Sunday, February 10, 2013

What the Art Teacher Wore #54

 Valentine's Monday: This week I decided to get into the Valentine's Day spirit. Which for me meant I wore just a pinch more red and pink that usual. This was a little DIY dress and collar I crafted last year. You can check it out here if you wanna. dress, collar: vintage dress, DIY'ed by me; tights, red shirt: Target; boots, belt: Anthropologie

Hey, dudes. I hope this Sunday evening finds you relaxed and ready to start the new week. I've got the relaxed thing's going back into the art room that concerns me. I've got so many big plans for upcoming art adventures I just hope I can keep up!

Somehow, while spending entirely too much time online, I stumbled upon the photo below. I think every art teacher needs a little Dior palette hat in their lives, don't you? This hat reminded me of how much I love Christian Dior and his New Look which took fashion by storm in 1947. I thought I'd share just a few photos from that era with you this week. 

Until then, I hope you have a lovely Valentine's Day week!
Stephen Jones for Christian Dior Haute Couture, Autumn Winter 2007–08 I love that this model is not only meant to look like she is from the New Look era but she is also painted black and white. Genius. I've loved and collected vintage fashion since high school. Back then I was really into the hippie look, complete with giant bell bottoms and platform shoes. I even painted daisies and the Beatles on the bottom of a pair of my dad's old jeans. Wore 'em, like, every day. But I always picked up dresses from the 50s when I found them at the thrift store. I wasn't interested in wearing them at the time, but I knew they were special.
Candy Cane Tuesday: None of the kids were getting the Valentine's reference with this outfit. They just old me I looked like a candy cane. sweater: vintage, thrifted; dress: Germany; tights: Target; belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing; shoes: Softt; flower: H&M
Renee, The New Look of Dior, Place de la Concorde, Paris, August 1947 by Richard Avedon Not until The Golden Age of Couture exhibit at the Frist Center for Visual Arts did I find out just how special these dresses were. Not only did the exhibit showcase photos like the one above but there were also dresses galore from the New Look collection. I went to that exhibit at least four times. I just couldn't get enough. It was then that I really began wearing my, at the time, small collection of dresses from the 1950s. That collection is now beginning to look like an episode of hoarders but we'll address that another time (read: never).
Richard Avedon Self-Portrait, 1963 Oh man, can I just take a time out from Dior and tell you how much I love the photography of Richard Avedon? Dude, I mean, seriously. Google his name and some of the most amazing images you'll ever see will pop up. I think I need a coffee table book of his work, stat.
Lame Hair Wednesday: Seriously. I've been slacking in the hair department of late. I'm enjoying my sleep more than I am a good 'do. When is bedhead gonna become stylish, anyway? I mean, this morning when I awoke, I was totally rockin' the Mel Gibson Braveheart hair look. Shoulda went with it. sweater, tights: Target; dress: Buffalo Exchange, Anthro tags; belt: Anthropologie; shoes: Dolls by Nina; necklace: created by a friend

Left: Christian Dior {New Look 1947} in front of the Eiffel Tower ~ Paris, France; Right:  Christian Dior measuring a hemline. Dior's New Look line dramatically increased the length of women's skirts. During World War II, regulations were issued by the U.S. government to set skirt lengths at 17 inches above the floor in an effort to conserve textiles. Women were entering the work force more than ever and this length seemed to suit them and their ability to work comfortably. After the war and the regulations ended, Christian Dior lengthened hemlines again. This infuriated many who saw this not only as a set back for women but also as wastefulness. 

Thursday: After a bumpy class, I received the sweetest email from a mom who said that although her kindergartener was out sick, the little one was still able to teach her mom all about tints and shades with a landscape painting lesson. The photo that was attached to my email immediately cheered me up and was just what I needed to readjust my mood. sweater: vintage, gift from MIL; dress: Anthropologie ($19, yo!); tights: Target; shoes: Indigo by Clarks
Male students protest against longer hemlines at Michigan State University, circa 1947
 Yeah, leave it to a bunch of guys to protest longer hemlines. If it's one thing I learned in college, never trust the dudes who claim to be feminists. But I digress. Is it just me or isn't the idea of people protesting over clothing being too long just fascinating? If you search the internet, you'll find images of women wearing the New Look and other women ripping their clothing off or throwing water at them. It's amazing that a hemline the goes down could cause such an uproar.
Women protesting Dior’s long skirts. Chicago, Illinois - September 22, 1947 Despite the protests, women everywhere fell in love with the designs of Dior (even if one unfortunate lass in Cali got her hemline caught in the door of a bus as she exited. Poor thing had to run along side the bus until the driver noticed and set her free). For this reason, Dior became an overnight sensation and was able to help revive the fashion industry in Paris. 
Do you Dior, Friday? My wanna-be Dior inspired look. I am completely in love with wearing a crinoline under my dresses now. Not only is it warm but it's so full and fun. This one I am wearing is just some cheapo thing. I think I'm going to put a temporary halt to my dress-buying-disease and save up for a real crinoline. Any suggestions from you crinoline wear-ers out there? sweater: vintage, thrifted; dress, belt: Anthro (dress, $29! Seriously, if you don't get there and scoop up some of those sales, I'm going to end up buying everything!); tights: Target; shoes: Softt
 New Look, Christian Dior, 1947 On one of the occasions when I went to the Golden Couture exhibit, I had the chance to hear one of the curator's speak. She told us the story of how she went to an auction and saw a lump of red fabric with a Dior label. Despite the fact that the dress was a mess, she bid up to $3000 of the museum's money on the dress, thinking she was getting the bargain of a lifetime. Turns out the museum had to spend about $8000 just to repair the dress. However, if it's a Dior, than it's worth it, right? You just can't pay enough for that much glamor.

 A Typical Weekend: Speaking of glamor, would you take a look at this little Dior-inspired number. Hubs, who has to deal with me looking like this more often than not, insisted on snapping these photos of me today. I cannot believe I'm actually sharing these photos with you...I mean, there are strings hanging off my butt! I have tape stuck to my jacket and my socks don't even match. But, since I'm all about full disclosure, here you go. If you "accidentally" stop following my blog, I completely understand. jacket: Mountain Hardware: sweats: borrowed from hubs; mismatched socks: Thorlos

 Sigh. Only on this blog will I take you on a trip from Christian Dior to linty sweats. You're welcome.


  1. I love the reflection of your laughing husband in the last photo, right above your shoulder. Too funny!

  2. Absolutely LOVE Avedon! I worked at SFMOMA when there was a Richard Avedon portraits exhibition. I did the marketing campaign and our lead images were a self-portrait, the famous Marilyn Monroe image, Bjork, and of course, Dovima with Elephants. I didn't realize until then what an impact it makes going to a photography exhibition versus looking at the images online or in a book. It was a spine-tingling exhibition!

    Now I work at the Walt Disney Family Museum. If you're ever in San Francisco, please come for a visit! And, love your blog! So inspiring on so many levels! Thanks Cassie!!

  3. Wait, there is a Walt Disney Family Museum?! Oh my, one of my all time fave dudes! I will most definitely pop in on my next visit. I'm due a visit there soon. And how lucky to work on the Avedon exhibit. He's work is awesome :)

    1. Indeed there is a Walt Disney Family Museum! It is a spectacular place. Please do email me when you make it on over, I'd be happy to put you on the list (one of the advantages of working for a non-profit). My email is cmoneypenny at wdfmuseum dot org

      And, don't tell, but we're probably going to have a Mary Blair exhibition next year (I am CRAAAAZY excited about that). Our exhibitions this summer will be a Camille Rose Garcia (her Alice in Wonderland works) & Maurice Sendak.

  4. OMG give us some warning next time you go civilian on us! I can't believe it's you! (That's what I'm wearing as I type except my socks match.)

    What I'd like to know is how did/do you know they are genuine 50s dresses and not copies?

    1. Ha! Oh, don't worry, there will not be any more sweats photos, yikes! I'm now determined to invest in some properly cute pjamas, stat!

      The way I can usually tell if it's vintage is the style and the label. You are right, there are many reproduction dresses out there now that look old...but the true vintage ones have a distinct tag, smell (yeah, seriously) and look. Does that help at all?

      Nice to hear from you, btw!

  5. Vintage crinoline tips, I have 3 of them which is I think the minimum number you need if you wear them a lot! One which is lighter, which is my least fluffy version. I wear this with 60s skirts which have full skirts but less volume. I have longer one which is quite full and cotton layers in it for weight which is very useful for longer skirts. And one that is the same length as the first but is netted, I wear this on it's own and with the first one as they can be layered up for volume.


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