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.


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.


21
May
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1970s, 1980s, Australian Fashion, fashion parade 1 Comment

So last night Tim and I went to see the Jenny Bannister fashion parade – and it was fantastic. Light, colour, movement, excitement, texture. Sexy and fun and inspiring. A lot of leather.

It’s filled me with wonder for her ’80s fashions which (if you know me) takes some doing because I remember the ’80s all too well and most of it wasn’t very interesting.

Jenny is different though, she’s the rock chick of Aus fashion.

Jenny Bannister Retrospective

Her models cut up the catwalk to an incredible soundtrack by DJ Viva L’Amour covering the years of the fashion and dressed devastatingly by Jenny herself – it was a taste of what lay ahead.

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The audience had dressed in Jenny Bannister too, and couldn’t have been more supportive – it was a night of applause, a standing ovation for all the wonderful designs and models, and special guests The Chantoozies.

A highlight was seeing the beaming Wendy Bannister, swishing her enormous cape down the catwalk as if she, not her famous sister was the star of the show. Her grin was infectious.

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Retrospectives can be bittersweet, as they focus on the past but Jenny is still so young and vibrant – her designs contain many different elements and they made me wish we could go and buy her latest range.

I’m sure she’s not finished with us, hopefully just having a break to concentrate on other projects like Fashion Torque. Creativity such as this can not be stifled and I would love to see a new Jenny Bannister range at some point: we need original ideas.

This event was organised by stylist Philip Boon as a fundraiser for Prahran Mission – well done Philip, Jenny and the enormous cast of people who brought it all to fruition. The night was a great success, and I hope you raised lots of money for a very worthy cause.

Here’s a snippet:


If you’re reading this on email, click here to view.

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Fashion Designer Kara Baker. It was a pleasure to meet you Kara.

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Tim and I, wearing more colour than usual in an homage to Jenny.

Now for some of Jenny’s fashions!

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17
May
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1970s, 1980s, Australian Fashion, Calendar, fashion parade 4 Comments

This Tuesday Philip Boon is hosting a retrospective of iconic Australian designer Jenny Bannister to raise funds for the Prahran Mission.

A fashion parade of over 60 of her incredible outfits from the ’70s-’90s, plus an art auction of works by internationally known artists inspired by Jenny’s illustrious career will be auctioned for a good cause. With a very special surprise musical performance by the Chantoozies! It’s sure to be a night to remember.

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Jenny’s fashion in Vogue magazine, source Sarah Kempson.

What: Philip Boon Presents: Jenny Bannister
When: 7pm Tuesday 20th May.
Where: Where: Deutscher & Hackett, 105 Commercial Road, South Yarra, VIC 3141
Cost: $95, all funds raised support Prahan Mission.
Book online tickets here or at the door.

I like this quote from Jenny about her ground-breaking designs:
“While the mainstream fashion companies slavishly copied what was made and worn in the northern hemisphere, I revolted and designed and made what I wanted to wear. It wasn’t namby pamby rubbish or granny crap. My clothes had to look arty: it’s hard-edge, hot, out-there, avant-garde, loud punk. Luckily, my peers wanted to wear it all!”

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Clarence and Chai and Jenny (1981), and one of her shell bikinis (1978)

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Jenny at home in a recent pic – photo by Roger Cummins, source and great article in the Age.

Good on you Jenny – we need more fashion revolutionaries. I’m looking forward to this event, it’s sure to be incredible. Tickets still available here.


8
Feb
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1980s, Calendar, Sale, Shop talk

Thank you to everyone who came and visited Circa this week: not surprisingly, it’s been the busiest week we’ve had since moving from Fitzroy, and I’ve loved meeting you all, greeting old friends and sending out so many vintage pieces to happy new homes.

As a result, I’d like to continue the in-salon sale for another week of half price bargains. New stock is getting added every day. Come see us Tuesday to Friday, 12noon to 6pm or Saturday 11am to 3pm.

There will be final markdowns on the last day – Saturday – with tops and skirts from $10 and dresses from $20!

Plus – I’d like to extend the sale to the webshop. Everything on the webshop for the following week will be 20% off – everything including wedding gowns and rare antique items. The discount will be automatically calculated as you go through checkout. This also applies if you’d like to purchase any webshop items in the Melbourne salon.

It includes all new arrivals – see here for the latest vintage styles. More will be added during the week. Webshop sale closes 2pm next Saturday Feb 15th.

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Hope to see you either at Mitchell House or online! Shipping for web orders is a flat $15 per order, Express Post. This is refunded if you’d like to pick up from the salon.

Thank you for your all your support.


4
Sep
2013
Posted by Nicole in 1920s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s 5 Comments

When I read the news this morning, I got excited because the Victoria and Albert boutique must be a vintage shop surely?

But no: Victoria and Albert designed their own range of contemporary fashion starting in North Sydney in 1964 and moving to Double Bay soon afterwards, where they traded for forty years.

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If you know Sydney, you already have a good idea of what sort of stock a North Sydney shop in 1964 and Double Bay for 1965-2004 is likely to have – they picked up a youthful clientele in the swinging ’60s and then probably catered to them as they got older. I would expect classic but conservative clothes, in very good, even couture quality.

Like many fashion designers, they kept historical clothing in their archives for inspiration -and (along with the groovy ’60s frocks), this is what I would be most interested in: see below for images of an amazing velvet cloak with matching bag, and beaded ’20s dress.

Auction Details
Sunday 15 September 2013 at 1:00pm
Shapiro Gallery, 162 Queen St, Woollahra, Sydney
Woollahra Hotel Function Room, 116 Queen Street, Woollahra, Sydney

Catalogue available online.
More information here. Images reproduced courtesy Victoria and Albert boutique and Shapiro Auctions.

I haven’t seen any vintage clothes with the Victoria and Albert label, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for them.

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23
Mar
2013
Posted by Nicole in 1980s, 1990s, Calendar, Exhibitions 1 Comment

Lots of notice for this one as it doesn’t open until October, but probably worth making plans for:

Those lovely people at the Bendigo Art Gallery really are becoming the premier destination for fashion exhibitions – this year they’re giving us something new and different: the best of ’80s and ’90s fashion, sourced from the museum of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Great to see them forging strong links with important overseas collections.

From an article from The Age:

“Starting with a Vivienne Westwood-Malcolm McLaren T-shirt and denim collaboration, the collection of almost 60 items from the museum of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles will offer a glimpse of garments from some of the biggest names in contemporary fashion – Issey Miyake, Alexander McQueen, Karl Lagerfeld and Miuccia Prada among them.

The exhibition also breaks into 21st-century design, including a paper dress from 2002 by Sarah Caplan for MPH depicting the twin towers of the World Trade Centre before the 2001 terrorist attacks.”

What: Modern Love, fashion exhibition
When: October 26th to February 2nd, Open daily 10am – 5pm
Where: Bendigo Art Gallery 42 View Street, Bendigo, VIC 3550
Cost: TBA
See more at: the Bendigo Art Gallery website closer to the date.

I’ll update with more information when it’s available but here is a pic of something that will hopefully be on display:

Alexander McQueen’s ”peacock” dress.


3
Jan
2013
Posted by Nicole in 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, Sewing, Vintage 101 5 Comments

Learning to date vintage clothing is one of the challenges that the vintage lover faces: unfortunately, unlike vintage cars, clothes don’t come with VINs to help you on your mission – you need to read and interpret the clues in the style, fabric, construction and detailing. If you’re lucky, you’ll have some provenance too, but if incorrect that can send you in the wrong direction.

Books can be a great help, as can magazines, newspapers, films, TV – and the more you expose yourself to the fashions in their original settings, the better you get at it. When I was learning, I used to visualise which Golden Era of Hollywood movie star I could see in something: is it a Jean Harlow outfit (’30s), or more Rita Hayworth (’40s) or perhaps it’s something that Marilyn might have worn in “Bus Stop” (’50s)?

It’s not an exact science, and that’s why you often see people identify an item using a decade or more, but I’ve discovered that with skill, you can often narrow it down to a year or three.

Thankfully there is one easy tool at your disposal – some sewing pattern companies print dates onto their products. Also, you used to be able to order patterns through certain magazines and newspapers, and some had them as supplements too, so if you have the original publication or post-marked envelope, you’ll have a date there too.

Today I’ve been listing vintage patterns onto the webshop, and I like to play “Guess the Date” with the styles – and then I can turn it over and find out if I’m right.

Here are some for you to test your knowledge with: keep in mind a few things – the patterns all give you bonus clues with accessories, hairstyles, make up, poses, and style of graphic. Sewing patterns are rarely fashion forward, and generally represent popular designs that have already sold well in the community, so can be sometimes a little behind the times. Also: if the pattern sells well, and fashions haven’t changed much, they still might make it for a few years. The date should be from when it was first printed though.

Clicking on each pattern will take you to the webshop listing and you can see how accurate your guesses are! Good luck.









































11
Dec
2012
Posted by Nicole in 1980s, Book review, Media 2 Comments

If you read The Age or The Sydney Morning Herald on the weekend, you might have seen my smiling face in the Good Weekend magazine – an article about vintage clothing collectors written by Lee Tulloch.

First I have to take you back in time though, to 1989 when a young redhead lived in an Art Deco flat in Subiaco, Perth, drove a 1959 Rover 3 litre and had a whole room devoted to her hundreds of ’50s party dresses.

One day she picked up a book about a young New Yorker called Reality, who also collected ’50s dresses and gave them names: “Gina” for a polka dot frock, “Anita” was a strapless ballgown ala “La Dolce Vita”.

I was in love: finally someone who is as passionate about her vintage as I was! “Fabulous Nobodies” was my favourite book, and I’d read it in the bath whilst sipping my favourite drink, Creme de Grand Marnier.

I’ve still got it somewhere, much dog eared, it was loaned to numerous friends but always came home again to it’s rightful place in my over-crowded bookshelves.

Fast forward to modern times and the author, Lee Tulloch got in touch – could she interview me? Could she! It was a great honour to meet Lee – first at the Lisa Ho auction in Sydney, and then later at the salon, where we chatted about fashion and books for hours. She brought me a present.

A copy of the US edition…with a personalised dedication!

Can’t wait to read it Lee…or should I say, reread for the umpteenth time. “Fabulous Nobodies” is currently being made into a film – set in New York city in 1983, it should feature some great fashion. There’s also a Facebook page, with some great shots – the ’80s look a lot more distant than they feel.

So: yes, excited to meet Lee and talk about “Fabulous Nobodies”. I’m still amazed: reclining in my Subi bathtub, I had no idea what the future would hold for me.

But back to “Magnificent Obssession”, Lee’s article – it’s about five vintage collectors who all have wonderful stories and great photos, which for the Melbourne contingent required a studio shoot – it’s probably the costumier in me, but I love backstage goings on. Here are some shots of the studio and the shoot – Mike Baker is the photographer and I can only dream about having a studio like this.


My 1870s ensemble – soon to be appearing on the webshop.


Model Nina Haylia O getting dressed in one of Christopher Horne’s stunning 1930s ensembles.


Nina in 1950s and Christopher.


Candice DeVille with her Grandmother’s late ’40s fit and flare coat.


Candice, showing us how it’s done.


My 1870s with my 1970s Zandra Rhodes – a study in contrasts but hard to see against the black backdrop.

Nina, Christopher and I (a cropped version is my current user pic).


Modern photography.

If you’d like to read more about Circa in the press, I’ve recently added a page to the blog, with links for articles.


16
Oct
2012
Posted by Nicole in 1980s, Style icon 2 Comments

We had a wonderful Melbourne Festival night on Saturday – part one was “Life, Art and Leigh Bowery”, a talk presented by Richard Watts, Le Gateau Chocolat, Paul Capsis and Boy George.

I first met Leigh Bowery in early 1986, flipping through the pages of the latest Face magazine. I couldn’t help but notice – he was rather striking in his self-made costumes!

As a costume student, I loved that – and over the years he turned up from time to time with his amazing fashion designs, some of which are now in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, and probably other places too.

I wish I had thought of him when I lived in the UK, in the early ’90s: it’s quite amazing to think you could go out to a club and see someone so fresh and unique as Leigh, a living artwork pushing boundaries and probably offending people. As someone wrote in Wikipedia “he was no wallflower”.

Unfortunately, he left us in ’94, an all too early death – depriving us of one of the boldest, most outrageous personalities of modern times.

Many people do not even realise that he was Melbourne born and raised, and studied fashion at RMIT for a year before finding his natural home amongst the London alternative and gay club scene.

It’s great to see him receiving recognition for his brave cultural contribution: certainly he’s influenced many from Boy George to Alexander McQueen.

We really need people like Leigh to go where the rest of us are too shy and well behaved to go.

What particularly impresses me, is that no matter how many images you see of him in action, the person beneath the make up and amazing costumes remains elusive.
Truly androgynous, he managed to erase all traces of gender. It’s even hard to see his facial features in many images.

Leigh Bowery’s confident and colourful persona represents some of the best parts of the 1980s, even whilst being confrontational and crass. I don’t like vulgarity but sometimes artistic integrity can trump it.


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