Writer & Stylist LisaG (Wearing Vintage Turban & Jumpsuit, Alexander McQueen Booties), Evolution Vintage Studio. Image by: Tamara Wickstrom

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Helen Rose: A Costume Legacy

Helen Rose Sketching 1957

I recently had the pleasure of acquiring a piece of fashion history who's designer is known as well as a few details about the lady who wore it. I rarely have the chance to obtain any sort of information on the designer or the woman who gave a garment it's first life but this time I was blessed to do so.

 Helen Rose born in Chicago on February 2, 1904.  She studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and first started to design costumes for nightclub shows.  After moving to Los Angeles in 1929 she designed costumes for Ice Follies and Fanchon and Marco (wiki). After a short stint at 20th Century Fox in the 40's  she was hired by MGM (Metro-Goldwyn Mayer) in 1943 where she spent the majority of her career dressing screen sirens of the MGM era including Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Stanwyck, Lana Turner, Lauren Bacall, Grace Kelly and a whole host of other beauties in addition to the lady who owned the gorgeous dress pictured above, on screen dancer Dee Trunell (Details on Dee's dress in tomorrows post as it becomes available for purchase via EVOLUTION VINTAGE). I read she was a master of chiffon and was famous for her beaded bodices and chiffon dresses. Mrs. Rose said in a 1981 interview with The  Los Angeles Times that she favored that material because of the way it moved and picked up light.

 Designing Women -1957

The designer with Grace Kelly and a costume sketch for The Swan 1956

Helen won two academy awards for costume design for  The Bad and the Beautiful in 1952 
 Lana Turner

and for I'll Cry Tomorrow in 1955 
Susan Hayward

and nominated eight additional times. She was widely known for designing wedding dresses for the women she dressed on screen.

Her two most famous brides:

Elizabeth Taylor (Marries Conrad 'Nicky' Hilton in 1950)
It was Elizabeth's first of her eight marriages. She was 18 with a 20" waist on that day.  Helen Rose had 15 people working full days for almost three months on the garment with its twenty five yards of shell-white satin embellished with bugle beads and seed pearls, trailed by a fifteen-yards of satin train. The dress was a "gift" from MGM to Elizabeth in exchange for press in much the same way fashion houses gift celebrities for the red carpet. This dress sold at auction in 2013 for a jaw dropping $188,000 and was created in 1950 for $1,500.

Grace Kelly (Marries Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956)

I had read it was a gift from MGM. likely for publicity for the studio. During the design process they were working together on what would be Grace's last film High Society. Rose said about Grace "She is a dream to work with...I showed her two sketches of the final design and she chose the one she wanted.  That was all there was to it."

Philadelphia museum of art.

For more details on this garment and Grace's Style pick up the book: Grace Kelly: Icon of Style to Royal Bride

To her Helen has 116 credits for Costume Design for film and 32 for Costume/Wardrobe Department. She went on from film to create her own collection under her label: Helen Rose. Rose’s label dates from 1958/9 – 1976, when she retired. She wrote her autobiography "Just Make Them Beautiful" a line that Louis B. Mayer was often quotes as saying to her and penned a second book called "The Glamorous World of Helen Rose". She left the world a little less colorful place on November 9,1985 at the age of 81 passing away in Palm Springs.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Time For A Group Hug

I always enjoy finding new "Compassion Fashion" companies. I am always looking for those that help the earth, children or various other causes. Group Hug Apparel is on a mission to help Sick Children and it was the compassion from a young Canadian man, Andrew who has started this amazing business. I am a born and raised Canadian from Ontario and also a mother of a young boy with Down Syndrome, imagine my delight to connect with this amazing company. With the support of his mother Karen, Group Hug Apparel  has helped Andrew realize his dream of helping others and making a difference. At age 22 he is making a huge impact in his community and far beyond. His apparel has a stick figure illustration created by Andrew and motivational logo that is universally applicable "BE STRONG, ROCK ON"

I had a chance to chat with Karen about Andrew and this amazing company.

LG: What inspired the signature "stick figure"?

K: Andrew loves playing the drums and creating stick figured characters playing instruments and such. When i saw this cute little figure, I thought friends and family would support Andrew if we put them on shirts and they took off.

K: What is your ultimate goal(s) with the apparel line?

K: We helped Andrew create this neat little apparel line because he wanted to save money for college. He just wanted to do what other teenagers did, work part time, hang with friends and have the opportunity to go to college. At first we did not know what to think about the idea but as soon as he mentioned it, we knew that we needed to work together as a family and with his abilities to make this happen even if it was simplified so he could achieve at his own pace and in his own way, with his ideas we modified the plan and made it work for not only him but our family. With health related issues with his Down syndrome, we have spent many days, weeks in hospital and we saw many families going through their own personal challenges. Andrew saw this as well and he mentioned how he would love to help sick kids one day. Well that one day happened sooner that we expected. Andrew has all of these wonderful ideas and sometimes i wonder how the heck can we pull them off but again we work together as a family to modify and this gives Andrew the opportunity to achieve in his how ways. I know if he is going to work hard at things than i have to as well. 
Andrew has helped so many from his sales and will continue to be part of our business plan. To date over $25,000 has been donated. This is coming from a young man with not only heart issues but from a young many with heart issues and a heart of gold at the same time.

LG: Andrew's future plans - what does he want to study in college?

K: Andrew graduated from St. Clair College's Life Skills Program this past June 2014.

LG:  What's next for Group Hug Apparel?

K: We have just started a new campaign "Helping Sick Children One T-Shirt At A Time". Proceeds from his shirt sales not only go back to sick children but it gives Andrew the opportunity to mail his designs to children in hospital or going through treatment one of his shirts that say "Be Strong Rock On" Andrew says that the shirts will keep them safe while they are sick. Its almost like Andrew is his own super hero providing a special cloak like shirt for sick children.
Andrew has also teamed up with some of our local business to collect NEW Teddy Bears that Andrew gives to Sick Children as well. Andrew has his Teddy Bear from when he was born and it travelled with him during his hospital stays and will again one day when he has to further stays. This bear is a comfort to him so he wants to provide that comfort and friend ship for others.

 LG:  What would you tell new parents with a pre or post natal diagnosis of Down Syndrome?

K: Personally i have enjoyed every moment with Andrew and what he has achieved with his life. We all have our own challenges and we all lead different lives, what was given to me i would not change it for the world. Andrew has taught me so much from the day he was born and continues to teach every day.

As a mother with a young son with Down Syndrome Andrew and Karen's message has obvious significance to myself and my family but it is also universally applicable. Not only am I personally inspired but it fills me with hope that my son Blake will find something in life he is passionate about and if we stay focused on his ABILITIES there are no limits. Thanks to Andrew, we can all adopt the mantra "Be Strong, Rock On" Life presents challenges to everyone and this is a great reminder to keep moving forward and staying strong. I think it's time everyone had the benefit of a group hug!

PURCHASE from Group Hug Apparel HERE
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Meet Andrew and Karen:
This short documentary is a MUST SEE & SHARE! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Great Greens

Varieties of the color green may differ in hue, chroma/saturation/intensity or lightness (or value, tone, or brightness), or in two or three of these qualities. Variations in value are also called tints and shades, a tint being a green or other hue mixed with white. In fashion this means infinite possibilities. 

Consider sassy shades of green for fall.

Pump up the volume on something plain with your Own version of Katy Perry's 2013 MTV GUCCI look.

2013 - GUCCI at the Grammy's in a shade of Seafoam

GUCCI Resort 2013

 Vintage Gown in a 'Spring Green' Color (SHOP)

Persain Green Vintage Dress with Attached Sash. (SHOP)

Katie's looks can be re-created with these two Fab Frocks by using a variety of Vintage or Contemporary Brooches for a temporary glamour enhancement, just strategically pin and go. For other uses brooch the subject here: THIS.  Don't want to pin the dress? Create a DIY Collar to pin Brooches or sew Vintage clip earring or other embellishments onto. 

Vintage Seafoam Grecian Goddess Gown, Complete with Bodice Embellishment. (SHOP)

A hint of mint  - This Vintage Mint Halter Dress is amazing. Rhinestone embellished chiffon (SHOP)
Minty Maxi (SHOP)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Meryl Monday: Wisdom


I thought these were some amazing words of wisdom to pass along as we bid adieu to summer and welcome in another fall season. A great lesson about patience that I can completely identify with. I always say that I have limited resources to share. I choose to share the extra time and energy with those who deserve it; those that are happy, positive and supportive. The honest, humble, accountable ones. I want to use my energy on the information seekers, the dreamer's and the eternal students. I am perfectly happy to love, support and encourage and avoid those who can't.

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.” ~Meryl Streep

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Songstress Style: Lisa Marie Presley

Backstage Wardrobe

I have been intrigued with Lisa Marie Presley since the early 1990's and her appearance in Gianni Versace's Rock N Royalty book (1996).
Images from Rock and Royalty Book/Richard Avedon.

I saw her in the audience of Gianni's shows (as seen with Elton John Below) and pictured with the designer. This coincides with the time I fell in love with fashion. I have watched her style evolve from the days of the monochromatic Versace looks in Lime and Cobalt,

to her being habitually converse clad

and now to a more chic and polished look.
It wasn't until I heard the first tracks from her debut album "To Whom This May Concern" that I was taken by her music and her obvious talent as a singer/songwriter. I have had the pleasure of briefly meeting Lisa a few times post-show and she was always incredibly gracious, kind and charming. I gave her a Vintage cocktail ring (pictured) and a Vintage DIOR Blazer from my eBoutique. I can't WAIT to see how she styles the blazer!
I also connect with her no nonsense, no bullshit attitude. From where I sit she has the same view on fashion. She wears what she wants and does not follow "trends" or adhere to the societal style conformist notions that we are all force fed via the media. She has an affinity for CHANEL, statement cocktail rings and is also part of one of the most stylish couples in my PROFashional opinion, a topic of a future blog.  I would describe her style as rock-chic with an air of romantic classic.

On her last tour she was on the maxi dress, blazer and statement belt program and I adored it.

I also loved her in this Gucci Floral frock from Pre-Fall 2012 that she wore in an appearance in Memphis.

This look reminded my of a Vintage frock with a similar floral print.
Available HERE

As a stylist I always consider how I would dress each woman I see, for Lisa I would select the following:

Vintage 1960s Lilli Diamond Cocktail Dress with Lettuce Edge Ruffle Trim (SHOP)

Vintage Stetson Fedora, Vintage Snake Print Shirt Dress & Vintage Stretch Belt.

Vintage 70's BoHo Hat and Vintage Jumpsuit. (SHOP)

 Vintage Sequin 'Animal Print' Top (SHOP)

Vintage Black & White Printed Top (SHOP)

Vintage 60's Floral Cocktail Dress with Rhinestone Detailed Bodice (SHOP)

 Vintage Mr. Blackwell Chiffon and Floral Maxi Dress (SHOP)

Vintage 70's Chiffon Dress with Copper Pleated Skirt Accent and Copper Tone Floral Applique

 Early 60's Black Velvet Wiggle Dress with Chiffon Bodice (SHOP)

Vintage Egyptian Winged Disc Cocktail Ring (SHOP)

What's your FAV LMP look?

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