Saturday, 2 April 2011

Posh Frock Friday... err, Saturday

Life's hard enough without having to actually post a posh frock on a Friday. Well, actually I was still sewing it until 12.22 if the truth be known.

With a 95% vintage wardrobe, it's not often that I customise clothing, save for a change of buttons from my huge collection. I do spend an awful lot of time repairing things – goes with the territory – but this one really was beyond all hope.

A once-lovely vintage 1950s sapphire-blue satin halterneck dress which had been well and truly trashed, I was able to salvage the large sequin-embroidered pockets and drum up a bit of luxe sportswear (quite frankly, the closest I am ever going to get to trackkie bottoms) by adding them to this grey trapeze-shaped sweatshirt dress from Cos.

Friday, 1 April 2011

My latest flame

I've always been a terrible one for fads. Since last summer I have been very much taken with tie neck blouses and dresses.

Here are three vintage examples from the early 1960s. They tick all the boxes for me: tie neck, abstract print, murky colours, button-through. The middle one came first and I wore it backwards for a while: it wasn't until I noticed the darts that I realised the tie and buttons (on this one) should be at the back.

I do like those "pussy blow" blouses that have had a revival over the past couple of years, but nowhere near as much as I love these.

Monday, 21 March 2011

La Pantera Rosa

Some acid-tounged wag told me today I looked as if I should be in a film with Peter Sellers.

I can see what he meant though.

This butterfly print silk dress is from the early 1960s, sartorially my favourite era, and was probably from Hong Kong.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Something for the weekend

A visual metaphor for my weekend.

Having packed everyone else off, I spent the time on some serious DIY, popping out only to buy a pair of vintage ballroom dancing shoes. As you do.

I think they go rather well with my paint-encrusted boilersuit, mais non?

Monday, 7 March 2011

Posh Frock Friday

I joined Posh Frock Friday at last week and just realised the link doesn't take anyone to the post. Apologies to those who have already seen these before, but as red hot faves, here they are again.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

A grand day out

Living in Brighton, on the south coast of the UK, our first thought for a day out is more often than not another seaside town. A real favourite is Bexhill, east of Brighton on the way to Hastings.

It's a small town with great charity shops, old fashioned cafés and the splendid modernist De La Warr Pavilion on the seafront.

I found a great vintage shop today, Maud's, at 22 St Leonards Road. I asked if they had a card and they said "we aren't on the phone". No website, Facebook page or Twitter feeds then I'd guess!

A teenage boy asked me, "what country are you from?" when he overheard me saying "your dad's just over the road" in my geordie accent. Ah, so near and yet so far away...

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

On the mend

Still not quite well but on the mend now.

Vintage 1960s dress from Frock Me! and faux snake shoes from Hebden Bridge, that bohemian enclave of South Yorkshire; home-made button bracelet, specs from eBay and a stern look.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Under the weather

I'm feeling really unwell today and – perhaps connected, who knows? – not one piece of clothing I'm wearing is vintage (my Irregular Choice shoes came from eBay, but they were new so even they don't count).

Still, at least I'm not on the couch in Slanket, and don't even consider the thought that there may be a pair of sweatants lurking in my house!

Hopefully, normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Fictional Fashion Friday

I had already left the charity shop (empty-handed) when I spied "Smart Girl" in the window, turned right around and went back in for it.

It's nicely designed with lots of illustrations and tons of early 1960s fashion (my favourite) but it is so conservative – advising 15 and 16 year old girls on smart suits, girdles and even floristry!

It really brought it home to me that Mod fashion and the "youthquake" had yet to hit suburban Britain, bringing with it the idea that there were fashions, ideas and music just for the teenagers and not adults. No wonder young people rebelled against being made into carbon copies of not only their parents but their grandparents.

Monday, 24 January 2011

The stuff of thrifting legend!

My excitement is barely containable: I found a Quorum dress amongst an unruly pile of house-clearance garments at a car boot sale on Saturday. This is what the Vintage Fashion Guild says about Quorum:

"Quorum was one of the great London boutiques of the 1960s. It was founded by Alice Pollock in 1964. She was joined by husband and wife Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell in late 1965. The clothes at Quorum were designed by Pollock and Clark, and they were often made from fabrics designed by Birtwell.

Quorum was known for their huge production fashion shows, which attracted the brightest stars of London – the Beatles, and friend David Hockney among them. The clothes were sensual and the feel was Bohemian.

Because of an ever increasing debt, controlling interest in Quorum was sold to Radley in 1969, but Pollock, Clark and Birtwell remained as designers into the 1970s."

If the thing actually fit me I might actually have expired through over-excitement. As it is, the waist is only just wider than my neck, so I have offered it up to the world on eBay.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Tigris and other mid-century ceramics

Given my very large collections of vintage clothing and tin robots, I do try not to get into collecting things only for the sake of it – I just don't have space to store much more stuff and I do like to use everything I own.

However, I have had a passing interest in mid-century ceramics for some time, but I do resist buying them… usually.

I particularly like the 1960s designs for Swedish manufacturer Rorstrand by Marianne Westman, especially the "My Garden" pattern (featuring fish, not gardens for some strange reason), which is rarely seen.

Recently I came across this 1950s ceramic cat vase, in perfect condition, and bought it intending to sell it on. After a very short time it had charmed its way into my affections and I decided to keep it.

Stamped on the base only with an unhelpful "Foreign", some research led me on a wild goose chase through Italian and Swedish ceramics and eventually to its unmistakeable origins: Schmider, a West German ceramics manufacturer, in the Tigris pattern designed by Anneliese Beckh.

I enjoyed this little research trip and I discovered some lovely things along the way. I can see how this could so very easily become a new collecting fad, but I am going to try hard to resist it. At least vintage clothes don't need dusting!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Inspirational fashion illustration

I had a very cultural, if freezing cold, day last week visiting not one but three fashion-based exhibitions in London. Firstly, at somerset House, the fabulous and very influential René Gruau then Matthew Williamson in the same building.

Over to Shad Thames to the Design Museum for the very comprehensive and well-presented showcasing work from Paul Poiret to the present day. I particularly liked the work of Mats Gustavson and the resurgence in printmaking in amongst all the current digital artwork.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

One girl's trash is another girl's treasure

At my regular visit to the fleamarket this morning one of the traders saw me looking at this old leather bag and just gave me it!

The outside of the bag is in very good condition but there had been two internal dividers sewn in and one had been removed, causing the bag to start to fall apart. My sewing machine isn't up to sewing leather but, as all the holes are there, it just took half an hour, some careful hand-sewing, a bit of glue and the use of a bulldog clip as a little clamp and it's repaired!

I suppose a lot of things that have come my way have been dumped because they needed repairs. Last year a friend gave me a large bag of 1940s and 1950s clothes from her mother to sell on eBay. As the repairs got more and more major, I finally realised it was her mending bag and it had been in the cupboard, waiting to be tackled for so many years she'd forgotten what it was!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Why make one when you could make two?

When I was kid my mother used to make most of my clothes. As she always bought too much fabric (just to be on the safe side, eh?) she never made just one thing, and I think I've absorbed that habit.

The yellow cushion was made with leftovers and still I managed to eke it out to make a little bag. I bough this 1970s print skirt at the fleamarket and with the fabric I cut off when I shortened it, I was able to make a belt and use a buckle I've been saving for years.