One afternoon in May we did a photoshoot for this vintage 1970s pleated navy skirt in 1940s style. The planning had begun a while before. I had paired it with the white shirt because it seemed the most obvious choice (also worn here with the polka dot skirt); then came the white hat which was a new acquisition from a charity shop; and I added the floral belt, which I had already owned for a long time, to the skirt. The belt has a tan faux leather edge and a fabric overlay with rose prints and the words “Lavil’s Collection”, and is really quite lovely; but I needed to punch an extra hole in it to bring it in, which I had kept putting off doing.
Hat: vintage 80s, make unknown
Belt: vintage 80s, Lavil’s Collection
Skirt: vintage 70s, Endora, available at 24 USD here at Pretty Bones Jefferson Boutique
The location was in Dublin city centre Temple Bar’s Anglesea Street; in front of the Irish Stock Exchange, the Trinity College Children’s Research Centre, and another office building, the name of which is unknown to me. As I had the outfit on my mind, one day when I passed by, I noticed the beautiful blue and white façades (19th century, I think?); and we decided to give it a try for the shoot.
Anglesea Street is usually surprisingly quiet for a place amongst the hustle and bustle of the main street Dame Street (where I and thousands others daily get off the bus when coming into town) and the busy tourist spot Temple Bar; the old taller buildings seem to always cast a silencing shade over the pavement. It is a very short street, however, and one often finds oneself at the other side before having had the time to consider its tranquillity.
I love the 1940s fashion (really more than the 1950s), and this skirt felt just right for a balance between seriousness and lightness, and warmth and breeziness. It’s in impeccable wide pleats that are fitted in the upper part, and the material is a cotton and viscose blend that feels slightly like light wool but more breathable. There is something very sweet about the colour which even the photos can’t perfectly convey and do justice to, a subtly dark and rich quality that brings out the freshness of the wearer’s face.
The skirt was featured in an Etsy treasury list “Memorial Day Blue and Red” (my blog post here) earlier; and so I was wondering, while planning for posting the photos, whether I should write about some political happenings that this outfit’s style and colour seem to relate to. There have been the American Memorial Day, the voting for the Austerity Act in Ireland on the 31st of May, and the British celebration for Jubilee over this weekend. But in the end I’ve decided not to, mainly because I don’t really have anything intelligent to say about politics at the moment; also, despite its potentially formal look, the skirt and the outfit remind me of more of a brief, slightly clouded but still bright holiday in the 1940s when all worries were set aside for just a while, and I would rather dwell on that dreamy thought.
It was actually a slightly turbulent day when we shot the photos, it was damp weather and I was busking earlier in the afternoon, feeling somewhat nervous and clumsy doing too many things on one day. But looking at the photos, it looks like nothing but a beautiful holiday, with excursions through the town’s streets, ship harbours and boat journeys, ice cream and visits to curiosity shops.
I think it is a amazing how a seemingly simple outfit can transport you to a completely different time and state of mind. This one has definitely done it for me.
And in closing, I must call in a post-shoot inspiration of the look, which is Rita Hayworth in her blue casual style wedding dress at her wedding to Prince Aly Khan on May 27, 1949.
The ensemble featured a dress with belted shirt-top and razor-pleat skirt, and a light wide-brim sun hat. The dress was designed by Jacques Fath and a story on the dress can be read here at On This Day in Fashion. I always thought Rita looked absolutely a dream in it and very much herself.
And here, last of all, is the photographer’s own favourite shot and edit.
(Photos by JEG)
*If you’d like to find out about the measurements of the skirt to buy, it’s listed in the Pretty Bones Jefferson shop here at 24 USD.
A similar style hat to the one in the outfit is in the Pretty Bones Jefferson shop here also at 24 USD.