20s, 30s and 40s in Fall 2014: Carven and Naeem Khan

Yesterday, I talked about Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent's Fall 2014 collections which are inspired by the 60s and 70s. Today, I would like to highlight two other designers who are inspired by the vintage era. Carven by the 30s and 40s and Naeem Khan by 20s and 30s. These eras are my favorites and I was very delighted to see these designers revived such glamorous periods in their collections.


Carven's retro silhouette is very 1930s and 1940s as illustrated by mid-calf fur-collared dresses and coats. Berets and muffs are the main accessories. I can see these outfits being elegantly worn by women in the glamorous days of air/sea/land travels. No doubt, a Carven lady is ladylike in her own right.


Naeem Khan has been quite enamored with the Art Deco era and is still righteously so for Fall 2014. He is a an expert in creating elegant evening gowns. I can see his gowns being easily worn by the likes of Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford or Jean Harlow. The women who wear his collections command attention and are not afraid of it. His collection embodies not only the spirit of old Hollywood glamorous parties but also casual luxury pajama lounging. Also, this time, Naeem Khan reinterprets the flapper dress. The flapper trend was huge a couple of seasons ago but I am still not ready to part with it yet. After all, who does not like some drop waist, fringe, sequin and maribou?


60s and 70s in Fall 2014: Lanvin and Saint Laurent

The Fashion Week 2014 concluded last week in Paris. I followed the runway and was pleased to see some designers use vintage in their collections. This time, there were four designers who are favorites of mine. Among them are Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent who are mainly inspired by the 60s and 70s. Keep an eye out for my next post about the other two designers.


Louis Vuitton's Fall collections are closer to late 70s. The earthy color palettes are  reminiscent of that era, for example dark moss green, clementine and wine burgundy. We see fitted silhouettes with turtlenecks, button up shirt and high waist details.  There are hints of psychedelic too. To me, this collection brings "That 70's Show" to life.


Saint Laurent takes inspiration from its glorious days in the mid to late 60s where Yves Saint Laurent democratized fashion and launched Pret-A-Porter in Paris' Rive Gauche. This was the era where the designer was associated with Parisian Jet Set and enjoyed its peak success. The collection is all about the beatnik fashion as illustrated by Saint Laurent's classic bow tie, plaid details, tailored shift dress and Go-Go boots. Seeing this collection immediately reminds me of French actresses: Catherine Deneuve and Francoise Hardy. It's simply French-chic and nostalgic.

All photos are from style.com


Vintage Red Carpet

In the spirit of the Oscars, I thought I'd share with you a collage of stars who flaunt their vintage dresses and gowns for the red carpet. These vintage dresses and gowns are timeless, which is one of the many reasons why I love vintage. Although it's unfortunate that noone donned a vintage this year, I hope someone will next year. Here's to vintage.

Natalie Portman in Vintage Dior, Oscar 2012

Renne Zelweger in Jean Deeses, Oscar 2001

Jennifer Lopez, Jean Deeses, Oscar 2006

Reese Witherspoon, Vintage Dior, Oscar 2006

Anne Hathaway, Vintage Valentino, Oscar 2011

Marissa Tomei, 1950s Charles James, Oscar 2011

Penelope Cruz, Vintage Balmain, Oscar 2009

 Melanie Laurent, Vintage Christian Dior, Cannes 2011

Gillian Anderson, Vintage 1949 Pierre Balmain Couture, BAFTA 2014

Alexa Chung, 60s Balenciaga, Cannes 2012

Alexa Chung, Vintage Balenciaga, InStyle and Warner Brother Golden Globes After Party 2014

Sarah Jessica Parker, Vintage Alexandra New York, The Art of Jewel, 2013

Kristin Davis, Vintage 1969 Balmain, Annual White House Correspondents' Dinner 2010

Amber Valleta, Vintage Galanos, Met Gala 2009

Diane Agron, Vintage Chanel, SAG 2009

 Ashley Olsen, vintage, CFDA 2009

 Ashley Olsen, Vintage Dior, Met Gala 2011

Kristin Davis, Jean Desses, Sex and The City Premiere 2 2010

Kristin Davis, Vintage Pierre Balmain Couture, Sex and The City Premiere 2 2010

Angeline Jolie, 1950s Balmain Haute Couture


 Charlize Theron, Gucci, Oscar 2004

Nicole Richie, Lanvin, Met Gala 2011

Madonna, Stella McCartney, Met Gala 2011


Noir City San Francisco - Rififi

Last weekend, we went to see the Noir City Festival at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. We love watching movies at the beautiful Castro Theater. So, it was nice to be back there. We went to see Rififi, a French noir movie made in 1955. I decided to wear a midcentury style outfit. I donned my leopard cape which I wore before here. I paired it with a dress and pearl costume jewelries. I realized I forgot my gloves but fortunately it was a fairly warm night. [Pardon the blur, the theater was packed and the picture was shot quite in a haste]

Leopard Cape: Macys // Dress, Pearl Necklace, Stole: H&M // Earrings: Vintage // Bag: Goodwill // Pointed Kitten Heels: DSW

Here are some interior pictures of the beautiful Castro Theater. The theater was built in 1922 and comes equipped with a Wurlitzer organ. The theater cost $300,000 to build and was designed by the renowned architect Mr. Timothy Pflueger.

The movie was directed by Jules Dassin, an American movie director who made the movie in France after he was blacklisted from Hollywood during the McCarthy era. Rififi has quite a plot and storytelling. There were definitely quite a bit of themes: crime, relationship, betrayal, family, domestic violence, greed.

Here are some of my favorite scenes in the movie. I am not a professional movie critic but I thought I'd share with you bits and scenes from the movie without adding too many 'spoilers'. In the movie, we were taken into the noir world of Paris in the 50s. Shifting from the Parisian bistros, coffeehouses and apartment buildings, we moved on to gambling parlors, brothels and crime scenes. It was surreal.

I might say that I was quite intrigued by the relationship between Mado (played by Marie Sabouret) and Le Stephanois (played by Jean Servais). Theirs is quite complex and displays how a relationship evolves over time. I promised no 'spoilers'; therefore, I will leave it at that :-)

One thing I want to add though is I think Marie Sabouret brilliantly played the complex character of Mado. I actually did research on her because I wanted to see more of her movies. She was obviously a very talented French actress and was admitted to the Comedie Francaise. However, she sadly passed away from Leukemia at the age of 36 in 1960, five years after Rififi :-(

Entertainers and performers were such intertwined with the mafias and gangsters back then, which was a part of the story line int the movie. I was really captivated when I watched Magali Noel (who played Viviane, the entertainer) sang and performed Rififi. Watch it on video here.

And here is the infamous L'Age d'Or -- the night club where the entertainment was performed and other 'services' might be rendered. If you are interested in the history of Parisian vintage 'entertainment' scene (i.e. brothels of the past), check out Messy Nessy's page here and here, where she takes you on virtual tour to the former brothels of Paris.

As a fan of Paris, I was thrilled to see that Rififi showed many beautiful nooks and crannies of the city. I was curious about the locations of the movie scenes. I asked myself if L'Age d'Or was or still is a real night club. However, I found out that they actually constructed the elaborate entrance to the club for the movie. If you are interested in Rififi's movie locations, check out this excellent site hereThis site has quite a bit of information on movie locations, which I love especially for classic films. I myself did a walking tour in San Francisco to revisit the movie scene of Hitchock's Vertigo, it was really interesting to see how the city has changed from the time the movie was shot.


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