THE Thread on Threads1912 Fashions


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Jun 11, 2000
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OK, Bob Godfrey, you win. You've got me totally confused now - are you spoofing me about Miss Pirelli, because she just looks like Karen Elson, or have you spent three months tracking down the provenance of my picture and found out it is a fake? I might add, that in the ten minutes I spent tracking down Karen Elson (who I've never heard of...) to find the 1912 pic I managed to bring down on myself a holocaust of porn sites that has taken me 23 clicks to clear!! If the Vice Squad calls, I shall give them your name. I bet the Grande Revue has been hidden under a few teenage mattresses in its time...
 

Bob Godfrey

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Porn sites? Well, oi wouldn't know about that, sor! My informant, who works in the fashion industry, assures me that Ms Elsen is a fashion model well known as 'the face of Chanel' and featured in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar rather than Page 3. This pic appeared in the 1999 calendar which had a retro theme and I suspect was not too popular at Qwik-Fit. The earliest Pirelli calendar was produced in the 1960s.
 
Jun 11, 2000
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What a pity, I rather liked her. Never mind, you can't dispute the word of a man who has informants. I suppose KwikFit is a logical place for a Pirelli, but they always seemed more Mayfair types to me.
 
Mar 20, 2000
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All,

I'd like to direct those with vintage fashion on the brain to a really great web site, "The Sewing Diary of an Edwardian Wannabe" - http://www.ellieandmike.co.uk/index.php.

It's maintained by ET's own Mike Bull for his very talented dressmaking wife, Ellie, whose exquisite work can be viewed and ordered directly from the page.

Please go straight away to enjoy Ellie's vintage-inspired designs. Her "Moulin Rouge" costume is "absolutely fabulous" as is the corset. My favorite is her "Breakfast at Tiffany's" dress.

The site has regular news updates and a blog and you can read all about Ellie and her gorgeous gowns in her profile column. One of her recent projects has been the making of a Civil War era dress, which she has just completed.

Best wishes to this gifted young lady and also to her doting hubby for overseeing her fine web presentation.

Randy
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Picking up on the earlier subject, I don't think I've seen a better "come hither" look - Edwardian style - as is displayed in this pose by French music hall diva Gaby Deslys.

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GABY DESLYS 1907
 
Jun 11, 2000
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This lady was one of Edward VII's 'favourites' for a little while, I believe. Here is a contemporary likeness of HRH. How some people suffered for the Entente Cordiale (Gaby, not Edward).

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Mar 20, 2000
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Monica,

That's a great image!!! Good old Bertie.

I am afraid, though, that Gaby Deslys was not a "favourite"of Edward VII - his main "squeezes" were Lillie Langtry, followed by Frances, Countess of Warwick (his "Darling Daisy") and finally Alice ("Little Mrs. George") Keppel, who was supposedly his greatest love.

Alice was certainly the most discreet of his mistresses and, consequently, the only one whom Queen Alexandra respected. The Queen in fact showed the most remarkable understanding when she dispatched a personal note to Mrs. Keppel, summoning her to the King's bedside at his death.

It might be of interest to mention that Mrs. Keppel's great granddaughter is none other than Camilla Parker Bowles. I guess being a Royal mistress just runs in the veins; don't you hate it when that happens?

Gaby Deslys was, however, the mistress of King Manuel of Portugal, who lavished the crown jewels on her. That didn't sit too well with his subjects and played a part in that country's revolution. It didn't help him any, but the scandal definitely went a long way toward making a star out of dear little Gaby Deslys. She was soon the highest paid vaudeville artiste and constantly in the news. As a critic in "Vogue" wrote in 1914: "She has been in the public eye so much she has almost put it out."

Dear Gaby surely died with the grand gesture of a royal favorite, leaving all her jewels to the poor of Marseilles.

Randy
 
Jun 11, 2000
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You're quite right, Randy. 'Favourite' was quite the wrong word to use - one night stand, or one visit stand would better describe it. I'll see if I can dig out the book in which the scandalous rumour was reported, Bertie usually being inclined to favour slightly less notorious ladies of the French stage, like Jeanne Granier (spelling?). Bertie was a friend of the King of Portugal, if not related to him, I'm not sure about that, one just tends to assume he probably was - so, not a very comradely thing to do! My old granny was a very young and pretty maid in a house Bertie visited when he was King, and she didn't have a good word to say about him. Hmmm. However, none of us looks the least bit like him I'm glad to say.
 
Jun 11, 2000
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Randy,
I can't find the Gaby Deslys reference, having ransacked the history and biography shelves of my books. I think - not sure - it might have been in a splendid book called "The Edwardians in Love" by Anita Leslie which the removers managed to lose a few years ago, together with many other much loved volumes. As I warned Inger, when she went back to Oz, removers always lose your precious books - never something you can well do without or replace, like vaccuum cleaners or saucepans. I must buy another copy second-hand. You'd love it - Anita Leslie was a scion of the Irish Leslie nobility, her family knowing Jenny Churchill and other movers and shakers in Edwardian society, and well placed to retail fascinating gossip...
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Another great photo of French musical hall star (and certified sex goddess) Gaby Deslys - sort of the Edwardian era's Brigette Bardot.

This pose isn't so much today but men in those years would have been squirming in their celluloid collars seeing little Gaby standing like that, revealing ankles and legs. This image dates to about 1910, the costume is probably by Mme. Paquin, who dressed her most frequently at that time, and the hat is definitely by the Maison Lewis, which designed her stage headdresses exclusively.

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Chad Goodwin

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i have a postcard dated Jan 1912 that shows a beautifully dressed lady climbing out of an automobile showing an ankle...two men stand nearby taking it all in with the caption.....such a tease..
 
Aug 29, 2000
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The first Mrs. Astor also made quite a stir when she pulled up to the Newport Casino and alighted from her carriage on Bellevue Avenue- she was a knockout and the men would hover around the sidewalk watching for her to step down hoping for a glimpse of stocking. Once she took a tumble right down the bleachers, stood up, straightened her hat and costume, and strutted off like nothing had happened - "Now THAT'S class" was overheard in the bleachers.
 
May 27, 2007
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Hi Kris,

That sounds like something she'd say. She sure didn't end up starting United Artists by staying down. Pickford was a go getter.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Pickford was a go getter.

Her mother was a go-getter. After Charlotte died, without mother around to supervise her films and arrange her abortions, Mary very quickly became an aimless drunk. There were a few high points after Charlotte died, but not many- who could ever forget her tipsy public performance at which she shared favorire recipes with the audience? And of course shouting "Viva Mussolini! Viva fascism!" on that radio broadcast, after downing her habitual gallon of gin, was certainly behavior befitting of the woman who spoke in hushed, shocked, critical tones about Mae West.

At least Lottie Pickford showed signs of not being delusional regarding her family's poor white trash behavior: "At least I never had round heels. I married every one of them," as she remarked to her "Oh! So carefully raised!" daughter.

>failure was not the falling down, but the staying down!

I think the quote was (slurred...) "Failure is not in falling down, but in dropping and breaking the bottle when you hit the wall and then slump to the floor as you fall."
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May 27, 2007
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Jim,

True to some extent unfortunately. Mary had her issues but don't we all. Gloria Swanson actually was just as much a business woman and for the topic of this thread a fashion plate as well. During WWII she ran a factory and pre-dating Elizabeth Taylor had her own line of beauty products.
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Helen Gardner and Grace Cunard also come to mind as well. Clara Campbell Young!
 

Kris Muhvic

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Actually the Pickford clan (or Smith, depending on how far back one goes) all had a drinking problem it seems. Stagemom Mrs. P, the gotta go dad, then Mary, Lottie and Jack.
But in the days before Dr. Phil, well, anything that gets you through the day!
OH- beauty products: Colette did a foray into that avenue as well.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Mary had her issues but don't we all?

No, actually very few of us have problems a la Mary. Only a handful of adults- and we generally refer to then nowadays as serial killers or spree killers, depending on how they end up going- have the kind of relationship with their mothers in which mom does ALL the thinking, to the extent that the person cannot think for themselves and falls apart after mom dies.

And fewer of us have a platform from which we can spit out inane platitudes about our own goodness, and others lack of, for three decades, while simultaneously breaking up marriages, cheating on our spouses, undergoing illegal abortions, getting drunk constantly on illegal liquor, paying the extortion bills to keep our siblings and self out of the papers, having sex with virtually all of our male coworkers (in her case, leading men) and, worst of all, auditioning for the part of Alice in Alice in Wonderland (ca 1933) at the age of 52.

"...my niece. And she's been raised Oh! So carefully.... etc."

One wishes that the reporter had commented, in that case, "So, she's never actually lived with her mother or you, and she's never met her uncle?"

The hour is early, and I forget the exact quote, but some pundit from the 1920s later commented that he fell in love with his wife when they were out walking and she prevented him from accidentally stepping on something loathsome, along the lines of some cockroaches, while saying "Look out, you are about to step on Mary Pickford and her mother." Which warms the cockles of my aged heart, indicating as it does that even at its heyday, people saw through the "America's Sweetheart" garbage.

I also got a chuckle when I read about the incident in which Mary was giving one of her gin-swilling inspirational lectures, by the title of "Why Not Try God?," and either Hedda Hopper or Louella Parsons commented "Why not? She's tried everybody else."

Of all the silent era stars, Mary is the one who most readily provokes my retch reaction... in much the same way that televangelists do today. It's the combination of sanctimony and behind the scenes evil which does it. I have no problem with her catastrophically warped personal life, or moral code, but DO have a problem with her relentlessly puerile public face. If the practice existed in her day, I'm SURE she would have dotted her "i" with either little hearts or circles.
 
May 27, 2007
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OH- beauty products: Colette did a foray into that avenue as well.
I did not know that. I wonder what she sold.

If the practice existed in her day, I'm SURE she would have dotted her "i" with either little hearts or circles.
I don't think she would of taken it that far. She was a good director (when she directed) and a very astute business woman. She made some mistakes with U.A. and there was her long running feud with Chaplin. But even he was impressed with her earning power calling her Bank Of America's Sweetheart. All in all she was very level headed in Business.
 
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