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Entries in 1970s (88)


Three Christmas Kings

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts, we traverse far
Field and fountain
Moor and mountain
Following yonder star

Oh, star of wonder, star of might
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading
Still proceeding
Guide us to thy perfect light …

Boxing Day is traditionally – I’m talking about medieval traditions that is – the day the ruling lords rewarded their serfs with boxes of presents. In places of worship, alms boxes collected donations for the poor. I wonder if this tradition could have been inspired by the three kings (or wise men) who followed a star and traversed a vast distance to present their gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby in the manger?

More recently of course, Boxing Day traditions have us all rushing to the shops to buy discounted presents for our well-deserving selves!

The carol tells the story of the three wise men in the Bible who had seen a star in the east and travelled to Bethlehem in search of the baby born King of the Jews. The song – both words and music – was penned in 1857 by the American John Henry Hopkins Jr, and the opening verses are beautifully lyrical. Sung in rounds it sounds both solemn and joyous.

I hope you all enjoyed both giving and receiving gifts yesterday … excuse me now, I’m off shopping!


Fashion Notes

Amazingly I actually already owned all these vintage maxi dresses, hats and wigs which were perfect to illustrate three wise (wo)men. On the left, I am wearing a 60s silk dress, with a vintage 40s black and white turban, and beaded slippers by Mollini; in the centre, is a green 70s lurex gown, with a vintage 60s velvet turban decorated with a vintage rhinestone bird brooch, and the slippers are by Sarti; on the right is a vintage 60s striped empire line dress, with a vintage 40s pink jacket, 60s silk petal hat and beaded slippers which were a souvenir from Vietnam. I am standing in front of the entrance to the King's palace, in Fes, Morocco, where I visited in 2011.

Photo: December 2018


A Christmas Angel

Hark! the herald angels sing, 
“Glory to the new-born King! 
Peace on earth, and mercy mild, 
God and sinners reconciled” 
Joyful, all ye nations, rise, 
Join the triumph of the skies; 
With th' angelic host proclaim, 
“Christ is born in Bethlehem.” 
Hark! the herald angels sing, 
“Glory to the new-born King!”

Well, I knew this song had been around for a long time, because they don’t write lyrics like they used to, but I didn’t know that it was written in 1739 by the famous Methodist preacher Charles Wesley. Interestingly, he requested slow and solemn music, and it was not until one hundred years later that the more joyful music still used today was composed by Felix Mendelssohn.

Wesley had based his lyrics on the angelic choir I talked about in yesterday’s Christmas Eve story, so today’s picture is a fitting, if more stylised extension, as I depict the angel heralding the shepherds.

I decided to go for a Renaissance style angel in gloriously colourful and billowing clothes, sumptuously golden wings (large antiqued wall ornaments, borrowed from Hurn & Hurn – which you can actually buy – fantastic!) and a deliciously gold background reminiscent of some paintings and frescoes of the era, or Byzantine icons (another art period I love).

Merry Christmas! I hope you have a wonderful and celebratory day, however you spend it.


Fashion Notes

I am wearing a blue top with silk puffed sleeves by Australian designer Lisa Ho, a silk taffeta vintage 70s skirt, beautifully dyed and embroidered fabric that I think must have been a sari as it is so long (I bought this in a vintage boutique in Sydney when I was a teenager!), and a copper metal headpiece of flowers by which label I remember not.

Photo: December 2018


What I Actually Wore #0143

Serial #: 0143
19°C / 67°F
Time Allowed:
7 minutes

Aww! These pictures make me nostalgic! All these items, except for the beret, wool knit top and some of the jewellery have completely worn out and are long gone from my closet. On this day it was a mild and rainy, and almost spring so I dressed suitably in woollens for the weather. I do still really like the colour combinations here: beige, red, white, black – you can’t go wrong.

The loss of the 1970s vintage leather trench coat makes me the saddest. I loved that coat to death, literally. When I bought it on eBay, years earlier, it was pristine. By the time I had finished with it, it was so worn that it looked grey and dirty. I took it to a professional cleaner and he shook his head sadly: nothing to be done about it except have it ‘recoated’ in white paint (no pun intended).

I already knew this was a dubious option because I’d had the forethought to purchase a replacement white leather coat on Etsy (similar in style, but with a fuller skirt, which is not as cool), but the seller never told me it had been refurbished. Tragically it sheds white spots of paint every time I wear it that looks like DANDRUFF! The horror.

The loss of the 1970s vintage leather trench coat makes me the saddest. I loved that coat to death, literally.

So the coat was donated to a thrift store, as was the beloved white leather tote, which suffered the same fate from wear. The silk camisole got shabby; the well-darned wool/cashmere socks eventually became holey beyond rescue; the watch chain-strap hopelessly unraveled; the shoes wore out; and another favourite item, the wool skirt, was chomped through by an evil and hungry moth. What a litany of sorrows!

At least I can reflect that I really did get good wear out of these garments. The beige wool knit, which originally came from a thrift store, has definitely been an excellent basic in my wardrobe. And while the shoes wore out, I actually found replacements in a thrift store that are exactly the same except they are brogued versions. I’m pleased too because both were by a brand I always liked, Scooter, which now seems to be defunct.

I still own all the jewellery, even the broken watch, which awaits the patience of a jeweler when I remember to take it for repair. And the armchair: I still have that!


Camisole: Enamel
Philippe Matignon
 Leda Spain by Gropper, vintage 1970s
Earrings: handmade by me
Ring: souvenir from Vietnam
Kenneth Cole
Elise Carrels

Photos: September 2013


Complementary Yellow

Early one evening last summer, wearing my beloved and billowy yellow 70s dress and vintage tan shoes, I walked to the theatre. My route took me through the Queen Victoria Gardens, and found myself walking upon a carpet of purple jacaranda blooms. From a distance it looked like a purple haze was covering the path – the effect is even more beautiful when seen upon a green lawn. And what a wonderful contrast to my yellow dress, for being opposite one another on a colour wheel, purple and yellow are complementary hues.

I’ve mentioned before that a yellow dress was one of my Holy Grails – not just any yellow, but this very rich shade – and after I found it on Etsy, it became one of my favourites. This dress has some rivals now however, for in the last year I have stumbled on quite a bonanza of yellow garments – more on these anon!

Photo: December 2017


Golden Days Here at Last

Hellooo, spring, glorious spring: welcome! … Well, almost. Everyone is excited to see spring finally arrive although unfortunately, apart from a few sunbeams early in the morning, today Melbourne was been hit by another blast of wintry weather.

However, September 1st is not only the first day of spring, but also Australia’s National Wattle Day. The day was first celebrated in Victoria, NSW and South Australia in 1910, but was made official only in 1992. A few years previously, in 1988, the golden wattle (acacia pycnantha) was officially declared Australia’s national floral emblem. I did not know of Wattle Day at all until I came across a reference when reading about the flower last spring (well after the celebratory date), so I had to save this story for this year.

The native Australian wattle bird in a wattle treeI am happy to celebrate the prospect of warmer weather however, in one of my favourite colours, bright and sunny wattle yellow. It always amazes me that many people seem daunted at the prospect of wearing the colour; it is not often in fashion either, and when it is decreed to be so, it is embraced by very few brave souls.

… once upon a time a bright yellow dress was one of my fashion Holy Grails.

I am always looking out for the colour in thrift and vintage stores, but owing to the above factors, it is rare to come by. To date, I have managed to collect quite a few pieces, many very recently (more on those to come in the next few weeks), but once upon a time a bright yellow dress was one of my fashion Holy Grails. The dress I am wearing in these pictures is vintage 1970s. I spotted it very late one night on Etsy and was so enraptured I bought it immediately. I have never regretted it, and do not fail to receive compliments every time I wear it.

The velvet leafy 1950s hat I am wearing I bought on Etsy many years ago. I always think of it as a Grecian wreath, but it serves well for Wattle Day.

Here’s to sunny days coming very soon – happy spring!


Read more about the history of Wattle Day here.
Top background image sourced here.

Photos: August 2018