Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Vintage Style - The House of Eliott

Well, the wet is back. Our spooky city is socked in under leaden clouds, ponds form at every corner, and battered umbrella skeletons line otherwise empty sidewalks. It's time to return to one of Portland's favorite winter sports - getting an entire television series on dvd and watching the whole damn thing, marathon style.

If you haven't seen it, The House of Eliott is the story of two plucky sisters who must use their clever dress making and management skills to survive after the sudden death of their oppressive father. In the first season, they overcome patronizing gentlemen and stuffy old ladies, and by a combination of willpower, good nature, and impeccable style, rise in the fashion world. Honestly, it's too, too charming.

There are a lot of reasons to love The House of Eliott. I love it because it is the only show I can think of that focuses on the stress and exhilaration of being independant artists running a small business. It's basically a melodrama, with things going awry and doings ill, plenty of romance and intrigue. But it is a melodrama in which a young woman, dealing with the grief of unexpected loss, turns to her sister and says, "Aren't we lucky to have our work?" Most of the arguments on the show are about creative freedom, taking artistic risks, and the importance of appealing to enough people to be really successful.

The other reason is, obviously, the clothes. If you're one to spend half your time while watching Downton Abbey wondering if you could figure out a knitted version of Lady Mary's traveling coat, you will find even more inspiration in the sophisticated outfits of the sisters Eliott. I've already decided that I need more silk pyjamas and kimonos in my life.

                                                And then there's the band on this hat:

It appears to be made of little cushions of velvet. I very badly want to figure out how to do this.
The show is full of excitement for all us vintage embellishment junkies, of embroidered trim and little buttons and chic ribbons.


Throughout the first season, Bea and Evie wear these sort of turban things in silk or velvet, à la Louise Brooks. They remind me of the headscarves I've been seeing on fashion blogs lately. Time for a revival? We'll see if they persist in season two...


  1. I need to check it out. Those hats at to die for! I always have been obsessed with Louise Brooks persona.. she was quite enigmatic! Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is so beautiful, going back in time always makes me feel so nice, I love that atmosphere.

    You have a really cool blog here. Do you want to follow each other, I would love that.

  3. I love vintage style
    especially 30's hair :)
    amazing post!

  4. I discovered this series a few weeks back and I love every moment of it. The acting is a bit theatrical, but it's witty and beautiful. And how often do we have two female protagonists who genuinely love their work even when it gets tough? Great post. Thanks!

  5. I just found your charming blog (from Ravelry), so this comment is a little late to the party. Have you seen "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries"? It's set in 1920s Australia and features plucky women, gorgeous fashion, and murder. I suspect you may enjoy it, as well.

    1. I love "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries"! I found it on netflix not too long ago and was completely smitten.