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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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. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Our 1950’s Fashions

The 1950’s was a time of great change in the United States. Technology was a bringing us new inventions such as the credit card, the ballpoint pen, photocopy machine, and Sputnik 1. Television was probably the most important invention. If you had a television you were the neatest kid on the block, even if there was nothing much of interest playing. New music was on the horizon bringing a whole new mode of dance and along with that new fashions.  Of course those ever-changing fashions were making a dramatic turn. The younger crowd was wearing full circle or pencil skirts, saddle shoes with socks, sweater twins with the tucked in peter pan collars. The cocktail hour was popular among the more affluent and with it came the cocktail dress and of course the little head hugging cocktail hat. 

There was a wide range of 1950’s fashions for every station in life and every event. The Vintage Reflections Group is happy to present our vintage finds from life in the 1950’s.

The first 3 selections are from My Vintage Cocktail on Etsy
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Vintage 60s Pin Up Sleeveless Sweater, Designer, Wool Knit, OOAK, XS, Sm

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SALE Vintage Butterscotch Bakelite Bangle Bracelet, Near Mint


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Vintage 50s 60s Lightweight Designer Mohair Cardigan Sweater, XS Sm

Next we have selections from Catseye Vintage on Etsy

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Vintage 50s Hawaiian Shirt 1950s VLV Men with Loop Collar by Designer Hawaiian Togs Size Large l - ON SALE

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Vintage 50s Cashmere Pullover Sweater VLV 1950s Hadley Collar & Tiny Buttons Yellow Size s to m - ON SALE

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Vintage 50s Hawaii Shirt 1950s Men VLV Cold Rayon with Loop Collar by Pali Hand Print Japan Size xl to xxl - ON SALE

For more exciting vintage selections please visit our individual shops

Catseye Vintage

My Vintage Cocktail

Alley Cats Vintage


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pack your suitcase....

....with vintage wear for your vacation, cruise, or resort destination! It's that time of year when folks are getting ready for their spring break trips or are starting to plan their summer vacations. Whether you're going to the beach and need swimwear and casual items for the Boardwalk, or you're going on a cruise to some exotic location, you're going to want some "resort" or "cruise" wear.

Resort wear is a concept that's been around for more than 100 years. It was originally marketed for the upper classes who wintered down South or in tropical climes, who summered "in the Hamptons or up at Providence," or took their warm-weather cruises in the winter. Thus resort wear was marketed at atypical times of the year, such as in the late fall.

Resort wear was generally lighter in weight (tropical wools for men's suits, lightweight cotton or silk frocks for women, etc.) and typically more casual than normal day wear. For example, men's Hawaiian-print shirts and straw boater hats were acceptable at a resort if not in everyday life. And, of course, the "bathing costume" became ever more popular. But formal wear was still a must for cruise ships (after all, when one is invited to dine at the captain's table, one must have proper dress!).

When women's separates started to catch on, around the middle of the 20th century, they made for a perfect vacation wardrobe--with a single jacket, matching skirt and slacks, and a couple of coordinating tops, you could have a full week's worth of clothing. And when knitwear thrived in the 60s and 70s, the easy-to-pack "weekender" outfits grew even more popular. Going to the beach for the weekend? Roll your knit pieces up, toss them in an overnight case with your swimsuit, and you were good to go.

Well, today you don't need to be wealthy to get a great vacation wardrobe! Vintage pieces will do the trick for you. Since resort wear has no rigid look, vintage styles look as good (and, we think, better) than modern pieces. And, when it comes to swimwear, well.... Vintage swimsuits are ultra hot right now and more popular in some places than contemporary ones.

So, take a look at these selected pieces of vintage vacation wear, and check our shops for more!

As noted, vintage swimwear is so in style, and we have some for you!

Alley Cats Vintage at Ruby Lane has this ruched-front Vintage Swimsuit Swim Suit 40s 50s Royal Blue Rose Marie Reid Bubble Bottom Strapless

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From My Vintage Cocktail on Etsy, we have these sleek swimsuits:

Vintage 60s Bombshell Pinup Swimsuit Bathing Suit, Sz Sm XS, 36

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Vintage 60s Catalina Swim Suit, Op Art Psychedelic Print, Sz Med


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Catseye Vintage on Etsy has the versatile and ever-popular combination romper/swimsuit: Vintage 60s Blue Paradise Hawaii Novelty Tropical Hibiscus Print Cotton Swimsuit Romper Playsuit VLV - l to xl - ON SALE

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And, to go over those swimsuits are these cover-ups for the beach:

From Alley Cats, this Vintage Beach Coverup 1957 Chocolate Brown by Jantzen Mayflower Americana Line Sz M

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Catseye Vintage has this Vintage 70s Oaxacan Mexican Pintuck Lace Blouse 1970s Top Beach Coverup Pintucked Off White Cotton Size M to L

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And here are a selection of miscellaneous "must-have" items that will have people complimenting your vintage style!

The Vintage Short Set 1970s Chevron Stripe Skort and Top by Bobbie Brooks B36 W25 from Alley Cats is both dashing and darling! SOLD

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And this Vintage 70s Hand Embroidered Maxi Dress Caftan 1970s Boho Hippie Mexican White Sheer Gauze Pastel Floral Embroidery Size S - M - L from Catseye is perfect for lounging in a deck chair.

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While these button-trimmed Vintage 50s 60s High Waist Designer Shorts, Rear Zip, XS Sm go from day to a casual dinner with ease:

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It is time for that time honored tradition ‘The Easter Parade’. Starting as a spontaneous event in 1870, it became a seasonal tradition in many towns over the US but especially on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Participants dressed in their finery to display themselves marching up and down the streets but the Easter Bonnet is the main attraction. Women adorn their heads with the most elaborate millinery creations to be admired and envied. In 1947 the State Department’s *Voice of American* did a radio broadcast of the parade to the Soviet Union to show the economic inferiority of the Soviet system. In 1955 *The Saturday Evening Post*stated that the New York springtime pageant was only an incidental celebration of a religious holiday, and had become a reflection of the fact that in American a person was as good as the clothes he or she was able to buy.

Below for your viewing please the Vintage Reflection sellers have put forth a display of their Easter best.


Vintage 50s Designer Ombre Straw Hat with Veil, Floral Trim, Velvet Bow
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Vintage 50s Hand Beaded Cardigan Sweater 1950s VLV Embroidered Cutwork Pink Angora Blend Size s to m - ON SALE
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Vintage Hat Wide Brim Navy Blue Straw Hat with Red Silk Roses by Christine
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Vintage 50s Silk Cocktail Sheath Dress, Watercolor Print, Sz Lg Large, 12 14, VLV
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Vintage Cultured Akoya Pearl Necklace Hand Strung Tied Knotted Iridescent Luster 6.35MM - 57 Saltwater Pearls - 22" - Silver Clasp - on SALE
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Vintage 1940s 40s Hat Tan Straw Daisy Bonnet by Knox
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Vintage 30s Art Deco Little Nemo Filigree Pot Metal, RED Rhinestone & Enamel Flowers Brooch
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Vintage 50s Spring Coat 1950s Oatmeal Silk Rayon Blend Duster 1960s 60s Size L
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Vintage Hat Tangerine Wide Brim Curly High Crown  Mister T
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Please visit our individual shops for more exciting vintage fashions.....

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Green for St. Patrick's Day!


With St. Patrick's Day this weekend, we're focusing on green clothing and accessories.

The members of the Reflections of Vintage sellers network have the perfect vintage pieces for your consideration.

Please visit our shops to see more beautiful vintage clothes and accessories!

Catseye Vintage, has the perfect green rhinestone cat pendant necklace, a gorgeous green and black striped shirtdress, and a wonderful green strapless party or prom dress listed in her Etsy shop:

Vintage Large Cat Pendant Necklace with Articulated Green Rhinestone Eyes and Dangles from CATSEYE VINTAGE


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Vintage 50s Strapless Cocktail Party Prom Dress from CATSEYE VINTAGE

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Vintage 50s Taffeta Shirtdress from CATSEYE VINTAGE


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Alley Cats Vintage on Ruby Lane has a stunning Oscar de la Renta Skirt Suit, a lovely print dress with matching hat, and a vintage green umbrella with a lucite handle in her Ruby Lane shop:


Vintage 80s Suit Oscar De La Renta Green Tweed Retro Look from ALLEY CATS VINTAGE  SOLD


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Vintage Umbrella Light Green with Lucite Handle from ALLEY CATS VINTAGE


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Vintage Dress and Jacket 1950s Green Swirl Jersey B40 W29 And Matching Turban from ALLEY CATS VINTAGE  SOLD


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Vintage Baubles Too has several wonderful items in her Artfire Shop, including a gorgeous sage green wiggle dress, a sexy chiffon print wiggle dress, and a classic teal green day dress:



Vintage 60s Bombshell Hourglass Wiggle Sheath Cocktail Dress Sm XS from VINTAGE BAUBLES TOO



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Vintage 60s 70s Mad Men Chiffon Cocktail Dress Wiggle Sheath Med Large from VINTAGE BAUBLES TOO


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Vintage 50s Heathered Teal Wiggle Dress w/ Pencil Skirt, Small Sm from VINTAGE BAUBLES TOO


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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spring is Springing!

It doesn't seem possible already, but spring is almost upon us! And, with a new season comes thoughts of a new wardrobe, or at least some additions to our current one. Even though many of us experienced a mild winter in many areas, we still were, and probably still are, wearing slacks, sweaters, suits, wool or fur-felt hats, dark shoes, and dark bags. But, with flowers starting to bloom, temperatures starting to rise, and, thank goodness, the sun starting to shine on a daily basis, it's time to shop for new clothes! And, of course, we highly recommend shopping for vintage. Like spring, it's "green," saving the earth's natural resources. And, rather than bowing to whatever the current trends are, vintage has its own distinction. Whether your tastes run to classic or trendy, soft pastels or bright florals, simple or elaborate, vintage fashions offer you your choice.

The Vintage Reflections sellers will help you make your own spring fashion statement with items from our shops!


From My Vintage Cocktail on Etsy, we have these light and airy fashions:

Vintage 70s Narrow Pleated Floral Print Georgette Skirt, Sz XS Sm

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Vintage 50s Designer Ombre Straw Hat with Veil, Floral Trim, Velvet Bow

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Vintage 50s Silk Cocktail or Day Dress, Impressionist Watercolor Print, Sz Lg Large, VLV

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Catseye Vintage offers these cool-as-can-be selections in her Etsy shop:

Vintage 50s Dress Blue Roses Floral Chiffon 1950s Cocktail Party Full Skirt VLV Size L to XL

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Vintage 70s Hand Embroidered Maxi Dress Caftan 1970s Boho Hippie Mexican White Sheer Gauze Pastel Floral Embroidery Size S - M - L

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