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Entries in floral (16)


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



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


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!


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


The Ultimate Flower

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. This quote, by Shakespeare of course, is probably the most famous quote about roses ever written. Roses are always beautiful, although the motif may not always be in fashion. Why are they universally adored? What is their history? This I wondered as I assembled a number of rose-shaped hair accessories I have collected over the years.

Aphrodite and Adonis, by Edmund Dulac (1882-1953)The etymology of the word has its roots (pardon the pun) in antiquity, and comes ultimately from Old Persian where it simply meant ‘flower’.

An ancient symbol of immortal love and beauty, the rose is associated with the goddess Aphrodite. She was often depicted with a garland of roses adorning her head or feet, for a rose bush grew from the blood of her slain lover, Adonis. She gave a rose to her son Eros, who in turn gave it to the god of silence.

…vampires cannot cross the path of the wild rose … I can’t believe Joss Whedon didn’t write this into Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

For the ancient Romans it was a symbol of secrecy: a wild rose would be placed on the door of a room where confidential matters would be discussed. Hence the term sub rosa, or ‘under the rose’, meaning to keep a secret.

In pagan mythologies, the undead and other ghostly creatures (particularly vampires) cannot cross the path of the wild rose. Placing wild roses on the coffin of the recently deceased would prevent them from rising again. I can’t believe Joss Whedon didn’t write this into Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

So when I tie back my hair with one of these rose ornaments, I will be simultaneously proclaiming immortal love, declaring my utmost discretion and keeping vampires at bay! A winner all round. And here I just thought it was pretty.

And here is ‘rosa aphrodite’ itself. It does have a beautiful shape.