Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Primary Summer

A low warm tone wailed and bubbled trailing off into a vibration, coming back as a blare, almost a cry. It was like honey dripping into hot, dark tea, solid melting into liquid at the bottom of the cup. The spot light appeared on an empty stage. The trumpet began a sultry ebbing pattern interrupted by notes spilling off the piano as the glitz of a million tiny sequins flashed. It took her weeks to painstakingly sew each one on the costume by hand. Now the world would see its anticipated extravagance, but few would ever know the pain that goes into the process. After all, that's the show, the stage, the theater, creating the spectacular illusion of a world impossible to exist in reality, but thriving in the eyes of the enchanted observer.

Photography by me

I had a little fun with my makeup and that's not my natural hair. Im still a blonde. I found a vintage swim cap that inspired me to do a 1920s beach bathing suit look. This is actually a vintage Tadashi romper. For my makeup I used these water color like pigments. So much fun, they work just like the water colors we used as children. Add water to your brush, lather and soak up some pigment and paint! I ended up with about the same color mixing mess on the pallet as I did in grade school. For a perfect round blush cheek, try using another elementary favorite, a ruler with shapes cut out...  choose the circle and use as a stencil! Really fast and easy. Tip: when using strong colors on your face, apply a little heavier foundation on that area to protect your skin from absorbing any of the makeup color, preventing stain.

I have been obsessed with 1970s film and coloring ever since I saw American Hustle. Its something about that paper texture and the film grain. Even though I was shooting for 1920s, I let a little 70s leak through.

If you haven't found me there yet, Im on  Instagram and YouTube. Here is a little video form the shoot that can also be found on there.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rose Colored Glasses

Its summer in the city! I've been saving this vintage dress, dotted with speckles and roses in an oily-painted pattern for quite a long time. I bought it before I began my blog, waiting for just the right time to wear it. A whole long line of tiny buttons run almost the length of the dress with little pin tucks at the waist. The coolness of the silk crepe and wide off the shoulder collar make it perfect for July.

I was really excited when Grey Ant invited me to model in their recent campaign and I got to keep these stunning cat eye glasses from the shoot. The almost rose colored lenses were just too perfect a match for the dress, so I put on my best 1950s housewife attire and took off with my trusty tripod in hand.

Photos by me (Laura Okita)

Vegetation really seems to thrive on the East Coast, but we are well past the flowering season. Now, its mostly overgrowing shrubbery and shady tree lined streets - well shade if you are lucky. I almost would have missed this darling little rose bush if I hadn't gone to a different deli the weekend before last. All week I waited nervously hoping the flowers would survive the latest heatwave long enough for pictures. I did manage to catch a few determined blossoms. There was also this little apple that just rolled its self right out off the tree in front of me while I was taking pictures, almost as if it was asking to be included in the pictures. I picked him up, but I've read my fairytales, I didn't bite even as tempting as he was. Sorry little apple, only pictures today.

My old tripod broke recently so I wasn't able to raise the camera up more than half way. I finally got a new tripod and a new wireless remote, new glasses, it was a fancy new day haha. I had a lot of fun playing with the camera even though it was so hot. I was almost dizzy and had to call it a day, but thankfully I remembered my sunscreen, and with so many foundations now including up to 50spf, there is no excuse to go without.

The details... Vintage gloves, I buy a pair in every color I can find! A vintage handbag and scarf to go with my necklace from Me&Ro, engraved with little (of course) roses.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Coney Island 4th of July

A cloudless day in sunny Coney Island, New York, the perfect place to wear my new vintage swimsuit. As soon as I found this suit, I immediately thought of the iconic 1950s Barbie in her black and white stripes with cateye sunglasses. I was gifted these Red-y for the Boardwalk wedges from Pinup Darling and I was ready for Coney's Islands infamous boardwalk, ice cream, hot dogs and cotton candy! 

Photos by me (Laura Okita)

I was inspired by my favorite makeup look from the Dior couture 2008 runway show, and with the couture shows coming up this week in Milan and Paris, what better time than this to give it a go? I think this look in a blue eyeshadow and red lip would have made vintage Barbie happy to wear too.

The smell of saltwater in the air with that burning humidity on your back, sprayed with sand on the imagination, the beach in summer. I love the water, the beach and being in a swimsuit. I was on the swim team and played water polo through college, so Im always at home near the water... but with a lot of sunscreen!

Ate a famous Coney Island hot dog, enjoyed an egg cream soda and fell in love with Coney Island. I can't wait to go back to the beach again this summer.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Authentic 1940s Hair Tutorial

Its here! I received a lot of requests this week for a tutorial on how to do the hair style from my anniversary picnic post. Its a really easy style to do, you get the great look of victory rolls, but you don't actually have to make rolls. It was inspired by my Grandmother's hair in one of her photos and can be seen frequently throughout the 1940s. Its easy to do, which is probably whey its one of the most authentic vintage styles for everyday wear.

Photos by me (Laura Okita)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Happy One Year Anniversary Paper Mothball Vintage

A year goes by so fast, and yet seems so long. This week is Paper Mothball Vintage's one year anniversary! Its been such an amazing first year, learning and growing, making new friends, getting the opportunity to interact with you readers and fellow bloggers! I feel so fortunate for all of the opportunities and collaborations that have come so far. 

One big change going forward in the next year may already be apparent, big images! This year will be packed with more videos and tutorials. A few giveaways are also coming together soon, mostly to say Thank You for all your support!!

Photos by me (Laura Okita)

To celebrate, I decided to make moth cookies, and whole assortment of little flying creatures including butterflies and dragonflies. Living in NYC with the tiniest of kitchen counter space (1 sq ft!), it was quite a challenge! Ive found that making dresses is much easier for me than baking cookies. I might be a vintage gal, but I take after Lucille Ball with catastrophes sure to ensue. Yes, Ive got some explainen to do! 

After a mess of cookie dough, flour and sugar trailing across my apartment, and likely down the hallway into the street, topped with a sad frosting job, I finally decided the cookies would look much better covered in glitter. Let's just say Im no Betty Crocker. They do make "edible" glitter that I purchased from the baking store, but Im still skeptical as to whether or not its safe to eat. It all ended up that these sweet mon petites were just for looks. Somehow I did manage to get one of them to curve their wings in flight. I did enjoy the deliciously perfect midsummer strawberries with a cup of tea. Perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon in Central Park. 

The vintage 1940s dress I am wearing is one of my favorites because its the first vintage dress I bought since I started dreaming of Paper Mothball Vintage. I always loved vintage, even my college graduation dress was vintage, but this was the first "serious" vintage dress. I never wear it because it is very special to me, but thought it would be perfect for this picnic.

Where did the name Paper Mothball Vintage come from? 

Its really a mix of inspirations. I love the color and silhouette of the Luna Moth, the soft green shimmering wings, spiraling into long slender tails. I have always loved mythology and particularly the moon, it seeming to hold some fantasy of luminescent romance for me. So with the luna moth, I got the moon.
I was playing around with a logo, and printed out a drawing I made of the Luna Moth. It reminded me of the paper snowflake and paper dolls I played with in my childhood, only here I had a little paper moth. This seemed like a good direction except, the Paper Moth is the general slim brown moth that we find in our homes and vintage clothes, eeeek! Not very attractive.
At first I was appalled at the direction my blog’s name and logo was going, but then I loved the contrast. Life is beautiful, yet it has less desirable side too. Life and death, creation and destruction. What is it that makes us love vintage? Is it the fleeting rarity of a time once new, but now scattered among pieces of the past, these things once mundane, but made interesting only through their end. Creating anything contains this duplicity of beauty rendered through the destruction of its ingredients.   Even baking the cookies, I had to destroy the eggs, a chicken, used water for washing the dishes, electricity etc. 
The moths (and its larva) are the destructive enemy of fabric, the substance of my foundation. The mothball protects. It destroys the moth, saving the clothes, but in contrast is poison, and very dark in and of itself. 
I loved that idea. I think it is the quandary of the modern world. How to create without destruction. 

I want to say a Big thank you to everyone who has supported and helped me in my first year. Thank you to my husband who loses a weekend afternoon to my trotting off with tripod in hand, for being there though my stress, and helping me learn along the way. It would not be what it is without him.

Thank you to my parents, family and friends for your interest and support, My page would have had no followers, likes or comments without you in the early days of my experiments and failures. 

Thank you to my readers. It would be a very lonely conversation without you. You truly are my inspiration. 

Thank you to all of the sponsors, companies and brands who collaborated with me, or featured my work.

American Duchess Shoes
Another Perfume Blog
Besame Cosmetics
Burda Style
Darling Clothes
Elements Magazine
Fashion Indie
Georgette Magazine
Halcyon Fair
Jin Soon Choi
Kenley Collins
Lindy Bop
Livid Magazine
Marc by Marc Jacobs Cosmetics
Milk & Honey Shoes
Motonari Ono
Pinkbow City
Queens of Vintage
The Lingerie Parlor
Thistle Magazine
Vanity Fair
Vinca USA
Vogue Brazil
Vosges Haut Chocolat
What Goes Around Comes Around
Wildfell Hall Vintage, The Slipperie

My hair inspiration for this post was from my Grandmother, Josephine