10
Jun
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1960s, 1970s, Calendar

Opening this Friday, Hawkeye Vintage is offering unworn designer vintage fashion and the last of the famed Mary Lipshut collection of ’60s and ’80s – here you will find brand new vintage fashions from Missoni, Pucci and Courreges, with their original swing tags amongst many other fabulous labels.

Mary Lipshut amassed an incredible collection of European fashion and this once in a lifetime opportunity is not to be missed.

You can read Philip Boon’s lovely tribute to Mary here, including some of her amazing styles which hopefully will be available this weekend. Lady Melbourne also has written a fine blog post about her including many pics of her fashions – see here.

As always, be there early to snaffle the best buys.

What: Hawkeye and Mary Lipshut designer vintage fashion sale
When: 10am-4pm, Friday June 13th to Sunday June 15th.
Where: Como House, corner of Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra.
10% of all sales support the National Trust.

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Danielle from Hawkeye Vintage in Courreges – photo supplied by Alison Waters.

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27
May
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1950s, 1960s, Contest, Film 7 Comments

Next week sees the opening of new film “Grace of Monaco” and Entertainment One Australia have offered some double passes to Circa readers.

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“Grace of Monaco” is a fictionalised version of events in Princess Grace of Monaco’s life in 1962. Six years after Grace Kelly married Prince Ranier, she was mother to two children and sought to return to Hollywood for the Hitchcock film “Marnie”.

I read a fascinating biography of Grace once, and her life was a complicated and enthralling one. She was an interesting woman. I also enjoyed the exhibition a few years ago of her personal wardrobe that was on display at the Bendigo Art Gallery – the trailer reveals a beautiful film full of luxurious and historical settings and costumes.

If you’d like a double pass to see this film, which opens on June 5th, simply leave a comment on this post about your favourite Grace Kelly film and why you like it – and the winners will be the best responses. There are four double passes to win and entries close Saturday May 31st at 9pm Melbourne time. Passes are valid at most screenings in Australia.

Good luck!

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I also have several two-for-one tickets for “The Broken Circle Breakdown”: “the story of Elise and Didier, two unconventional star-crossed lovers, who fall for each other despite their differences. He talks, she listens. He’s a romantic atheist, she’s a free-spirited realist”: just come into Circa and request one. Opens May 22nd.


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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Jenny Bannister Retrospective 8

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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.


23
Apr
2014
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.

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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.


15
Apr
2014
Posted by Nicole in Media, Shop talk, Television 3 Comments

You may have noticed that the blog has been a bit quieter this year – now that I’m through most of the recovery, I’ll confess that I had an accident with my bike and a car in January and the worst part was breaking my arm. My dominant arm, which has made all manner of tasks tricky, not least of all typing.

Now that I’m back to speed (almost), I’m way behind with my writing – the book (code named Stella) is still on schedule but it’s meant a lot of juggling and cancellations and no additions to the dance card until it’s completed, which should be the next few months – and hopefully publication later this year. It’s also meant that Saturdays have gone “by appointment” but we’ll be open again as normal as soon as I can – and in the meantime, we can arrange a time.

There have been quite a few changes too – firstly, we expanded the salon and shrunk the workroom, which means there’s more room to play at Circa – here are some pics.

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This meant more room for dresses, and more room for menswear too. My wonderful assistant, Esther who has helped me for more than five years headed off to other roles – mostly costume designing. I’m pleased for her of course, but sad to see her go. Here’s Esther:

Esther

We’ve also got a new model – meet Becky Lou

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She’ll soon be appearing on the webshop – here are some sneak peeks.

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This one has already gone to a good home, a lady who loves mermaids, but I love the pic – gorgeous beaded top.

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This mint green chiffon cocktail frock is a size 10 and is currently available in the shop, and will soon be online.

In other news, thanks to your support Circa’s webshop was included in Lulu’s annual vintage shop awards – this year we won in not only the People’s Choice, but also in Lulu’s Personal Favourites- and she interviewed me too. Thanks Lulu! It’s a great honour to be listed amongst so many great international shops.

We were also featured on the Urban List’s best Melbourne Vintage shops – where they kindly called me “the premier vintage fashion expert in Melbourne”. Hurrah!

Tanya Ha also interviewed me for the current Green Lifestyle Magazine, talking about vintage fashion and I’m talking about investing in vintage fashion in an upcoming episode of Channel 10′s “The Living Room” with Jason Cunningham. Here’s a pic from the shoot, of me, Marlene in her ’50s showgirl outfit and Jase.

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Keep an eye out for the Living Room – I’ll post a screening date when it’s available.


9
Apr
2014
Posted by Nicole in Calendar, Exhibitions 1 Comment

The NGV has an interesting exhibition coming up next month – a subject close to my heart, investigating historical fashion through the clues they contain. From their website:

Fashion Detective takes a selection of miscellaneous garments and accessories as the starting point for a series of investigations. Using material evidence and commissioned fictions as alternate interpretative strategies, the exhibition is an encounter with the art of detection.

From fakes and forgeries to poisonous dyes, concealed clues and mysterious marks to missing persons, Fashion Detective offers a number of cases for close examination. Each suggests a specific path of analysis that encourages us to think differently about what we see and what we know.

Scrutinising fragments of information, Fashion Detective also puts some of Australia’s best crime writers on the case. Speculating on the evidence at hand, a series of new short fictions based around the works on display will introduce plots, characters and narrative to the exhibition in order to reveal fashion’s countless contexts.

Featuring approximately 60 garments and accessories Fashion Detective juxtaposes the testimony of curators, conservators and writers, and acknowledges the interdependence of story and object as well as the public fascination with the social life of clothes.

What: Fashion Detective exhibition
When: 9th May to 31st August. 10am to 5pm every day – closed Tuesdays.
Where: Where: National Gallery of Victoria, St Kilda Road Melbourne.
Cost: free
More information See the official site.

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1
Apr
2014

I’m fascinated by sub-cultures: the ways that a group of people bond, and how they present themselves to the world.

The first sub-culture I became aware of was in 1976. Chocolate brown skivvies were all the rage but the shop wasn’t well lit and mum brought me home a black version. Everyone knew you couldn’t wear black: only Rockers wore black and I was sure to get beaten up for crossing the code.

In my sheltered Perth world there were only two sub-cultures: Mods and Rockers. They hated each other and the rest of us tried to keep out of the way of the carnage that resulted when they met. Think Quadrophenia. I didn’t know any Rockers of course, and never did so I can’t be sure it was true.

In 1979 I moved to Scarborough High School, close to Scarborough Beach where the legendary Snake Pit was home to Bodgies and Widgies. Or rather, it had been in the ’50s. In the ’70s it was all about Surfs and the Snake Pit was a smelly old cafe with pinball machines in the dark backroom. Soon it would be gone, demolished as the strip became upmarket and the beach ruined by a Gold Coast style tower.

I’ve never met a Bodgie or a Widgie but Surfs were so commonplace in Scarborough, I hesitate to call them a sub-culture but Puberty Blues (the original book) was the story of my early teens. Tradition dictated you’d lose your virginity in the back of a panel van in a beach car park. I was very unhappy: it wasn’t my scene. I couldn’t even manage a decent tan despite the daily beach visits. I read that book until the pages all fell out and then I sticky taped them back in.

The Sharpies passed me by – I thought they were a Melbourne only group until Catherine Deveny put up this clip from a Daddy Cool gig in ’75:


If you’re reading this via email, click here to see the clip.

What a dance! I love that this group had their own unique style. Australia generally follows the Northern hemisphere in most things but here was something uniquely our own. It’s an easy to learn dance with plenty of scope for different tempos or levels of enthusiasm. It can be both flirtatious for women and aggressive for men. It’s also rather comical. If you want to see more, just ask youtube for “Sharpie dancing”. There are some great examples.

The Sharpies started off in the ’60s, influenced by English Mods and created by post-War migrants who would bring out European fashions when they arrived in Australia. They had a taste for Italian style, especially in tailoring and knitwear, hence their name: Sharpie came from “sharp” dressers.

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Sharpies 1972 – from “Top Fellas” by Tadqh Taylor. Very Mod.

As fashions changed through the ’60s, so did they, and by the time they reach the era of their fame, the ’70s, there was a uniform: fine knit jumpers and cardigans with stripes plus high waisted tight jeans or pinstripe trousers. Sometimes very wide legged and long, covering their clomping big boots or shoes: platforms or clogs.

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Sharpie fashion. Photo source: “Skins n Sharps”

The girls (known as “Brushes”) wore jeans, denim mini skirts or pinafores with the highest chunky shoes they could: often with cork bases. Or “treads”, shoes with a sole made of old tyres.

The distinctive fashion item was the striped knitwear called the “Connie”, originally the “Conti” as they were made by Thornbury tailor Mr Conti. Here you could either choose one from the shelf or custom made to the colours and stripes of your choice. They didn’t come cheap – almost a week’s wages for a teenager – but they were very prized.

Punk Journey Sharpie clothing - Peter BRookes cropped

Photo source: Facebook

At Circa, I’m often asked for Connies but sadly, I’ve never seen one to buy. They seem to be kept (hopefully well protected) by their original owners, who still value them. Either that, or perhaps they were worn to shreds, or shrank a little too much in a too hot wash. If I do find one, it will go into the private collection for use in talks etc – the Sharpies are becoming an affectionate part of Australian social history.

The Sharpie style is very similar to the current fashions of the time, incorporating elements of Glam Rock and roller skating culture, but with a harder edge. The ’70s was a very body conscious decade, and they wore the clothes small and tight. The Connies were worn especially small and tight, resembling midriff tops at times, with three quarter length sleeves. The hairstyles were reminiscent of Aladdin Sane and Ziggy Stardust, although when others grew their hair long the Sharpies kept it short.

Music was important to the Sharpies and back then when you couldn’t get band t-shirts, they’d get their favourite artist’s name made up in flocked velvet letters on a t-shirt. Bowie and Slade were favourites (soon to become B wie and Sl de when the letters peeled off in the wash). They loved Aussie rock with Lobby Lloyd and Billy Thorpe amongst their favourites.

The t-shirts also declared the name of their gang based on their suburb or even their street. They congregated in large groups, often at gigs or train stations and were very violent, often scrapping with rival gangs. Apparently even the police were scared of them.

Perfect Sound Forever
Photo source: “Skins n Sharps” Love the lumber jacket in the front: for when the Connie wasn’t warm enough.

Sharpies have been compared a lot with skinheads and there seems to have been a certain degree of overlap – the best site for Sharpie information is “Skins n Sharps” but for me, there was always a difference. Although I didn’t know any Sharpies, many of my friends dressed similarly and some of the girls even danced in that idiosyncratic way – I’ve never seen a man dance like that though. A pity.

Sharpies seemed to vanish in about ’79 just when punks, mods and skinheads were taking over – those were the groups I knew. The skins were very violent and we all knew to keep away from them in groups. I was once chased through the dark streets of North Perth by a skinhead with a knife after I looked at him the “wrong” way in 1984.

So if you do see any Connies, treat them tenderly and stash them away: you’re looking at a piece of Australian sub-culture history. Here’s some Connie style in this House of Merivale striped jumper:

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Striped woolen jumper by the House of Merivale, mid ’70s.

Original Connie short sleeved cardigan
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Photo source: “Skins n Sharps”

The same colours have been used used in this House of Merivale jumper. I love how the stripes only go around the front.

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Striped woolen jumper by the House of Merivale, mid ’70s.


11
Mar
2014

Coming up soon is the first Strictly Vintage market for the year.

It’s a simple formula – the best vintage in Melbourne, at the best prices. We keep the costs down for the traders which means better prices for the buyers. All in the fabulous Northcote Town Hall, with a tram out the front and a train down the hill. It’s a winning formula and a great day out.

Organised by Take 2 Markets and Circa Vintage. I’ll be bringing a selection of frocks that will all be $50 each, including some great cotton prints and the lovely frock below – plus handbags, hats, shoes and other accessories priced to sell.

What: Strictly Vintage market
When: Sunday 23rd March 10am to 3pm.
Where: Northcote Town Hall, top of Ruckers Hill, High St, Northcote. Tram out the front, Merri and Westgarth train stations near by.
Cost: $5

Yellow 40s

Strictly Vintage is for vintage fashion & accessories from 1920s to 1980s. NO contemporary fashion. Hope to see you there!


4
Mar
2014
Posted by Nicole in Calendar, events

Hi all,

Very late notice here: apologies for not letting you know sooner, but I’m taking part in an event tomorrow night (tonight if you’re receiving this by email) as part of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival.

From the site:

Take2 Markets presents Blogger’s Banquet where Melbourne’s leading fashion bloggers will step away from their laptops to meet their readership.

Fans can meet their favourite bloggers, ask questions, take photos and indulge at the pop-up shop with fashion for sale direct from blogger’s wardrobes. Come along and get to know the person behind the blog!

I won’t be selling fashion – you can come to Circa to see the full range – but I will be offering free appraisals and advice on your vintage items. You can bring something from home, or something from another stall or better yet, wear it along on the night and I will be at your service to give you the benefit of my expertise!

Plus, I’ll have discount vouchers so you can pick up a special piece later from Circa’s city salon or webshop.

What: Blogger’s Banquet.
When: Wednesday 5th March, 6pm to 10pm.
Where: Northcote Town Hall, 189 High Street, Northcote.
Cost:$5 entry.
More information: see the site.

Hope to see you there!

Banquet poster


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