I was lucky enough this week to wander into Couture Allure Vintage Fashion and take a look around at the amazing merchandise that they've acquired since last I was there. I could practically write a blog on this store's stock alone, but I've restrained myself to two particularly fine pieces.
The first is a particularly fine 50's Jacket Dress from Leonard Arkin:
This lovely dress is unlined except for the hips, which are interlined with a stiff fabric that fluffs the garment somewhat away from the body. The sweetheart neckline features banding at the seam, there is fine pleating at the waist, and a side metal zipper. Both pieces are made of a fine silk with a "crisp weave." I am particularly in love with the jacket, which has a notched collar featuring some very 3 dimensional bead work. This beadwork is repeated at the tail of the jacket giving it a very finished, very couturier look. I've never seen anything quite like it. The jacket closes with black buttons matched with bound button holes. The sleeves are bracelet length and the jacket itself is lined in beige silk taffeta. The outfit is described as being in excellent condition. I would size it at about an 8 in today's sizes (American), but complete measurements are available at the site. The suit is priced at a well justified $225.00.
Couture Allure is a very upscale shop, and as such, this garment will come to you freshly dry cleaned and ready to wear. I can't tell you how much I appreciate that, and how often in my wandering I come across claims that a particular garment has a slight stain that the seller is sure will come out with dry cleaning.
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The second garment from Couture Allure which I felt compelled to feature is a lovely Psychedelic Shift from the 60's:
Made of 100% cotton, I find it somewhat amazing that the colors have maintained their vibrancy over the past 50 years. And what vibrant colors they are! I just adore the fluid motion of the coloring of the dress! It's the sort of dress that could take you from the grocery store to the Metropolitan Opera in one easy step (though I might add some gloves for the Opera and a simple shawl) The side seams each feature a 4 1/2" slit, and this simple shift dress comes in a bit at the waist. I love that it has this swirl effect as opposed to being tie dyed. It is perfect for today's retro psychedelic chic.
As always, Couture Allure has meticulously listed the measurements of this garment so you won't order it wondering if it will fit, though I will mention that the most restrictive measurement is the 38" bust. Naturally, this will come to you clean and ready to wear. I believe this dress is a bargain at $125.00.
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Over at Etsy, naturally I stopped at DeniseBrain first. My favorite of her current stock is a Shocking Pink Shantung Silk Sheath Dress.
Isn't that gorgeous? I just love the tie at the neck, and cut of the dress, and the three quarter length sleeves. Also, it's also a miracle when a dress of this vintage still has it's original belt, so to the previous owner of this lovely dress, Thank you! Thank you for keeping up with the belt! This thin belt features a flat bow in the front. This dress is a size large, with complete measurements at the site. The condition is described as very good with a slight, negligible spot, the size of a dime on the skirt. The spot is described as barely visible and impossible to photograph. The dress is currently on sale for $56.00, marked down from $63.00.
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Another of my Etsy favorites is GirlOnAVine who used to sell through Sense of Fashion before that site disappeared. She has a very Gypsy, Boho sense of chic, and sells the most marvelous things. Today's find is a killer Burnt Velvet Jacket which depicts Frida Kahlo on the back.
I think this wrap is simply divine, and it feeds into my Frida Kahlo addiction, as sort of the South of the Border Patron Saint of Feminism. It has a very Stevie Nicks type of chic, and obviously is one size fits all up to a size 12. It is made of a rayon velvet and features beading in the fringe. This work of art could be yours for $289.00.
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Don't you get a wee bit dizzy looking at it? I just love op art clothing! This skirt is meant to be worn very tight, as it's waist measures 15" (flat) and it's hips measure 18". My waist could fit that easily. Alas, I have a bit too much junk in the trunk for the hips. It looks to be about 24" long, but that's a guess on my part. Described as being in mint condition, this lovely can be yours for only 10 British Pounds. Today that is roughly $15.75, but please bear in mind exchange rates change daily.
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My final find at Etsy this week is a fabulous Retro 70's Maxi Dress: the single Must Have Garment for the summer season.
This amazing dress is on sale for only $24.70 after being marked down from $38.00. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you how rare it is to find a 70's maxi at this price! I am in love with the cut of the dress. I love the exposed peek-a-boo shoulders and how well the dress hangs. I love the boatneck neckline, and I love that, though it is a Maxi, it does not drag the floor. The dress is 70% Rayon and 30% Polyester, which accounts for it hanging so beautifully and being an easy care garment. Though the dress does appear to be commercially produced, there is no brand name tag to identify it's maker. The dress is in excellent condition, and is offered for sale by FunkyFondledand Fresh.
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I found this amazing Green Silk Pant Suit at Thrifted and Modern, and it lives up to the store's reputation for cutting edge chic in vintage garments.
This color green can't be worn by everyone, but if you're one of the lucky few who has the skin tone to carry it off, you can be sure of being the center of attention at any function you attend. The pants and bow are made from a lovely shantung silk which has an ever so slightly nubby texture, and the top (aside from the bow) is a wool knit. This is another garment I'd like to wear to one of those who's who art openings, and swish past a photographer from Women's Wear Daily. The garment is a small / medium (extensive measurements at site) and is in excellent condition. The label reads "Ethel", which I must confess means nothing to me. If you know about Ethel, please comment and educate the rest of us. This suit is a steal at $136.00.
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Also at Thrifted and Modern, I found this lovely Skirt Suit designed by Marchessa di Gresy for I Magnin in the 1960's. Reliably chic, the I Magnin label has offered the work of many designers with a consistently high standard.
Made of 100% wool, the fabric features a repetitious design that is almost polka dots, but not quite. The skirt is fully lined, and oddly the jacket is not. (It's usually the other way around!). The jacket features belt loops at the waist, and presumably the original belt has been mislaid. I like their solution of providing a simple white belt, though matching the pink would be a triumph. The skirt zips in the back and is knee length. Sized at Medium to Large, the suit's measurements are listed in detail at the Thrifted and Modern website. This lovely ensemble is currently on sale for $188.00
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When I began research for this issue of The Second Hand News, SkullzLondon had three langdenlook necklaces, as well as One Matching Bracelet. They are now down to a Single Necklace, so I suggest if this tickles your fancy as much as it does mine, you must strike while the iron is hot.
Both crafted from a blue Lucite and on the cutting edge of Modern Jewelry, these pieces are both rare and highly sought after. The necklace is priced at $59.99 and the bracelet is a positive steal at $19.99. Those of you who have followed this blog for a while know I have rather an extensive and prized collection of acrylic jewelry, and I would love to add these pieces to my collection. If you find that they've been "bought now", well, you'll know what happened.
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At eBay, I made the strategic error of stopping by Bustown Modern. As always, I would like to feature every single garment they have, but I chose my favorite two and knocked off a couple of other pieces I was thinking about featuring this week. The first is an absolutely fabulous garment dyed Purple Maxi Dress that is just the thing for summer.
Is that the bee's knees or what? The dress hales from the 1970's and is a Morrocan tie dye which comes off as very dimensional without being hackneyed, as tie dye so often is. The top part has fringe at the waist, and the dress is long enough to invite on to twirl around at a Grateful Dead concert and get lost in the music. There is no doubt that the Maxi is the single Go To garment for this coming summer season, and I doubt you'll find a finer one than this. This is where the bad news comes in. Bustown Modern is so well known for their fine selection that half of eBay watches their stock. The dress, with 3 days and 21 hours to go of bidding, is currently priced at $32.30. You may be rejoicing for the bargain. Don't count your Bustown chickens before they hatch. I anticipate fairly frenzied bidding in the final five minutes and a final sales price of over $100. Then again, I've been wrong before. If the sales price does go over $100, it's still an excellent buy, and my congratulations go out to whoever is lucky enough to snag this baby up.
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As it's springtime, the thrify gals mind should be turning to coats, for you can get them at about half the price now that you will have to shell out for them in the fall. Also at Bustown Modern, I found this magnificent, magical, fabulous, and dare I say really cool Pseudo-Military Cape from Calvin Klein in the 1960's.
Featuring three elongated frog closures, generous arm openings, and miles of fabric, this lovely coat could take you from picking up the kids at the park to a night at the Opera. The design is as au currant today as it was the day Calvin Klein designed it, a true classic. Made of 100% wool, this is one of the garments that launched Klein's career as a couturier in 1968. A collector's item as well as a fabulous coat, it is listed for a Buy-It-Now price of $595, though Bustown Modern is entertaining offers. It is worth noting that two offers have been turned down already, so if your going to offer, I wouldn't try below $550.00.
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Finally, my last find for the week is from eBay's TheatreofFashion who has listed the most lovely Riding Jacket from Laura Ashley. It's very Downton Abbey and has lines that reflect a time long before it went to the loom..
Made in the Victorian / Edwardian Style, this jacket is made of a silk blend velvet. I hangs gorgeously, though is still light weight. The coat buttons up the front and has full length sleeves. It is listed as an American size 10 or a British size 14, though I beg you to look at the measurements before you purchase. A classic in any wardrobe, this lovely coat is offered for a Buy-It-Now price of 175 British Pounds. This is currently about $286.66, but please bear in mind that exchange rates change daily, and indeed through out the day.
And so that, my lovelies, is another weeks poking about. I do hope you've found something that tempts you.
As always, I wish you happy shopping,
Second Hand Roze