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Entries in feathers (47)


What I Actually Wore #128

Serial #: 0128
Date: 24/06/2013
Weather: 12°C / 53°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

This outfit amuses me, nearly four years on. I was still on my Ballet Russes kick, but I remember the sheer number of colours in this outfit was a rebellion against my own edict of not wearing more than 2–3 hues at once, as well as being inspired by a life drawing I did twenty years before in art college.

I remember somewhat quixotically selecting two fluorescent soft pastels that were amongst a 12-pack I had bought cheap. (Reduced probably because no one else had wanted to buy it.) I chose hot pink and lemon yellow. As a testament of my drawing teacher’s trust, she did not comment until I was close to resolving the drawing, after the additional introduction of cobalt and neutral shades. Then she told me that she had been very dubious at the outset, but admitted I had successfully pulled the drawing together. It was even framed and exhibited at the end of the year.

And here is the same colour palette rendered in cloth! All the garments are contemporary; only the hat and earrings are vintage, a 1920s cap with feather pom-pom, and woven cane hoops which are possibly 70s or 80s.

The hot pink long sleeved tee is a woollen merino knit, one of Kookaï’s trusty basics; the acid yellow top is by Veronika Maine, a favourite Australian label; and the linen skirt I bought in Spain. My other accessories include a cobalt Italian patent leather belt I bought on sale in David Jones, a local department store, French over-the-knee socks I wore to death, and a pair of wedges I bought from an online sale store.

Unusually for me, I put the outfit together the night before, and even ironed it then! I really liked it then (my notes say), and it still makes me smile, especially because of the inspiration behind it.


Tee: Kookaï
Veronika Maine
Celia Velo, souvenir from Spain
Alta Linea
Philippe Matignon
Merimac Hat Co, vintage 20s from Etsy
souvenir from Vietnam

Photos: September 2013


Fine Feathers

I am suspicious of unnecessary embellishments. I regard bows with a jaundiced eye most of the time, and only occasionally accept them. However, I love pompoms in all their guises, and also tassels. Sometimes embellishments acquire a new lustre when they pass from tastefulness, safely skate over twee, and enter a new over-the-top realm of sheer and utter ridiculousness where they become, simply, AWESOME.

Such is this Yves Saint Laurent dress (A/W 2008–09). It is covered, smothered, in a gazillion feathered spangled tassels that jiggle with every wiggle; you couldn’t quibble: it’s irresistible; collectable!

This is a fun, new twist on a black and white dress to ruffle a few feathers. It’s extraordinarily frivolous and full of joie de vivre. The feathers are like a more tactile rendition of polka dots. In fact, I’m just dotty for it!

Page from British Vogue, December 2008


Brilliant Plumage

Supposedly Melbourne Cup Day fashions are all about bright, bold colours, so I took that as license to go to the nth degree. Therefore I am peacocking about in fine feathers and brilliant plumage: namely, a turquoise feathered bandeau and an emerald jacket that are both from the 1950s, and a modern flamingo pink silk blouse with cascading ruffles.

The hat I spotted, fell in love and bought it all in an instant from Etsy a few years ago, while the raw silk jacket and blouse are both more recent thrift store purchases. The hat really is a flamboyant piece, and although I did not go to the races, it is the perfect eye-catching accessory for such an event.

Photo: This week


A Feather in Her Cap

Jane Lambert sinamay headpiece with clipped turkey feather trimRecently I wrote a story about the true origins of the fascinator, which has in the last decade or so been a popular substitute for a ‘proper’ hat at Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival.

I have generally been quite vocal about how much I hate fascinators, but to be fair, it is the cheap, common variety that I dislike so intensely – the ones that all look the same, and do not display the wit and imagination of a dedicated and passionate milliner.

Nerida Winter horsehair and silk organza bow headpieceI thought I’d show you some I’ve had hiding up my sleeve for quite a few years: I scanned these tearsheets in 2009 and never posted them. Most of these are fascinators – two are what I would define as actual hats – and I find them quite tolerable! Some I like more than others, these first two for example that do show wit: feathers shaped into arrows (it reminds me of William Tell), and horsehair fanned out like a real – albeit crazy – hairstyle. All of them however feature feathers in some form.

The photographer was Troy House, and the pages come from Australian Harper’s Bazaar, circa 2009.

H’ATELIER parisisal pillbox with faux pearl trimNeil Grigg opal-finished cock feather tiny topper crown hatNeil Grigg sinamay cocktail hat with pleated crinveil and sinamay, satin and quill trimNerida Winter parisisal hat with net and quill trim


A Paean to Pink

By now it must be fairly patent that I have a sneaking fondness for pink … It didn’t used to always be so. I reviled it for a long period during the wishy-washy pastel 80s before I had my pink epiphany in my mid-twenties when I whimsically tried on a candy-pink blouse in a store and discovered how it suited my complexion. So much so that even the shop assistant exclaimed in mutual astonishment with me! That was quite funny.

I’ve since discovered that any super-bright colour suits me. Back then, I used to reach for muted tertiary colours, but now my fingers invariably snatch at any vivid hue. So somehow I have managed to amass a collection of vintage pink hats, and this little quartet is by no means all of them – these are just the ones with veils! (These photos were actually taken exactly four years ago, on August 24, 2012; I’m not quite sure why they have languished in the archives so long – although I do observe now that the veils have an unbecoming flattening effect on my bangs.)

There is a whipped-up confection of pink satin, a 60s hat that I purchased on eBay, from the UK. All the others came from America, and were bought on Etsy. The velvet bandeau with its feather bird is from the 50s, and the whimsical flock of flamingos is also 50s or possibly 60s. I do love birds, so naturally I was attracted to these headpieces.

The marvellous chenille pom-pom veil sweeps up into a bow at the back, and I think that may actually be a relic of the 40s. It is a little more fragile than the others, and the black net feels like it is made from a different fibre. It is dotted delightfully with rows of pink, blue and white chenille pom-poms.

The marvellous chenille pom-pom veil sweeps up into a bow at the back …

The enormous pearl baubles dangling from my ears are 60s clip-ons, and I was quite chuffed to see January Jones wearing the exact same pair in an episode of Mad Men, the one when they went to Rome. The off-white silk blouse is an old favourite, bought new from Australian store Veronika Maine.

So here they are – finally unveiled!

Photos: August 2012