Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in lace (60)

Monday
Dec262016

Post-Christmas Stock-take

No, I’m not referring to Boxing Day sales with that headline, but rather the third spirit to visit poor old Ebenezer Scrooge, which is the most terrifying, for it resembles the Grim Reaper. This is the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come, and he serves Scrooge a warning of what is in store for him if he continues in his wicked ways.

This ghost wears a cloak of black that conceals his entire form, except for one pointing hand; he has no need to speak, and fills Scrooge with horror. “It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand.”

Quite miraculously, I again delved into my archives and found a picture of me wearing a 1930s black lace gown (awaiting repair for years, alas) and a velvet black and cream satin hooded cape of the same era. I am proffering kid gloves with my hand, rather than pointing, which is rather funny in the context of Dickens’ character.

This phantom turns out to be kind in the end, for he does allow the chastened Scrooge the chance to wipe the slate clean. And thus we come to the moral of the tale, ripe enough for the end of the year when we all naturally evaluate the year that has passed, and look forward to a new one.

At least one resolution is clear for me: I must mend my ways and mend that dress at last, for I took that photo four years ago!

Photo: April 2012

Wednesday
Oct192016

Hold Onto Your Hats

It’s coming up to Spring Racing Season! For hat-lovers such as myself, this season can be a real joy, seeing women everywhere accessorising their heads, a sadly unusual practice these days.

The only real pity is that so many of them are common and cheap fascinators, excuses for real hats: bits of sinnamay with a fake gerbera or hibiscus attached willy-nilly, quills bobbing about like so many antenna, netting, and possibly sequins or glitter thrown in for good measure. Don’t overdo it like that! A little goes a long way.

Definition of a Fascinator

You may be wondering, what is the difference between a hat and a fascinator?

A fascinator hat is a small ornamental headpiece that fits on the head using an Alice-band-type base or headband or even a small comb. It is always lightweight and usually features feathers, beads or flowers. [V is for Vintage]

These pink straw headpieces are from 2013, and it was those dashing Schiaparelli pink stripes that caught my eye when I passed them in a department store. But are these fascinators? While they are attached to the head with Alice bands, in my mind their sculptural quality helps steer them away from bogan territory.

Potentially only the 1862 headdress on the left fits the description of a Victorian fascinator.This certainly fits the description of a Victorian fascinator: a lace shawl attached to the head

True Origin of the Fascinator

The original fascinator refers to an item worn in the last decades of the 19th century: ‘a lace or crocheted head shawl secured to the crown or hairline that drapes down over the back of the head as far – or even farther – than the shoulders. These fascinators added a bit of seductive mystery to decorous Victorian fashion.

'By the 1930s, the term applied to a lacy hood – rather like a fussy balaclava – and soon after the term disappeared from use.’ [Encyclopædia Britannica]

Isn’t that fascinating? I must say though, a shawl attached to my head is even more unappealing to me than today’s ubiquitous sinnamay creations. I think I’ll just stick to my vintage hats!

A black lace 1930s fascinatorCrocheted fascinator from 1944 (you too can knit one if you click the image link).

Wednesday
Jul062016

Almost Boho

While I have never identified with boho style, I do have quite eclectic taste, which includes embraces of boho’s defining characteristics: patterns, embroidery, ethnic costume, colourful beads, etc.

I have been attracted to embroidery for a long time, partly because of my Slavic background, and had always wanted to own a traditional embroidered blouse. (I only wish my grandmother had taught me to embroider before she died, but that occurred long before I was even interested in needlework.)

I came across this blouse in a vintage store, though it was a more modern piece, probably originally from an inexpensive high street store. Made from cotton, with a crochet trim, and colourful floral embroidery, it was cut in a smock style, and had three-quarter sleeves. Of course I wanted to wear it immediately (despite the chilly winter) so I slipped it over a black wool turtleneck. The combination has a hippy, almost boho flavour.

But I only wore the blouse once or twice more after this occasion in June, 2010 – because I never felt quite right in it. It was just too boho for me! The blouse eventually was donated to charity; the beloved grey cords died; and I don’t recall what became of the black turtleneck. The coat is the only survivor of subsequent wardrobe culls.

Amusingly, I currently have an even nicer embroidered peasant blouse, this one a warm yellow-cream, and I have not worn it once! It’s too pretty to toss though.

In My Dreams shrugBut for a truly beautiful, designer embroidered garment I know where I would go: Nevenka, a label designed by Croatian-Australian, Rosemary Masic. She is inspired by the same traditional embroidery, but her stunning designs are modern and exquisitely cut from lovely fabric – the lace alone is jaw-dropping, and distinctly Eastern-European rather than the French or Belgian style lace such as Chantilly or Valenciennes (typical bridal fabrics) that we might be more familiar with. Being half-Croatian myself, these fabrics really resonate with me.

Luxe though these garments are, they are certainly bohemian in style.

Fierce Warrior skirtLive in the Moment dressWater Runs Deep dress

Tuesday
Jan052016

Spare Parts, or Lace Camouflage?

I am rather like a magpie when it comes to jewellery. I have collected a lot of pieces in my travels – literally, overseas; vintage and second hand pieces in boutiques and charity stores; and modern pieces by contemporary jewellers and labels, both in brick-and-mortar stores and online.

It is unusual and curious pieces that catch my eye. This white enamelled cast metal bead necklace was one such piece. It attracted me because it made me think of lace, or filigree; it was sculptural; and it was white, a favourite hue of mine to wear. I had also thought that perhaps I could pull it apart and use the components to repurpose into new jewellery.

The only time I donned it was for a photoshoot to accompany a story on the colour Wedgwood blue (although I didn’t use it in the final shot). When it came to actually wearing it out however, I didn’t. It just never felt right. There was something about it that seemed somehow dowdy – I could imagine old ladies wearing it with their Laura Ashley floral dresses. I liked the necklace as an object, merely, it seemed. I also like it as a picture, especially camouflaged against the lace fabric – maybe that is the answer, to wear it with a lace dress?

Hmmm, this calls for further experimentation. The fate of this necklace hangs in the balance!

Photos: September, 2013


Friday
Apr112014

The Masquerader

Last December I was just killing time in jewellery store Lovisa when I found this lace metal mask. I fell instantly in love. I have a particular (and probably peculiar) fondness for masks, and have amassed quite a collection during my career.

Of course I haven’t worn this out. Yet. I am waiting for an invitation to a masked ball that will arrive shortly. (I hope my friends that are reading this are taking notes.) In fact, many years ago one of my old friends did host a masked ball (alright, it was just a regular party), and I actually used a strip of black chantilly lace tied around my head as a mask.

As far as useless items go though, this one is up there. It doesn’t actually hide anything. At a masked ball one is supposed to be all incognito so one can safely get up to high jinks undiscovered. One just must make sure to make one’s escape when the clock strikes midnight – before the unmasking.

Also, did I mention it’s been languishing on my tall boy for more than three months, as yet unworn?

But it is pretty though, right? A gorgeous, useless, irresistible little trifle. I thought so.