Monday, April 4, 2011

Living Dolls - April 2011

Introducing the beautiful Maria, whose vintage style (not to mention wardrobe) is just wonderful!

What does 'vintage' mean to you?

For me, ‘vintage’ is about beautifully made garments that show off the curvy female form (think the cinched in waists of the ‘New Look’). So to me true ‘vintage’ ends at around 1965. I know this is somewhat controversial as others have a broader version of ‘vintage’ but I definitely don’t think 80’s power suits are vintage! (they are just ‘second hand’)

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

The history of the 40’s and 50’s has always interested me, I loved ‘The Sullivans’ (set in the 1940’s) as a child. My interest in vintage clothes started when I wore a 1950’s red ball gown owned by my best friend’s grandmother when I was about 13. It was absolutely gorgeous and once you have worn something like that you can never go back to ordinary clothes!

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

My favourite era is definitely the 1950’s, particularly the cinched-in waists and full skirts. I can’t say I wear it every day as sometimes I have to wear contemporary clothes when I am looking after my children (I have a very messy 2 year old boy!). However, I do try and incorporate the values of that era by doing my hair in a 40’s or 50’s fashion and putting on make up (no tracksuit pants in public!). I think the value of being well-groomed in public is a great one to take from the 1950’s.

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

My favourite item of vintage would probably be one of the first really beautiful 1950’s black dresses I ever bought, and that is my sleeveless black dress made of rayon, purchased from Frocks and Slacks (a vintage store in St Kilda) about five years ago. For me, this dress personifies why I love vintage so much, it is beautifully made, of quality fabric (rayon drapes beautifully) and is very flattering on my figure (hides my child-bearing hips!)

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

For me, I enjoy the feeling that I am respecting part of history and treasuring beautiful things from the past. One of my treasured belongings is a vintage black handbag which used to be owned by my grandmother. I never got to meet her as she died before I was born, so I love that I can keep some type of a connection by carrying this lovely bag around with me and be reminded of her. She was a very hard-working, strong woman and even though I did not get a chance to meet her, I admire her greatly for the work she put in to raising her family.

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

The first thing is to think about what era you like and what clothes will suit your figure. I happen to love 50’s fashion and have a figure that seems to suit the dresses of that era as I have a small waist and rather generous hips (!) (I could never pull off a 60’s mini!). Secondly, do some research - there are great books on vintage available now (eg the one by Nicole Jenkins from Circa Clothing) and look at things online (just google ‘50’s fashion’ or whatever you are interested in). Don’t be put off by the high cost of some items online and in vintage shops - real bargains can still be had if you look carefully enough on etsy and ebay.

Now is your chance to provide us with an overview of who you are and what you do
Gosh, well to sum myself up in a few words I would say I am real ‘granny’ in many ways. I love anything old (except my husband, who is three years younger than me - ha ha!). As well as collecting vintage clothes and accessories, I am quite old-fashioned in my attitudes, I try to make dinner a home-cooked dinner for my family every night and I make traditional desserts and cakes such as scones and pikelets (from a Country Women’s League cookbook no less!). I also try to be anti-consumerism, so I have a low-key traditional home with no ‘movie room’ or flat-screen TV, no Foxtel and no four-wheel drive out the front. If you live in the suburbs of a big city, you will now that this is not a mean feat considering everyone else seems to have these things! So, in addition to my love of vintage clothes I would say the above best sums me up: very old-fashioned in many respects!

As to what I do, I am currently completing a PhD on refugee law which is no mean feat and work on that 2 days a week. On other days I am looking after my children and trying to write my weekly blog on vintage,

Finally, what or who inspires you and why?

First and foremost my mother inspires me, both in her strength and her sense of style. She is a great advocate of having a good jacket and brooch to wear and I have to say that has been my saving grace when I have been exhausted from lack of sleep and need to go out in public - a good jacket and brooch really does the trick!

Also, more recently, the ladies from the Lindy Charm School have really inspired me to make an effort to look my best and to act gracefully. I went to one of their Charm schools recently and after they did my hair I realised just want a difference a good hairdo could make to my appearance! They also gave a little talk on how to act with grace - good posture and also the importance of giving and receiving compliments gracefully. I was hugely impressed with their attitude and it has really inspired me to look more broadly at vintage, not simply as wearing vintage clothes, but also encapsulating the positive values of that era.

1 comment:

  1. Such a lovely Blog, congratulations Miss April and THANK you Maria for your gracious comments.... xx Miss Chrissy from The Lindy Charm School for Girls xx


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