Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Friday
Dec282018

The White Walkers

It was maybe last summer that I bought a pair of as new off-white kid leather sneakers by Camper in a thrift store. Technically they were a size too big, but they were so soft and comfortable and just my kinda sneaks, that I bought them anyway. They became my favourite walking shoes. I wore them everywhere, and I wore them to death.

First they developed the sundry scuffs and scrapes of normal wear-and-tear, but then holes appeared in the outer sides where the leather was thinnest – I was aghast! I kept on wearing them anyway. Then the shoelaces snapped, and I tied them in knots and I kept on wearing them. Then the treads, in patches, wore down to non-existence.

Then, my friend bought a pair of white brogues by Australian brand Country Road – also from the thrift store – but finding them too small for her, passed them on to me. These were also in excellent condition when they were donated. Admittedly they are a little too tight for me, but once they are worn in and their stiffness softens, they will be fine (toes crossed).

… normally I would be embarrassed to be seen on the streets in such shabby shoes …

The only problem was that I was stubbornly clinging to my disgraceful Campers instead of wearing in the Country Roads. Even though normally I would be embarrassed to be seen on the streets in such shabby shoes, I was brazenly continuing to wear them.

Finally on Boxing Day when I gave the apartment a good post-Christmas-rush clean-up, I forced myself to pick up the disreputable shoes and march off to the giant garbage bins – where, wincing, I threw them in. A few, sad tears followed them like the handful of pebbles one casts over a coffin.

I wish I could say I took to the brogues with gusto, but my feet are in mourning still.

Photo: December 2012

Wednesday
Dec262018

Three Christmas Kings

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts, we traverse far
Field and fountain
Moor and mountain
Following yonder star

Oh, star of wonder, star of might
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading
Still proceeding
Guide us to thy perfect light …

Boxing Day is traditionally – I’m talking about medieval traditions that is – the day the ruling lords rewarded their serfs with boxes of presents. In places of worship, alms boxes collected donations for the poor. I wonder if this tradition could have been inspired by the three kings (or wise men) who followed a star and traversed a vast distance to present their gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby in the manger?

More recently of course, Boxing Day traditions have us all rushing to the shops to buy discounted presents for our well-deserving selves!

The carol tells the story of the three wise men in the Bible who had seen a star in the east and travelled to Bethlehem in search of the baby born King of the Jews. The song – both words and music – was penned in 1857 by the American John Henry Hopkins Jr, and the opening verses are beautifully lyrical. Sung in rounds it sounds both solemn and joyous.

I hope you all enjoyed both giving and receiving gifts yesterday … excuse me now, I’m off shopping!

~

Fashion Notes

Amazingly I actually already owned all these vintage maxi dresses, hats and wigs which were perfect to illustrate three wise (wo)men. On the left, I am wearing a 60s silk dress, with a vintage 40s black and white turban, and beaded slippers by Mollini; in the centre, is a green 70s lurex gown, with a vintage 60s velvet turban decorated with a vintage rhinestone bird brooch, and the slippers are by Sarti; on the right is a vintage 60s striped empire line dress, with a vintage 40s pink jacket, 60s silk petal hat and beaded slippers which were a souvenir from Vietnam. I am standing in front of the entrance to the King's palace, in Fes, Morocco, where I visited in 2011.

Photo: December 2018

Tuesday
Dec252018

A Christmas Angel

Hark! the herald angels sing, 
“Glory to the new-born King! 
Peace on earth, and mercy mild, 
God and sinners reconciled” 
Joyful, all ye nations, rise, 
Join the triumph of the skies; 
With th' angelic host proclaim, 
“Christ is born in Bethlehem.” 
Hark! the herald angels sing, 
“Glory to the new-born King!”

Well, I knew this song had been around for a long time, because they don’t write lyrics like they used to, but I didn’t know that it was written in 1739 by the famous Methodist preacher Charles Wesley. Interestingly, he requested slow and solemn music, and it was not until one hundred years later that the more joyful music still used today was composed by Felix Mendelssohn.

Wesley had based his lyrics on the angelic choir I talked about in yesterday’s Christmas Eve story, so today’s picture is a fitting, if more stylised extension, as I depict the angel heralding the shepherds.

I decided to go for a Renaissance style angel in gloriously colourful and billowing clothes, sumptuously golden wings (large antiqued wall ornaments, borrowed from Hurn & Hurn – which you can actually buy – fantastic!) and a deliciously gold background reminiscent of some paintings and frescoes of the era, or Byzantine icons (another art period I love).

Merry Christmas! I hope you have a wonderful and celebratory day, however you spend it.

~

Fashion Notes

I am wearing a blue top with silk puffed sleeves by Australian designer Lisa Ho, a silk taffeta vintage 70s skirt, beautifully dyed and embroidered fabric that I think must have been a sari as it is so long (I bought this in a vintage boutique in Sydney when I was a teenager!), and a copper metal headpiece of flowers by which label I remember not.

Photo: December 2018

Monday
Dec242018

A Christmas Shepherd

While shepherds watched
Their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around
And glory shone around …

Here we are again at this festive time of the year, at Christmas Eve. You may be celebrating another religious festival altogether, or none at all, simply enjoying spending time with family and loved ones. But this is after all Christmas, celebrating the birth of Christ.

I must confess, when I was thinking about what to do for my Christmas stories this year, this carol came into mind, and my thoughts kept diverging to the naughty schoolchild lyrics, “While shepherds washed their socks by night …” I debated doing a humorous picture to suit, but eventually decided to keep it clean (haha), and give you my interpretation of a trio of Christmas carols.

The story of the angel appearing to the shepherds is told in chapter two of the book of Luke in the Bible (verses 8–20), and is recounted just as the song lyrics poetically put it: the shepherds are told of the birth of a Saviour, Christ the Lord, whom they would find in a humble manger. Suddenly they were surrounded by a heavenly choir of angels singing praises to God. After this, the marvelling shepherds hurried off to find it all just as the angel had told them, and they went away telling everyone all that they had seen and heard.

Maybe you’ll be listening to carols tonight, or maybe you’ll be watching a favourite holiday film (mine is The Holiday with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz), but whatever you are doing today, I hope it is both pleasurable and joyous!

~

Fashion Notes

I’m a lone shepherd here, standing in a field in the Rif Mountains of Morocco (a photo I took in 2011), wearing a jellabiya I bought in Morocco, and over the top a sleeveless jacket by Australian brand Country Road, with thrifted tan leather sandals.

Photo: December 2018

Sunday
Dec232018

What I Actually Wore #0146

Serial #: 0146
Date: 22/09/2012
Weather: 21°C / 70°F
Time Allowed: 20 minutes

I had recently seen the 1927 Clara Bow film Wings, and I had been much struck how in one of the earlier scenes, the actress had worn her scarf tucked into the belt around her waist. That was a nifty idea to emulate, I decided. This day I was going to see a film, and decided the time was ripe for a Clara Bow homage.

My outfit wasn’t exactly the same as hers, but close enough, with slim fitting cardigan and straight skirt. The neutral beige and tan complement the turquoise blue tints of my skirt, silk scarf, jewellery, and sunglasses. About half the items I am wearing are second hand, with the beret and the clutch being the oldest in my possession.

I like this outfit, and would probably happily wear it now – and could, as I still actually have all these items, except for the socks which wore out, and the cardigan, which I deemed too girlish in style.

Actually, while it is retired from my wardrobe, the cardigan is still in my possession, buried in my darning basket after some moths chewed on the end of its self-tie-belt. Here I have set aside the thin belt it comes with anyway, and worn a wider perforated leather belt. (Oddly, the previous owner of the belt scraped off the brand name, though they left the words “genuine leather”.) Recently I pulled a blouse out of a culling bag and started wearing it again, so there’s no saying that I wouldn’t don this cardigan and suddenly decide I like it!

While I generally like 1920s style, though it’s not my favourite era, I think I prefer this less obvious, slimmer silhouette to the typical loose-fitting dropwaist.

Items:

Top: Kookaï
Cardigan: Nanette Lepore
Skirt: La Gonda, vintage 60s
Hat: vintage 90s
Sunglasses: MinkPink
Scarf: thrifted
Belt: thrifted
Bag: vintage 70s
Socks: Philippe Matignon
Shoes: John Lewis Women
Earrings: hand made by me
Ring: souvenir

Photos: October 2013

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