21 September 2015

The Dressmaker - 50s Vintage with a Vengeance

The Dressmaker is an upcoming film directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse, based on the 2000 novel of the same name by Rosalie Ham, that explores the themes of revenge, love and creativity, beautifully set against a 1950s backdrop, where the fashion style and glamour of the era is used as a tool for both transformation and revenge. It had its world premiere at the just concluded Toronto International Film Festival (10 September - 20 September) on the 14th of September and will have a world wide release during the coming Autumn. 

The Dressmaker

Kate Winslet stars as the dressmaker who as a child, after being falsely accused of murder, is forced to leave her home in rural Australia for Europe. There she is taught the art of haute couture by Madeleine Vionnet and becomes an expert dressmaker. But after many years of success she must return to her small hometown in order to take care of her ailing, mentally unstable mother. Arriving with her sewing machine and haute couture style she starts to transform this miserable and suppressed place by her fashion designs and sewing skills, and between the glamorous styles and colorful clothes, she exacts some long awaited sweet vengeance on those who wronged her all those years ago.  

When one thinks of 1950s fashion, words such as elegance, style and glamour springs to mind and rightly so, which makes it an excellent backdrop for elegant revenge, with a glamorous femme fatal. The 50s, being a decade born out of years of depression and two World Wars, was a time shaped by the desperate cravings not only for peace and prosperity, but also for glamour, elegance and style. 

And this made way for grand designs made of opulent materials such as chiffon, fur and sequins and gave the Parisian haute couture a renaissance with designers such as Cristóbal Balenciaga, Hubert deGivenchy, Pierre Balmain, Coco Chanel and Madeleine Vionnet.

And to the west, American culture gaining more influence and popularity, would through Hollywood turn movie stars into glamorous style icons, with the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and Grace Kelly.

Typical stylistic elements of the time were of course the well known corseted waist, creating the stylized hour glass figure or the wasp waist. Other stylistic trends of the era were the broadened shoulders, swirling knee-length skirts, long coats, hats with small veils, gloves, stockings and pearl necklaces. The clothes were simply cut and would often include some memorable detail, such as a low-cut back to a dress or some particularly stunning accessory.

Jewellery typical for the period would present sharp, geometric patterns celebrating the machine age, and put together more exotic creations inspired by the Near and Far East hinting at the fact that jewellery of this time were truly international.

And here at Grays we have many beautiful vintage pieces to choose from. Below you can see some of the items to be found from this era...

1950s amber coloured brooches, offered by Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery

Classic 1950s gloves, offered by Arabella Bianco

1950s Gold tone and yellow glass stone necklace, offered by Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery
1950s Jacket offered by June Victor
Sets were very popular in the 50s, this necklace, brooch and earrings set with glass stones is offered by Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery

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