Sunday, November 18, 2012

Living Doll - Miss November

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 !
Our stunning Miss November has more than classic vintage looks to her bow - she posesses an intellegence to her pursuit of the vintage lifestyle that is downright is the ever lovely, Miss Jasmine Shae     
What does 'vintage' mean to you?
Vintage is a way of life. It’s the obvious things like clothing, cars, and music, but it’s also the values and history. I love wearing something that I know has a history, that other women have cherished, enjoyed, and passed down. I love knowing that you won't run into another gal with the same dress as you, or walk into a home where they have the same clock or kitchen set. And I love feeling like I am a part of something bigger, and that I am continuing the story of a well-made piece of history, instead of flooding the world with another cheap dress destined for landfill within a year.
What was it that first prompted your interest in vintage culture?
Like most of us in the culture I have always loved old movies and idolise women such as Rita Hayworth, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, and Edwige Fenech. I used to love looking through my nanna’s wardrobe and remember being mesmerised with the glamour of everyday items. She had a hairbrush and mirror set, which, as a 5 year old, I thought was fit for a queen. The silver inlay and brocade pattern was like nothing I had ever seen. She died when I was 9; I inherited the set and it became my most prized possession. To this day I often think of her when I’m vintage shopping and wonder whether she would have liked this dress or that hat.

What is your favourite era, and do you 'live it' every day? In what ways?
In my younger years, however, I was a punk kid. I died my hair every colour under the sun and immersed myself in the clothing, music, and ideology of the era. Over the years the punk music was joined by psychobilly, rockabilly, and even some country (gasp!) When I turned 21 I had an overwhelming urge to wear dresses and so my trips to op shops became less about tartan skirts and leather jackets and more about vintage dresses and brooches, and I started to care when I had a run in my stocking!
I would say my day-to-day clothing is most closely aligned with the 50s (I love interesting patterns, swing skirts, and head scarfs), followed by the 40s for a-line skirts and dresses, and the early 60s for structured wiggle dresses.
I guess I ‘live it’ every day. I wear a mix of vintage and reproduction vintage clothing everyday, have a collection of cats eye frames (the one redeeming factor of wearing glasses!), wear my hair in vintage styles, listen to old music, and drive a Chrysler cruiser (a modern car made to look like a 40s street rod – although I dream of one day owning a 1930s Ford or 1950s Chevy).
Tell us about your favourite item of vintage clothing, kitchenalia, music, furniture or whatever !
That would have to be my vintage brooches. I have at least 50 that I have collected over the years from various vintage fairs, op shops, and online stores through eBay and Etsy. They are a great finish to any outfit and are also practical if you want a bolero, cardigan, or wrap to sit just right.
Can you share with us why vintage culture continues to hold such appeal for you?
One thing I think we can take from the fashion of the 40s and 50s, is that we can dress in a feminine and sexy way, but also remain classy. Now if only men today would get that memo! There is an internet meme making the rounds that says something like “A well tailored suit is to women what lingerie is to men” So true!
I also love the positivity and comradeship of the culture. While woman actually living in the eras we idolise might have had it tough in terms of equality in the home and workplace, the culture now is thriving with confident and vibrant woman who are so supportive of each other. I have made some great friends who are all extremely intelligent, independent, and beautiful woman. And who, most importantly don't judge you for having over 100 pairs of shoes!
Do you have any tips for anyone starting out in the vintage scene?
Don’t worry about what others will think – do what makes you happy. I have met so many woman that say things like “I would love to dress like you do but don’t think it would suit me” and/or “I don't have the confidence to dress that way” Trust me, start wearing vintage and repro vintage and you will instantly feel more confident, confortable, and happy in yourself because you are doing what you want to do. Plus you are guaranteed to get complimented every time you leave the house, which can’t be bad for a woman’s self esteem!
My other piece of advice would be to use the internet. You can learn so much about clothing design and hairstyles of an era and you can find some great bargains on Etsy and eBay if you know what you’re looking for! Then just immerse yourself in the culture. Go to your local vintage fairs and rockabilly events, learn to swing dance, practice hairstyling, and do whatever it is you want to do.
Now is your chance to provide us with an overview of who you are and what you do.
Hopefully the essence of my views and beliefs have come across already, but as to what else I do – I live in Brisbane, Australia with my partner Glen and my two adorable dogs. I’m a psychologist and recently have submitted my PhD, which means soon I’ll be able to make everyone call me Dr! I’m an avid reader and adore science fiction and Australian fantasy. I also love old horror movies and 60s and 70s Giallos, which is good as my partner owns pretty much every decent one that there is. Completely opposite to that I love old fairy tales and Disney animation, especially the films from the 30s to 90s. I love dressing up, especially for Halloween. I used to speak Japanese fluently, now I speak it badly but long to go back there to live in the snow for while. I’ve dabbled in a bit of vintage modelling, for two reasons – so that I can wear some amazing garments, and so that I have the photos to look back on when I’m old and perhaps show my grandkids that I was pretty awesome back in the day. My many pipe dreams include teaching in Japan, living in Europe, designing clothing, owning a vintage boutique, and writing a book.
Finally, what or who inspires you and why?
My nanna – she will always hold a dear place in my heart for igniting my love of vintage.
My mum – she raised my brother and I as a single parent and always pushed us to want more from life and I believe she is responsible for my drive to succeed.
Laura Byrnes, creator of Pinupgirl clothing (one of the repro brands I buy from) - she is inspirational in her passion for what she does and her drive to always innovate and better herself. She grew her company from nothing (her sewing in her lounge room) to being arguably the most popular repro brand around today, and yet she doesn't sit back and rest on her laurels, she is always pushing herself to come up with something different.
Isobelle Carmody – An Australian fantasy author – I grew up reading her books and I think they have affected my views on a lot of things, from treatment of animals and vegetarianism, to prejudice and human rights.
Douglas Adams – his unique and light-hearted view of the world has always stuck with me. It’s hard to take a bleak perspective on things when you share his eyes. His quote “Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?” is one of my favourites. It sums up my views perfectly – just try to live in and appreciate each moment.
Joe Strummer (back to my punk roots!) – he has always inspired me to think outside the box and question mainstream views and beliefs and some of his lyrics resonate with me still. Whenever I am unsure of what to do I think “Are you going backwards or are you going forwards?” It’s my life motto.

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