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"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing...kissing a lot. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls."
Audrey Hepburn

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Becoming Joan...

Has there been a more monumental case for retro fashion in recent years than the cast of Mad Men? Joan Holloway seems to be the most inspiring and influential of the bunch and it's easy to see why. Christina Hendricks' uber-curvy frame coupled with the fiery personality of the character are definitely memorable, to say the least. Also, I'm the first to jump on board when red headed dames are getting media attention...heh heh.

I have received many requests lately for this style of Joan's, her signature office up do. Since the show covers one year per season, it is no wonder that the up do has changed a bit over the course of the series. I've noticed that recently (and authentically), the style incorporates a lot more false hair than it used to, in keeping with that natural trend towards volume that was so popular as the sixties progressed. The style I chose to do for this look was one that I felt was more indicative of the earliest episodes of the show and catered to my favorite aesthetic. Also, it suits my thinner and finer hair better than something that calls for more volume. I will probably do another 'Joan' style eventually, utilizing some false hair.

Since Germany has been blocked from viewing the attached video (due to copyright disputes between GEMA and Youtube), I am including the following step by step instructions for my German audience. I'm sorry I have not been able to include some photos but I never know ahead of time which videos will be blocked from your country and lord help me, I'm not committed enough to take photos along the way, 'just in case'...haha!

First, a look at the style we're going for:

You will need:
Hot Rollers (or any kind of roller set that gives your hair large curls)
Hair Gel (flexible hold is preferable...Layrite/Hawleywood Hair Gel that I use, is available here on my store.)
HW's Grooming Spray (also available here at my store. Sorry I don't know of any successful alternative to this product)
Tre Semme' Heat Tamer Spray
A Good Brush
Hair Pins
Bobby Pins
High Hold Hair Spray
A Curling Iron (for bangs and touch ups)
Teasing (or rat tail) comb
Step One: After washing hair (especially if your hair is fine)and while hair is still damp, apply some good flexible hold gel along the crown area, to assist in volume.

Step Two: Also apply a grooming spray through the towel dried hair, which assists in making the hot roller set 'take'.

Step Three: While blow drying hair, make sure to aim the top section (behind any fringe) back, using hands to add as much volume as possible and to fight against any natural part, that your hair tends towards.

Step Four: Roll the top section (crown section) back, using the smallest hot rollers in your set. Spray each section with a thermal protectant spray before hand.

Step Five: Roll the sides and back downward, using medium rollers. Allow rollers to cool completely.

Step Six: Release cooled rollers; brush hair upside down, to create that sixties volume. Don't brush too much or you'll brush the curls away.

Step Seven: Take the top section only, the section directly at the top of your head, and tease it in sections, to create that signature sixties bump (or fall). Smooth the top of the 'poof' with your fine toothed comb, push forward slightly, and pin in place using two bobby pins (kirby grips) in an x-formation.

Step Eight: Bring up one side, tease lightly, and pin in place over the two bobby pins holding the poof in place. If you have Lauren Rennells' book, 'Vintage Hairstyling' , this part will be easier. You want to pin the sides in such a way that the bobby pins are inserted into the 'bump' and barely show. This provides a uniform look.

Step Nine: Next, pull up the back of your hair, brush the underside smoothly, and twist upward into a 'french twist', pinning in place using hairpins, inserted into the twist. Leave the ends of the twist free.

Step Ten: Pin Curl the ends of the twist into as many pin curls as you like. You can make these curls as defined or soft as you like. Spray entire style well with hairspray and you're done.


Video tutorial here:

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Signature Work of Carmela

In the world of vintage hair styling, there are a few names today that stand out above all others. One of those names is Carmela Melecio. Many of you may know her as the mother of Pin Up Model (and face of dollface design)Miss Lady Luck. Others of you may recognize her signature styles from the Retro Do's myspace page. But make no mistake, if you have been a fan of the pin up/rockabilly style scene for any length of time, you have seen her work.

One of the things that makes Carmela's work so remarkable is how easy it is to recognize. I stopped several girls at the Shifter's Car Show this past April who had been styled by Carmela just to make sure that it was indeed one of her styles.
I was never wrong. There is something so beautifully unique about her creations, something about the height, the sheer volume, the artful lines...it's impossible to miss. And I am inspired by her on a daily basis. Traditional vintage styling can be taught. But creativity like this comes from inborn talent.

I felt it was high time to devote a post to her brilliant and effortless styles because honestly, she sets a standard and makes a mark that no one else can claim. I have recently heard that she has been working on a book and I ,for one, am going to be first in line to snag me a copy. I hope to review it for you when it is released and am looking forward to seeing and reading about more of her glamorous but edgy creations.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sponsor Salute!~ Heyday Clothing and Zip Zap Kap!

Heyday Clothing
Just take a look at the new Olivia Blouses from Heyday Online! The blouse (modeled here by the exquisite Fleur Deguerre)is modeled after a late 1930's style worn often by Olivia de Havilland. One of the prime features is the 'leg of mutton' sleeves that really makes a marked difference in the volume at the shoulder. Keep in mind when you order that the blouse is meant to be tucked in so it tends to be more fitted at the shoulder and arm cuff. Why not finish off the ensemble by picking up a pair of these adoreable Swing Trousers!

I'm currently trapped in maternity wear so I will live vicariously through your shopping! ;-)

Zip Zap Kap
Speaking of 'maternity', Katherine of Zip Zap Kap is celebrating her own new arrival, baby girl Izobel! In celebration, she is offering a great discount to all her customers, especially those of you who visit her thru the link at the right! So click that link and get 20% off your order total (before shipping). To claim the discount, just enter the code HEYIZZY in the message box when you place your order. The discount will appear in your paypal account within 24 hours of the time your payment is received.

With such great pattern options from so many different decades, you have nothing to lose!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Diamonds and Dames Episode 13~ Kitty Collins Colfax

In the world of Film Noir Bombshells, few of them make as big a physical impact as Ava Gardner in 'The Killers'. The film was one of her biggest hits and her sock-you-in-the-jaw beauty was undeniable. Though Rita Hayworth's signature waterfall waves in 'Gilda' remain my single most requested hairstyle of all time, Ava's natural curls, harnessed and worn long, definitely have their share of requests. I've been getting this request since I first started the D & D series but have shied away from it because of the difference in our hair texture. Ava's hair was probably styled in pin curls but her own natural curl takes the final look to a whole other level. My hair is stick straight and quite fine. It was a challenge but I decided to finally take a stab at it.

I started with towel dried hair (which turned out to be too wet) parted deeply on one side. Hair that is too wet will more than likely not be dry by morning, even if you're planning to sleep in your set of foam rollers. Longer hair makes this even more of an issue so it's best to start w/ dry hair and simply spray it damp w/ a water/setting lotion solution.

Next I rolled my growing bangs away from my face, using the smallest foam roller I could find. Then I rolled the two topmost sections on the heavy side of the part upwards, similar to the technique in my 'Rita Hayworth Inspired' tutorials. The rest of the hair was rolled tightly under, using medium sized rollers, leaving the crown flat.

The next morning as I unrolled,(and which was carefully edited out of the attached video) I realized that a large section of the curls had not dried. I therefore sprayed the ringlets that 'took' with a good hairspray and pinned up the damp section to 'fix'. I dried this section on my dryer's low setting and then rolled it in my smallest Hot Sticks, which lend a very similar curl to foam rollers (though not quite as sturdy). It worked perfectly, thank goodness, and I could continue w/ the style.

In order to keep the curls looking as natural as possible, it is important that the curls are not brushed too much.
Most of the time, brushing excessively is important to these vintage styles, but in this case I knew that more brushing would bring back my natural texture. Therefore I fluffed the texture as much as possible while brushing it out. I finalized the style by smoothing individual sections into waves but leaving the rest of the curls intact. A little hairspray was used for hold.

Video Tutorial:

Film Synopsis: 'The Killers' (1946)
Starring: Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner
Directed By: Robert Siodmak

When ex prizefighter 'Swede' Anderson is found murdered in his hotel room, investigator John Reardon is determined to get to the bottom of the case. Through a series of interviews, and in spite of his superior's opposition to the investigation, Reardon discovers that Anderson had picked up a lot of baggage recently. Not only does he have ties to an unsolved robbery but he also had criminal acquaintances through his gorgeous girlfriend, Kitty Collins. With the help of Lieutenant Lubinsky, an old friend of the Swede's, Reardon uncovers the treacherous trail that led to his death...a trail that continually seems to lead to Kitty herself.

Based on a story by Ernest Hemingway.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Product Review: Senna Cosmetics 'Virtual Vintage' Collection

Though I adore the inevitably cozy aspects of fall as much as the next guy, I can't say I'm a huge fan of the season. Here in Tennessee, the autumn is undeniably beautiful. However with the gorgeous changing of the season, comes the flowering of goldenrod...which renders me utterly useless for the duration. Until we have a good freeze, the hay fever season is in full swing and my itchy eyes prevent me from enjoying the changing leaves as much as my stuffy nose prevents me from enjoying the taste of pumpkin pie. I am also a militant fan of the heat and all the sleeveless, stocking-free stuff that entails. I've never been fond of constricting coats, sweaters, or scarves. I hate the way a stubbed toe hurts ten times worse when it's cold.

This fall, though, in spite of the allergies, I'm getting more into the mood of the season. Perhaps it's because I'm pregnant and therefore more inclined to 'bundle up' when the weather calls for it. Perhaps it's because I'm craving hot tea at this point in the pregnancy and as we all know, hot tea and autumn go together like nutmeg and egg nog. So I was abnormally excited when Senna Cosmetics quite unexpectedly sent me a generous preview of their fall collection, 'Virtual Vintage'. Not only do the rich hues of the collection appeal to my new found love for autumn, but the name appeals to my obvious love of the past.

The first thing I noticed were the eye shadows, which I featured in last Tuesday's tutorial, and which unfortunately are not justly portrayed in that video. The colors are both subdued and brilliant, casual and elegant. My favorite of the shadows is 'Fixation', a deep green w/ outstanding flecks of gold throughout. Depending on the base you use with it, the color can be either subtle or startlingly bold. Unfortunately, none of the swatches I attempted to photograph were indicative of the true shade of the shadow and neither is the swatch on Senna's own web page. The other shadow I was gifted, 'Blend' is a great matte neutral shade that is idea for doing just what its name suggests, regardless of the color you use.

'Hue' blush is a great tone for fall. The color it lends to the cheeks is not that sun kissed glow of so many summer shades, but a simple fall flush. It's suitable for all occasions. I also really enjoyed the 'Buff and Brighten' highlighter and finishing powder duo. Highlighters are hit or miss with me, since most of the time they can be far too shimmery for my taste. This one adds sheen, but not glitter. I've been using it daily.

The lip and eye liners with the collection are satisfactory, if not entirely indispensable. The lip colors I received, 'Garnet' and 'Valentina' are far more distinctive. 'Garnet' is a sheer shade, w/ a subtle gold fleck throughout. 'Valentina' is a lovely and long lasting vintage red, with scarlet undertones. Used in conjunction with the fabulous 'lush' lip lacquer, it's like the perfect evening 'big sister' to 'Garnet'. I suggest applying the lip lacquer just to the center of the bottom lip, for that perfect bombshell pout.

I guess you could say that though I have nothing lose by a negative review of these gifted products, I cannot hide the fact that I was extremely impressed. I also love the new packaging of the Senna lipsticks and feel that it suits the high end quality of the products much more than their prior black tube. I look forward to trying more from the line.

Below, you'll find the video I did using the products as well as what I feel is a complimentary 1940's hairstyle for the look: