"When Garbo walked out of the studio, glamour went with her..."
(Gilbert Adrian, Chief Costume Designer of MGM Studios)
With the face that made many men fall in love with her and women wish to be her...Greta Garbo was the epitome of beauty, style and glamour. One of the iconic stars of the Hollywood age, she captured hearts and yet never let anyone capture her own. Garbo is forever associated with a line from Grand Hotel, one which the American Film Institute in 2005 voted the 30th most memorable movie quote of all time, "I want to be alone, I just want to be alone", a theme echoed in several other roles. For example, in Love (1927) a title card reads, "I like to be alone"; in The Single Standard (1929) her character says, "I am walking alone because I want to be alone"; in the same film, she sails to the South Seas with her lover on a boat called the All Alone; in Susan Lenox (Her Fall and Rise) (1931) she says to a suitor, "This time I rise... and fall... alone"; in Inspiration (1931) she tells a fickle lover, "I just want to be alone for a little while"; in Mata Hari (1931) she says to her new amour, "I never look ahead. By next spring I shall probably be... quite alone"; and in Ninotchka (1939) the motif is lampooned when emissaries from Russia ask her, "Do you want to be alone, comrade"? "No", she says. By the early 1930s, the phrase had become indelibly linked to Garbo's public and private personae.
An auction was held on 14-15 December 2012 at Julien Auctions (Los Angeles) of some personal items from the Greta Garbo estate. It has raised a rumoured total of $1.6 million. With my love for vintage, I would love to have made some bids at this auction. Imagine owning a bit of history. Vintage is great because you know there was a story behind each piece, someone loved, cried or laughed wearing the piece and with your purchase, you continue that story. Unfortunately, my bank balance said "No..." (Imagine Little Britain's "The Computer says Nooooo..." voice) So with my imaginary plentiful bank balance, here is my wishlist from the auction:
Louis Vuitton Steam Trunk
I love, love, love vintage trunks, they make me imagine epic voyages on steam trains and steam boats. I start to want to become an Agatha Christie's character! Louis Vuitton's luggage is the epitome of class and elegance. Can you imagine the luggage envy that this would raise as you casually mention "Yes, it belonged to Greta Garbo..."
A Definite Case of Luggage Envy: Trunk by Louis Vuitton
(Image from Julien's Auctions)
Pearl and Cross Necklace
Gorgeous piece that you could imagine stacking with some other equally gorgeous vintage pieces. I love the fact that it has Greta Garbo inscribed on the clasp. Hollywood stars definitely were very into their own personal brand! Produced for Greta Garbo Inc., this is one star who would not have endorsed a tacky, cheap perfume which ends up in the bargain bins!
18ct gold and pearl necklace and matching earrings
(Photo from Julien's Auctions)
Various Pieces by Valentina
In the auction, there are several pieces of clothing and hats by Valentina. Valentina Nicholaevna Sanina Schlee (1 May 1899 – 14 September 1989), known professionally simply as Valentina, became a prominent member ofcafé societyduring theRoaring Twenties,where Valentina "stood out for her clothes and her style. When other women were wearing short skirts, she appeared in floor-length styles; when others wore low-neck dresses, she wore covered-up styles."
Valentina opened a small couture dress house, Valentina's Gowns on Madison Avenue in 1928. Her first stage commission was costumes for Judith Anderson in 1933's Come of Age. The costumes were better received than the play, and established her reputation as a designer for the stage. Valentina dressed such actresses of the era as Lynn Fontanne, Katharine Cornell, Greta Garbo,Gloria Swanson, Gertrude Lawrence, and Katharine Hepburn. Her Broadway successes included the costumes for the stage version of The Philadelphia Story. She also dressed prominent New York society women including members of the Whitney and Vanderbilt families. In 1950 Valentina also introduced a perfume, "My Own".
Valentina's made-to-measure, flowing styles combined the intricate bias cut of Madeleine Vionnet and the grace of gowns by Alix Gres. "Simplicity survives the changes of fashion," she said in the late 1940s. "Women of chic are wearing now dresses they bought from me in 1936. Fit the century, forget the year." Valentina was a skilled self-promoter. She modeled her own designs and rarely let her dramatic, elegant air of self-possession falter. Valentina was always impeccably turned out, earning her a mention on theInternational Best Dressed List.
Not only are the pieces in exquisite condition and exude timeless elegance which could be worn any year, there is extra spice added to the provenance of these pieces as Valentina eventually had a feud with Garbo due to Garbo's long friendship with Valentina's husband, the financier George Shlee. In fact, an elaborate schedule was set up so that Valentina would not encounter Garbo in the building where they both resided.
Trio of Straw Hats by Valentina
(Photo from Julien's Auctions)
Newspaper clipping of Garbo wearing a straw hat similar to the one which was in the auction
(Photo from Julien's Auctions)
THE VALENTINA COAT
Every woman should have a great light coloured coat and this one is particularly beautiful. Designed by the couturier Valentina for Garbo, the simple classic lines emphasizes the quality of the garment. Not one for the trend setter, this coat is one which a woman could wear year in and year out. To mix things up a bit, a dark coloured leather belt could be used to further highlight a cinched in waist. Considering that this was made circa 1957, this has definitely withstood the test of time!
"Beige" Coat by Valentina
(Photo from Julien's Auctions)
The beauty of buying at auction is that you are buying a bit of history. However, buying vintage is always a bit of a gamble. Fabric can become frayed and discoloured over time, sizes can differ throughout the different decades and there is a certain smell that comes with vintage clothing. Buyers beware...
Julien's Auctions Catalog for the Greta Garbo Sale
My friends and the boy know that I love to carry everything but the kitchen sink in my bags, hence the fact that I usually carry tote bags as my every day bag (even when I go out in the evenings). Many a night has been spent with an achy shoulder or me dancing around my handbag in the middle of a dance floor. My mother always used to look at me despairingly and in disbelief at the sheer weight of what I carry in a bag. I really do not know why my bags are usually that heavy...I don't carry THAT much do I?
Imagine my surprise to find that I am now loving the clutch bag. A staple of many a socialite and celebrity, the clutch comes in a plethora of forms. Here are some of my current favourites:
The MISCHA Clutch/Travel Bag
I already own a turquoise version of this super adorable stylish clutch. Produced by the cool HK brand MISCHA (which recently celebrated their 4th anniversary), these clutches are durable (I have no more palpitations when a drink is spilled over my bag) and super stylish. The squishy shape makes it extremely comfortable to carry and the roominess of the bag makes it large enough to carry all my "essentials"...ahem ahem...
I am loving the gold and silver versions of this bag, I think it must be because of the festive season.
Another gorgeous clutch by MISCHA but this time in obi fabric. Gorgeous colours and patterns which definitely fill me with a feeling of nostalgia for my JET days. Unfortunately for me, it probably would be a little too small for me and also I would be a bit scared of ruining the bag. However, a girl can still dream?
I chose the red and gold version of this beautiful clutch because it really is a mix of such vibrant colours that looking at the picture just brings a smile to my face. Also the graphic nature of the print keeps the design simple and yet oh so effective. It is also a tiny bit festive too!
I have already written a post about this super cute clutch. However, with these grey and slightly cold days approaching, the bright green fake grass on this clutch makes me remember hazy Summer days and picnics (I choose not to remember the mosquitoes and the humidity).
The newest collection from the brand which introduced us to the Grassy clutch. This cheeky clutch was created with the idea of those awkward times when you encounter wet paint. The clutch comes in a variety of colour combinations but I am absolutely loving the black tweed and gold combination.
*Glush bags can be ordered online or from Hong Kong store Heaven Please.
Mnologie Perspex Clutch
This gorgeous little clear perspex box clutch has been made by Etsy seller Mnologie. I love the fact that a personalised message can be inscribed on the clutch and that the metal parts of the clutch come from recycled coins (#ecochic). This clutch has been seen in the hands of the super blogger Nicole Warne from Gary Pepper Vintage. I also like the fact that there is a little canvas bag inside the clutch so no one can see what you have in your bag. (My blushes are spared especially as I am such a messy little madam!)
Statement jackets are a big thing this Autumn and covers a broad spectrum of other trends. It is also an easy way of injecting something new into your core wardrobe of staple garments...your LBD, your black tops and trousers. For the colour loving lady, you can have colourful printed jackets, for those who love more opulent looks, you can look to embellished jackets or those made in rich brocade or velvet. For the sporty, more "street" look, you can opt for the varsity jacket. Style maven Jasmine Webster has done a great post on this trend. For a more muted take on the look, a tweed jacket or biker leather.
The statement jacket is a versatile trend which can be done pretty much year round. I have been wearing cotton printed jackets over my basic black office wear to inject colour into my day wear. One of my favourite vintage buys was a floral/polka dot print jacket which I wore over a black jumpsuit or a black top and trousers:
Floral? Polka Dots? Stripes? Print clash - check!
(Photo from Etsy seller AnyRoseBud)
Black Jumpsuit (photo from WearitWellVintage)
Another Summer wardrobe staple was my vintage DVF jacket which I paired with my vintage Bally shoes (I loved the wedge heels on these!)
DVF Jacket (photo from etsy seller)
Bally wedge heels (photo from etsy seller)
For cooler weather, (though the current HK weather feels more like Summer!), I would definitely look at tweed jackets or leather jackets. For my wishlist, I would definitely love a 3.1 Phillip Lim jacket from the HK pop-up store. I love the studded detail on the sleeves and paired with the bright yellow, it would definitely brighten up any gloomy grey day! I also would love one of the great leather jackets from super cool A Boy Named Sue online store. I love the ecochic message of the store.
However if you are on a limited budget, you can look to the High Street or go and look at what vintage finds you can get. Here are some of my top picks from Marks and Spencer (sorry, I need to feed my M&S addiction!)
M&S Leather with Suede Panel Jacket
I love the leather and suede mix on this jacket. Streamlined fit which means that you do not get the bulky feel with some leather jackets. I definitely have this on my list of jackets to buy as anything that does NOT make me look like an America Football player is a plus!
M&S Textured Jacket
This great jacket is versatile enough to take you through from day to night. It can be dressed down or dressed up for the occasion (you can wear it with jeans for the weekend or a black shift dress for work). I like that it is not a straight tweed pattern but the textured print still gives you the same vibe as a tweed. A versatile addition to any wardrobe.
M&S Tweed Biker Jacket
Oh My God!! I love, love, love this jacket. Hitting both the biker and tweed trends in one piece. Smart enough for the office but yet the biker style of the jacket means it can be worn without feeling like you are too "corporate". The darker tweed panels help to give a slimmer effect for the waist. Once again, it is a fitted jacket which is a shape that I love because it helps to keep me from looking too bulky. I want, want, want!
The Cardigan Jacket???
Hmmm...not sure how else to describe this garment. For those who do not really like to wear jackets but like to try to incorporate the jacket trend in a more diluted form should look at some of the great "cardigan jackets" that are on offer. I love this look because I am always wary of the shoulder pads in jackets which can make me look like a linebacker.
M&S Leather Panel Cardigan
This great cardigan really hits the current leather trend. This is a great addition to your wardrobe especially as it gives a great fitted silhouette. I love the fact that it does not have shoulder pads!!
M&S Knit Jacket
This comes in several colours so you can choose whichever tickles your fancy. I chose the classic black and white for this post as it is probably the easiest choice to incorporate into your wardrobe. However, my penchant for bright colours would probably mean that I would probably buy the pink mix version too. (yes, my name is Jackaline and I like bright colours!)
Yes, I said that....Am I crazy? I don't know why but suddenly I just thought of her and even though she was the villain in the story 101 Dalmatians, you have to admire her single-minded pursuit of fashion. I definitely do not approve of her methods though. I love her old Hollywood and decadent style - the red lips, the cigarette and the fur coats. Of course, instead of real fur, I would choose the more animal friendly version - FAUX FUR!!
Faux fur has definitely come a long way since the days when it just looked more like a teddy bear had been transformed into a coat. Now, designers such as Rachel Zoe have created affordable faux fur collections which are quite realistic. Faux fur is also a great way to explore fun colours and patterns whilst staying cuddly and warm. Look to the high street for such pieces or go online and see what vintage finds you can get!
How I would love to have said this post was about bikinis!!
Whilst perusing through this month's GLAMOUR magazine, I have fallen in love with the RED Valentino 2012 flocked polka dot skirt suit. In a pale pink with velvet black dots, it is whimsical and romantic. I also liked how the stylist paired it with an Olympia Le Tan book clutch.
THAT RED Valentino Suit
I have really loved the book clutch since I saw such cerebral celebrities such as Natalie Portman, Michelle Williams and Clemence Poesy sporting it on the red carpet.
So for us lesser mortals without a designer budget...here are my choices for the "Get the Look for Less..."
1) Marks and Spencer Peplum Polka Dot Dress
I have already written about this dress in a previous post and really love the fact that it is from Marks and Spencer.
I love this affordable version of the Olympia Le Tan book clutch. For those who would love a specific title, P.S. Besitos can do commission pieces, I recently saw a Harry Potter book clutch which was super cute. I selected the Peter Rabbit clutch to match the pale colour of the dress.
So the festive season is coming and all the shops are decking out with Christmas decorations and clothes to celebrate in. This is the time to get some great party dresses. Since seeing it in magazines, I have been loving Gucci's Art Deco style flapper dress. With predicted mega-hit The Great Gatsby coming out soon, the roaring 20s is definitely a period to hit. The Gucci dress is amazing with the gold threading highlighting the panels in the dress and the dramatic fringe is to die for. Unfortunately a) I don't have the budget to buy said dress and b) that dress requires a flat chest and supermodel proportions to carry off the fringing.
Gucci 2012 Spring Art Deco Dress
If you are looking for a purse friendly alternative to the Gucci dress, why not look to Marks and Spencer? Less expensive than brands such as Anthropologie and also with a more generous cut for us curvy ladies. I like that it is not too heavily embroidered and covers all the necessary parts of the body that need to be covered. Also there is no fringing! A good thing for ladies who need to get a lot of wear out of the dress. The M&S version gives you the option of wearing it to work under a jacket or cardigan and then smartening up with some gorgeous heels. The shading effect on the dress gives the Art Deco paneling feel without being too excessive. I really like this dress. Unfortunately, now only available online in a UK size 10...