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Dressing Up Vintage

May 11, 2001 at 6:23 pm by xoanon  - 

From: Gorel the TORNado

I stumbled across a review of a book on vintage
clothing by Tolkien’s granddaughter, which mentions actresses wearing such clothes at Cannes. The coincidence seemed kind of funny.

Dressing Up Vintage

Author: Tracy Tolkien

Published: Rizzoli Publications

Some of today’s most glamorous celebrities love vintage chic.

Tracy Tolkien, granddaughter of the legendary author J.R.R. Tolkien, writes about some of these well-known women buying and wearing antique pieces. For instance, Kim Basinger buys her vintage dresses from Sotheby’s, Winona Ryder wore vintage to the Oscars and Kate Moss did the Cannes Film Festival in one of Madame Gres’ classic columns.

Today, there’s growing audience for these golden oldies. Tracy Tolkien, as the owner of Steinberg and Tolkien, London’s vintage clothing shop, explains how to search for timeless fashion in her fast-paced and informative book, Dressing Up Vintage (published by Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.).

Her four “Golden Rules” of assessing vintage clothing: Is it a good design? Is it made from a quality fabric? Is it beautifully made? Is it a good example of a particular era? To help a new collector know the various decades of the 20th Century, she goes from the wartime years of the 40’s to the 90’s grunge. In each era, she shows and tells what was happening and what was being worn from Christian Dior’s New Look in the 40’s to Pucci prints in the 60’s and Yves St. Laurent’s Power Suits in the 80’s. She also covers accessories, hair, makeup, key designers and celebrities of each decade.

I found this 160-page book, with its colored photos and sketches a fascinating read. There are little nuggets such as the key motif’s for 50’s which appeared on handbags, scarves, fabrics and jewelry. These ranged from French poodles to Hawaiian scenes and playing cards. In the back of the book there is a hard-to-find source guide of over 600 shops worldwide carrying quality vintage clothes.

The three best chapters for vintage information, I think, are the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Although the title suggests turn-of-the-century, the author starts with the war years of the 40’s. That leaves out some pretty heady stuff from Paul Poiret around 1910, the early days of Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in the 20’s and 30’s. Also I found the 80’s and 90’s on the thin-side. Still, there’s so much good information in this charming book I say, “Buy and Enjoy.”

Posted in Old Spy Reports on May 11, 2001 by

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