29
Aug
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1960s, Calendar, Talk

Hi all,

I’ve got a talk coming up on ’60s fashion, as part of the “Polyester and Pantyhose” exhibition now on. It’s a free event and includes afternoon tea. I’ll be bringing some favourite pieces from my private collection as well as a sneak peak of some styles that will be featured in my upcoming book “Style is Eternal” (out December 1st). There will also be an opportunity to see the exhibition after the talk.

What: Talk on 1960s Australian ladieswear and afternoon tea.
When: Tuesday 9 September, 2pm
Where: The Gallery, Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre, Brighton Town Hall, cnr Carpenter and Wilson Streets, Brighton.
Cost: free but bookings required as limited numbers available – phone 9592 0291
For more information see here: the Bayside council site.

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A photo from the exhibition, reproduced courtesy Bayside council.


29
Aug
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1900s, Australian Fashion, Calendar, Exhibitions

Sydney people should look out for a new exhibition on early 20th century fashions, opening soon. It presents a rare opportunity to see Australian Edwardian and ‘teens era fashions.

From fine lacy lawn tea gowns & elaborate beaded opulence to austere military & service garments, come and see an eclectic and beautiful display of fine Edwardian & War time Fashion, with a slice of Australian style.

This exhibition takes form as a collaboration between the National Trust Costume and Textiles Collection and the private collection of Glennis Murphy – Over the Top Vintage, along with items from other collections and collectors, including Australian Military Specialist Brad Manera, Cavalcade of History and Fashion, NSW Lancers Memorial Museum, The Kings School and family mementos from Old Government House Volunteers.

The exhibition runs as part of NSW History Week, marking the centenary of WW1. Circa Vintage has loaned an Edwardian lace up corset.

What: Clothing The People: Edwardian and Wartime Fashion Exhibition
When: 5th September – 6th October 2014, Open 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Sunday.
Where:Old Government House, Parramatta Park/Pitt St, Parramatta NSW 2150
For ticket prices and more info please see the official site.

Complementing the exhibition, there will be two specialist talks which will take place on 6 September. ‘Military Dress’ by Brad Manera and ‘Edwardian Ladies Fashion’ by Eleanor Keene, Curator. See the website for details.

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Photo credits: the National Trust NSW.


13
Aug
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1940s, Architecture, Style icon 1 Comment

In my ideal world, I would live at the Dakota.

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Archival image from Wikipedia, circa 1890.

Built in 1884, the seven story Victorian European style building graces New York’s upper West Side with bohemian glamour.

Originally there were 65 spacious apartments over seven floors, featuring between 4 and 20 rooms each. Above, under the rooftops were smaller rooms for servants. On the ground floor there was a large dining room where residents could either eat, or have meals sent up to their rooms via dumb waiters. Next door was a large stables (later garage) for the families who called it home.

From Wikipedia:
The general layout of the apartments is in the French style of the period, with all major rooms not only connected to each other, in enfilade, in the traditional way, but also accessible from a hall or corridor, an arrangement that allows a natural migration for guests from one room to another, especially on festive occasions, yet gives service staff discreet separate circulation patterns that offer service access to the main rooms. The principal rooms, such as parlors or the master bedroom, face the street, while the dining room, kitchen, and other auxiliary rooms are oriented toward the courtyard.

Many of the ceilings are 14 feet high (4.3m) and some of the drawing rooms were 49 feet long (15 m)!

My neighbours in the building are all creative people, including most famously John Lennon and Yoko Ono, but also Judy Garland, Boris Karloff, Lilian Gish, Rudolf Nureyev, Gilda Radna, Leonard Bernstein, Bono, Paul Simon, Rosemary Clooney and Lauren Bacall. Of course, everyone interesting who has ever lived there, would still be there regardless of time or events.

Lauren

Vale Lauren – a remarkable actress, one of the greats from the Golden Era of Hollywood. You will always be my favourite ’40s movie star.

Here’s a pic of Lauren in her Dakota apartment – photo from Vanity Fair. She’s just passed away, aged 89. She chose an excellent home.

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I first discovered the Dakota in the Polanski film “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968). The camera pans over Manhattan, Central Park and the Dakota rooftop during the opening credits and I always tune in for this wonderful view –


Click here to view if you’re reading this via email.

Here’s a shot of it covered in snow (from Wikipedia).

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The interiors for the film were shot in a studio but for me, this is what I expect the Dakota to look like inside – lots of dark wood and space. Hopefully a little more furniture but sacrifices must be made for a wonderful abode.

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Of course, hopefully not the sort of sacrifices that Rosemary and her husband make in the film, but I understand their devotion.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet and the enthusiasm real estate agents have for selling their properties, I can offer you some actual interior shots from an assortment of apartments – these all come from Curbed, which has a lot of information on the Dakota.

Over the years the original apartments have been split up and subdivided, and large rooms converted into multiple smaller ones – aided no doubt by all the entrances off hallways and interconnecting doors – and additional bathrooms were inserted but beneath the differing tastes in interior decoration and updated floor plans, you can see the bones of this incredible and unique building.

Let’s go inside….
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I once saw an enormous book with plans for the building, including layouts for all of the floors – they’re much changed of course, but it would be wonderful to see how it was and how it’s been altered over the years. If I ever find it again, I’ll have to buy it.

Here’s the original seventh floor:

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And here’s one of the modern day apartments: you can see how some of the large rooms have been turned into multiple smaller ones.

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When I went to New York, I was surprised at how small the building is, as it looms large in my imagination. It’s incredible though and you can’t fault the location opposite Central Park. I’m unlikely to be amongst the fortunate to call it home – even supposing that I could afford it, you also have to be approved by the board, but one day, perhaps, I’ll have a peek inside.

If you’re interested in the history of this building, I recommend the book “Life at the Dakota” by Stephen Birmingham, an excellent read. There are lots of great exterior photos at this site too.


9
Aug
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1940s, 1950s, Vintage 101 1 Comment

One of the questions I most frequently encounter is that of vintage versus reproduction fashion.

Now, as we know – real vintage is an authentic creation from a previous era. Reproduction is modern, brand new fashion, usually mass-produced and based on the style of a previous era. It can be a little confusing these days as some (contemporary) designers call their wares “vintage” when really they’re repros, and that with sufficient passing of time, the repros themselves become vintage.

From the in-box:

What do you think about modern companies reproducing vintage textiles? I just sold two excellent print dresses to the lady who runs a popular fashion label and am somewhat concerned/intrigued about the copyright of such images. I wonder if it is similar to book copyright dissolving 50-years after the author’s death. Do you know if designs go into the public domain?

Fashion is considered utilitarian and not subject to copyright except for in exceptional circumstances where a designer can prove that they have created a new innovation. Then they need to spend the time and money to obtain legal protection, whereupon they can defend their design from copyists. This is a fraught process and rarely undertaken (much to the frustration of fashion designers everywhere). It also offers even less protection in the modern world thanks to our global internet driven trade, where what happens in other countries is mostly beyond your control.

It’s almost as if you know you’re succeeding as a designer if someone, somewhere is reproducing your designs, claiming credit for them and selling them for less money (probably at a lesser quality), perhaps even using your images. Awful, isn’t it? Etsy in particular, is trawled by the unethical and considered a showroom for stealing other’s creativity.

There are advantages to the lack of legal protections though, and if you’re interested I encourage you to view this excellent TED talk by Johanna Blakely, which explains it in much greater detail.


Note: if you’re reading this on email, click here to see the video.

Now what of the actual reproductions themselves and how do they compare to real vintage? There are two types of reproductions: the true reproductions and the inspirations.

True Reproductions are where a designer takes an original vintage piece and copies it – generally this means that the design will be very close to the original with small concessions to a modern wearer, for example, shorter skirt length or more comfortable fit.

More noticeably, there will be differences in fabric and construction – for example, here is a ’50s style dress made by J.Peterman.

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Whilst this dress faithfully reproduces the vintage print, fabric and style, the skirt is noticeably shorter and it features a centre back invisible zipper and a plain fabric belt – the original would have had a side or centre back metal zipper and the belt would have been made of the same print. The faux-wrap may also be a modern design concession, as you rarely see this in ’50s day dresses (more often in evening wear).

Here’s a dress available through local label Vicious Venus – based on Hawaiian sarong dresses of the ’40s.

ViciousVenus

It looks very authentic but it’s slightly shorter than an original and the “stretch cotton sateen” is a cotton and Spandex mix to give it a little stretch, whereas the ’40s version would be soft cottony rayon like this one.

Another good example of a reproduction label is Heyday and here is vintage fashion blogger Fleur deGuerre modelling a ’40s style dress.

Heyday

Heyday take their vintage seriously and have done a great job of faithfully reproducing this dress including the gingham fabric, vintage style buttons and ric rac. When it was introduced Fleur described how the authentic style was tweaked slightly for modern fit – not that you can tell, it looks very authentic.

I haven’t seen this dress in person but I suspect it would offer a challenge to someone trying to determine if it was real ’40s or not. Thankfully it will have modern labels which will include sizing and care information. If those were removed you could look to modern construction, with overlocking, polyester thread and modern plastic buttons. The seams and hem allowance probably won’t be as generous its WW2 original. If you want to get really finicky, the quality of the gingham also won’t be as good as the earlier version, and may crease a little more (earlier cottons tend to be thicker and more robust) – you can see it’s a little sheer against the sun too, suggesting lightness. It would definitely pass muster for your recreation event, especially if you accessorise it well. Bonus points for UK manufacture too.

Now we have the “vintage inspirations”, which – let’s face it – are almost all fashion out there because thanks to the cycle of fashion, designers are constantly dipping into the past for something fresh.

Designers like to design, and (with the exception of the faithful recreations like those above) generally take something that has been done before and give it a twist, modernise or personalise it. So you see combinations of elements from different eras.

Most vintage reproduction labels fall into this category because although they might call their dresses “1940s” or “1950s”, our grandmothers wouldn’t have recognised them. They also feature modern construction techniques, fabrics and detailing.

Here’s a dress from Stop Staring, worn by fashion blogger Forever Amber – the sweetheart neckline hints at the ’40s whilst the fitted, wiggle shape is a ’50s design. Polka dots and the pale blue contribute to the ’50s look too. The hemline is early ’60s and the cap sleeves are modern.

Stop Staring

It’s a darling, but very different to real vintage – it also features a modern style keyhole cutout back and probably a nylon zipper and no seam allowances.

Even more improbable as real vintage, are dresses like this cutie from Faster Pussycat.

Faster Pussycat

A ’50s style dress with extra short skirt and centre front faux buttons, it includes a ’40s style elastic shirring waistband and is made of chiffon (probably easy care polyester). The real giveaway to its modern origin is the incredible Mexican-inspired print: cameos with zombie skulls, roses and black widow spiders.

This is one of the many things I love about vintage: seeing how it is reinvented and is constantly inspiring new things. We live in the modern world and we’re fortunate in that we can pick and choose what we want from the past.

Repro fashion comes in a range of sizes, probably colours and perhaps fabrics and requires less care to look after than true vintage, which offers better quality, unique fabrics and detailing as well as that lovely thrill of knowing that there’s probably only one of your item and you never need worry about walking into a party to see someone wearing your frock. Also, it’s the greenest of all fashion: more win.

Regardless of whether you’re wearing authentic vintage, vintage reproduction or vintage inspired, the style is only one component – look out for good quality, as cheaply made fashions won’t look good or last the distance.

Personally, I love vintage, real vintage of the sort that was made a long time ago and looked after properly, you’ll still be wearing and appreciating for many years to come. Of course!


7
Aug
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1950s, 1960s

As my work on my upcoming book is coming to a close, I’ve been releasing many pieces from my collection that were included in my first book “Love Vintage”.

You can see some of these in the shop right now and as they’re ready to go online you will see them in their own category in the webshop.

I’ve had a lot of requests for these pieces over the years, so here’s an opportunity to make one your own, and wear it out for a special occasion.

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1
Aug
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1960s, Australian Fashion, Calendar, Exhibitions

A next exhibition of ’60s Australian fashion and photography opens next week in Brighton.

From the Artshub website:
Featuring key looks from throughout the decade, this exhibition traces the diversification of women’s fashion from the classic silhouette of the late 1950s to the wild ‘hippie’ styles of the early 1970s.

Bringing together a succinct selection of dresses, suits and gowns created by key Melbourne labels, Polyester & Pantyhose delineates popular silhouettes from the A-line Mod look to billowing maxi shapes. A suite of glamorous photographs by the celebrated Melbourne fashion photographer Bruno Benini will also be on display.

In addition to designs by Prue Acton, Tullo and Merivale, the exhibition will feature the 1963 Gown of the Year designed by Hartnell of Melbourne, and local model Coral Knowles’ wedding dress, commissioned by the Australian Wool Board in 1966.

I’ll also be presenting an afternoon tea talk on ’60s fashions to accompany the exhibition – the talk will be on Tuesday 9th September at 2pm. Bookings required – call 9592 0291 or email bacc@bayside.vic.gov.au. Seats and scones are limited.

What: Polyester and Pantyhose – Silhouettes of the ‘Sixties, fashion exhibition
When: 9 August – 28 September 2014, Open Wednesday to Friday 11am – 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 1pm – 5pm.
Where: The Gallery, Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre, Brighton Town Hall, cnr Carpenter and Wilson Streets, Brighton.
Cost: free entry.
For more information contact: Bayside City Council

Circa is lending some ’60s fashion and accessories to the exhibition too.

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31
Jul
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1800s, Exhibitions

If you haven’t seen the Fashion Detective exhibition, currently on at the NGV Ian Potter Centre until the end of August, I thoroughly recommend it.

The NGV team has outdone themselves this time, combining not only historical 19th century fashion but providing insights into their forensic work to determine the origins and construction of items. You’ll see and read details within the – sometimes deadly – fabric. They’ve also applied a criminal element, collaborating with crime writers to produce fiction.

Entry is free so there’s no excuse not to see it! I didn’t manage to get through it all when I was there so I’ll be back as soon as I can. Here are some pics, hope you like.

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31
Jul
2014
Posted by Nicole in Calendar, Exhibitions, lingerie

A new fashion exhibition from London’s Victoria and Albert museum has opened at the Bendigo Art Gallery. From the website:

The role of underwear in fashion is pivotal. The majestic shapes of 18th century court dress, the distorted hourglass shapes of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and Dior’s cinched ‘New Look’ were all dependent upon elaborate corsetry, technologically complex petticoats, hoops, and padded underpinnings.

It is only since the 1960s that women have been expected to embody the fashionable ideal by way of diet and exercise and without the aid of foundation garments, so understanding underwear is fundamental to our appreciation of fashion history. It is also important for cultural and social historians, to whom it provides a symbol of changing social mores and attitudes to morality, sex, beauty and gender.

What: Undressed, fashion exhibition
When: 19 July – 26 October 2014, Open daily 10am – 5pm
Where: Bendigo Art Gallery 42 View Street, Bendigo, VIC 3550
Cost: see the site for ticketing options.
See more at: the Bendigo Art Gallery website.

Undressed Bendigo


26
Jun
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1950s, 1960s, Film, Style icon 1 Comment

Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy – one of the greatest collaborations in the history of fashion.

I’ve been treating myself to some Audrey films lately: first Sabrina, and then Charade. She’s wonderful!

I was travelling on the Metro in Paris, when I noticed the headlines: “Audrey Hepburn est morte”, so for me Audrey and Paris will always go together: I’m sure she would approve. She loved Paris, and Paris loved her – both Sabrina and Charade feature scenes in Paris and it was here that she met the young Givenchy at his first, informal fashion show. Audrey was sixteen but she didn’t forget: “when the time came and she could choose, she thought, ‘That’s the guy.’”

Audrey was impossibly slim and chic, and yet, childlike and joyous. You got the feeling that she would be enormous fun, that she didn’t take herself too seriously and that for her, dressing well was about taste and quality – and then wearing couture like it was the most natural thing in the world!

She became Givenchy’s muse and wore his designs in her films – here are some snaps I found on Pinterest. I love her style, it’s simple and elegant and uniquely Audrey. Fussy clothes would swamp her delicate frame but these allow her to shine.

She said of Givenchy “His are the only clothes in which I feel myself. He is far more than a couturier, he is a creator of personality.” Something tells me that Audrey had copious personality, it was Givenchy’s fashions that offered the freedom to express it.

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25
Jun
2014
Posted by Nicole in Calendar, Talk, Vintage Market 2 Comments

Dates for the upcoming Strictly Vintage markets have been announced – as you may know, the SV is a collaboration with Circa Vintage and the Take 2 Markets and we aim to bring you the best vintage at the best prices – with an added bonus for the next two markets of a presentation by myself!

What: The Strictly Vintage market
When: Sunday 20th July, 10am to 3pm (12pm: Talk on 1920s ladies fashions, presented by Nicole Jenkins)
Where: Northcote Town Hall, top of Ruckers Hill, High St, Northcote. Tram out the front, Merri and Westgarth train stations near by.
Cost: $5
More information at the Strictly Vintage Facebook page.

There are still some spots left for traders – click here to select your stall.

Unlike previous markets, Circa Vintage will not be trading – instead I shall be presenting a talk on ladies fashions of the 1920s, accompanied by some items from my own collection! I’ll talk about the social history, fabrics, how to identify real ’20s, how to restore and care for your fashions plus creating a ’20s look using revival styles from the ’60s, ’80s and contemporary fashion amongst others. Free with market entry of $5! See me at 12noon in the meeting room.

Here’s the lovely Clare St Clare modelling one of my beaded silk ’20s dresses – this one features Egyptian motifs.

1920s beaded dress

Here’s the flyer for this and the next event, which will be on November 30th – I’ll be talking about ’30s fashions then and if all goes well, I might get to talk about ’40s and ’50s at upcoming markets. Hope to see you there!

Miss Becky Lou wears a spotty crepe ’70s dress by the House of Merivale.

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