Monday, March 10, 2014

A Night in the 40s with The Black Pinafore

This past Saturday was the annual "A Night in the 40s" dance held at the CAF Museum out at Falcon Field. This USO-styled event is always a grand time, and this year I asked Debora of The Black Pinafore to make my frock for the dance. I always make an appearance as Betty Grable during this event, but like to wear something eye-catching for the rest of the evening. I came across a 1940s French fashion illustration of two stunning dresses, one with a red, white, and blue striped front, and the other with a dramatically low back, and immediately knew that a dress that combined the two designs would be the perfect look. Debora was happy to turn my design dream into reality, and the finished frock certainly did not disappoint!

The dress is made primarily from a vibrant royal blue fabric with the feel of a vintage rayon, and accented with red and white stripes. Each stripe ties and forms a peekaboo cutout; these peekaboo cutouts, along with the delightfully bare back, combine to make a dress perfect for a 1940s starlet!

As usual, Debora's work is simply amazing. I cannot tell you how impressed I am with the quality of her work; she finishes everything beautifully and does an impressive job of fitting the dress to the wearer's measurements from across the world. The dress needed only a few minor tweaks because of the open back; Chris of Vee Vin Tage took care of these finishing touches.

I paired the dress with my beloved white platforms by Johnson's Shoes, a WWII red Lucite heart necklace and matching earrings (the necklace is adorned with a naval insignia), and a carved Lucite bracelet.

Doug Monce of Atomic Age Pictures captured these images; as we were walking around, one of the museum staff members asked if we like to take some photos of me standing on the wing of a P-51 Mustang. Would I?  Of course! I will say that standing on the wing in tall platform shoes is a bit challenging, though not nearly as challenging as figuring out how to get down in the same heels!

Amanda Lee


  1. the red, white, and blue striped front is a stunner! you are always the most beautiful xxx

  2. You look amazing Amanda. What a wonderful dress and great event to attend. You certain are a ringer for Betty Grable. I have a question for you, do you have a link to the site where you bought your shoes? It's so difficult to buy vintage stripy shoes as the straps are usually brittle or close to the end of their life.

  3. Thank you so much, ladies!

    Joanna, the shoes are custom reproduction platforms from the UK store Johnson's Shoes, and I love them! I actually bought a second pair in red; they are on the expensive side (around $150-$180, depending on the style) but it is so hard to find accurate reproduction shoes (especially in white) that they were well worth the price to me.

  4. Really, really smashing dress! The blue and red sing like one of the Andrews Sister against your beautiful blonde locks. What a special, fantastic event this is - thank you very much for taking us along with you.

    ♥ Jessica

  5. Thank you, Jessica! The dress certainly made me feel like I was ready to perform in a USO show!

  6. Hello Amanda, I can not thank you enough, these pictures are amazing, once again a great satisfaction to realize your ideas. This gown is truly breathtaking. Too bad they can not attend the event. :)
    At the next dress