Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in gloves (47)

Tuesday
Feb192013

One Glove For All

I’m starting a new trend. That’s right, you read it here first. I decree: One crocheted lace glove shall be worn at the breakfast table. That is all.

On Sunday my esteemed relatives and I were celebrating my birthday (and my sister Blossom’s too, but who cares about that because I’m Princess Tatiana), and early on in the proceedings, my mum came out gingerly holding one crocheted lace glove. It didn’t look like much, all shrivelled up, without a hand inside it. “Is this yours?” she asked.

My lip curled. “It is not.” A hazy yet precious memory of lilac-coloured cheesecloth drifted through my mind. “I believe it to be Star’s.” Nevertheless I tried it on. My sister Serena and I giggled, and she informed me that I looked like Michael Jackson.

I decree: One crocheted lace glove shall be worn at the breakfast table.

“I’ll leave it on and see how long it takes for anyone to notice,” I grinned wickedly.

Before long Blossom and her husband made their appearance. She sat upon the settee next to me and immediately inquired as to why I had on only one glove. I cannot be certain, but the One-Gloved-One’s name may have been mentioned at this time. Serena and I tittered musically.

Then Star, her husband, and her daughter arrived, and I was sure that numerous and ribald references to the Moonwalker would be made on the instant. But nothing was forthcoming. Quite half an hour later, Star finally ventured to say tentatively, “Why are you wearing one glove?”

“At last!” I exclaimed. My hand was getting hot. I peeled the glove off with relief. “I can’t believe it took you so long to notice!”

Star and her daughter replied that they had noticed immediately, but they had declined to remark, for fear of hurting my feelings. There were numerous mentions of Mr Jackson. Then Star told us that she had worn the gloves to a wedding, accessorising a purple cheesecloth dress. “It belongs to me,” she reached for the article.

“Nothing doing,” I denied, snatching up the glove and stuffing it into my purse. “It has lain unclaimed for more than twenty years. This is a Story, and photographic evidence is required.”

I’m serious about the new Fashion Decree though. No, really. 

Sunday
Dec162012

Anna Karenina

Ever since the first time I read Anna Karenina many years ago, I decided it was my favourite book. Tolstoy’s beautiful, lyrical passages immediately drew me into another world of Russian aristocrats who spoke French – vastly different from the twentieth century middle-class Australia I grew up in (even if I share a Slavic heritage). I couldn’t turn the pages quick enough to find out what would happen to Anna and Vronsky, Kitty and Levin.

Before I knew there was a new film of the novel being made, I had decided one day I would pay a visual homage to Anna. The film has not yet opened in Australia, and I have not paid too much notice to the costuming, although that is one aspect of the film I am very much looking forward to.

I don’t own any nineteenth century clothes, but I do own a vintage Russian-style fur hat, so I’ve taken some poetic licence and cobbled together something to evoke a winter ensemble Anna might have worn.

The black velvet coat is a sumptuous 1950s swing coat, a shape that of course was not in fashion at the time; I’ve cinched it in at the waist with a wide belt. The fur collar is another vintage item picked up somewhere over the years, and the white velvet gloves are trimmed in rabbit fur on the cuffs. Those I purchased in a Melbourne boutique. I think I’d probably need some thermals under there too …

My Anna Karenina is standing before a church in a village called Kukoba, in the Yaroslavl Region, found here.

Saturday
Oct202012

Queen of the Night

CELEBRATING THE ROARING TWENTIES IN A SPECIAL SERIES

You’ve heard of those flowers that bloom only at night? Here’s another varietal that comes out in the evening: a 1920s poppy fascinator to adorn the head of the femme fatale. Be careful she might have thorns to prick you …

Night flowers have such evocative names: Queen of the Night, moon flower, columbine, evening primrose and night flowering jasmine. Usually they are white or silver to catch the moonlight and attract night pollinators, drawing them with their exceedingly fragrant scent.

The most special is the Queen of the Night – there is no other flower so fragrant or rare as this one. It is in fact a variety of cacti flower that blooms once in a year if you are lucky – or only once in several years. Its Latin name is Cereus cactus, but for its rare and majestic presence it is commonly known as the ‘Queen of the Night’. It literally bleeds aroma from its beautiful white petals. Expect it to bloom on one special summer night.

The Queen of the Night herself

Friday
Sep212012

What I Actually Wore #0064

Serial #: 0064
Date: 24/03/2012
Weather: forecast 19°
Time Allowed: 20 minutes

Oh, I had such fun putting this outfit together! I bought the dress on sale at Myer department store months earlier. I knew I had the family wedding in March, but thought the dress probably was not suitable with the weather likely being cool, particularly by the ocean in Sorrento.

I was in the mood to shop though, and even more in the mood to buy, especially such a 50s confection as this splashy print taffeta dress (is that a touch of puce I see there?), with its puffy skirt and big exuberant bow at the back of the neck. You can’t quite see it in the pictures, but it has an exposed giant zip with copper teeth – I really like that modern detail.

With such a 50s silhouette, I knew I had to wear my hair in a beehive, although on the day we were in such a rush to get changed after lunch. My sisters and I had hired a house for the weekend, and had enjoyed an indulgent lunch in the seaside town before the afternoon wedding.

I whipped my hair into a frenzy, threw the dress over my head, and very c a r e f u l l y pulled on a pair of 12 denier stockings (it being a cool day after all). I had made sure to file my nails to prevent any snags, and I almost could have worn kid gloves to put them on, since a pair of vintage kid gloves was actually part of my outfit! I’d already had to compromise on the shoes, what with the weather – I had meant to wear my classic black slingbacks – but the pony hair heels worked nicely and were quite comfortable for dancing later that night.

Sorrento Views :: Watts // Big Up // No flashIt transpired to be a very lovely afternoon. I didn’t need my red cashmere coat at all. The bride arrived by yacht, and the sun came out right on cue. The only casualties of the day were my stockings (snagged on a stray splinter on my chair – boo), and my beehive, which slowly sank throughout the evening. I kept asking people, “Is my hair big?” and was disappointed when they answered reassuringly, “Oh no, not at all, it looks fine.”

There are times when Really Big Hair is exactly what one wants.

Items:

Dress: Cue
Gloves:
vintage
Bag: Aldo
Jewellery: souvenirs
Shoes: Zoe Wittner
Stockings: Levante

Thursday
Aug092012

The Importance of Wearing One’s Chin High

Last December, I saw MTC’s production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. It has always been one of my favourite plays, ever since I saw the 1952 version of the film as a child. This time I was much struck by one of Lady Bracknell’s lines – I found it exquisitely humorous.

She instructs Cecily Cardew to raise her chin, for chins are being worn high nowadays, and her daughter Gwendolyn Fairfax obligingly demonstrates the correct angle.

Here, in the inimitable Oscar Wilde’s words:

Lady Bracknell: [Glares at Jack for a few moments. Then bends, with a practised smile, to Cecily.] Kindly turn round, sweet child. [Cecily turns completely round.] No, the side view is what I want. [Cecily presents her profile.] Yes, quite as I expected. There are distinct social possibilities in your profile. The two weak points in our age are its want of principle and its want of profile. The chin a little higher, dear. Style largely depends on the way the chin is worn. They are worn very high, just at present.

Further research discovered another amusing influence on the height of chins. Earnest was written in August 1894, but just 25 or so years later, chins were once more being worn high – brought back into fashion along with the cloche hat:

[The cloche], fashionable from 1908 to 1933, was one of the most extreme forms of millinery ever, with an appearance that resembled a helmet. It was the iconic hat of the twenties decade and will ever be associated with the flappers of the era. It was responsible for the period stance we associate with the era. To wear one correctly the hat had to be all but pulled over the eyes, making the wearer have to lift up the head, whilst peering snootily down the nose. (From Fashion Era.)

How wonderful! I have a couple of cloches among my repertoire and hereby resolve to practice the stance.

Some examples of cloche hats – and appropriate chin inclination

Making the Picture

I had a lot of fun dressing up for this picture. To evoke the look of the era, I pulled out my oldest hat, from 1910, navy wool felt trimmed with a baby blue ostrich feather; a vintage bandeau/collar/sleep mask (the Etsy seller from whom I bought it was undecided as to its original purpose); a newish royal purple blouse by Cue that would set off the collar to admiration; a pair of 70s lace gloves with frilled cuffs; and finally a pair of amazonite oblong earrings. A low camera angle helps to achieve the correct degree of snootiness.

The background image is an amazing Art Nouveau door I photographed in Barcelona, situated on the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes. It’s carved from beautiful golden wood and inset with stained glass. 

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