Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in bridal (11)

Wednesday
Feb212018

Evening Ladies (and Gentlemen)

Hello! Greetings after a verrry loong hiatus – I have had an extra contract job for a while now, so life has been busy and SNAP has suffered. But I’m back just in time for the changing seasons. And to ease myself into it, I bring you a snap out of the album, taken at my cousin’s wedding about 15 years ago.

The women I’m with are all cousins, and the two blondes were bridesmaids; I can’t get over how young we all look! I am wearing a vintage 70s cream satin blouse, and I think a modern silver satin skirt.

The red rose choker is made of leather, and I bought it from Fat, a Melbourne boutique that was very cool at that time. My then-boyfriend loathed it: he thought it made me look like a Russian Lady of the Night, to put it politely. That annoyed me very much and I wore it in spite of his ungentlemanly opinions – and I’ve punished him by obliterating him behind the fold!

We have another family wedding coming up (the blonde on the left in fact) so I am looking forward to another family reunion. Maybe I’ll bring that choker out again!

Saturday
Oct292016

Derby Day Bridle

Today is the Victorian Derby Day of Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival, and I did not attend the races. However, since I will take any reason to celebrate the donning of hats, I am getting into the spirit with this 1940s headpiece.

On Derby Day it is traditional for ladies to wear black and white only; this headpiece is made from white seed beads and pale silver bugle beads (I assume metallics are acceptable). It would actually have been worn originally as a bridal tiara. The beads are sewn to a cotton or linen backing that is remarkably sturdy, and the headpiece fits firmly on the head.

It’s really very pretty, and on-point, as tiara-style headpieces are currently all the rage. I caught the train into the city this morning and saw quite a few racegoers – every woman I saw was wearing a tiara in some form; I saw not one hat. Even more remarkably, I did not fantasise about crushing any of them underfoot – they were all tasteful! It shall be interesting to see what else comes out of Melbourne’s collective closets over the next few days.

P.S. Some horse fancifully called Prized Icon won the actual race; the jockey was wearing strawberry pink-and-brown silks.

Photo: Today

Thursday
Dec252014

O Star of Wonder

I can’t believe it’s that time of year again. It seems so short a time since last Christmas! I have taken a starry theme this year and am wearing a silver dress by Bebe, a vintage 1940s pearl and silver bead tiara – most likely originally a bridal headpiece – and silver patent sandals by Zoe Wittner that you can’t see.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star of royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Following yonder star …
(from the Christmas carol We Three Kings)

It’s that time too, just a few days short of year’s end that we start reflecting on the past twelve months, and looking forward to a brand spanking new year. Whatever you’ve had, wherever you’ve been, I say keep following that star!

However you celebrate Christmas, whether as a Christian holiday or as a time to spend with family and friends, I hope you have a wonderful day.

Starry Christmas to you!

Tuesday
Apr222014

The Purple Dresses

Yesterday I revealed that my mum’s favourite colour is purple. Today I bring you proof. But there is much gold in these pictures too. Observe:

There is a heavy influence of Victoriana in the wedding photo above. It is my sister Serena’s wedding, and I am about eight or nine years old. I am wearing the reviled purple dress. I hated everything about it: the high neck, the long sleeves, the elasticised waist, the colour, the fabric. To this day I remember the itchiness of it, and I suspect it was made from acrylic crepe. I felt Dowdy. Even my tragic expression seems to presage at least a decade of unremitting, unrepentant purple-hating. However, the tall black leather boots are cool. (I looked way cuter in this wedding outfit [second photo].)

… my tragic expression seems to presage at least a decade of unremitting, unrepentant purple-hating

My sister Blossom, on far left is wearing oxblood velvet with a white lace jabot! And bridesmaid Star next to her is in a shade of light mauve. Her dress also features Victoriana style with that lace yoke and bishop sleeves. Mum is letting the side down and wearing neutral grey. Then there is the bride, Serena in a high-necked gown covered with lace, and … I am not sure what length to call those lace sleeves. They are between short and three-quarter. But – heaven! A bridal gown that is not a strapless princess line! Praise be. (Oh and that’s dad on the end, which you probably guessed.) But you can see mum’s influence at work here, right?

Here is my sister Serena as a young teen in the early 1970s, wearing a purple mini with bishop chiffon sleeves – a classic style from that era. Far more awesome than the purple dress mum inflicted on me.

And the pièce de la résistance: my mum in a glorious royal purple velvet gown, featuring pussy bow and matching bolero with flared lapels. I am sad to report that this garment has long since been removed from the confines of her closet, or I would undoubtedly have modelled it already on these pages. (Although perhaps I would have been tempted to turn that dress into a maxi skirt.)

I truly was born to the purple. 

Note: I have colour corrected these photographs – the originals have faded a lot, but I thought I should be fair and let you see these dresses as they were in their heydey.

Monday
Apr072014

The Hat Collector

I own a lot of hats. I own so many I have to use an app to keep track of where they all are, and even then I often don’t have time in the mornings to retrieve one to wear. Those mornings I am sad as I walk to work with a naked head. What a pity hats for everyday wear are largely out of fashion still – they are such fun accessories to play with, whether they are frivolous or practical.

The half-hat, or bandeau, is one of my favourite shapes to wear. Similar to a headband, it is easy to wear with many hairstyles. Here is a small collection of largely frivolous hats – all but two are from the 1950s. The black satin trimmed with a rust ostrich feather, which is an evening headband, and the pink feather bandeau are both vintage 1940s pieces.

I do most of my hat shopping online, as unique (and affordable) vintage hats are more and more difficult to come by in Melbourne. These were all bought online from various sellers on eBay and Etsy.

You

Beaded with black and white seed beads, and trimmed with two red velvet bows, the first (above) is made from artificial straw, or cello.

Can

This little bandeau is made from two crescents that cross at the ends, hugging the head. The white feathers are delicately curled.

Leave

I am infallibly attracted to pleating. This French blue headband is made from two pieces of grosgrain ribbon, that have been pleated and then interwoven, and is additionally trimmed with a little bow on the top.

Your

The Forties are possibly my favourite period for hats. As they were not rationed during the war, hat designs proliferated and milliners were only limited by their imagination. I particularly love the wool-felt hats of this era, and own quite a few. This glamorous bandeau is made for eveningwear, from gathered black satin and draped with an ostrich feather. The brick red is such a sophisticated colour.

Hat

A sweet little Renaissance-inspired bandeau of stiffened and wired lace, this formal Fifties headpiece sits upright on the head. Originally a bridal cap, it would have been worn with a veil attached.

On

I am not an expert on plumage, but I believe this 1940s headband is made from pheasant feathers, dyed in two shades of pink – magenta and ballerina pink. This type of bandeau was extremely popular in the 40s and 50s, and is still relatively easy to find today. The bandeau curls into a little ball when it is not on the head, and came with its original box.