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With Compliments of Sally Slade

13/03/2015

How Right you are in a Sally Slade model

Sally Slade address book

I recently acquired this vintage address and telephone number book which dates late 1940s, early 1950s. The outer shell is made from heavy-duty cardboard with a textured, faux leather covering; the pages within being held in place with an orange plastic binder.

Each page includes a cute advertising motto; one of them referring to Dior’s “New Look” which was first launched in his Spring-Summer fashion collection of 1947.

Look new, in a Sally Slade New Look

These address books would have been issued to sales representatives and handed out to shops and department stores that stocked the Sally Slade fashion label.

I was particularly interested in purchasing this book as I have a Sally Slade prom dress dating c.1950s currently listed on my website (see below). Plus, it’s always nice to find something of this age that hasn’t been used before.

A cute advertising motto on each page . . .

Sally Slade advertising motto

Sally Slade advertising motto

Sally Slade advertising mottoSally slade address book

Sally Slade Prom Dress c.1950s

Sally Slade Prom Dress c.1950s

Sally Slade

Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find any information about the Sally Slade label or how long they were in operation. There were many fashion brands and design houses that produced and manufactured clothing and textiles in this part of London during the 1940s to 1960s/70s. If you have any information about this company, please drop me a line.

Restored Beauty

07/03/2015

I recently acquired this velvet evening jacket which included real fur cuffs. It dates from the 1930s and like most velvets from this period, is made from silk. It has superior texture and drape compared to modern-day velvets and this one is in remarkably good condition too . . . . . except for the cuffs!

The cuffs had lots of age-related wear, mainly to the inside edge, where friction against the fabric over the years, had caused some fur loss. In addition, the fur had lost its original lustre and sheen and was quite matted in places. Not selling it very well am I?!!

Velvet evening jacket 1930s

Velvet evening jacket c.1930s

Fur trim around the cuffs

Fur loss around the inner cuff.

Matted fur

Unappealing matted fur. Yuk!

Coats and jackets trimmed with fur were very popular throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Sumptuous velvets were used in dresses, wraps and jackets and provided opulence and luxury, so much part of Art Deco fashion.

Unfortunately, these fur cuffs had seen better days!

So, what to do? Well there is no way to restore this type of fur or fabric, so I posted photographs of the jacket to my friends at the Vintage Fashion Guild. There is always someone there to provide support and inspiration, and this time it was suggested that I try and remove the fur cuffs, which may have been added to the jacket later anyway.

This has to be one of the easiest projects I’ve ever completed. Taking extreme care not to damage the velvet underneath, here is what the culprits look like from the inside.

Inside the fur cuffs

Inside the fur cuffs.

And here is how the jacket looks now, restored to its original beauty. Purchase here.

Please ‘click’ on the image for a closer view.

Before and after removal of the damaged fur cuffs

Before and after removal of the damaged fur cuffs; much improved I’m sure you’ll agree.

Vintage Handbag Restoration

22/02/2015

I don’t mind admitting that when it comes to my business, I’m slightly obsessed with getting the very best out of my vintage clothing and accessories. That means cleaning and repairing to ensure they reach my customer in the best possible condition, ready to use or wear immediately.

Of course those who love the allure of anything old, appreciate some age patina and wear. It adds authenticity and shows the piece has had a previous life. There are also those of you who simply don’t ‘get’ vintage at all, and whilst I’ve no wish to try and change your viewpoint, I think you’re definitely missing a trick. Vintage provides immense style opportunities and offers something unique and individual to your wardrobe. Still not convinced? Oh well . . . . . vive la différence, as they say!

These handbags arrived with me last week and I couldn’t wait to get started. They look pretty good don’t they?

A selection of 1960s handbags

A selection of 1960s handbags

Well they didn’t look quite so pretty when they arrived. They were all  incredibly dusty with metal hardware that was dull and unappealing. I had to first of all check what the outer fabric shell was made from; three of them vinyl and one genuine leather. I will concentrate my story on the black moc-croc patent handbag (second from left). Here’s some close-up images of how it looked on arrival . . .

vintage patent handbag

Before I got to work on this vintage patent handbag.

I used a clean cloth to remove as much dust as possible, then used Silvo on the metal hardware, being extremely careful not to go anywhere near the lining fabric. Once that had been polished and buffed with another clean cloth, I got to work on the outer vinyl shell. This proved very easy indeed, using a soft sponge, warm soapy water, and one final buff with a clean cloth. And here’s the finished result. Hey presto!

Moc Croc Patent Handbag

Moc Croc Patent Handbag

Now just going back to what I said earlier about appreciating some age patina and wear; well this handbag is a perfect example. It’s now in the best possible condition it could be, and is certain to last its new owner for many more years to come. However, the metal hardware, although strong, robust and clean, still has quite a lot of tarnishing spots.

Tarnishing spots

Good sturdy frame but there are still tarnishing spots that remain.

Would the tarnishing spots bother you? Well I guess that all depends on your preference for old or new. I think it’s unlikely you’d find anything quite so stylish or beautifully made on the high street . . . . but as they say, vive la différence!

Witney Blankets

28/01/2015

I recently purchased this lot from an auction house sale. The contents of the box were listed as follows:

4 Whitney wool checked blankets, embroidered and crochet linen (1 box).

Auction lot purchase

Recent auction lot purchase.

Now as my knowledge of wool blankets is practically non-existent, I took a quick detour via Google search and input ‘Whitney blanket’ . . . . well you would, wouldn’t you?

Nothing came up for that particular spelling. However, Google found me lots of wool blankets, all of them labelled ‘Witney‘. This was looking promising . . . . . except for the link that came up for a website dedicated to all things ‘Whitney Houston‘ . . . . No, not quite what I was looking for!

Anyway, a couple more clicks of the ‘mouse’ and I came across an interesting little website all about Witney blankets. Result!

Mental note to myself . . . . . should get out more . . . . .

Witney wool blanket vintage

A nice surprise! Red tartan wool blanket.

Back to the auction house then, to establish the condition of said blankets. There’s little point winning at auction if you’ve no idea what you’re buying. It would be hideous indeed, to open-up my box of goodies, only to find blankets full of nasty holes and stains. Yuk! I’d rather save myself the bother.

Failing to check things beforehand might prove an expensive mistake. Always check the auction house’s terms and conditions;  be sure about what you’re buying, and know what fees you’ll be charged.

As luck would have it, the auctioneer confirmed the blankets were in good order with only a small yellow mark on one. So, I made my bid and won. Yay!

Here are the blankets in more detail. The one shown above right, and below, was a very nice surprise. I hadn’t expected to see any red at all, and this colour combination is a real winner.

Vintage wool blanket

A generous size, this blanket would make a great bedspread – and big enough to sit on top of a standard double, as shown above.

I’ll be keeping two of the blankets – the ones that have the green checked weave as shown below. The neutral tones will look perfect in my lounge, preferably on a dark brown leather sofa, which I haven’t got yet. Hopefully sometime this year!

Vintage wool checked blanket

A keeper! Vintage wool blanket with green and brown weave.

The blanket below is the largest of the four. Neutral creams and browns makes it easy to coordinate with almost anything!

Vintage wool blanket in neutral tones

Vintage wool blanket in neutral tones.

Vintage wool blanket in neutral tone

The large size is perfect for single or double bed.

Vintage wool throws look very smart in any room setting. I love the warm tones used in this elegant bedroom. Draping the blanket at the end of the bed, gives the room an extra cosy feel.

Tartan wool throw

Tartan wool blanket adds a cosy touch to this elegant bedroom. Source.

Handbags of the 1920s

18/01/2015
Winter accessories, 1929

A selection of fashion accessories from Woman’s Pictorial, January 1929.

The handbag became an increasingly important fashion accessory during the 1920s. No longer were they simply used for carrying everyday essentials, but they were designed with a total look in mind, and made especially to coordinate with your latest outfit.

Handbags became more streamlined and less fussy during this decade, with design influences taken from ancient civilizations in the form of geometric shapes and patterns. In addition, popular dances of the day, such as the Charleston and the Tango, required a smaller bag that could be easily held in one hand, usually with the help of a wrist strap.

The feature, shown here on the left, is taken from Woman’s Pictorial, dated 5 January 1929. The range of accessories includes a rather handsome bag complete with wrist strap. Please click on the image, then click again, for a super-sized view.

A copious “carry-all” after your heart’s desire – made from an Arabian prayer mat and mounded on tortoiseshell.

New materials and technologies, brought innovation throughout the 1920s, which infiltrated fashion in the form of product design. 1926 saw the first production of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic, which made it possible to imitate expensive natural raw materials, such as tortoiseshell and ivory. This process enabled bag manufacturers to produce more affordable ranges for the mass market.

Below is a lovely example of an evening bag from the mid-1920s which uses a faux tortoiseshell frame and chain-link handle. This is from my own collection of vintage handbags, but unfortunately, now too frail to use as the silk has disintegrated somewhat over the years. I love the fabric with its contrasting colours and abstract design. And did you spot the little elephant charm? This bag must have been quite ‘fashion-forward’ at the time.

Silk evening bag c.1920s

Silk evening bag c.1920s

And just take a look inside – all those pretty blue rosebuds which run along the inside of the frame. Such attention to detail. The frame fastens securely with a push-button (press) closure.

Blue rosebuds adorn the inner frame

Blue rosebuds adorn the inner frame

What parties has this pretty handbag attended over the years, and who owned her I wonder?

Maylor Vanity Set

11/01/2015

It was my birthday recently and one of the gifts I received was this smart vintage vanity set by Maylor. It dates c.1930s and comprises two glass bottles for storing perfume or toner, three small glass pots with screw-top lids, and one large powder pot including, what appears to be, an unused powder puff labelled ‘REX’ Fifth avenue.

Maylor Vanity Set

Maylor Vanity Set

Maylor vanity set

Sturdy leatherette case with carry handle. Perfect for a gal that likes to travel.

Maylor vanity set

Golden tooling showing the maker’s name, MAYLOR, London.

Maylor vanity set

A nice large mirror sits inside the lid.

Whether the powder puff is original to the set, I really couldn’t say – it certainly fits perfectly inside the pot, although ‘Rex’ was an American compact brand. Perhaps ‘Maylor’ produced the case and ‘Rex’ produced the glass jars and pots? I’d really love to hear from you if you know.

Maylor vanity set

Unused powder puff by REX Fifth Avenue, measuring 3″ diameter.

There’s an informative post from The Powder Keg which talks about Rex Fifth Avenue powder puffs. Please click here to find out more.

V&A Gallery of Fashion

06/01/2015

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I’ve been suffering, like most people this Christmas, with flu – the type that lingers on forever it seems! Anyway, I’m on the mend now so want to get back into the swing of things by starting some regular posts on my favourite topic, vintage fashion.

I’m lucky enough to have a sister-in-law that’s always on the look-out for fashion books, and this Christmas was no exception. This gorgeous book is the V&A Gallery of Fashion and it’s my idea of the perfect gift!

V&A Gallery of FashionSpanning four centuries, the V&A’s Fashion Collection is one of the most significant and comprehensive in the world, housing unrivalled collections of dress, accessories, shoes and hats from the seventeenth century to the present day. This concise volume perfectly encapsulates the collection, from rare eighteenth-century gowns and exquisite eighteenth-century bodices to 1930s evening wear, post-war couture and show-stopping ensembles by contemporary designers.

'Zamire' evening ensemble (jacket, skirt, bodice and under-petticoat) by Christian Dior, Autumn/Winter 1954-5.

‘Zamire’ evening ensemble (jacket, skirt, bodice and under-petticoat) by Christian Dior, Autumn/Winter 1954-5.

Christian Dior often made reference to historical dress in his collections. ‘Zemire’ was named after the opera Zémire et Azor (Beauty and the Beast) by André Grétry, first performed at Fontainebleau in 1771. The play bill features a fur-trimmed jacket and full skirt, which may have inspired Dior’s striking design, originally created in grey satin (see image above left). Photograph taken in Paris. Synthetic silk, silk and net. Worn by Lady Agota Sekers. Read more about the ‘Zemire’ ensemble here.

Evening dress by Charles James c. 1938. Paris or London printed silk. Textile designed by Jean Cocteau.

Evening dress by Charles James c. 1938. Paris or London printed silk. Textile designed by Jean Cocteau.

Evening dress by Voisin c.1925

Evening dress by Voisin c.1925. This fine silk velvet flapper dress has orange and peach velvet streamers fringed with gold bugle beads designed to enhance lively dance movements.

Fashion plate from The Young Ladies Journal 1887

Fashion plate from The Young Ladies’ Journal, February 1887 (England, Hand-coloured engraving).

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