Where it all began, Mary Quant.

“We thought we were making clothes for our friends; for sort of art students, actresses and a few sort of um crazy people around Chelsea..I think, in a funny way, we must have anticipated what people wanted and I hated fashion the way it was, I wanted clothes to be far more casual and easy going and sexy.” -Mary Quant (BBC 4 Interview in 1971)

On busting on to the London fashion scene in the late 60’s and killn’ it!

Another Fad

Jenni Murrey calls Mary Quant a “Game Changer” saying “For my generation, a teen in the 60’s, she blew away the twinset and pearls and covering your knees and brought in the mini and shoes you could actually walk even run in” (Presented by Jenni Murray BBC Radio 4 , Woman’s Hour, Wed 19 Mar 2014)

And that’s what is so inspiring; functional, fashionable and sexy! All three in one!

What you do is play both vids at once, use the music from the Fashion from 1969 vid (below) playing in the background as you listen to Mary in the 1968 CBC Archives (above) talk about making round shoes. It’s surprisingly awesome!

I want to be Mary Quant…or at least have the 1967 wardrobe at my disposal 😉

Chelsea Palace on King's Road

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

…When you’re Andy Williams (totally stole that from a grumpy cat meme) no judgement.

I stayed with my Grandparents for a few days earlier this month and had a rock awesome time watching shows, cooking, looking through 1960’s and 70’s photos of my parents, here are a few gems (he he he)

In addition Grandmother and I gorged ourselves on holiday television programming. The all-time highlight was a Christmas Special on PBS, The Best of Andy Williams Christmas.

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Now when I told my dear Mother that I was watching this, eyes unblinking like a child at the mantle waiting on Santa Christmas Eve, I could literally hear her roll her eyes, much to my surprise she asked, “Cara, it’s so campy, how can you handle it?” to which I replied “That’s the beauty of it! It’s so saccharin sweet that it’s authentic, Andy Williams literally believed everything he was singing! To Andy it was the most wonderful time of the year and it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas! His smile and cheese was authentic, how can I handle it, I love it because it is truly felt, and that warms my heart”.betteandandy2

The other thing is, it’s all being seen with new eyes. I didn’t have this on a B&W in the background of my childhood. The show ended practically a decade before I was born. I didn’t even know Andy Williams was the one singing about Christmas on the radio starting the day after Thanksgiving till the New Year. Watching him talk about the show, his family and the memories they had making it, was a treat.

The sets were as plastic as they come, the costumes over the top, and did I mention his array of matching outfits with his brothers! Hilarious! I am personally fond of the white turtle neck combo.

But that’s the glory of it. I think there’s something in me, maybe even in all the millennial kids that lived through the recession, to want to know it’s going to be ok, that our family will surround us and sing and laugh and dance, that the world isn’t such a scary place, with no jobs and people taking advantage of each other and these awful wars. Maybe if we all watched a little more Andy Williams we’d appreciate it (sorry about the speech, I’ll come down off my soap box now).

Blessings to you and your loved ones this Holiday Season, hold them tight, tell them you love them and sing a few carols for good cheer.

Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year!

Peace and Love,

Carazona

P.S. And I know it wasn’t all easy for Andy and his wife apparently she was…well wild, “ran away with that professional skier!” Oh my! Well that’s what Grandmother said anyway 😉

When Flying was Sexy…

Among other things, so light up your cigarettes recline in your spacious seats, we’re preparing for take-off.

While passing through various airports this holiday season, a display of photos caught my eye. They were on the development of my beloved hometown airport, Sky Harbor International . The desert motif is mixed with 60’s modern design as you can see in the photos below.

And! some vintage articles, an amazing travel bag #want!  fine cutlery and decks of cards to pass the time (those people really suffered…right).Pan Am

Now for PAN AM awesomeness, did you know there’s a store totally dedicated to merchandise and flight themed goods in the Seattle Tacoma Airport? You didn’t?!? Well, well, well ,my friend check-it-out!

Planewear has  similar repro  bags I was drooling over a minute ago, amid other flight themed items (the toddler bomber jacket is just plane (he he) adorable!)  If you’re in SEA-TAC  B Gates, you must stop in!

PAN AM Bag

The 1960’s were the golden era of air travel. You had to dress up, could expect a young women to wait on you in a miniskirt with a smile, and the silverware was real, real silverware and the drinks free. I won’t bore you too long with the stark comparison to modern air travel. Let’s just leave it at; active wear that’s right bust out your leggings and hoodies everyone, overweight gentleman in a middle seat on a five hour flight pushing your elbow of the arm rest, and free peanuts.

Back to my vintage fantasy: gender in the workplace aside, running away to become a stewardess  was a glamorous and exciting venture for most young and fresh woman of the 1960’s, freedom to travel, independence and high (get it?) fashion. As presented by various movies including Almost Famous where Zooey Deschanel shows off a lot of leg and sass to her momfhd000ALF_Zooey_Deschanel_006

(Had to throw this in, I love this movie!)You'll be cool

And  in Catch Me If You Can…aww Leo…catch-me-if-you-can

So let’s talk about the fashion! Miniskirts, bright colors and fabulous, adorable, teeny tiny marzipan box hats cute as buttons on perfectly sculpted hair.

National Geo did a short vid on air travel in the 60’s which is fun looking at the carefree way it’s presented like those classic Disney movies where everyone is smiling.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/videos/category/history/air-travel-was-a-party-and-they-were-the-hosts/

Well Passengers, thank you for choosing to read my blog, it’s always a pleasure to have you visit. Please sit back, relax , enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas!

XOXO,

Carazona

Gems From Retronaut and Reblogging

Some, well, interesting photos reblogged from my all-time FAV! Retronaut. These 1950’s and 60’s specimens where um err… not only uncomfortable looking poses are modeled but they are compounded by the presence of odd props…take a lookie lookie…

turnersmodeling-20

Note the…I can’t even caption this! Ahhh this brush is so soft I’ll take a picture in my nightgown…um…ok?

turnersmodeling-18

Or this …Let’s use pretty much everything in the studio and be sure to crank your neck so you look like you may fall off the ladder and remember, smile 🙂

You know I saw this stellar blog post and I really wanted to share it with you but then I had this pang of guilt, is it ok to reblog? Do people do this regularly…I think so, but I don’t want to be hated by those I dearly love, follow, admire . So you know what I did? I googled it, yep , I entered “Is it kosher to reblog?” right in that little white box and of course google didn’t answer my question, it got all caught up on the word “kosher”! Like nobody uses kosher except in the context of Jewish culture ! Then rabbit trail of of gold paved trails! I found this blog post, it answered the question of all questions, it was the quintessential google search outcome of all outcomes “Are Unicorns Kosher?” well here is the answer…

Unicorns are kosher. There was an actual talmudic debate and the current consensus is that unicorns are kosher. There is no conclusion to this paragraph, I just wanted to announce that I belong to a religion whose clergy members thought it was important to decide whether or not we could eat unicorns and then concluded that yes, yes we could, as long as the meat is drained of blood and not eaten with dairy.

reblogged you’re welcome.

The Bond Girls: You Only Live Twice

Bond movies, oh yes classics that ran on Saturday afternoon marathons where I dosed in and out to high speed car chases and elegant ball gowns.Why not give it another shot! Thought I ha ha ha, only remembering the entertainment at it’s best to see the glamour and poke fun at the technology and silly plots. While viewing the 1967 film, You Only Live Twice, I was both enthralled by the iconic imagery… and repelled by … well, pretty much every word that comes out of Sean Connery’s mouth. I do believe my eyes nearly rolled into the back of my head after the line..”Why do Chinese Girls taste different?” Ugh! It really kills the fantasy when James Bond is such a chauvinist jerk! but yawn, that’s already been talked to death so I’m through, but one more thing…why does he have to be so hairy?!?! Eewww!!! ok I’m done.

Choosing to focus on the lovely ladies and their attire** let us begin with the gorgeous and sophisticated Akiko Wakabayashi.

Look at how she sparkles in the chiffon powder blue gown she wore to the Sumo match. The boat neck and fitted shift really highlight her elegant long neck and delicate form.

Akiko Wakabayashi

Then we have the scene at the dock. Aki wears an oversized cream sweater, ankle jeans and white tennis shoes. If that isn’t the perfect Saturday outfit I don’t know what is. Classic, cute and fun! And perfect for a quick get away!

At the dock

Aki kills it in a pink lawn dress that I absolutely must have! Not only is pink, one of my most fav colors, but it’s a shift dress with high collar and belled slevies!!! WANT!!! She is soo adorable btw….Bond looking hairier than ever might I add 😉

Pink Dress

Top Pink Dress

Next we have Femme Fatale Helga played by Karin Dor. Red hair and awesome curves pulling on the “every man’s fantasy” Rita Hayworth imagery.

Seems you're in a Tight Spot Bond!

Seems you’re in a Tight Spot Bond!

I want to recreate this, you'll have to watch the movie for the full effect. So MadMen! I love it!!!

I want to recreate this, you’ll have to watch the movie for the full effect. So MadMen! I love it!!!

Blofeld (Guy that looks like Dr. Evil) is disappointed in Helga’s performance. She was to seduce Bond, not the other way around!!! to the rabid paranas, where you shall meet your most painful and timely death!! Muahahahaha!!! Aahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

This lady looks “killer” in red!

And yes, lastly, I should mention Mie Hama playing Bond’s pseudo wife for the terribly rendered transformation of Bond into a Japanese man.

.NO!

(it was hard to decide does he look more like Spock or Jim Carry from Dumb and Dumber…I’ll let you choose #thingsyoucouldneverdotoday #terrible)

Mie Hama pretty much wore a white bikini throughout the movie. She has a really sweet face and I love the bangs!

After enjoying You Only Live Twice my boyfriend and I decided we would let the professionals handle the spoofing and treated ourselves to the oldie but goodie Austen Powers: International Man of Mystery. Definitely worth a revisit 🙂

**You Only Live Twice Costume Design by Eileem Sullivan


More reading on Bond and Fashion:

Bond Exhibition

Bond Lifestyle: Clothing

Clothing for Bond Girls

Vintage Terror: East Germany 1950 – 1989

Photos by Daniel and Geo Fuchs show the East German Secret Police compound or Stasi Facility. It’s like looking into a nightmare. The yellow vinyl chairs and sterile atmosphere, I can just imagine the florescent light flickering as a man with a bloodied nose and ragged clothing sits in a corner of a concrete cell.

I once read a series of memoirs published about living under the iron curtain in East Germany the book was called Stasiland (http://www.amazon.com/Stasiland-Stories-Behind-Berlin-Wall/dp/0062077325 ) These photos bring all that to life.

MarienbornKommandoturm

BautzenBadezelle

MielkeEtageVorzimmer

HohenschoenhausenVernehmertrakt1

From Wired : http://www.wired.com/2014/09/eerie-architecture-east-germanys-secret-police/#slide-id-1566153

Diana Dew and wearable Pop Art

I found a 1968 copy of the Washington Post. A tattered cover illustrated with faded politicians and the Capital in the background. The big story was all about how America was mucking up Vietnam. I like reading articles from the 50’s and 60’s about US politics so I paid the 50 cents and brought it home. I like how these old magazines give a sort of cultural landscape a nation from years and years ago which has changed a lot from today… but sometimes is shockingly similar. For example this magazine had a feature article by Daniel H. Watts titled “America will Burn”

this author focuses on the racial problem in the U.S. He says that the popular concept of progress in the race relations in the U.S. is pure myth. He states that for over 300 years, African Americans have been obliged to carry not only the burden of racism but also white-liberal paternalism. The white man wants to be free to expand and exploit but an African American man perceives freedom as having an opportunity to enjoy life…


What I didn’t expect from the Washington Post was a 3 page spread on fashion icon Diana Dew, which is what my post will focus on today.

Hot lights, mod mini  and loads of references to psychedelia (is that a word? oh well I like it…like paraphernalia but totally psychedelic man)

Hit the Lights

Diana Dew was breaking edge in the club scene. Her small flexible battery packs added light to the garments she created. She was a pioneer, first being a woman (which is awesome) second being a designer who made functional art.

Her Designs


I guess later the technology she developed was purchased by the US government for space…but from the articles I read some of it went to less than admirable uses such as “interrogation” techniques for the Pentagon (yikes!)

Below she talks about her hippie roots… I hear ya! My hippie roots were def denying me a life of experience…wait…I grew up in a Baptist family in the 80’s …jk.

On Hippies

Like an LSD trip

Light up my Pants


Did I mention my love of hearts…comes from my 80’s past and far too many hours of doodling…apparently these dresses only sold for $150-$250 who knows how much now but you bet I’d be wearing the one below! Def reminds me of the Carebears…but I’m okay with that, I embrace it.

A tale of hearts

(he he that is NOT where my heart is but I just had to …thank you Christina 😉


Here are some more readings on Diana and her electric wearable pop art! Yay!

http://www.coololdstuff.com/fashion1.html

http://io9.com/350261/in-the-1960s-you-could-wear-an-electric-dress

http://www.cultjones.com/stock_item/1287/dew-diana-electric-dress

http://wendybrandes.com/blog/2010/12/light-up-with-tron-legacy-tiger-morse-and-diana-dew/

A Dangling Conversation

Fell into wispy and strange dreams last night, starting with my date in a record shop. It was all fuzzy walls and shelves. The colors in the dream were muted. I was standing there and waiting for someone. I looked down at my phone and  saw that I was getting a call. Answering it casually, hello, yes, you’re on your way? I’m here, ok, see you soon. Then in through the glass door walked the gentle eyed, slight smile of Paul Simon. It was 1960’s Paul Simon. A turtle neck and shorter hair all in soft grays. I looked at him with amusement, joy and warmth, like welcoming an old friend. This is how I think of Paul Simon. Funny how dreams are, it didn’t bother me that even in the dream he was a full head shorter than me…I’m tall woman, 5 foot 9 and three quarters, I just tell people 5’10 though, why trifle with that last quart inch, I’m usually taller than them anyway. So there he was standing and looking at me. He put his arm around me and told me how excited he was too. Let’s look at some records, sounds great, I said with a smile then it faded and I woke up still feeling the excitement and warm of his sweater and cool voice.

I found this photo today searching for photos of Paul Simon, Dream come true! Ha

I found this photo today searching for photos of Paul Simon, Dream come true! Ha

 

A minor obsession of mine has long been Simon and Garfunkel. The Dangling Conversation is by far my favorite. The lyrics, the sync-co-pat-ted-time, they greet me and I press my head into their warm soft arms and chest and breath in the familiarity and complexity of the moment they create. I sing it like a poem reads because that’s what it is poetry.

It’s a still life water color,
Of a now late afternoon,
As the sun shines through the curtained lace
And shadows wash the room.
And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference,
Like shells upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar
In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
The borders of our lives.

And you read your Emily Dickinson,
And I my Robert Frost,
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what we’ve lost.
Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm,
Couplets out of rhyme,
In syncopated time
And the dangled conversation
And the superficial sighs,
Are the borders of our lives.

Yes, we speak of things that matter,
With words that must be said,
“Can analysis be worthwhile?”
“Is the theater really dead?”
And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow,
I cannot feel your hand,
You’re a stranger now unto me
Lost in the dangling conversation.
And the superficial sighs,
In the borders of our lives.

 

So now dear reader, if you should be so inclined, grab a collection of poems by Robert Frost ( I recommend any and all about nature and changing of seasons), set yourself near a window, wrap up and enjoy.

 

First Ladies Part II: Lady Bird Johnson

Claudia Taylor born 1912 in Karnack Texas in a brick southern plantation mansion. Known as Lady Bird since childhood due to a nursemaid commenting she’s “as purty as a lady bird.”

Early Photos


 

Lady Bird's Dress

 

Lady Bird Johnson wore this yellow satin gown and sable-trimmed coat to the 1965 inaugural balls. The White House did not normally discuss the first lady’s designers but, because of the “special occasion and intense interest” surrounding the inaugural gown, staff announced that it was designed by John Moore. Aware of the tradition of donating the dress for exhibit at the Smithsonian, Mrs. Johnson chose a simple design that she thought would age well.

– The Smithsonian http://newsdesk.si.edu/photos/lady-bird-johnsons-inaugural-coat-1965

The White House Green Room

 

I do love all things fashionable and sixties but this dress didn’t ‘wow’ me as it were. The form is obviously mid sixties the canary yellow just screams lunch on the lawn. The boat neckline and smooth satin very conservative and consistent.

Lady Bird had a passion for natural beauty. She founded the highway beautification program where billboards were drastically limited on American highways and wild flowers were planted instead .(http://www.wildflower.org/environmental_first_lady/  University of Texas at Austin)

Though not a fashion icon, one can see by her desire to wear a ‘timeless’ piece as she understood natural beauty. Like the simplicity of a white lily or smooth petals of a rose there is a timeless elegance.

Lady Bird on a walk

I’m not going to lie, the above framed image from the First Ladies Exhibit is totally cheese. I know it was some magazine photographer following her around to show her delight in nature but there’s some parody out there waiting to happen, involving a man with a very bad brown wig speaking in falsetto

I feel bad about that last statement here’s another photo in hopes of redeeming myself…

Photo Lady Bird

 

Just kidding! This photo may be even more ridiculous, what did they tell her to do spin? Ahaha! I’m a terrible person… She was sweet and very lovely we’ll just end with that.

So hats off to you Lady Bird Johnson for your timelessness and natural elegance!

 

 

 

First Ladies Part I: Jackie O

Introduction This little series, titled the First Ladies, is  composed of Part I Jackie O and Part II Lady Bird Johnson. Both fashion icons of the 60’s and both influential in the White House. What prompted said series? Well I’ll tell you! A weekend getaway to see my bright and sunny Aunt Teresa in DC produced this unexpected muse. I’m not going to lie, DC isn’t necessarily the first place I would go to look for fashion inspiration, there is a lot of black .Yes, black, black suits and flowing black and gray blouses tucked into black pencil skirts with low pointy heels. One giant mass of black figures power walking and pushing past you like the world may come to an end if they don’t get to Starbucks on 7th and Maryland in the next 30 seconds. So dear reader that is why I was so entranced by The First Ladies Exhibit in the Museum of US History. Like an oasis in the desert, was this exhibit to my tastes. Dress after dress, decade after decade of lovely ladies wearing the days’ finest in fashionable and leisurely evening attire.


Part 1, Jackie O Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis known for her elegant and simplistic take on fashion with a touch of Paris here and there. Below you will see the dress and her pearls on display at US History Museum in DC. This silk dress, designed by Oleg Cassini and worn by the lady  to the first State Dinner of the Kennedy administration (1961). First Ladies Exhibit Jackie's Dress


The inspiration to this 60’s fashion icon? Well I thought you would never ask!

She started reading and writing about fashion from a young age it appears, here’s an excerpt from her high school years:

In 1951, she submitted an entry to Vogue magazine’s Prix de Paris contest, the prize for which was to spend half a year in New York, and the other half in Paris as a junior editor for the magazine. The submission was rigorous, requiring an original theme for an entire issue, illustrations, articles, layout and design, an advertising campaign that could be tied into the issue’s content. In the requisite essay, “People I Wish I Had Known,” she listed playwright Oscar Wilde, poet Charles Baudelaire and ballet impresario Serge Diaghilev. Named one of the twelve finalists, she was then interviewed by the magazine editors and out of 1,280 entries she won the contest. Her mother, however, did not want her to leave the U.S. and made her turn down the prize.

(From National First Ladies Library http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/firstladies.aspx?biography=36) Photos from childhood. (Don’t you think she kinda looks like Suri Cruise? Like in the eyes?) Childhood


Other influences were found abroad.

Upon returning from studying abroad during college in Paris France.

“I loved it more than any year of my life. Being away from home gave me a chance to look at myself with a jaundiced eye. I learned not to be ashamed of a real hunger for knowledge, something I had always tried to hide, and I came home glad to start in here again but with a love for Europe that I am afraid will never leave me.” -Jackie Kennedy

Budding Fashionista

As first lady, Mrs. Kennedy also traveled to Italy, India, and Pakistan. Her interest in other cultures and her ability to speak several foreign languages, including French, Spanish, and Italian, brought her good will and admiration around the world. From the Presidential Library and Museum http://www.jfklibrary.org/JFK/Life-of-Jacqueline-B-Kennedy.aspx?p=2

Apricot Silk Designer: Oleg Cassini (American, b. France, 1913-2006) Place made: USA Material: Silk ziberline Date Made: 1962 Sleeveless apricot colored, knee length dress with a slight V neckline.  This dress is gathered at waist which is accented with a bow, the skirt is an A-line. The dress is accompanied by a matching boxy coat with 3/4 sleeves, a plain front and one button at the collar. For a daytime boat ride on Lake Pichola, in Udaipur, India on March 17, 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy wore this dress and matching coat of such elegant formailty that they would not have been out of place at a fashionable cocktail party. However, the fabric was rigid enough to keep its composure in the heat of India. Its dazzling color (appropiate to the intended setting) and sheen were calculated to ensure that she would be instantly identifiable to the crowds on the distant shore as they watched her barge on its way to the maharana of Udaipur’s White Palace, where she was feted that evening. (Above from http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/f2k6CQ8f9UCHVvH85LVKYA.aspx)


More reading: