Tag: New Look

Fifties Fashion and Glamour with Elsa Riot and Pearl Buttons

Fifties Fashion and Glamour with Elsa Riot and Pearl Buttons

You guys! It’s already Thursday and that means we are just over a week away from our Decadent debut in Boston. We thought you’d like to meet two more Boston-based performers, Elsa Riot and Pearl Buttons, the dynamic duo who will be putting the FAB in ’50s.

Elsa Riot

Web: elsariot.com
FB: ElsaRiot
IG: elsa.riot

Elsa is producer, curator, and host of Somerville’s premier variety show Smoke & Shadows and the monthly midnight vaudeville pop-up Top Shelf Burlesque.

Pearl Buttons

Web: pearlbuttonsburlesque.com
FB: Pearl Buttons
IG: pearl_buttons

Pearl has been dancing classical ballet and American jazz since she was three, and melds her dance roots with a love for Old Hollywood and all things sparkly to achieve a truly spectacular stage presence.

Elsa and Pearl encapsulate the glamour of classic burlesque, adding a twist of their own earnest charm and signature doofy grins – perfect representatives for the 1950s’ simple luxury and cool-headed quirk!

Let’s learn more about them…

1. What is your favorite thing about the 1950s?
Elsa: The “Beat Generation” counterculture. The 1950s stand out as a stringent time in American history that wanted to see conformity and consumerism from citizens more than anything else. That pressure gave way to interesting and radical movements, styles, culture, and politics – these were the first echoes of sexual liberation, pacifism, anti-capitalism, the end of segregation, rock & roll, and so on. Our act for this show communicates a sexual transformation that mirrors the rejection of traditional 1950s homemaking in favor of freedom and sensuality.

Pearl: Movie musicals. The beginning Cold War meant that this decade was a terrifying time for a lot of Americans and I think the escapism that lighthearted films offered was really important and continues to be now.

Photo: Striker Posie

2. If you could have drinks/dinner with any person from that era, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
Elsa: Marlene Dietrich! She was a sharp and fearless woman in every sense. She was a brilliant variety performer and a sharp businesswoman. She exuded glamour with flawless makeup and the slinkiest dresses and would still put on a top hat and tails to sing songs written for men. She owned her sexuality and laughed in the face of criticism from American churches. She was politically outspoken and anti-war, and as a German during WWII condemned the Nazi party and mobilized with other American stars to help Jews and dissidents escape Europe. And her impeccable style is all over my Pinterest boards. I think she would be amazing to learn from and laugh with over drinks!

Pearl: Probably Charles James. He’s described as “America’s first couturier” and Christian Dior credited him with inspiring the New Look. His designs were so amazingly structured and impeccably tailored. The Met costume institute did a display of his work and showed the inner structure of some of his most famous gowns and it was so fascinating. James also created the “taxi dress,” which was designed to be so easy you could slip it on in the back of a taxi. I love when couture designers also create work that is practical and wearable. He designed right up until his death and that passion for your art is so important. I’m a total tailoring geek and I’d love to discuss technique with him over coffee

3. Is there anyone from today you think embodies the idea of the 1950s?
Elsa: Today’s politics certainly ring familiar to the McCarthyist vibes of the 1950s, but to look at the brighter and more forward-thinking side of the ’50s, I often think about Michelle Obama as the new Jackie O. At first glance she’s a paragon of what is expected of American women – a good mother, supportive wife, smart and attractive but not intimidatingly so – but is in fact strong, independent, glamorous, accomplished, and spirited all on her own. They both stand out as First Ladies who excelled in the public eye, shifted American culture, and left a legacy separate from their husbands.

Photo: Striker Posie

Pearl: I definitely agree with Elsa on Michelle Obama. I think her grace under pressure is remarkable. I admire her ability to balance the traditional role of a first lady while being an incredible political force in her own right. They also both know how to seriously rock a sheath dress.

Come see Elsa, Pearl and the rest of our magical lineup on October 7 at The Rockwell, 255 Elm Street, Somerville, MA, 02144. Doors open at 9:30. A portion of proceeds will benefit The Hispanic Federation to help with hurricane and earthquake relief.

READ MORE ABOUT THE 1950s HERE.

Fashion Flashback Friday: The 1950s

Fashion Flashback Friday: The 1950s

Welcome back to our weekly review of fashions of the past. Here’s an overview of the popular styles of the ’50s, with links to more info. Enjoy!

With WWII over, and with it, the rules that governed everything from hemlines to sleeve-lengths, fashion exploded. Bright colors, full skirts, some using as much as six yards of fabric, were all the rage. With the economy booming, people had more money to buy more clothes and fashion became a statement to illustrate one’s social status. Women too, were expected to dress up even while at home.

Last week, we learned about Dior’s 1947 New Look, and that’s the silhouette that carried over through much of the ’50s.

Dior’s New Look
More New Look
Ditto
The New Look makes its way to the masses
Skinny version of the New Look
It also comes in black
And leopard! (Want so bad!)
Balenciaga’s “sack” dress, which doesn’t even look good on the model
More sack madness
How about a two-piece sack?

For more, check the sites below.

vintagedancer.com
retrowaste.com
50sweb.com

For men, the ’50s was the era of the “gray flannel suit,” with styles moving away from the wilder fashions of the ’40s (zoot suit, anyone?) and into a more conservative era. Suits were narrower and less fussy.

Men in suits
An evening at the bathhouse
Cardigans were also a thing for men
Cardigans were also a thing for men
Hats, of course, we're de rigueur
Hats, of course, were de rigueur

Read more about men’s fashions, including casual wear, HERE.

And for more info on 1950s fashion, check the sites below.

fiftiesweb.com
vintagedancer.com
gentlemansgazette.com

Don’t forget to check back next week as we cover the fabulous, funky ’60s.

And tickets are now ON SALE for Decadent: 100 Years of Burlesque. Click HERE.

See you on 4/22!

xoxo

Fashion Flashback Friday: the 1940s

Fashion Flashback Friday: the 1940s

World War II affected pretty much everything in the ’40s and fashion is no exception. Fabric rationing forced hemlines higher and silhouettes mimicked Utility styles introduced in Britain. They featured boxy shoulders, a nipped-in waist and knee-length skirts. Necklines were modest and sleeves fell to the elbow or wrist.

Utility dresses
Actress Deborah Kerr in a Utility dress
’40s street style

Popular dress styles included the shirtwaist, the peplum and the wrap, all of which remain popular today.

Shirtwaist dresses
Shirtwaist dresses
Peplum suit
Wrap dresses

Skirts were usually A-line, flaring out from the knee, and somewhere between full and pencil. In 1947, French designer Christian Dior introduced his “New Look,” and based on that, skirts became either very tight or very full.

Dior “New Look” silhouette, full skirt, tiny waist
A Dior pencil skirt

Suits were popular as daywear because they could be mixed and matched if necessary. Blouses featured a V-neck or small rounded peter pan collar.

Suit

The 1939 movie version of Gone with the Wind made the princess dress popular for evening. It featured a fitted bodice, long full skirt and puffy sleeves, drop sleeves or no sleeves.

Princess evening gowns

Another popular evening look was a long, gathered column gown with a short dinner jacket.

Evening gown with jacket

Many women couldn’t afford long formal gowns, so semi-formal cocktail dresses were popular. They were frequently modeled after day styles but made from upgraded fabrics.

Cocktail dress
Ditto

Women’s pants first came into the picture in the ’30s, but in the ’40s they became necessary for women working in factories. Like the ’30s versions, pants were high-waisted with wide legs. It’s also the first time coveralls or overalls are seen for women, again thanks to factory work.

40spants

Shoes were more utilitarian in the ’40s than the ’30s and often featured a chunky heel or wedge. Since leather was scarce due to the war, shoes were often made of other materials such as reptile skin.

40sshoes

Wedges

Popular hat styles included the beret, imported from France, and the turban.

Beret
Beret
Turban
Turban

Women working in factories had to keep their hair free from getting caught in machinery so many wore a knitted snood or tied hair up in a scarf.

Snood
Snood

Rationing affected men’s styles as well. As we saw last week, men’s clothing of the ’30s was aimed at making a dude look big and powerful, but new regulations that dictated cuff and lapel lengths kept suits more fitted.

Slimmer fitting suit

After the war, military styles, such as the trench coat, showed up in civilian closets.

The Zoot Suit, with it’s super baggy fit and bright colors, made its first appearance in the ’30s and was considered unpatriotic during the war years because of all the extra fabric it used. By then it was also associated with gangsters.

Zoot suit couple
Zoot suit couple
Zoot suit caszh
Zooty tux

Despite that, it becomes very popular in the late ’40s and ’50s, which we will investigate next week!

Hope you enjoyed this overview of ’40s fashion. If you want to read more, check out the sites below.

vintagedancer.com
this site
retrowaste.com
glamourdaze.com
Marie Claire, 1940s Fashion in pics

And if you missed it, you can read about 1920s fashion here and 1930s fashion here.

As always, thanks for reading and catch you next week!

Triad Poster