4
Jun
2015
Posted by Nicole in 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, Australian Fashion, Designers 4 Comments

I’ve wanted to write about Lucy Secor for ages because every garment I’ve seen from this Melbourne label has been exceptionally well made. It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one who thinks they’re special – items can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria and the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

This lovely gown has just arrived in the shop – providing the perfect excuse for a little investigating.

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1940s evening gown with beaded bodice and draped skirt. Now available online and in the Melbourne salon.

Lucy Secor was a fashion label that opened in Melbourne in 1922. The original shop was located at Centreway arcade on Collins Street: a premium location, then and now so you can see that they were always a good label.

Read the rest of this entry »


14
May
2015
Posted by Nicole in 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, Shoes 2 Comments

I have a thing for dressing gowns: they’re comfortable, relaxed and glamorous, protecting your modesty whilst enhancing your style.

On Sundays I’ll wear one around the house during breakfast and assorted tasks, delaying the inevitable “dressing for the day”. They’re good for answering the door, collecting the mail and saying “hello” to your neighbours. I’ve even worn them to shops, cafes and nightclubs (over silk pyjamas or a slinky ’30s nightgown, please).

Women used to have many dressing gowns in their wardrobe, along with their practical cousins: the brunch coat and the house coat, but nowadays these lovely garments have mostly been relegated to history. Not in my home: on my recent trip my hand luggage included a generously swishy black floral number nice enough for the opera should the occasion present itself. I recommend buying one size up so you have plenty of coverage and comfort.

The sudden onset of winter has created a need for another element of every day glamour: a new pair of slippers. So yesterday I hit the CBD shops hoping to find something better than the previous pair, all fluffy pastels and (shudder) cheap sequins. It was quite demoralising, with most styles conjuring up images of the elderly and nursing homes.

Slippers seem to have been the first casualty in elegance, as we rushed towards comfort in the latter part of the 20th century. Most seem to have been designed with toddlers in mind, with their ease of wear, soft unchallenging colours and cheap, synthetic materials.

Desperately I googled specialist sleepwear designers known for tasteful fashion in the hope that they could do better. They could not. I even started to see the appeal in that most unattractive of footwear, the ugg boot because at least the fibres are natural. Can you imagine? Wendy, would you ever forgive me?

Vintage lover that I am, the truth struck suddenly: I wanted 1940s Daniel Green slippers. Glamour! Quality! Comfort! Style! Elegance! These may be undesirable and unachievable qualities in modern slippers but they were an every day reality for our grandmothers. Here are some examples, supplied by the wonderful world of vintage fashion….highly collectable and yet affordable glamour.

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Image source Pinterest and Etsy (out of stock).

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From the collection of FIDM – image source here.
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Image source Pinterest and Salon of the Dames (out of stock).

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Available for sale at 1860-1960 here.

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Available for sale at Decotique here.

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Image source.

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Available for sale at etsy here.

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Image source Pinterest and Etsy (out of stock).

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Available for sale on Etsy here.

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Image source Pinterest and Etsy (out of stock).

The great thing about vintage boudoir slippers, is that the wearers confined them to the home so they’re generally in great condition, plus they’re often bigger than normal shoes because it was about being comfortable. See? You can look fabulous and feel great.

If you like these, I’ve created a Daniel Green Pinterest board with lots more beautiful styles for your comfort and pleasure.

Daniel Green are still making slippers – but sadly these beautiful styles are a thing of the past. I wonder if this could be an opportunity for a modern shoe maker? Don’t we all need nice things to wear?


8
May
2015
Posted by Nicole in 1700s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1990s, 2000s, Exhibitions 2 Comments

So, yes, holiday! Tim and I have just returned from five weeks in Europe where we visited many cultural sites in Italy, France and the UK.

A highlight of course was the opportunity to see some wonderful fashion exhibitions and I thought you might like to hear about them too – because even if you’re not able to visit them in person, they all have books and merchandise you can order online and they’ll send them to you. Ah, the wonders of the modern world. Plus there are many images online too, if you’d like to see more.

First up was the Deboutonner la mode at the Musée des Arts décoratifs at the Louvre in Paris. I must admit that I almost didn’t go to this one because buttons have never excited me as much as the clothes they adorn but here I was wrong: they’re fascinating!

The exhibition presented a thorough history of the wide variety of materials and types available, plus even better they included lots of authentic fashions where the buttons were an intrinsic part of the design. And not just any fashions – the Musée des Arts décoratifs houses the archive of Elsa Schiaparelli and a great deal of Parisian haute couture so the garments alone are worth the visit, even if you skip over the buttons – which would be a mistake because they’re divine.

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Early 20th century fashions on display at the Musée des Arts décoratifs.
Photo source.

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1920s two toned button boots.

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Art Nouveau buttons, circa 1900.

One of the lovely things about this exhibition is that the lighting was very low, the display perfection but they also allowed photography (sans flash naturally), which was great because it allowed me to post pics to Instagram as I went so many who can’t visit Paris could ooh and ahh over the lovely things.

It’s not often I get the luxury of seeing so many great exhibitions during such a short space of time and some did not allow photography – like the next one, the work of Jeanne Lanvin at the Pallais Galleria. How I itched to break their rules and take snaps of the incredible beadwork and embroideries!

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Thankfully there are images available online, and you can see some here. I was pleased to see that many of the more fragile gowns were displayed lying down in cases, with well placed mirrors so you could easily see all the detailing.

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The fashion’s sublime, it begged the question as to why Lanvin had not received a solo exhibition before – this is the oldest of Parisian couture houses and the styles are simply incredible. There was a whole room dedicated to the ground-breaking Robe de Style.

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Photo source.

Onto the UK and the first treat was a few days in beautiful Bath where we visited the Fashion Museum – they’re currently featuring an incredible display of Georgian fashion from the 18th century. Never before have I seen such beautiful preserved examples from this excessive period of fashion. Here are a couple of their “mantua” gowns, with wide panniers supporting the skirts. Before you get excited about the front gown, it’s a minature which was for promoting the latest styles, but the one behind was worn by a real woman. Unbelievable. No wonder the doorways were so wide during this period.

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The Bath museum also had a permanent display of fashion through the ages and my favourite, a behind the scenes look at what they do. I love this museum so much I checked their website to see if they had any jobs going.

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Dior…Fortuny… *happy sigh*

London had more treats in store: time to step up to the modern world and see the work of Alexander McQueen in “Savage Beauty” in my favourite museum, the Victoria and Albert. By this time I really was finding it hard to justify my continued residence in far flung Australia, when so many exciting things are happening in this part of the world.

Alas, we weren’t allowed to take photos but they can’t stand in for the whole experience any way. Go and see it if you can. Intense. Several themed rooms, I particularly thought the music was well chosen. Lots of people, great to see the crowds but it made it hard to see. Timed entry of course – go early if you can. You can always buy the book too.

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McQueen is a great loss to the world: this is fashion as high art.

Perhaps the opposite of art is functionality and here we went to the Imperial War Museum to see “Fashion on the Ration” – Make do and mend, how normal people adapted to the restrictions of WW2 and all that it meant.

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Again, no photos allowed, but it was an interesting exhibition with many examples of wartime fashion. Personally I would have liked to have seen more of the fashion (I love this era, and especially the resourcefulness that can result in hard times), but it was worth it for all the timelines about restrictions – I find dates really helpful in my work eg silk was unavailable for fashion in the UK after 1940, and there were no peep toe or sling back shoes until after restrictions were lifted in 1945. Maximum allowed heel height was two inches, etc.

Also – they had a big display on one of my favourite garments, the housecoat!

They did such a great job of presenting it all very positively, I almost wished for another big war to make us treat our wardrobes more seriously and get up with repairing and recycling. No disposable fast fashion here.

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Photo source.

Plus, the Imperial War Museum is incredible – free entry (hurrah!*) and very well resourced, it was like heaven for little – and big – boys. The fashion exhibition resulted in a very gender-separated space, which was interesting too. I also met a lovely lady with red ringlets and perfect ’40s pout. Mystery lady, how I wish I had taken a photo of you! You’re just who I wanted to see in the gift shop as I stocked up on my “make do and mend” books.

More pics from our trip can be seen on instagram. Hope you enjoyed my highlights!

* entry fee applies to “Fashion on the Ration”, as it does for all of these exhibitions.


5
May
2015
Posted by Nicole in 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, Australian Fashion, Calendar, fashion parade

Hello!

I’ve just returned from a glorious five week holiday in Europe – here some instagrammed highlights including (shock horror) a change of haircolour. Yes, that’s right, no longer pink. I’m going to have to update my user pic – it’s also grown a lot longer, almost down to my shoulders so I can start styling ’40s dos again. Hurrah! I’ve missed my curls.

There’s a lot going on at the moment so brace yourself for a few quick blog posts about upcoming events – here’s the first one, on this weekend! Wish I could make it but I’ll be somewhere else (more on that soon).

The Ballarat Heritage Weekend is pretty special and always an annual highlight. I encourage you to go if you can. There’s a lot on but vintage fashion lovers will especially want to see Charlotte Smith’s wartime fashion parade, the Lucas fashion exhibition and the Apron festival. Check the site for full details.

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What: Ballarat Heritage Weekend
When: 10am – 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 9th-10th May 2015
Where: assorted locations in Ballarat.
More information: see the website.

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29
Jan
2015
Posted by Nicole in 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, Australian Fashion, Calendar, Exhibitions, Style icon 1 Comment

There’s a charming exhibition of a local style icon and fashion designer, currently on display in Ballarat. Here are some details from the website:

Fashion director, clothing designer, retailer, philanthropist, world traveller and local style icon, Jessica Simon was a key figure in Ballarat’s fashion history. She played a managerial role in her family’s business, Stone’s Drapery Store (in operation 1860-1965), which was widely considered the place in Ballarat for fashion purchases, in particular wedding gowns. She hosted a fashion program on local television station BTV6, and designed many of the garments for sale in the store.

Jessica was also a great philanthropist, hosting a wide range of charitable events in the region, and was actively involved in the establishment of the Gold Museum.


What:
Stone’s style: Jessica Simon, a life in fashion
When: 26th November – 1st March, 2015, 9.30am to 6pm.
Where: Gold Museum Ballarat, Sovereign Hill, Bradshaw Street Ballarat
Cost: see list here.
More information at the Gold Museum site.

I’ve had a number of frocks bearing the Stone’s label, mostly from the ’40s and they’ve always been excellent quality with a lot of hand-finishing. It’s nice to have an opportunity to learn more about the label.

There was a nice article in the Ballarat Courier about the exhibition and here are some images to give you an idea of what to expect.

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stones exhibition 1

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stones exhibition 6


7
Jan
2015
Posted by Nicole in 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, Australian Fashion 2 Comments

We have such wonderful resources to find information these days but sometimes what you seek can be elusive.

I love to look up fashion labels, particular when I like the styles but often they use popular words and google can be unhelpful.

Yesterday Becky Lou and I photographed new stock and this style from “Gallivant Coats” caught my eye:

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1940s redingote – “hang on” is that what you’re thinking? “What’s a redingote?”

I’m so glad you asked. A redingote is a light flared coat secured at the waist and based on historical riding fashions and has appeared at many times in the past but is no longer a feature in our wardrobes. A pity, I really like it and it’s perfect for the sort of weather we get in Melbourne, like today, where it’s warm but we also got a thunderstorm.

I’ve got some redingote patterns on the webshop – they’re a very similar cut to the one above.

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Early ’40s redingote pattern on the left

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1943 Redingote pattern.

Here’s the label – isn’t it a darling name, “Gallivant Coats”? “For Smart Wear Everywhere”.

I’ve had a few stylish Gallivants from the ’40s and ’50s (and memory suggests one from the ’30s but I can’t be sure) but a search turned up nothing, perhaps because the word “gallivant” is used in other contexts too. Like actual gallivanting, not just frock-wearing.

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The Gallivant label – you can also see the pintucked neckline detail and the unlined interior with overlocked seams.

“What’s that?” I hear you ask “didn’t overlocking come in much later?” Overlocking (or serging as our American friends call it) has an old history too, much older than this coat. It’s a misunderstood technique in vintage, with some unenlightened souls claiming it’s only found in fashions from the last few decades but I’ll save that for another blog post.

Meanwhile, searching for more Gallivants, I found a few on ebay and etsy – here are some labels.

Gallivant label 1950sFrom a late ’50s nylon frock. Not sure I’d want to be called a “Little Woman”.

Gallivant label late 1970s
From a circa 1981 jacket.

The styles of the more recent fashions are unremarkable, so I suspect that like many fashion labels they got older with their clientele. The quality is middle of the road, but they’ve lasted and they have charm.

Based on the items found, it looks like they were around from the late ’40s, possibly earlier and were still going in the early ’80s. There is currently a “Gallivant Clothing” registered in NSW but they don’t seem to be related.

I did find this from the New York Post 1936 though: unlikely to be the same company but nice all the same:

gallivant

“Gallivant! What an exciting word! Not travel, not journey, just junketing about here and there. New places, strange places, adventure. All that is hinted at in this one word. You may not be going any further than Central Park but as long as you move about, you’re gallivanting, and for this now we have special fashions”.

if you know anything more about Gallivant fashions, please let me know and in the meantime, the Gallivant redingote is now available in the city salon for a lucky new wearer.


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).

Dakota under snow - Wikipedia

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.

rosemarys-baby

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.

JPeterman

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!


4
Oct
2013
Posted by Nicole in 1940s, Shop talk, Vintage 101 7 Comments

Have you noticed that I run a home for lost frocks? Since 1980 I’ve adopted dirty, damaged and downright neglected frocks. Frocks that were once beautiful and have fallen on hard times – abandoned by everyone else, I’ve sheltered them from harm and promised to one day return them to their days of glory.

It’s a good thing that you don’t see them as they come to me – many are in a very sad state. Most of my collection is more than fifty years old and that invariably seems to mean they’ve spent a spell out in the wild – stored in a leaky shed or attic, or perhaps crushed in boxes under beds. As long as the fabric is strong, I can help them though.

There’s an enormous pleasure to be derived from taking something that looks like it’s fit for the rag bin and turning it back into a thing of beauty to be enjoyed.

The last couple of weeks I’ve been going through hundreds of pieces, selecting items for tomorrow’s online garage sale and this little darling was sheltering amongst them.

Dress 6

It had been scrunched up in a ball, and stored somewhere damp. Long since dried out, it shows scars and stains from its ordeal.

The fabric is a sharkskin style shot taffeta, with a self-spot. Silk or rayon, a crisp fabric that needs to be dry cleaned. Generally I send frocks like this straight off to the cleaner but I haven’t had much success in them getting stains out so I thought perhaps it could go into the garage sale instead. I gave it a good pressing, but soon uncovered more issues.

Dress 1

Can you see the issues? It’s a beautiful and flattering dancing dress from the very late 1940s with a full circle skirt. The buttons are missing their rhinestones and the belt is missing too but this is an eminently wearable dress, even in its current condition – would look lovely with a crinoline petticoat for extra swoosh.

Are you ready? Look carefully for the large watermark stains, tinged with yellow and brown.

Dress 2

Dress 3

Dress 4

I can soak all of those out with an oxywash cleaner – warm water, and repeated soaks and they will come out. I’ll remove the buttons first (they already need their rhinestone centres replacing) and the dress will look much better – except that the taffeta will crease and lose its crispness and the dress might become floppy like a cotton.

However, on looking at these photos, you can see that the dress is already very crumpled after its adventures over the past sixty odd years so maybe it’s a risk worth taking? I’m going to give it a shot.

If you’re wondering why I don’t spot clean it, it’s because I’ve had too many bad experiences with the dye fading under modern products so I always treat the whole dress.

So this is one frock that won’t be going into the garage sale, but there are many more – it opens tomorrow, is only online (not in the salon) and I hope you find something lovely. There are sizes 2 to 18, from a hundred years of fashion and even some menswear all priced to clear. If you’d like to save the shipping you can pick your orders up from the shop in the week starting October 15th – Circa will be closed next week.

Dress 5

I’ll let you know how I go with the dress!


6
Sep
2013
Posted by Nicole in 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, Shop talk 11 Comments

Are you excited about the federal election tomorrow? I’m not.

I’ve been involved in almost every election (state and federal) since 1977 due to my unusually political family. At one stage or another, for one reason or another, I’ve campaigned and handed out how-to-votes for the Liberals, the ALP, the Democrats and the Greens.

My personal political leanings don’t change, more that I like to support friends and family, who have previously included a senator and currently include a couple of MPs. I even stood myself once, for the local council!

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Around half of the population is going to be disappointed tomorrow, as their candidate or their party fails to get elected. I remind myself of this because it will hopefully soften the blow as I expect to be one of those people and not winning is never a nice feeling.

The fact is that I live in a fringe world, with fringe interests – and until the majority of the population get over their perception that vintage (because most of it has been worn before) is undesirable and until we can stop buying $5 new dresses made by exploited workers in other countries and until we wake up and realise that we can’t just keep producing new things, filling up landfill forever…well until then, I will continue to dwell happily in my little fringe world caring about things that are unimportant to many.

So it should come as no surprise that most of Australia thinks, and votes differently.

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Like me, if you’re feeling a little sad about what tomorrow might bring – here are some ways to make life a little easier.

1 – Join the political party of your choice and get involved. Each has a process for members to influence policy, and the more that agree with you, the more of a difference you can make. It’s hard to achieve much when you’re yelling from the sidelines.

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2 – You don’t need to be a member to help out with the campaign. You can even turn up on polling day and help out the volunteers of your preferred party. It can be quite fun on the booth, with a sense of camaraderie and it’s refreshing to find that the how-to-voters get on well, regardless of their political differences. You all share one important thing: you care about the result and are doing your bit.

I’ve met some great people on different sides of the spectrum that I would never meet normally. Minor parties (or major parties in electorates where they have small followings) are generally short of volunteers and thankful for extra helpers. Befriending the people helping other parties means that they might cover you for short breaks too – and (if no one is looking) even hand out your How-to-votes. I’ve done that several times.

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3 – There’s nothing better than the feeling that everything’s going your way – but if your party isn’t winning it can be a challenge – remember that your turn may come again with each election and that lending your support can help increase this likelihood, and even when you don’t win, you’ll feel better to have been involved.

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4 – Many polling booths are hosting sausage sizzles and cake stalls – check this site to make your voting experience a little nicer, and perhaps come home with a souvenir of the day, all whilst supporting your local community.

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5 – Why all the frocks? Because when you’re not feeling so happy, do things that make you happy – go for walks in the park, eat Italian gelati whilst gazing out to sea, visit the NGV or watch an escapist film. Drink gin or champagne (in responsible doses of course!) in the company of like-minded loved ones.

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Lucky me, I’m enjoying taking pics of beautiful St Clare in vintage, so here are some of my current favourites. I hope you enjoy them regardless of what tomorrow brings!

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