Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Living Doll - Miss December

Living Dolls are mothers, nurses, models, photographers, graphic designers, grandmothers, students, teachers - infact you name it, they come from every walk of life but have this one thing in common - they love and live vintage !

Just in time for the festive season, our 100% adorable Miss December, Rosalie Beynon, shares her  insights on life and living with the inspirational upbeat attitude all her friends have come to know her for. We love you Rosealie !!

What does 'vintage' mean to you?

My life has always revolved around ‘vintage’.  It meant decent clothes and fantastic things as a child and as an adult, it is the ability to surround myself with the nostalgic vibe I love.  I’m not really the modern type and wearing, living and breathing vintage means that I am being true to myself and not trying to be somebody out of the next Vogue magazine.

What was it that first prompted your interest in vintage culture?

When I was a child, my mother would buy a lot of our clothes from op-shops and the like.  Whilst shopping, she would keep an eye out for pieces that pre-dated the 1970s because as she told me, “Trends always come back into fashion, especially midi-length skirts”.  Her other influence was the trunk that was chock full of fabric…silks, velvets, brocades, cottons, endless types that fascinated me completely.  The textures, colours and the originality of them all were heaven to me then as they are now.

An aunt was also a great influence in that she provided me with a dress-up box of vintage clothing and told me, “Don’t mix patterns, black is always a safe option and learn to mend and make your own clothes.” 

This early passion for clothing was alongside an education of early movies, books, Art Deco architecture, cars and music, which formed my appreciation of the aesthetics of the 1920s to‘60s.


What is your favourite era, and do you 'live it' every day? In what ways? 

The late 1940s through to the late‘50s is my favourite era…the full skirts that create glamour, the wiggle dresses that show off what women are all about, wearing matching shoes and handbags, adding a hat as an exclamation mark…

I wear something from this timeframe every day, whether it be a piece of clothing or a combo of Bakelite bangles and brooch always listening to the music of the time!

 In Summer I am drawn to the cotton dresses and skirts of the 1950s, they provide the comfort needed in our climate and always put me in a good mindset for the day.  How can you not feel happy wearing a bold floral or colourful novelty pattern!  1940s suits and coats are divine for Winter.  A tailored fit, beautifully weighted wool sometimes with the perfect detail, all finished off with gloves and a spectator (sports oxford) shoe…luxury!

Tell us about your favourite item of vintage clothing, kitchenalia, music, furniture or whatever !

Oh where do I start!?

The easy choice is my 1920s Art Deco wedding ring, a handmade piece with an old mine cut diamond.  It is a truly original ring that speaks volumes of the workmanship that one does not always see these days.

My other equally favourite item is the 1950s gown that my Mum bought for my first ball.  I found it of all places, in Hunters and Collectors which was a leather and Doc Marten shop in Auckland.  Made of a cream silk brocade, sitting on the shoulders, it crosses over at the bust, sits wide and flat at the waist and is completed by yards upon yards of skirt.  An elegant gown that I still love swanning around in.

Can you share with us why vintage culture continues to hold such appeal for you? 

Aesthetics…  We no longer all ‘dress’ for everyday and up for an occasion, build houses that are extraordinary or have lawns, learn to dance in pairs to great music, drive cars with the glint of fresh chrome, respect our elders and take pride in every little thing in our lives. 

I abhor the lack of manners and attitude that has permeated everyday life.  And for goodness sake, pull your pants up boys and put some clothes on girls!!! 

Do you have any tips for anyone starting out in the vintage scene?

Make use of the internet to look into all aspects of what takes your fancy and don’t be shy to say “Hi”.  If you see someone wearing a look you like, ask them about it, it is always an honour to be complimented on an outfit.  Pop along to the markets/fairs, vintage clothing shops and those that do good reproductions.  Strike up a conversation with the shop guys and gals, they’re usually a friendly bunch.  Keep an eye out for gigs marketed as Rockabilly and Swing, there will always be people dancing and if that isn’t your thing, the music should still be worth checking out.

Most of all, be comfortable with whatever you put on in the morning and don’t sweat the small stuff…who cares if you’re wearing a 1930s gown with Doc Martens!

Now is your chance to provide us with an overview of who you are and what you do.

I am a housewife who loves to relax at home with my daughter in our beautiful backyard.  I’m usually found dressed to fit some theme for the day, whether it be Hawaiian, Mexican or just plain let us get dirty denim.  Handy with a sewing needle, I have a pile of alterations that I like to do at a leisurely pace…no need to rush in my day!

My evenings are spent with my wonderful husband, with a glass of red in hand and a smile on my face as I watch him playing with our daughter.

I have the most wonderful friends who share my passion for vintage and we all love to do the same things, markets, sewing, reading and good ol’ fashioned BBQ’s and get togethers. 

Finally, what or who inspires you and why?

My family and friends are my daily inspirations.  How can you not be inspired seeing the world 24/7 alongside your child!  My husband is an old-fashioned guy; He works for his family and his hobbies and I still love dressing up for him.  My friends look fantastic on a daily basis and if that didn’t keep me on my toes then an intervention would be needed!  There is nothing like sharing a fabulous buy with a friend who completely understands where you’re coming from aesthetically.

Most of all, I’m inspired by the everyday…there is beauty all around us, I’m just lucky I get to sit back and enjoy it!


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