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


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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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.

Richard Nylon pic by Mark Stewart
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.

Amelia and and Anna Vivash - pic Facebook
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!

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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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.

Posted by Nicole in fashion parade

I love this!

Apparently there is an American tradition to dress up in your finest, adorn yourself with a special hat and stroll down the main drag on Easter Sunday. I had no idea – the best place to do it is New York city where they close Fifth Avenue from 49th to 57th Streets to traffic and hundreds (thousands?) partake in the informal religion-free Easter Parade which runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

What a wonderful idea and incentive to frock up – here are some pics from this week’s event.












Photo source NY Mag – more can be seen here.

Thank you to everyone who partook in this event – does anyone want to join me in a Swanston St stroll next Easter Sunday? I think we need to encourage things like this. You can read more about the Easter Parade on Wikipedia.

Posted by Nicole in 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, Circa event, fashion parade 1 Comment

A little while ago we put on a fashion parade for the Australian Sewing Guild – this one was a little different to our usual formats, for a specialised audience and we combined the parade with my popular talk on ladies fashions of the ’20s to the ’70s.

Instead of me just standing up the front and showing dresses, the dresses were worn by models, who strolled around and let the audience touch the fabrics and see them up close.

It was a great success and I loved the opportunity to focus more on the fabrics, the construction techniques and the detailing than usual – here are some of the frocks as worn by our lovely models Apple, Carolina, Lola and Carley. Esther helped behind the scenes with dressing.

Here are some of the many frocks that were paraded: we took a few liberties with accessories: they’re not all period correct, but I think they’re suitable for each era to help create a look.

Carley looking very chic and summery in 1920s fuji silk day wear.

Apple in 1920s silk crepe with cutouts and embroidered detailing.

Carolina, stunning in 1930s silk evening gown – now available in the salon for purchase.

Carley in my WW2 Red Cross nurses uniform.

Lola in cotton print 1950s sundress – coming soon to the webshop.

Carolina in 1950s silk ballgown – this one is featured in my book “Love Vintage” and I now suspect it was made by Sydney couturier Beril Jents.

Carley in 1960s polyester dress with machine smocking – now available in the salon.

Apple in sheer floral party dress, early 1970s – coming soon to the webshop.

Lola in early 1970s cotton print Laura Ashley – everyone loved this one especially, we all seem to have worn something similar at the time!

A surprise finish was not a dress at all but Carolina in a silk pantsuit! Now available in the salon.

My favourite photo – the happy audience! The parade went really well and the feedback I got was wonderful. Here are some words from the National Newsletter about the event:

“Nicole spoke on the history of fashion and fabric through the 20th century and with four beautiful models paraded clothes from the ’20s to the ’70s…there were a lot of gasps of joy and no one wanted her to leave. As we said our goodbyes the audience were slow to leave, wanting to savour the moment a little longer”.

Thank you to Fay for inviting us to be a part of your event and sharing these great photos, the lovely models, Esther for dressing and Sue, the editor of the Newsletter – it was a lot of fun and a great to meet like-minded people. I hope we can work together again!

Posted by Nicole in 1950s, 1960s, Calendar, fashion parade, Talk 4 Comments

What: Charlotte Smith presents a talk and catwalk parade of classic Hollywood vintage couture from The Darnell Collection, of the ’50s and ’60s.
When: Saturday 3rd September 4.00-5.30pm
Where: BMW Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne.
Cost: $21.50, $19.50 concession
Bookings available click here to book online

Glamorous movie stars, jetset locations and fashions in the 50s and 60s will set the scene for a presentation on – and catwalk parade of – classic Hollywood vintage couture from The Darnell Collection, the subject of Charlotte Smith’s two fascinating autobiographical books, Dreaming of Chanel and Dreaming of Dior.

Elegant daywear and sumptuous evening gowns capture the mood of Hitchcock classics – think Grace Kelly, Kim Novak and Tippi Hedren for a truly fabulous festival afternoon! Please note this is a 90-minute session.

This event is part of the Melbourne Writers Festival and More information can be found at the MWF website.

Posted by Nicole in 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, Circa event, fashion parade, Vintage Fairs 4 Comments

As you know, on Saturday Circa held a vintage fashion parade at the Melbourne Vintage Clothing Show.

The room was packed – I didn’t want to obstruct anyone’s view so these pics are taken down the side…hence the sometimes unflattering angles… This is part one of my Melb Vintage Clothing Show, a second post will follow and also an edited video where you can see the front of the frocks.

Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who helped make the event happen –

The fabulous Master of Ceremonies: Andrew McClelland.
The wonderful models: Candice, Kylie, Prue, Alex, Fiona, Eszter, Becky, Anna, Lux and Loretta.
The great backstage crew: Anniene, Cass, Esther and Erika.
The video camera operator: my darling husband Tim.
The invaluable Circa shop ladies for helping me get all the outfits together: Victoria, Esther, Erika and Kate.
Janel, the show organiser for inviting us to be a part of the first Melbourne Vintage Clothing Show.

The soundtrack featured select swing dance classics by Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman. And now….the pics….as always, click on an image to see in full, click again to see in full size. Fashions from the ’20s to the ’70s.

For more pics from the parade, see Carli’s blog Konad-licious!. Thanks Carli! Chealse V on Flickr also has some great shots – and much better lighting too.

Posted by Nicole in 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, Calendar, Circa event, fashion parade 8 Comments

What: Circa Vintage Clothing fashion parade of garments from the 1920s to the 1970s
When: 12.30pm Saturday May 28th
Where: Exhibition Hall, Melbourne Showgrounds, Ascot Vale.
Cost: free with entry to the fair.

Today I’m selecting garments for the fashion parade, and all this week I’ll be doing model fittings. Ideally, we’ll have eight models with three outfits each, making a total of 24 outfits. I’d like to dress ladies of different sizes so have picked out a wide range of styles including swimwear, a WW2 red cross nurse’s uniform and a Zandra Rhodes punk outfit. This will be the biggest fashion parade I’ve done for almost a year – and many of the garments will be available for sale at our stall at the Vintage Fair.

I’ll also be doing the commentary this time, so I can tell you all about the dresses and their stories as the ladies come out in them – I hope you can join us! Here are three of the frocks you’ll probably see – all three are from my private collection and featured in my book “Love Vintage”.

UPDATE: I’m pleased to report that Andrew McClelland will be Master of Ceremonies! Very pleased – this is going to be wonderful.

Photographs are reproduced courtesy Tira Lewis.

More information about the fair can be found at the official website.

Speaking of Circa’s stall – I’ll also be bringing some of the best dresses from the webshop so if there’s something there you like, and would to see it and try it on first, please email me and I’ll see if I can bring it along for you. In particular, I get a lot of requests to try on the wedding gowns so I’ll be bringing a rack of them.

Posted by Nicole in fashion parade 1 Comment

This week and next I’m doing model fittings for the salon style fashion parade that’s on next week at Cranlana – a rare chance to see couture from the Darnell Collection.

Here are some quick shots from the fittings of models Candice, Fiona, Eszter and Penny. On the day, each will be fully accessorised for the parade. These frocks are all from the ’50s and ’60s but there will be outfits from a variety of eras.

As always, click on each to see in full – I didn’t really cut off their heads!

If you’d like to come to the parade, there are still tickets available – please call the shop on 9419 8899 during trading hours (Wed-Sat 11-5pm) and we can take your details. Cost is $55 each and all funds raised go towards rebuilding the library of Cardross Primary School, lost in the recent floods.

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