Friday, December 24, 2010

New Year's Evening Gowns

Hello, lovely Cactus Flower clientele!

If you seek an amazing N.Y.E.-worthy dress this December 31st, pop into our shop and check out the selection of evening wear and party dresses. We'll hook you up with a fancy little number that will make your evening grand.

Sara & Sophie are wearing (left) a gold sleeveless taffeta dress by Many Belles Down and (right) an open-back 50's-inspired dress by Ark & Co.

Photograph by : The amazing Rachel Ankney!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fast Jack Mulqueen, 80s Knockoff Virtuoso

Upstairs at the Cactus Flower, we recently came across a lovely vintage Jack Mulqueen silk blouse.
After researching this designer out of sheer interest, we found him to be quite the character.

Here are a few tidbits, mostly from an archived People article dated November 9, 1981.

  • Jack Mulqueen is known for unabashedly knocking off tons of high-end designers in the 80s.
  • He would apparently straightforwardly offer designers royalties for copying their designs. If the designer refused to allow him to "bite their style", he would do it anyway. Without the royalties.
  • By doing this, he got some big-name designers like Valentino, Mary McFadden & Zandra Rhodes to design under his label and sell for much lower prices (under $200!).
  • He and his designers would search through Women's Wear Daily for runway photos that they could base their designs on. They would then have factories in South Korea make the garments and ship them back in a matter of days.
  • Mulqueen: "I copy only shining stars like Kenzo, Ungaro, Yves Saint Laurent, Claude Montana and Giorgio Armani."
  • Ellen Saltzman, corporate fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue, who apparently carried a lot of Jack Mulqueen in the 80s, said, "He didn't get the name 'Fast Jack' for nothing. He seems to copy collections before they are created."
  • Stores like Bloomingdales would carry both Mulqueen's knockoffs and the real thing.
  • At the time this article was written, Mulqueen was living in a Sutton Place co-op across from his estranged wife, had an equestrian daughter, drove a $115,000 Ferrari Boxer and a $110,000 silver Rolls-Royce, and was negotiating to buy a Canadair Challenger aircraft for $7.5 million. He "gambled in Monte Carlo, shopped on Savile Row and dined at Maxim's".
  • "I'm more extreme than most," Fast Jack concedes, "but like I tell Whitney about her horses: If you come in second, you might as well come in last."
Some Jack Mulqueen pieces:
Jack Mulqueen black silk pintuck ruffle pleat mini dress, Circa 1970s

Jack Mulqueen tag

1980s Mary McFadden for Jack Mulqueen silk peplum blouse

80s black cocktail dress

Jack Mulqueen 80s acid wash jean jacket

Valentino for Jack Mulqueen, for sale here

1980s silk blouse

Zandra Rhodes for Jack Mulqueen tag

As it turns out, according to this article, Mulqueen's career is started anew in 2000 with an exclusive sports wear line at Neiman Marcus/Bergdorf Goodman. The author, Eric Wilson, refers to him as "Fast Jack, the knockoff king of Seventh Avenue".

Monday, November 29, 2010

New! Betsey Johnson Tights at Cactus Flower

Tights: Betsey Johnson. Boots: Thrifted. Top and skirt: thrifted from the vintage section of Cactus Flower.

We just got several pairs of these amazing Betsey Johnson tights. Wear 'em under skirts, cutoff shorts or even dress down a cute floral number! When it gets cold, you can play around with layering different patterned tights. 
Not only are they lovely and well-made, they allow us to represent a wonderful designer who has been a big name in the fashion industry since the '60s.

Betsey Johnson in 2004. 

Some Background on Betsey:
Betsey Johnson, now in her sixties, got her start fresh out of college (Pratt Institute + Syracuse University) when she entered and won a guest editor contest at Mademoiselle magazine. She continued advancing in the fashion world and was a large part of the late sixties "youthquake" fashion movement and Warhol's factory scene, along with colleagues like Edie Sedgewick and Lou Reed. She was actually married to The Velvet Underground's John Cale, but divorced him almost immediately.

Edie Sedgewick wearing Betsey Johnson, late 70s

She opened her own boutique on the Upper East Side of NYC in 1969, after a brief stent as the in-house designer at a Manhattan boutique, Paraphernalia. In the '70s she ran the rockinest of rock n' roll fashion labels, Alley Cat!

Betsey in the late 60s, Paraphernalia days. 

A Betsey Johnson for Alley Cat label from the 1970s.

She started her own line in 1978. She is known for coming out at the end of her fashion shows to do cartwheels on the runway.

Her penthouse in NYC, which she designed and then sold for $3.6 million. Whoa.. 1,660 square foot of pink!

A Betsey Johnson label from the 1980s. 

Next to the Betsey Johnson Legwear, you'll also find tights and knee-highs from French Curve and Free People. 
Come into the Cactus and explore our accessories! 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wine, Women, Song & Fashion

On Thursday, October 21 we participated in a benefit fashion show for My Sister's Closet, a local second-hand store that specializes in affordable professional attire for women.

We had four girls from our shop modeling four different outfits, including a vintage 40s dress from upstairs, and two new items from Many Belles Down. The event was sponsored by The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Winter Warmers

Midwest Novembers are chilly...stay warm!

Jessica is wearing :
*a single-button coat with an amazingly giant hood, THEME
*a hooded scarf, David & Young
*fingerless gloves, David & Young

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Samantha took her Cactus Flower skirt all the way to NYC! How far does your Cactus Flower item travel? Email us a picture and we'll put you on the blog!

Friday, August 13, 2010


...Sorry, this page is presently under construction... Please check back soon though!


Where you gonna keep all that spare change? Cute coin purses, only $8!


Great minds continue to think alike!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Indianapolis Girls

Mel and co. drove all the way to Bloomington from Indy JUST to go to Cactus Flower in search of the perfect fanny pack!!

Mel ended up finding the perfect dress and sandals, too...

Round Two of the Yellow Dress!

Mckenzie rocked this dress for a wedding earlier in the summer. The aviators are perfect. She paired it with a pastel scarf after viewing it on this blog post!

Monday, July 12, 2010


Dan Coleman of Spirit of '68
cools down with a handkerchief
from his favorite downtown
clothing shop, Cactus Flower!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Caitlin in a cute red and white striped Ya Los Angeles dress from the Cactus!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Update from THE APRIL 18th SAVVY BAZAAR!

A bit of a late update on the Savvy Bazaar two Sundays ago ;
It was a beautiful, sunny day - perfect weather. I even got a bit of a tan - ahem, sunburn.... well, it turned into a tan over the course of last week!

We sold quite a bit of stuff, mostly rings and vintage dresses, along with a few Poketo wallets and new necklaces.

Here's what our booth looked like:

We had quite a nice array of shoes, most of which ended up selling!

We had to keep our friends and customers refreshed! Here's Maggie of Hair By Madgeline:
Here are a few shots of the whole thing, from a distance:
We met Rachel of Red Lips Vintage!

Our very own Aya Smith of Strawberry Koi even made an appearance for a blogger meet-up with Rachel.
DJ Gabby Love kept the beats goin' and the mood high.
Teddi's Booth:

We met the lovely Brandy Akers of Muffin Kitty Vintage!
Katie of Savvy Salon's son, Gabe, kept us refreshed with his lemonade stand:

We eventually moved out front so that we'd get more foot traffic from passing cars/bicyclists/pedestrians: (It totally worked)
My helpers Nick and Maggie of Hair By Madgeline model some glasses and hold down the fort while I snap a few photos:
Maggie uses an array of CF glasses to protect her eyes while staring directly into the sun.

Here's Young Gabe and his big purchase of the day - a dream catcher.

All-in-all it was quite a fun & successful day! We're doing it again on May 15th, so don't miss out!