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.

sale 475

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.

auction 3

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.

auction 2

auction 1

C536596-Patricia_Burkett


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.


28
Jun
2012
Posted by Nicole in 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, Circa event, Exhibitions 1 Comment

Earlier this week I bumped out the “Fashion through the Decades” exhibition at Australia on Collins: if you missed it, here are some pics.

It was well received and with a bit of luck, hopefully we’ll be able to stage another one some time.

The 1940s lady is dressed head to toe in items from my own wardrobe! I wore the clown print dress to Charlotte Smith’s event at last year’s Writer’s Festival and the art deco style brooch usually graces my ’50s wool boucle jacket. Such a pity there wasn’t a pink wig to complete the ensemble (not very 1940s, I know).

This is the first time Circa has exhibited fashion from the ’90s but don’t get excited: I’m not ready to consider the 1990s as old enough to be “vintage”, just that it helps with the context of this exhibition.

Thank you to Australia on Collins and Kinc Agency for offering Circa this opportunity and Kelley from the Lindy Charm School for Girls for her assistance. Most of all, thank you to everyone who came along and saw the displays.










13
Jun
2012
Posted by Nicole in 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, Calendar, Exhibitions 1 Comment

Circa Vintage is working with Australia on Collins to bring you an exhibition of 80 years of Australian fashion:

“Collector, author and vintage clothing expert Nicole Jenkins has assembled the exhibition by selecting iconic styles from Australian fashion designers. ‘Vintage clothing is truly representative of how we’ve lived, loved and enjoyed life. This exhibition showcases evening wear created by Australian designers and provides a snapshot into our social lives at that time.’

The history of Australian style is rich and over the decades we have adapted the sophistication of European haute couture and married it with our own sense of style, creating an industry that is renowned internationally for exceptional talent, individuality and quality.”

What: Fashion through the Decades – An exhibition of Australian style from the 1920s to the 1990s.
When: June 18th to 24th: 10am-6pm, Mon-Thurs, 10am-8pm, Fri, 10am-5pm Sat, 12noon-5pm, Sun.
Where: Australia on Collins shopping centre, Level 5, 260 Collins Street, Melbourne
Cost: free!

As a special treat, one of the dresses on display will be the Leroy Alcorso 1956 Olympics dress. I’ve decided to keep it so that I can submit it to the Australian Dress Register, which means that it will be available for talks, parades and exhibitions like this one at Australia on Collins.

More information can be found at the Australia on Collins website.


26
Jan
2012
Posted by Nicole in 1970s, 1980s, Calendar, Designers, Exhibitions

Tonight we went to the opening of a new exhibition at the Ian Potter Centre, National Gallery of Victoria.

From the NGV’s website:
Working as an artist outside the conventional fashion marketplace, [Linda Jackson] devised unique forms of clothing that evolved beyond the sphere of seasonal trends; defying the limits of Western fashion by drawing on an eclectic mix of influences from India, Africa, Asia and Australia.

What: Linda Jackson Bush Couture
When: 26th January – 9th September 2012, open 10 am to 5 pm daily, closed Mondays.
Where: Ian Potter Centre, Federation Square, Melbourne
Cost: free

I must admit that it’s taking me a while to appreciate ’80s fashions – it still seems pretty recent to me and I didn’t like it enough to wear it the first time around – but the ’70s is a different matter. I’m starting to really feel how creative and imaginative some of the design was, and it’s nice to know that some designers continued that into the following decade.

LJ has a great feel for colour, print and texture and she’s happy to combine all kinds of influences from primitive societies to modern art. I would have liked to see more of her textile designs but like all exhibitions, it has to be limited in it’s scope. I do enjoy seeing a display dedicated to one artist over a period of time, so you can see how their themes develop.

The works that surprised me the most were the most conservative ones: a taffeta number resplendent with frills and puffed sleeves, with echoes of Princess Diana, and a sweet dress with a Pierrot print (a popular ’80s motif). Surprising, because LJ does not appear to be a designer who is particularly commercial, choosing instead to lean heavily towards creativity and drama. Perhaps this is why I rarely come across any of her garments but I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out in future.

Recommended. Here are some pics from the iphone.


16
Jun
2011
Posted by Nicole in 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, Calendar, Circa event, Talk 1 Comment

What: Talk on ladies’ fashions of the ’60s to the ’80s.
When: 2pm-3pm Tuesday 19th July
Where: Parkdale Library, 96 Parkers Road, Parkdale
Cost: free, and afternoon tea is included
Bookings required – call 1300 135 668 or book at a branch of the Kingston library.

UPDATE: this talk is now fully booked.

I’ve got another library talk coming up – and this time I’ll be talking about the ’60s to the ’80s – this is a first for me. In fact, it necessitated a new category to be added to the blog: 1980s, so that tells you how new and exciting it is! Luckily I have quite a few frocks from the decade, and it will be nice to put them into the context of the three decades of great change.

So look forward to hearing about offshored manufacturing, synthetic fabrics, bright and bold prints, ethnic and bohemian fashions, the mini, midi and maxi skirt, punk and new romantics. The revival of ’20s in the ’60s, the revival of ’30s and ’40s in the ’70s and the revival of ’40s and ’50s in the ’80s. Hope you’re keeping up!? Should be a lot of fun and I hope you can join me.


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