Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jean Paul Gaultier: The Madonna 'Vogue' Tuxedo

"Sometimes I sing and dance around in my underwear.  Doesn't make me Madonna."
Cyn from Working Girl 1988

Alright so just because, we might wear a Madonna Blonde Ambition 1990 Jean Paul Gaultier tuxedo and do a little Vogue-ing in it, it won't make us Madonna but you can't fault a girl for aspiring to be like her Madgesty.  And RARE vintage is about to let you sing and dance in your own Madonna Jean Paul Gaultier Vogue tuxedo!

Madonna in Jean Paul Gaultier tuxedo in her black and white David Fincher directed video for Vogue:


1990 Jean Paul Gaultier 'Madonna Vogue' Tuxedo.  Size 42.  
Only available at RARE vintage.
For more information, please phone 212.581.7273 or email

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Coveting for Fall: Celine

"Really elegant but weird; almost nerdy but perverse."
Jurgen Teller, photographer, of the Celine ad campaigns

One of the things I am most coveting for fall is an inexpensive Chinatown shopping bag in a colorful red plaid - no, wait, that is not right - one of the things I am most coveting for fall is an expensive Celine Chinatown shopping bag inspired coat in a colorful red plaid.

okay, truth be told, I am also really coveting the skirt and the funnel neck top

and did I mention the squishy bag?

and I love the ad campaign with Daria Werbowy

from humble beginnings

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sheer Madness!

One of my favorite dresses from the Fall 2013 haute couture shows was a Giambattista Valli bustled ballgown with a Luigi Scialanga sculpted metal ribbon belt:

but one of the things that made it light, lovely and modern was its sheer embroidered skirt.

There is something very sexy about being covered and yet uncovered at the same time...  One of my favorite new gowns at RARE vintage is this circa 1990 Vicky Tiel black jersey gown - very fitted through the bodice - with a dramatic open back and a long sheer black lace skirt. The lace is subtly embroidered with beading for  a bit of opulent glamour...

Circa 1990 Vicky Tiel black jersey gown with a sheer lace skirt.  Size 4/6.  
Only available at RARE vintage

Monday, August 19, 2013

Harumi Klossowska in RARE vintage!

I love this photo of our beautiful client,  Harumi Klossowska in her black velvet Yves Saint Laurent rive gauche wrap gown from RARE vintage in August's French Vanity Fair!  Our clients always look so amazing!  Thank you Harumi!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

An Unconventional Beauty: Natacha Rambova in Fortuny

On June 7th 1916 there was notice in the New York Times about a missing girl, a Miss Winifred de Wolfe:   Miss de Wolfe was last seen in the costume shop E.S. Freisinger on West forty-first street trying on costume gowns.  Miss Wolfe, a niece of the interior decorator, Elsie de Wolfe, had recently informed her mother that she would be dancing on stage with the Russian Imperial Ballet and the dancer Kosloff.  Mrs. de Wolfe was not happy with this arrangement and tried to dissuade her daughter.    Miss de Wolfe is rumored to have met Kosloff at the costume shop to which he had brought a new traveling case.  That is the last trace those who have been searching for her have been able to unearth. 

The above is an extremely iconic image of a Fortuny Delphos gown worn by Natacha Rambova and photographed by James Abbé.  

I am thrilled to be able to offer a rare and iconic vintage print of this photograph at RARE vintage.  The photograph was acquired by the present owner from the gallery Hastings in New York.

"I loathe fashion.  I want to dress in a way that is becoming to me, whether it is the style of the hour or not.  So it should be with all women in my opinion." Natacha Rambova

Who was Natacha Rambova?  She was most famously the wife of Rudolph Valentino but Natacha Rambova was actually born Winifred Shaughnessy in Salt Lake City, Utah.  When her mother married Edgar de Wolfe, the brother of Elsie de Wolfe, she became the above mentioned missing Winifred de Wolfe.  She had a rebellious  nature, much to the dismay of her social climbing mother, and was thrown out of her boarding school for "conduct unbecoming to a lady".

When she was 17 she went to New York, where she changed her name to Natacha Rambova and began a love affair with the much older dancer Kosloff of the Imperial Russian Ballet Company.  Her mother was scandalized and brought statutory rape charges against Kosloff but later dropped the charges and even underwrote the costumes for the ballet company.

Kosloff was hired by Cecil B DeMille to act and to contribute costume designs to his films.  But the real talent was Natacha - although Kosloff did not give her any credit for her designs - eventually she was discovered as being the brains and the beauty behind the costume and set designs.

See how beautiful - and exotic - she was!

She married Rudolph Valentino in 1922 and they collaborated on many his films together amidst a lot of celebrity scandal: accusations of bigamy and gossip that she was controlling Valentino's career and over-bearing...

Valentino described her style: "At last we were ready to visit M. Poiret.  He is the one costumier in Paris best suited to Natacha's temperament.  She looks best in vivid colors, no one color over another, but all colors that are violent and definite.  Scarlets.  Vermillions. Strong blues.  Emphatic greens.  Loud voiced yellows.  Blazoning purples".  Fortuny was of course sold at Paul Poiret's shop in Paris.  I wonder what color her Fortuny was in the Abbé photo?

After she and Valentino divorced in 1925, Rambova moved to New York and in 1928 opened her own dress boutique on West 55th Street.  The New Yorker described her clothes as "intensely individualistic" and for women who were "very sure of their personalities".

"Rambova disclaims allegiance to the Paris designers and goes for inspiration to the arts of China, Persia, India, Egypt and to the costumes of the medieval and Renaissance ages."
The New Yorker 1928

Natacha Rambova dresses in the collection of Phoenix Art Museum

Natacha closed her studio in 1931 and went on to have a career as an expert in Egyptian, Tibetan and Nepalese artifacts.  She died in 1966.

The James Abbé photograph of Natacha Rambova in a Fortuny Dephos is available at RARE vintage.  The photograph is often used in books and exhixbitions on the work and designs Mariano Fortuny.  It measures 11 X 14" and was purchased at Hastings gallery in New York.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Just Can't Go There: Fendi Fall 2013

The Fall 2013 ad campaigns are just starting to drop in the September issues - and I, who can pretty much embrace and wear anything, saw something in the September issue of Vanity Fair that even I thought was too fugly.

Somehow the Celine Spring 2013 mink Birkenstocks worked in some sick solace of supreme comfiness - and, silly me, thought that they would surely make it to sale, only to bitterly discover that like minded fashionistas had already snapped up said mink Celine Birkenstocks (much to the relief of my husband).

And speaking of Birkenstocks - which are suddenly popping up on everyone's must have summer essentials list - even rather unexpectedly the ladies of Vogue.  Don't you love this photo of Kate Moss back in her Corrine Day waif days in white Birkenstocks - and I think white is the only way to go... maybe red...  How about you?  Could you wear those Fendi mink sunglasses?  Birkenstocks?  The last and only other time I wore Birkenstocks was when I nearing the end of my pregnancy with twins and truth be told, they were awfully comfy... and a little fugly.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Marie Brandolini d'Adda

I was very shocked and saddened to learn that Marie Brandolini passed away in June.  I fell in love with her Laguna B Venetian tumblers that were based on the goti de fornasa glasses that the glassmakers would craft at the end of the day from leftover bits of glass for their own personal use.  

They are a riot of color and scattered with stars, swirls and flowers and are perfect for a table set for lunch with a chilled white wine and a bowl of spaghetti alle vongole.

Marie Brandolini was the daughter of Beatrice de Rothschild and Armand Anglivie de la Baumelle and was raised in Paris.  When she married Count Brandino Brandolini d'Adda she relocated to the 12th century Palazzo Brandolini  in Venice on the Grand Canal.  

The palazzo Brandolini was the home of the stylish Contessa Christina Brandolini, the sister of Gianni Agnelli.

and not so long ago, the San Francisco philanthropist and haute couture collector, Dodie Rosekrans, took up residence in the piano nobile of the Palazzo Brandolini with its 30 foot ceilings and ballroom.   Dodi had the late decorator, Tony Duquette fancifully reinterpret the palazzo in a theatrically grand version of Venetian style.

Marie Brandolini took to life in Venice and went to work on the island of Murano at 6:30AM.  She did break for lunch at the Trattoria Busa Alla Torre - which, by the way, has the best Fritto Misto I have ever had...  I think she was really the first to do chic and affordable Murano glass.

For parties at her home, she would get pitchers of Whiskey Sours delivered from Harry's Bar "The other thing I like to do when I'm giving a dinner party at home is to order in jugs of whiskey sours from Harry's Bar.  They are delicious and deceptively strong."

A Laguna B Berlingot pitcher.  Marie Brandolini said the Berlingot was inspired by the "stripy sweets typical of Provence: a reminder when I was a little girl with a very sweet tooth.  The Berlingot glasses and carafes have the same stripes as those funny sweets and the same playful character."

Cocktails on the terrace of the Brandolini's apartment:

Images from Vogue Italia and Contessa Nally

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Beautiful Bride: Caroline Sieber in Vienna in Chanel

This is a lovely way to start a wedding don't you think?

Of course, before that big ol' gorgeous black and white box marked CHANEL 31, RUE CAMBON PARIS comes, there are decisions, decisions...

A rack of Chanel haute couture gowns.

And then who could resist a Coco moment on the famous mirrored stairs:

There is a rehersal dinner at the Heuriger Wine Tavern:

with the ladies in dirndls and the boys in lederhosen:

Don't you love Jaquetta Wheeler's dirndl and red heels?!  And Arthur Wellesley, the Earl of Mornington, is pretty sexy in his lederhosen and socks...

The bride getting dressed:

Such a beautiful gown - I love the ballon sleeves, the long train, the pale blue trailing ribbons - and I love the two stern ladies in the portraits protectively watching over the bride.

The bride arrives at one of Vienna's oldest churches, Michaelskirche:

Ah Vienna!  The gilded reception at the Palais Pallavicini:

The wedding cake:

A really beautiful wedding don't you think?!  There will be more photos of Mr.and Mrs. Von Westenholtz in the September issue of Vogue.

Images from Instagram and


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