Key after key

In a chapter from the acclaimed series House of Cards, a crafty Kevin spacey has to write a very important letter and he decides to do it with a Underwood writing machine that his father had given to him. We can see his fingers hiting each key and how every word is printed over the paper almost in a solemn way. There’s no screen or cables around, only the indelible ink.

This scene wouldn’t have had the same impact with a computer, laptop or an iPad. It’s not about rejecting the new technologies now but about defending that magic within the printed words that will never be deleted, within the smell of the ink, within the rhythmic sound of the keys hiting the paper.

The first writing machine I can remember was a Rheinmetall in my grandparent’s house. It was portable or, at least, the instructions said that, because the heavy weight made it imposible to carry around. My grandfather, who was a woodworker, made a cover in wood for it. Thanks to that box, the device was able to cross the Atlantic from Venezuela to Spain with not even a scratch. It wasn’t really portable but it was a traveller indeed, because its origin was German. The Company in charge of the production was founded in Dusseldorf by the end of the 19th century, and in 1931 released the first writing machine, although the real business was totally different.


But that tool wasn’t mine, but my father’s, who some day realized my devotion was writing and suddenly gave me away a Canon Typestar 110. I know he brought it from one of his many trips. It was a total revolution since it was electronic and had a little screen that showed the whole line you’d just written before print it over the paper.

Also, my skills as a writer had got much better after waste lots of packets of El Galgo paper. However, even though the Canon was very useful and ecofriendly, it lacked of that rhythmic and evocative sound I needed every time I wanted to write something on my own. It was perfect for my homework though, but muses need their own sound track to be called.

I still keed those two machines and not long ago, a third one came to accompany: a beautiful Underwood (like the one Kevin Spacey used but a bit dirtier) that a friend of mine found in his parent’s basement. He decided to give it to me and I really think he didn’t realize what he was giving to a literary mythomaniac like I am. Kerouac, Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Raymond Chandler, Arthur Conan Doyle… Even Orson Wells in Ciudadano Kane… All of them used this exact machine. A treasure I still keep safe in my library surrounded by thousand of books because I think that’s its proper place. When I feel I’ve lost the battle against a blank paper (or better said, a blank screen) I caress its keys trying to invoke just a few voices that I know are behind it.


Because the writing machines have something very special and magic that computers lack of. Ask Paul Auster who dedicated his book to his old Olympia. The author of the Trilogy of New York or Winter Diary speaks about it like a devoted lover, about the company that it meant and the charming dents and scars. He tells that when he suspected the tapes would stop being manufactured, ordered all of them available to his stationery shop in Brooklyn and now he tries to ration them carefully.

It’s true the modern devices have made our lives easier. They have also given us many shocks though… I’m sure you’ve all been terrified while quitting without saving the document! But the writing is an artisan profession that needs a dose of romanticism and magic. A writer is fetishistic by definition and there’s no major fetish that an old and heavy writing machine with a story behind and another one to be told for those who silently want to plait.

“Post written by Maria Cereijo, Journalist and Writer. Find her on Twitter @capitulosiete or as a juvenil authour @LabAmy 

Pictures by @Maria Cereijo

A Century of Street Style

The fact that the street photo style phenomenon was born with Scott Schuman is like saying this gentelman invented the hot water. “There is no news under the Sun” and the only exception to this proverb is Steve Jobs who is probably pointing at his iPad and smiling at me from somewhere up there…

It’s also popular the saying that the ideas don’t know further onwer than the one who dares to actually make them real. So according to this, we do have to recognize Scott Schuman’s the achievement of getting benefits from an old idea such as the street style. You’ll probably have read enough about this photo discipline and I have no much to add. There are many blogs with an only section dedicated to the style of the streets, which goes much further than the catwalks.

Street Style  photography  Vintage by Lopez-Linares Edward-Linley-Sambourne-Carmen-Velarde (2)

When this style started being famous online, the argument to justify the excessive enthusiasm was to affirm that the designers looked to these pictures in order to find some divine inspiration to create their collections. However, the style has reached such a renown online that now brands use this sort of pictures that seem to be very natural shots, which works as a gold mine to get their online customer’s attention.  We are again admiring an art that imitates life, or life that imitates an art.

The momentum of the street style on blogs has already passed and now it’s turn for magazines that prefer to pay for pictures of around the catwalk rather than the ones of the fashion show. Then in this case protagonists have nothing to do with the original spontaneity of this discipline.

Street Style  photography  Vintage by Lopez-Linares Edward-Linley-Sambourne-Carmen-Velarde (3)

And before I leave you with these wonderful images from the beginning of the 20th century by the photographer and illustrator Edward Linley Sambourne, I’d like to add my point of view about the “egobloggers”, those young girls who love to publish their fashion designs in a blog. I’m convinced they shouldn’t be considered as a part of the street sytle, although they tried once and again to incorporate this word to their post titles.

The especial situation of the real street style is the luck of premeditation, the spontaneous and unexpected shot and definately not in the creation of a “casual activity” wearing a design to show it in a blog. Said that, please, enjoy the following images. Also try to swap the books in their hands with an iPhone or a Blackberry and you’ll realize these trendsetters’ poses have not changed that much along a hundred years.

Street Style  photography  Vintage by Lopez-Linares Edward-Linley-Sambourne-Carmen-Velarde (4)

Photographies | The Library Time Machine

Japanese Art

The Eurpean interest for the Japanese art started in mid 19th Century. It happened thanks to the opening of the commerce with Orient with London and Paris. The first goods to be exported were picture cards that reproduced Japanese etchings. Artists, painters, arquitects and designers started adding to their works a few bites of the Japanese series.



After a few years, due to the Universal Exhibition in London in 1862, the great audience was able to contemplate and touch for the first time Japanese art works. It’s not difficult to imagine what those women from the London middle-class felt when they saw these wonderful pieces…






However European women fashion didn’t add this trend until the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867. From that momento onwards Japan started exporting on a massive scale Japanese series created exclusively for the European market.


She loved wearing those shinning silk kimonos and following thed Japanese painting art, that is wear those kimonos inside home as an attire.

They loved those fabrics so much that even gave them the form of the Western world dresses.

Hand fans also were frenzy. They were created exclusively for Europe and they turned into one of the most valued art works for collectors from the 19th Century. Same happened with other accessories like slippers and bags.



Also the main kimono stores in Tokyo showed a huge interest on the Western market. They started increase their businesses trying to adapt their Japanese piece to the European taste.


The most famous European designers of the time were also influenced by the Japanese art. They started adding Japanese motives to their designs.



After a few decades, Japanese style was just forgotten until in the 80’s (20th Century) some designers like Kenzo, Miyake, Kawakubo or Yamamoto, knew how to recover its glory and bring it back to Paris the same way that happened 100 years before in the Universal Exhibition in 1867…

Karin Wachtendorff has a degree on History of Art and is specialized on History of the Suit and Cataloguing of Historic Fabrics. Thank you very much for your interesting contribution to our blog!

Karin Blog :


Men fashion

1-Saska de Brauw- Saint Laurent S-S2013


Each season we hear the same: the masculine style is a trend. And it is a trend indeed. We’ve been hearing this year after year, and it’s always been trendy.

When we know it’s a style that doesn’t fi tinto a given trend, then it’s a style that remains, never old-fashioned. Although it’s also true that some times it may be taken to the radical extreme and some seasons we see it everywhere. That much that we could end up hating it. I don’t think so, though.

The Woman start expressing herself with masculine attire during the Great Depression among 1873 and 1890. They used to wear then the tailor jacket (with militar influence), although over the corset and also wearing a skirt.

The moment also coincided with the women audacity of taking part in a few sports tipically masculine like ride a horse or a bike, always wearing their men-inspired tailor jackets (very feminin in the style though). They even used to wore them as an usual clothes. (The “Father of the Sewing” Charles Frederick Worth also helped this piece of clothe to be famous)





However, this fashion really appeared as a both-genres style by the beginning of the 20th century, when women started their walk to liberty and social autonomy. It was then when they totally rejected the corsets and other feminin clothes.

We’ve seen it since the Vienna School with the secession movement: Vienna Secession in 1897 thanks to Gustav Klimt and the liberal movements. Although it won’t started being successful until 1908, the real success was in the 20s and 30s with huge and exceptional references like Coco Chanel, the first wearing pants (the amazing novelty).

4-CC-1912-Coco Chanel en 1912, vestida para asistir a una gala con el curioso traje de un paje de bodas de provincias


5-CC-28-Coco con su amiga Vera Bates en 1928, vestidas con los trajes completos del  Duque de Westmiste


Louise Brooks during the 20s.

6-mod.masc-20S-LB-Louise Brooks en los años 20

Marlene Dietrich, from 1928 until the 40s..

7-MD-CB37P-Marlene Dietrich traje masculino con chorrera de encaje dieciochesca por Cecil Beaton (Angel) 1937

Marlene Dietrich with a “tuxedo”, a therm used both to name a frock coat or a dinner jacket. She’s also wearing a top hat, a bow tie and a vest. She was dressed by Schiaparelli in 1928. Photographer: Alfred Eisenstaedt for the Life Magazine.


Katharine Hepburn from the 30s and the rest of her life.

8-K-35-Katharine Hepburn en 1935,  Foto Rue des Archives-BCA

It’s been said that Yves Saint Laurent was the designer of the first dinner jacket for women in 1966:


However, it’s clear Elsa Schiaparelli overtook him in 1928 to dress Marlene Dietrich. For most of the women and as a real fashion trend, it was Yves Saint Laurent’s design the first one though.

“I want to find for women the equivalent to the masculine suit” Yves Saint Laurent.

YSL by Helmut Newton, 1975.

This “trend” kept going on during the 70s, 80s… Up to this moment. It never disappeared.


We still keep it from the begining of the 21st century. You have the most recent samples in the Stella McCartney’s Spring/Summer Collection in 2013. Her style is very 80s-inspired, with shoulder pads. It’s not the first time she designes this kind of jackets, though.

This post has been written by Marilo Mascuñan. She is a designer and Design Teacher. Follow her work in “Como Vestimos”, her most personal blog.
Thank you very much for her contribution in our section Vintage Blogger this month.”

Santoña MasterPalace

At Huertas Street number 13 stands the imposing   Santoña MasterPalace. Today the Foundation hosts the Chamber of Commerce , but not always served this function.

In the sixteenth century there was in this area a palace, occupied in 1593 by the ” black prince ” Muley Xeque then named Felipe Africa, but it was more or less a mansion when it was purchased in 1731 the Marquis de Goyeneche, Philip V and Elizabeth Farnese banker, and his choice for remodelling was Pedro de Ribera, architect of the imposing building of brick and white stone from Colmenar de Oreja currently admire.

Palace Santoña met its splendor under the duke of the same name, which was, at the time Don Juan Manuel González Manzanedo, humble Indian family who amassed a fortune in Cuba, and to Alfonso XII who created the title because of its great skill in finance, and its contribution to Madrid improvement.


The duke lived in Cuba with his daughter Josefa, born of his relationship with Luisa Serra Intentes who did not get married. Once was alone there because his daughter moved to Paris he decided to marry María Del Carmen Hernández Espinosa de los Monteros, and returns to Spain. After living in Cadiz arrives in Madrid, where he acquired as gift for his wife GoyenechePalace. From that moment becomes the epicenter of social life in nineteenth-century Madrid aristocracy, they adapted to the tastes of the time, exotic décor with oriental influences, Party Hall, Pompeian Hall with its famous rotunda. This was due, among other things to the dedication of the duchess, who was called familiarly the ” Señá Mariquita Hernández”

The Duchess of Santoña was godly woman. Deeply moved by the situation of children’s medicine , prompted the construction of the Hospital del Niño Jesus, to this effect was responsible for organizing a raffle with the intention of raising funds , calling it National Raffle Child , which ranks as the first step was given for the current draw of the Lottery Child.


At death, the Duke, his daughter, inherited the bulk of his father’s vast fortune, valued at more than 2 billion regales at the time, strikes up a long legal battle in getting his stepmother strip of property that she had received, including the palace, which widow Duchess is in utter destitution, host to charity until his death on October 14, 1894.  A pity, knowing his affable and gracious character.

The property then passed to Joseph Canalejas, Liberal Party politician, who lived until the day of his death on November 12, 1912. His widow continued to occupy the palace until her death, when it became one of his nephews, who in turn sold the property on June 6, 1933 at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Madrid, its current owner.

Post written by María Romero de Cuenca, art historian, curator and cultural guide. You can follow her work at her blogs: Arte al Instante and Artendencias.

11 years full of experiences at Balenciaga’s House in Madrid

My post is dedicated to the great Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga. However, it isn’t a post about things that I have read, but about the life experiences of a person that had the luck to learn how to sew, and develop their career as a fashion designer together with one of the most important Spanish designers in history. This person is my mother. She had the chance and luck to work in the House of Balenciaga, situated in Madrid, from 1958 until it closed its doors in 1969. It was the place which made its clients dreams into reality.

The Spanish fashion designer decided to create a business dedicated to dressmaking, Eisa Costura, opening up a new establishment in 1933 both in San Sebastian and Madrid: EISA B.E. The first collection was presented by the new house of couture in both cities, it was the 1933 Spring-Summer collection. The Madrid branch was situated in 42 Caballero de Gracia Street, and the establishment was not to take on Eisa’s new name until February 1941. It would later be moved to the emblematic number 9 on Gran Vía (the old Avenida de José Antonio). There Eisa Costura presented its first collection in April 1941.

Posing on the balcony which faces nº 9 Gran Vía.


My mother worked with Miss Felisa in Fantasía (fantasy), which was dedicated to making evening dresses and smart dresses, the section was situated on the third floor and faced Gran Vía, in front of the emblematic Chicote (The Chicote Museum at nº 12 Gran Vía). Many famous visitors of the period, such as, David Niven or Viti the bullfighter, went directly to witness this magnificent location, it was an obligatory destination when visiting Madrid. On the ground floor, where my mother worked,  you could find the tailoring department where they made coats, and suit jackets for their clients. The whole workshop breathed a wonderful atmosphere of work and companionship between the workers.

In order to show the new collections and trends to its clients, private catwalks were made, to which Cristóbal Balenciaga himself attended, and who personally fitted the mannequins. When the new collections were being prepared, a frantic work rhythm reigned over the workshop, they were days in which you knew at what time you entered, but not at which time you would finish.

Amongst some of the curiosities that my mother told me, we can highlight that in the House of Balenciaga they gave away the wedding dresses as gifts to the employees who were going to be married, and the lucky one would do a private catwalk show for her colleagues in one of the rooms where they showed the collections, where they enjoyed themselves as if it had been them. Another anecdote that she told me was that they gave her a day off in order to raise and collect money for Cancer Research, something similar to what Conchita Velasco did in the film Red Cross Girls (Original title: Las chicas de la Cruz Roja) in that period. It was also custom for the employees who wanted to attend a complete week of spiritual services in “El Espinar” with all expenses paid.

In the Balenciaga Fantasy workshop


Another of my mother’s experiences during the time she worked at the House of Balenciaga was that she was able to experience first hand the creation of Reina Fabiola’s marvellous wedding dress, the one which was shrouded in absolute secretism. She was even the one who took the dress to Balenciaga’s private house in Madrid, where the bridal fittings were carried out. When the day of the great wedding arrived, a television was put in the workshop so that all could directly watch the event.

My mother remembers this stage of her life as one of the best that she lived, and is extremely happy to have had formed part of the history of Spanish fashion together with one of the greatest in universal fashion.

Amaya Barriuso is a journalist and manages the communications and social networks for companies like freelance. This month she is “Vintage By López-Linares’” invited Blogger. A huge thank you for such a personal and charmingly warm article. Follow Amaya’s work at “Amaya’s Blog”

Images via @Amaya Barriuso’s personal file