Friday, July 26, 2013

Irene Saltern, Unsung Pioneer of California Design

I'm guessing most readers here have never heard of California apparel designer Irene Saltern. Which is, and you'll agree once you know more about her, very surprising, considering she is widely credited as a pioneer of the California sportswear industry. Other designers who were her contemporaries are more well known, but Ms. Saltern's influence cannot be denied.

Her story is incredibly interesting; she was a true Renaissance woman. She was born Irene Stern in 1911, in Germany. A multi-talented individual, she worked for a short time as a radio journalist. Among her neighbors while she was still living in Germany was Albert Einstein, who taught her to sail. Instilled with a lifelong love of sailing, many of her designs were nautical themed. She took fashion classes in Berlin, and when she moved to California with husband Harry Salinger in the late 30s, she became a costume designer for the movies. In the 40s, she was in charge of actress's wardrobes at Samuel Goldwyn Pictures, and was a contemporary of Gilbert Adrian, who was at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The Sept. 14, 1995, issue of the LA Times quotes her as saying, "If [Gilbert] Adrian was the king of designers, I was one of the princesses." She did the costumes for nearly 40 Hollywood films, including The Call of the Yukon and The Howards of Virginia. She was the favorite designer of dancer Ann Miller and actress Martha Scott.

In the late 40s, Ms. Salinger started designing commercially as "Irene Saltern," and became head designer for Tabak of California, one of the powerhouses of the "California Sportswear Revolution." The influence of Irene Saltern and Lou Tabak on the burgeoning industry was profound. Ms. Saltern designed lines of separates and coordinates--jackets, skirts, cigarette slacks, shorts, tops--that were sold with hangtags proclaiming they were "a Tabak Tie-in." She also designed classic dresses and suits, with lines that flattered the female figure. Her designs can be worn today and present as stylishly as they did decades ago. And the fabrics she used, particularly her wools and silks, and the workmanship are exquisite.


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In addition to working for Tabak, she briefly headed up her own firm, Irene Saltern of California, and worked for other design houses, including Phil Rose and Lanz of California, from which she retired in 1978. In the 60s, she was noted for starting the trend of those big hardware-inspired chunky belts, after a visit to the hardware store! And, after a trip to India, she started creating Indian-inspired designs, which, of course, were
huge in the 1960s and 1970s.

Ms. Saltern passed away in 2005 at the age of 94. Her sketches are preserved at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, and both her apparel and sketches are featured in the collections of the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Los Angeles County Museum.

The Reflections of Vintage team pays tribute this week to this unsung pioneer and to the amazing California designers who came after her.


Saltern of California Full-Skirt Butterfly Dress, sold by Vintage Baubles:

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Cute Vintage 1960s Pink Wool Knit 3 Piece Outfit Tabak B34 W25 from After Dark Vintage:

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Vintage 80s Does 40s California Designer Karen Alexander Tropical Caribbean Vacation Novelty Print Sunshine Yellow Day Shirt Dress - Size XS to S, from Catseye Vintage:

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Vintage 50s 60s Tabak of California Mad Men Blue Wool Pencil Skirt Suit, XS Sm, from Vintage Baubles Too:

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Vintage 80s Does 40s California Designer Foxy Lady Nautical Black and White Day Shirt Dress - Size XS, from Catseye Vintage:

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Vintage Taupe Silk Tabak Blouse Sz 10 B38 from After Dark Vintage:

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hats Are Not Just for Winter!

Some of us have a hat addiction! We think folks can, and should, wear hats--of the vintage variety, of course--year round. And we don't mean baseball caps.... Although many people think of hats in terms of felt and wool caps, fedoras, etc., we think summer presents all kinds of opportunities to show off your vintage hats. Made of lace or straw or tulle and netting, plain or accented by ribbons or flowers, a summer hat is a delight!

It's not just the "Kentucky Derby Hat" that's suitable for warm weather. You can wear a vintage summer hat to a wedding (your own or someone else's); they look especially fabulous when worn to a garden wedding. And luncheon at a tea house is not complete without a vintage hat! But, you really don't even need a special event in order to show off your hat wardrobe. Church, of course, is always a place at which a hat is not only OK to wear, but more than appropriate. Going to the downtown shops for the day, instead of the mall? Wear a hat to keep the sun off your face and your hair in place. You'll look "downtown trendy," too! And don't forget the sun hat for the beach. Many wide-brimmed sun hats we see are unmistakably vintage inspired, but you can wear the real thing, and nobody else on the beach or boardwalk will have "your" hat on!

We have lots of hats in our shops, and would love to share a few of our current faves!

Alley Cats Vintage has these stunners listed:
  

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Vintage 1950s Hat Black Straw Cartwheel by Luci Puci Sz 20.5

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Vintage 1950s Hat Black Straw Calot Embellished with Swirled Braiding by Margot

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Vintage Baubles has these new offerings:

Vintage 60s/70s Designer Frank Olive Straw Hat

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Vintage Amy Ribbons & Flowers Toque/Pixie Pillbox Hat

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And this dramatic hat is available at MyVintageCocktail

Dramatic Vintage 50s Platter Hat, Church, Tea, Large Size

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So, if you love a vintage hat like we do, stop by our shops and take a look at all our hat offerings!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Friday, February 22, 2013

Spring is in the Air!

Well, almost! And Spring's arrival marks the start of the prom and wedding season, vacations, cruises, and all sorts of special occasions. While we've become a much more casual society, these events still call for formal wear--evening gowns, party dresses, wedding gowns, and more. And what better way to get the glamorous looks of the past than wearing the originals? We've seen loads of vintage-inspired gowns at all the red-carpet events these days, but why not go for authenticity? Get the real thing at a fraction of the cost--high style at a price that won't break your budget. That's one of the beauties of vintage and one of the reasons we love it! 

The Vintage Reflections group has some wonderful dresses to share with you, suitable for semi-formal to the most formal of occasions.

Vintage Baubles has these elegant gowns listed in her Etsy shop, MyVintageCocktail:

Vintage 60s Full Tiered Skirt Lace and Tulle Wedding Gown Dress, Sm Med

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Vintage 60s Aqua One Shoulder Silk Brocade Evening Gown, Oriental Print, Sz 6, Small

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Vintage 50s Runway Strapless Full Skirt RED Evening Gown, XS / Small

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 Alley Cats Vintage showcases a variety of fab looks in her Ruby Lane shop:  



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And Catseye Vintage is offering these glam gowns in her Etsy shop:


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SALE Vintage 60s Dress - 1960s Evening Gown in Black Velvet with Metallic Floral Roses Brocade Skirt - Mad Men - Size XS to S

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Visit our shops to view these offerings and many more for spring and beyond! 

 

 


 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

New Items for November at Alley Cats Vintage on Ruby Lane

Vintage Hat Deep Crown Wide Brim Nubby Linen Mint Green Wide Brim

Vintage Hat Deep Crown Wide Brim Nubby Linen Mint Green Wide Brim

Vintage 20th Century Men's Bowler Derby Hat from Markey's by Frank Schoble & Co


Vintage 20th Century Men's Bowler Derby Hat from Markey's by Frank Schoble & Co

Vintage 1960s 60s MOD Pale Yellow Wool Coat B40 W40

  Vintage 1960s 60s MOD Pale Yellow Wool Coat B40 W40

Vintage Mens Evening Shoes Black Leather Formal by Churchs Famous English Shoes Custom Sz 10D 

 Vintage Mens Evening Shoes Black Leather Formal by Churchs Famous English Shoes Custom Sz 10D
Vintage 1980s 80 Hat Black Sequin Cloche by Coralie 
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Vintage 1970s 70s Mens Formal Dinner Jacket Gold and Black Professionally Tailored in Saigon Ch40 
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Vintage 1970s 70s Zelinka Matlick Dark Grey Faux Suede Patterned Floor Length Coat Sz S B36 W35 
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Monday, July 30, 2012



Mr John

He was born John Pico Harberger on March 14, 1906 in Munich, Germany, traveling to the US in 1919. He apprenticed as a dressmaker with his Mother, Madame Laurel but shortly formed a partnership with Frederick Hirst which became John-Frederics in 1929. He started his own label, Mr. John, Inc., in 1948 which lasted until 1970. 

He created a multitude of styles, romantic picture hats, subdued cloches, turbans, berets and snoods, always relying on the shape and style for effect. He often added close fitting face veils or a single rhinestone as the only embellishment. He designed for movies and movie stars alike including Gone With The Wind. Vivien Leigh wore his bonnet design in the movie. His work was featured on the cover of Vogue magazine during the 1940s and 1950s. Some of his more famous clients were the Duchess of Windsor, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Gloria Swanson, Gloria Vanderbilt, and Lauren Bacall. Even Marilyn Monroe wore one of his creations in Gentlemen Prefer Blonds. At the same time he was able to craft styles for the ordinary woman, being the most popular milliner of the period.


At his peak he employed 150 people and produced 16,000 hats per year. His labels include not only the Mr. John but John-Frederics, Fredoras, Charmers, Sweet Young Things and Mr. Fred.

In 1957 during an interview with Good Housekeeping he said “My business is strictly an individual business. When I go, there will be no more Mr John. I have only one worry: when I do go, should I reach heaven, what will I do? I know I cannot improve on the halo.

Awards: Coty American Fashion Critics Award, 1943; Neiman March Award, 1950; Millinery Institute of America Award, 1956. 


Hats pictured are available from Alley Cats Vintage on Ruby Lane.  Pics are clickable links.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Selections from the Vintage Reflections Sellers....hope everyone is having a great summer season.

From Catseyevintage is a Beautiful 1950s Crystal Pleated Full Slip by Shadowline
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From My Vintage Cocktail is a 1950s Rhinestone Pell Strawberry Brooch
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And from Alley Cats Vintage we have a cute 1980s Royal Blue Nautical Style Dress by Willi
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Saturday, June 2, 2012




 Alley Cats Vintage is excited to announce her new site   
http://alleycatsvintage.mysupadupa.com/




SOLD

SOLD

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hats Hats Hats.....Alley Cats Vintage has new hats  listed and more to come!   If you like vintage millinery please come by my Ruby Lane shop for more selections.

Vintage 1950s 50s Hat Navy Blue Voile Fabric Bonnet by Beaupre

Vintage 1950s 50s Black Velvet Balls and Bows Cocktail Hat

SOLD  Vintage Hat Navy Blue Felt Netted Pillbox with Feathers and Rhinestones Sz L

Vintage 1950s 50s Hat Schiaparelli White Asymmetrical Straw Pillbox NWT Sz S

  
SOLD  Vintage 1980s 80s Hat Bright Red Straw Lampshade Bubble Crown Style Adolfo II

SOLD


Vintage 1960s 60s Hat Green Feathered Bucket Style by Angel

SOLD

Alley Cats Vintage on Ruby Lane