From 1950s

ACMI exhibition 900

[Exhibition] Orry-Kelly: Dressing Hollywood

I’ve been looking forward to seeing this one for a while, a new exhibition to accompany the film “Women He’s Undressed”.   Winner of three Oscars® (for Some Like it Hot, An American in Paris and Les Girls) and designer of costumes for a staggering 295 films (including Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon), Orry-Kelly is…

Monroe in "Some like it hot" 1959

[Film] Women He’s Undressed – free tickets!

I’m looking forward to seeing the new film about Australian costume designer Orry-Kelly – he famously dressed Marilyn Monroe in beaded silk for her film “Some Like it Hot” (see above) – and you must know that I’m always pleased to have an opportunity to showcase a photo of my favourite movie star.   “Some…

Lucy Secor

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. 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…

Every day glamour

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…

[Ballarat] Heritage Weekend

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…

[Exhibition] Stone’s style: Jessica Simon, a life in fashion

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…

Made in China

In these modern times of off-shored manufacturing, most of our fashions are made in China. The wages are lower there, with less worker protections meaning that here in Australia (and other Western countries) we can benefit from the reductions in retail price and have more of what we want. Sadly, it’s resulted in a culture that values cheapness over all: quantity, not quality. The term “Made in China” has become a by-word for poorly made, but the factories of China are no different to anywhere else: it’s not that they aren’t capable of making good products, it’s that they’re not…

A Gallivant Redingote

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: 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…

Travel in Style

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…

Vintage in film and TV – and a contest

Over the last ten years, there’s a long list of film, theatre and TV productions that have utilised costumes and props from Circa. It’s one of the aspects of my work that pleases me the most – contributing in a small way to creative projects. Since moving to the city in 2012 and focusing more on the webshop, this part of my business has increased a lot and I like to think that I’m making it easier for costumers around the country to find what they’re looking for. Here are a couple of recent works. Anna in “A Place to…