Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lipstick traces: Velvet Goldmine filming locations

"The secret of becoming a star is knowing how to behave like one."
I may or may not have expressed my undying love for Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine in this blog before. I saw it in the cinema back when it was first released in 1998, when I was 14 - and I'm not even kidding when I say that it pretty much changed my life. Now, in 2011, I have seen it tens and tens of times and I'm still as in love with it as I was back in the day. It is one of those films that I can watch countless of times and never tire of it. Instead, I always find something new and interesting. And, most of all, for me Velvet Goldmine equals two hours of pure, unadulterated entertainment.

So when my darling friend, soulmate and fellow Velvet Goldmine devotee Mycah visited me in London this fall, we spent a day visiting locations related to our favourite movie. We first hopped on the train to Chiswick and headed over to the gorgeous Chiswick House and Gardens, where the photoshoot montage featuring Brian and Mandy Slade and his band was filmed. We were so giddy to be there and discover that very little has changed about the location since the filming of the movie. Needless to say, we could not resist re-enacting the scenes much to the horror and/or delight of the onlookers. As they once wrote, camp isn't just a row of tents. Next we returned back to central London and went to Lambeth Bridge, where parts of the opening credits featuring glam rock fans were were filmed. Lastly, we visited the location depicted as the birthplace of Oscar Wilde, set in Dublin 1854, which was filmed just off Brick Lane.

It was an amazing day and made our geek hearts very, very happy indeed. Here's a collage that Mycah put together of our Velvet Goldmine day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hats and coats and leaves, oh my!

I am not a big fan of fall and I, quite frankly, dread winter. And I especially dislike dressing for the aforementioned seasons. Some people love layering up and look good whilst doing so - but for some reason I always look end up looking more like a homeless person. This year, however, I decided to prepare myself for the cold well in advance. Now that the temperatures dropped quickly and fall is in full swing here in London, I'm so glad that I did too.

I have been hunting for the perfect princess coat all year around but, unfortunately, they're very rare to come by in my size and price range. However, I did manage to find this 1940s Bon Marche labelled wool coat, which I really like. It is warm and endlessly more elegant than the large majority of modern coats that I look at. I just love the strong silhouette of an early 40s coat. I recently also got this beret style navy wool felt hat with rhinestone and bugle bead leaf detail, also from the 40s, which has quickly become one of my favourites. I completed the look with my grey Poetic License Blacklash shoes with blue ribbon laces.

With a jazzy new wardrobe, perhaps fall and winter won't be as bad after all.

Coat - 1940s vintage (via alpamal4349 on Ebay)
Hat - 1940s vintage (via dead-rare-records on Ebay)
Dress - 1940s vintage (via TwilaJeanVintage on Etsy)
Handbag - Vintage (thrifted)
Shoes - Poetic License Blacklash

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Being Black Dahlia

Happy belated All Hallows' Eve! I hope you all had a deliciously spooktastic extended weekend.

I'm happy to report that I finally had my Halloween dream come true this year.

Mind you, it is not really that big of a deal in Finland and I've just never gotten around to dressing up, proper costume style, for Halloween before. Many of my friends were on the same boat as me so we decided to put some effort into it this year. At first I wanted to do something entirely different from my everyday self (i.e. not wear vintage) but I just couldn't get the idea of going as the Black Dahlia out of my head. I suppose because I've been fascinated by the Elizabeth Short case for years. I'm just a little morbid like that.

I had the perfect 1940s dress in my closet just waiting to be taken out! It is a sheer black crepe number with a bow on bodice and flaps at front of skirt, which make it the perfect dress for dancing. I bought it from TwilaJeanVintage via Etsy in 2009. Love the dress but I wear it very rarely, simply because I don't feel at home in black. But for this occasion it was truly perfect. A black wig, black dahlia hair flower, black stockings, and black 40s pumps completed the look. And, of course, the scars.

I've never done special fx make-up before so I practised for a couple of days and, in the end, I'm fairly happy with how it turned out on the day itself. I used Grimas scar wax as a base for the scars and filled them with face paint and fake blood. And, miraculously, the scars stayed on my face all night.

A vampire, a zombie sailor and Twilight's Jacob Black rounded up our posse as we spent the night parading and dancing around London Town. It was a super fun evening and I can't wait to do it again next year!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Red and white picnic plaid dress

One of my favourite dresses of this past summer is this 1940s Louisa Alcott labelled day dress. It is a soft, semi-sheer cotton frock in a bright, lipstick red and white picnic plaid. My Australian soul mate Andi B. Goode found this little number on Etsy earlier this year. I immediately snagged it - and I'm so glad that I did! It came with some flaws but the price was very decent and my friend Rhia did work on it to make it wearable again. It is the perfect summer dress and I've worn it to many picnics and outings in the past few months.

On Saturday the highest October temperature on record - 29.9C (85.8F) - was recorded in the UK. My friends and I headed out to the seaside to Brighton and Seaford in East Sussex to make the most of the stunning day and I got to take my dress for one last outing of the summer. I paired it with a red wicker purse, a red belt and a hair flower. And nautical style flats, the same ones as in the previous outfit - only in red this time. In fact, I love these Primark flats so much that I have them in four different colours.

Mind you, I climbed all the way up the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs in this outfit AND a drunken gentleman called me Dorothy. I think that both of these facts testament to the awesomeness of this look. But the trip itself is worth a post of its own so stay tuned for that!

Dress - 1940s vintage (via bottleblondevintage on Etsy)
Handbag - 1960s vintage (via ValsVintageShoppe on Etsy)
Shoes - Primark
Belt - Vivien of Holloway
Hair flower - Accessorize

Photo by Kendra Bean

Friday, September 30, 2011

An Indian summer

Slight change of plans. I just moved houses and packed away my summer clothing. For the past few weeks I have been planning to write about vintage wear for fall and winter but I simply had not had the time to get to it yet. And, alas, just as I returned from the very chilly Helsinki, where fall is currently in full swing, the temperatures soared up to a whopping 29c (84F) here in London this week. My Londoner friends tell me that an "Indian summer" is not uncommon in England - but weather this warm during the last days of September is certainly something new to a Finnish gal! It is a little absurd to see the leaves change colour and fall during a heatwave. But, hey, I'm certainly not complaining!

So I went back to my box of summer clothing and dug out this early 1960s playsuit, another fabulous Fab Gabs purchase from last year. I basically lived in it all of summer 2010 but I only got to wear it maybe once this year because we didn't have much of a summer in London at all. Until now, that is. I paired the vibrant coloured cotton playsuit (it has pockets, by the way! Love!) with some of my favourite high street accessory finds of this past summer, all mint green, and a matching Arthelia's Attic ribbon snood. And headed out to the sun deck with some good music and a good book. A pretty good way to spend the last day of September, if you ask me.

Playsuit - 1960s vintage (via fabgabs on Etsy)
Hair snood - Custom made by Arthelia's Attic
Shoes - Primark
Sunnies - Asos (thanks to Andi B. Goode for the tip!)
Belt - Topshop

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Quote of the moment - Orlando

"Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, as they say, more important offices than merely to keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world's view of us."
- Virginia Woolf, Orlando (1928)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

An afternoon at Hampstead Heath

Picnic at the breathtakingly beautiful Hampstead Heath makes for a pretty perfect afternoon.

Friday, July 29, 2011

By the sea

On Monday the sky cleared and sun came out to play. My friend Marjo and I decided to head over to Brighton for a day trip to make most of the summer-y weather. This was the first time visiting Brighton for both of us - and we were positively enchanted by the city! We spend all day enjoying carousel and ghost rides, eating Brighton Rock candy, drinking milkshake and playing games at Brighton Pier. And sitting by the beach, just basking in the glory of the sea and sunshine. Perfect day, really.

I wrote about my obsession with pink day dresses a couple of days back and, thanks to the beautiful weather, I was able to take one of my own for an outing. And one of my very favourite frocks at that! I bought this 1930s cotton feedsack house dress from Fab Gabs in early 2010. The dress features a whimsical floral print in pink, blue and white. It has a low lace trimmed collar and Deco style "w" seaming at the hips. There's a white modestly inset at the neckline. It is getting hard to find cotton feedsack dresses in such good shape, and especially in larger sizes, so I really and truly treasure mine.

Oh and a little girl asked if I am a real princess. So, there you have it; concrete proof that a pink vintage dress can really get you places! :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Think pink!

Despite the London summer being what is it, I find myself being drawn to pink day dresses at the moment. Especially striped and plaid ones have my big girly heart. Here are a few of my current favourite frocks via Etsy. They come in a variety of sizes, prices and eras so there should be something for every lady looking to add a touch of whimsy into their wardrobe.

1940s cotton day dress via fabfabs

1940s floral cotton dress via simplicityisbliss

1950s peppermint check dress via DearGoldenVintage

1950s 1960s striped dress via BohemianBisoux

Friday, July 15, 2011

Girl love, vintage style

With vintage imagery and classic films dominantly depicting opposite-sex relationships and sexuality, queer vintage bloggers being far and between, and many of the vintage related activities largely relying on heterosexual coupling (such as swing dancing), the vintage scene can sometimes feel alienating those of us who are not straight. But it doesn't have to be that way, you know.

Here's to girl love, vintage style!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Baby Betty blouse and skirt set by TheBlackPinafore

As some of you may remember, I've posted before about my obsession with pinafore skirts custom made for me by TheBlackPinafore. So when Debora asked me if I'd like to collaborate on a new design with her, I immediately jumped at the chance! The result is a design named Baby Betty, which has been modified from original vintage patterns. The blouse has puffed sleeves, a large open collar and is closed by a row of four buttons. The A-line skirt has large pockets with flaps that match the blouse - such a cute little detail! For the blouse I chose a blue based cotton fabric with a small strawberry print. This fabric is like the very definition of adorable! For the skirt I went with a nice, classic royal blue fabric.

I'm very, very happy with the results! Because I very rarely attend fancy dress events, I mainly go for vintage clothing that I can wear every day, clothing that combines both cute and comfortable. And that is exactly what the Baby Betty design does!

Yesterday my friend Katie and I headed to the Southbank, one of my favourite areas of London, to snap some photos of the outfit. We decided to use these decorated beach huts as a backdrop for the photoshoot. Many thanks to Katie for the photos!

Like what you see? You can get your own custom made blouse and skirt set right here at the TheBlackPinafore Etsy shop! Better yet - TheBlackPinafore is offering the readers of this blog 10% off a purchase until July 31! Just quote BABYBETTY when checking out and Debora will refund the money on your account. Ta-da!

Photos by Katie Sawyer

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Purple & green check dress by Montgomery Ward

I won this late 1940s/early 1950s vintage day dress with a purple and green check pattern on Ebay a couple of months back. I quite literally gasped when I came across this number (and won it for a decent price!) because it combines so many details that I'm obsessed with, such as bow detailing and wide hip pockets. Oh my! Plus, I love the colour combination. Better yet, the dress was deadstock with the original tags still attached, albeit the original belt was missing. I don't know about you but I always feel a sense of guilt when I remove originals tags from a decades old item that has never been used. But, in the end, these dresses were made for wearing! After my friend Dale shortened the skirt a little bit for me, I was excited to take it out and about on its first outing last weekend!

The one of the tags tells me that the cotton dress is by Montgomery Ward. According to Vintage Fashion Guild, Montgomery Ward was the world's first mail order catalog business. It was established in 1872 by Aaron Montgomery Ward. The business was catalog-only until 1926, when the first Montgomery Ward store was opened in Plymouth, Indiana. Within four years there were more than 500 stores across the country. During the 1950s Montgomery Ward began to fall behind its competition, as most major retailers were moving to the suburbs. By the 1970s the company was in serious trouble. They continued to struggle and declared bankruptcy in 1997.

But here I am in 2011 wearing my Montgomery Ward dress. I paired it with 1940s suede pumps, a white belt and a purple hair flower. It was a little chilly outside so I wore it with a green sweater outside, as evident in my previous post.

Lastly, as some of you have already noticed, I have finally put up a new look here at Harlean's Heyday! My partner Minna Nora painted the header (watercolor and pencil on paper) while my friend Mycah helped me modify the design. It is good to have creative people in your life when you're rather on the helpless side yourself. ;) Russian Red smooches at both for their help!

I hope you like the new layout as much as I do!

Glamour of the Gods: Hollywood Portraits

Me with a photo of Jean Harlow
by George Hurrell, 1933

This past weekend I went to see Glamour of the Gods: Hollywood Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in London, an exhibit that I've been looking forward to for months. It showcases Hollywood portraiture from the industry's Golden Age, the period from 1920 to 1960. The exhibition is drawn from the archive of the John Kobal Foundation and features over 70 photographs, most of which are vintage prints displayed in the UK for the first time. The collection is exhibited in the four rooms of the Porter Gallery and are divided per decade. Many of the greatest stars of the era are featured in these exquisite portraits that transformed the actors and actresses into international style icons. We not only get to see the iconic portraits but also learn about the studio photographers behind them. Their invaluable contribution to the mythos of the stars, I feel, is often overlooked. The artistry of these Hollywood photographers really is breathtaking. It is such a pity that the art of Hollywood portrait and still photography has largely been lost along the years.

Ronald Colman and Vilma Bánky in a still for The Magic Flame
by Kenneth Alexander, 1927

Portraits of several of my favourite stars are showcased, including Jean Harlow, Rita Hayworth, Vivien Leigh, Clara Bow, Lillian Gish, Gloria Swanson, Louise Brooks and Carole Lombard. The images themselves are not rare, per se, and I had seen the majority of them before. But the difference between studying an original vintage print up close and in person than looking at the photo in a book or on computer screen is massive, needless to say. I also came across intriguing photographs that I had never seen before, like the gorgeous still from The Magic Flame by Kenneth Alexander (above).

Press room at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
by unidentified photographer

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the exhibit are the behind the scenes images. Many of them are not on the walls but tucked in cabinets, such as a photograph of Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne that has been marked up for retouching. One photo shows Janis Carter being photographed with six different people working around her to create an image of goddess-like perfection. There are also unretouched portraits of Joan Crawford that show her cute, natural freckles, and the retouched version for comparison.

Glamour of the Gods: Hollywood Portraits runs at the National Portrait Gallery until October 23 and is well worth a look if you happen to be around London! Further details available at the website.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Beauty tips from Jean Harlow

While doing research for my thesis I happened to come across these fun beauty tips from Jean Harlow upon browsing a vintage press book for her film The Girl from Missouri (1934). You might want to take some of these with a grain of salt, especially the bit regarding her hair and there being no tricks to it. :)

"Personally, I dislike a made-up look. I never wear mascara unless my screen work demands it. I use only powder and lipstick."

"I believe too much make-up is bad for women who prefer a healthy, natural complexion. Every woman knows what make-up she desires, and she should deal with it judiciously."

"Of course, we use different make-up for our screen work than we do in our personal lives. The same thing applies to clothes. Clothes and make-up are always a part of characterization. You must adapt yourself to the character you are portraying on the screen. That is the reason they call us actresses and actors."

"There are no tricks to the care of my hair at all. I use castile soap and shampoo it like everyone else might do. I never use a rinse. I shampoo it every four days, but I rub hot castor oil into my scalp before every shampoo."

"Do the studio lights damage it? Well, they dry it. Also, I'm always getting powder in my hair from my make-up. I never wear a hat, you know, and the sun burns my hair and turns it yellow. I don't mind that because I hate hats."

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dancing in the street

On Saturday my friends and I headed out into the city to celebrate Pride - and my first ever Pride at that! It was pretty surreal to see Regent Street and Whitehall up until Trafalgar Square closed for traffic. Instead, these massive streets of London were filled with tens of thousands of onlookers, each more colourful than the other. Gays here, gays there, gays everywhere! We watched the parade at Piccadilly Circus, cheering, applauding, singing, dancing and showing our support to all of hundreds of gay rights groups and organisations that took part in the parade. It was a really, really awesome day and made me wish every day was Pride day! I thought I'd share a handful of snaps from the parade.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Fintage picnic, part II

Like back in July of last year, the most stylish people in all of Finland, also known as the members of Fintage, got together for a picnic in Tampere's Näsinpuisto earlier this month. This time a total of 12 vintage enthusiasts showed up to catch up with friends both old and new, chat about all things vintage, browse through old magazines and books and, of course, eat, eat and eat some more. I certainly can't think of many things better in life than the combination of good food and good company.

I wore this blue 1940s party dress that I got from Ebay in early 2010 - but never got around to wearing until now. It has a beautiful rose print, rhinestone buttons and peekaboo details on the bodice that I don't see in dresses of that era too often. I really adore the dress, it is so comfortable and yet so pretty.

Dress - 1940s vintage dress (via jumblelaya on Ebay)
Hat - 1930s vintage (via Hoochie Mama Jane at Tampere Vintage)
Handbag - 1950s vintage (thrifted)
Shoes - 1950s vintage (via Fiona Timantti)

A handful of the photos via Fintage