I was excited to see the new August issue of British Vogue presenting a beautiful forties style fashion editorial perfectly portrayed by Brit Girl Kate Moss. It’s my all time favourite fashion period – the poise, the composure, the flawlessness and oh the romance! Whenever I come across fashion photos or film stills from that era I’m transported into a world of grainy black and white movies, their simmering, restrained sexuality and incomprehensible, crackly voices.
But really it’s about the fashions, that hourglass silhouette accentuated by a bold, padded shoulder-line, a trim waist and those curvaceous hips poured into a tight pencil skirt hitting mid calf. I love it!
If you can’t afford to splash out on Mui Mui, Gucci or Lanvin as suggested by this Vogue edition then I’d recommend hitting the vintage stores. Unfortunately most vintage clothing from that period is limited by the sizes available (they were pretty petite in those days), and price and condition. If you’re handy with the needle and thread then you’re lucky – genuine forties paper patterns can easily be bought online so it’s easy to tailor your own contemporary version, and better still Vogue Patterns have re-issued a selection of their original 1940’s patterns, click here to link.
However forties full length slips and gowns seem to be easier to come by in vintage stores, bias cutting made popular by Vionnet provides an easier more flexible fit and they’re usually in quite good condition. Of course you need to wear them with a deep red lipstick and a sultry expression and you absolutely have to learn the art of lounging and looking gorgeous at the same time!
Lingerie is key to the look too, shape is everything. Because bras became readily available during the forties, the bustline was emphasized and separate “girdles” shaped the hips and waist. Take a look at the Triumph 1932 Lace Sensation Padded Bra and High Waist Tummy Control Brief – this combination will give you an amazing shape and they look fantastically retro too. The 7041 Seductive Shape Underwire Bra and Panty Girdle by Naturana Exklusiv also produces a perfect forties silhouette. The look is genuinely vintage but has the modern advantages of stretch and comfort – as well as the panty girdle’s discreet hidden zipper at the front for easy dressing!
And finally to complete a strictly forties look there’s the “Marlene Dietrich eyebrows”, they’re extreme, you need to pluck them all out and then pencil them back in- not something I’d recommend – that’s commitment!
So have fun with the forties, it’s probably a trend about to happen…….
Joan Crawford image: Joan Crawford « The Seductive Blog
Forties illustration from Les Dessous De La Feminite by Farid Chenoune
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