Monday, February 22, 2010


Marimekko is a Finnish design company which is known for having vibrant fabrics and unusual designs. Marimekko was started in 1951 by a company named Printex, a company which produced oil cloth and fabrics which was bought by Viljo Ratia in 1949. It was Ratia's wife Armi who had the idea to commission young artists to come up with designs for the fabric. This lead to the production of bright and colorful textile designs. These designs were interesting, but confusing for the consumer to know how to use the unusual fabrics. Thus, Marimekko was born as a clothing label to show how the fabric might be used in clothing design. In 1951 the first Marimekko fashion show was held in Helsinki.

In the 1960s Marimekko gained popularity due to the fact that Jackie Kennedy had bought several dresses. At that time her image and style had become known worldwide. During this period product lines expanded and retail shops were opened. The jersey cotton designs of Annika Rimala for Marimekko could be seen prominently on the covers of fashion magazines and the everyday shirt-dress designs of Pentti Rinta gain popularity.

By the 1970s production became modernized and a new Marimekko factory in Helsinki was built which housed a printing press, a finishing department, and a warehouse. A clothing production factory was also built in Kitee Finland. The 70s also saw the birth of the Decembre (now incorporated into Marimekko) company which made smaller Marimekko products such as the popular canvas bags under head designer Ristomatti Ratia. In 1972 licensing agreements were made with Japan and the United States and by 1974 Marimekko was listed in the Helsinki stock exchange. Business was booming until founder Armi Ratia died in 1979.

The beginning of the 1980s business was still profitable, but unstable and in 1985 Marimekko was sold to Amer Group Ltd. Following the sale of Marimekko finances plummeted and the brand fell into disarray. In 1991 Marimekko was bought again this time, by Kirsti Paakanen's Workidea who breathed life back into the disheveled textile maker and the brand continues to grow and flourish today.

Friday, February 19, 2010




The New Queen Of Large Dresses

Margherita Missoni - she has the best maxi-caftan look and she is the heiress to the Missoni fashion house, lucky pretty girl!

One More Thing

Which I forgot to say in the previous blurb is that I think of caftans as Moroccan or Indian inspired as well. Boho! That word I hate is caftan fashion, Boho often refers to the huge and ugly. I was just told today that I have a complicated relationship with maxi-dresses it is like I am their stalker! Totally true, I love them so much that I want to cause them pain.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mrs. Roper - Queen of the Caftans

We cannot discuss caftan fashion without mentioning the Queen - Mrs. Roper from Three's Company. I haven't found a suitable image but I felt that she should not be left out. Also I think that I have a hard time defining caftans versus maxi-dresses, or mumus for that matter. I like caftans and maxi-dresses, and I think that what I have presented this week is a good mix of both. I like to think that the caftan is more 60s/70s inspired and "hippieish" and the maxi dress is more summery and brightly colored. A mumu however is something I consider unflattering and not good. The former are glamorous resort wear or chic summer clothes and a mumu is a mumu no matter where you are.

So keeping that in mind...caftans and maxi-dresses forever and may we never get caught in a mumu. Tomorrow I am going to announce a new Queen of the caftan based on this weeks research (aka searching "caftan," and "Mrs. Roper" on google as well as looking at fashion police websites).

Eva Green - AMAZING

Like a hippie de luxe vampire.

More Rhoda!

Minneapolis de Luxe

Rhoda Morgenstern of MTM fame.

Caftan ala Olsen

I like Olsen fashion...there...I said it. Big weird dirty fashion, I like all of it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Caftan By Pucci

Caftan On The Verge Of A Mumu

Margherita Missoni: Same Dress Different Color

I think I must really like this dress.

Nicole Richie

I think that Nicole Richie has great style, she also rocks the caftan appropriately and consistently. Rachel Zoe maximizes caftans as well, but it seems that she is just hiding her sickly body. Nicole is very tiny and you wouldn't think that a caftan would work on her, but it really flatters her figure and her caftan style is an inspiration to me being a short person afraid of length. I don't ever want someone to ask me if I am wearing a mumu! It is a fine line between maxi-dress, caftan, and mumu, one must choose correctly for one's body type.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Maria Callas (1969)

Caftan Week

This week, since I am lazy I have declared Caftan Week and all posts that I can muster will feature caftans. You cannot be a hippie de luxe or a bon vivant without a caftan. Also, no resort wardrobe is complete without one. I don't have one, I'm currently warming up to the maxi-dress...yes, there are levels working up to caftan bliss.

Coming Soon: Biba

Coming soon indicates that I am too lazy to write about this topic at the moment, but am collecting my thoughts and something will be said soon about said topic.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hippie De Luxe Du Jour

Edie Sedgwick: Warhol icon and Betsey Johnson's fit model at Paraphernalia. Seen here in Betsey Johnson's design circa 1960s.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Betsey Johnson Crazed

After posting the Betsey Johnson Paraphernalia skirt on ebay I began looking at other vintage Betsey Johnson items on ebay. Wow...the knitwear is really amazing. This 1980s over-sized sweater was not on ebay today but I have seen it listed before. There was, however, an outfit (skirt and sweater) with the exact print, and I really want it as well as a red over-sized sweater with animals in black all over it. Oh well, someday?

Johnson was part of the "Youth Quake" in the 1960s and as we learned before one of the founding designers of Paraphernalia. Before that, she broke into the fashion industry by winning a contest with Mademoiselle magazine to be a Guest Editor. After the success of Paraphernalia, she opened a store in New York called Betsey Bunki Nini, while continuing on with Paraphernalia. By 1970, she left Paraphernalia and gained creative control over the label Alley Cat which was a junior sportswear company with an edge. At Alley Cat Johnson was able to not only have control over her designs but she also was able to design textiles which is where we get the insane vivid knitwear. Another neat thing about Alley Cat is that it was very accessible to the youth market as every item was under $100. It wasn't until 1978 that Johnson started her own label which lead to the incarnation and brand we know today. Alley Cat and 1980s Betsey Johnson are who we have to thank for these crazy sweaters. I really like Betsey Johnson a lot in general, but I think that the knits are very special.

Below are the tags for Alley Cat and Betsey Johnson called "The Punk Label" if you are looking for 80s era Betsey Johnson clothes. There are also some knitwear pieces that I have found online that are super cool. The pterodactyl sweater is actually current!

My Favorite Things (shoe edition)

I was given a pair of Yves Saint Laurent shoes years ago by a friend and she told me that if she saw them on ebay or in a re-sale store that she would never speak to me again. I knew that they were special and I knew I didn't want to risk the wrath of this girl, but I am so glad that I didn't sell them. After I went to the YSL retrospective in Montreal, I gained a whole new appreciation for the art and rarity of YSL. We see YSL logos on everything these days, but pretty much all of those things are just souvenirs of the great legacy of a designer (and not just YSL, all the greats). If you are lucky enough to have a piece of YSL clothing or shoes, count yourself lucky and hold on to it.

Hippie De Luxe Du Jour

Hazel - Yves Saint Laurent's Chihuahua - my Chihuahua's personal inspiration.


I just put this skirt up for auction on ebay, finally. I wasn't sure if I wanted to part with it as it is kind of a heritage piece. This is the Betsey Johnson for Paraphernalia skirt that I wrote about awhile back. It is simple, but timeless, and really really small. We'll see how it goes...By the way my Ungaro pop orange skirt never sold, but somehow miraculously fits me now, so happy days are here again.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ferragamo - Who Knew?

While on vacation I stopped into a thrift store and ended up finding a pair of mint condition classic white patent leather Vara shoes designed by Fiamma Di San Giuliano Ferragamo for Salvatore Ferragamo. They weren't my style but they were 2 dollars, versus the retail price of nearly 400! So I bought them, have worn them, and now I am a Ferragamo addict. Not only are they luxurious to walk in, but they are just so classic.

After this revelation I decided to learn more about Mr. Ferragamo and what has become a family business. Ferragamo, born in Bonito Italy in 1898 made his first pair of shoes at age nine, and went on to study shoemaking in Naples. He moved to Boston in 1914 and worked a boot factory with his brother before moving to Santa Barbara to open his own shop. While in California he became known as the shoemaker to the stars and later opened a shop in Hollywood. I love that New York didn't get him first, I find that most great things start in New York and then head west.

The Ferragamo Company itself began in Florence in 1927 when Salvatore returned to Italy, and from there many gorgeous and innovative designs emerged.

The Egyptian inspired sandal from 1931.

The platform shoe from 1938.

Invisible sandal 1947.

Ferragamo died in 1960, and his family took over the business. In 1978 Fiamma Di San Giuliano Ferragamo created the hugely popular Vara shoe featured above in multiple colors, and it is her I have to thank for my lovely timeless shoe! Because I always see so much Ferragamo resold, as well as sold for bundles in department stores, I always thought of the company as a generic luxury brand. Learning more about the lineage of the company has made me appreciate the craftsmanship of the shoes and the heritage that lives on within the styles of shoes.

For more info on Ferragamo visit their site and look at brand history.