Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in 1990s (3)

Monday
Jul302018

Polka Dot Homage

Polka dots are a perennial print favourite. Even if they’re not precisely in fashion, they will never look outré. They are a classic pattern, especially in black and white, or white dots with some other neutral, such as navy or brown – even red could be almost classed as a neutral.

Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in ‘Pretty Woman’, 1990One of the most iconic polka dot outfits I can think of is Julia Robert’s brown and white dress she wore to the polo match in the 1990 film Pretty Woman. Who could forget that one? It was memorable because it was such a elegant and classic outfit unlike many of the others, which were trendier – and not least because the scenes between Vivian and Edward held so much charm. I recently watched the film again for the first time in years, and that is definitely my favourite outfit of Vivian’s – not at all the red dress she wears to the opera, which is cited all over the internet as iconic.

Quite a while back I came across a brown polka dot dress completely by chance in an op shop. It wasn’t the same as Vivian’s dress – it was a silk wrap dress, in a different shade of brown – but it certainly reminded me of it, although I do prefer the more cinnamon shade of brown in her dress.

I am accessorising it with a vintage boater sporting a polka dot tie (not original to the hat); vintage 50s broderie anglaise gloves; a vintage Laura Ashley cane bag; and Italian woven leather heels. In the film, Vivian’s shoes were of an appropriate heel height for walking on a playing field, unlike mine. I know nothing about the sport, but if I ever attend a match, at least I’ll have an outfit!

Photos: March 2017

Tuesday
Aug152017

Animal Prints Through the Decades

Model in leopard-print bikini featuring lacing on the sides, 1955Animal prints have been perennially popular through the last century or so, as you can see scrolling through these images, taken from Style Book – Fashionable Inspirations, by Elizabeth Walker (Flammarion 2010). Real pelts, a symbol of wealth and luxury, were once insouciently worn without any consideration for animal conservation; now prints are worn purely for fashion’s sake – from the beach in Wilma Flintstone style togs, to stepping out in Cannes in glittering sequins.

Most of these fashion images show animal prints only, and mostly faux fur, although there are a very few showing genuine fur, including one eye-opening and rather grim archival image of two women casually shopping for pelts in the 1940s in Africa.

Cheetah and leopard are reminiscent of spots, and although I love graphic stripes too, not even Lauren Bacall (my favourite actress of her era) in a zebra print can reconcile me to the look of it.

(Click on the images for larger versions.)

Actress Ava Gardner in leopard print costume, surrounded by swathes of fabric in the same pattern, 1952Woman in zebra-print bikini, 1955Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor draped in leopard fur shawl, at the London Palladium in 1956Model in leopard-print waistcoat with matching muff and cap all in faux fur, London 1951Actress Lauren Bacall sports a zebra print blouse, 1944Model Jackie Collins mixes zebra and leopard prints matching the car interior; outfit by Car Robes, at the Motor Show, London 1956 Model in zebra tabard by furrier Calman Links, Bond Street, London 1965Men's street style in 1956: a dandy accessorises his three-piece suit complete with pocket-square with a cheetah print flat-crowned hatPhotographer Norman Parkinson wearing an extravagant leopard print scarf, 1970Model wearing sequinned leopard-print gown, Christian Dior A/W 1953A woman in a sequinned gown that owes much to the 80s fashion of Dynasty, at the Hotel Carlton during the Cannes Film Festival, France 1998Flapper style with a circular theme in 1925: leopard-skin coat trimmed with fox furA stewardess in the 1971 uniform of National Airlines: faux fur accessorised with a real baby Bengal tiger In Africa in 1947, women shop for leopard pelts

Monday
Oct032016

Audreyesque

Recently my niece Bluejay and I decided to have a Twin Peaks marathon, ahead of the new series being released next year, especially because we had done one nearly twenty years ago (Bluejay is only four years younger than me). Yesterday we had our first session, managing to get through the entire first season. It was so much fun!

As far as style goes, Audrey Horne is – as she probably is for many others – my favourite character. Her cute, preppy look has become iconic over time. As Bluejay asked yesterday evening, “How is it that though Audrey wears the same kind of clothes as everyone else, she looks much sexier?” I laughed, and we decided that it’s because her clothes are closer-fitting, and her sweaters are mostly plain, rather than emblazoned with hideous 80s patterns. Any hint of subversiveness lies more in her character than in the demure clothes she wears.

“How is it that though Audrey wears the same kind of clothes as everyone else, she looks much sexier?”

The iconic Audrey Horne of David Lynch's Twin PeaksIt was very entertaining to see the fashions everyone was wearing – so sloppy and dowdy! So many enormous sweaters in earthy, muted tones. And the big hair! I asked Bluejay in astonishment, “Did we think they were dowdy back then?” I couldn’t remember wearing such clothes – I was at art school when Twin Peaks was first aired in Australia. “We didn’t dress like that,” Bluejay answered, “it was weird.” Well of course the whole show was weird! The fashion just gave it an extra dimension of strangeness.

The fashion just gave [Twin Peaks] an extra dimension of strangeness.

I’ve managed to put together an Audrey-esque outfit from existing items in my closet: I actually own a great many plaid pleated skirts, although I wouldn’t say I dress preppy at all! However, I do have a sneaking fondness for the look. Nor do I currently own any brogues or penny loafers – I had to make do with a pair of very high brogue-inspired heels.

Bobbysoxers are just so darned cute! Click the image to find out more about bobbysoxers and their entertaining origins.Interestingly, earlier in the week while researching 1950s daywear, I came across another section in my book Fashion: The Whole Story (Marnie Fogg, Thames & Hudson, 2013) about bobbysoxers of the 1940s, who wore skirts with sweaters, and the eponymous bobby socks with loafers. These rebellious teens were surely the inspiration behind Audrey’s look, along with shades of the 50s and 80s.

I was amused to note the first close-up of Audrey’s penny loafers as she enters her father’s chauffeur-driven car to go to school: black and white, and worn without socks – a saucier rendition of the look.

Her hair and makeup are also reminiscent of the 40s (the lack of bangs and side part) and 50s (the short curls). I pinned up my hair at the back and curled the shorter layers to emulate Audrey’s do, but her hairstyle is giving me some much-needed inspiration.

I can’t wait to see what David Lynch has in store for us – narratively and sartorially – in the new series!

Photos: This week