0

Somber Mood, Art Deco Silk

image_1

image_2image_3image_4At the moment I don’t have much of an idea what to do with the “holidays”. I’ve been harbouring some deep reservations about Christmas as an unquestioned tradition in the English-speaking world, on the points of its origin and purpose, and seeking to understand how I truly feel about man-made customs that are close upon rules; therefore I’m trying not to engage in the festivities, but rather hoping to use this time for some thinking, reading, and sewing.

And as always I’ll be working on putting up some new listings in the shop. This vintage shirt in the photos is a new arrival and definitely one of my favourite from the shop collection so far. It’s simply so classy and…Art Deco glamorous, with the triangular front design, silky texture and satin panels. And it’s French!

…For some reason these picture are beginning to feel to me how coming to the new year should be like – plain clear tones, with a touch of old glamour, something with a silent museum quality.

(Top: [artificial] silk shirt, vintage 70s/80s by Grege Paris, available in my shop

Skirt: vintage 70s by Kriss, charity shop

Necklace: High Street shop)

0

(Halloween) Adela and the Hatted Victorian Child

I was actually going to dress up as a female peacock bird this Halloween, as inspired by a rare, educational trip to the zoo; but I never got the time to put that costume together, and also I began to want something a little more ghostly; so in the end I decided to be a Victorian Child.

I thought of dressing up as a Victorian flower girl, and coming up with some tragic story about that imaginary wedding. However, as none of my vintage flower wreaths worked very well with the dress, and the hat rather fitted the outfit much better; I decided to be an independent eccentric child ghost, and put my doll Adela in a basket to be carried around. The end result is a little Tim Burton-ish.

The Mid-Century vintage hat, which I had fallen in love with when I tried it on in Oxfam recently, is probably my favourite element of the costume – with its wonderful warm colours and textures, and that big satin bow in the back (rather special for a top hat, I am sure!). It had been badly damaged, however, and the lining and some of the sewing had come apart in addition to the straw structure having fallen in around the crown. It took me half of Tuesday to mend and restore the hat, putting in plastic foam to strengthen the structure and resewing the lining into place. I think it was absolutely worth the work – and the bonus is that it is now really, super warm from the insulation I have put in!

JEG and I shot the photos in town in the Dublin Trinity College on Halloween day. Here are a few selections.

We were going to go to a friend’s play later in the evening, but while we were in the cafe having tea I got quite upset – jealous that other people have parents, I suppose – and in the end we were too late for the show. But we got a good muffin in the cafe, and it was a Halloween muffin, with a sugar pumpkin on top of it, which makes up for us not having carved a pumpkin this year.

Mini Fox with Halloween Muffin

I was also reading my new Edgar Allan Poe book, which contains many poems and short stories that, surprisingly, I had never come across before. In spite of the title of this collection from Penguin Popular Classics, Spirits of the Dead, the short stories in the book are not the most gothic of Poe’s works, but many are rather more satirical than ghostly. So far my favourite is the first of the short story section: “The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether”, about a most peculiar madhouse in southern France.

Mini Fox + Spirits of the Dead – Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe

(I am also going to put up this look for Lookbook.nu’s Halloween costume competition, and hopefully some people will like it.)

(Hat: vintage [maybe 1950s] by Condo Model, England/Paris, thrifted from Oxfam

Dress: vintage 1960s homemade acetate wedding slip, thrifted

Top: altered from a nightgown

Shirt: thrifted

Shoes: black faux suede low-heel Mary Janes with cut-outs, Office

Basket: thrifted from Oxfam)

(Photos by JEG)

2

Watercolour

I’m quite abashed to be admitting that it’s been two months since I last blogged. I’ve done a good bit other things in the mean time – a good bit! But really nothing should have gotten into the way of writing diligently…

(Top: Primark/Penneys

Skirt: Vintage 1970s by Blue Grass, available in my shop here

Briefcase: Vintage 1960s by Remploy (UK), coming soon to my shop)

Shoes: REDZ)

I had expected to be able to do much work for the shop and the blog right after I had sent in my final thesis for college at the end of August, but for some reason, in the subsequent weeks, it became so difficult to return to normal life, or the normal, industrious life as I had envisioned. I’m perhaps still in shock that my three years of college is now done!

And then of course I got busy with a number of other things, too. I had been busking intensively (taking advantage of the warmer weather while it lasted), and played a few gigs and events.

So this week I finally put up a new listing in the shop, which is this vintage 70s skirt here. The photos were taken some time ago in the Dublin Trinity College, which quite suited the skirt. I’ve been very much in love with this unique and artistic watercolour skirt and have been wanting to get it listed properly. It’s such an elegant combination of modern impressionistic watercolour paintings, and the 1940/1950s Roman Holiday shape (complete with fabric belt and side pockets). Looking at the skirt makes me want to jump up onto my feet and visit museums and art galleries.

I did make a blunder while preparing the skirt for the shop – I set the iron temperature just a touch too high! Apparently the fabric is a blend of polyester and viscose with a semi-detached gauzy overlay, which is rather sensitive to heat and can actually melt. Fortunately I was ironing the fabric belt first and so ended up with melt spots only on the belt. Oh I nearly cried – lesson learned!

The blue faux leather briefcase in the photoshoot was a find from a vintage market and is a 1960s specimen from Remploy, which is a UK firm for the benefit of people with disabilities and has been around for more than sixty years since its establishment under the UK 1944 Disabled Persons Employment Act. I’ve done some research on the firm and heard many good things about the amazing quality of their products as well as the social significance of the business. This briefcase definitely confirms what I’ve read, as it is in incredible like-new condition and doesn’t have a single fault to note. I should be listing it in the shop as soon as I’ve gotten close-up photos of it and figured out the shipping costs.

I’ll hopefully be getting more photos edited this week and post again very soon. I’m kind of debating whether or not to post pictures from summer, since it is now deep autumn and all the colours are so different!

(Photos by JEG)

1

To the Post Office!

I’ve grounded myself this week to finish a work experience report paper for college. This should be the very last thing that I need to do for my business degree, which has occupied me for the last three years. And the work experience…was actually this very Pretty Bones Jefferson Vintage boutique, so I really shouldn’t complain!

One of my favourite things about working for the online boutique is packaging and sending items off at the post office. As each of the vintage items is unique, special treatment is almost always required for packaging. The latest was the gorgeous vintage 70s tan faux leather bag which I sold and sent on earlier this week. It was also featured part of the outfit from last month’s post “Thoughts of Fairytale“. This time I asked my Monsieur JEG to take some photos of me going to the post office; as I was visiting for lunch and using the post office just around the corner to his house. We took a photo in front of a charity shop window as well, where they had a handsome set of New Orleans/American South jazz musician miniatures (they were quite dear, though!).

I had packed the bag with bubble foam on the front side and solid foam on the back side, and wrapped it in a brown paper bag with the edges re-enforced by duct tape for durability. I also put in one of my favourite cards from the National Gallery of Ireland – I’m always using the gallery’s post cards for my customers, until I get my own greeting cards printed…

I’ll have the paper finished and sent in by Tuesday so the end is near! I’m so very much looking forward to spending more time here on the blog and putting into action some new ideas for the shop. So now, back to the work at hand.

( Off white chiffon shirt: Thrifted

Skir: Thrifted

Faux suede red bag: High Street)

(All photos by JEG and Lute)

3

Catch Me If You Can (updated)

(Kuntzel and Deygas’s title sequence in Steven Spielberg’s drama thriller Catch Me If You Can [2002], music by John Williams.)

I remember seeing great movies when I was a young child in the 90s, the kind of movies that was a real experience and a joy, where you sit up and say to yourself – now this is really put together! It’s a shame that I actually can’t name many of these off the top of my head, though I could safely say that Gone with the Wind, the old Star Wars trilogy, The Matrix (I was quite young, so) were among them, as well as some TV films and smaller films such as The Cure (1995) which I watched many times during the summers. As I grew older, these experiences became few and far between, and the big blockbusters almost always left me feeling disappointed; which led me to wonder whether it was actually a result of my growing up and becoming more critical as well as less sensitive to movie tricks, rather than a reflection on the quality of the new productions – and the thought bothered me not a little, because I missed the feeling of seeing a good movie.

But Catch Me if You Can (I think I saw it on DVD at home in 2002 with my parents), directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, was a change to that gloom; because this time I enjoyed this film thoroughly, absolutely thoroughly – so I guess…I was still capable of liking a new movie!

I think that one of the great things about Catch Me If You Can is its costumes, which focus on the bewildering new jet-setting glamour of the 1960s, following the path of the con artist young Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio), who poses as a Pan American World Airways pilot  to steal millions of dollars by forging Pan Am pay checks, as well as to fly around the world for free on the airline’s “jump seat”. Those are the heyday of airline glamour and pilots and flight attendants are the epitome of the dashing and darling. The uniform suits, pencil skirts, white gloves, and little hats are painstakingly neat and chic, and dazzle young Frank’s eyes as he first watches the pilots and stewardesses in their full glamorous glory in the movie. Apparently Frank isn’t the only one who is dazzled – the whole America is. Later when Frank “becomes” a Pan Am pilot, little girls would ask to shake his hand in the street in admiration; and on the run, he would be able to divert the attention of FBI agents by walking with eight attractive stewardesses – everyone (and I mean everyone)’s eyes are on the girls, never saw anyone looking so good!

Here’s the scene where he escapes the FBI at the Miami airport, surrounded by the Pan Am girls.:

My outfit is inspired by both Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Frank and the 60s Pan Am flight attendant uniform. The darker colour and metal belt clasp correspond to Frank’s pilot uniform elements, while the knee-length 60s style high-waist pencil skirt and the pumps take after the Pan Am ladies.

I have used the blue straw cocktail hat as a romanticised version of Pan Am flight attendant’s pillbox hat. I had the hat quite a long time ago when I was first starting to source for my Pretty Bones Jefferson boutique, and have finally got it listed in the shop this week. It’s such a darling little hat with white netting face veil and a bow in the back. I’ve tried to find out more about the maker “Bermona” but I haven’t been able to get much information, except that they were an English hat making business and had been around since at least the 60s. I’d like to narrow down on the hat’s era more, so I’m hoping to get some help from fellow vintage sellers on Etsy who have more expertise on dating vintage hats than I do – hats are tricky! But for now late 60s/early 70s will do for the dating.

As for the pencil skirt, I have really surprised myself by how much I loved wearing it during the photoshoot. Pencil skirts are addictive. These little steps take some getting used to but are so fun and…pretty! I guess ladies in the 60s (including Marilyn Monroe) didn’t wear pencil skirts for no reason. This skirt is a bit big for me (it’s a 26″ – 28″ waist with 38″ hips), so I think it’ll look even better on someone of the right size, as it is so well tailored and is supposed to be fitting. You can read more about the skirt’s measurements and details on the listing here at my Pretty Bones Jefferson boutique.

The maker, “Jobis” is a German designer company and I think they’re still in business in Germany.

Putting this outfit together really made me miss Leonardo DiCaprio’s Frank Abagnale, oh that young devil. I should probably see the film again and brush up on 60s fashion.

(Skirt: vintage 80s black wool pencil skirt, available in shop, 27 USD

Hat: vintage 60s/70s, Pauline for BERMONA, made in England, available in my shop, 35 USD

Earrings: vintage clip-ons

Shirt: unknown non-vintage, thrifted

Belt: can’t remember…

Shoes: Zara)

(Photos by JEG)

3

Thoughts of Fairydust

Cicely Mary Barker (1895 – 1973)
The Willow Fairy

Cicely Mary Barker (1895 – 1973)

Cicely Mary Barker (1895 – 1973)
The Snowdrop Fairy

Cicely Mary Barker (1895 – 1973)
The Lavender Fairy

“All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”
― J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan

We took these photos last Wednesday for listings at the boutique shop. The skirt, which was a recent find and which I think is the prettiest skirt ever, has now already been snatched up, only two days after being listed! But the handbag and (maybe) the earrings will be coming to the shop soon.

When I looked at the first photo, the light in the picture reminded me of fairies. I haven’t thought of them in a long time, but sometimes woods, flowers, and especially soft luminous light such as this bring them to my mind. I had a wish to gaze upon Cicely Mary Barker‘s flower fairy illustrations once again, that were very much part of my childhood and my mother’s idea of whimsical loveliness.

I felt that these photos could be a grown up real world re-presentation of the fairy look (with the gloves, leather bag, and heels…). Maybe I was indeed trying to capture some fairydust, being unconsciously inspired by a tiny hand mirror with a fairy picture that I purchased at the National Gallery of Ireland shop earlier this month. I adore that shop – sometimes I spend more time browsing and reading in it rather than the gallery itself.

I’m not sure if this painting is from the National Gallery of Ireland’s own collection, or if it’s actually Cicely Mary Barker’s work, but it looks like it could be one of hers? I thought it was lovely.

It was also a bit of an extravagant purchase for me at the time, as I didn’t need another mirror – a sign of how I was charmed by the picture and most particularly, the artistic idea that I longed to be re-connection to.

And now that I’ve started looking at flower fairies again, I think it would be absolutely wonderful to put together outfits inspired by particular fairies (starting with Barker’s creations). I really like green and the Willow Fairy, however I’m also thinking of using white dresses which would be so well suited for summer air.

The Vintage 80s skirt with geometric print:

(Blouse: thrifted

Skirt: vintage 80s, Pretty Bones Jefferson

Shoes: Zara black fabric heels

Earrings: vintage clip-ons

Gloves: vintage 80s, Lucy’s Lounge Dublin

Bag: vintage, available at Pretty Bones Jefferson soon)

(Photos by JEG)

4

The Shrine

I owe John William Waterhouse a great deal for helping me come to terms with my hair. For years I was bothered with my hair for being quite straight, fine and limp, until I came across Waterhouse’s paintings and noticed that many of his characters had hair not unlike mine. Nowadays whenever I start to feel uncomfortable with my hair I think “Waterhouse”, “Waterhouse”!

This photoshoot was probably unconsciously influenced by a Waterhouse’s painting, The Shrine. I’ve now noticed the stairs, too.

“The Shrine”, John William Waterhouse, 1895

I wonder why Waterhouse has called his painting “The Shrine”, however. I do remember that I hadn’t expected the title when I first found it out. I didn’t find the scene solemnly religious or ritualistic – but maybe the place is part of a shrine, or the scene itself is a shrine?

(Hair clip: high street

Dress: vintage 60s green floral sundress, available at shop.

Shoes: New Look, second-hand)
(Photos by JEG)

2

Ophelia Passing (Ophelia 2)

(Ophelia, John Everett Millais 1852)

(Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1)

HAMLET

Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner
transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the
force of honesty can translate beauty into his
likeness: this was sometime a paradox, but now the
time gives it proof. I did love you once.

OPHELIA

Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

HAMLET

You should not have believed me; for virtue cannot
so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of
it: I loved you not.

OPHELIA

I was the more deceived.

HAMLET

Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a
breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest;
but yet I could accuse me of such things that it
were better my mother had not borne me: I am very
proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offences at
my beck than I have thoughts to put them in,
imagination to give them shape, or time to act them
in. What should such fellows as I do crawling
between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves,
all; believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery.

So here are the rest of the photos from the Ophelia photoshoot. Much happenings have passed since my Ophelia post. I’m still (happily) slaving away at the boutique, and I’m two weeks older. I think I really should go and re-read the original script of Hamlet, because many of the interpretations sadden me a little. We’ve finally finished watching Laurence Oliver’s 1948 film version of Hamlet this week, which I must say wasn’t an entirely satisfying experience. I was unsure about several cuts that he made from the original play, but that I can’t comment on intelligently until I’ve studied the play again. Though course I’m bearing a personal grudge towards Olivier for not letting Vivien Leigh play Ophelia on grounds of her age, which seems to me strange if he didn’t have concerns of the same degree for his own age. There was for me a bit of unintended comic moments, perhaps resulting from the film’s Film Noir tendencies. And poor Jean Simmons(otherwise a very, very pretty girl) was sometimes disturbing to behold (methinks not in the intended way).

But there, I’m launching into a (slightly bitter) review. That I should not do, until I’ve educated myself well enough to know what I speak. For now it should suffice to say that I’ll probably have more good times reading about Ophelia. And I may do a review of the film in time. I also hope to find more relevant images for my Ophelia Pinterest picture board.

The above excerpt from Hamlet Act 3 contains one of the quotes that often surface to my mind: “Get thee to a nunnery”. I wonder whether by her drowning, Ophelia has gotten herself into a nunnery.

And I personally entertain the thought and vision of Ophelia, safe and dry, watching herself passing in the water as if it’s another self or life. If the maiden’s life was as elusive as her death was, and if she had never really lived while she was alive, then it may as well be that she never died.

(Hamlet Act 4, Scene 5)

OPHELIA
They bore him barefaced on the bier;
Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny;
And in his grave rain’d many a tear:–
Fare you well, my dove!

(Photos by JEG)

6

Ophelia

(Photos by JEG)

There is a willow grows aslant a brook,

That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;

There with fantastic garlands did she come

Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples

That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,

But our cold maids do dead men’s fingers call them:

There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds

Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;

When down her weedy trophies and herself

Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;

And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:

Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;

As one incapable of her own distress,

Or like a creature native and indued

Unto that element: but long it could not be

Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,

Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay

To muddy death.

(Hamlet Act 5, Scene7)

I had bought my first copy of Hamlet when I was fourteen while on a trip. It was also likely the first Shakespeare play that I had read from beginning to end in the original. I wonder how at the bookshop I had chosen it over the other plays, but I could have known something of Laurence Olivier’s old film production – in fact I must have read about the film somewhere and the Prince of Denmark must have been on my mind from that source and other far, far earlier ones.

I remember that it was a lovely cover from Bantam Classics, with a painting of Hamlet and Ophelia, which I did find and still do find a little curious, since Hamlet is Hamlet and not Romeo and Juliet. But I guess I liked seeing both of the young people there instead the Prince of Denmark only. And maybe because of the book cover, I’ve always thought of Hamlet as he himself plus Ophelia.

The death scene of Ophelia gives a strong image, which to me always appears in a pale palette, with striking whites and greens. which was the main idea of Victorian theatre designs for the play, too. I think her death, because it is vague and perplexing, and because the curious report of it; is of a most haunting kind. She eluded the audience both when she is sane and “insane”, and her death is even more elusive. If it was suicide, then it calls to mind Edith Wharton’s Miss Lily Bart in The House of Mirth, in that “is this suicide”? or “an accident”? – it must be both, as the character herself cannot decide and the writer is unwilling to tell, except the opposite of truth.

That is if Ophelia’s death is completely self-induced. But here opinions must arise again, when one remembers the sinister court that she is surrounded by. Yesterday I came across a blog post that suggests Hamlet’s mother, the Queen Gertrude, to be the murderer of the fair maiden; the only question of the theory being, what could have been the motive? to which I cannot form my own answers definitely except through impressions, and one of my deepest impressions of the play, when I first read it, is this:

HAMLET

    Lady, shall I lie in your lap?

    (Lying down at OPHELIA’s feet)

OPHELIA

    No, my lord.

HAMLET

    I mean, my head upon your lap?

OPHELIA

    Ay, my lord.

HAMLET

    Do you think I meant country matters?

OPHELIA

    I think nothing, my lord.

HAMLET

    That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs.

So yes, I would agree that the truth is not plain.

Then two years ago I became an admirer of Elizabeth Siddal, who was one of the first and most famous of the Pre-Raphaelite models and later the wife of Dante Rossetti as well as a poet and artist herself. But she is often most known for being portrayed as Ophelia in Millais’s painting, which is now in the British Tate Museum and possibly the most famous painting of Ophelia’s death.

Other classical paintings of Ophelia can be seen here in this Wikipedia article.

(Ophelia, John Everett Millais 1852)

Recently I re-developed an interest in Ophelia when I was putting up last week’s new listing at the shop. It was a close-fitting long pink gown with bishop sleeves and front buttons from the 1960s but very much in the 1940s style,  and it reminded me of some of the stage costumes that Vivien Leigh wore, especially her Ophelia in the 1937 Hamlet. I wouldn’t say that the dress was in any way resembling Vivien’s costume bit for bit – I think it was the spirit and style conveyed by the close-fitting bodice, long sleeves, and sweeping skirt…and of course dusty rose would always be a natural choice for Ophelia. You can still see the listing here with the original photos at the shop.

(Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in Hamlet stage production, 1937)

Because the gown at the shop was such as a lovely one, I thought that it really deserved a better photoshoot; but then it sold on Saturday (of which I can hardly complain!), so there was no need to take more photos. However, it got me thinking about Ophelia and Ophelia dresses, and I realised how one of the recent outfits that I had blogged, the “Birds of Lake” white gown, could as well be Ophelia-themed, especially considering that the photos was taken near water, and it just struck me how long Ophelia had been out of my mind, that I did not associate the scene with her at all. But once she was back on my mind, I started developing a slight obsession and thought her river/brook scene would be such a great theme for a photoshoot. So on Sunday when I was heading out for the shop photoshoot and putting on this green floral dress of mine, I suddenly realised that this very dress would make a perfect Ophelia-impression outfit, with the printed little blossoms  resembling Ophelia’s flowers, such as depicted by Millais in his painting with Miss Elizabeth Siddal.

And with the addition of a vintage flower wreath, the image was quite complete.

This dress, which has been in my possession for some one or two years, happens to be one of my favourite. It is vintage 1960s with a back metal zipper (why don’t we use such nice metal zippers anymore?), and I had always thought it quite Edwardian, too.

I had come across quite a number of contemporary Ophelia-themed photography and art projects while re-researching the Hamlet/Ophelia related artworks last week, so I guess the interest in the elusive maiden is a shared one. I’ve created a picture board dedicated to such artworks and projects here on my Pinterest – and I’ll keep adding to it! Speaking of which – this is the first time that I’m actually appreciating Pinterest’s and finding it really, really useful for keeping these pictures in one place while retaining links to their original sources. I find the re-enactment of Ophelia in bathtubs in some of the art projects particularly inspiring – after all, the bathtub is a convenient choice with an unmissable contemporary spin and we all know that Millais did have to put Elizabeth Siddal (fully dressed of course) in a bathtub to model for his Ophelia painting; but my bathtub is really just a bathtub and nowhere artistic, so we went to the canal instead for these photos.

(There are a few more photos from the shoot that I think I’ll put in another post.)

OPHELIA

    [Sings]
    You must sing a-down a-down,
    An you call him a-down-a.
    O, how the wheel becomes it! It is the false
    steward, that stole his master’s daughter.

LAERTES

    This nothing’s more than matter.

OPHELIA

    There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray,
    love, remember: and there is pansies. that’s for thoughts.

LAERTES

    A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted.

OPHELIA

    There’s fennel for you, and columbines: there’s rue
    for you; and here’s some for me: we may call it
    herb-grace o’ Sundays: O you must wear your rue with
    a difference. There’s a daisy: I would give you
    some violets, but they withered all when my father
    died: they say he made a good end,–

    Sings
    For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.

(Hamlet Act 4, Scene 5)

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1

A 1940s holiday and a thought on Rita Hayworth

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

Shirt: Betu

Belt: vintage 80s, Lavil’s Collection

Skirt: vintage 70s, Endora, available at 24 USD here at Pretty Bones Jefferson Boutique

Shoes: Aldo

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.

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