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Entries in art deco (7)


What I Actually Wore #118

Serial #: 0118
Date: 26/05/2013
Weather: 21°C / 69.8°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

It is a mild day, and I quickly choose an outfit for work, starting with one of my go-to skirts for this kind of weather. It is a navy linen skirt that I had bought from an online sale website a couple of summers ago. It features an asymmetrical cut, a style I have always favoured.

I pair it with a purple and red striped Sonia Rykiel knit which, with its skinny tie at the neck, has a 20s flavour. I have always been partial to purple and red worn together; it can be a startling and vibrant combination but really works. I match the top to a red wool felt hat, a modern hybrid of cloche and fedora.

As the morning is not warm, I wear ribbed over-the-knee socks with my patent and wood wedges, and add a 1960s black velvet coat with a fur collar. I spotted that coat in a country Salvos store when I was on a visit with my niece. I certainly didn’t need yet another coat, but I fell in instant love and bought it. I’ve worn it many times, and it is surprisingly warm for a cloth coat. Also from this era is the black patent bag I carry often. For a vinyl bag, it has lasted well. I wouldn’t ordinarily buy vinyl, but it is permissible for a fun vintage item!

One of my work colleagues compliments me, and tells me I look fabulous, very 1920s, which had not really been my intention (the 20s part, not the fabulous part!). I guess a reminiscence of certain eras is inevitable when one is attracted to the style and shapes of particular eras. I love Art Deco, which covers the 1920s–40s, as well as the 70s revival.

Very regrettably, this knit got eaten alive by evil and hungry moths (which happens to me a lot), so I ended up donating it to charity a year or two ago – I had darned the first couple of holes but then even more appeared and in a ruthless moment, I decided it was a lost cause. It must have been a particularly tasty merino wool. The skirt has also retired from active service, but with my new interest in navy, it’s very possible it will make a comeback in the summer.

I don’t normally talk about the watches I wear, but this favourite Kenneth Cole with its chain band was recently repaired, so I am most excited to be able to wear it again! The chain had lost a couple of links and had stretched out, thus becoming unwearable, until I finally got around to taking it to the jeweller to have it repaired (along with two others). I now have four to choose from, which is a bit mad. I’d love to add to the collection a vintage 30s or 40s man’s watch, one with a large round dial and a tan leather band.

Photos: September 2013


Top: Sonia Rykiel
vintage 1960s
Milana (available at David Jones)
silver – Roun (now defunct); onyx – souvenir
Kenneth Cole
Bag: vintage 1960s


Blown Away

Celebrating the Roaring Twenties in a Special Series

A few years ago I came across an evocative image by Georges Lepape (1887-1971), a French illustrator working for magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair and Vogue during the Belle Époque era at the turn of the twentieth century.

He is best remembered for his fashion illustrations of the Art Deco period, and more than a few depict wild atmospheric conditions, of which The Hurricane is one. It is not frightening as the name might imply, but rather suggests the winds of change that blow one in a new direction. One might say that the changes in women’s garments in the early twentieth century did blow in like a hurricane in fact – corsets and hobble skirts gave way to the easy movement of flapper fashions. 

While I have never experienced a fierce storm, I do enjoy being out on a windy day – I find it invigorating, and the sound of the wind in the trees exciting. Somehow the sound of the wind always suggests adventure to me, a bit like Vianne, the heroine of Joanne Harris’ book Chocolat, who is beckoned onto the road when the wind blows in a new direction.

Here then nearly a century later is my homage to Lepape’s 1915 picture L’Ouragan. Although his image was made in 1915, I have styled mine à la the 1920s – I deliberately waited until I cut my hair to create this picture. I am wearing a vintage 1970s dress (home-made from what I suspect is curtain material in the style of a flapper dress), a 1950s raspberry striped cloche, and a pair of Noughties ballerina heels.

The backdrop is an image of a storm coming in over Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay, viewed from Rosebud beach that I photographed last year.

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