Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in floral (12)

Monday
Sep102018

The Tale of the Jaw-Dropping Hat

A while back I was browsing in a vintage bazaar in Melbourne, whiling away some time pleasantly on a Sunday afternoon, when I spotted an amazing vintage hat locked away in a cabinet. Fortunately a member of the floor staff was zealously guarding that room against my possible depredations, so I was able to ask for some assistance.

“Is it possible to try on a hat from the cabinet?” I asked. It was, but the hats in that cabinet were very expensive, I was pompously informed. I haughtily raised my chin and sent the woman scurrying for a key. A man stayed behind on guard. 

It took some doing for the hat to be extracted from the cabinet. If it, and the room, were any more stuffed, they would explode spontaneously. Tenderly it was handed to me and I examined it at my leisure. It was a 1950s hat encrusted with pansies and had a little branch of them climbing into the air. It was extraordinary, and I had never seen anything like it. The price was also extraordinary: $450!! You must be joking. I am a very experienced hat shopper, and while it was very unusual, it was not worth that price, I instantly decided.

It was extraordinary, and I had never seen anything like it. The price was also extraordinary: $450!!

Nevertheless, I tried it on and asked the hovering attendant if she could please take my photo. She immediately acceded, agreeing that I had to ask my friends’ opinions before I bought it. (I laughed inwardly. All my friends, I was sure, would slap my face to bring me to my senses if I so much as considered purchasing this overpriced hat. I mean, a Schiaparelli maybe, but some random New York label? No.)

I returned the hat unregretfully, and determined that I would find AN EVEN BETTER HAT at a REASONABLE PRICE and then I would swan into the bazaar wearing it and watch those attendants’ jaws hit the floor.

And, dear Snapettes, I HAVE FOUND THE HAT, only remains for me to do my swanning.

I purchased this jaw-dropping yellow straw 1940s number from The Golden Age of Vintage, a Los Angeles-based seller that I found on Instagram. (Actually she found me, because she was interested in purchasing one of my own hats, which sadly for her was not for sale.) I ended up buying not one, but three hats from her, and a pair of golden Lilly Daché 40s gloves that I stupidly did not wear in this photo as they match perfectly. The sum total for all this, including postage, was far, far less than the price of the original hat. WINNING.

This hat outscores the previous hat on every count: it’s 1940s, which is my favourite era for hats …

But I digress. This hat outscores the previous hat on every count: it’s 1940s, which is my favourite era for hats; it’s yellow; it also has pansies that climb off on a tangent – on a strap that clasps the chin, which I have never before seen; it has a veil made of dark green patterned netting. It does not have a label, but it does not need one, DOES IT?

I REST MY CASE.

I am going to go lie down now, and you can have another look at the hat, from the front angle this time.

Photos: Today

Sunday
May132018

Carnations for Mums

I am sure I remember back in the day florists were pushing the slogan ‘mums for mums’ – chrysanthemums that is – as a proper floral offering for Mother’s Day. But I learned this week that in fact it was once carnations that were synonymous for mother love in Australia and New Zealand.

This tradition of gifting carnations was in fact borrowed from the US, from one Anna Jarvis who in 1908 revived the movement to establish an official Mother’s Day – and white carnations were her mother’s favourite flower.

More than a hundred years later, we traditionally show our appreciation for our mothers and make them feel special, celebrating with gifts or outings – but most importantly time, if we are able. However, the origins of Mother’s Day lie in quite a different cause: an anti-war movement during the American Civil War in the 1870s. Originally it was a call to mothers to promote peace and protest the killing of sons by other sons, and was started by activist Julia Howe.

Decades later, Jarvis wished to honour her own mother who had been active during the war, and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson formally established the day. Today Mother’s Day is celebrated in over 100 nations.

Maybe carnations simply went out of fashion, as did chrysanthemums. I’ll be giving my mum Christmas lilies, one of her favourite flowers, but here I am in a photo out of the archives wearing a vintage 1950s velvet half-hat decked with silk carnations. The flowers look extraordinarily realistic.

However you show your love for your mum, I hope you have a beautiful day!

Photos: September 2012

Tuesday
May012018

Floralia

How time flies! It is the first of May already, celebrated in the northern hemisphere as the spring festival of May Day. The holiday has its origins in Floralia, the festival of the Roman goddess of flowers, Flora. Of course here in Melbourne it is autumn, and we are finally entering proper autumnal weather when woolly layers must be considered, not the floral petal-like garments of spring.

So my floral wreath today is a modern tiara from Sportsgirl made of copper, and enormous floral earrings like pendulums, made from multicoloured sequins and crystals. I love costume jewellery when it does not take itself seriously and is not masquerading as the real thing – these earrings by Lovisa are very fun in a plastic-fantastic 1960s way. And yet, combined with the white ruffled blouse, this look somehow evokes the days of ancient Rome too.

Happy May!

Photo: March 2018

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!

Tuesday
Feb282017

The Land of Summer-And-Autumn

There is a magical land where summer and autumn are mixed together for a while – like twilight – before autumn takes over completely. Melbourne produces this season beautifully. The calendar may say summer has ended, but my hometown does not know it.

These are the days when it’s still hot, hot, hot, but you know the weather could turn in a trice … that’s when a parasol-umbrella comes very handy. In the morning it could screen you from the burning sun, and in the afternoon it could provide shelter from the rain.

These are the days that are still gloriously golden at the same time the leaves are turning gold and orange and red. Slowly the heat will fade and we’ll feel a nip in the air, and that’s when fashion starts to get more fun as we begin to layer up, add an accessory or two. But for this week’s heatwave at least we’ll enjoy autumn in the skimpiest layers possible.

Fashion Notes

This photo is so old (my hair!) the silk blouse, tiered skirt – made from vintage kimonos and bought in Sintra, Portugal – and blue sandals have long since been retired from my closet. Now I rather wish I had kept the skirt, for it was rather fun. The daisy fabric layer was rather shattered though, and I had spent quite a long time mending a huge tear; but that wasn’t why I got rid of it: I had ruthlessly culled anything that was too girly or frilly! There are some things, though, that one should never throw away, and I think this was one of them.

Photo: March 2014