I’ll admit I’ve been cheating on winter by visiting warmer climes, and now that I’m back, I’m hoping a quick wrap-up post will get l’hiver to leave here. (By making it run from multi-lingual puns, apparently.)
While I was away from home and my dear Karl (once again he was really ticked not to come along), I did some quality beach reading, as you can see.
I’d been contacted by BurdaStyle about reviewing their new (to the U.S.) Vintage Burda Patterns Kit, with 11 downloadable patterns for vintage styles from their archives.
Some great designs, n’est pas? I decided to go for it, because when this collection was released in magazine form in Europe last fall, there was a great deal of on-line hubbub about it among my European sewing peeps. So much so, that I ended up ordering the English-language version of the Euro mag from GLP News.
The magazine is a fun read, giving background on the designers and fashion icons who inspired the collection:
Since the articles were written for a German audience, I have to say that reading an article about a 1950s German family driving through the mountains to go to Italy on holiday was a cultural eye-opener as an American. Basically we think we own the 50s, and we tend to picture post-war Europe as this sad, depressed place with old dresses and no rock ‘n’ roll.
As some of my pals in Europe started making up the patterns this winter, I could see what a great collection it was. Here’s Carmen, of the CarmencitaB blog, and winner of the French sewing bee show Cousu Main, with three of the makes from this series:
The “Fiore” Prom Dress, with skinnier straps and without what she called the “mother-of-the-bride” frou frou on the shoulders:
(Here’s Carmen’s blog post about making the dress, which is a super rockabilly girl design, don’t you think?)
Here’s her hack of the “Kim” coat, which she turned into a hoodie for her Breton climate:
And finally her version of the “Rosa” balloon jacket, inspired by Balenciaga.
Here’s a completely different version of the Rosa jacket, by Claudine of the Rolling in Cloth blog. She’s always pushing the envelope with her beautiful makes, and she really scored with this one:
Unfortunately, the downloadable version of the collection available here in the States doesn’t include the fun and funky articles from the magazine. But it does includes a lot of great designs. As to the $29 price tag, for a collection that was available in Europe for less than $10, I’ll leave that math up to you. $29 is still a pretty good price for 11 patterns of this quality.
The downloadable version includes a photo, instructions, and pattern for each design. You can check it out here: Burda Vintage Collection. Here are some more looks from the collection:
My thanks to BurdaStyle for giving me access to this online collection so I could share this info with you.
My other beach reading was the hilarious book The Asylum: True Tales of Madness from a Life in Fashion by fashion maven Simon Doonan, another writer of which I’m completely jealous.
In a series of essays, Doonan explains why models start dumb and stay dumb, talks about how he got cult Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo to spend time at Fredericks of Hollywood, and illuminates why the Queen of England is always frumpy, because it’s impossible to be both “kind” and “chic.”
That concept is borne out in the new Disney movie “Cinderella,” which everyone must go to immediately, whether or not you have a child to go with, because the costumes are a tour-de-force of color and design. Costume designer Sandy Powell is a genius. I want to go sew on snaps for her.
Here’s Cinderella. Though she’s beautiful and “kind,” I’d argue that she’s not chic:
(There’s enough tulle in that dress to crinoline the entire rockabilly Hall of Fame.)
Cate Blanchett as the stepmother is most definitely “chic,” wicked, wicked chic:
Soft and kind/taut and chic.
There are a few exceptions to the chic/kind tradeoff, for example, Audrey Hepburn was both chic and kind. But there aren’t many.
And speaking of chic, Karl Lagerfeld says that his pampered, social media savvy cat Choupette made THREE MILLION EUROS last year!
For that kind of money, I’d sit on Lagerfeld’s lap and purr, too. (Not that he’d be into it…)
Lastly, I wanted to say hello and welcome to the new readers who have joined Jet Set Sewing in the past several months. I get such a huge kick out of everyone’s visits and comments, so thanks to all of you for dropping by!
And I did finally get a chance to attend two exhibits featuring designs by Halston…the YSL/Halston exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and the surprising “museum of Halstons” in the back of my sister’s closet! More on that later!
How’s your sewing going?