Out and About in Los Angeles

One sure way to get me away from my sewing room is TRAVEL. Sometimes, however, there is a lot of sewing that happens before that travel commences. The impetus to the creation of my recent fancy dress was, indeed, a recent trip to Los Angeles, California, which was part business for my husband and pure pleasure for me. The lovely hotel where we were staying was actually in Beverly Hills, at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive. For those of you unfamiliar with Rodeo Drive, it is one of the most exclusive shopping areas for fashion and jewelry in the US. Although I am not much of a shopper at home – either window shopping or real shopping – it is quite a pleasure to do just that while on vacation.

Because I sew, I probably look at fashions with quite a different eye than most people.   My interest in the current influence of mid-century fashion and the use of beautiful, fine fabrics guided my approach, as both were on full view on Rodeo Drive. The first morning while my husband was in business meetings, I went out before most stores were open and snapped a few pictures of store windows. I was delighted to see this tailored Escada gown transformed into a totally feminine look with its voluminous bow:

Escada gown

The St. John Store featured this straight skirt and overblouse (with demure fur collar), with a flavor reminiscent of the 1960s:

The reflection of palm trees in the window obscures some of the fashions.

The reflection of palm trees in the window obscures some of the fashions, but I love this understated, but sophisticated look.

And what could be more classic than this jacket and blouse with a bow, also St. John.

St John jacket and blouse

How I loved this Little Black Dress by St. John, made with lace-embellished fabric:

A front view ...

A front view …

... and a back view.  The V-back is just lovely!

… and a back view. The V-back is just lovely!

Later in the day, I was captivated by some of the fashions I saw in some of the stores, especially Dolce and Gabbana and Hermes. Unfortunately photos were not allowed, so I cannot show you the classic princess lined coats and lace dresses in Dolce and Gabbana made from fabrics which were either identical to or close relatives to some pique and lace that Mendel Goldberg carries in their store in NYC. And Hermes had a color-blocked coat that looked right out of the early 1970s.

One excursion I wanted to make while we were in LA was to the museum of the Fashion Institute of Design and Marketing. I follow their blog, which regularly features items and fashion from their permanent collection, from all time periods. They have two small exhibit spaces which were currently featuring items from the Helen Larson Historic Fashion collection in one gallery and “Inspired Eye” in another gallery.

Inspired Eye is an exhibit of items from the Donald and Joan Damask Design Collection.  The exhibit  includes classic photographs as well as accessories and items of apparel.

Inspired Eye is an exhibit of items from the Donald and Joan Damask Design Collection. The exhibit includes classic photographs as well as accessories and items of apparel.

It was fun to see this Claire McCardell dress, circa 1950, looking every bit as fashionable now as then.

Claire McCardell dress

(Check out Julie’s recreation of a similar Claire McCardell dress on her blog, JetSetSewing)

Of course, for me, one thing I was looking forward to was the event to which I could wear my new fancy dress. As luck would have it, our camera was acting up for some unknown reason, so my husband had to resort to his iPhone for a couple of pictures of me wearing it.

LA fancy dress

One thing was certain – no one else at the party was wearing anything quite like it!

LA fancy dress

Our trip continued up to northern California, where we spent a few days with our son and his girlfriend, and which also included a trip to Britex Fabrics in San Francisco, where I picked up a few choice notions and buttons. Now we are home and a new project is strewn out in my sewing room, asking for attention before TRAVEL once again will wisk me away.


Filed under Cocktail dresses, Little Black Dress, Mid-Century style, Uncategorized

32 responses to “Out and About in Los Angeles

  1. onyxnoir

    It’s a shame you didn’t get a chance to visit the fabric district in downtown LA while you were here.

    • Actually, I knew the fabric district was only a couple of blocks away from FIDM, but we had limited time – and also, my husband was kind enough to come with me to the FIDM; I didn’t want to make him go fabric shopping with me, too!

  2. Your dress is just adorable and beautiful at the same time! I know you had a great trip – I’d love to shop at Britex sometime!

    • Thanks, Sarah! I was in button heaven while I was there – it was difficult not to buy buttons that I had absolutely no use for! And of course, that’s just one of the charms of Britex!

  3. It’s lovely to see the finished dress after so much work! Your trip sounds wonderful.

  4. Your dress is magnificent! Thanks for the photos from your window shopping. I did the same thing in Paris last Christmas Day; loads of inspiration and no shopkeepers annoyed I was taking photos. Sounds like a wonderful trip!

  5. You look wonderful in your dress! It will be interesting to see if LA inspiration will influence your sewing choices in the coming months. Have a nice summer and enjoy your travels!

  6. What a gorgeous dress! You look lovely (and the yellow is so nice).

  7. Jackie

    Your dress is absolutely outstanding!! The white lace is gorgeous and I’m sure you had the most beautiful dress at the event.

  8. Cissie

    You look exceptionally gorgeous (and proud) in your dress. Incredible job, as usual.

  9. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip to Los Angeles! Your dress is amazing as well, it should be in one of those windows!

  10. Your dress is fantastic, and you look beautiful! And what fun window shopping in that tony neighb. I would have loved to see that McCardell. Was it knit jersey or woven? Thanks for the blog shoutout by the way.

  11. Lovely inspiration pictures and the thing I most like about your party dress is the subtle way the white lace works at the top. Excellent.

  12. Looking at what is in the stores is always such an inspiration for me too! The boldness of your dress – white, yellow and blue is fantastic!

  13. Mary Lynn

    What a classic look! So lovely! Beautifully made and worn.

  14. onyxnoir

    My first comment is still awaiting moderation? I promise I’m not a spam bot. I enjoy reading this blog.

  15. Marguerite

    So gorgeous! What fun to have not only the ability to make such a stunning garment, but an occasion to wear it! It surely could be in a boutique window! Or walking the red carpet!

  16. You look fabulous, and so does that beautiful dress. Thanks for sharing your window shopping.

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