Vintage & Fashion news, pretty vintage items and of course wee bit personal life style ramblings of an eleven year on line vintage clothing seller, avid fashion, antique and vintage lover

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mark Shaw A Legend in Vintage Fashion Photography

Mark Shaw ~ 1955

It would be so simple to just buy vintage at an estate, put it on a mannequin, take pictures then sell it. For me, like most sellers, there's tons of research involved. To present it honestly and date it accurately we research.

The most wonderful way to date an item is to "luck out" and find an ad with your item in it. Not common, but it does happen. Ten years ago, that is exactly what happened to me while researching Vanity Fair lingerie. I discovered the most amazing ads.

Immediately sidetracked, I started researching the photographer for the ads. I was in love. Mark Shaw, without a doubt is one of the best photographers ever. A true legend. Even more so when you consider this work was done in the 1950s, when imagination was the source with a 35 millimeter camera and no options such as air brushing or photobucket. His work is all original and advanced beyond his time.

Mr. Shaw did a 10 year series of ads for Vanity Fair Lingerie in the 1950's. They were totally progressive, imaginative and stunningly beautiful. Adding to the mystery, rarely does Mr. Shaw show the model's face, focusing on the lingerie instead, presenting it in such glamour. Mr. Shaw won numerous awards for his Vanity Fair Ads.

Immediately I began collecting them. I started framing the ads on the walls in my office. They are just absolutely beautiful and to be admired. My obsession with Mr. Shaw's work then extended to his books as well. To my knowledge there are five books with his work featured, including next on my list ~ "Charmed by Audrey: Life on the Set of Sabrina" with his photographs of Audrey Hepburn.

From the Vanity Fair ads, I progressed to designer clothing ads. Just as beautiful. just as imaginative. So ahead of his time, Mark Shaw used exotic backgrounds and beautiful locations.

Designers from top - Balenciaga, Chanel, Givenchy, Jacques Faith

Celebrities loved but most of all trusted him. He photographed many Hollywood stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot, Princess Grace Kelly, and became the photographer for Audrey Hepburn on the set of the movie Sabrina. He brought out the beauty in all of his subjects, be it a fabulous couture gown, Audrey sitting on a sofa or Bridgitte sitting on stone stairs:

Mark Brigitte Bardot 1958

Mr. Shaw also took pictures of other famous people, such as Danny Kaye, Cary Grant, Pope Paul VI, Yves St. Laurent and Chanel. Coco Chanel 1957

Life Magazine featured Mark Shaw's work on 27 covers, as well as fashion work for Harper's Bazaar, Esquire and Mademoiselle magazines.

Also famous as a photographer for President Kennedy, becoming friends with the family and taking many casual pictures of the President, Jackie Kennedy and of course life with their children. In fact, Mark Shaw's work can be found in the book The John F. Kennedys: A Family Album.

Jackie Kennedy by Mark Shaw 1961

Sadly, Mark.Shaw passed away much too young at age 47 in 1969. His talent, creativity and imagination would be limitless with today's technology.

Fortunately for us, Mr. Shaw's son David and his wife have not only archived all Mr. Shaw's work, much of it unpublished and never seen before in a The Mark Shaw Photographic Archive in Vermont, and is currently the only solar and wind-powered photo archive in the world.

The archive is completely green in their business practices, and donates a portion of its profits to fund Earth Sweet Home, a non-profit educational program teaching children and adults about sustainable living.

As proud as David is of his father's work, I am sure Mark would be just as proud of his son for not only offering Mark's work to the public, but his devotion to the environment.

my personal collection of prints, ads and books

Friday, July 22, 2011

Luxurious Miss Elaine Vintage Nightgowns in Pretty Pastel Colors

Miss Elaine has been creating beautiful, and comfortable lingerie since 1926. As a family owned business, they are now third generation operating it. Miss Elaine is known for their simple, classic but flattering styles, from free flowing peasant to stretch lace goddess nightgown.

Luxurious, they have the most ultra silky, fluid nylon in their gowns in beautiful soft pastels. Extremely well constructed, they last a lifetime and more. Absolutely heavenly against your skin, and true to even today's gowns, available at better lingerie stores.

Even though they are still available, the vintage styles aren't.. so the only way you can enjoy some of these fabulous designs by Miss Elaine, is to shop vintage! Here are just a few available at

Vintage Pretties

Vintage Nightgown Miss Elaine Pink Full Sweep Ultra Silky M L Vee Neck

Vintage Nightgown Miss Elaine Lilac Pereiwinkle Blue Antron Long Nightgown Med Lg

Vintage Nightgown Miss Elaine Peach nylon Tall Lace Inset M L Feminine Sexy

Miss Elaine apricot wrap dressing gown

Vintage Pretties

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Conquering Landscaping in the Texas Heat

Once upon a time there was the most beautiful "English Garden".. the problem of an odd shaped back yard transformed into completely glorious flowers.

Unlike fairy tales, there was no happy ending here.

Fifteen years ago my daughters' and I literally tore up the grass in the back yard. We made a stepping stone path from the street, across the side of the front lawn and into the back yard, courtesy of a walk maker and 185 bags of cement. Not all in one day, lol.. but weeks. We had fun adding sea shells from Hawaii and Florida to them, hand prints, dates and even (accidental) dog paw prints.

We had a friend dig a tiered pond for a bog and water garden. A huge pond that no longer holds water. Mind you we're on a hill of solid rock. As in nautilus fossils and dinosaur bones. You can't plant a rose without a rock bar. Its that bad.

And we planted. Oh, did we plant. The yard was sectioned into different aspects. There was a friendship garden with plants donated by friends. There was a succulent garden, then the main area of the yard, and then the Secret / Moonlight garden, planted with all white flowers and a little white wood love seat.

Over the years, the extreme heat and colder than normal winters, all the plants died. You know its hot when even native succulents die. Everything was replaced with Xeriscape plants. Suddenly by last year, the drought and dry conditions in Texas even got them. This year only my iris survived. Hosta and lilies that should be huge were just sad little plants, barely 12' tall. Fortunately, the rose garden thrived.

So this was "the year" to fix all that. I can't stand having coffee on my back porch every morning to look at barren dirt. Since March, I have "disciplined" myself to re-do the back yard. To avoid the heat, I'd do the coffee at 6am outside, and begin working by 7am until noon each day. I put in a raised bed garden with tomatoes and strawberries, installed a soaker hose and dragged in 103 bags of mulch.

The goal is no longer English Garden, but "park".. I'm happy to not see weeds or dead plants and have had to start all over again. I'm hoping this is the last time.

What does all this have to do with vintage? Other than the fact I should be listing new vintage instead of playing in the yard ~ Nothing. Just another ramble by me, totally off topic. But ~ there is a vintage cast iron bed headboard my ivy grows on, and a vintage white iron gate leading to the secret garden, and lots of little vintage cans I use as planters. So I guess that qualifies?

And as soon as this HORRID heat breaks, which makes it difficult to even work outside even at 7am, on to conquer the leaking pond!