4.22.2014

Little Black Dress 4: 1950 Sabrina and Edith Head (courtesy of Givenchy)


The 50's were not such a great decade for the LBD, in fact in the movies of the era only femmes fatales or "bad girls" used to wear it.
With rare exceptions. And for me This is the exception of the exceptions. Because it was Haudrey Hepburn in Sabrin, and because the dress was designed by Hubert de Givenchy, who will be the main drive for the incredible rebirth of the LBD in the 60's.
There's a story about this dress, which I love very much. Maybe everybody knows about it but I can't resist telling  a good story, even if it's 61 years old.
Edith Head's "original" design for the cocktail dress
In 1953 during pre-production of Sabrina, Billy Wilder wanted her to come back from Paris with a real parisian haute couture look. So he told Haudrey  to go to Paris a choose some outfits. But there was a problem. The problem was called Edit Head, she WAS the costume department and in house designer at Paramount pictures since 1938, and she expected to design the dresses for Sabrina. So a compromise was reached. Head would design the exact models that Hepburn should choose in Paris (with Givenchy's agreement) and she also won an Oscar for them!!!

This is the only dress actually designed by Head, she won an Oscar for this

Givenchy dind't disclose this story until  after Head's death. Even though the rumor had been circulating for some years (Wilder was a notorious loudmouth). Anyway, Edith Head won a total of 8 Oscars in her career and for 7 of them she was the actual designer! And she did design some wonderful outfits, think Grace Kelly in To Catch a thief or Rear Window.

One more bit of trivia: Givenchy was thrilled to hear that Miss Hepburn wanted to visit his atelier for the costumes for her new movie. But he expected Katherine not Haudrey (who had made only Roman Holidays and had not yet received her Oscar for it). So he was really disappointed and being busy with his new collection, Haudrey had to choose among the dresses of the previous season.
Anyway, this was the beginning of the incredible working relationship between Givenchy and Hepburn!!!

Now, this is the dress I choose to represent the LBD in the 50's, in one of his rare but defining appearances of the era:


Of course mine "in house" Haudrey is Virginia so she is modelling it.For the dress I used satin black linen. The shoes are by The Vogue HK and the little hat is by IT (courtesy of Mafalda). As you shall see this is not quite a perfect scale reproduction of the dress. I love Givenchy and tried several times to reproduce his designs but I found out that his dresses look simple but ARE NOT!!! And I need to improve my skills wit full skirts......

I'm happy to have finally Virginia in a post all for herself, I think she deserved it, she's the sweetest thing in my collection!

This time instead of doing a photomontage I tried to put together a little diorama with some Thai's jewel boxes and Burma's laquers and pottery, 


Virginia is holding a Burma's pottery wistle, in a shape of a little bird





This issue's soundtrack: "Isn't it romantic" of course!!!! I picked the original rendition by Harold Stern Orchestra of this 1932 standard by Rodgers & Hart


On the next issue: The 60's the golden era

4.18.2014

Hommes Fashion 2: Alessandro in L.A.

I've been browsing the net a lot lately, to find some inspiration for my hommes fashions, it's not easy finding something feasable and not boring, yet something one can actually use.....I've  found some very weird things, and then I discovered something it's going to be a big hit around here: Urban Safari!

Among the many things, the first that caught my eyes was this beautiful outfit by Diesel as I thought it would be perfect for the guys!

So, Alessandro can finally leave his hotel room and  do some wandering around L.A!
For the sweater I used a piece of polyester scarf (which happened to have a diamond pattern very similar to the one of the original outfit) and wool jersey for the sleeves, the same scarf and jersey for the jacket. The trousers are made of a gabardine fabric. Boots by Paul Zangby.

Rodeo Drive - Picture by Billa
Hollywood Blvd - Picture by Billa
Hollywood Blvd - Picture by Billa
Santa Monica Pier - Picture By Billa

Los Angeles Pueblo - Picture by Billa
Alessandro feels like a star, so he's going to spend the afternoon at Universal Studios!!

Universal Studio - Picture by Billa
Well, this outfit was real fun, and I like the fact that I shall interchange pieces with other things I'm working on....more hommes fashions to come!

Ps. will Alessandro meet some of the girls around Universal Studios?

See you soon
Billa

Phantom Planet: California here we come

4.12.2014

Alessandro: Mad about the boy 2

Time has come to introduce Alessandro, I've decided that each guy shall have his own "place" so, as Carlo is based in San Francisco, Alessandro shall be based in LA. As I don't have a favourite hotel in LA (I had one but they closed it, too bad they had the most exquisite breakfast buffet I tried in my life) I had to choose one. After much browsing on the net I picked the Raffles l'Ermitage in Beverly Hills. It looks very comfortable, and its huge rooms fits very well Alessandro.





Alessandro is a sexy thing, I like the way he has to look straight into the camera....so self confident!


I also appreciate his sweet side, looks like he's very versatile: he has  boyhis but manly looks! I've been already working on Alessandro's wardrobe, and I think I've found his "stile"......before leaving him, here's one last shot:


Of course he's a true Sampdorian too.....(happy Sasha?)



Soundtrack: Billie Holiday - The Man I love



4.07.2014

Travelling dolly 6: Odette in China - The south: Guiling, Li River and Yangshuo

After her visit to the two capitals, Odette is now in the south of China, here we have a huge change in the background, as she's going to see some of the most amazing natural landscapes of the world!
In Guiling she's pretty close to the tropics, so the climate is hot and damp, she's going to have to drink a lot of water to keep the pace!

This wonderful painting is the main reason why Odette wished to go to the south, to see the wonderful River Li


For her visit to the south Odette is wearing a jersey silk dress, I loved this patter at first sight, with a matching cloche hat and paul-zangby shoes. She's going to do a lot of walking but it seems like she doesn't care....Carlo has reached Odette on this trip, he's wearing a cotton casual outfit, with a pique t-shirt. I think they make such a lovely couple!

Guiling is a nice town, there's an incredible market going on until the late hours where you can find everything, and after Odette and Carlo took a straw along the river banks.

Guiling - Picture by Billa
Guiling - Photo by Billa
In the early morning they visited the zoo, to meet Mr Panda in person!!!!
Guiling - Picture by Billa
Mr. Panda is a bit of a lazy fellow, so they had to go early in the morning, while he's having his breakfast, and before he begins his nap!

Before their cruise on the river they are taking a bus ride to see the Longji (Dragon Backbone) rice terraces: among the many great things about China are the evocative names of the places. They  plunge you into the magic of nature, in a parallel universe where dragons, fox-women, and spirits are possible and live among us.

Longji village - picture by Billa
China is not only rich in diverse landscapes and attraction, but for its PEOPLE! This is a lovely Miao Lady showing her traditional dress....

Miao tratitional costume - Picture by Billa
Longji rice terrace - Picture by Sasha
Longji rice terrace - Picture by Sasha
Before leaving Guilin for their cruise on the river Li a brief stop to pay a visit to the Elephant hill. In fact the whole area of Guilin is very rich of wonderful caves, they are just too difficult to photograph for Odette and Carlo, so you'll just have their word for it!

Elephant hill - Picture by Billa
Now they are ready for the climax of this trip: the cruise on the river Li! There are no words to describe it, Odette and Carlo hope that the photographs shall give you at least some of the emotions of this place

River Li - Picture by Sasha
River Li - Picture by Sasha
River Li - Picture by Billa
The Cruise reaches Yangshuo, a beautiful village (300.000 inhabitants) among the river and fields. Once upon a long ago they were peasants and fishermen. Today they also are merchants!!! Here there's everything you need for a whole day of compulsive shopping!!! You can see the mountains in the background of the village.


Yangshuo - Picture by Billa
Yangshuo - Picture by Billa
Climate is tropical so rain can set in quite suddenly!

Yangshuo - Picture by Sasha
A brief vistit to the rice fields neraby, to take another glimpse of this incredible landscape!

Yangshuo - Picture by Billa
And before leaving they can't miss this incredible show: Impression Sanjie Liu.  The performance utilizes the natural surroundings to create a spectacular outdoor theatre which is the largest of its kind. The Li River itself is the stage and twelve mountains serve as the backdrop. The first show opened in 2004 and was directed by Zhang Yimou. This picture cannot do justice to it, as it is simply GREAT!

Impression Sanjie Liu - Picture by Billa
Impression Sanjie Liu - Picture By Billa
Odette and Carlo adored it! Such a great way to take leave from this amazing part of China.

On the next instalment Odette is going to visit the East of China and Shanghai

Previous Instalment: Odette in China part 1

4.03.2014

A satin working outfit for Giovanna

It was time for a new "original" design, and for Giovanna to come back as model with an article on her own, she's such a gorgeous lady, and also my "Cover Girl"!
I've made for her this working/shopping outfit in old-rose satin, with underskirt and matching purse.
It has big collar and a tie, with a high waistline. The fabric is satin, while the purse is made of linen and satin.
I tried to come up with something legant and comfortable.

shoes by Paul Zang-by
She looks very easy in it, I think she loves it.....



Ok Giovanna, what about a couple of shots with Nasty?

Uhmmm, not quite sure about this
Come on girl, don't be a  chicken....

Something is going terribly wrong.....
What the heck?!?!!?!?

.....terribly wrong!!!!!!!
Sorry Giovanna, he's incorrigible

Oh, Nasty.....
Ok Nasty, next time you want a closeup, try to bark first.....

sooooo cute.......
Nasty will never learn!

See you soon
Billa

3.27.2014

Hommes Fashion 1: Carlo in San Francisco

I managed to finish my first homme complete outfit, I started with some casual clothes and pants, so that the guys will not have to stay naked all around the house (it ain't proper).
As Carlo was already in San Francisco - Carlo Mad About the boy - he immediately went out in his new clothes to show off. He' wearing a cotton jacket and jeans and a pique t-shirt. You always need a jacket in the San Francisco summer!!!! I believe this colour enhances his features.

Carlo is posing in some of my favourite San Francisco's spots:

Sausalito - Picture by Billa
Golden Gate Park - Picture by Sasha
Golden Gate - Picture by Billa
Painted Ladies - Picture by Billa
Union Square - Picture by Sasha
Now he's going to join the rest of the girls and I expect him to pop up in Odette's travels!!!



See you soon!
Billa