13
Nov
2014
Posted by Nicole in Book, New in store

My new book is out at bookshops on December 1st but I’ve received a small number of advance copies – very exciting! Here are some peeks inside – first, the cover that we all know and love, with a quote from Alannah Hill.

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Here’s the contents – I love how they look like a label sewn into a frock. Please excuse the shadow from my iphone pics.
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There are lots of modern and vintage fashion photos – these are in the glove section, where I talk about the different lengths and types of gloves and how to wear them. Gloves = instant glamour.
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Plus new pics of burlesque bombshell Frankie Valentine in an assortment of styles, photographed by Dominic Deacon – here’s my favourite.
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Plus lots more vintage pics – ’30s rollerskaters! I suspect the tight fitting shorts are made of real rubber and shiny rayon satin, in those pre-Lycra days. Super cute, comfortable and practical too.
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Some of my favourite style icons are there too: love Amy and Gwen x
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There are sections to help you identify different styles of garments, with charming archival illustrations from fashion catalogues:
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We also photographed some beautiful pieces which were generously donated to my private collection, like this late ’30s silk georgette dinner dress with cut steel beads.
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How to overhaul your wardrobe and tips on putting together the perfect travelling wardrobe!
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and in a very personal touch, some original sketches of my own.
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You can pick up an early copy from Circa – only $45 and signed of course! If you’d like a personal message, please let me know. It will be out in bookshops on December 1st. Also – I’m doing some book events!

Sydneysiders can see me talk about the new book at Berkelouw Books in Paddington (very excited, this is one of my all time favourite bookshops and my old stomping grounds from when I lived at Five Ways) on Tuesday, December 2nd. Bookings essential.

Brisbaners can see me at Avid Books on Tuesday, December 9th. This means I can catch the Japanese fashion exhibition too. Please don’t forget to book.

Melbourners can see me at the Strictly Vintage market on November 30th, where I’m presenting a talk on ’30s fashions and signing books. I’ll talk about “Style is Eternal” too and help with your fashion dilemmas.

As an extra treat, many of the pieces featured in the new book are also available from the webshop so you can have your favourite frock with a bit of added history. See here.

Hope to see you at an event soon!

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12
Nov
2014
Posted by Nicole in Calendar, Costume Collections, Where to buy vintage

If you care about fashion in Australia you’re probably familiar with the Darnell Collection, the largest private collection of international couture in Australia, curated by Charlotte Smith and frequently put on display at exhibitions and events.

Over the past ten years, the collection has grown and grown and Charlotte is now offering up a selection for your acquisition, so she can focus on the more special pieces.

From the official site:
Theodore Bruce are proud to present the de-accession of The Darnell Collection with over 500 lots of antique and vintage fashion, including garments, accessories, lace and mannequins. Ranging from the Edwardian & Victorian era through to the 1980’s all lots to be sold unreserved.

What: Vintage Fashion: The Darnell Collection
When: 23 November 2014 – from 11am
Where: Theodore Bruce auctioneers, Primary Saleroom : 6 Ralph Street, Alexandria, NSW 2015, Australia.
Cost: free to attend, buy as much as you like
More information: See the catalogue online here.

If you do go to the auction to buy I recommend that you inspect each item carefully for damage, as it greatly affects the value – especially if you want to wear it. I always travel with a tape measure and this can be particularly useful at auctions where there may not be a facility to try things on.

Auctions offer a great way to pick up good things at reasonable prices and there are some very nice items available in this collection. Assume nothing though, as all items are sold “as is”.

I’ve gone through the catalogue and picked out some interesting pieces for you. My best pick is lot 187 – the silk velvet ’20s opera coat. Check out the Deco styling! Worthy of Miss Phryne Fisher.

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Lot 187 – An Cream Evening Cape with Contrasting Black Hem Detail with long neck sashes, smot[sic] at back collar, gathered over shoulders, zigzag pattern at back along hem, fully lined; silk; 1920s;

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Lot 249 – A Yellow Bridesmaid/Party Dress; comes with an original sketch by grant cowan featured in Dreaming of Dior page 138-139

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Lot 256 – A vintage calico cotton travel clothes line with pegs and hooks all original; excellent condition 13cm

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Lot 385 – A Victorian ear trumpet ceramic, silk thread, rubber; American

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Lot 136 – Two pairs of early 20th century spats and one single civil war spat felted wool, cotton, wool; American

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Lot 359 – A Blue Opera Coat with Blue Flower Embroidery Large bow to front, with hook and eye closure, elbow length wide sleeves, knee length; 1960s;

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Lot 34 – A Black and White Smock Style Dress sleeveless, collar with covered buttons down front, 2 large pockets on skirt; by Prue Acton (labelled); 1970s;

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Lot 48 – A Black and Rust Patterned Cocktail Dress bubble-style skirt.

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Lot 91 – A Black and Pink Party Dress with empire waist, wide waistband, appliqued flower pattern at hem with sequin detail, side zip closure, fully lined; by Chelsea Design, Labels still attached; 2000

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Lot 159 – A Peach Evening Dress with White Glass Bead Decoration lined, no waist band, round neck, sleeveless with bands of glass beading around armholes, sack shape typical of the twenties; 1920s;

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Lot 198 – A skirt and two jackets 1950s

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Lot 168 – Five Bathing Suits from the 1950s -1980s various labels

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Lot 164 – A Two Piece Seaside Romper Suit sleveless with no collar, button closure to front, has bloomers, unlabelled; early 1900s;


11
Nov
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, Calendar, Exhibitions

Meanwhile, there’s something great on in Queensland too. From the official site:

‘Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion’ explores the tremendous innovation of Japanese fashion designers from the early 1980s to the present. With nearly 100 garments featured in the exhibition, ranging from the classic and elegant to outrageous, this will be a fascinating experience and rare opportunity to view these unique creations first hand.

Japanese fashion made an enormous impact on world fashion in the late 20th century. Designers such as Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto revolutionised the way we think of fashion today.

Their works will be shown alongside examples by the techno-couturier Junya Watanabe, a protégé of Kawakubo, together with the pioneer of the ‘Ura-Harajuku’ movement Jun Takahashi, and the new generation of radical designers including Tao Kurihara, Hiroaki Ohya, Matohu, Akira Naka, Hatra and mintdesigns.

Curated by eminent Japanese fashion historian Akiko Fukai, Director of the esteemed Kyoto Costume Institute in Japan, this exhibition explores the unique sensibility of Japanese design, and its sense of beauty embodied in clothing.

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What: Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion
When: 1 November 2014 – 15 February 2015 (Closed 14–16 November and Christmas Day) 10am to 5.30pm daily
Where: Queensland Art Gallery, Stanley Place, Cultural Precinct, South Bank, Brisbane
Cost: $16.50-21.50, see ticketing website for details
More information: at the QAG site.

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Comme des Garçons (Rei Kawakubo), Autumn/Winter 2012, Photography: Masayuki Hayashi. I can see Fashion Hayley looking great in this fabulous frock.


11
Nov
2014
Posted by Nicole in Calendar, Designers, Exhibitions

I hope to get over to Adelaide to see this great new exhibition – lucky Adelaide! Here are some details from the website:

Over 90 emblematic haute couture garments created by the world’s leading fashion designers will be drawn from the most comprehensive collection of French fashion in the world, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and curated by the museum’s 20th and 21st Centuries Fashion and Textile Collection Chief Curator, Pamela Golbin.

‘The works selected for this exhibition perfectly illustrate the style of each of the mythical couturiers behind this history of luxury and sumptuousness. Spectacular designs by Cristobal Balenciaga, Gabrielle Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent follow one another in this chronological review, revealing the universality of fashion viewed as a history of art and beauty.’ Pamela Golbin

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Photo copyright the Art Gallery of South Australia

What: FASHION ICONS: MASTERPIECES FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE MUSEE DES ARTS DECORATIFS, PARIS
When: 25 October 2014 – 15 February 2015 from 10am to 5pm daily
Where: Art Gallery of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide.
Cost: $5-$25 see the site for information.
More information: see the Fashion Icons site.

There are some really great events too, including one this Saturday on collecting vintage fashion with the fabulous Margot Riley and Charlotte Smith – wish I could go but I’m otherwise booked. Lucky Adelaide! Oh, well, I can’t complain – we have Gaultier in Melbourne (pics to come, the exhibition is extraordinary, or should I say “extraordinaire!”)

If you can, I do recommend this exhibition as it looks wonderful, and offers a crash course in the most important fashion designs of the 20th century. I’m sure it has a wonderful catalogue too.

Fashion Icons - now showing
Photo copyright the Art Gallery of South Australia


7
Nov
2014
Posted by Nicole in fashion parade, Style icon 2 Comments

Here in Melbourne we’ve just had the biggest fancy dress party of the year – if you guessed the Melbourne Cup, well done!

Well I was younger I used to be dismayed at the wild and wacky costumes of racegoers but now that I’m older I understand that Derby Day is for classic racewear and the first Tuesday in November is when we can all cut loose and make a statement with bold colours, out there accessories and wave the flag for fantastic!

I look forward to seeing people of all ages express themselves creatively with fashion and get their faces on the news. It’s a great opportunity for fabulous nobodies – as well as the already famous – to have a good time and push those sartorial boundaries. Lord knows, they need pushing.

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Here’s the wonderful Mr Richard Nylon, who can always be counted on to create an interesting look. I love the pairing of the lapel rosebud with the multitude of similar rose behind. Pic by Mark Stewart.

MELBOURNE CUP 2014Wonderful ladies in beautiful, bold colours. Aren’t they glorious? Like a group of technicolour roses.

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How wonderful are these Sydney ladies? How can you not smile as you look upon Amelia and Anna Vivash – so much love for these outfits, ladies. Thank you. I love the Fastfood-Kali-meets-Barbie ensemble. Pic from Facebook.

Andrew Northridge and Peter Fitzgerald pic by AAP
Here’s a couple of chaps who look like they’ve wondered in from the local cosplay do – good work, Andrew Northridge and Peter Fitzgerald, you’re perfectly dressed for the Melbourne Cup (pic by AAP).

Darryn Lyons and Elissa Friday pic by Media-Mode
Mr Lyons, the Mayor of Geelong is well known for his flamboyant style and here he’s matched by his glamourous partner, Elissa Friday. I love the matchy-matchy hot pink and purple accessories. Pic by Media Mode.

Gabi Grecko pic by Alex CoppelGabi Grecko dressed as a Valkyrie superhero, pic by Alex Coppel. Gabi got dressed on the plane from New York, you have to admire dedication like that. Gold star, Gabi: I think you look fabulous.

Gracyn Marsterson pic by David CairdGracyn Marsterson rocks a nautical theme in that most daring of race day outfits – trousers! Pic by David Caird.

Much as it is for the more beautiful and tasteful outfits, the key to these outrageous looks is good use of colour and attention to detail – the accessorising is a big part of the success of these outfits, and outfits they are: the look is complete from head to toe. These are not people who grabbed any old handbag or wore their most comfortable shoes. A lot of work went into these looks and they deserve to be appreciated.

Anyone can be beautiful, or dress well, or be tasteful and appropriate – it takes a special person to weather the slings and arrows of unkindness that can come with dressing boldly and do something more interesting.

I salute all of you and thank you for your services to fashion!


6
Oct
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, Calendar, Exhibitions

Another wonderful and exciting fashion exhibition is about to open and tonight I’m off to see a preview.

From the NGV’s site:
The unconventional and playfully irreverent designs of Jean Paul Gaultier will be celebrated in the first international exhibition dedicated to this groundbreaking French couturier.

The National Gallery of Victoria will be the only Australian venue for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, which will feature more than 140 superbly crafted garments in addition to photographs, sketches, stage costumes, excerpts from runway shows, film, television, concerts and dance performances.

This spectacular overview of Gaultier’s oeuvre features the first dress created by the designer in 1971 to his latest haute couture and ready-to-wear collections, costumes worn by Kylie Minogue and Beyoncé and haute couture dresses worn by Nicole Kidman.

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What: The Fashion World of JP Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
When: 17th October 2014 to 18th February 2015, 10pm to 5pm daily (closed Tuesdays)
Where: National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Rd Melbourne
Cost: see the NGV site for ticketing information.
More information: see the NGV site.

Now here are some nice pics, borrowed from the NGV’s site – as if you need a reminder that Monsieur Gaultier is one of the most talented and creative designers we have. Can’t wait to grab the catalogue! Opens Friday next week.

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All photos courtesy National Gallery of Victoria.


3
Oct
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1930s, Calendar 1 Comment

Hi all,

I hope you have the next “Strictly Vintage” market in your diaries – it’s a bargain $5 entry for some of the best vintage traders around, in the beautiful Deco surrounds of the Northcote Town Hall – plus I’m presenting a free talk on 1930s ladies fashions!

What: The Strictly Vintage market
When: Sunday 30th November, 10am to 5pm (12pm for the talk on 1930s ladies fashions)
Where: Northcote Town Hall, top of Ruckers Hill, High St, Northcote. Tram out the front, Merri and Westgarth train stations nearby.
Cost: $5
More information at the Strictly Vintage Facebook page. – See here.

My new book “Style is Eternal” should be available and I’ll be signing copies – here’s one of my favourite lace ’30s evening gowns, one of the many pieces I’ll be talking about on the day – modelled by St Clare. This lovely gown is made of spiderweb lace, sewn with iridescent blue gelatine sequins.

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There are still some stalls available – if you’re interested in joining us, please contact Rina at Take 2 Markets. It promises to be a wonderful day!


2
Oct
2014
Posted by Nicole in Contest, Film, Style icon 13 Comments

The other night we were treated to the new documentary “Advanced Style” based on the New York blog.

From the official site:
Advanced Style examines the lives of seven unique New Yorkers whose eclectic personal style and vital spirit have guided their approach to aging. Based on Ari Seth Cohen’s famed blog of the same name, this film paints intimate and colorful portraits of independent, stylish women aged 62 to 95 who are challenging conventional ideas about beauty, aging, and Western’s culture’s increasing obsession with youth.

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It’s an engaging and life affirming film about some very interesting women and how they choose to dress.

Their age is irrelevant though: these are creative people who like to express themselves, and have fun with their look. For them, it’s not about “challenging…ideas about beauty”, it’s about enjoying life.

I liked Joyce Carpati’s attitude: “I never wanted to look young. I wanted to look great.” I’m sure she didn’t wait to reach age 80 before looking fabulous, it’s a way of life for her: an elegant and classic style, she resembles an aristocratic ballet director. Inspirational. She’s like the glamourous grandmother of your dreams – ladies like Joyce used to run finishing schools for young ladies but now thanks to the internet she can inspire us all.

It’s only the young that are surprised that older people can be interesting and stylish – we get so hung up on age, but you are who you are throughout your life, only more so as you get older. You’ve had more time to experiment, to discover yourself and your strengths. You’re less scared (hopefully) of the slings and arrows of others shallow opinions.

Those who are over sixty remember what it was like to dress in the age of hats and gloves, and knew better how to put an outfit together, to dress for your figure and make the most of accessories. Perhaps they’re better educated, well travelled and have developed more life skills purely from having more time to do so?

Some of the ladies in this film are in their prime, and far too young (I thought) to be “Advanced” but the title is a respectful one, even if Ari himself seems to feel as if old age is something that happens to other people. I think it’s easy, when you’re young to feel that there’s a lot of distance between you and your elders but time passes much more quickly than you expect (or would like) and it happens to all of us, assuming we’re fortunate to live that long.

The stars of “Advanced Style” are a reminder that life goes on, and can be as rich as you wish it – they’re a diverse bunch and part of the fun for me was seeing how different they are, and how put together into a group, they’re no more likely to get along than any other bunch of strangers but they share a joy of fashion, a love of colour and texture and are happy to invite us into their world.

Madman have sent me five double passes, valid at most cinemas screening the film around Australia – to win one, please leave a comment about the older woman who inspires you the most – she can be any age, because really, I believe that style is not about age at all, but an attitude. Entries close Saturday midnight and winners will be chosen at random – good luck!

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The stars of “Advanced Style” at the New York premier, photo reproduced courtesy “Advanced Style” blog.


24
Sep
2014
Posted by Nicole in Contest 5 Comments

Last night I hosted a wonderful, intimate event at Circa – a book launch for Lorelei Vashti’s new book “Dress, Memory”.

From publisher Allen and Unwin: “Dress, Memory…is a charming coming-of-age memoir in which every dress tells a story. As we grow older, how do we know what to let go of and what to keep?

Lorelei started collecting dresses in her twenties and found that every time she wore one it became more significant to her. From falling in love for the first time to playing in a band, from starting a career to moving overseas, every dress soon had a memory stitched into it, and she became as attached to each one as if they were the events and people themselves.

But what happens when the wardrobe gets full? Should you let go of the dresses you’ve outgrown, or try to hold on to them forever?

Dress, Memory is about a decade in dresses. Perceptive and poignant, humorous and heartwarming, it’s the story of growing up and growing into yourself. It’s about trying things on until you find the perfect fit.”

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We chatted about our dresses and the stories they tell – and then Lorelei gave me a book for a lucky reader to win! See below for details.

Now here are some pics from last night.

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Lorelei and her daughter Winnifred (who also wore a beautiful vintage frock!)

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Jessie from Alternative Walking Tours, Clem Bastow and Sarah Trotter from Hearth.

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Alice Edgeley and Hanna Tusler from Tusler Bags.

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Marianne from Esme and the Laneway (my favourite fashion blog).

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Magdalena and Kitty. In the background you can see Lorelei’s ’30s frock that she’s wearing on the book cover.

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Madeleine Adore – so nice to see you again Madeleine and your minty dress looks great with your red hair!

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Lorelei and I discussing the finer points of frocks. Photo by Clem Bastow.

This event was so fun, and it was great to chat with everyone – might have to steal your idea Lorelei and do my own book launch at Circa when “Style is Eternal” comes out in December.

If you’d like to win your own copy of Lorelei’s wonderful book, please leave a comment about one of your dresses and a favourite memory – winner will be chosen at random and entries closes this Saturday at midnight. Good luck!


13
Sep
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, Style icon

Over the last decade I’ve noticed a worrying trend – dressing down to travel.

Now, I don’t know about you but I don’t get to travel enough and it’s always a treat.

Whether it’s for work or pleasure, the way you dress affects how you feel and how you’re treated. I get that you’d like to feel comfortable, but there’s no reason why casual clothes have to be as ugly and unflattering as tracksuits or pyjamas, items which are best kept for private spaces, not public ones.

An article in Slate by J. Bryan Lowder called “Take a One-Way Trip From Tatty to Natty” has the following to say:

When we dress well for travel, we are not only making ourselves look good; we’re also signaling that we are invested in making this shared experience pleasant for everyone around us. Think of it as a kind of sartorial social contract: Honor it and your minor efforts make transit a more pleasing activity; break it, and reveal your misanthropic narcissism to, quite literally, the world. What else to call putting one’s own base comforts above the comfort of all?

Here’s some inspiration from Mad Men – now wouldn’t it brighten your day to arrive at the airport to be greeted with fellow travellers dressed so boldly? Sit me next to any of those people please.

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Back in the real world, let’s look at what Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg wore for a flight in 1968.

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Jane looks relaxed in a short, knit dress with over the knee socks and a long coat over the top. Gold hoop ear rings and simple and fresh hair and make up – her grooming is good, her style comfortable and yet smart, showing off her best feature (thighs to die for). I’m sure she has stylish low-heeled shoes, just out of frame.

Not to be outdone, Serge has a loose suit, open necked shirt and is that a cravat I see? Lace up oxford style brogues are vastly superior to sneakers and look infinitely better whilst not relinquishing much comfort.

They’re both dressed in quality clothes that are versatile as well as photogenic. Upon arrival, they could head straight to an art gallery or cocktail bar. This is an easy look for all of us with a little thought. This look, although from almost fifty years ago still looks pretty good don’t you think?

Similar techniques are favoured in these celebrity photos from the ’50s to the ’70s – comfortable but smart clothes, lowish heels, a jacket, coat or cardigan for warmth in air conditioned cabins and good grooming and accessories.

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Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda in 1965. No wonder he fancies her.

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Brigitte Bardot in 1966. Knits are perfect for travel – I’d have my camera out too if more travellers dressed like BB.

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Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in 1966. Luxury glamour – Liz could have anything under that fur coat, even a tracksuit but somehow I doubt it.

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Catherine Deneuve in 1961 – scarves are the ultimate in travel accessories, versatile and fold up in your bag.

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Faye Dunaway in 1967. Product placement, vintage style.

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Grace Kelly in 1950. The perfect coat for travelling, could double as a blanket on cold flights.

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Jackie Kennedy in 1966. Elegant white alaskine (silk and wool) coatdress with bracelet length sleeves.

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Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull in 1969. I love her faux-Victorian style button boots.

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Jerry Hall in 1979 in hand-knitted cardigan and high waisted jeans. A concord flight tag makes a good lux accessory on her overnight bag.

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Jean Shrimpton in 1966 – just beautiful. Surely someone will offer to carry her suitcase?

All photos by Getty - image source here, where you will find more glamour airport fashion.


Unless stated otherwise, all content © Circa Vintage Clothing 2004-2014. ABN 37 840 548 574.