Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Howl O Ween

Every year we give the pups a jack-o-lantern filled with treats and toys here are some pictures from this years pumpkin.

Happy Howl O Ween

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Add Some Vintage to Your Halloween Look

I've made no secret of the fact that I LOVE Halloween.  The scary movies, the candy, the dressing up dogs,

 the pumpkins......  I love it all. 

 However, one thing I never get around to is a costume for myself.  Since I love clothes so much that probably seems pretty odd, but then with my vintage style, I'm pretty much an everyday is Halloween kind of girl (yes just like the Ministry song).  In fact last year while wearing my ordinary vintage look to work I got asked if my outfit was in fact my costume  So if I'm basically wearing a costume 365 days a year it seemed a little unnecessary to go and get a special look for Halloween.  However, there are pretty cute vintage Halloween looks that I've come across in my internet strolls.  Its too late for me to put one of these looks together this year, but there's always next October.

1) 1920s Paper Costumes-In the 1920s, a decade big on parties of course, it became popular to make, or buy, cheap, disposable costumes from crepe paper.

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The costumes were generally bright and cheerful in orange and black.  Most  had a sack like structure and a pointy hat and patterns of pumpkins, witches, or cats.  

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Obviously, being made of paper, these costumes where not exactly built to last.  Doubtless most probably failed to survive more then one round of trick or treating or dancing at a Halloween party.   However, if you are crafty there are books available on making your own.   For example How to Make Crepe Paper Costumes, originally published in 1925 is available on Amazon.

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with instructions for wood elf, Little Bo Peep, Apple Tree and many more.  A more modern guide for making paper costumes can be found in this Martha Stewart video.

If you are like me and hopelessly uncrafty and you keep your eyes peeled and your pennies saved then you may come across a well preserved or dead stock 1920s paper costume.  Guermantes Vintage on etsy has two gorgeous 1920s Halloween frocks for sale.  The first is a gorgeous black and orange cotton dress with paper appliques 

and the second is a black and orange tent dress with matching hat and paper appliques of witches, brooms and cats.

Since both of these dresses are cotton they would be sturdier then a crepe paper costume, though the appliques are clearly very delicate.

2) If your a fan of the 1950s and looking for a cheaper and sturdier costume then you might consider a poodle skirt.  Its one vintage look that even I would say is somewhat hard to get away with on any day other then Halloween (though I wouldn't rule it out!).    Etsy and ebay are good sources for vintage poodle skirts, and most are very reasonably priced.  I particularly like this hunter green number from SwaneeGRACE

and this red skirt with three poodles on leashes from Maeberry Vintage.

If you prefer repro there are also plenty of options.   The Hip Hop 50s shop sells poodle skirts in a wide range of colors and sizes. 

3) If the 1940s are more your speed you might  consider dressing as a land girl. 

To pull of  this costume all you need is a pair overalls, preferably 1940s style like those sold by NudeeDudee

 Allure Original Styles

Or Freddie's of Pinewood

a blouse and a head scarf.  Best of all the elements of your Halloween look can be worn all year long.

4) If land girls don't appeal but you still like the idea of appearing in a look reminiscent of the brave women of the World Wars, you might consider dressing as a nurse.

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Army nurse capes are available on etsy, though they are pricey, and B'sAttic has
a complete WWII nurse's uniform for sale.

Nurse capes would also be an easy sewing project for a home seamstress and all that's needed to complete the look is a white dress, white shoes and stockings, and a nurse's cap.

5)  If you prefer the idea of dressing as a historical figure then Amelia Earhart is a good choice.  All you really need is a pair of flight goggles and a leather jacket

and with this hat and scarf from all you need is pug your dog can easily be your co-pilot.

6) If monsters are your thing then the Deadly Dames Line by Pinup Girl Clothing line might be your speed.

They have dresses and skirts in their monster print and they are available in regular and plus sizes.

7) If you just want a subtle vintage Halloween touch to your outfit then you might consider a Victorian mourning brooch.  These brooches where often worn by the relatives in mourning and included photos and some times locks of the departed's hair.  Since many where made there are quite a few available on Etsy and Ebay and they range widely price.  The Etsy shop Victorian Sentiments
carries a few, including this pretty Amethyst one.

Now mourning brooches, particularly those with hair, are decidedly creepy, although interesting, and definitely not for everyone. Personally I've seen too many episodes of he TV show Supernatural to want to walk around with a lock of a dead Victorian's hair pinned to me.  However, if your brave, and just want a small touch of vintage Halloween they might make a good choice.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cinema Style Spotlight-Dracula 1931

In this post,  I wrote about my love of the two biggest vintage horror franchises: Universal Horror and Hammer Horror.

  As a sci-fi and horror fan and a vintage style nut, I never tire of these old school horror films.  While I love the over the top blood drenched kitschy drama of the Hammer films, my preference is for the Universal monsters.  The style in the Universal films is simply amazing.

  Of all the films the one that is by far my favorite is Dracula.   That's why I was so excited when Dracula, 1931 was released on Blu-ray. 

 Shot on a relatively modest budget, the studio was suffering the effects of the depression, this film version of the popular stage play adaption of the novel is considered by many to be the definitive film version of Dracula.  This of course is in large part due to Bella Lugosi's iconic performance.  Lugosi had been starring in the stage version for years, but he was almost not cast in the film.  Originally Lon Chaney was meant to play the count but he passed away before the film could be made opening the door for Lugosi.  His version of Dracula as a suave tuxedo wearing foreigner who charms his female victims

 was very different from the count as portrayed in Stoker's novel or in earlier film versions such as 1922's Nosferatu.

Universal was hopeful the film would help lift the studio out of the slump caused by the 1929 crash and invested in a big publicity campaign.  That warned of the titillating terror of the film:

as well as playing with the idea that vampires might actually exist.

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The campaign paid of and audience members flocked to see the movie, and while it might not seem so today, viewers really did find the film frightening.   Today the appeal of the movie lies more in the gothic sets:

clever, and cheap, camera tricks

 classic lines,

and lovely costumes.

The floatey dresses on Dracula's brides in this film version are particularly gorgeous

 and tasteful, when compared the Brides as seen in  later films

Dracula's English society victims, Mina and Lucy, get to wear some lovely costumes as well:

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One very interesting fact about the 1931 Dracula is that at the exact same time the English language version was being filmed, a Spanish language film was also being created.  Shot on the same set, at night, the Spanish version is considered by many to be superior, at least in terms of cinematography, apparently the Spanish crew would watch the English crew's takes and then endeavor to improve on them.

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From a fashion perspective its very interesting to see the difference in costume between the two versions.  While Mina as played by Helen Chandler in the English version is fashionably but sedately clad, the Spanish version as played by Lupita Tovar wears much more revealing gowns and undone flowing hair.

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Both versions of the film are available on the Blu-Ray set and make for excellent Halloween viewing. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Silent Film Sunday

The following is the masquerade scene from the 1925 Phantom of the Opera, the first of the Universal Monster Films.  The film has been restored and in the restoration they added color to the masquerade scene.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pugs and Pumpkins

Last Sunday we took the pugs to one of our favorite places Demarest Farms in New Jersey to buy our Halloween pumpkin and eat some tasty apple cider donut and potato pancakes.  We got some good pictures too.  The pugs wore their sweaters from pug notes and their ties from pug possessed.

On another note we could use some juju and good vibes.  Norbert

has been having some night time incontinence.   His blood work was good in September but we are rechecking his urine specific gravity to double check his kidneys and make sure the infection he battled all summer isn't back.   AT this pint we are hoping its  just age related.. 

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