Wednesday, 13 September 2017

¡Ay, Caramba! Vintage Couture For A Fiver


Unlike elsewhere in Blogland, you won't find any Autumnal fashion or earthy toned outfits in tweed and wool here. They may look great on other people but they aren't for me, it'd be a dull old world (and a bloody nightmare for the second-hand shoppers amongst us) if we all liked the same thing.


No, I'm quite happy to live on my own happy little planet of seasonably inappropriate, flamboyant cotton dresses and bare legs, worn until my skin turns blue and I'm forced to bust out the thermals and fake fur coats.


Remember me mentioning buying rather a lot of vintage gear at last weekend's Classic Car Boot? Well, here's the first of my finds. Browsing a sale rail (naturally!) some extravagant ruffled sleeves in a vibrant shade of turquoise ribbed cotton caught my eye and, on closer inspection, the label intrigued me. Although I wasn't familiar with Mexicana I knew Lower Sloane Street to be a posh part of London and when the seller told me that the dress was £5 I handed my cash over like a shot. 


Needs TLC wasn't an understatement. With questionable stains and ripped-to-buggery side seams, the dress was crying out for attention but, to my surprise, the marks sponged off easily and sewing it back together was a doddle. 

SOURCE
My next job was to research Mexicana. God bless Google!

SOURCE

Created by couturier & sack dress innovator, John Cavanagh (top photo with model) and celebrated fashion illustrator, Alfredo Bouret (the handsome devil in this photograph by Norman Parkinson), Mexicana was said to have been home to some of the most fabulous dresses of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Here's Dollyrockers model Patti Boyd wearing a Mexicana dress
Born in Mexico in 1926, Alfredo Bouret's love of fashion and illustration won him a scholarship to Paris during the golden age of couture. His illustrations were in high demand and he attracted the attention of the greatest designers of the day, creating work for such luminaries as Balanciaga, Valentino, Chanel, Dior and Pierre Balmain. 





Even if you don't know his name, I'm pretty sure, like me, you'll be familiar with Alfredo Bouret's illustrations. 


Although I couldn't find any, Bouret was widely admired for his illustrations of native Mexican costumes and, during the 1968 Summer Olympics, held in Mexico City, many people become interested in having the country's textiles referenced in their clothing.



During this time Alfredo was working for British Vogue and was approached by John Cavanagh, who asked him to assist opening the Mexicana boutique on Lower Sloane Street which went on to delight the London set for many years.

This 1960s pin-tucked Mexicana dress can be yours for £3,800 (SOURCE)

I'm not one of London's smart set, I'm just a vintage wearin' bird from the Black Country.


As opposed to my Great-Grandmama's pearls I'm wearing my Mexicana frock with a Frida Kahlo pendant (handmade by much-missed blogger, Tamera)......


My latest Frida earrings from good friends, and End of the Road trading neighbours, Shilpa Silver....

Vintage Mexicana frock (Kings Cross Classic Car Boot) worn with 1960s lime green suede go-go boots (from blog reader Vonda)

...and shaking a pair of maracas bought from a jumble sale.

I'd celebrate my £5 bargain with a shot of tequila but I hate the stuff - a rum and cola after my tea will have to do.

See you soon!

74 comments:

  1. That is my favorite blue - love that dress! What a great find. It seems Mexico is definitely in your future at some point, you definitely have the rum and coke part down (I hate tequila too)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've always wanted to visit Mexico City, go to Frida's house and drive about in a Beetle. I don't know what i still haven't!xxx

      Delete
  2. Clapping my hands like a seal here at your fabulous find and the fantastic research. Your like a beautiful peacock amongst a load of pigeons. Yay to you keeping us all reaching for the sunglasses xxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! I can just picture you clapping away, Lynn!! xxxx

      Delete
  3. Looking fab in brilliant aqua blue & spring green suede!
    You could try a very Mexican Corona beer with a slice of lime for another authentic South of the Border treat.
    Vaya con dios my darling!
    xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Bibi! I love an ice cold Corona, it's my airport drink of choice when i'm off on a flight - no matter how early in the day. xxx

      Delete
  4. Those cut-out green boots tho-----some of my fav ever!!!! I think I remember when I first read about you getting them, someone brought them to you and I was like yesssssssssss!!!! She needs those most perfect boots. And they're lime green. Or close. Ahhhhhmazing. I'll drink all the tequila if we're ever together and there is an emergency!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, talk about a brilliant gift. I still pinch myself when i look at those boots! xxx

      Delete
  5. Fabulous colours - what a find

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a marvellous colour. Lovely and bright a the world turns winter-drab. I had never heard of this label before and will add it to the list that I look out for. I love your Frida pendant and earrings. Are you going to go to the big Frida Kahlo fashion exhibition in London at the V&A next year? I think that it is on from June. Looks like it will be fab. She had crazy style. I love her clothes, all that gorgeous embroidery and bright colours. I am sure that it will have a big influence on RTW for next summer. Xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kelly! I was amazed that the dress had been on the rail akll weekend and nobody had snapped it up. Very odd! xxx

      Delete
  7. Goodness, Vix, you find such incredible bargains. Perfect colour for you too, it looks wonderful.
    Your earrings and necklace are a perfect match for the dress.
    Take care.
    Robin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Robin! Years of practice! xxx

      Delete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete

  10. That is a stunning dress but a label I've never heard of. It looks beautiful on you and fits you like a dream. The open work lime green boots are fab.

    Wonderful pendant and earrings - Frida Kahlo is one of my favourite artists.

    You've certainly gone the full Mexican today...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Veronica. I'm just missing an ice cold Corona but I do have the vintage advertising wall clock and drinks tray in the kitchen if that counts.
      I bet only the seriously wealthy owned Mexicana. I found a blog post written by a lady who married in one of their dresses, she said it had cost her £70 back in 1970 - that must be £££££s these days! xxx

      Delete
  11. That dress was just made for you, and at that price, who cares if it needs a little (or a lot) TLC. I've picked up my fair share of TLC frocks, and most of them were salvageable. Stains are always tricky though. I always carry to travel pack of make-up remover tissues and surrepticiously try to rub the stain with one while I'm still in the shop. If the stain diminishes, it will usually sponge off/wash out. Love the Frida Kahlo pendant, which is just perfect with the dress. I'd never heard of Mexicana either, but what a fascinating piece of history! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do love the thrill of reviving a knackered old frock - it's like winning the lottery when it works!! Great tip with the wipes, I shall take that on board next time I'm out hunting! xxx

      Delete
  12. That was the colour my Mum's bridesmaid wore in 1966 [she was adult] with one of those fabulous 60s hats which were like swimming hats with flowers stitched all over it! We're up in Brum at the end of the month working so will give you a wave from the NEC!
    Arilx
    Arilx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can picture the outfit exactly - it's the same as my Mum's bridesmaids wore in 1966!
      I wonder what you're doing at the NEC? xxx

      Delete
  13. What a perfect fit, I love it and it's such a great colour too. The Frida Kahlo jewellery looks excellent with it and the lime green boots too, perfection.
    It's great that you're stretching summer out, wonderful, thank you! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sally! I can't bear the thought of being stuck in boots and encased in layers for the next eight months. Summer should last all year round. xxx

      Delete
  14. It's educational, buying vintage. Doing the research is one of my favourite things about it! (Well, research is my day jpb so that's a given really). Gorgeous colours, thank you for hanging on to the brights! Actually bright colours are trendy too for this AW season and into Spring. You'd get papped for sure at fashion week xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know how I did it before the internet was invented, it used to take months to find out about obscure labels when I first started buying! xxx

      Delete
  15. That is one gorgeous frock and you look sensational in it. Great job on the stitching and stain removal, is it a keeper or one for the KM rails? Not familiar with the Mexicana label but loving Bouret's sketches and the b&w photos. I was perusing your friend's website last night and guessed you'd choose Frida earrings. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a keeper - my excuse is that smaller sizes can take months to shift. I'm doing the stockroom a favour!
      The Silver Bubble website is great, isn't it? I could rack up a fortune on silver jewellery. xxx

      Delete
  16. I've never heard of that label either. Thanks for the close-up of the pin tucks.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I really miss Tamera too. : (

    What a find! And the colour is wonderful! Love your Frida accessories.

    I scored an amazing 1930s-40s piece this week that is pristine, aside from the fact that the zipper literally disintegrated in my hands. I'm not skilled enough to replace it so I'll be taking it to get it repaired. I'm heartbroken because I'd have to lose 20 lbs and possibly two ribs to fit into it. I'm sure it'll sell though. It looks good enough to be in a museum.

    bisous
    Suzanne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tamera was so much fun!
      I'm dying to see your latest vintage piece. The zips do tend to disintegrate in older pieces - I think you should take a few lessons in replacing zips, it'll save you a packet! xxx

      Delete
  18. Try Presidente Mexican brandy instead of the tequila (or Tecate beer if you can find it in the UK).

    Obviously, I love that dress (and the boots-god, what a glorious colour!) and it looks like it was made for you. Thank you for taking the time to do the research on the dress-I'm sure many a vintage shopper will be happy to find it online.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll keep my eyes peeled. I'm a fan of Sol and Corona!!
      I'm a rubbish businesswoman, this dress is a keeper! xxx

      Delete
  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No spam, please - I'm a vegetarian!

      Delete
  20. That is definitely your colour, lovely sleeves and you have a great figure to do the dress justice. I have boot envy, would love a pair to wear with a macrame style mini dress (in my dreams!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so kind, thank you!! I used to have a modern version of those boots but they fell apart after three years - the green ones are probably as old as I am! xxx

      Delete
  21. You look stunning in that dress its beautiful xxx

    ReplyDelete
  22. wow! wonderful post!!!
    of cause i know bouret, he is a fashion illustration hero for me. learned a lot from his graphics.
    the mexicana dress is marvelous! and totally made for you! genius to wear the green boots with it. love the beautiful frida pendant.......
    i pulled out the first tweed. but i wear it with bright summer skirts - have a gorgeous rabari one ;-) - until october!
    xxxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tweeds with tribal! What a brilliantly unique combination. Looking forward to the outfit post! xxx

      Delete
  23. ah yuck tequila, never did anything good.
    Love this colour combination, you can always be relied on for colour! I'm thinking I can take inspiration and find a light blue jumper to go with my green skirt for autumn. I like neutrals and have a lot inmy wardrobe but you can't beat colour anytime of the year, but it just seems to add more 'happy' to a dull day.
    Fabulous dress, it looks knockout
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your green skirt could definitely be over-wintered with a turquoise jumper. Brights need to be played up, not toned down especially when it's grey outside.
      Tequila has never made me happy! xxx

      Delete
  24. What a wow, love, love, love the colour. The Freda earrings are splendid, unusual to see the representation of her terrible back pain. Fab catch!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Maureen! The image on the earrings are taken from a self portrait I hadn't seen before, powerful, isn't it? xxx

      Delete
  25. Arriba, arriba! You look excellent, Vix. Love that almost acidic colour clash too.

    ReplyDelete
  26. What a fab dress - though what really caught my eye was the boots. Those are spectacular.

    I'm all over colours nowadays. Love 'em. I probably *should* wear more earth tones, given my own colouring, but I want all the blues and greens...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll never forget unwrapping that parcel from the States and discovering those boots, amazingly generous gift!!
      You look great in blues and greens and they make you happy, that's all that matters! xxx

      Delete
  27. What a fab buy and how awesome those stains just sponged off, sometimes you have to take a punt and I agree definitely a handsome devil.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm usually pretty confident with stains on synthetics but cotton can be a different matter - I was envisioning having to turn it into a mini dress! xxx

      Delete
  28. The combination of colors between the boots and dress is just wow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So much for that old saying "Blue & green should never be seen!" xxx

      Delete
  29. What a great color! And I love the sleeves! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure what I love the most, the ruffles or the zingy colour! xxx

      Delete
  30. I love your artwork and follow you pots this very minute!





    หนังเกาหลี

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's not my artwork but thanks for visiting.

      Delete
  31. Wow what a fabulous colour and it goes with those boots a treat! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Turquoise and lime, a match made in heaven! xxx

      Delete
  32. I knew I could count on you! Colorful and bright, no matter what the calendar says!
    This dress is phenomenal, and the whole outfit is phenomenal! Of all your fabulous shoes, this pair is my favorite! Thank you so much for this wonderful post, it was much needed this morning!

    I love all the Autumnal colors and textures, and if I could have it my way, I'd wear Autumn outfits year-round. :)) I agree that the world would be a dull place if we all went for the same thing... not to mention the competitiveness level! Oy!

    Lots of love!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Natalia!! You look absolutely splendid in your earthy tones, if I looked half as good as you I'd wear them all year round, too. xxx

      Delete
  33. Wow, that dress is amazing and looks incredible on you! I think those boots have to be my favourite thing ever of yours - how amazing is the colour?! You find all the great vintage boots (damn my big feet).

    I do love autumnal tones, but only because they work so well with my hair! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sarah! I'm a size 7 and do quite well finding vintage boots although these were a gift from a kind blog reader, lucky me! xxx

      Delete
  34. What a stunning dress on you Vix and made to fit only you. That color is exquisite. I luv the horizontal pin tucks and in all cotton too. You're rocking it. I just can't keep up with all you've got going.

    ReplyDelete
  35. WOW, stunning, the colour, the cut, and the fit. And those boots makes me swoon every time I see them. You wear it all perfectly. I love that photo of Cavanagh with the model.

    ReplyDelete
  36. 'Blue & green should never be seen'? I prefer my mother's dictum 'everything goes with green , look at plants'. The reason she avoided green was because she got married in a green suit and hence believed it to be unlucky for her .
    I remember seeing Mexicana in Vogue magazine in my teens . That is a beautiful turquoise ! And would go well with so-called Autumn colours .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stupid saying, isn't it?
      I agree with your Mum, green - like leopard print- is a neutral! xxx

      Delete
  37. It's been so hot here that I'm still wearing my summer linen and thin cotton. No tweeds or autumn colours here. That dress is a great find, even if it did need some TLC. I love researching vintage labels to get the story behind the dress, and this one has a good one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard about your hot weather - lucky you! I'd happily wear a bikini all year round if I could get away with it! xxx

      Delete

Don't be shy, if you enjoyed your visit leave a comment, I can come and visit your blog if you do.
Love from Vix
xxx