Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wearing Miss Kubelik

One of my favourite films is Billy Wilder’s The Apartment (1960). I adore Shirley McLaine’s character, Fran Kubelik, the elevator-girl-next-door (yes, she's the inspiration for this blog's name). I can just still remember when department stores had elevator operators. By the 1980s, they were mostly very old ladies, who had probably once been perky little Miss Kubeliks.

Since I have started sewing myself a wardrobe of homemade-vintage, I got to thinking about Fran Kubelik, and how adorable her wardrobe is – and how perfectly suited to the modern working girl! And how often I came a cross a pattern very similar to a movie costume... just like today, everyday wear both inspires costume designers (think of Edith Head’s wardrobe for Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, inspired by teenage streetwear) and leads to trends on the street. That's certainly evident with the popularity of Mad Men and the explosion of vintage in the mainstream.

The textured coat with the cross-over collar and leather gloves

The chiffon party dress, with a beautifully draped shawl collar

So I have decided to add a little inspiration to my sewing. My plan is to try to hunt down patterns similar to Miss Kubelik’s wardrobe and make them myself. Just like a real life Miss Kubelik probably did in the late 1950s. Her beautifully textured coat with a distinctive collar (anyone know what that style's called?), her lovely black wool frock, her smart grey uniform suit, and her cute chiffon party dress (sheer fabric terrifies me!).

The Elevator Suit, loving the little white gloves!

In the process I'll improve my sewing skills and end up with a pretty fabulous wardrobe! 

If you could replicate a character's wardrobe, one that you could really wear, who would it be?

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