I’m presenting a couple of workshops on up-cycling fashion, as part of the “Across the Arts Festival”.
This year’s festival theme is “Conserve, Recycle and Reinvent” and what better things to conserve, recycle and reinvent than your old damaged, unflattering, out of date or stained clothes?
The workshops are all day events and you have your choice of the Friday or the Saturday. Included will be some information about determining fabric types, repairs and basic restorations too, as well as talking about how garments can be changed to fit better or reflect current trends.
If you’ve ever wanted advice on all manner of things you can do to fashion, here’s your chance for demonstrations and practical assistance!
Here’s the blurb: Nicole Jenkins, costume designer, fashion historian, blogger, Melbourne retailer with her shop “Circa Vintage” and author of the award winning book “Love Vintage”, has over thirty years experience of repairing and restoring vintage and antique fashions – she’s developed a series of techniques that can be used to save or modernise a garment.
Join her as she shares her secrets on how to restyle and recycle fashions by altering sleeves, hems, necklines, shaping and adding detailing. Bring one or more garments to work on: perhaps it’s already damaged or stained and you’d like ideas on how to save it, or perhaps something that you’d like to update or redesign
Here are some details:
What: Upcycling workshops, as part of the Across the Arts Festival When: Friday May 3rd 10am to 3.30pm or Sunday May 5th 10am to 3.30pm. Where: GOTAFE Auditorium, Docker Street, Wangaratta Cost: $70 or $50 concession (lunch included). A subsidised Youth fee of $5 is available for the Friday session, for people aged between 12 and 25. Bargain! More information and bookings at the website: Across the Arts Festival
Bring some projects to work on and your sewing kit.
Rina (Take 2 Markets) and I are organising a new vintage market that combines the winning formula of Take 2, but focusing on affordable vintage for fashion lovers.
No frills, just well priced and fabulous fashions!
The first event is planned for next month at the wonderful Northcote Town Hall – here are the details:
What: Strictly Vintage, a new event for the discerning vintage fashion enthusiast When: Saturday May 25th 10am to 3pm. Where: Northcote Town Hall, top of Ruckers Hill, High St, Northcote. Cost: $5
Circa will have a stall of course, and I hope to see a lot of you there.
There are still a few spots for traders – good quality and affordably priced vintage clothing a must (pre 1990 please) – if you’re interested, please email Rina. Traders will be selected for their high quality and value. Stalls are a bargain priced $130 each.
Many vintage lovers appreciate wonderful hats or would like to learn more about the art of millinery – local master milliner, Paris Kyne is based in the Melbourne CBD and offers repair and restoration services as well as a series of short courses at the William Beale school of Millinery.
Some of Paris’s hats and gorgeous vintage busts (I’d like one of each, please).
Named after William Beale, one of Melbourne’s most loved and successful milliners who produced beautiful hats under the label “Mr Individual”. Paris was fortunate to train under him and receive his amazing collection of hat blocks.
The National Trust sale only happens once a year and it gets better and better – the ladies are now accepting donations for next year’s sale, items should be good quality and in good, clean condition – please email Nance. All funds raise support the National Trust’s wonderful historical costume collection.
Here is one of the ’50s frocks that I snaffled from this year’s sale – I love the rosebud print and that good, sturdy cotton fabric. It was made by Melbourne label “La Rhonde Fashions” – I love how they’ve matched the print up on the left side of the neckline.
Lots of notice for this one as it doesn’t open until October, but probably worth making plans for:
Those lovely people at the Bendigo Art Gallery really are becoming the premier destination for fashion exhibitions – this year they’re giving us something new and different: the best of ’80s and ’90s fashion, sourced from the museum of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Great to see them forging strong links with important overseas collections.
“Starting with a Vivienne Westwood-Malcolm McLaren T-shirt and denim collaboration, the collection of almost 60 items from the museum of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles will offer a glimpse of garments from some of the biggest names in contemporary fashion – Issey Miyake, Alexander McQueen, Karl Lagerfeld and Miuccia Prada among them.
The exhibition also breaks into 21st-century design, including a paper dress from 2002 by Sarah Caplan for MPH depicting the twin towers of the World Trade Centre before the 2001 terrorist attacks.”
The costumes were designed by Orry-Kelly, the Australian who had previously won three Academy Awards including one for Marilyn Monroe’s beaded dresses in “Some Like it Hot”.
Any excuse for a MM pic.
I wish I’d known about Orry-Kelly when I was a costume student: he would have been my idol. Plus he lived with Cary Grant for a decade! He received a fourth Academy Award nomination for “Gypsy” and according to Wikipedia, when he died two years later “His pallbearers included Cary Grant, Tony Curtis, Billy Wilder and George Cukor and his eulogy was read by Jack Warner.” That’s one heck of a supporting cast to see you into the next world.
Back to Miss Wood – I can tell you that there are four pieces to the Gypsy costume: essential for a strip tease… to undress in stages – and here is the order that Miss Wood removed them – the skirt, the jacket, the high waisted knicker and the strapless bra. The set was split – the undergarments were sold last year.
An example of what they would have looked like on, if you weren’t as petite as Miss Wood: the bra and knicker should meet, so that it looks like a one piece garment. It’s a pity the set was split up but so it goes. The best pieces are still the jacket and skirt.
The jacket is tiny: it has a hook and eye at the dazzling rhinestone encrusted collar and a pair of big press studs to secure at the base – Natalie wore it crossed over about three inches, but the modern size 8 mannequin is too enormous for her costume. There are half-sleeves, and a big train that hangs down almost to the floor, with a beaded tassle and more rhinestones.
Then the skirt – it wraps around, secured with a large hook and eye, producing a draped effect over her hips. There are more hooks that perhaps attached to her undergarments – she must have been quite curvy for her tiny frame, because the skirt fell down when I put it on my vintage mannequins.
The skirt also has a tail, capped with a beaded tassle and rhinestones – plus several weights to keep it down, and a loop so she could pick it up and play with it. She must have done this a bit, because the skirt “tail” had the most damage.
Are you wondering why the mannequin is standing on a yellow sheet? This was so I could pick up all the beads and rhinestones as they fell off. It was my task to secure the beadwork, mend the holes and generally restore the costume so it could be displayed without endangering the condition. Everything I did was on the sheet, to capture all of the beads.
Tell me more?
The ensemble is made of silver bugle beads machine sewn onto silk jersey in feathered lines and partially lined in fine nylon. Then additional bugle beads were hand sewn in areas that needed to be more heavily ornamented (like the bust), or perhaps they were repairs? Then thousands of rhinestones of various sizes were glued onto the fabric. Additional glass crystals set in prongs were hand stitched on too.
I was thrilled to see pencil marks under the bugle beads indicating that they had a beading machine to apply a specific design but then realised – this is Hollywood! Of course they had a beading machine, they wouldn’t just pop down to Clegs and buy it by the metre like us plebs.
Working with two sizes of needles (a sharps and a thin beading needle) I moved my hands gently over a section at a time, searching for loose beads, loose threads and loose rhinestones – the latter fell off and were collected. The first two were secured with the required needle on the underside. I used pure cotton thread, like the one that was used on the original costume (even though polyester thread is stronger, I prefer authenticity if I can get it).
It was a painstaking process and I limited myself to 45 minutes at a time, because my eyes would start to go funny after a while. I’m surprised I wasn’t dreaming of rhinestones!
Here’s a close up of the fabulousness – you can see the different types of beads and rhinestones, the prong set ones sit up higher than the glued ones, which sit flat. The dark misshapen bits are the remnants of silvered backing from absent rhinestones.
I tried gluing the dropped rhinestones back on but it didn’t work of course, they needed their intact backing and it had crumbled away. This is why sewing will always last better than glue, but back when Orry-Kelly inspected the finished costume, I’m sure he wasn’t thinking of the people who would still be admiring his work more than fifty years later.
The costume will be going on display in a couple of weeks in Brisbane – you can see it (if you’re over 18) at Club X, 160 Brisbane Road, Booval, Queensland.
Written by Eric McCusker, the production deals with the events of 1959 when “Hollywood Came to Town” for the filming of Nevile Shute’s book “On the Beach” – the dream cast included Gregory Peck, Fred Astaire and Ava Gardner, who was soon followed by her ex-husband (and still besotted) Frank Sinatra.
At the cast reading, you’ll get Hetty Kate singing with a Big Band and a chance to see a musical in its formative stages – all in the wonderful surrounds of my favourite venue, the Famous Spiegeltent.
I’ve spent the past fortnight enjoying “Parade’s End”, a mini-series that somehow ended up on Channel 9.
The first episode bewildered me: what was 9 thinking? This should be on the ABC or SBS – a superlative cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, Rupert Everett, Rufus Sewell and Miranda Richardson, written by one of the finest living playwrights, Tom Stoppard and based on the Ford Maddox Ford literary classic.
The right production and costume designers had been hired, and an adequate budget supplied – the result is lush and near faultless. It combines all the things that I love: art, literature and history plus the joy of Arts and Crafts interiors, grand architecture, cinematography that makes each frame look like a painting, plus bags of style and stellar performances all ’round.
Perhaps Channel 9 saw a few stills and thought they had another Downton Abbey on their hands? In any case, someone made a mistake and it was soon realised because the following week, Channel 9 had moved it to Gem. Tough luck if you pre-record your dramas!
The final episode should be on this week but it’s absent from the schedule so I can only surmise that they have taken it off completely. Unconscionable. Ratings do seem to be king at Channel 9 and this wonderful production is not a good fit for their audience. So we had to seek the conclusion elsewhere – and cross 9 off our list of stations that could be relied upon. Thankfully in the modern world we have alternatives.
Here’s some more eye candy – I recommend that you track it down, although the first episode can be a little heavy going if you’re used to light and fluffy or prefer less demanding productions.
UPDATE: Channel 9/Gem have decided in their wisdom to grant us the final episode – screens on Gem this Wednesday at 10.30pm after a repeat of “Cold Case”.
UPDATE: The DVD is now available for sale – sans the multitude of ads that the commercial stations like to inflict on us. Here is a link for it at the ABC Shop. Many thanks to Annabel, the lovely Roadshow publicist for sending me a copy.
I’ve extended the webshop sale until the end of this week, so it’s your last chance to grab some treasures at greatly reduced prices.
Also included now are all the Kiss Me Deadly swimwear and the Amelie lingerie set: reduced to clear, as this will be your last chance to purchase these styles through Circa. All are available for trying on at the salon.
You can see some of the styles here – click on the image to see our Kiss Me Deadly department. Limited sizes and stock available.
I’ll also be further reducing vintage clothing during the week – if there’s anything you’re interested in, you can also contact me and make an offer. I love vintage but am currently way over-stocked and so appreciate your help.