For all those people who think "vintage" as a synonymous of "granny-like", I found out some photos that could make you change your mind... a little bit!
After another raid in the local library, I came home with, among others, a photograph book about Dior and another one about the great fashion designer Renè Gruau.
So, what? You could say.
They were both used to draw clothes in the 1940s-1950s: what's new about that?
Well, I noticed some similarities between a few different pictures; and I decided to ask you to play with me an old game: the kind of game you can find in the crossword magazines.
So... are you ready to find the differences between the photos I'll post below?
Look at this picture: this quirky, luscious red evening dress, named "Ispahan", was designed in 1947 by Gruau for - guess who? - Dior.
Ruby red silk, gloves, stiletto heels, pearls. A refined updo to let the model's bare shoulders uncovered.
Looks like a typical case of the mixture of elegance and craziness, malice and voluptuousness, that characterized French fashion in the early 1950s - no more financial straits, people long again for elegance, luxury, and some fun.
With its fancy bodice - red baroque roses emphasizing the bust, an equally red shawl around bare shoulders, this model is peculiar of its time - today, its rococo roses would appear dated and out of place.
... Or not?
This fire-red taffeta dress belongs to the Winter Collection 1989-1990.
A draped stole wraps the model showing its peculiarity: extravagant silk roses all around the shoulders, surrounding bare neck and shoulders, highlighted by a high chignon.
It's just me, or this dress reminds us of something we have already seen before...?
Same thing with these couples of photos: which one is following the other's exemple?
On the left: pattern from the 1940s.
On the right: model from the 90s.
On the left: Dior dress, 1950s.
On the right: Dior dress, late 1980s.
Now, take as well this picture, and its modern, offhand, jaunty feel.
When I first saw it, I could have bet it was made in the late 1980s: a bright pattern, high-waisted tight trousers, flat shoes.
Nothing further from the subdued colours, neatness and panache of the war and post-war times... If we ignore the fact the picture was drawn in the late 1940s for the cover of the International Textiles.
I found a slightly, but funny resemblance with some 1980s dresses I've seen on the net, like this, or this.
Let's take a last look on this one. This drawing is so amazingly up-to-date, with its comic strip look and a slightly 90s feel, that I was quite surprised it was actually made in 1957.
Nothing it its contrasting, bright colours, or essential and rough-edged lines, reminds me about the Fifties and the dreamy idea of a soft, kind-hearted femininity that it's usually associated with these years.
When I see this jazzy checked pattern, the first image that comes to my mind is more like this... than this!
... But, maybe - I should reassess my idea of what "vintage" is! :)