30’s film star glamour- Joan Crawford

I absolutely adore the glamour of Hollywood in first half of the century but the stand out decade for me has to be the 1930s. This truly is the “golden age” and when film and fashion were in perfect synchronicity. The 30s is often recognized as the decade when Hollywood was dominating fashion rather than Paris, this had a lot to do with the audience at the time. So many more women were able to see films in the cinema than ever were able to see them in the Paris salons. Fashion was openiing up to new aucdieces and people were really able to understand how fashions moved and actually looked on bodies rather than seeing them in static form in fashion magazines. Interestingly it was Schiaparelli (one of my all time favourite designers) who was the first couturier to recognise the influence of film on fashion.

One of the most famous stars of the decade was Joan Crawford. Crawford appeared in numerous films throughout the 30s but the film she is probably best known for is Letty Lynton. The film is incredibly rare with few original recordings left. This is mostly due to the fact that the film was banned in the 30s as the plot following too closely to the play “a dishonoured lady” .The film also has some of the most sensational costumes of the decade.

The designs were by Gilbert Adrian , probably the most respected film costume designer of the 1930s. He later went on to design the costumes for the wizard of Oz, which he is probably best known for.
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The costumes throughout the film are typical of early 30s Hollywood glamour. Crawford wears a number of slinky bias cut dresses and also luxurious mink fur coats. The character she plays is a socialite so the clothes really helped to embody this stylish New Yorker.

The dress the film is probably best known for is widely known as the “Letty Lynton dress”. The dress, a design by Adrian, was made from white cotton organdie. The department store Macy’s soon copied the gown and over half a million copies of the dress were sold across the U.S. (This figure is wideley debated, just to warn. Sometimes you see it as 50,000 and sometimes half a million. Although, I have seen it mostly stated as half a million)

The styling of this dress was very modern at the time, and helped to usher in the new shape of the “romantic” 30s with its puffed sleeves and full skirt. I’m just waiting for my new 30s dress (green and white silk check) to arrive which is definitely inspired by the infamous Letty dress!

All of these images come from www.legendaryjoancrawford.com a wonderful website for anything related to the star.

A vintage guide to…York

It’s vintage guide time again!
My place of choice this week is York. Off I popped this weekend to the wonderful York  with two of my housemates and a lovely day was had.
First off I have to highly recommend the charity shops in York, not only are there loads of them but a few have specialist vintage and retro sections. The best road to visit is Goodramgate where there are about 7 charity shops on the one road! My favourite was the Sue Ryder shop (head upstairs).
York’s charity shops are best for: Retro goodies particularly shoes!
My next recommendation is the lovely York Antiques centre in the Shambles. The market is predominated by vintage and antique jewellery at pretty reasonable prices. Downstairs is a lovely little vintage clothing area where there was a wonderful selection of vintage clothing from the 30s through to the 80s. There was a sensational full length buttercup yellow ballgown for just £40! Whilst there I picked up two fantastic pieces. A wonderful 30s chenille jacket (I’m not telling the price because it was too good for words!) and a lovely pair of green leather Dents gloves.
York antiques market is best for: Reasonable priced vintage from any era and jewellery!


Then it’s off to the vintage shops, there are quite a few dotted around York but I have just picked my two favourites.

First off is House of Avalon. This beautiful little shop has an equally wonderful café out the back. The stock here is predominantly 40s and 50s. There was a wonderful selection of vintage evening dresses when I visited.
I also just have to say how much I appreciate the ethos behind the shop:
The idea for the House of Avalon was born in 2008 as part of Avalon’s vision to create employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities within a Social Enterprise. We know there are limited ways in which people with learning disabilities can gain meaningful employment and the House of Avalon helps address this nationwide problem.”
House of Avalon is best for: Mid century evening dresses.
And secondly is the wonderful vintage emporium. Owned by Keeley Harris who runs the discover vintage fairs this shop is wonderful. It is an absolutely beautiful shop with a lovely mix of homewares and also clothing. There are a huge amount of wedding dresses here, and I particularly loved the selection of 40s and 50s suits, if one had fitted me I would have definitely been buying.
What I also really liked abut the shop was that it had an excellent selection of Mens vintage too. There were so many beautiful quality suits!

(Pictures from the Vintage Emporium website)

Vintage emporium is best for: Suits for men and women. 40s and 50s day dresses and Wedding dresses (Keeley also runs the Vintage wedding fair hence the selection of amazing wedding dresses!)

A vintage guide to…Harrogate

Apologies for my recent absence, this has been due to a very poorly macbook. All has now been fixed, and I am back to my blogging best (despite a 5 day panic that I might have lost all of my work, pictures and music!)

So, I have decided that I am going to start a new little series of blogs offering my own “vintage guides” on certain places. Due to my current location: Yorkshire, this is where the first few will be.

First off is one of my absolute favourite places in the country: Harrogate.

To give a brief overview, Harrogate is a spa town and is a truly beautiful place filled with many elegant Victorian buildings. The town was frequented by nobility in the late 19th and early 20th century and this is when a lot of the beautiful buildings sprung up.

One of the things Harrogate is best known for is Betty’s tea room. I can’t recommend Betty’s highly enough. At any time of day there is a likelihood that you will have to queue but the delicious cakes and tea is well worth the wait. The atmosphere within the shop too is fantastic and i love the curved windows allowing you to look out onto the town centre.

My “must try” at Betty’s though has to be the caramalised onion chutney. It is delicious and the prefect condiment for a cheese sandwich.

Now onto Harrogate’s vintage!

Harrogate, for a relatively small town has a veritable plethora of vintage havens. The town has numerous charity shops dotted around both the town centre and on the outskirts for the bargain hunters among you!

The latest offering to the vintage scene in Harrogate is Sissy Jupe located near the theatre. This lovely shop is bright and airy inside filled with a selection of beautiful bits and bobs. The last time I visited there i spotted a wonderful 50s Christian Dior for Holt-Renfew jacket that I totally regretted not purchasing.

The store stocks not just clothes but a lovely selection of homeware and acsessories. My personal faves are all of the festival of Britian compacts, all at very reasonable prices too!

Sissy Jupe is best for: Handmade vintage styled bits and bobs

The next stop for vintage is Space Boutique which has a wonderful selection of vintage knicnacks. I first discovered the shop just after it opened when I was in my first year of uni. I remeber back then purchasing a wodnerful selection of vintage fashion magaziens which are still a great research tool today!

This store stocks more what i would call retro rather than vintage with an abundance of kitsch and quirky 60s and 70s kitchenalia and homeware. There is also a huge selection of vintage clothing here from many different dealers. I’ve seen everything from the 1890s to the 1990s here! The shop is perfect location to “kit yourself out” here you can find the clothes and the accessories along with all of the homewares approriate to create your desired look.

Space is best for: Retro pieces, quirky homewares, Mens vintage

The next stop for me is the wonderful Montpelier mews antiques market. This is a traditional antiques centre but there are also a selection of dealers offering wonderful vintage pieces. One seller offers lovely vintage handbags and jewellery, My mum and I made the most of her wonderful stock this weekend purchasing these beautiful pieces!

I ‘ve bought many lovely pieces from this lady before, she is LOVELY and sells some of the best skin handbags around.

I think my favourite part of Montpelier Mews though has to be Elegant Era which is like a little shop within the antiques centre. On offer here is an amazing selection of vintage vanity items, jewellery, accessories and clothes. The clothing particularly is always amazing quality. The dealer was telling me that she doesn’t often stock that many smaller pieces (sadly for me). Hence I didn’t buy any clothes. I was though totally swooning over a sensational Lilli-Ann late 40s suit, it was to die for.

I love a good pair of vintage sunglasses, and I picked up a wonderful pair from here. I love the novelty look of these!

Montpelier Mews antiques centre is best for: Mid century suits and dresses (especially for those sized 12-16), skin handbags, vintage vanity items.

And, I’ve saved the best until last. On this visit to Harrogate I finally managed to visit a vintage shop I have been desperate to visit for quite a while now, Catherine Smith Vintage. What can I say? WOW. I definitely had that feeling of amazement, from the second I saw the window with its sensational Art Deco dressing table I knew I was going to love the stock in store.

Catherine has what can only be described as one of the best selections of vintage I have seen in a long time. What i particularly loved in store was the fact that there was something for everyone she had beautiful stock dating from the 20s right through to the 80s and no matter what the age the emphasis was all on quality. I was particularly enthralled by her selection of beautiful vintage suits. Swoon.

Not only this, but the shop itself is absolutely beautiful, you get the satisfied feeling when you look in every case.

Between my Mum and I we purchased rather alot in store as you can see here! I could have easily bought much, much more i honestly challenge anyone to go there and not come away with something they love. Sensational!

These sensational Rayne shoes are as to die for in real life!

I did also buy a lovely 50s white blouse, but clever old me forgot to photograph it before my Mum took it back to Romsey with her!

All of the shop images here are from Catherine Smith Vintage.

Catherine Smith vintage is best for: High quality vintage from any era. Whatever you are after, you’ll find it here!