscotch Couture. To visit her Etsy store and view the entire gallery go to: http://www.etsy.com/shop/HopscotchCouture.

Marelle sells her work in her online Etsy shop above and also accepts private commissions. She can be contacted  by email at lamarellegallery@aol.com or by telephone at (443) 825.6353.

Her work can also be seen on her website at LaMarelleGallery.com. There is a link on there that will take you directly to her Etsy store as well.

Read More about Marelle and her paintings and designs in this article from The Weekender at http://www.theweekender.com/stories/Marelles-Hopscotch-Couture-One-of-a-kind-finds,61685

The photo for this post was taken by Mike Burnside from Burnside Photographic, Harvey’s Lake PA,  www.burnsidephotographic.com

Be sure to return to my blog soon to see future posts featuring more pictures and descriptions of Marelle’s work.

 

 

Safe, Sound, Stable & Elegant Purple Hiking Boots! A Search by Lady Violette de Courcy

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

I am now determined to find a very stable ankle high hiking boot for walking and hiking safely for exercise without the risk of twisting my ankle on a small piece of gravel and turning my ankle as I did with my notoriously unstable Dansko clogs. Note, I did not injure my ankle, I injured my right wrist when I intuitively reached out to catch myself as I  fell. While recovering from my broken wrist/arm I have time to look for some options. Thank God for the Internet! I can research this from home while recovering. I had surgery yesterday for a compound fracture and now have steel plates and pins in my wrist and arm. I  want a safe and stable ankle high boot to run around in this winter! Here are a couple I have found so far! (It has to be beautiful & stylish too, and purple if possible!)

Women's Adirondack Boot II

Here is one. The Adirondack Boot II in Blackberry Wine! By UGG. I found this one online.

 

Women's Ahnu Montara Boot

Here is another: The Ahnu Montara Boot which I found in REI in Seattle.

A Friend took me to REI to see what might be available. The sales people said nothing, but I  looked upward and saw this boot gleaming on the highest shelf and saying, “Lady Violette, try me. And, Lady Violette, buy me, for I am perfect for you & I will not let you (fall) down! Please try me!”

It was impossible to resist that! So we got them down to take a look and try them on. They felt good. Even able to use only one hand (which will be a problem for me for weeks while I am heeling from this break and surgery,) I was able to get into them quite easily. The high tops are soft and pliable while also supporting the ankles firmly ~ something my Physical Therapist in London was recommending. The soles of these shoes are considerably wider than the upper on the heel and the front part of the shoe which creates a strong stable base to stand on. They were one and a half inches wider than the street shoe style ankle boots I worn into the store! They are also fairly light weight for a hiking boot which is something I need because my ankles are hyper mobile and very heavy shoes and boots actually pull on my tendons and ligaments and stretch my ankles out even more which could make them even looser and more prone to twisting over time.

I am looking for the boots to use on walks in the city or wear on easy to medium grade hikes. And to support my ankles in exactly the kind of situation in which I got hurt this weekend so this wont happen again!

I have excellent heavy duty strong high hiking boots for rough terrain already. They are great for use in the mountains, but are too hard, too high, and too difficult to lace and tie in my current injured situation. They have steel toes, are made of very strong hard leather, have tough leather laces and lots of grommets that require a lot of pulling and strength to tighten, wrap ’round the ankles and tie securely. They are heavy duty to say the least! I need a softer gentler more ladylike boot in my current situation.

I noted that these boots are a soft gray lavender purple, like the lavender plants flowers! The color of purple that bumble bees like! It is a water proofed soft suede upper surrounded by waterproof oiled leather along the sole. The shoe is designed for breathe ability and to have excellent traction.

No one said anything in the shoes or the literature on them about their color combination, but I noticed that it is the soft lavender, soft black, gray and accents of yellow ~ the exact favorite colors of bumble bees and why they are attracted to lavender plants and flowers! When studying up on what flowers and plants to put in my garden, to attract the most bees, butterflies and birds, I learned that lavender ones were naturally the most favored flowers of all by these little creatures! This is because purple flowers produce the best honey! I noticed this right away about these shoes and it made me like them! In the same way a bee might! This instinctively seemed like a good sign too!

I did a search for one handed methods of shoe lacing and tying online and found several tutorials which I tried with success, although they will require practice to become really efficient.

This boot is soft and comfortable around the heel and ankle and the heels are really snug and narrow on my feet which is unusual to find and a real plus as I often have trouble with heels of sportif shoes being too wide and slipping up and down with every step making my socks slip down and bunch up around my heels. The soles are Vibram which provides extreme durability and traction and is well known for its safety and stability ~ features that I really need right now!

This seems to be the Cinderella’s slipper of hiking boots! It seems to be made for a lady, particularly Lady Violette de Courcy ~ from its color through its lightweight construction through its design elements! The fact that it is royal purple in color is its crowning glory! There are very few purple hiking boots on the market! In fact you are looking at the only two pairs of good quality that I could find online!

The bee has always been a symbol of French royalty as well! Thus, the subtle color references to the bee ~ the black, the yellow, the dark gray and the lavender of the bee’s favorite flower are another subtle and distinctive plus! These hiking boots seem to be made for HRH Lady Violette de Courcy.

The fact that this shoe is purple is an added bonus, because all its other features are also exactly what I need and want in my current circumstances! The color is like the lavender flower in nature attracting the bee to the source of honey so they can find what they need to survive. The purple color acted as a lure to draw me to this particular boot, to make me look it over and realize all its other positive characteristics!

I brought the Ahnu Montara boots home to try out in the house ~ REI allows you to return merchandise if it doesn’t please you completely after you try it out at home. Putting them on and learning to lace and tie them one~handed is a good thing to practice while stuck at home over the next few days! And I will be able to test them out for stability and comfort over true in~house terrain ~ carpets, hardwood floors, stairs, linoleum, etc. This will be a real life in~castle use test ~ thus a good hard and realistic analysis of this boot! If they pass muster I will wear them outside walking on the cement pathways, sidewalks and streets and into my hand surgeon check back and hand therapy appointments on Friday! I am really hoping they work out! I love their look for a casual hiking and walking boot.

By the way, the hand therapists asked me if I wanted a black or a white splint which I get to wear after 10 days! (I am in a white one after leaving the surgery clinic!) I chose black because it seems so much more streamlined and elegant.

There are still a few fashion and style choices you can make during hand/arm surgery and recovery! I can picture myself wearing all black, including my black splint and arm wrap which you make out of your own dark colored tights or socks by cutting them. Wearing all black I think I can accent my look with my purple Ahnu Montara boots, and a scarf with a purple print tied up for use as an arm splint as Grace Kelly did when she broke her arm! I tried a few methods of splinting over the last few days. I’ll report on that soon!

I also just happen to already have an REI sun protective hiking shirt in the exact same shade of purple cotton as the boots! They go perfectly together! And it looks great with black. Yet another sign these boots were meant for me, isn’t it? And I can get my ring with a purple amethyst stone onto my left hand for a bit of a jewelry accent! It has been a noticeable drag not to be able to wear jewelry over the last few days! You aren’t allowed to wear any metal during any Xrays or while in the hospital. And, of course, no perfumes, lotions, cosmetics or haircare products. I  normally do wear them automatically without really thinking about the fact that I am doing so! I am programmed from years of being glamorous!

This is an amusing and amazing tidbit though! I had given myself a manicure with Butter of London’s bright purple polish called HRH right before I broke my wrist! The doctor liked it and wanted me to leave it on! She marked my wrist for the surgery with a purple pen to match! I had a woman doctor! Male surgeons have always required me to remove my nail polish! “So we can see your circulation in your fingernails.” they said! This doctor, and her nurses, said that it was not necessary to remove nail polish and they can see your circulation through the sides and tips of your fingers. And she said, ” Why ruin a good manicure just because you are having surgery if you don’t really need to?” So I got to leave my Butter of London HRH bright purple nail polish on and it really did cheer me up throughout this dismal process of wrist and arm surgery! Amazingly the polish is still perfect on the right hand! There is not even a chip! I’ve had to use the left hand a bit more and it is barely starting to wear and chip off, but I am amazed at the durability of this polish given the circumstances it has been through! Do they even have rating systems for polish in situations like these? Once again I am convinced that Butter of London ‘s HRH bright purple is my personal signature nail polish color!

 

 

An Amazing New Suburban Shoe Shopping Opportunity ~ DSW ~ A Designer Shoe Warehouse Has Opened in Lynnwood, Washington

Friday, September 16th, 2011

A few days ago a new DSW  store opened near my house! I currently live north of Seattle Washington in a suburb called Lynnwood. It is near a mall called Alderwood Shopping Mall which features a Nordstrom and a Macy’s. There is a Nordstrom Rack just outside the mall on a side street. Across the street is a large Barnes and Noble Store with a Starbuck’s Cafe in it. Next to the Barns and Noble in a gigantic Ulta beauty supply and makeup store and a beauty salon. All of these shopping establishments feature copious amounts of free parking in gigantic lots which surround the businesses. Free parking is important. It is conducive to shopping and browsing: going out to lunch, having your hair done, meeting your friends in a leisurely manner. Without free parking you have to worry about running up a huge parking fee or getting a parking ticket. With that in the back of your mind it is hard to hang out and look for ways to spend money! Retailers know this. Of course!

About a year ago large several businesses around us closed down. One was a huge Linens and Things Store. That space was directly across the street from the Nordstrom Rack. The Rack, as people around here call it, is famous for its discounted designer shoes. Only problem is they are always trashed by the time they make it to The Rack! I have never bought a pair of shoes at The Rack because they are always scratched and damaged beyond recognition and that is not a bargain to me! I want my new shoes to be in good condition and my vintage shoes to be in beautiful shape! I take very good care of my shoes. Damaged shoes and clothes are not a bargain in my opinion.

Well, I was in the Alderwood Mall and a woman admired the shoes I was wearing. She asked where I got them. They were Alligator shoes from the 1940’s that I bought about 20 years ago in NYC. After I told her that story she asked if I had been to the new DSW. I said no. She advised me to check it out immediately, so, accordingly, I stopped by on my way home.

The Immense DSW in Lynnwood WA

Check it out! It is huge. And they carry all the name brands that Macy’s and Nordstrom’s carry in the suburban stores. The only difference is that they do not carry only two or three styles of each and one or two colors. They carry every color and every style offered by any given line and they carry it in every size. And they are all in stock right there today, now. The inventory is huge and vast and amazing. The shoes are neatly packed in their boxes under the displays. Everything is well lit and well organized. It is genius, actually. The staff is very nice and available.  It is semi self serve. You walk around, find the shoes you like and pull out the box to try them on. This is great as you do not have to wait for help. but the help is there if you want or need it.

Prices are great. They are discounted way be;ow Macy’s and Nordstrom’s in every case. The percentage of discount differs from shoe to shoe but it is really substantial – due to DSW’s massive buying power I am sure! For example a pair of Nine West shoes I had just seen at Nordstrom for $79 was $59 – the same shoe in the same color. Also available in 4 more colors that Nordstrom didn’t offer!

I had tried to try it on at Nordstrom, but they didn’t have my size in stock. They had called 4 of their stores in the area and looked on the computer. No Nordstrom stores in the state had it. I had paid for it to be shipped to me from another state in my size. Four days later I received an email and a call from the Nordstrom store telling me they could not get it! Even though they had said they could and had made me pay for it already. This has happened to me twice now and I am very tired of it! Nordstrom doesn’t carry enough stock. They won’t transfer items into the store for you to pick up. (They used to do this. No more!) They insist that you pay for them first, promising you it is available. You go home, wait for it, then four days later receive a call and an email saying your order has been cancelled and the item is not available any longer. They pretend it was so popular it is all sold out. The actuality is that they had not ordered enough of it and it is nowhere to be had. This means all the time you spent looking for the item, and coordinating it with your wardrobe was wasted. In the two cases in which this happened to me I also had to return the other items I had shopped for and bought to go with it. This takes up a huge amount of time and is extremely frustrating! It is terrible service. It is no wonder customer’s are fed up!

I am! I am finished with shopping at Nordstrom forever! I find the customer service dreadful. Just today, however, only a week after the above experience, I went back because I needed an item from the cosmetics department. I bought several things. When I got home I emptied the bag to look at my purchase and something major – the blush I had gone there to buy – was missing! The absent minded saleslady had not put it in the bag! This means that I will have to return to the store to get it! She was waiting on several people at once! I called the store, got them to put one aside with my name on it. They apologized. The problem is, I am missing the blush, I cannot do my makeup until I go back and I have to make another trip to the **** store to get this straightened out! This will eat up a big chunk of my time! I do not like it! It is amateur! I do not have time for it!I am busy. I have a lot of other things to do.

Back to DSW. Theoretically, I can drive up to it, park, enter the store, stroll down the aisle until I find the shoes I want, quickly help myself to my size, check out and pay and drive away. I think it is brilliant! I love the immense selection and style availability. They tell me it will be growing every day! We shall see!

The store is vast. It is divided into logical sections. Boots in the center, 3,ooo styles of women’s boots to select from! High heels in two long rows, then flats, then sandals. Sports shoes in another few rows. Handbags in another area. Then a huge wall of tights and stockings. Zillions more styles, colors and sizes than Nordtroms or Macy’s offer.

The great thing is that once you have figured out how to shop there you can get the thing you came in for very efficiently and get out of the store. This is good. I will be using the place.

They have a great selection of vegan handbags from many good designers. Same with shoes. Many people will be really happy about that! I have seen only one or two options elsewhere in the Seattle area.

The only thing I didn’t see there was the very high end shoes carried downtown and in Bellevue in the designer boutique sections of Nordstrom. This would be names such as Prada, Chanel, Yves St. Laurent, etc.I suspect that Nordstorms has exclusives for these lines in this area of the country.

DSW does carry Marc by Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Jiimmy Choo, Ralph Lauren, Via Spiga, Cole Haan, Frye, Joan and David, Matisse, Steve Madden, Franco Sarto, Ann Klein, Softt, Dansko, Seychelles, Ellen Tracy, Bandelino, and a zillions other very nice brands. I will check out what they carry and report on that more extensively in the near future. I did not have enough time to do a comprehensive study of the brands they carry. It looked, at my initial quick glance, like they carry full lines of bridge and better quality shoes and moderately priced shoes. The quality level is very high. The merchandise is current styles, not old out of date styles. The styles, size ranges and color selection are really extensive. So extensive that it will take you time to find what you want when you go there to buy! Be prepared to have a lot to choose from! You will be able to find options you like and want! I saw several I really liked. I will have to go back when I have a bit more time!

I think this new store is going to be very successful and very exciting. I think it will kick Nordtrom and The Rack and Macy’s where they need it!

I, for one, am going to enjoy driving over there, parking free, getting a coffee at Starbucks, and wandering the aisles till I find just the right pair of boots I need for a particular outfit! With 3,000 pairs to choose from in my size I am sure I can find several that will be acceptable!

I am sure The Lady Violette Shoe Collection and The Lady Violette Handbag Collection will acquire a few contemporary additions where they are needed from the DSW!

Are They Out of This Shoe World? Wild Shoes!!! by Kobi Levi Avant Garde Artist and Israeli Shoe Designer

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Here are some really interesting designs. Sent by a friend in Spain! Would you wear these? They are from avant garde Israeli artist and shoe designer Kobi Levi.

You are invited to comment on these interesting designs! Are they Art? Sculpture? Shoes? Shoes to wear or furniture to sit on? At least they make you think!

About shoes and why you wear them, love them or hate them! They are not my cup of tea!

I like my shoes to be elegant, beautiful, flattering and functional! I actually do not even like any of these! I would not add any of them to my eclectic shoe collection!

And I consider myself quite open minded when it comes to shoes. These just don’t appeal to me. I feel as if they mock the beauty of the foot and the wearer.

But I know that that is just my personal reaction. And someone else may just love them! What do you think?

At least they make people look. And think. And analyze their reactions to shoes and footwear and that is a good thing! So, as art, they are succeeding on some level!

I encourage you to leave comments on these shoes and on the other shoes I am posting. We need to get commentary and interaction going!

Please express your opinions and feelings about shoes! These shoes, modern shoes, vintage shoes, antique shoes. any shoes!

That will be interesting!

The captions are mine. The shoe photos came to me without titles.

Stepped on Bubble Gum!

Slide

Swan

Tropical Bird

His & Hers Combined Shoes

Plastic Laundry Basket Shoes?

Lady Gaga & Her Microphone

Is She Coming or Going?

He Calls This One Mother & Daughter!

Homage to the Rolling Stones!

Sling Shot

Lounge Chair?

Bottoms Up!

Little Old Lady Shopping Cart?

Bow Wow!

Arf!

Banana Peel Shoes!

Contemporary Red Carpet Worthy Red Patent Modern Ultra High Heels ~ Circa 2011~ From the Lady Violette Shoe Collection

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Sky High Contemporary Red Patent Leather Pumps From White House/ Black Market ~ Circa 2011

I have learned through experience that I can often find unusual and exotic things that I want by thinking consciously about them ~ sending a certain kind of energy out into the world to locate them and draw them toward me. When I do this I eventually find these rare and interesting items I want. That is how I found this pair of red patent pumps. I began thinking about such a pair of shoes about a month ago when I decided to write about the red shoes in my personal ballet dancer’s collection! I had a lot of red vintage shoes. I didn’t have an example of one of the latest styles ~ the sky high red patent high heel platforms that have been so popular on the red carpet of late. I would need to get one!

Beautiful Sleek Modern Lines

I’m an artist, working on a tight budget, too. Of late I am photographing and writing a lot and designing a line of clothing. I do not have the budget to go out and buy a $795 pair of shoes. In fact, I am even staying out of both regular shops and thrift stores so that I don’t find goodies I feel I must have to expand my collections! I haven’t been in a TS for a month! (TS is thrift store.) I have however, been cleaning out my closets to free up space and making donations to thrift stores and charity groups. I am very proud of the fact that I have been donating five to seven shopping bags full of clothes and household items to charity organizations every week this summer. I am trying hard to do my part to recycle things I am no longer using. I also want to free up my space. It is easy to fill up your house with too many things. I made a rule for myself, for every bag of new stuff I bring into the house, a bag of equal size must be taken out of the house, in order to maintain a balance of stuff.

In Profile ~ These Are Perfect For The Red Carpet!

This summer I have also taken a load of appropriate upscale newer designer items to a nice Seattle consignment shop where I hope to sell them and I have put about 60 choice vintage items up for sale on my Etsy store Ladyviolettedecourcy and another 25 on my Bonanza store Ladyviolettedecourcy. The rules of what you can put up for sale are different for each store.  For example: In the consignment shop nothing can be more than 2 years old! On Etsy everything vintage has to be at least 20 years old. On Bonanza you can sell anything of any age providing the quality is high. Doing all this is a lot of hard work! You have to take the pictures, write good descriptions, post everything on the computers then follow up on questions and responses from potential buyers every single day!  When you finally get a sale you have to box and wrap it and ship it off to the buyer. If international buyers are interested in an item you have to go to the PO or UPS offices to get accurate packing, shipping and insurance rates. Every case is different, because every item is a different shape, size and weight and every buyer lives in a different country and has unique requirements. I have also sold several things on eBay over the last few years! I had no idea until I did it myself that it would be as hard as it is to sell things online! It is hard work!

So far I feel I have mostly done set up! I have also been writing and posting on my blog Ladyviolette.com every day. This has been going on for four months. Sales are sporadic. Everyone on Etsy, Bonanza and eBay says that. The economy is in a slump and this is what everyone I know who is selling says is happening. I have to be philosophical about it. Therefore, I have just decided to continue to plod along ( and blog along!) and keep posting things to my blog and putting items on my store sites! I am very happy with the amount of response of a positive nature I am getting to my photographs and descriptive writing on a daily basis. It is encouraging to know that intelligent people with good taste like it. I like hearing from them even if they cannot afford to buy something right now. The interaction is valuable in its own way! The people participating on these sites are the most interesting thing about them! And ultimately that is more interesting than making sales, but, it would also be very nice to be selling briskly!

Last week, when I took my clothes to the consignment shop I had to wait while the owner looked through them and made her selection. So I walked around the store looking at the other items she had for sale. In the back of the store, on the floor, by a full length mirror, I caught sight of these beautiful shining red patent pumps. I edged closer! They looked as if they might just be my size! I couldn’t resist. I had to pick one up and check out the size! The bottom was marked 8B! I wear a 7.5B usually, but 8 was close enough. I stepped out of my shoes and tried them on. Of course they fit quite nicely. The super high heels allow me to go up a half size! So I had to check out the price. It was $49. They were unworn. They still had the original price sticker on them for $99.99.

I carried the shiny red shoes up to the front desk with me as I went back to see what the owner was selecting from the items I had brought in to consign. She was taking almost all of them. There were about 20 items which is the limit on what they will look at in one day. She saw the red shoes. She said, “I just got those in.” I said, :”I think I want them, But what are you going to take here?”  She told me she would take all but three items which duplicated items she already had. She said she would consign them through November. After that I can choose to pick up things that don’t sell or donate them to The Children’s Orthopedic Hospital. I opted for the later. She said, “The stuff is nice and I know I can sell most of it. Do you want cash or store credit on the items that sell? ” You get more if you take store credit so I chose that.

I know the owner of this store very well. I consign and shop there regularly. She then said, “Do you want the red shoes?” I said, “Well, that depends, on how I can arrange to pay for them. I am trying not to spend money. ” She said, “How about $9.99 cash and I’ll take the balance in credit off the things you will undoubtedly sell that you brought in today?” I said , ” Okay! That sounds good to me!”

Here is how it works if you want to know. She had obviously paid $9.99 or $10 cash for the never worn red shoes. She was hoping to sell them for $49.99. but, here I was, a good customer whom she knows well,  She decided to take $9.99 cash from me to cover her initial financial outlay for the red shoes and take the remaining $40 in credit off of the sales of the items I had just brought in. This was a good deal all the way around because she was guaranteed to get rid of the red shoes, and she knew she would be able to get the remainder of her money soon from the sales of the items I just consigned with her. Normally consignment stores do not do things like this, but I know her and shop and trade with her on a regular basis. Had she not done this with me she might have had this pair of red shoes for months. In NYC or LA they would sell right away, but in Seattle few people actually wear shoes like this! She was lucky that I had come in.

For me, the arrangement was good. I had just gotten rid of a huge pile of clothes freeing up usable space in my house and I had acquired a great pair of shiny modern red high heels in my size for my shoe collection! My financial outlay was only $9.99 for a pair of brand new $100 shoes. I could justify spending that much ($9.99) on this pair as I had been wanting some for quite a while! A gap in my red shoe collection was filled! And I had just gotten rid of a big pile of unused items so I could justify bringing home just one pair of pretty new shoes I would actually use!

I know I will also get usable credit for future clothing or shoe trades at this store, and I know she will have have things I will want in the future. I think I should explain that this is the only store in Seattle where I will trade or buy on a reliable basis. Most of the vintage clothing and designer clothing consignment stores in this town are not dealing with sophisticated enough items or high level enough merchandise for me to bother with. I was lucky to find this pair of red patent shoes in this particular situation. And they are just what I had been wanting. Just what I had been hoping I would find, as I explained in the beginning of this post, and I did! This is why I think my theory works!

Photos by Fredric Lehrman.

Styled by Violette de Courcy.

Shoes from the Lady Violette Shoe Collection.

 

A Ballet Dancer’s Personal Collection of Red Vintage Shoes in The Lady Violette Shoe Collection

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Charles Jourdan Paris ~ Modified Mary Jane ~ circa 1980

I love red shoes. I have always loved them. There is something incredibly wonderful about red shoes.There is also the wonderful 1948 ballet movie The Red Shoes.

Regarding the topic of Red Shoes in my collection. I am in the process of photographing and documenting all the vintage shoes in my collection , The Lady Violette Shoe Collection. I know I have many red ones, but I don’t know how many yet. I still have lots of shoes to go through. Many have been packed up in boxes for several years and several moves. I think I have the most black shoes, then brown and then red! Thinking about this last night I thought it would be a good idea, being a dancer,  to look at them as a sub collection of my collection.  That is as A Ballet Dancer’s Collection of Red Shoes! So here are some of them:

Tie~On Cherry Red Pump by Charles Jourdan Paris 1978

Being a ballet dancer I was introduced to the 1948 movie The Red Shoes starring the red headed ballerina Moira Shearer as a child. I think it is the best ballet movie ever made. It is based on the story of The Red Shoes by Hans Christian Anderson about a girl who acquires a pair of demonic red shoes that won’t let her stop dancing. She is unable to take them off and eventually dances to her death. Heavy stuff!

Red Via Spiga Pump with Snake Trimmed Toe ~ Italy 1982

In the film we have Moira as a real life woman who is a ballet dancer who is cast in a ballet based on the fairy tale. More heavy stuff. Life and art intertwine. There is conflict between her personal life and her dance career. Strife! Melodrama! Fabulous dancing and choreography in 1948 technicolor. Incredible French couture suits and gowns. Drama, and eventually, unable to resolve anything and terribly conflicted, Moira jumps off a balcony in Monte Carlo after a performance of The Red Shoes, still wearing her long pink Degas style tutu and red satin pointe shoes. All the people who have been pulling her in every direction rush to the scene where she is now lying on the train tracks covered with blood and barely alive. (I always notice that her feet are still pointed incredibly hard – which is evidence of her excellent training at the Royal Ballet School in London!) and, barely able to speak, she finally whispers, “Take off the red shoes,” which they do and then, sadly, she dies!

Delman New York ~ Red Suede Color Block Pump ~ 1985

This sounds kind of extreme but it isn’t. It is a really well done film based on very real ballet personalities and history that anyone in the dance world is actually familiar with. The acting and the dancing, as well as the writing and cinematography could not be better. And the final result is still, more than 60 years after it was made, the best ballet movie ever. I must also point out that it is not a horror movie like last years hideous Black Swan. It is a good movie about a unique subculture, the world of professional ballet, and a dancer’s life, that is performed by real ballet dancers who do an incredibly good job. The audience leaves loving ballet, wanting to see more of it, and appreciating what is involved in doing it! That is success! You also want red shoes. Not the demonic ones of the fairy story, but really gorgeous ones from Paris, Italy and New York. Perhaps that movie was why I developed a life long love of red shoes! It had to be one reason! I also love wearing them with pink dresses as the girl in the story did and I have often done so.

Herbert Levine Red Patent Pump with Grosgrain Bow ~ Circa 1950s

In contrast, the movie Black Swan, was horror movie in every way including the horrible performance of non-dancer Natalie Portman as a ballerina! You have to be joking! No one can pretend to be dancing ballet! As a former professional ballet dancer and  teacher myself I was not convinced by anything in that film. What is more it did the art form of ballet a terrible disservice by making people who saw the film think that the world of ballet and the people in it were crazy. It was all in all a terrible film and in my opinion should never have won an Oscar, but we know that the Oscars are all politics!

Sweet Red Parisian Pump with Bow ~ Circa 1960s

If you want to see beautiful ballet and a great film find a vintage copy of the Red Shoes and treat yourself to seeing the very best! The vintage clothes in Moira Shearer’s wardrobe are also an incredible visual treat. And the entire movie takes place in Monte Carlo, Paris and London.  It has everything! Like Red Shoes themselves the film is a classic and always will be!

Red Leather Bandelino Pump ~ 2008

Meanwhile, back to the topic of Red Shoes in my collection. I will photograph them all as I rediscover them and continue to add them to this grouping:

Lipstick Red Soft Leather BC Booties

That is:  A Ballet Dancer’s Collection of Red Shoes! From The Lady Violette Shoe Collection. I hope you enjoy it and are inspired to collect and wear red shoes and to see the 1948 ballet film The Red Shoes.

Photos by Fredric Lehrman.

Shoes from the Lady Violette Shoe Collection

Tea for Two ~ Herbert Levine T-Strap Shoes ~ Designed by Beth Levine for Beth’s Bootery ~ circa 1970

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Here is a darling pair of classic T-Strap pumps  in black suede designed by Beth Levine for Herbert Levine shoes ~ circa 1970. This design was called Tea~for~Two, all her styles were given names ~ for fun and identification purposes.

Tea~for~Two T~Strap Pump by Beth Levine for Herbert Levine Shoes ~ Circa 1970

She produced this one for Little Shop Shoes as is printed in gold on the insole and it was sold at Nordstrom Best in Seattle, WA., where it was bought by one of my own family members! The shoes were too narrow for her, or any of the rest of us who followed, so they were never worn, just carefully saved, in their iconic red box neatly stored away! They are size 7.5 N and we all have real medium width feet.

Look Inside~ It says Little Shop Shoes!

However, Beth Levine was a personal friend, and we all knew she was going to be really famous! She has already won several Coty Fashion Awards. So it was logical for us to keep her shoes! And we were right! A couple of years ago a museum show was mounted in her honor which I attended in Bellevue, WA. And a book,  Beth Levine Shoes by Helene Verin was published around the same time to commemorate her work and the company she and her husband Herbert Levine owned. Of course we attended this and it was fascinating! If you love shoes, I recommend the book and the show if you ever get the chance to see it.

Little Shop Shoes were meant to be fashion forward for the younger woman. While the Herbert Levine Label shoes were more sophisticated. In fact as sophisticated as you could get! Here is an example, also in my personal collection, of a beautiful red patent Herbert Levine salon shoe purchased at Nieman Marcus. I have shown this pair on this blog before, but I wanted to put them together today.

Red Patent Pump with Grosgrain Ribbon Bow by Herbert Levine Shoes

Beth Levine designed all the shoes, but they named the company Herbert Levine Shoes because, at that time, all the other shoe designers were men. She had worked for most of them picking up her skills by osmosis, first as a shoe model and later as a designer. The whole story can be found in the book above.

What isn’t in the book is the story of Beth and Herbert Levine and me! I met them when I went to New York City to dance with the City Center Robert Joffrey Ballet. Their daughter was a student at the Joffrey Ballet School and we became friends. She introduced me to her father, the famous Herbert Levine, but I didn’t really know how famous he was! He just seemed really nice. Father and daughter took me home to meet Beth Levine and we all ended up going out to dinner. We got on famously. They were very interested in the arts and artists and, after a few get togethers they ended up inviting me to move into their Greenwich Village Apartment. Thus, I ended up living with them for several months, getting to know them and many of their friends and getting a first hand education from them on what made good shoes good shoes. Beth was high energy and extremely funny. She was also under a tremendous amount of personal pressure with the responsibilities of running her company and constantly coming up with new ideas and designs. I could see that the life of a famous shoe designer was not 100% glamor! It was a lot of really hard work. They were under an immense amount of pressure to come up with new ideas and stay on the cutting edge. She worked all the time. She seemed very tired a lot of the time.

Herbert Levine was a wonderful flamboyant man who wore a dramatic burgundy long cape overcoat as a trademark and literally swash buckled in it. He was very fashionable. He liked the theater and actors and always was attending plays. It is no wonder that their daughter eventually decided to become an actress. She is Anna Levine Thompson and has had a long and successful acting career in New York City in theater and films.

Photos by Fredric Lerhman.

Shoes from The Lady Violette Shoe Collection

Palter De Liso Designs ~ Early 1950’s ~ Black Silk Taffeta & Purple Rose “Delight” Stiletto Pumps

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

The Fabulous Rose Delight Pump by Paler De Liso

In my constant quest for shoes as works of art I recently came across this gorgeous vintage 1950s shoe called the “Delight”  designed and made by Palter De Liso.  The style of this elegant silk pump is named the Delight and this version is made of black silk taffeta decorated with purple hand painted roses! Beautiful!

This pair is a large size, made for a tall woman. I estimate it to be a size 11, but there is no size label on the shoe. I’ve tried everything to make the shoe fit, but it is just plain too big for me! It is the just the opposite of the story of Cinderella’s slipper! This shoe is actually too large for me! Her glass slipper was actually too small for her stepsisters so they had to search the land for the smaller Cinderella whom it fit. This pair of shoes is too large for me so I must search the land for a smaller pair that actually fits me. I am hoping that the web will serve as a dragnet sweeping the earth to search for a pair of these in my size!

Thinking about this while writing I am reminded of the fact that both Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn were small women, and were both famous for having gigantic feet! They both wore size 11 shoes as I recall! I do not want bigger feet! I just want a considerably smaller pair of these amazingly wonderful shoes in my size. I just wish these were smaller and fit me! I believe in putting the word out that I want them will eventually guide them in my direction. Doing that has worked for me on other really hard to find things in the past! Aren’t they gorgeous? I try not to acquire shoes that don’t fit me, but this pair was such an amazing work of art I decided I had to have it!

I often display favorite shoes around my house so I can enjoy looking at them. I sometimes place one pair on each step of the staircase leading from the first to second floor of my house. That way I can contemplate them and study them every time I go up and down the stairs.

I can also justify owning fine art shoes as beautiful as these for the Lady Violette Shoe Collection which has become so interesting and extensive that I have decided to post it on my blog, shoe by shoe, so that I can share the rare and unusual shoes I have collected with anyone else who is interested in them. I know many other people also love shoes! I have been intrigued by shoe design and history for a long time. Thus, it is my hope that other shoe enthusiasts will enjoy sharing and experiencing my collection in this way. Questions and commentary on the shoes is also welcome. You might well know more about them than I do as I often find them with no accompanying historical information.

The Purple Rose Delight Features a Stiletto Heel

If anyone comes across a pair of these in my size – a 7.5 or 8 M – I would love to have a pair that I could actually wear! Being vintage they probably run small and I could probably wear them in an 8 or even an 8.5. I love the style and the purple roses! These would actually go with many of the clothes I wear. I love both black and purple. I know these would become both a personal style statement and a wardrobe staple for me if I could find them in my size. So, this is a serious call for a pair that will fit! Please please please notify me if you have or find such a pair! And, ah, I should add, I am interested in any Palter De Liso Delight shoes from that era. They were made in many additional colors, fabric, and decorations.

As Lady Violette I have two personal flowers, the purple rose (like these!) and the violet. The roses next to the shoes are from my garden. This particular variety of rose is actually named the Madame Violet! This rose figures prominently in the history of Lady Violette de Courcy! (More about that later!) So it is no wonder I want a pair of these shoes in my size is it? I know that they were made in other sizes because I’ve seen a photo of another pair!

Meanwhile enjoy the shoes! And the Madam Violet roses while they are in bloom!

The Delight - Outer Side & Vamp Views

Placement of Roses

Beautiful Vintage Embroidered and Beaded Black Velvet Evening Bags From India – Circa 1930

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

V

Three Vintage Evening Bags from India Circa 1930's are black velvet decorated with metallic silver and gold embroidery accented with glass beads and cabochons. The small evening purses are envelope style clutches with optional braid shoulder straps which can be tucked inside to hand carry the bag. These were elegant pieces used to accessorize black evening outfits and look equally lovely today worn with any Little Black Dress - long or short - and some delicate gold and colored stone jewelry. Narrow black velvet belts decorated with the same type of embroidered design and buttons about one inch in diameter were also available to add as matching accents to your dress and evening jacket. I have also seen sheer black silk chiffon stoles decorated with a band of the matching metallic embroidery and stones on each end. None of these evening purses are labeled so I have no further information as to the source they originally come from. I have found them in different times in different places. Just beautiful! And I can imagine how lovely an evening gown worn with the matching belt and stole would be! The buttons could be used on a jacket or as clips to decorate a pair of sexy black heels! Assembling such an elegant circa 1930's evening ensemble is something inspiring to work toward in my constant quest for quintessential vintage glamour!

Vintage Shoes of The Week: VTG 70’s Burgundy Leather Slingback Evening Sandals by Garolini

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

 

Gaorolini is one of my favorite shoe designers! They made beautiful feminine shoes by hand in Italy and were most popular during the sixties and seventies. Here is a burgundy slingback pair with a 4″ high heel. They are well designed and surprisingly comfortable. Elegant with dresses they are now sought by vintage fashionistas. Shoes like this are the epitome of feminine elegance. This one is a size 7B in a fine shiny cognac color lined in light beige leather. Of course the sole is leather as well.

Vintage Shoes of the Week – Little Lady Violette Royal Purple Velvet Shoes!

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Violette Violet Velvet Party Shoes - Royal Purple and Fit for a Little Princess ~ in a Tiny Size 4!

Here is an amazing pair of royal purple velvet shoes lined in bright lime green satin and decorated with rhinestones that I found in a flea market this weekend. Another amazing thing about them is the size! They are a small size 4 like a little child’s shoe size! They are made in Korea. I paid $3.99 for them! Plus tax.

They are beautiful little costume shoes. They don’t fit me! I wear a comparatively gigantic size 7.5! The heel is 2″ high and they are perfect for dressing up in as a princess. I decided to buy them because of the lovely and highly unusual color ~ a true dark royal purple ~ and use them as a work of art for my Lady Violette blog post of Vintage Shoe of the Week. I will save them for Coco to wear with one of her princess ball gowns when she is 7 or 8 years old and they will probably fit.

I had a 7 yr old girl who was shopping try them out for me and they did fit her! I would have let her have them, but her grandmother said, “NO! She will break her neck!” I have just the opposite philosophy! I believe little girls should play in high heels to learn to walk in them properly from an early age. And it is much safer to wear heels that actually fit your foot than to play in fancy shoes that are way too long for you! All little girls put on their mother’s high heels for dress up and try to walk around in them. That is a classic rite of passage into womanhood!

I realize the background of my piano leg table is not the best for this photograph, but I was anxious to get them up and show them off. It at least illustrates how dark the purple color really is. I’ll photograph them again soon against something lighter. But aren’t they beautiful?

I think they would look lovely worn with a Johnny Jump-up color inspired formal gown in dark purple with accents of yellow silk like the flower petals of the little Elizabethan viola known as the Johnny Jump-up! I’ll try to find a piece of fabric in the correct shade of yellow to photograph them against. So adorable! They also remind me of the dark purple, almost black, velvety petals of the dark purple nearly black pansy! This photo is true to the color of the dark purple outside velvet and the inside green satin lining of these princess slippers ~ like the little pansy flowers and their fresh light green leaves. Possibly the flowers inspired the person who designed them.

More photos of these to come when I find a nice yellow piece of fabric to shoot them against!

A Very Special Dress from the 1950’s and the Family Story Behind It

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Today I was carefully looking over this dress that belonged to my mother that I have now inherited and thinking over its history as well as the style and era it came from. I think many families have things like this but just get rid of them when the owner dies. Being the sentimental, and analytical type I can’t do that! I have, instead, given the matter serious thoughts which I will share!

Sheer Navy Shadow Striped Voile Shirtwaist Dress Made in 1952

Here is a Lovely New Look 1950’s Sheer Navy Shadow Striped Shirtwaist Voile Dress with Sparkling Prong Set Rhinestone Buttons.

This is a very special dress. Not only is the design interesting, the family history behind it is also.

First, the full skirt features a beautiful job of pleating.The skirt is pleated all the way around – and each pleat is created with six folds and there are ten of them total! This makes a very full skirt but it is flat therefore flattering around the waist and hips because of the pleating technique and the fine lightweight fabric that was used. The circumference of the skirt at the hem is almost 4 yards. The skirt has a very narrow hem so that the lace border on a beautiful navy slip will be able to show through at the bottom. The hem of the skirt is also hand stitched with very perfect even tiny stitches. Something that would never be done nowadays!

Pleated Bodice Back

The bodice back is pleated into a small yoke that leads to the collar in order to continue the pleated design. Full sleeves  are cuffed just below the elbows, and the sheer bodice is darted and perfectly shaped. A navy lace full slip with an ornate lace decorated bodice would be beautiful showing through this and would have been characteristic lingerie for it’s era.

 

Sparkling Rhinestone Prong Set Buttons

Like an elegant shirt the dress buttons up the front with seven sparkling prong set rhinestone buttons to reach a flattering open collar.

 

 

 

Classic Shirtwaist Look

The cuffs also button with two rhinestone buttons each. There are a total of 9 beautiful big glass rhinestone buttons. It has beautiful, perfectly made buttonholes. Very finely sewn.

Gathered 3/4 Length Full Sleeves with Buttoned Cuffs

 

There is no fabric content label inside the dress as you get nowadays. It is a very soft fine voile with a narrow striped pattern of sheer navy and then a stripe of not quite so sheer navy right next to it in a repetitive design. Both types of stripes are the same width about 1/8 inch. The fabric feels like a very fine Swiss or Italian cotton to me. It is very soft. It is what my grandmother, who was a couturier seamstress and designer trained in Switzerland always referred to as cotton voile. She loved such fabrics and often used them for custom making fine made to order women’s blouses and dresses.

 

And now we get to the more interesting part:

 

The dress is very well made. There is no designer label, but I can tell you who made it! My grandmother made this dress. She made custom designs for private clients. And it is technically perfect. Every seam is carefully finished, the hem is turned and stitched by hand. There is not a loose thread or raw finish throughout. The construction is very refined. My grandmother made this tasteful and very refined dress for my mother.

There was no self covered or other belt with the dress. I tried it on with a navy reptile one and that looked nice. And a navy patent one and a very narrow rhinestone one, They all looked pretty but I feel that the very best belt solution and a look I would like now would be a very narrow silver leather belt ~ about 1/2 inch wide. I think that would look good with the dress and be a timely look in 2011.

The entire dress is sheer and I have photographed it over the mannequin with nothing underneath it so you can see this. Of course it is meant to be worn over a slip. I think a full navy slip with a lot of lace on it would be perfection. I think I have one and I am going to look for it right away. In fact, it may very well be the slip that was originally used with this dress. If so, I’ll keep it with the dress and photograph them together again.

We have a photograph of my mother sitting on a sofa with her legs gracefully extended wearing this dress and she looked beautiful in it. Her long thick red hair was pulled back in a low chignon. She was wearing her trademark apple green jade jewelry that my father had given her ~ earrings of carved squirrels with diamond eyes, a Chinese jade and gold necklace in the neckline, and a green jade and gold bangle bracelet, and her wedding rings. She also wore green slingback pumps that she had gotten on a trip to Italy. She loved green accessories with navy blue. My father liked this dress and had asked her to wear it that day for the photographer to take the family pictures.( I can’t post that photo today as the only copy is at my father’s house now in Oregon and I am in Seattle, WA. )

The Entire Dress is Sheer

There are more photos taken the same day that include the entire family and different combinations of various members of them. She is in several of these as well still wearing this dress. So am I. I am about 5 years old in these. And my brother is about 4 years old. That dates this photo to 1957. I know she had had the dress a at least a couple of years already .

I do not really remember my mother wearing this dress. I just know she did because of those photos and because I was told that she did! I do remember seeing this very dress hanging in a closet in her house though years later when she was no longer wearing it because styles had changed. She kept a lot of clothes that she no longer wore in a large cedar closet at the end of a hallway.

The Full Elaborately Pleated Skirt, Typical of the Era is 30 " Long and Measures Nearly 4 yds. in Circumference Around the Hem

Once we were looking through it and my father said,”I really liked that dress on your mother.” And she said, “Yes. He won’t let me get rid of it, but it’s totally out of style now!” And he said, “I don’t know why you need new dresses when you have so many that are still perfectly good!” In and out of style were concepts regarding women’s clothing that he could not grasp! He was a college professor and he wore the same tweed sports coats for years if not decades! He would often say, “There is no need to buy new things when the things you have are still perfectly serviceable!” He, of course, lived through the Depression and we never heard the end of it! Of course he called it “The Great Depression.”

Fortunately my mother had her own money and bought herself new things and kept up with the styles as they changed. She also took good care of her things and kept a lot of them so there is a nice collection to go through. Interestingly, when arranged, chronologically, they tell the story of her life in styles ~ as styles changed over the decades and time passed.

In that way the changing of the styles during her life time and the fact that she kept up with them and kept them is an interesting recording, historically, of her lifetime. And something that I, as her daughter, actually find very interesting. By using the word lifetime I really mean her life and the time in which it took place.

She lived a little over eight decades, And, stylistically, each decade is really quite amazingly different! That is really very interesting to see. One way of studying times is to look at things people used that were made and were used and popular during those times. Like look at a certain decade, and consider this, then do it for the next decade, the next and so on! If you do this just for the few you have lived through yourself you can see how quickly things have changed and evolved! It is really fascinating.

My mother was quite petite and very proud of her figure. She said she had been on a diet every day of her adult life to retain it. She managed to do so all her life without a glitch. She was very self disciplined. She was 5’4″ tall and weighed 117 lbs with her clothes and shoes on. People always say that vintage clothes run very small. And that people are larger these days. I have no idea if that is really true or not. I find plenty of them that fit me. Out of curiosity however I measured this dress. These are 1/2 the measurements circumference as they are taken with the dress lying flat. Double for the around figures. I do not think they are really that much smaller than a proportionate woman of today.

Measurements taken with garment lying flat:

Bust from armpit to armpit – 19″ ( x 2 is a 38″ bust)

Waist – 13″ (x2 is a 26″ waist)

Shoulder to Shoulder across upper back – 15 1/2″

Center back seam from collar to waist – 17″

Hips – free because skirt is very full – nearly 4 yds around circumference of hem!

Length of skirt from waist to hem – 30″

It is all very interesting material to contemplate isn’t it?

Vintage Shoe of the Week ~ Exquisite Red Patent Herbert Levine Pumps

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Red Patent Leather Pumps by Herbert Levine

This is one of my favorite pairs of vintage shoes! I love the color and the style, and the Herbert Levine last fits me like a dream.

Plus, I had the pleasure of knowing Herbert and Beth Levine and their daughter when I was dancing in New York with the City Center Robert Joffrey Ballet Company. They kindly invited me to live with them when I first moved to New York City as a young ballet dancer on a Ford Foundation Scholarship . They were always interested in artists and very supportive of them. They were wonderful friends.

While living in their home I met many interesting people, including Henri Bendel who came to dinner once a week, the photographer Hiro, and Mr. Conde Nast who was a real person. They lived in a very modest and tiny two bedroom apartment on East 12th Street in The Village.

The notorious guests liked to come their to relax and eat their cook’s most amazing I have ever tasted crispy and delicious Long Island Duck. I wondered if it was the special duck that made it so delectable or the way it was cooked. It was the latter. On a trip to LI I asked Herbert which duck of a large gaggle of assorted types of ducks we passed was the delectable and famous Long Island Duck and he replied, “Any duck on Long Island!” They knew because Beth had grown up on a LI farm and told me she had plucked ducks as a girl for that recipe on the farm. Beth was a very down to earth talented woman who became a famous shoe designer and ended up winning the Coty awards and  hanging out with the rich and famous ~ but she retained her earthy qualities.

The Gold Herbert Levine Label ~ These Were Made for Neiman Marcus

Beth Levine actually designed the all shoes, but the company was named Herbert Levine by the couple because they were afraid buyers would not purchase shoes made and manufactured by a woman when they began. Herbert was the business brain behind the company and he was absolutely brilliant. He was incredibly supportive of his wife’s talent and promoted her endlessly. They had a fabulous partnership ~ both personally and as business partners. it was a privilege to know them. And I learned a lot about shoes from them!

These shoes are special to me because of my relationship with the designers as well as for their own beauty.

Beth Levine often said, “If your feet hurt, my feet hurt.” Her shoes were elegant and incredibly comfortable. There is not another designer’s shoes to this day that are as comfortable for me as hers. She really meant what she said and knew what she was doing.

Last year a retrospective show of her work was held in the Bellevue Art Museum near Seattle where I live. Of course I attended. It was excellent and I know the show has traveled around to museums throughout the country. I highly recommend seeing it if you have the chance.

The Famous Herbert Levine Red Shoe Box

I have collected a lot of beautiful vintage shoes, many of historic quality. I owe my interest in and knowledge about shoes to the Levines! They got me started and taught me to appreciate quality shoe design as well as appearance. I was exposed to the very best. Being a young ballet dancer I could not afford a lot of expensive shoes, but Beth saw to it that I was supplied. She gave me shoes so I would be properly shod at all times in New York City!

 

People ask me, but these shoes are not for sale! They are and will remain part of my personal collection!

Vintage Shoes of the Week ~ Saks Fifth Avenue Gold Brocade 1950’s Evening Shoes

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Saks Fifth Avenue 1950's Gold Brocade Sh

 

Here is a sweet pair of  vintage 1950’s Saks Fifth Avenue Gold Brocade Evening Shoes with leather soles made  on a Fenton last which was well known for comfort and quality. The soles are leather, the shoes were handmade in the US. Sized 7.5 AAAA and very narrow. These have a 2″ heel. They were sold in Saks Fifth Avenue  shoe salon in New York City of course.

Dainty Ingenue Fabric Bows

The WOW! Performance Dress for the Princess of WOW! ~ Finally Fini!

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Grecian Style Dress for the Princess!

I am extremely happy today because I have finally finished one of the two dresses I am making for Princess WOW!  to wear in her upcoming performances. So here it is!

The bodice is made of paisley printed vintage 1960’s silk and crosses over in the front. It is embroidered with hand applied sequins and seed beads and embellished with tiny hand sewn violets and roses. These are made out of satin ribbons and tiny pearls. The bodice is faced with the same bright silky pink fabric used for the top layer of the two layer skirt.

Ribbon Violets & Roses Decorate the Neckline

The double layer skirt is made up of a bottom layer of silky mauve fabric which is sewn closed all the way to the hemline at the sides. This is topped by the second layer which is bright pink and is slit all the way up both sides to the empire waistband. The  split allows the second skirt to gracefully sweep and billow open at the sides as the wearer moves.

Divided Overskirt & Green Side Ribbons

The empire waist band is constructed with a casing which encloses a soft 1/2 inch wide elastic inside a beautiful lavender French printed vintage satin ribbon and is adjustable for both fit and comfort of the wearer from the inside. This pretty ribbon casing is only visible to the wearer on the inside of the dress. I often do something special and pleasurable inside a dress that only the owner/wearer will know about! A very narrow drawstring ribbon in bright light green double faced satin with picot edging is run through the waistline casing on its top side and emerges as a colorful surprise at outside openings on both of the waistline side seams. These green side seam ribbons can be used to adjust the skirt for both style and comfort then tied off in soft floppy bows with long elegantly floating streamers running all the way to the hemline.

The double layer skirt is hemmed at two different lengths – the light mauve under skirt is two inches longer than the side split bright pink over skirt so that the light colored skirt peeks out below. I was inspired by Isadora Duncan’s Grecian dance dresses which always had side split skirts and moved beautifully. Drifting skirts in filmy fabrics always seem incredibly springlike and romantic to me!

The dress is designed to be worn on stage for performances by singer and songwriter Princess WOW! during her upcoming spring and summer concerts. It is meant to evoke the feeling of the bohemian dresses worn by the flower children in the late 1960’s, particularly Penelope Tree in her 1967 ~ 1968 heyday.

The necklace shown with the dress is also designed by me, Lady Violette, and is made of hand made lamp wound pink mille fiore glass beads and 24 K gold and antique rose colored Swarovsky chrystal. It is a one of a kind art piece.

Red satin court shoes and shiny bright pink tights will complete this flower inspired ensemble! All the colors, textures and shapes are inspired by flowers. I am eternally grateful to roses and violets for the ways they inspired me.

The Rose Red Satin Shoes to go with the Princess Dresses

Custom Designed "Pink Flowers Necklace" by Lady Violette

Lining and Casing Inside of the Dress Inspired by Looking Inside a Blooming Rose!

 

3/4 Turned Front View

Fully Slit Top Layer Skirt Lifted to Fully Reveal Underskirt

Vintage Shoes of the Week of Saint Patrick’s Day ~ Green Alligator Shoes From Italy

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Mariola Green Alligator Vintage Shoes

A beautiful pair of vintage dark forest green alligator pumps from Italy with tasteful and comfortable 2″ stacked black leather heels tie in front with a black satin ribbon bow. Handmade, all leather soles, and lining ~ beautifully constructed and exquisitely comfortable. Made by Maraola.

Incredibly well made and very comfortable. European size 38. Just gorgeous!

Practical and their vintage ads said, “Why wear anything else?” This is because they feel so good you don’t want to wear anything else. But they were originally so expensive one might not have been able to afford to wear them!

I do not know exactly when they were made. My research yields an approximate $800 price tag when new! If bought in the 1960’s. The style is timeless so I cannot place the year they were made exactly. It could be as far back as the 1940’s. Or as recently as the 80’s. I got them at a consignment shop in Brooklyn NY. For $30! The owner did not realize they were real alligator and she thought the color green was both unlucky and off beat. I happen to love green so I was happy to take them off her hands.

I know I have used the word comfortable four times in one short paragraph. That came out that way, instinctively because it is really true so I am going to leave it that way! No need to say more!

Perfect for Saint Patrick's Day! & Every Other Day

I am so glad I own these! I can figure out a way to wear them with almost anything! The style is totally classic. I love these shoes! They are green and to me green is very versatile. It is everywhere outside in nature so it follows that it must go with everything!

It goes well with navy. And with many  prints. In the top photo the shoes are photographed against my green Karistan flower strewn carpet. In the bottom photo I have used a vintage cotton gauze shawl as a background.

Green can, of course, be worn with black. And these shoes are perfect with Irish tweeds and hand knitted sweaters because of the alligator skins.

The weather has been extremely cold, wet and blustery so this year’s Saint Patrick’s Day will undoubtedly be very cold. As in the dead of winter! I will be happy to dress very cozily!

So these little guys should be just perfect! With a hand knit sweater, warm tights, a tweed suit, a green cape!

Handmade by Maraola of Italy

Sturdy and Elegant

Some people think green is unlucky. Christian Dior mentions that in his style dictionary. He also says that green has been lucky for him and he finds it  great color for accessories, such as hats and shoes. I have always loved it so I will wear it happily and consider it lucky.

If it was lucky for Christian Dior I think it is lucky for me as well!

There is such a thing as The Luck of The Irish! And I am Irish and I luckily look good in green and I am lucky enough to keep finding lovely green vintage items!

It is wise to rescue things and recycle or reuse them, to go green with the planet and to wear green if it both falls into your lap and makes you happy. I consciously try to do all these things.

Almost everything I own and use is enjoying a rebirth and regeneration in my possession. I want to invite every reader of my blog to recognize this fact and join me in both celebrating the specialness of old and forgotten treasures and finding enjoyment in renovating old things that are often better than new ones and still have a lot of life left in them.

Vintage Shoes of the Week of Saint Patrick’s Day ~ Green of Course!

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

 

 

 

 

Green Metalic Leather and Silk Chiffon Evening Sandals

In the spirit of Saint Patrick’s Day a fantastic pair of green evening sandals that lace up the leg and tie. These are made of green metallic leather with silk chiffon ribbon ties. I will give a couple of views as they were a bit difficult to photograph! Especially without a model!

These were made by BCBG Max Mara and seem just the thing to wear with a Green Greek Goddess Style Evening Gown.

They are designed to wear crossed over, laced and tied at the ankle like a ballet slipper. Very very sexy shoes!

I found these while vintage shopping and they were not my size! They were a size 9 and 1/2 and I wear a 7 and 1/2 But they were fantastic and in great condition.

From the Front & Center

I had to buy them and I kept them around for a while as pieces of art, then, trying to edit down my shoe collection I sold them on eBay. My criterion being that they didn’t fit me so I should probably part with them.

As usual the woman who bought them got a great bargain and really loved the shoes. And as usual, I miss them! I’m glad she appreciated them though!

I always feel bad when I sell things on eBay and take a total financial loss. These were amazing because of the color and the design. And they have 4 inch heels. They are yummy and precarious and very dangerous to wear! No part of the shoe hugs the foot so there is nothing structurally designed to hold them on. They are what my brother calls danglers, the kind of shoe you wear to the opera and simply dangle your feet in the aisles to be seen for the pleasurable sensual and visual effect. Do not try to walk far or on uneven surfaces, run or dance in them. Because you could get easily hurt! But they would be lovely for a photo shoot! These definitely fall into the category of shoes as primarily art pieces! That is their highest and best use as shoes. And a perfectly justifiable use I might add!

The Red Shoes & Berry Colors

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

The Red Satin Shoes

Here is another view of the red satin shoes and the Princess WOW! Costume design project. I wanted to show the graceful lines of this elegant pump. And the rich red color against the magenta fabric I am using in the skirt along with the giant paisley print. The scalloped sides of the shoe are flattering to the feminine ankle, as is the graceful 3″ heel.

This style shoe was initially created by Christian Dior to flatter the feminine foot and ankle. He used them in his New Look Collection right after World War II and they have been around, in one version after another ever since. The lines are classic and a girl can never have too many of them in her personal shoe collection. Contrary to popular belief this is not an uncomfortable shoe style. If they fit you properly they are comfortable.

I love red shoes in general. I think they can be worn with many things. Here I am showing you a color combination I really like – bright shiny red with bougainvillea magenta pink! Luscious! Berry colors! Flower colors! Lady Violette Colors! Amazingly beautiful colors!

Outside, it is cold and grey, overcast and foreboding… and getting colder! Inside I am sewing, in my kitchen, surrounded by the pinks and reds in this project and four blooming African violet plants… Snow is predicted later in the week…

Vintage Shoe of the Week – An Elegant Red Silk Satin Satin Slipper

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Red Silk Satin Vintage Slipper

I promised to show a vintage shoe each week. – This one is an elegant red satin slipper with scalloped sides and 3 inch high heels that was  that was dyed to match something from which it was separated years ago.

Currently I am designing and making a costume for my friend, Princess WOW!, to wear while performing in an upcoming concert in NYC. (More about that in an upcoming future post.)

I am determined that I will see that this new dress is properly shod and presented with the correct jewelry at it’s debut. I always deliver a costume fully accessorized.

I am showing the shoe against the colorful giant paisley fabric I am using in the skirt of the gown. The fabric is a 1960’s vintage  crispy silk which I have beaded and sequined. The red satin shoes will be worn with glistening magenta stockings and will peek out below the bright paisley fabric of the skirt. Colorful? Yes! And, did you know that paisley, as a design motif, was originally inspired by a flower petal? Perhaps that is one reason why the flower children of the 1960’s liked using paisley fabrics!

Because Princess WOW! – the client for whom this dress is being made – specializes in wearing beautiful clothes that get people’s attention, make them smile, and remind them of the late 1960’s. The challenge for me was to design a stage costume reminiscent of the flower children of 1968. I have had this beautiful giant paisley printed silk fabric for years! It’s time has finally come!

Shortly after beginning the design process I found these beautiful red silk satin shoes, in her exact size, while thrifting! They had been worn only once and were essentially brand new. What luck! And I paid only $6! I think this particular pair is one of those dyeable white satin shoes from the 1980’s that was specially colored to match an outfit worn just one time. Then it was probably stored in a box at the back of a closet for 20 years.

I think this particular pair of red shoes is lucky that it got to come out now – after 20 plus years of living in oblivion – and will have an exciting new life performing on the stage in New York City and on live television! At the moment I am enjoying having them in my studio for inspiration while I am designing the concert dresses. (There are now two in the works. ) I am fully enjoying the experience of having so much pretty color  around me in the dead of winter!

A Lady Violette interior design tip: Shoes are beautiful sculptural objects and I often put a pair out as an art object to enjoy. Sometimes I display one pair on a coffee table, or I put  several colorful or whimsical pairs out, one on each stair step, leading from my little living room up the stairway to the second floor level of the house. It is a great way to enjoy my shoe collection and people find it very entertaining. It is a good thing to do for a party. People will sit on the stairs, talking and admiring the shoes. Shoes have many uses beyond wearing them on your feet! They are objets d’art! Another fine example of the Feminine Arts!