Vintage Inspiration: “Styx” Gown, c.1936 by American Designer Elizabeth Hawes

Yikes!  It has been over a month since my last blog post.  Well, if I still have any readers left, take a look at this 1930s gown from American Designer, Elizabeth Hawes.  It’s a beauty!  I particular love how the gathered bust appears to flow into pleats under a criss-cross of fabric.  The color choice in this design makes it all the more interesting, don’t you think?  Now, while you’re distracted by a gorgeous dress, I’m going to go make a schedule to keep up with this blog!

"Styx" gown, circa 1936, by designer Elizabeth Hawes

“Styx” gown, circa 1936, by designer Elizabeth Hawes

The Loss of Oscar de la Renta; Fashion will never be the same


How can you put into words the beauty of an Oscar de la Renta design?  His dresses were incredible.  I envisioned Mr. de la Renta as the epitome of a true gentleman.  Dressed in impeccably tailored suits, he had an elevated level of class, as did his work.

Mr. de la Renta, started his fashion career at Cristobal Balenciaga, later moving to Lanvin, Elizabeth Arden, and then to the creation of his own namesake line.  He has notably said that his duties at Balenciaga involved “picking pins off of the floor.”  As an aspiring designer myself, it’s refreshing to see such a talented individual discuss his beginnings in the industry.  He worked from the bottom up, going on to achieve renowned success.

The fashion industry has lost a great soul today and we will all mourn the loss of this legendary designer.  A certain quote from an interview between de la Renta and Fern Mallis sticks out above the rest.

The only realities in life are that you are born, and that you die. You have to appreciate every single day that you’re alive. Life is a little bit like a garden—you have to find time to plant the seeds for beautiful flowers to grow. I’m having a fantastic time. But I must say that I would have never been able to go through what I went through without my family and wife.  — Oscar de la Renta



Oscar de la Renta; Fall 2014 Collection

Source:  Quote found here.  Image Credit:  here and here

Food for Thought: Established 1937, Has that company really been around as long as you thought?

In an eye opening article that I recently discovered thanks to Capitol Hill Style, I was surprised to find that some fashion companies may not be who you think they are.  The brand in question is Madewell, established 1937.  When a company touts, established 1937, it provokes thoughts of quality, tradition, and nostalgia in a customer.  The funny thing is, this name and trademark were purchased by the CEO of J.Crew in 2003 from a company that had been dissolved for many years prior.  Madewell was originally a workforce company, a far cry from the fashionable boutique style clothing offered there today.

The full article, by Dan Nosowitz details how he came upon the store in shock and realized that J.Crew had no part in the 50 year history that was built by his great-grandfather.  It’s a great read and will open your eyes.  Read the full article here.

How many other companies are run by their original owners or their descendants?  You might be surprised.  Levis and L.L. Bean are still in the family, but Frye boots is held by a Chinese company and Kiehls beauty products were bought by L’oreal.  Don’t get me wrong, J.Crew bought the rights to the trademark legally, but it was a bit of an eye opener for me as the daughter of an entrepreneur.

I would be appalled if I ran into an impostor Village Sub Shop (my dad’s business, started by my grandfather in Baltimore).  Nosowitz doesn’t seem angry – just confused.  He embarks on a journey to discover some family history about the company and goes on to interview one of the current lead designers at Madewell.  It’s interesting.  Check it out.

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