Thursday, 5 April 2012

Vintage Gold

I can't believe that a week ago I was wearing short sleeves, sandals and sun hats. The weather then changed dramatically and the LBs and I braved wind, sleet and snow to get to the Post Office, library, and do our shopping yesterday.

Oh well, at least I can get a bit more use out of my faux fur collection! Charlie might be joining it soon (as the only genuine article) if he doesn't stop biting everyone and sharpening his claws on the side of the doors in our house. Monster.

                              1970s dress and faux fur jacket (flea market), belt, boots and bangles (charity shopped), bag (vintage fair)

While we were out and about, I came across various dresses to sell on Ebay, nothing vintage but labels which should do OK.

An Escada silk polka dot dress (£7.99) and a Get Cutie Eiffel Tower print frock (£3.99) were good buys, I think, along with a couple of bright floral Joe Browns items (£5.99 and £3.99 respectively), which always sell well. I usually sell a mix of old and new (for those that asked, my seller ID is cumo2, though I've nothing selling just at the moment.).

                                    But the piece de resistance was surely a little bit of vintage heaven.

This 1960s (I think) gold dress, with its fabulous sequin and bead detail at the hem, couldn't fail to catch my eye. Sadly it's too small for me, but I just had to buy it for the princely sum of £4.50.

                                                The label that's really interesting, however, is this one;

Not a name I was familiar with, but I always Google vintage labels I haven't seen before, and M. Heim proved to be fascinating.

Jacques Heim was a French haute couturier, from a family of furriers, who designed in Paris from the 1930s until his death in 1967. There are images of his work worn by the top models of the day, here are  Catherine Deneuve and Brigitte Bardot wearing his designs, and examples of his work are in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

There are lots of gorgeous photos on blogs here and here and on Flickr here. If you love vintage fashion photography, do take a look.





He was a contemporary of Balenciaga, Lanvin, Dior, Balmain, Givenchy, Courreges, Cardin and Pucci. The stuff I've read suggests he isn't as well known as these designers because he designed with less flair and innovation, and was more of a business man. However, he is credited with the invention of the bikini in 1946, although his name for the two-piece was the Atome, which obviously didn't catch on in the same way as Louis Reard's appropriation of Bikini.


              So much for the history lesson! Is anyone still there? I've just loved researching all this stuff.

                                  But my question to you is - what on earth should I do with this dress?

It doesn't fit me, so I can't wear it. I could Ebay it, but will anyone know who Jacques Heim was and realise that this is a little piece of vintage French haute couture? What reserve would you put on it? Should I donate it to a museum? Should I try and sell it to a high-end vintage retailer? Again, for what price?

The dress is fabulous quality and in great condition, but sadly it isn't perfect; 4 (count them!) gold beads are missing from the bottom. Will that mean that posh vintage retailers or museums won't want it?

What puzzles me is how on earth a very expensive and glamorous item of French couture ended up in a charity shop in a fairly working class area of Sheffield? Oh, if only that dress could talk!

 I'm happy with my 1970s polyester frock though, at least I won't cry if I spill my tea down the front of it - which is likely, I am so clumsy...

                                       I'll be interested to hear your thoughts and opinions.


Krista said...

I'm happy to see I am not the only one suffering through this cold Spring. I do love this faux fur coat on you Curtise and you are right let's be positive about it and look glamorous instead. I like all the dresses you picked up to sell and wow the one by Jacques Heim is a real beauty. You know who would have an answer for this is Vix, but she's gone. I say try and sell it on ebay for a pretty penny and see what happens. You never know. I really enjoyed the history lesson here. The bikini who would have thought!
Have a lovely Easter weekend!

Sara said...

I loved reading that info! How fun! How much fun would it be if frocks could talk? This one is fascinating..and so pretty..

I'm swooning over your fab faux fur..I want one so badly that I was dreaming about it last I wake up, check out blogger, and there you are looking fab! It's a sign. :D You look lovely..the dress, paired w/ that fantastic belt and amazing boots--epic win..and that bag is darling!!!

That Eiffel Tower print frock is beyond cute; some great finds! :D

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

What a find! You have such a great eye. Really fascinating what you've dug up, definitely appears to be a hidden gem. I'm quite sure someone would be interested - what about asking Margaret at Penny Dreadful Vintage?


Anonymous said...

Oh my, I'm loving that dress you're selling,,, it's totally gorgeous!!!

Le Material Girl

Miss Simmonds Says said...

I'm going to be downloading that song. What a find! You could ask someone the V&A, I think they have a fashion curator who could hopefully help. Ooh and also Homes and Antiques magazine have an ask the experts section where you send in a photo, but you need to get the email and info out of the magazine. I just got some interesting American clothes today.

Max said...

The gold dress is so beautiful, i especially love the neckline. Have you thought about keeping it for one of your girls when their older? It's inevitable they'll be into vintage and it would make a wonderful present, for a 21st or similar. I look at photos of stuff my mum wore in the 60's and 70's and wish so hard she kept some of the cooler stuff so i could wear it x

Rose&Bird said...

Yes, the weather's a bit mad isn't it? Still, that's Britain for you!

The dress definitely looks like a 60s piece to me and it's really interesting to learn about designers other than really well known ones. As to what to do with it? Max's idea is really nice, but if you wanted to sell it, I'd try and get an appraisal from someone more knowledgeable. You could try Kerry Taylor Auctions (I don't have any connections with them) as they specialise in selling fashion and textiles.

Louise said...

I gasped a little when I saw tha frock because I think it's beautiful, I think it looks like something Liz Taylor would have worn, and we all know how much I love Liz Taylor. Alas, I'm not a size 12 either or I'd happily have taken it off your hands. Do you have an etsy shop? It might work there? Alternatively put it on eBay but make sure and open it up to an international audience as he may be more known in Europe. You have to put a price on it that you will be happy with though and based on condition but don't under-price it because it sounds great to me. Xx

lady liquor vintage. said...

I love that faux fur on you, & the gold dress is truly fabulous! XO

Fiona said...

Hi Curtise,
What a fabulous find and so interesting reading about Jacques Heim. Loved the 1967 film, hardly any traffic in Paris then, and glad to see my fave car in the background. (2CV, I owned two) Like the idea about keeping it for one of your daughters, but then again am sure it would sell like hot cakes if ebayed.
Well done on braving the wet and cold weather to take your pics, I see the new handbag is in use already.
x Thanks for your kind words on my pics.

Miss Claire said...

Ohh wow! You found gold! I think I would want to hang onto it of I were you, and contact any collections that might want to burrow it for exhibitions. But then maybe it'd be better off in a permanent collection! It's a tough call. The dress could easily be restored. How fascinating!

Thank you for your kind and comforting comment, sorry for carrying on, feeling sad and sorry for myself!


Anonymous said...

There are probably many things you could do with that amazing vintage dress, but I love the idea of saving it for one of your girls. For some reason, I feel like it should be given, with love, to a person you know! (Forgive me for being so sentimental -- there's something about the history of the dress, plus its imperfection, that makes me feel this way).

Meanwhile, I really like your main outfit here. Love how the harmonious blending of warm colors in dress, boots, belt and bag!

Trees said...

I love fake fur! It's actually quite chilly here today, but it is coming into winter - although a few days ago it was sunny and bright. You never know what the weather will do next.

That is a beautiful frock with some amazing history.

Perhaps you could take it to a few high end vintage stores and see what they say, they may be able to advise if there are still a lot of these frocks around or if it should be in a museum somewhere.

Bespoke Biddie said...

ooo honey you look delightful!



Anonymous said...

I actually LIKE learning about designers that are new to thank you for the lesson. I'm absolutely no help on the pricing. Is there any other piece by him on eBay? Vix once advised me that this is a way to discover an appropriate price. I would think that this missing beads could be repaired...

Melanie said...

I love that YouTube clip of Heim designs. It reminds me of the movie Blowup, but more interesting is that one of the models really reminds me of Vix, there's the closeup of her in the last few frames.

Your outfit fits with your post. Such a wild pattern party going on! And your oh so chic pose in No. 2. Wonderful!!

Your gold dress is a beauty all right! I imagine bright pink lipstick, cat eyes, and a long cigarette holder. The wearer is doing the twist. I am sighing heavily. It's like the Red Violin, as you said - where, how, why?...


I love researching unfamiliar labels too, but have NEVER come across one as fascinating as this.
What a find! I have countless clothes which don't fit, I like to keep them (maybe in the vain hope I'll transform into someone Vix's size one day!) and to me it's just a collection. I would keep hold of it, I so wish my mother had stored her vintage finds, she started amassing them in the 60's, so had some beautiful 40's pieces.
I think you'll have a stall or shop one day, so keep these gems somewhere safe, and start stockpiling. You have such a good eye for clothes and the right personality - why not make a lifestyle out of this hobby? Ebay is too soulless for such a dress (if you know what I mean!)

Have a great Easter

Lucy x


I love researching unfamiliar labels too, but have NEVER come across one as fascinating as this.
What a find! I have countless clothes which don't fit, I like to keep them (maybe in the vain hope I'll transform into someone Vix's size one day!) and to me it's just a collection. I would keep hold of it, I so wish my mother had stored her vintage finds, she started amassing them in the 60's, so had some beautiful 40's pieces.
I think you'll have a stall or shop one day, so keep these gems somewhere safe, and start stockpiling. You have such a good eye for clothes and the right personality - why not make a lifestyle out of this hobby? Ebay is too soulless for such a dress (if you know what I mean!)

Have a great Easter

Lucy x

two squirrels said...

Oh Curtise it was so interesting to learn about this amazing designer. After 5 years of owning a vintage shop, I am always amazed at what turns up.
Do you have special Vintage Clothing Auctions? (Auction House) then it would then get the collectors and dealers binding on her. The curator of the auction should give a idea of the reserve. Then if you go on the day it would be so much fun when the lot came up.
Happiness to you in the fab furry coat and happy Easter bunnies to you and the poppets.
Love v

Kylie said...

I like Max's idea about keeping the Heim dress for one of your daughters, although you might have a fight on your hands over it. I think you look gorg in your polyester x

Kitty said...

the Heim dress is lovely, but then I'm always a sucker for a 60s shift. If buying for my shop though I'd have to pass on it in that condition, but others who are more skilled in restoration than myself may not-you never know, it'd be a shame to let it go for not much.xx.

The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

Fascinating post. Could you donate it to a university that has a fashion department?

delia hornbook said...

wow what that gold dress is stunning and the history surrounding it is amazing and so romantic brought a tear to my eye. I like the idea of saving it for one of your girls. Or you could ask Vix when she returns. Or you could approach a musuem maybe in London or Paris and see if they will be intrested in it i don't think it will matter to them if there are a few beads missing its the history. dee xx

Bella Q said...

What wonderful thriftstore scores and thank you for doing the research for us and sharing Heim with us. I LOVE that video and the fashions!

Hot Pink Combat Boots said...

What a find!! I would have been over the moon. The gold sheath dress is simply amazing. What are you going to do with it??

Your fur coats looks smashing on you, and I understand your weather frustration. Same thing here -one day it is lovely and sunny, the next you wake up to 2 inches of snow. It's outfit mayhem I tell ya - mayhem.

michelle ;)

karensomethingorother said...

Curtise, what a fun find! Isn't that the whole reason to go hunting through the vintage stores! Yes it is. I would probably keep it all to myself and just pull it out and pet it every now and again, because size 12 is a FREAKING PIPE DREAM.

You look lovely in your 70's dress by the way.

Vintage Coconut said...

Love your frock and of course that gorgeous spotted faux fur.
You found some frockin beauties!! My God you must have some great shops where you are, you are always finding FABUUUULOUS THINGS.

Scarlett said...

I loved this post, there is nothing better that buying an amazing vintage item and finding out the history behind the label. I must say i am in awe of your get cutie dress - i go in that shop everytime i am in brighton as i adore their dresses but couldnt stump up the £100 plus they ask for them, i would have squealed to find that!

Its free listing this weekend so good chance for you to get some items on :o) Happy Easter Scarlett x

La Dama said...

I love your spotty faux fur coat!
those frocks are fantastic,especially gold shiny dress.I say keep that dress for you amor.
eyeing the polka dot dress.
Oh what glorious Heim designs.
You need to start your own little vintage store.

Style Sud-Est said...

Hi Curtise, very informative and interesting post
This jacques Heim dress is such a treasure!
But what to do with it? Well you could send to me, ha, ha!
A dress like this would sell here between $70 -$150 -
I watch the video! I love the sixties, i which i could find a pair gogo boots like in the video
Love your seventies frock with the large belt

Take care friend

Ariane xxxx

Forest City Fashionista said...

That gold Heim dress is a wonderful find,and I would be inclined to cast my vote with the others who have suggested you keep it. Either one of your daughters may wear it in the future, or you may find someone you know for whom it is the perfect size. (what exactly are the measurements, by the way???).


LOving your inspiration,and all those gorgeous dresses, ahhhhhhhhh

Fashionista said...

The Jacques Heim dress is the reason we trawl through op-shops looking for the hidden treasure. It is so gorgeous. Sigh. I am so jealous.

I would keep the frock. I have unearthed the odd treasure in the op-shop (although nothing quite as fabulous as this!) that will never fit me but is such a beautiful piece I can't bear to leave it. And I live in the hope that my daughter will wear them one day.

grunge-queen said...

Lovely dresses, all of them, and I enjoyed the history lesson - these stories get lost if we don't keep them going! I have been wanting to check out your shop so thanks for sharing the deets. :) xoxo