Wednesday, October 14, 2015

American Duchess' Kensington shoes! (and a bit of Versailles)

Hi everyone,

-Yes, it's been a while, are you still there? Great!-

To congratulate myself on getting a new job I ordered American Duchess' Kensington shoes, which I've been pining for since the moment I knew they existed. I got the red ones because, obviously, nothing is better than red shoes.

They arrived relatively quickly (USA-Netherlands), but I did have to pay an additional 21% customs tax before I could get my hands on them... The downside of international online shopping. That did make them a bit more expensive than I had expected, but well, they are worth it.

Picture time!

I ordered the 'Fleur' buckles with them, and my boyfriend helped me with punching the holes in the flaps to attach the buckles (that did require some mental strength!).

They're sliiiightly on the big side, but fit fine otherwise. The heel is very stable and they're comfortable to walk in. I did get a blister on one heel when I walked in them all day but I suppose I could get that from any new shoes. Mostly they're just really, really pretty and I'm very happy that I finally own them!

I got them just in time to wear to Versailles, which is the most perfect place I could ever imagine wearing these to! I only wish I had a complimenting robe à la française, but I'll have to work on that (someday...). 
I'll devote another post to Versailles and the rest of our trip, these are just the pictures with my shoes in them. 

It was very crowded and hot. Not fun, as you can tell by my uncomfortable fake smile. We're going back in the low season to fully enjoy the palace. 

But I was still super excited to be there! I danced around on these beautiful tiles (home of the King of ballet + awesome shoes + pretty floor = obligatory dancing) but sadly there's no video material. 

That's just the pedestal of a really big equestrian statue of Louis XIV, as you can see, one of my history crushes (he's second after Leonardo da Vinci). 

Last pic!
I'll write about Versailles and the rest once I've edited all the photo's, which might take a while with 3 exams and a paper coming up...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A 1920's evening

I realize it's over a year since I last posted. I started a new study (law) and my boyfriend moved in with me in my student house so my life has been both physically and mentally cramped to the brink. I simply haven't had space in my schedule and in my head to think about pretty dresses. But this week we've found an apartment of our own, I've sort of found my rhythm in studying and I feel like blogging about pretty dresses again!

A few weeks ago my choir had a gala event with a "roaring twenties" theme. Thanks to Downton Abbey I've really come to appreciate the decade, although I must say I like the '10s still more. I didn't want to look like a "Gatsby girl" (what I knew most of the girls who'd stick to the theme would look like -and cheap at that). I wanted to look like a Downton girl, not a chorus girl. I wanted the elegant look of the first half of the 1920s, when dresses were still long and detailed, and a hint of the 10s was still visible.
I initially thought about making something myself in the style of Sybil's harem dress:

Paul Poiret was obviously the inspiration there so I did some research about him. I also discovered Lucille, the House of Worth, the Callot Soeurs and Madeleine Vionnet, and many more wonderful designers.
I especially love the Oriental influences (both Middle and Far Eastern) in their designs and really wanted to incorporate that.

Lanvin's 'robe de style' was also an interesting option. I didn't think the straight silhouette of the 1920's would look very flattering on my figure, but the robe the style with its wide skirts could be more suitable for that.

But... making something myself was too much work. I didn't have the materials, time and space I needed, but I did have a salary from working during Christmas break that allowed me to spend an afternoon in vintage shops and come home with an absolute gem.
It is a rather straight dress, but I don't think it looks unflattering. I love the waterfall effect of the layers, and although it's a very delicate silk fabric and lots of the beading had come loose, it was in relatively good shape and I managed to fix it up so it became quite wearable.
I had to repair the shoulder straps, re-secure a lot of beading, and repair some ripped seams here and there. I also found over-the-elbow gloves, wore my mother's pearls, and my boyfriend managed to get my hair in a vintage style using a hair rat and a bazillion hair pins. He also took some pictures, and I think the end result is rather worth the effort:

Isn't the dress gorgeous?! I felt like some sort of sea goddess when I first had it on. Although I'm not necessarily a fan of heavy beading or this particular colour, it was absolutely perfect for the look I wanted. Light colours, not black, and a classy and glamorous look. I imagine this is what Lavinia Swire would've looked like if she was still in Downton Abbey by the time they reached the 20s. 

At the event, I saw a lot of girls hadn't stuck to the theme, and most of those who had wore the usual (costumey) feather boas and headbands with a little black dress. I can't deny I was flattered by a few people who said that I looked like I had stepped right out of the era. Almost too bad there wasn't a contest! 
But there was a live big band with lots of brass and great singers (the perks of being in a student choir/orchestra!) and I had a good time, and I hope I'll have the chance to wear this dress again another time!