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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Letter from the Editor: ALT, gingham

Vogue is not the same without ALT and his "Life With Andre"... I miss Andre Leon Talley!  On the upside, Hurray for my own little stash-of-fashion museum!  Tucked into boxes and shelves are a paper and fabric paradise for the lover of fashion history, where yesterday I revisited ALT on pages 222-224 of Vogue October 2011 in "Life With Andre".  His Thoroughly Modern Millicent made me remember why I miss Andre: he's a reader, observer, and detailed describer.  Andre inspires my fashion imagination sharing his October 2011 reads - biographies of Millicent Rogers and Catherine the Great.  Via Andre, I imagine Millicent in her grand finale Apache-style Schiaparelli dress, with a silver concho belt and a chief's blanket for extra flair.  When Andre describes Catherine the Great's understated and elegant masked ball ensemble - which sounds very Marie Antoinette at Petit Trianon - it appears in my mind's eye:
"Catherine wore a bodice and skirt of rough white cloth (instead of the expected stately brocades and ornately embroidered bodices), a white gauze ruff, an apron, and cuffs with an easy ponytail tied with a white ribbon, a rose tucked in."
This choice of what-I-imagine-to-be handwoven nubby cotton or linen - paired with the gauze, and accented with a rose sounds absolutely perfect - I love it!  Sometimes our eyes get tired of too much.  Too much can be overstimulating. 

Here I must mention gingham.  Several months ago, my snail mail friend E sent me pages from a 1962 McCall's booklet featuring cross stitch on gingham... noting she finds it cheerful, nostalgic, and representative of simpler, easier times.  Coincidentally, a little fashion syzygy occurred.  My search for ALT writing synchronized with the memory of Oscar de la Renta's S/S 2015 gingham and with the memory of E's cross stitch-on-gingham booklet.  Imagine the cross-stitch treatment applied to Oscar de la Renta's supersized gingham!
cross stitch on gingham image, McCall's 1962
Now to close, I'll leave you with a little link where you'll find something I find absolutely charming - combining the idea of Catherine the Great's apron, with of-the-moment gingham, and the cross-stitch-on-gingham idea. Katie at treasurefrommytrunk at Etsy has several vintage aprons featuring this cross stitch-on-gingham. My favorite is a pink gingham apron with red-crowned black roosters parading around its hem!