Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Living Doll - Miss March 2013

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 !

Alice Jean's Miss March is the adorable Margie - aka Swingin' Kitten - DJ and Dance Teacher extraordinaire....enjoy her beautiful insights on modern vintage culture, and Margie, I particularly love your sources of inspiration  - I am inspired just reading about them !

What does 'vintage' mean to you?
Vintage to me means an appreciation and respect for a bygone era specifically from 1940’s to 1960’s. For me it reflects a time of style, manners, innovative design, grace, fabulous music, and amazing architecture.
Mainstream and popular culture doesn’t quite ‘fit’ me and I prefer to draw inspiration and appreciation from the mid-century era. Vintage just feels right to me and it fits like a glove. It feels like it was meant to be.
What was it that first prompted your interest in vintage culture?
Elvis. I used to watch Elvis Presley movies on a Saturday afternoon when I was growing up and loved the music, the fashion, the cars and the King, of course. It has always been there in one form or another.
I remember when I was 15 years old in the mid 1970’s and a group of school chums and I were talking about what our favourite car was. Whilst they all said theirs was a Monaro, Charger or a Torana, mine was a 1956 FJ Holden. I was shopping in second hand stores in high school in the 1970’s before it became the thing to do. I loved movies with Marilyn Monroe, Doris Day and Grace Kelly – I thought they were so glamorous!
I always thought I was born in the wrong era. I was the youngest child of a much older family. My parents were very stylish and believed in dressing for dinner, respecting your elders, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and being polite. Dressing appropriately was a way of life for all of my family no matter what the occasion.
What is your favourite era, and do you 'live it' every day? In what ways?
I love 1940’s through to the early 1960’s but if I have to narrow it down, I would say the 1950’s. I love the music, dancing, fashion, style, design, cars, architecture and movies. Everything really!
I have a day job and I am not always able to wear my preferred style of fashion. However I drive to work every day in Marilyn, (1962 S Series Valiant) and I always have a touch of vintage about me.
When I am not at the day job, my vintage life takes over. So I can dress in my preferred style and it does feel good!
Other ways I try to live a vintage lifestyle, is to replicate the manners such as being courteous and polite, holding doors open for people, writing thank-you notes, showing respect on the road for others.
Tell us about your favourite item of vintage clothing, kitchenalia, music, furniture or whatever !
So many things to choose from!
I do love out Krysler entertainment unit which was given to us from a friend who was moving overseas. It has a valve radio, black and white TV and a 4 speed turntable. Some very cute aspects of this unit are that it has a hand held microphone which can be used to sing along to records, the radio or whatever your heart desires. The sound through the speakers is fantastic! On the TV, it has a button called remote control however it is not the small unit we all know now as a remote control. You push the remote control button on the panel near the TV and it skips along to the next channel it finds. Bless!
Marilyn, our 1962 S series Valiant, is one of my favourite possessions. She is beautiful and its like driving a piece of art. Marilyn is my daily-driver and she starts second go every day. She is a 6 cylinder and has a 3 speed manual transmission. For 51 years old, she is pretty reliable however she doesn’t like the wet weather too much.
My most favourite possession is our house – it is very special and I love it to bits. Built in around 1950, it is more than what I could ever have imagined owning. It’s a freestanding double brick double fronted house with a single car garage (Marilyn is very happy) with a small front and back yard complete with mango trees. It still has original features as in light fittings, decorative ceilings, original fireplace and Bakelite handles on all the internal doors. We did a total overhaul inside before moving in – no structural work needed to be done – just aesthetics. The finished product is certainly beautiful. We have decorated with furniture and bric-a-brac from the late 1940’s to early 1960’s. We still have modern appliances but hopefully they just disappear in to the background.

Can you share with us why vintage culture continues to hold such appeal for you?
For me, style and grace never go out of fashion. I love surrounding myself with beautiful vintage things – whether it be for the house or for myself.
We mix with friends who share the same interests and passions, so there is no need to explain ourselves as we all understand, we are all on the same wavelength and we all ‘get’ it.
I never tire of the music or the dancing and find it as exhilarating as I did when I first discovered it.
Do you have any tips for anyone starting out in the vintage scene?
First tip is to check our website for news on events and gigs coming up to get a handle on what’s happening. Come along to one of our rockabilly dance workshops of course! 
Now is your chance to provide us with an overview of who you are and what you do. Tell my readers as much or as little as you like !!!!
My husband and I have been DJs and dance teachers for over 10 years now and we are known as “Limpin’ Jimmy and The Swingin’ Kitten”. 
We have taught rockabilly dancing in the Inner West in Sydney for nearly 11 years and have DJ’d at many events – both private and public. There are far too many for me to mention.
We presented many band events over the years and run many successful DJ residencies. We update and maintain our website with gigs and events so people know where to and what to do.

Finally, what or who inspires you and why?
My parents. They taught me that good manners will always be appreciated and taught me well in all aspects of life. They always had style, grace and poise. They were generous, would help others less fortunate, feed the homeless, were hard workers, were kind souls and they had old fashioned values which I now appreciate as I get older. I like to think I have inherited some of these qualities.

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