"Jackie O meets Shanghai"
Everything old is new again: Vintage fashion show planned for Houston runway
Dawn Bell has a thing for vintage clothing. Her Heights warehouse is jammed with racks of dresses, gowns, shoes and purses from the past. She's even been contacted by the costume designer of Mad Men for items to lend authenticity to the Emmy-award winning drama.
Now Bell wants to share her love for vintage with Houston. She plans a fashion show, Vintage Houston 2010, that she hopes will be the harbinger for a Vintage Fashion Week in the Bayou City.
The Oct. 1 show at Groundhall will center on her fascination with Vladimir Tretchikoff, a Russian artist who painted portraits of Asian women in Americanized styles of the time (the '50s and '60s). The clash of styles — "Jackie O meets Shanghai" is the way Bell describes it — offers all sorts of vintage opportunities for her show, which she calls "The Lady of the Orient."
Bell is pulling together unusual color combinations, mixing mustard yellows and dark greens with red shoes and purses with bamboo handles. She's using pink brocade, green velvet, and burgundy wool. She even dyed a wedding dress pink and added a black leather patent belt to "edge it up." Several of the looks have the feel of the Prada fall collection, which also has an edged-up '50s theme.
"I don't like to sell myself as retro," she said. "I like to sell it as now and current and mix it up."
Bell, who previous owned Coronation Vintage, now consults with clients from her warehouse and styles photo shoots. But her true love is her annual vintage show.
"I always do a collection in the fall because I love to layer clothes that are heavier, " she said. "With designer collections, you have to wait a whole other season for them to reach the stores. With vintage you don't have to do that. Everything is there and it's available right away."
If this year's show is a success, Bell hopes to involve other vintage dealers to create a Vintage Fashion Week of shows and activities.
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