Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fashion and Dolls

Théâtre de la Mode doll
As you know from a recent post I'm something of a doll fan. I'm not a serious floor to ceiling doll collector, but they are something which has been a particular soft spot of mine lately. I love them as a girl who used to play with dolls, but I also love them as a fashion designer!

Dolls have played a huge roll in fashion for centuries. During the 18th century french merchants de mode used to send out little poupees dressed in their latest creations to entice potential patrons with exquisitely made miniature replicas of their designs. In the 1940's dolls like Virginia Lachasse  from London and those created for the Théâtre de la Mode from Paris showcased the talents and workmanship of couturiers in the mid 20th century.

I've had a lot of fun recently playing out designing in miniature for Monster High dolls, after customizing a Slow Moe for Ghoulia (that letter jacket!) I turned my hands to designing a Sweet 1600 outfit for my favorite Zombie girl, and a Loch Less monster doll as a way to let lose with some UK monster and fashion pride!
Sweet 1600 Ghoulia
Lochturna Ness

As a designer working on a small scale is a great way to try out new things with little expense, and a fun alternative outlet to showcase work in a different way.

Dolls can also be a fun way of finding new styles to try for yourself! For the vintage fashion lover vintage and retro Barbie fashions can be a fun source of inspiration for your full scale fashion! As can some of the amazing Gene dolls out there.

 Make Your Own Doll!

I've had a tutorial on my site for a few years with tips on making your own ball jointed dolls, and this past weekend before jetting off to England to stay with my family over the holidays, I also added a tutorial for customizing fashion dolls! You can use the tips for customizing the freak fab Monster High dolls, but the same techniques can also be used to create your own unique Barbie dolls or which ever fashion doll speaks to you most! When it's all about expressing your style, it's always fun to find a doll that reflects it the best!
 There are some tips on how to wipe, re-root and paint your doll, ready for your miniature fashion adventures! Give it a shot and let your inner designer run wild!

The new tutorial plus extra photos of my 2 newest Monster High customs can be found on the Dolly Daydream site here!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Quick Pin Up Fix!

This time of year is about as hectic as it get's for me, working in the wonderful world of handmade retail over the holiday season means I pretty much eat, drink tea, work, and sleep from Thanksgiving through Xmas. On top of that we've had a lot of travel the past few months making a busy time even crazier!

A girl can get tired of looking at her worn out face in the mirror at times like these, and that's when you need a nice fast easy glamour fix that won't eat into your work time! For me that fix is the good old faux bumper bang. It takes seconds, looks pin up fab, and requires very little prep!

To get the look all you need is:
  • 3 bobby pins
  • A splash of water
  • Hair spray
  • 1 min extra time before bed!

The Styling:
  1. The night before separate out a small section in the front you want to curl into your bangs.
  2. Dampen the section with a bit of water
  3. Put the section in 3 (maybe more if you're blessed with thick hair) standing pin curls.
  4. A fast way to do these is to roll your hair around a smooth tube (I use a Besame lip gloss) slip the "tube" out and pin with a bobby pin so it sits as if it had a roller in it.
  5. Wake up!
  6. Take out the bobby pins
  7. Gently brush the curls over your hand and roll up under itself
  8. Arrange the bangs to suit your face
  9. Spray with liberal amounts of hair spray
Leave the rest of your hair down, throw it in a ponytail, do whatever! The whole thing including setting your hair the evening before takes less than 5 minutes, but you'll look like you had time dress up even if you didn't!

It's also a pretty fun way to play with bangs without having to make the commitment of cutting them in.

Usually it comes out much fuller, but the day you set up to take photos is always the day things fall a little flat.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sale on Style

Holiday shopping season is here, so I have a swell sale going on over at my shop for any fans of vintage or just plain fancy style! I've picked out a selection of the items in our store which make the best gifts, and put them on sale for the season. Hopefully this will help you find gifts for the fancy peeps on your gift giving list, or to help you spice up your big holiday outfit this year!!

All the items in the sale make great gifts, and come nicely presented in our gold gift or velvet jewelry boxes for easy wrapping and added impact on opening! So you can pick up a deal and some extra va voom at the same time! Come stop by the sale section to find the items for you!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Slow Moe Zombie Star

Phew! I've barely been at home for that past couple of months, and working like a crazy person in between. I did take off last weekend though and dedicated it to to reconnecting with a fun old hobby... DOLLS!

After hanging out with some great friends in New York I a few weeks back I came away with a new crippling addiction to Monster High (which is helping me get over a bad Poupee Girl habit). The doll I most fell in love with is good old Ghoulia, the retro headband, the cat-eye glasses, the comic books, whats not to love right? Well everyone knows that in the doll world a boyfriend doll is a like a Louis Vuitton purse, it's the accessory all the superstars have right? Like Barbie and Ken, he's always kinda been the accessory that let everyone know Barbie was higher up the food chain than Skipper. So since Ghoulia is a doll superstar in my heart and I've never been one to leave well enough alone, it was time to turn my tools towards customizing her a Slow Moe character boyfriend doll!

As luck would have it everything I needed arrived in time for the weekend and after a few hours of demolishing a poor Jackson doll I was able to re-paint, re-root (the hair), re dress and even flock the guy into a zombie chess star beau! It was a blast sewing tiny clothes again and painting on doll heads.

Dolly Daydream Back in Action!
The whole thing really reignited my love of playing with dolls and even gave me the first update in a long time to my much loved Dolly Daydream site. I've got plans to finish off the rest of the ball joint doll tutorials over there, and for adding some fashion doll customizing tutorials too, so so anyone with any interest in dolls, that's the space to watch!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Giveaway Winner

Ladies and gentlemen! We are thrilled to announce the winner of the 250 followers giveaway for box a smashing retro accessories! and (drum roll please) the winner is!!!.....

If you can email me your address to viv(at)vivcore(dot)com I'll get your gift set sent right out!
Thanks so much to every one who participated, and thanks for all the input! It's been a great help and I'll be taking all your comments on board for all kinds of future Quaintrelle Life posts!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

DIY Teacup

New craft tutorial added to the Quaintrelle Life website! Small project to decorate your own teacup at home!

Using a little Photoshop know how it's easy to make your own custom teacup!

This is one I made a few years back when I was writing the tutorial the first time around for the now defunct Shojo Beat magazine (RIP Shojo Beat, we all loved you)

Click here to see yourself how simple it is!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vintage Halloween

Though time might be tight, Halloween is coming fast, and one thing that means is, it's costume time!

While the rest of the world pulls out their costume poodle skirts and party store flapper dresses for a vintage inspired Halloween. Where might someone who loves vintage fashion in everyday life go for retro flavor come masquerade time? How about the Halloween and masquerade costumes of the past!? Here are a few of my favorite vintage costumes I've run into this year, hopefully they'll be able to offer you some inspiration when pulling together a retro Halloween costume of your own!
(my favorite retro costumes are the one based on household objects like the tube of toothpaste bellow, or the updated period costumes)

Costumes from a 1920's costume catalog available here on Etsy

 Costumes from a Weldons catalog from the 1930's. See the rest of the catalog on Carbonated's Flickr stream

Some vintage costume sewing patterns from the sew wiki costume section....

I actually ran into a photo from the 1940's with a couple of gals in costumes pretty similar to the one above!
For further inspiration, Amazon has this rather great looking book, full of nothing but costume illustrations from the 1920's-1950's. I would imagine with that under your belt you'll never be caught without a costume idea again! (after all, there's New years, and Mardi Gras to get vintage costuming for as well ;P)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weekend in LA

People might have figured from my style posts, that I don't own a lot of clothes that I didn't make/design, but every once in a while I do like to do a spot of shopping when I go out of town. Last weekend we flew out to LA to hang out with some friends and I was able to go crazy on a rare shopping spree! (and eat my body weight in tacos)

This trip close to my favorite retro candy and soda shop Rocket Fizz I found my new favorite vintage everything shop, Playclothes. The unit is huge (heheh) a cavernous gilded space crammed with vintage clothes from just about all eras, helpfully grouped by type and decade.

Kid in a candy store! (even before we got to the candy store) Although I fell in to the usual vintage shopping trouble of right clothes wrong sizes, I did get unusually lucky on others!

I was on a mission to find a nice 60's floral sweater to match some of my dresses and found a lovely Darlene sweater in the right size and right color, and perfect print! (Score!) Another dash of serendipity was when I found that an unrelated skirt I picked up (dead stock and perfect size) was a Darlene Colormate made to match their sweaters, and in a color that matched said sweater. happy days! The only trouble I have is that the tiny buttons wont stay closed in the 50 year old buttons holes, but hey finding an ensemble like that is too good to grumble about a few springy pearly buttons so I wont. ( Felt even better when I found the same sweater only in pink in another shop for $130 more than I spent on mine) Aside from that amazing luck I picked up a floral hat and an 2 piece 60's sheath dress and coat combo from there too!

The other thing on the top of my must see shop list was the Vivienne Westwood boutique that opened earlier this year. Much bigger and brighter that the ones I've lived close to in the UK, the staff were really friendly I snagged a red mock croc Chancery heart bag to match my legions of red shoes, (because nice girls wear red shoes)
The rest of the time I spent hanging out with some great friends which are worth more than even sweater set luck, and playing on a bouncy castle with lots of grown ups and my best 3 year old pal Max! I wish all our friends were closer, this country is too damn big. (also, want Santa to bring me a bouncy castle for my house and a yard big enough to keep it in, those things are fun!!!)

(The song I had in my head the whole trip) 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Quaintrelle Give Away!

First up I want to say a big thank you to everyone who follows Quaintrelle Life!

Since we are now just over 250 followers here on the blogger, it seems like jolly good timing for a good old fashioned give away!

Up for grabs is this little instant wardrobe set of accessories including white gloves, hair bows, Lipstick (in Carmine), and some of my favorite teas.  Everything you need to turn your favorite vintage dress into your favorite vintage outfit.

I really enjoy writing this blog, so this might be a good time too to find out more about what you enjoy reading here (to make sure you have as much fun reading it!) and that's the theme for the give away...

To Enter:
  • Leave a comment on this post letting me know what you would like to see more of on this blog! (in keeping with the blogs focus, so please nothing specific to lolita)
  • You must be a follower of this blog (LJ followers please follow us here to enter, we can do more with the blog if we can show people a more accurate number of our followers at the side here)
  • The Give away is open till October 20th and the winner will be drawn out of a hat, and announced October 21st! (Drawing has been moved to the 23rds since I'm out of town again till then)
Good luck guys!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Don't Fear The (hair) Reaper

If there is one thing the vintage community loves, it's hairstyling. I know I probably spend more time thinking about how I'll style my hair each day than what clothes I'm going to wear! Part of the reason is because a new hair style is free, and always on hand, so if I ever feel bored, all it takes is a few bobby pins to make something new!

As a result a I sometimes fear that less length means less options. The constant pull on the other side of that is when I see just how many of my favorite classic film stars and models were sporting short locks (even Veronica Lake cut off her famous long tresses)

I recently went in the shorter hair direction, and am having so much more fun with it! So for any girls (or guys) out there who have been tempted by a drastic change here's a post to help you take the plunge!

last week I had a good 5" cut off, and took my hair from long middle of my back length, to just sitting at my shoulders length. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to do as much with it any more, but turns out it's been no problem at all. I can still do a nice set of victory rolls and bumper bangs (my favorite vintage elements), and so many new things I couldn't before. In fact I haven't lost single style from my repertoire, only gained new ones!

I made a small list of things to think about before doing something a little drastic...
  1. Hair will grow back. After a few months you'll be back where you started any way.
  2. What do you really like doing with your hair right now, and could you do that if it were shorter?
  3. What would you like to do with your hair you can't now but could after a cut?
  4. If you are already unhappy with your hair, and end up not exactly in love with the new one your still in the same situation! Nothing to lose!
  5. Would it requite a lot of maintenance? Try keeping up with any curl sets etc beforehand to see if it will be too much upkeep to maintain the style you want.
I know it's a real girl cliche, but a bad hair day (or period) can bring down your mood, but just as easy a hair change can be a real boost. It's like seeing a whole new you looking back.

So if you're thinking about bangs, going shorter etc but just feeling a little to scared, I hope this helps take away some of the worry and that you too might find yourself enjoying a brand new style! ( Lisa Freemont Street recently went shorter too, so hopefully there'll be lots of hairstyling tips coming from her for shorter hair)

Here are some of my shorter hairspiration favorites...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bring Your Own Bar (booze free post)

Everyone here knows I like things fancy, what a lot of people might not know is that I'm a long standing straight edge girl, and that means I also like my music fast and loud, and living my life sans all recreational drugs. Which of course (and you'll be surprised how often I've had to clarify this) means no booze.

This in mind people might be surprised at my latest purchase, a portable bar set! I ran into this little beauty on Etsy the other week, and knew I had to have it. Now before you all yell "sell out!" here's why this might be one of the best buys I've made in a while...

As an adult when you go to a party there will always be a careful selection of alcoholic beverages, beer, wine, spirits, and on the non alcoholic front, there is usually what ever the kids drink left in the fridge.

Now I like my soda sophisticated, I still want an exciting flavor that isn't run of the mill come cocktail hour, I still like fanciness, I still like to walk around sipping some exquisite drink. I just need to bring my own.

The set is obviously perfectly portable, the retro style goes well with my outfits, and the gleaming gold lids and velvet interior just scream after dark decadence. Into each bottle I can mix up a cordial of syrups, juices and bitters to bring along up to 4 fantastic drinks mixes. The shot glasses on top are just the right measure for the amount of syrup needed to make a standard glass of soda, all it needs is to be measured out into it's own shot glass, poured into a highball, add the club soda, and BAM! No more Sprite at a cocktail party!

The bottles can also hold the mixes at home as part of my drug free cocktail bar, score!

(another nice side point as a straight edge girl, is that buying a set like this vintage, not even the cash spent on glassware goes towards any part of the liquor industry)

Friday, September 23, 2011

New Affiliate Club!

There's been a lot of shop talk lately, but I promise there are several soda posts in the works at the moment, and all kinds of other goodies!

Today's news is pretty exciting though!!! We've just launched the Vivcore Affiliate club! If you have a blog or website you can now sign up for an affiliate account and receive your own personal link to our store, and through that earn commission from any sales made when someone follows your link and places an order.

As well as commission we'll also be doing exclusive offers for affiliate club members to help you spread the word and as an extra "thanks" for helping us grow and supporting our labels!

You can sign up here to join :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Instant Accessories Wardrobe!

If the dress can make the girl, then right accessories make the dress! One of the elements of vintage style that really define the vintage look,(especially in the 50's early 60's) it is the trend towards matching suits of accessories.

Matching jewels and matching small goods always really pulled together an outfit. Wearing vintage in this modern age it is very tricky to be able to find these perfectly matched sets, especially in small fabric goods, but it is a wonderful and effortless way to make any dress a polished ensemble!

Chose a color accent to play up in a print dress by choosing an accessory set that matches a detail in the dress, or pull a look together top to toe by color blocking accessories that match you shoes along with a solid color dress (different colored sets can really make a simple dress look different in almost endless ways, a great way to stretch a limited wardrobe on a limited budget!)

Get the look

Whilst jewelry can sometimes survive together in sets, fabric items rarely do, but as always that's where repro comes into play! The new "Pretty You" collection on in my shop is made in this old style only new, so you can indulge in this vintage trend today! The flirty little flower brooch, scarf, hair bows and whimsy are all hand made from scratch in the exact same fabrics so they are all a perfect match in color and texture. Sometimes it's possible to marry a few vintage items to look like a set, but there are always discrepancies in the texture and color (especially with white accessories since they age very differently making all kinda of different colors). It's possible to build your own set from the collection items, and the nicest thing to me about them is that they can turn any lone dress into a finished outfit!

The collection is based on a set from one of my 1963 catalogs to make it as authentic as it is cute!

Follow here to pick up the set and get the look!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Vintage Catalog ♥

I have a new love in my life, I feel it could be a lasting affair, this new love? Why vintage catalogs of course! I recently picked up a handful of of them as inspiration materials after scouring the internet for images during my latest webdesign adventures. Each one has been a musty trove of ideas on a surprising amount of my job duties!

The most obvious is of course the clothes themselves, so much inspiration has started to come out of these in terms of design, but also other things I hadn't really thought about. One thing that has struck a surprising cord is the models themselves! The styling of course is great, but also the poses! Models stand a different way in a lot of the garments because the clothes themselves took a subtly different carriage to show off the designs, full skirts, curves and general feel of the time all shop up in different ways on the models.

Web Design
I love reading the copy on a lot of the items too, you can get a great idea of what was important to each catalogs demographic from the way each product is described. Add onto that the layout, typography and graphics which are so great, and these have played a large part in my latest site re-design! One of the main reasons I picked up my first catalog was to help with the shop re-design and to hopefully make internet shopping as retro friendly as possible.

Home Decorating (not work but...)
I know a lot of folks out there like to indulge in some retrofication of the old homestead too. I've probably spent hours going through the home sections of the bigger catalogs for furniture/decor inspiration, it's just a shame we can't just pick up the phone and order those awesome curtains!

Good for Giggles
It's true too that not everything old is cool, I got a few giggles out of some of the photos/products that time has just not been kind to, things for example like the faux fur hat that doubles as a wig

I'll admit that some of them have a fusty "I've been in an attic for 50 years" smell that is less than fun on the allergy front. but adding some primary sources to my "library of awesome" is possibly worth a sore throat or two.

For an easier peek inside the world of flea market catalogs there are a few collected books out there that do just that from Amazon

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Keep em Separated

Showing a little extra love to the separates sections this week, and taking it one step further even, and introducing our first pair of trousers to the site!

The Joy of Separates

A great way of filling your wardrobe on a budget is through separates. They are so versatile you can mix and match them almost endlessly! The blouse from your favorite dress set can cut a smart impression with our brand new Sailor pants, and the skirt gets a whole new feel when pared with a new blouse!

New Designs!

Sailor trousers are a perennial pin up favorite, and we've just added our version to the site today! The high waist makes your legs look longer, and the wide leg is flattering on any body shape. They are as comfortable as they are chic! (I road tested these in Montreal, and they are the best pants I ever wore!)

The Sweetie blouse Is a great way to coordinate your new sailor trousers or any pencil skirt. The loose shape makes the waist look smaller when tucked into a retro high waist skirt or pants, and the all round ruffle adds a great touch of femininity and finishes off that playful pin up look!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Best: Bouffant Zoo

Today's Sunday best is once again brought to you by my early 60's style hair piece adventures. I think I got a little closer to that Mad Men Joan Holloway hair, but still haven't had chance to actually set my hair in curls to really do it justice.

Outfit Rundown:
Dress: Day Trip Sundress
Shoes: Miu Miu Teacup Shoes
Accessories: Society Pearls in coral and white, and my favorite handmade elastic belt!
Hair: soft wave hair piece turned under into a bouffant ponytail, and blended with curled rolls (tutorial to follow on how I get all my rolls and curls in my stick straight hair without a single hot iron or roller set!)


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