Letter To "The Pearly Girls"

December 31, 1949

At the risk of being a bit early, Happy New year everyone! And what a new year it shall be! I hope each of you had as delightful a holiday season as did I. All of the relatives descended upon us on the twenty-first, and I must say, I am still shocked we were able to accommodate everyone. My favorite, Auntie Gillian, usurped my rights to my bed, so I had to share with Peggy. Tales Gillian brought from life in New York make me anxious to graduate next Spring. She brought a copy of a funny little book she received the Christmas before she moved into Downtown New York in 1937. She suggested I keep it from Mom and Daddy, and I think I just may. There are a couple of chapters they would find completely appalling!

Your Friend,
Gloria Gillian
An excerpt from one of Auntie G.G's letters to "The Pearly Girls"

Ringing in the New Year

Well. At the risk of being a bit early, Happy New Year everyone! And what a new year it shall be! (Sorry for the plagiarism Auntie G.) As luck would have it, My Auntie G (Gillian, like the Aunt for whom she was named) came to spend the holidays with us this year. My mother (Auntie G’s-several-years-younger-and-never-as-hip sister) had apparently been calling Auntie G, bemoaning my penchant for things retro. Auntie G, being the coolest Auntie EVER, decided to give us a visit to make sure I wasn’t being led astray by Mom’s memories. (“’Don’t get me wrong, Little Gigi,” she whispered, “Peggy has really outdone herself in, what do they call it? That’s right, ‘Soccer Mom’ fashion, but she always was a bit of a square.”) My presents from Auntie G this year consisted of a gorgeous mink collar set with rhinestones and pearls, a mink headband, black kid gloves with red stitched trim, one of her old dress patterns (good god a size 18 back then was a 38” bust) and a copy of the “funny little book” she received from her Aunt Gillian in 1939; apparently it’s back in print and still relevant for us single girls at 25. The title of the book is Live Alone and Like It by Marjorie Hillis - Go buy it. Go buy it now.

Well ladies, I’d better wrap it up. Time to let down my hair and do my mani/pedi to compliment my gorgeous black velvet party skirt circa the 1950’s – (I drool at the mere thought) As it is I am sitting here typing in my mere unmentionables. Ooh la la! Tonight I’m heading out to a formal attire shindig complete with well poured cocktails and music. What more could a single girl ask for? Taxi’s for the ride home, just in case. Happy New Years!




Burlesque Moulin Rouge Show Girl Costume Gigi Black and White

Burlesque Moulin Rouge Show Girl Costume Gigi Black and White

Halloween is just around the corner my loves. We have loads of sweet and sexy costumes with our original touch.


Vintage Inspired Dresses Soon To Appear

Just a quicky...
Dillinger is in the process of having some delightful new dresses circa the 1940's and 1950's recreated to add to their growing repetoire of vintage fashion. We have some preliminary peeks at what you may see in the future at Dillinger. If not these exact pieces they will be in similar vain. Tell us what you think!

50's Inspired Chiffon Party Dress with Ruffle Bust and Full Skirt

Red Bridal Satin Glamour Dress Inspired by Rita Hayworth: Featuring Gathered Fitted Skirt with lightweight boning to give a sexy slimming fit.


1940's Vintage Inspired Zebra Swimsuit by Esther Williams

Sexy, sassy and completely suited for all bathing beauties this zebra print suit is fabulously fierce! Bettie Page would be proud to strut it in this little number. All sizes to appear soon!!

Vintage Swimsuit circa Marilyn Monroe

So I have one image nearly ready from the weekend shoot of my fantastic vintage swimsuit find. I can not gush enough over the detail and style that drips from this piece!

Here is a peek! Velvety royal blue fabric that is tightly gathered across the back with shirred sheer polka-dot blue side panels that matches the neckline and criss-cross button halter.


Silver Screen

So my last post got me wondering where the term silver screen came from. As many phrases we use with out question, the term at one point was quite literal. "A silver screen, also known as a silver lenticular screen, is a type of projection screen that was popular in the early years of the motion picture industry. The term silver screen originated in reference to the actual silver content embedded in the material that made up the screen's highly reflective surface. While actual silver screens are no longer commonly used, the term silver screen has passed into popular usage as a metonym for Hollywood and the movies..." Wikipedia

Thank you dear internet, I will forever be indebted to you.


Quite possibly the best...

I am not the first to say that Jimmy Stewart is one of the best actors to ever grace the silver screen and by far the most enjoyable to watch. He truly brings you in with his genuine emotion and passion. There is good reason why Jimmy Stewart always had monologues in his films - he draws you in so completely that your forget it is just a movie. His face tells an entire story with out really having to say a word, but his signature voice and use of words really completes the picture. By his own admition, "I am James Stewart, playing James Stewart. I couldn't mess around doing great characterization. I play variations of myself. Audiences have come to expect certain things from me and are disappointed if they don't get them." --James Stewart

I was recently reading his biography and had no idea that he was the first Hollywood actor to serve in WWII, and he also served in the Vietnam War.

"At age 33, Stewart enlisted as private and rose to colonel in the Air Force, leading one thousand plane strikes against Germany; Stewart won the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. In his later years he gradually rose in rank in the reserves until he retired a brigadier general.

After the war, Stewart contributed what is undoubtedly his best-known performance, in Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946), a film and a performance full of postwar angst and visions of youthful dreams dashed yet also showing the compensations bound up with overlooked achievements. " TCM.com

A few of my favorites are coming up on Turner Classic Movies: (Although I don't know that I could possibly pick a favorite because I love his films so much)

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939): An idealistic Senate replacement takes on political corruption.
August 30th 5:45 PM (EST)

You Can't Take It With You (1938): A girl from a family of freethinkers falls for the son of a conservative banker.
August 30th: 8:00 PM (EST)

Vintage Swimsuit Extravaganza...VivaVintageClothing.com

I am in heaven with this stunning vintage swimsuit circa Marilyn Monroe and beyond glamorous. In my never ending quest for classic clothing and vintage inspiration I came across VivaVintageClothing Featuring fabulous era clothing in fantastic condition. This suit is flawless and if you haven't picked up on it already, I am in LOVE!! Keep an eye out as we start to introduce The Dillinger Ink Swimwear Collection for a close replica. It may not be available until next summer but hopefully we can graze the masterful construction of the gorgeous vintage swimsuit. We will post studio photos after our upcoming shoot but until then here is a peek at my new favorite addition to my ever growing closet of bombshell inspiration.

Thank you VivaVintageClothing.com for an incredible swimsuit and stellar customer service!


The Great American Pin-up: Gil Elvgren

If I can think back to the origin of my fascination with vintage fashion, I would have to give most credit to what we all love and revere as The Great American Pin-up. Iconic images of beautiful women who are sweet and seductive and who bare the mark of femininity. As my collection of images grows I always come back to Gil Elvgren (1914-1980), one of the greatest and arguably most important pin-up and glamour artists of the twentieth century. Perhaps I harbour some pride in the fact that he is from St. Paul, Minnesota, home sweet home - though that aside is his ability to bring the female form to life with vibrance and a playful vivaciousness. I believe that is the draw that keeps us interested, it keeps this art and this style alive among women and men today. It is the full skirts and fitted waistlines, the red lips and curled hair, and of course the peekaboo thigh-hi stocking and garter that shows off just enough to keep her modesty.

Getting Spotted

Gil Elvgren left The University of Minnesota in 1933 with new wife Janet Cummins. The newlyweds headed for Chicago because of the artistic opportunity it afforded Gil. Elvgren enrolled in the Amerian Academy of Art where he worked with a determination that his professors and peers took note of. He completed his studies in 2.5 years and moved home to St. Paul where he would be commissioned to paint the Dionne Quintuplets who were a sensation in American media. This painting would be for the world's largest calendar company, Brown & Bigelow whom Elvgren would produce many many works for over the years. From this painting, Gil would become an overnight success commercially which was indeed rare. By 1940, most of Elvgren's work was coming out of New York and Chicago so he and Janet decided to return to the Windy City where Gil would work with Stevens/Gross studio, later landing him work with Coca-Cola where he would produce some of the more infamous illustrations of American history.

Dionne Quintuplets taken from Gil Elvgren: The complete pin-ups by Taschen

In 1944, Gil and Janet were expecting their third child when he was approached by Brown & Bigelow and offered a position as a staff artist. They would pay him $1000 per painting and an expected $24000 the first year, which would make him the highest paid illustrator in America. After his son was born, Elvgren took the postion with B&B, but not before accepting a job from Joseph C. Hoover for which he would produce Dream Girl. It was the largest pinup he had ever produced (40x30") and became the best-selling evening gown pinup ever published by Hoover.

"Dream Girl" 1945

I found a great Etsy site that sells reproductions of Gil Elvgren's work here.

Be sure and check out our great Pin-up Lingerie and stockings to get the classic look that made these women so famous!

Good Evening Chicadees

Hello my sweets, you have dialed Dillinger 411 and I will be your operator, Miss Gigi L'Amore. I get the delightful duty of bringing you fashion news from Dillinger Ink as well as any other little pearl I deem worthy of gab.

You could probably already guess, but I am a fanatic of classic films, pinup art, beautiful pin-curls, luciously long lashes, kiss-me red lipstick and oh-so-naughty lingerie and stockings. Give me the keys to a cherry hot rod, some Audrey Hepburn eyewear and a curve-hugging vintage swimsuit - you may only see my vapor trail leading to where the white sand meets the ocean.


"Put the blame on Mame boys...."

"Men married Gilda and woke up with Rita..."
Rita Hayworth commented regarding her failed marriages

Margarita Cansino

Margarita Cansino aka Rita Hayworth before they tweezed back her hairline to make her more "American".

Rita Hayworth: Goddess.

Rita Hayworth (October 17, 1918 – May 14, 1987) was born Margarita Carmen Cansino, and became the world's postergirl sex symbol of the 1940's. She began her career as a dancer, with her father in The Dancing Cansinos. But later would skyrocket to an American icon after her roll as "Gilda". After about 1960, Rita sadly suffered from the early onset of Alzheimer's Disease and died at the age of 68, leaving behind a legacy of a godess.