Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in floral (15)

Thursday
Apr252019

A Poppy for Remembrance

Today is Anzac Day, an Australian day of remembrance, commemorating Australians and New Zealanders who ‘who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations’.

The remembrance poppy is an artificial flower that has traditionally been used as a symbol to commemorate the war dead since 1921; it was inspired by the WW1 poem In Flanders Fields written in 1915 by the Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae (1872–1918). Here is the first verse:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

My poppy is an enamel ring that I found in a thrift store in the last few months. I love enamel jewellery, and poppies as a flower, and today this ring is a perfect remembrance.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

For the Fallen, 1914, Robert Laurence Binyon (1869–1943)

Photo: April 2019

Friday
Apr192019

Easter Pink

I’ve always thought candy pink hair would be a lot of fun, like wearing a halo of fairy floss, but I’m too fickle to commit to such drastic measures as bleaching and dyeing my hair. The next best thing – and even more fun than a wig – is a vintage hat. So this Good Friday, I bring you my first Easter bonnet: a 1960s hat of pink petals! And if you squint your eyes, I look like I am sporting a pink afro.

Happy Easter!

Photo: September 2018

Wednesday
Mar202019

Colours of Happiness

Today is the International Day of Happiness! And I have spent today and much of the last few days in bed, or otherwise resting, as I have been sick with a horrible chest cold – hurrah! My workplace was having a morning tea in celebration of the day, and we were told to wear yellow; while I didn’t make it to that, I still managed to wear yellow – my kimono is yellow and white gingham.

I shall share instead some pictures from Saturday, when I visited my parents for lunch and wore a new favourite vintage 70s dress – a cotton voile spaghetti-strapped straight dress, belted at the waist. Its standout feature is the gorgeous print, in colours that really do make me happy! The dress is in very good condition; I found it recently in a thrift store. I am also wearing 40s sunglasses, 50s hairclips and am carrying a vintage Chinese paper parasol.

The label is Miss Jo Melbourne, and I surmise that was inspired by Jo from Little Women, the famous book by Louisa May Alcott. I don’t know anything about the label’s history unfortunately, and have only spotted one other dress – a brown polka-dot, 30s style frock – at Le Sourceress on Etsy. With such a romantic name, I’d love to know what else the label produced.

Photos: March 2019

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