Friday, March 1, 2013

The Skinny: Not What It Seems

You know how daydreaming can take your mind down a twisting, turning path, until you end up thinking about something completely different? This often happens to me when I play around online. I love to click on embedded links, and sometimes do this until I've drifted to a far different shore, with no memory of what I started out looking for.

So, today I was looking at a list of companies that turn 100 this year (I don't remember why I was doing this), and I somehow went from Prada to Miu Miu (a reasonable jump), which reminded me of muumuu, and so I thought of Hawaii. I collect vintage hula girl pinups and sheet music, which for some reason brought to mind Dick Van Dyke (no idea how this jump happened). This made me think of Fitzwilly, a fabulous movie co-starring Barbara Feldon. I remembered that Ms. Feldon famously portrayed Agent 99 on Get Smart, so I decided to look at images of her back in the 1960s. While doing this, I came across a blog with the iconic picture of Tippi Hedren and a crow that came out as a promotional item for The Birds. I Googled Tippi (and doesn't that sound weird?), and then I found this:

Wait...are those lapels painted on? Is that even a real belt? What about that stitching detail? In 1952, Tippi Hedren was photographed in this trompe l'oeil dress. Hermes had come out with an entire collection of painted (or screen-printed) clothing, which was copied in the US by Herbert Sondheim (legally) and sold at a lower price. Now, I generally hate trompe l'oeil clothing. Why paint on fake pockets? I want real pockets! But, not surprisingly, vintage Hermes won me over. So, I just had to find more of these gems....


And this got me thinking about what other sorts of vintage trompe l'oeil clothing I could find, like these adorable John Carr Doughty knit ensembles from the 1960s:
For those who prefer colorful clothing with fake details, here are some Roberta di Camerino designs:
di Camerino velvet coat;
Roberta Di Camerino Rare Trompe L'oeil Gown circa 1970
di Camerino gown, 1970;

Roberta di Camerino exhibit, Palazzo Fortuny museum in Venice
Of course, nobody is more famous for trompe l'oeil clothing than Schiaparelli, who captured hearts in the late 1920s with her cravat sweaters:

Of course, she was also a bit weird. Here are some positively creepy Schiaparelli gloves from the 1930s, complete with snakeskin "fingernails":
Made in Paris, France, Europe. Winter 1936-37 Designed by Elsa Schiaparelli, French (born Italy), 1890 - 1973  Black suede, red snakeskin 9 3/8 x 3 3/8 inches (23.8 x 8.6 cm)

Also weird, this Surrealist collaboration with Salvador Dali, called the "Tears" dress:
"Tears" dress, Salvador Dali collaboration
I did manage to bring my strange train of thought back to fashion, at least. Plus, not only did I manage to waste an afternoon on Google images, I learned that every now and then, trompe l'oeil is kind of cute. Except for those Schiaparelli gloves. Creeptastic. Seriously.

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