Archive for the ‘history’ Category

tap… tap… tap… what is my inspiration this week… *sigh* too much to choose from… I went to this really beautiful photo exhibit opening on the weekend. The images were amazing… but the women who attended were even more so… vibrant, beautiful, warm and friendly… and very well dressed with lots of local talent represented… I am SO INSPIRED… I just don’t have any images to go with it…. however, on a bit of a side note… the photographer in question was non other than smalltownfrocks golden boy Louis Bockner… who had impeccably channeled Halston… camel coloured ultra suede sport jacket over black silk button down… this look is so iconic that we had to study it in fashion history when I was in school.

Source: google.ca via Lara on Pinterest

So now I’m all inspired by the work that Roy Halston produced through the 70’s… flowing jersey knits and stellar draping…

Source: antimonide.com via Lara on Pinterest

Source: google.ca via Lara on Pinterest


Read Full Post »

Things I love about this scene from ‘Some Like it Hot’

~Marilyn is all sorts of sexy roundness and NOT 22″ around the waist…
~the song is adorable and I can see where Betty Boop’s inspiration came from
~she would appear to be girdle free in this scene and throughout most of the movie ( I heard a rumour once that she was the first woman to appear on screen without a girdle… haven’t been able to find any proof of that statement…)
~the strategic beading on the chiffon bodice… HOT!
~Josephine and Daphne are working those headbands
~the bellboy is capital P persistent…lol… or is that p for passkey ;)
~Check out the set… it is Gorgeous!! I want that chandelier…

so as you go about your day…

“give them the teeth… the whole personality…”


Read Full Post »

There is a rumour going around that Marilyn Monroe was a size 16…. how much would we love for that to be true. A LOT!

Sadly, that’s just not the case… from some extensive internet research (taken with a cube of salt) I have found the following measurements to be repeated the most…

Studio: 37-23-36
Dressmaker: 35-22-35

…what’s interesting is that there are two sets of measurements. The studio version portrays a more voluptuous body than the dressmaker but both sets confirm that she had an hourglass figure that was very well proportioned. From watching her movies to death (literally, the vhs tapes gave out) it’s obvious that there was fluctuation. When you are 5′ 5 1/2″ every five pounds will add or subtract an inch from your measurements… so seeing her weight being recorded in the range of 118-140… It’s possible that at one point her hips could have been 40″… which would make her a size 12 in standard dressmaking sizes… however, since the 80’s we have been plagued with vanity sizing and so currently a woman with 40″ hips can squeeze into a size 6-8 for most things… and sometimes smaller depending on the label.

The other interesting thing that stands out for me in these measurements is her waist hip ratio… 13″. Holy stacked!! There has been a LOT of research done on what makes women sexually attractive and the consensus is that a waist-hip ratio of 10″ is ideal. I have measured hundreds of women, and most are 9″ but the 10″ is well represented… more than 10″ is unusual… and 13″ is not a ratio I have ever seen. Keeping in mind that these measurements were probably taken with her girdle firmly in place, it does explain her immense sex appeal beyond the blonde hair and pouty lips… also key indicators for sexual attraction.

So why does small town frocks care what size Marilyn wore… well, a couple of reasons… Firstly, if you are wearing a size 16 and expecting to look in the mirror and see Marilyn’s figure you are going to end up with some issues… Marilyn was corseted and padded and NOT a size 16, she also had all her clothes made by a professional who made sure the garments were flattering and fitting properly. Secondly, if you are healthy and happy then who cares what the number is… the fact of the matter is, clothes that fit properly look better and are more comfortable so you should be shopping with that in mind not the number on the tag… Thirdly, everyone knows that sexy isn’t a size it’s a state of mind.

Have a gorgeous day!


Read Full Post »

Kootenay women really know how to celebrate Spring and Summer because alas, winter always returns; we know it so well. So…our first instinct when the snow actually starts to melt is to get ourselves a Spring frock. International Women’s Day is March 8th; a perfect time to splurge on something gorgeous and locally made.

Loosening the layers and showing some skin allows the warm sun and air to caress our figure, and the flirtation with Spring begins! Here is our Ms H, looking relaxed,  in the back garden amongst the hops and flower beds in about 1933. Her sleeveless fitted frock and choker of baubles looks so fresh with the signature cropped hair of the 30s,  which is now all the rage in Nelson!

Although Kootenay women are known to swim year round in Kootenay Lake, those glacial waters are never for the faint of heart!  Even if you don’t take the plunge you can still soak up the sunshine and the mountain air. Here are some swimming beauties from a 1934 newspaper that my partner fished from the inside one of the walls of our Kaslo house.

Once the temperature rises so do the hemlines, or lack-there-of, in the case of a more sultry Spring style of short-shorts . I’m sure the brothels of Kaslo produced some fantastic clothing for their ladies in their time. Kaslo had many brothels, hotels and saloons, including the “Theatre Comique,” which boasted 3 floors and a revolving stage. Imagine the performances that must have went on in Kaslo! My, my…!

The pin-up girl and Burlesque styles of costume have been influencing my eyelash and accessory design lately, and my hoop dance routine, which now has a chair, (a-la Cabaret!) added in. This style of performing can be very classy and I think women are living in the best era for creative expression because we can be any color, shape or size and the only rule is…anything goes! Rules?! What rules? I’ve been teaching sexy hoop moves to women in their 50’s and 60’s in North Kootenay Lake, and they’re the ones that swim year round, come to think of it.

This project with small town designers and talent is so delicious…. Lara is working on a fresh crop of corsets for another fantastic  photo shoot with her crew, coming soon. I’ve never worn anything so sexy and I’m so excited to have something made just for me! It will be a first!  Burlesque hooping, anyone?

Happy Women’s Day and Happy Spring!

Read Full Post »

With all this bridal bliss happening here with Lara’s projects, my location scouting flooded naturally from fashion shoots into magical places for weddings around Kaslo. The first love birds to occupy our house were this business man and his striking Scottish bride, Ms H’s mother and father. They arrived and built the house in 1897. This photo was taken in Nelson, BC, and might have been taken freshly post wedding with their little matching corsages.  The husband had hotels and businesses in the nearby city of Sandon, a booming mining headquarters high up in the Retallack Pass, and his wife began raising the children in the Kaslo house, which I now live and design out of.

The roles of men and women were much more defined in those days, although women’s clothing was beginning to take on a more suit-tailored, masculine edge combined with very feminine details on puffy sleeves and cuffs . Here they are, looking ready for departure into their lives as newly-weds, moving to a brand new town called Kaslo on the windy shores of Kootenay Lake, where wool was an excellent choice for travel clothing .

For  brides who are looking for a naturally stunning and picturesque spot to hold an outdoor wedding ceremony, there are many options in and around the Village of Kaslo that offer softly lapping waves, soaring peaks and rolling forests and a more pristine feeling, ( the area was well known for its incredible rainbows over Kootenay Lake,) and yes, the wind could be a major element factoring into your wedding day and photos. I witnessed friends of mine getting married in the more sheltered Kaslo Bay Park with the groom arriving by canoe from across the water and the bride dreamily walking out onto the beach from the woods surrounding the park. The big trees gathered the breezes off the lake and shaded the guests on that hot and sunny summer day.

The view of the brightly colored boathouses against the lake and mountains is stunning year round and there are wild flowers and beautiful gardens everywhere around the village. The Kaslo Golf Club is another excellent wedding/reception spot its ample timberframe clubhouse and dining room with lovely covered decks and large trees around the course. I’ll have to investigate the golf course along with the Kaslo Hotel!

Oh my…apparently I have been swept away by the beauty of my own small town, Kaslo, again! It’s a special place and I can feel some romance in the air and some amazing photos on their way this season. I’m excited to see how hoops, eyelashes, brides and frocks will all come into play as this fashion friendship continues with the two of us mailing little swatches of lace and dyed feathers up and down the lake to each other, just like in the old days. :)

Read Full Post »

The sun is shining and these colours remind me of spring…

Have a gorgeous day!


Read Full Post »

Ever since meeting Lara Blackman, I’m seeing my little Village of Kaslo through a different pair of eyes, and I am on the hunt for Kootenay themed locations for fashion shoots. I’m imagining how everything looks in the Spring, with the first green sprays of  baby birch leaves and little wild flowers growing on the lakeshore of North Kootenay Lake. Besides obvious places like our 1897 house and other heritage homes, I’m scoping out the  Blue Belle Bistro and Beanery, which is housed in a very old building and has a lovely new fresh and feminine color scheme inside. The paint colors are beautifully combined with the old wooden trim and the wood stove, and in summer, cheerful cascades of flower baskets and planters are all around the restaurant and deck. It’s a cute and polished location and has excellent espresso. The owner, Christa Paige, also caters and makes wedding cakes, (and I can you tell that I’m also encouraging the Smalltownfrocks/cakes-are-in-fashion theme to continue!?) ;)

Just a wander down the street toward the lake is the land-locked SS Moyie Sternwheeler, now a museum and National Historic Site, and I remember the ladies lounge on the SS Moyie being pretty swank with its velvet cushioned window seats and gold painted walls. The men’s lounge (which now all may enter!) also has a fabulous gambling table and other location jewels! The giant ships of Kootenay Lake have served as backdrops for other glamour shots of days past, including our Kaslotown Fashionista, Ms. H, pictured below.

This photo looks like it was taken on a sternwheeler, although the fleet on Kootenay Lake looked very similar so it’s difficult to say if it was taken on the Moyie.  I have other photos of Ms H in this dress where you can see more of the lovely neckline and lacy cuffs. Here she has a shine on her shoes and I see the outline of what I think are long white gloves in her hand to wear with her fancy woven and beaded hat. She’s daringly dressed for any occasion and I do wonder what she was up to that day…

Onward on my location scouting mission, I’m looking into the Kaslo Hotel and Brewery. Its 3 story balconies, luxury interiors and chandeliers would make an exciting shoot location; it is so beautifully finished with that old western saloon flavour. The view from the hotel spans the Purcell Mountains that face Kaslo from across Kootenay Lake, and looks North toward other communities where steam ships used to drive right up onto the beach and pick up passengers from Argenta to Nelson. I’ll have to get up onto the 3rd floor and see what we can see!

Another very hot location is across the lake from Kaslo where there are enormous cliffs that climb up out of Kootenay Lake and are nicknamed the “Ink  Spots,” with near-by creeks and little beaches with pile-ons for the old ships. Doing fashion shoots in more rugged locations that mimic Kootenay photos of the past are definitely up my alley! Row boats, mine shafts, alpine and horseback! Giddyup!

Anything is possible with a crew of Kootenay women artists and a truly great and local photographer~ we have the technology, (and even the horses…no really!) Kaslo, you better get ready to get frocked!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »