Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vintage Roberta Di Camerino ...Manhattan Vintage Show preview II

The Manhattan vintage clothing show is a great place to find exceptional vintage designer and couture clothing and accessories. With over 90 vintage dealers on show, there is no shortage of fabulous high-end creations from the likes of 'Chanel', 'Gucci' et al, but it's also a fantastic place to discover some of the lesser known but equally influential and important designers of the 20th Century. For every 'Christian Dior' and 'Yves Saint Laurent', there is an 'Ossie Clark', 'Norman Norell', 'Ceil Chapman', & 'Madame Gres', designers who also changed the world of fashion, and who's influence can still be seen to this day, but whose names are perhaps less familiar to those outside of the fashion world.

Robert Di Camerino in the 1950's with her trademark velvet handbags

Roberta Di Camerino is one such designer who never really became a household name, but who holds a special place in the hearts of the fashion cognoscenti, and vintage collectors alike. She is most famous for her richly colored velvet handbags, and her interesting use of trompe l'oeil effects that appear as pleats, buttons, buckles, saddle stitching, pockets and other details, but are in fact printed onto the textiles.

Founding her fashion house in 1945, Roberta Di Camerino was an innovator of her time, using richly patterned and colored fabrics for her handbags that had previously only been used for clothing. In 1946 she made a bag patterned with a trellis of 'R's', foreshadowing Gucci's 'G's', and is widely credited with creating the status bag concept. Like many of her Italian predecessors and contemporaries, she utilized traditional artisans and craftsmen of her native Venice. The hardware on her bags were made by the same artisans who made fine bronze hardware for Venetian gondolas, and she used the two hundred year old firm 'Bevilaqua' of central Venice to create her velvet textiles on hand operated looms. Here are some Camerino pieces we'll be bringing to the show this week...

1960's Roberta Di Camerino signature velvet trompe l'oeil purse

1960's Roberta Di Camerino trompe l'oeil belt knit dress

1960's/70's Roberta Di Camerino multi color trompe l'oeil pleat knit dress

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Manhattan Vintage Show Preview I

With the February Manhattan Vintage Show just around the corner (Friday 4th & Saturday 5th), our next couple of posts will be sneak peeks at some of the things we'll be bringing along. Our first preview is a wacky collection of ladies boots we've collected over the past few months or so, some fabulous & funky finds like these...

1960s never worn silver go-go boots, 1960s/70s never worn purple suede & mesh go-go boots, 1970s 'Made in England' yellow leather platform boots.

1960s never worn red vinyl ankle boots, 1960s/70s never worn gold lace-up boots

1960s 'Made in England' over-the-knee white go-go boots, 1970s/80s over-the-knee burgundy suede boots

...and some more functional, perfect for the weather we are experiencing on the east coat right now!

Vintage 'Salamander' leather hiking boots, 1940s red leather snow boots w/fleece lining
Stay tuned for more vintage show previews over the next week or so!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Guest Blog by Amie Kershbaum...A Lesson in Japanese Vintage!

As a self confessed vintage fiend, I pride myself on my ability to recognize the work of couture designers and their influence on contemporaries. I do a fairly good job with English, French and Italian designers, but when it comes to Japanese designers I can't tell a Comme des Garcons when it is staring me in the face as Meika (owner of Another Man's Treasure) can attest from experience. Well I should amend that hopefully to couldn't now that I've been to a fantastic exhibit at the Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology).

Comme des Garcons at the Japan Fashion Now exhibit

The exhibit, titled Japan Fashion Now is focused on contemporary Japanese fashion but sets the stage with a gallery of 1980s garments from the groundbreaking Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo (of the aforementioned Comme des Garcons), and Yohji Yamamoto. I was lucky enough to attend a tour of the exhibit led by Dr. Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator of the Museum. She shared her memories of just how shocking the work of this troika was even to the fashion community. It wasn't just the women on the street who balked, fashion industry peers were shaking their heads too.

Here's a great video interview with Dr. Steele that includes a quick glimpse at the 1980s gallery:

Miyake, Kawakubo and Yamamoto were the first non-Western designers to have a major impact on global contemporary fashion when they showed in Paris in the early 1980s. Their collections were a sea of black and navy with the occasional taupe. Very few fashion lovers are shocked to see all black ensembles today, but at the time such a palette was revolutionary. And speaking of revolutionary, the deconstructionism these three championed was a huge departure from Western couture tradition. Oversized, asymmetrical, garments with distressed and unfinished details are now regular fixture of not only runway fashion, but also in subtler form at retailers in malls across the globe.

I was pleasantly surprised to see tucked in the back corner of the gallery a traditional Japanese textile and pieces from Hanae Mori and Kenzo who helped lay the foundation in 1970s Paris for the recognition of their countrymen (and women). This provided a fantastic bridge to the main gallery, which I encourage vintage lovers to visit particularly for the great men's workwear section and Han Ahn Soon's take on Yves Saint Laurent, the Hello Kitty Mondrian dress. And if you appreciate future vintage as well, one of my personal favorites was the skull motif in Jun Takahasi's Undercover.

By Amie Kershbaum

The Japan Fashion Now exhibit at the Museum at FIT is extended through April 2nd 2011.

Thanks to AMT customer and guest blogger Amie Kershbaum! With your appetites for vintage Japanese fashions sufficiently wetted, here are some pieces we'll be bringing to next month's Manhattan Vintage Show :

1980s 'Hanae Mori' asymmetrical wool jacket

1980s 'Kenzo' drop waisted cotton dress

1980s 'Hiroko Koshino' black & white knit cardigan

1980s 'Midori Matsumoto' embroidered denim puff-sleeve jacket

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The (lost) Art of Scarf Tying by 'VERA'

Vintage accessories are always great for adding a little something to your outfit, and a vintage scarf can be one of the easiest to wear, most versatile and affordable vintage purchases you will make. Vera Neumann can be credited as creating the first signature scarf, and her wildly colorful hand painted designs are collected and cherished to this day, so who better to teach us all about the art of tying one! We came across this beautifully illustrated vintage pamphlet, most likely a promotional giveaway, uncovering the 'lost' art of tying a scarf, it seems a relevant today as the day it was printed!

'The scarf has become a fashion necessity. The art of scarf tying is as simple as tying a knot, and only as limited as your imagination. All it takes is practice.

To start off, we have selected various basic scarf techniques - try these then add your own special interpretations.'

The Brow Band, Collar, Gaucho & Center Knot, using small squared scarves

The Turban Twist, Flip Knot, Cowl & Ruffle, using large square scarves

The Bow Tie, Ascot, Rosette & Twisted Loop, using oblong scarves

The Slip Knot, Soft Bow, Cummerbund & Side Loop, using bias tie scarves

The Hip Wrap, Serape, Scarf Muffler & Bib, using big wrap scarves

The Sarong, Suit Halter & Classic Pareo, for body dressing with large scarves