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.