Monday, June 30, 2014

Gay Couples From The Past

During his travels around the world, French screenwriter and director Sébastien Lifshitz has been collecting old photos of gay couples that he found at flea markets or in antiquarian shops. Then he decided to put them together in a book. It's called The Invisibles: Vintage Portraits of Love and Pride, and it's a collection of photos of gay people openly showing their affection for each other in a time when being homosexual was a lot more taboo than it is now.

Of course it's impossible to say all the people in these pictures actually are gay, but, as Lifshitz says himself; "I don't know these people - they are anonymous to me. I can't even really say that each person photographed into the book is gay, except when it's obvious. What I like is that there are different levels of reading these photos - I would say three levels to be exact. The first one is the pictures of obviously gay single people or couples, the second is the pictures of people which can be seen as 'undefined' (we're not sure) and the third level is the ones that are obviously not gay but playing with a gay attitude (cross-dresser, some 'garconnes,' etc.) I love the ambiguity and diversity of these pictures. These photographs ask questions."

Here are some of the photos from the book.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fabergé Friday

There are still many Fabergé egg pendants out there. So here comes another one! This one is very colorful, and was made around the year 1890!

The egg is covered in different colored enamel over a guilloché ground. The color fields are separated by gold lines.

In the center of each color field sits either a rose-cut diamond, a sapphire, a ruby, or an emerald - all framed in gold.

The height of the egg - without the suspension ring - is 0.7'' (1.7 cm). I found it on Romanov Russia's website, and this one has already been sold to some lucky person...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Deadly Fashion

The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto just opened an exhibition called Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century. The exhibition will run until June 30, 2016, and showcases to what lengths people would go to have the most fashionable clothes during the Victorian era - even if what you wore would make you sick, or even kill you...

One of the items on show is this beautiful green dress. Before the end of the 18th century there was no color-fast green. But then inventor Carl Wilhelm Scheele came up with the brilliant idea of mixing arsenic and copper, and so managed to create a green pigment that would hold in both wallpaper, paintings and fabric. By the mid 1800s this new emerald green had become extremely popular, and was used for both clothes and artificial flowers.

As the color contained arsenic though, it affected both factory workers, seamstresses, the wearer of the green dresses, and fellow ball goers. The biggest risk was if the wearer started to sweat and absorb the poison. Even after it got widely known that this arsenic-based green could lead to horrible physical suffering and early death people - mostly women - still continued wearing it. The picture above is from an 1859 medical journal, showing hands damaged by arsenic dyes.

The color mauve, as on the late 1860s boots above, were also highly toxic, containing arsenic, piric acid, and other harmful chemicals.

Another big health risk during this time was the combination of big skirts, tulle, and gas lights. Between the 1850s and 1860s Crinoline Fires killed around 3,000 women in England. Keeping track of those wide skirts around burning lights wasn't easy, but at the theaters it was even worse... As the short, disc-shaped tutus of today weren't yet invented - and neither was electricity - so many ballerina's managed to dance their long tulle tutus into the stage gas lights, that their deaths were referred to as The Holocaust of Ballet Girls. The picture above shows popular ballerina Emma Livry, who, at the age of twenty, died one of these deaths after eight months of suffering from her burns. Still these girls chose not to fire-proof their costumes, as this discolored and stiffened the flowy materials...

Mercury was used made to make shiny beaver fur top hats. This drove the hat makers insane, so mad hatters actually existed outside of Alice's Wonderland...

The Arsenic Waltz, Etching, 1862

With the amount of toxins used in today's creation of textiles, and the horrible work conditions of the people manufacturing clothes for some companies, we might not have come as far from the Victorian era as we think though...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Restricted Love...

Latex clothes can sometimes look very trashy. But if done right, these rubber clothes can be very cool and stylish - as in the case of designer Atsuko Kudo's rubber designs. Kudo wants to empower women around the world through latex couture, and has won several prices for her designs. She founded her label in 2000, and has always been inspired by the dark glamour of the mid 20th century. This clearly shows in her collection Restricted Love, which was created especially for the London Lingerie event that was held as a benefit for the 7 Bar Foundation - a cause which provides micro finance loans to impoverished women worldwide who are trying to set up their own businesses. Here are my favorites from the collection!

PS. Notice the latex hats!!!

To see the whole collection - and the rest Atsuko Kudo has to offer - visit her website here!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fabergé Friday

It's Friday! And here comes another Fabergé object! How unusual... This week I have another pretty bell push for you to wonder over. This one was made by workmaster Mikhail Perkhin, sometime between 1896 and 1903!

The bell push is made of nephrite, and decorated with swags of three-color gold. It stands on gold feet, over which runs a border of red and white enamel. The top is decorated with radiating enamel beams in the same two colors. The actual push button is a moonstone. The dimensions of the bell push is 1.5'' x 2.3'' x 2.1'' (3.9 x 5.8 x 5.3 cm), and it now has it's place in the Royal Collection.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Vadim Stein

As I love both dance and photography, I simply love the work of Vadim Stein! And I think you might too... Stein was born in Ukraine, but now works as a photographer, sculptor, and stage designer in St. Petersburg. Here are some of his amazing sculpture-like dance photos!

For more, check out Vadim Stein's Facebook page!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Art Frahm

I guess most of us have experienced that little mishap of panties that all by a sudden just falls off and lands around our feet. I know, it happens all the time! On the buss. While bowling. When our hands are full of grocery bags... Haha! Someone who has illustrated this lingerie malfunction is pin-up artist Art Frahm. Frahm lived in Chicago, and was active from the 1940s to the 60s. He was commercially successful, and he often painted his pin-ups as damsels in distress, where the dropping of the panties was a recurring theme. Here are some of them. But if you want to see more of Frahm's work, visit his gallery at The Pin-Up Files!

Hyper Smash