Brigitte Bardot made world news with her fresh and simple wedding dress in vichy print cotton...
...an inspiration for Mily with this rendition named "Fraîcheur*. Next is a perfect student ensemble appropriately named "Quartier latin".
"A la page"
This velvet suit by Balmain and Mily's "Coquetterie" one are very much alike.
Sheila, a Mily influence
"Yéyé" "Twist" et "Jeunesse"
‘But all of Europe dresses in France, my darling!”
Just as exciting (although not of a “real” fabric) was Mily’s faux-fur coat, which which was made of a sumptuous plush in a small-scale leopard print. Lined in gold satin with a matching toque hat, it was very reminiscent of Christian Dior’s somalia leopard coat of the late 1950s. Considering the haute couture distinction the Gégé company gave their doll clothes, it certainly is realistic to conclude that there was a Christian Dior influence here. In fact, a number of Mily’s clothes are almost exact copies of famous designer outfits. This is particularly true of her blue wool coat, which was obviously inspired by a typical Basque seaman’s jacket that Yves Saint Laurent had shown in one of his early collections. Also, there was a pinstriped dress that looked exactly like an Yves Saint Laurent outfit shown in Elle magazine. And, there was the Jacques Esterel wedding dress for Brigitte Bardot, in a pink-and-white check (called vichy in French) trimmed with English eyelet, that was found in Mily’s wardrobe.
Seen in the Le Printemps department store’s catalogue in 1966 is a fabulous (and also quite rare) copy of Yves Saint Laurent’s “Mondrian” dress, one of the most influential dresses of that era. When discussing that design with France Dimanche newspaper, Saint Laurent said, “In July I’d already finished a good part of my collection, and at the second rehearsal, I was miserable....Nothing was alive, nothing was modern in my mind except an evening gown that I’d had embroidered with paillettes like a Poliakoff painting. It wasn’t until I opened a Mondrian book my mother had given me for Christmas that I hit on the key idea.” The dress, a sophisticated cut of geometric primary colour panels, that conformed to the female anatomy, was an haute couture masterpiece, yet was appealing to the changing tastes of the popular youth culture. The press called it a “new art”, Americans called it a “turning point”, The British Vogue magazine warned soberly that it would the easiest thing in the world to copy...and as the Gégé company proved, they were indeed right. When the Mondrian dress was originally shown by Yves Saint Laurent, it was accessorized with a geometric brooch.The Mily set came with two such brooches: one triangular, another a cross shape. This is a testament to the application of authenticity, so rarely seen in commercially-made fashion dolls, in the Mily series.
Mily’s diminutive Mondrian dress was called, appropriately enough,A La Page, after the french expression of the 1960s that something was so fashionable that it was “on the page” of trendy magazines. In Mily’s diaries, those captivating booklets, she writes about her Mondrian dress: In the entry dated August 10th, 1965, Mily recalled, “ After the swim, to go home, (I’ll wear) yet again another dress that honours the great French taste: A La Page. The absolute ‘dernier cri’ Jacky finds me rather chauvinist (and says) ‘You’re not very European...’ (and I respond) ‘But all of Europe dresses in France, my darling!”
The now iconic Yves Saint Laurent "Mondrian" dress, with one of the paintings it was inspired from. Photograph by Dominique Mulhem.
"The latest Parisian fashions"
Gégé’s claim, printed in the Le Printemps catalogue, that “Mily the fashion mannequin (was) dressed with elegance following the latest Parisian fashions,” certainly held true by 1966, the store’s advertisements claimed there were 70 different outfits available for Mily and the work of many top designers was copied to make them. Mily had an ensemble in green velvet called Coquetterie that was an exact copy of a Balmain ensemble. It was trimmed in leopard-print plush, a typical Balmain effect and rather well achieved in miniature.
About her Balmain-style suit Mily wrote: “I just found some photos. I’ll glue them here in my diary...I find that I look very chic in them. I’m wearing my sober two-piece velvet suit....the toque hat, the collar and the muff are in panther. It’s my godmother who gave it to me. She adores to see me dressed like a ‘nice little woman'. But, this wasn’t an outfit to run in the woods, First of all, my stockings run instantly.
“Yes, I was taking a walk near the woods in the park that day (the photos were taken) I love the woods in the autumn. It’s my romantic little girl side. None of my friends know this about me except maybe my pet squirrel Moinillon. But he wouldn’t make fun of me. He would certainly find it normal to see me, with my nose in the air, my eyes vague, alone in this place that has become so marvelously calm, after the invasion of the Sunday hot-dog sellers”
"Style Ranch" and "Champs Elysées"
A plastic guitar brooch with the portrait of French "yéyé" star, Johnny Hallyday.
The "Yéyé" Style
This fact that Mily felt a little inappropriately dressed in the haute couture that her godmother (who was a hatmaker - and who had “fingers of a fairy like godmother’s of the past”) adored was a symbol of the changing times. Ten years before, in the 1950s, it would have been absolutely normal for a well-brought-up young lady to walk in the woods in a smart, sober suit. In the 1960s, however, society was split between those who still dreamed of the past when women always wore dresses and those who felt less so inclined. Mily had outfits to satisfy both types of customers.
Often Mily’s clothes were similar to those worn by then-popular singers such as the Yéyés, Petula Clark and Sylvie Vartan. Jacky also wore clothing reminiscent of popular French performers - Claude Francois, Adamo and Blondo. He came in his cardboard box wearing white slip-ons, a pair of white cotton boxer shorts with a pocket in front and a white cotton ribbed, very tight and sexy marcel tee-shirt and looked like Jean Paul Belmondo. It was a highly erotic outfit for a male doll to come in...Later as the production of the manly Jacky was slowed down due to economic reasons, his otherwise muscular arms were replaced with Mily’s own arms, which proportionally was fine but made him look a bit daft with such skinny arms.
The Yéyé costume was a red tee-shirt with a tartan skirt. Style Ranch was a caramel-coloured décolleté shift with a big full-length zipper down the front. It was exactly the look worn by Sylvie Vartan - particularly the black fishnet blouse! A tartan shawl and fringed shoulder bag gave it the look that all female singers (who wore haute couture or at least looked as if they did) had at the time. Another set of “musical” apparel was Champs-Elysées: it was a Chanel-beige knit dress in the shift style with a leather-fringed self-belt. The outfit even came with a few records.
Basically, in the beginning Mily was still very “Âge tendre et tête de bois”, the popular teenage TV show which featured each week all the Salut les Copains magazine’s stars which greatly influenced Mily as well.
One of Mily’s outfit’s was called Twist, after the dance fad that seemed to epitomize the 1960s. It was a superb red leather shift dress with a clingy black jersey beatnik blouse. It was accessorized with a fashionable pendant necklace - the die cube, really a hip little symbol and a chain-handled leather handbag in black. Although it wasn’t shown in the catalogue, Twist came with a very mod-looking burgundy synthetic jersey cape that closed with a chain. The entire effect was very Carnaby Street, a new influence for fashion, and the antithesis of Parisian haute couture.
This outfit was the source of at least one “major” dilemma in Mily’s life, which she chronicled in her diary:
“Today, it’s a holiday. All my friends will come over to the house. My parents finally bought me a guitar. I’ve learned how to play, secretly. Marie-Laure, who thinks she’s the only musician in the gang, will certainly be jealous...especially when she sees my new sheath Twist, in red leather.
At least (she’ll be jealous) when she sees my little Yéyé ensemble: tee-shirt, red also, tartan skirt....I’ve the whole day to decide (what to wear to the party). But, at the last minute, probably, I’ll still hesitate. Yes, I know I’m a ‘coquette’. Don’t tell me it’s a fault. If it is one, too bad, I like it. In any case, Jacky will say to me when he arrives: ‘Mily, you’re great.’ It’s ‘his’ word. I don’t pay attention to it anymore.”
Mily doesn't realize she is already in love with Jacky...
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