Monday, February 23, 2009

Vintage Touches For The Modern Girl

When you change handbags, what are (apart from the obvious keys, wallet, and phone) the things that you always transfer from clutch to pocketbook to purse to satchel?

For me, a note pad and pen are essential items to tote, as I never know when inspiration will strike. Unfortunately, size constraints often dictates the practicality of such tools.

Recently I have found some delightful vintage-inspired small note books, that at 7.5cm by 10.5cm, are ideal to pop into my bag each day:

The Art-deco inspired peacock and gilt notepad is from my local newsagent (paper shop) and continuing with my current couture obsession, the New Look illustrated ones were purchased from the Bendigo Art Gallery during my trip to visit the Golden Age of Couture exhibition.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's Couture Kittens! COURTURE!

Oh my goodness, I think I may have to have a lie down!

The reason for my somewhat over-excited state is re-visiting all the gorgeous photos from the "Golden Age of Couture" Exhibition I recently visited in Bendigo with the delightful Nicole from Circa Vintage Clothing.

Once again, I urge you to visit this exhibition if you have the opportunity. I am based in Melbourne and it was worth every minute of the entire 4 hour round trip drive just to see it.

These were my stand-out favorites amongst an impressive amount of truly stellar examples. Click on the images for a closer look Kittens!

Dress and petticoat by Pierre Balmain: Perfect for a 50's retro bride don't you agree?

We saw this stunning, silk rose-print Pierre Balmain dress, sans black bow. Spectacular!

This above is the famous Christian Dior "Zemire". The V&A acquired this ensemble in 2006. It had been stored in a cellar by the Seine in Paris and had to be cleaned and repaired before it could be displayed.

This hand-beaded organza gown by Hubert de Givenchy was awe-inspiring in its detail.

But this was the gown that took my breath away:

This red silk evening dress by Cristobal Balenciaga is beyond divine. Quite plain and simple at the front, it is the covered button, bustled skirt and bow detail at the back that makes this gown the belle amongst a large collection of BEAUTIFUL ballgowns.

Photos courtesy of The Golden Age of Couture exhibition catalogue edited by Claire Wilcox and the V&A website.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Warning - Gratuitious Shoe P0rn Post

My new shoes arrived in the post from Zu today and I love love love them.

Here are the reasons why:
  • They are electric blue
  • They are velvet
  • The heels are covered in matching blue satin
  • They have satin bows on the backs
  • They are peep toes
  • They have a hidden platform to make them easier to wear
  • They are MINE :)
That is all...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sunday Road Trip

On Sunday a girlfriend and I took a road trip from Melbourne to Bendigo and met up with the lovely Nicole from Circa Vintage on the steps of the Bendigo Museum, temporarily the home of "The Golden Age of Couture" exhibition which is on loan from The V&A Museum in London.

Let me just say, the four hour round trip to get there and was well worth the effort and I urge anyone who has the opportunity to do so. It finishes on the 22nd of March 2009. I will do another post exclusively on the exhibition, as I was so privileged to have Nicole - a true expert give her fascinating and valuable insights into the incredible pieces we saw and I'd love to show some of them to you.

In honour of the New Look, as pioneered by Christian Dior I wore the following dress (remember to click on my images for a closer look):

I have a crinoline underneath to give it pouf and swing when I walk, so it's a lot of fun to wear. I got lots of lovely comments from others visiting the exhibition.

Cute bow detail on the detachable modesty panel at the front. The panel is fastened with press-studs at the shoulders and base.

The nice, wide collar wraps around the back and meets low at the front at the large button.

I always had assumed this dress to be a home-made 50's confection, but the eagle eyed Nicole spotted the union tag, hidden away in a side seam near the dress hem. After a little Googling, I now know it is a professionally made dress from around 1955-56. Happy Days!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

People Need Our Help

I was going to do a post about the lovely day I had.

But after viewing the news reports about the devastating bush fires that swept Victoria yesterday I can't bring myself to discuss my insignificant little life when so many have lost not only everything they own, but in many tragic cases, those they loved.

If you are able, I urge you to donate to the Australian Red Cross to assist giving families back some basic supplies so they can continue living in the short term, and consider the massive task of re-building their lives.

If you are in Australia, call 1800 811 700 or you can also donate from anywhere around the world (including Aus) at

Hug your loved ones. Tell those that matter most how much they mean to you. Be thankful for what you have. Look after those who aren't as fortunate. Be safe. Be well.

x x VV

Monday, February 2, 2009

Battle of the Hepburns

Insofar as "Style Icon" goes, I believe Audrey Hepburn makes just about every vintage lover's list, after all what's not to love about the muse of Hubert de Givenchy:

And although she is definitely on my list too, it's the other Hepburn that I admire more, Katharine:

Not only was she beautiful in the classic way, her sense of style was somewhat groundbreaking.

She favoured pant-suits, which was considered at the time a wholly masculine trait, not really considered suitable for a glamorous Hollywood Star:

However it's her great talent and attitude that gives her such high esteem in my eyes.
Although her career featured many ups and downs, she was nominated 12 times (a record that still stands today) and won 4 Oscars. Importantly she took control of her own career in a time where Hollywood Studios were all-powerfull and controlling of most aspects of their contracted stars lives.

She was once in an interveiw asked by Barbara Walters if she would have had a career today combined with marriage and children as she forgoed the latter two.
Katharine replied: "You couldn't when I started. At least you couldn't have a marriage that would please me. I have not lived as a woman, I have lived as a man."
When Walters pressed her further she explained "Well, I've just done what I damn well wanted to, and I made enough money to support myself."

Style, grace and attitude. An awesome combination in a role model don't you think?