by The VintageGent-ette
(Reprinted by Popular Demand)
There are a lot of terms that people tend to ascribe to slick and glossy accessories, such as: patent leather, patent vinyl, wet look vinyl, and PVC. Is it all the same? And is “patent leather” REALLY leather? And how do I know?
No. Yes. The VintageGent hopes to clear that up for you.
History and Common Clones
The process originated with the high lacquering of leather, called Japanning. In more modern times, Seth Boyden perfected the process of creating patent leather in 1818, thus described as the process once was patented. In the early 19th century, the mirror-glossy finish came from the bonding of linseed oil to leather. In modern times, a petroleum derivative replaces linseed oil.
Poromeric Imitation Leather is what the general public usually identifies as “patent leather, when it actually contains no leather derivative. The first poromeric leather was released in 1964. It was easily cleanable, but stiff and not breathable, which made it ideal for structured handbags, but not so ideal for shoes. The synthetic offers a higher level of color consistency and range when compared to genuine patent leather. Look for white, lime green, tangerine and other bright or pastel handbags from the mod 1960s for examples.
PVC. Actually, PVC is polyvinyl chloride. It is an ingredient in what makes “PVC vinyl” but not the end product. As this is the common term in clothing and accessories and not a chemistry lesson, we will go with “PVC.” PVC vinyl appears in handbags, belts, and other accessories. It is much more flexible than the poromerics, thus making it more versatile and more practical for some uses. It is commonly used in accessories, such as belts, trim, some handbags such as tote bags, aprons, and some raingear. The material also has a following in the boudoir and fetish markets.
How to identify genuine patent leather.
There is just not “one” definitive answer…but here are some clues…
This may help whether you have an item in your hands, or are shopping online.
1) Items bear a stamped “genuine leather” or “genuine patent leather” stamp. However, sometimes gold stamped lettering fades, labels tear, or are separated.
2) When a genuine item gets damaged at the corners, it will behave as leather does and you will feel leather or a sueded edge depending on how serious the damage is. On the other hand, poromeric it is likely to tear and you may see or feel a backing.
3) Look for higher end hardware, and higher end linings. Items with leather or sueded leather linings are always genuine. Occasionally they may have satin or faille linings. Vinyl linings indicate PVC. PVC can have fabric linings as well, but never leather. Poromeric typically have satin weave fabrics, polyester, or felt, but makers sometimes get creative. But never leather.
4) Color. Traditional, genuine patent leather doesn’t come in the wide range of colors poromeric leather comes in. Look for dark and traditional colors such as black, brown, red, navy, and the occasional jewel tone with black being the most common and the others rarer. Pastels would be a rarity, or they would be poromeric as it is difficult to dye leather lighter than its natural color unless it goes through further manipulation or treatment. PVC can also come in just about any color.
5) Date. The older an item (pre mid-60s) the more likely it is to be genuine patent leather. But it doesn’t mean it is.
6) Pin test. If you absolutely have to know, you can take a hot pin and gently and evenly poke a tiny hole in the leather. If the pin melts or goes through the top layer only, its leather. If it goes all the way through…its not. Not recommended unless you must, as it will damage the item.
In the market place.
It is true that “patent leather” has entered the colloquial dialect with accepted usage covering both actual patent leather, and any glossy vinyl that mimics it. It is not merely a matter of sellers shying away from what is accurate for fear of no one finding their items; most of the educated public does not differentiate themselves. It requires both the disclosure of the seller and the inquisitiveness and education of the buyer to make sure that what you see is what you get. If you do not think your item is genuine leather, please clarify in the listing by indicating as such.
Believe it or not, there are folks who prefer to look for poromeric or PVC for the color selection, or for the qualities of the material. Buzzwords such as “patent leather-like vinyl” will help steer potential shoppers to your listings, while also giving you the opportunity to educate and to clairfy that it is poromeric. “Wet Look” vinyl is a good way to describe PVC, and it is searched too! Searching “genuine patent leather” in descriptions will help narrow down the search if its leather you seek.
Have fun, and I hope that this brief guide helped you find exactly what you are looking for, or didn’t know you needed!
Being kind to others is a REALLY old fashioned idea never goes out of style, but the new twist is that the fashion industry has been taking notice of the many people who prefer to purchase products that aren’t tested on their beloved Beagles.
I came across a website for Borba, which is the maker of a line of skin care products. Because it appeared to be a specialty/high end product, I investigated to see if they too offered beauty products that weren’t tested on Beagles.
As I looked around, I spot checked the product descriptions and I found many that are not tested on animals. One of the specializations of Borba are their acne solutions. The Clarifying Micro-Diamond Cleanser. and Clarifying Complexion shields fall into that category as cruelty free. The price point is more compatible with products that you would obtain at the department store, but those who typically purchase at a lower price point may find that they discard enough tubes and jars before finding something they like that they might as well have paid the department store price to begin with.
As an added bonus, if you are a guy, you can more easily purchase at the department store and say that its for your girlfriend or your wife and be seen as very thoughtful, when you are really going to toss out telltale box with the pink flourish on it and use the unassuming looking tubes for yourself. Good skin care might not be available yet with camouflage decals on them.
Many products who use or at least splash their products with more natural ingredients tend to stress that their products create beauty from the inside nutritionally. I never understood how eyeliner or a cream could get inside and “beautify form the inside out” unless you used the product in a way that was not intended. Borba has a line of nutritional waters to support the various skin concerns, such as acne, anti-aging, or dry skin. Actually, I should correct myself as they are called Replenishing Aqua-Less Crystalline. These products do not state that they aren’t animal tested so can’t say for sure.
All in all, I would rate Borba as being Cruelty Free.
If you would like to try it, there is a promotion running this month. If you spend $100 or more on their site, you will receive a package of products to sample that have a $25.00 value. CLICK HERE for details. This month, you can sample items from their Clear Skin line.
Tonight, as you already know, is Oscar Night. Every year not only do millions watch the Academy Awards telecast to see who won the office betting pool, it is a night for folks who don’t go out to the movies much to find out what movie will be a sure bet for their dollar this weekend when some films are re-released or still out in first run if they can chase down a theater that is still playing them. (Whew! That was a long sentence. Hopefully you are still reading.).
In all seriousness, though: Of course people are also watching to see the fashions of the night. I will make three arguments about that statement.
First, I am confident that there are more people out there who relish the fashion flops, intentional or no. Who remembers what Angelina Jolie wore two years ago. Nope. We remember Bjork’s Swan outfit, which probably goes down in history as the top most talked about dress. I have already seen Sally Kellerman’s outfit this year (note: I did not call it a dress), and am just waiting for the photos to hit the internet.
The second argument I make is that people far more watch to see the ladies fashions and are not as interested in men’s fashions. One may think that it is because there are only so many modifications that one can make to a tuxedo. I argue that when a man is impeccably dressed, no one notices the ensemble unless one is a tailor – you notice the man. A man has to really go over the top for you to talk about his outfit. (Remember Randy Quaid in a muumuu?)
Thirdly, I would argue that the clothing worn for award ceremonies are not nearly as influential in fashion as are the clothing worn in the actual movies. When there are trends for certain periods in films that come out, they are more likely to influence fashion. In days of yor, people watched movies to see what kinds of fashions were coming out, an designers knew that is where they could reach a captive audience.
At an award ceremony, you see someone wearing something for a fleeting moment but in film have much more time to ponder it and be influenced by it. Also, there is often more emotion connected with a favorite or powerful film.
Case in point: There was more than one aspiring Indiana Jones in my family, at least one Cary Grant wannabe and then also plenty of bratty youngsters (I was likely one) who defended their fashion choice because they saw it in a movie.
At any rate, get the popcorn ready and enjoy yourselves tonight.
Until Next Time,
film, oscars | Comment (1)
Before there was a mainstream interest in clothing of the 30s-50s, it was very popular with people that took up swing dancing and the lindy hop.
However, the lindy that people were hopping in the 40s is very different than its modern incarnation. I found a home made video of young people dancing on the beach in the 1940. It looks like they are throwing a little bit of the jitterbug in there. To contrast, I have included a video of a modern lindy hop competition from 2006.
At the 2006 competition, because the emphasis is on atheleticism, you don’t see anyone in head to toe vintage like you would at other events. To contrast, in the 1940 video, it proves to folks whose fashion scope only goes back a decade or two that puffed shoulder blouses were nothing new in the 80s. Also, the concept of casual clothing was very different than it is now, especially since the film was shot before the war. One of the young men looks like he is wearing a T-shirt, but most likely he simply took his button down shirt off because he was hot, rather than making a fashion decision in the morning.
Just an aside: in the 1940 film, it appears that someone gets dipped, but we don’t get to see it because the person on the camera is in the middle of a shot of everyone’s feet. More proof that the film was not “staged” and more organic.
From 2006:1940s | Comments (4)
Laura Skidmore is the proprietress of the Vintage Fashion Library on the internet, where she sells vintage patterns as well as making reproductions that are geared towards professional and home sewer alike. For some people, they choose to make clothing from vintage patterns in order to not damage their authentic vintage clothing, they proportions are better for them, or they may be even staging a play of a film shoot set back in time.
Recently. Laura left ebay to concentrate on her website, and was interviewed by CNN on the matter. Due to recent changes at ebay in their feedback system and fees, it is very timely.
Read Laura’s thoughts here:
You can visit her at VintageFashionLibrary.com. Get your shopping shoes on, and your wallet out and give her some business. There are usually patterns there for all the demographics (ladies, men kids), so no excuse for anyone not to start twelve projects. (And tell her I said hello!)the business of vintage | Comment (0)
I love all the “B” movies from the 1950s and 1960s that featured all sorts of strange ideas directors and writers had about what robots would be like in the future. I very much wanted a robot butler when I was a kid, but Asimo scares me a little. I prefer my robots to look like they are made from garage and kitchen leftovers.
Little did I know that there is a whole community on the internet devoted to robot hobbyists. The RUG Community announces its kick off contest of a free Samsung LCD HDTV to the top member on the site. Sign up today and start interacting with other robotic enthusiasts.
Join the RUG Community, then let me know how you are coming with my butler!
I’ll admit it. I am not into decorative pillows, or strategically placed throw blankets, but I am a self admitted furniture junkie. Mainly, I tend to rescue chests of drawers and occasional tables. A few years back, there were more side tables in my house than the seating called for, and the home office was a gallery of smiall pieces waiting for the day when they would be rotated in. I realized a year ago that without a sofa or a bed, all of the rest just wouldn’t come together.
I found a site where you can actually order a few suitable pieces that may blend your eras together at http://furniturefromhome.com. Modern furniture is very eclectic, but I find there are a lot of styles that are 1960s and inspired if that is your taste. You can get a captains bed that hasn’t changed much since the 1970s, and in fact may have more storage. I have also found some beds that have similar low profiles to those that I was just looking at in a 1960s design book. And in the living room department, several sectionals can be ordered that have a striking resemblance to what was in the 1970s and early 1980s design books.
For me, although I can really imagine some of these pieces being able to marry the elements of an eclectic home, I am still not 100% sold that I would be comfortable buying all my seating online.
In the next few weeks, I will be getting out my design books and sharing them with you as well.
Uncategorized | Comment (0)
Yesterday Vintagent.Com was taking a little snooze. Well, not really. The site was down for a little bit. I frantically called tech support at my host, BlueHost. There was a server that had gone down (happens sometimes to the best of ‘em) and they were working to remedy the problem lickety split. I have dealt with servers and moving database before, so know how that can cripple an operation for a week or more. Not so, here.
I was very impressed. In fact, after battling it out with tech support and customer service agents at other companies that handle other electronics that are dotted around the stately VintageGent estate, I needed to be pinched. BlueHost customer service and tech support representatives are right here in the good old U.S. of A! No offense to people working hard at call centers overseas, but with more and more customer service jobs going over seas, it is great to know you have hired a company that is creating some great jobs stateside.
What’s more, I am saving loads of Washingtons because they let you host as many domains as you can stand on one account, instead of hitting you for hosting for each one.
I seldom “plug” services not relating to fashion or time past, but all I have to say to this is:
CLICK HERE TO SIGNUP FOR BLUEHOST.COM NOW. You won’t be sorry! I am floored, and you will be too for just good old fashioned value and courtesy. I’ve added a little chiclet to the bottom of my sidebar, just in case you want to find their link later.