Monday, September 30, 2013

Antonio Castillo for Elizabeth Arden Coat

Castillo for Elizabeth Arden coat and suit pictured for Vogue magazine, Nov. 1, 1947

I am deeply indebted to Monica D. Murgia for her in-depth research about Antonio Castillo and the few short years he worked for Elizabeth Arden.  I highly recommend you read her blog post about the collaboration between Castillo and Arden to understand how special the coat I am going to show you today is.

Antonio Castillo worked for Elizabeth Arden from October, 1945 until 1950 when he left to join the House of Lanvin.  He produced couture garments for the clientele at the Arden salon exclusively until the Fall of 1949, when his first ready-to-wear collection was produced and sold wholesale to leading department stores like Neiman Marcus and I. Magnin.

Castillo for Elizabeth Arden 1947 couture coat at Couture Allure.

It is my pleasure to present this couture coat from Castillo for Elizabeth Arden from the Fall 1947 collection.  The coat is made from navy and black striped silk ottoman and features hand finishing and couture construction throughout.  While not perfect, this is a rare and very special example of American couture and is now available at Couture Allure.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

New at Couture Allure - Vintage Coats and Capes

New this week at Couture Allure are several incredible vintage coats from this year's collection.  If you're looking for a vintage cape, I have a couple of those as well.  Oh, and a 1950s ballgown for a bit of variety.  Be sure to check our What's New page to see all the latest additions to the site!

Castillo for Elizabeth Arden couture silk coat

1940s faux leopard fur jacket

1960s Mod orange wool coat with mink cuffs

1960s Jimmy Hourihan wool plaid cape

1960s Kimberly wool knit dress with matching cape

1950s strapless full skirt evening gown

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Weekend Eye Candy - Givenchy, 1953

Hubert de Givenchy designed this stunning ballgown in 1953.  White silk satin strapless gown is set off with an embroidered long stole lined in pink.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Faces of the Paris Couturiers, Part 3

You know their names, but what about their faces? In day 3 of a 3 part series, here are the faces of the French Couture from 1950.

Jacques Heim

Germaine Lecomte

Marcelle Dormoy

Jeanne Lafaurie


Charles Montaigne

Lucille Manguin

All photos by George Saad for L'art et la Mode

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Faces of the Paris Couturiers, Part 2

You know their names, but what about their faces? In day 2 of a 3 part series, here are the faces of the French Couture from 1950.

Mme. Gres

Jacques Griffe

Marcel Rochas


Jean Patou

Marie-Blanche de Polignac, daughter of Jeanne Lanvin

Marie-Louise Bruyere
All photos by George Saad for L'art et la Mode

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Faces of the Paris Couturiers, Part 1

You know their names, but what about their faces?  In day 1 of a 3 part series, here are the faces of the French Couture from 1950.

Christian Dior

Jacques Fath

Jean Desses

Pierre Balmain

Robert Piquet
Nina Ricci

Marie-Louise Carven
All photos by George Saad for L'art et la Mode

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue, 1960

In photos from the late Fall of 1960, we can see what a different experience shopping was compared to the crammed sales floors of today.  Look!  A place to sit!  Individual service from one of many sales assistants!  Place your order and have it delivered to your home!

Evening gowns galore! 

A gentleman shops for a hat for a lady friend.  Note how the hats are stored in deep drawers.

Space to move with large mirrors and generous lighting while trying on clothes.

And if you had the money, you could shop in the custom salon with even more individualized service.

Finally, in the custom couture salon, you could purchase an exclusive design from Sophie Gimbel (she's on the right.)

Those were the days!

All photos by Peter Stackpole for Life Magazine, 1960.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I. Magnin's Miss Stella

Stella Hanania was born in Lebanon and was taught to sew in the Parisian convent where she went to school.  After moving to New York, she went to work in the custom salon at Bergdorf Goodman where she worked with Bernard Newman.  When Newman moved to Beverly Hills to design for Hollywood movie stars, Stella came along as his assistant.  She chose to stay in California and went to work for I. Magnin in 1947.

A Miss Stella creation, 1965.  A sequined jacket with real coral beads
floats over a white silk shantung skirt.
Miss Stella, as she chose to be called, was head of I. Magnin's custom couture salon in Los Angeles for 30 years.  All of the garments she created for her custom clients were designed specifically for that client and were made completely by hand.

The Custom Salon on the second floor of I. Magnin, Los Angeles.
This was Miss Stella's domain.
Twice a year, Stella would travel to Paris for the couture showings.  She purchased selections from the couture houses and received permission to copy them in America and also used what she saw for inspiration for her own designs.

Beaded evening helmet by Miss Stella, 1965.
Stella did not like ready-to-wear clothing, calling it "plastic."  She met individually with each client and understood their needs and body shapes, then designed their wardrobes encompassing their personal taste and style.  Miss Stella retired in 1977 and at that time was the last custom couture designer in a US department store.  She died in her sleep in 1987.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New at Couture Allure - Vintage Velvets, Lilly Pulitzer and Geoffrey Beene

This week at Couture Allure, I've added several vintage garments made in velvets, along with an amazing 1960s ensemble by Geoffrey Beene. Be sure to check our What's New page to see all the lastest listings!

1960s wool dress and coat set by Geoffrey Beene

1970s velvet dress by Colin Glascoe

1960s black velvet cocktail dress

1970s Lilly Pulitzer velvet maxi skirt

Monday, September 09, 2013

Couture Allure is On The Move!

As you probably know by now, Couture Allure is on the move.  We are headed to Florida later this week.  Blogging will be sporadic as I pack up the business and get the whole family from here to there.  Shipping will be suspended starting Wednesday, Sept. 11 through Sept. 23 or earlier if I can manage it.  Thanks for your patience and wish me luck!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

New at Couture Allure - Vintage Evening Gowns and More

It's been a very busy week at Couture Allure!  I spent all day Monday at the Sturbridge Textile Show and brought home a car full of wonderful finds for you.  Take a look at some of these beauties and be sure to visit our What's New page to see all the latest listings because there's more! 

1960s Malcolm Starr beaded white evening or wedding dress

1960s beaded apricot silk evening gown

1950s gold sequined cocktail coat

1960s beaded white evening or wedding gown

1970s matte jersey gown with rhinestone spider web on one sleeve

1990s Pierre Balmain gold brocade cocktail suit