"an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" (James Atlas)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Good Vintage!

Spent a pleasant afternoon at the Melbourne inaugural "Love Vintage" show at the Royal Showgrounds yesterday. I saw the ad a couple of weeks ago and thought it might be a good place to see some fashion from my favourite period, the Art Deco era (approx. 1920s-1930s). Remember the Mrs. Bradley Mysteries on BBC? Well, Diana Rigg (of former 'Avengers' fame) embodied the style magnificently. As did the girls from 'The House of Elliott'!
Although I did see some nice pieces from that era, much of the period fashion available was really from the 1950s and 1960s, and I got the feeling quite a lot of it was more or less 'Op Shop Chic'. I wouldn't have been seen dead in some of the clobber in the 1950s either!
On a more positive note, the fashion show highlighted some of the better samples, especially some of the 'flapper' style dresses, which were often made of sheer fabric and heavily embroidered. They're really museum pieces and need to be treated with respect and care, so fragile are some of them. Looking through the racks, I did see some amazing fabrics, even if the dresses weren't all that stylish. There were lots of other paraphernalia, such as shoes, hats, gloves (actual kid gloves!), scarves, handbags, and jewellery. A couple of antique shops specialising in 'vintage' items had some exquisite pieces on show. I was glad to see a good assortment of Leah Stein brooches, even though they were somewhat overpriced. These very distinct Art Deco style brooches are made of a bakelite material, and are very collectable. I didn't have the money to spend on one, but I got myself a little black cat brooch which is in similar style.
One activity I really enjoyed watching was the 'vintage' hairdressing. Two hairdressers turned visitors into screen godesses before our eyes! Remember those elaborate hairdos of the 40s, with chignons, rolls, and piled-up curls? Some of the show's visitors had dressed up in period style, and the hairstyle just added that final touch! Even little girls, with long tresses, were turned into little 1940s poppets!
While rummaging through the garments, I noticed that most of them were for very small sizes; I guess not many people had much to eat after the wars, with rationing and all, and were of small build. Today's average women's size is a 14, in those days it looked more like a 10 to 12.
I had to restrain myself at one of the stands; they were selling a stack of 24 original 1930s hand pieced quilt blocks, enough to make up a queen-sized bed spread! Very tempting, but I remembered just in time the number of UFOs languishing on my sewing table! Instead, I found this adorable little Art Deco Dachshund, which, after taking its coat off, turns into a pocket comb!
And it was made in England!


  1. That sounds like a wonderful show, just the sort of thing I would enjoy! Your little Dachshund is adorable!

  2. You would have loved it, Nancy! Lots of 'bling' to enjoy and the garments were so amazing!