Monday, April 30, 2012

It's Fabric I'm in Love

From the V&A
A while back I was fortunate to catch the V&A's Golden Age of Couture exhibit and spent longer than most staring into a glass case of fabric swatches saying over and over in my head, "If only I could lay my hands on those....". Back in the 1940's Zika Ascher founded a London fabric company that really changed the face of textiles as we know them today, Ascher fabrics. They were the first to work with fine artists of the time like Picasso, Henry Moore, and Cecil Beaton to create stunning fabrics and scarves. Their fabrics were used by couture houses such as Dior, Schiaparelli, Givenchy, Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, and Mary Quant. The cherry on the top is that not only were these fabrics designed by the best and used by the best, they were even worn by some of the most exciting clients as well. Such as the then, Princess Elizabeth.

In short as an English girl with a fine arts degree, a clothing company and a passion for vintage fashion and art, it was love at first sight.

Mid Century Mode Collection

Back in October of last year, part serendipity, part research lead to my standing in a fantastically vintage archive room, sighing over thousands of fabric designs from the 40's up, and coming away with a stock room full of bolts of Ascher cottons, all sporting vibrant mid-century designs, just waiting for Spring. Although a late debut, the dresses from this vintage dream are finally rolling out in Vivcore's Mid Century Mode collection. It's been a real pleasure working with fabrics of such a perfect pedigree, and a thrill to be able to add an extra dimension of authenticity to our vintage inspired designs, by using fabrics designed by the best in the decades we all love the best!

Although the first dress from this line came out a while ago, this week is a the big launch of the Mid Century Mode Collection with 4 bold new dresses added to the store. It's all about authentic vintage flavor, and a real pleasure to add this extra slice of elegance from the motherland.

The collection, like a flower, is just showing it's first pretty buds and sure to grow. Keep watching to see how it matures! Supplies of each fabric are limited, so each design will only be available as you see it today for as long as the fabric is available. Check out the dresses here!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Azalea Cake

I'm going to start this post with saying that every mid century loving host/ess needs to pick up the Cooks County anthologies! Evey issue they have a featured cake in the back, always seasonal, always bright, and nearly always an old mid-century favorite. An that is where this years husbands birthday cake came from!

Back in the 50's/60's "flower" cakes became increasingly popular. They had fun names like daffodil cake and were decorated and colored to match. This week I put together an azalea cake. On the surface, maybe an overly pink choice for a fella's birthday, but it had all the components (fruit, non sickening frosting) we love in our house, and I wasn't quite creative enough to think of another azalea color that would also taste good and not look off putting.

The recipe was a fair amount of work, and took close to 2 hours due to only having the 2 cake tins (needs 3) but so worth the effort! It's basically a white layer cake made with red food coloring in the center layer, frosted and filled with 7 minute icing and layered with fresh strawberries, raspberries and nuts. I obviously used the Cooks Country recipe, (minus the kirsch) but you can use your favorites if you don't have that one. Next time I make it the one change I'll make is as well as the chopped up the fruit mixed with the filling frosting, I'll layer extra thin cut strawberries along each layer of cake as well to give the cake a more fruity, fresh, tart flavor. That said, next party you throw, the pink azalea cake would make a swell retro center piece!

(My other favorite mid century dessert is of course the stained glass cake, I make a ton of these every Summer!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pastel Pearls

As much as I love crazy all out sparkle, just like Marie Antoinette I have a real soft spot for pearls.  Lustrous, luxurious, but also natural and understated. There is a gentle beauty to them. They always make a girl look her best. They flatterer our complexions, and go with every single outfit in our wardrobe!

I have a box with 3 full faux pearl parures, but over the weekend I was able to add to my jewels wardrobe a demi parure of real large fresh water pearls.

This set is already so special to me. The pendant was a Christmas present from my husband and features tiny diamonds and and a sizable pink amethyst that glitters so beautifully.

The style is so classic and elegant, but the pastel candy colors I hope give it personality and make it a little more fun and rococo feeling.

Get the Look Sale
If you want to pick up some pearls of your own, there is a sale on pearls over on the Vivcore shop, so you can save big and pick up a full or demi parure of your own too, even pearl wearing dolls are on sale!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dolls are Moving House

My dolls have seceded from the main blog here, and made themselves a fresh home here on the new Dolly Daydream blog.

For the most part my doll adventures tend to focus on vintage and retro themes which made them fit with the vintage lifestyle focus here at Quaintrelle life. But I was holding back posting about them when I hadn't had chance to post about other things in between.

So from now on I'll be dolly blogging over at Dolly Daydream, and fashion and lifestyle blogging over here (probably with a few cross overs)

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