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A Flapper Dream

*Top now available in Pretty Bones Jefferson Boutique here!

These were taken a couple of weeks ago for the listing of this flapper top in my boutique, and I’ve held them for a while because not many shots did the piece justice. The light was a little difficult on the day, as it was late in the afternoon and a cloudy day. The greying dome was was sending down drizzles intermittently as it often does in Dublin around the year, so there was a good bit of nervous watching of the sky.

Top: vintage 80s Chello (London)

Skirt: altered from an A|Wear empire waist top

I do have a not-so-slight fascination with the 1920s flapper dress style, as I’m sure many of us do. To me it was the beginning of modern fashion, when corsets were set aside, big skirts diminished, hems went up, and everything became less structured and less strait-jacketed. I can totally understand the explanations for the origin of the word “flapper” that associates it with the birds’ flapping wings, as the light fabric and fringes of this fashion, cut generously, do hang and flap around one’s body as one moves, and one feels either like a bird or being covered in birds.

And because it’s the start of modern silhouettes, flapper makes me feel slightly unconfident or perhaps more accurately, unready, as due to my fashion education from my Victorian-child-novel-loving mother and my own involvement with Victorian-themed projects, I really seem to have been invested mostly in the Victorian silhouette, with defined waists and big, generous skirts. My collection vintage and modern clothes are often based on the idea of the Victorian revival, though I’ve also recently started taking more inspiration from the Edwardian era which has been giving me a lot outfit ideas but which, is another story.

I often doubt if I am the right body type for flapper dresses – because for some reason I feel as if I ought to have a flatter physique for them, or I would not look boyish enough? Or maybe I’m just not getting used to my look in drop waist yet – it’s difficult!

But I actually felt quite at ease with this flapper outfit, maybe because I had a little more control around the waist region where I had the skirt underneath sitting on my waist. But the overall layered look is that of a drop waist with a lot of “flap”. I liked how this top can be combined with other skirts of different lengths and cuts to create an almost infinite range of different “dress looks”. It was a a great find from one of my recent sourcing trips, and I just picked it up because I liked the material and tailoring, but it was JEG who saw in an instant that it was decidedly in 20s style.

I’m quite fond and proud of the black chiffon skirt used in this outfit, as I had altered it from a A|Wear top and it was something that I really needed. It was an empire waist and somehow didn’t fit me very well, but I liked the flow of the chiffon and decide to just get rid of the part above the high waist to turn it into a skirt (some sewing was involved). It’s a great basic piece and I’ve also sometimes worn it as a short petticoat.

If you’d like to see more photos of the top and outfit (somewhat more matter-of-fact shots) and the measurements, it’s listed in the Pretty Bones Jefferson shop here. It really is a darling and, I think, a great piece to add some flapping flair to any wardrobe and a quick step into the 1920s world.

(Photos by JEG)

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*Please subscribe to this blog, check out my Pretty Bones Jefferson Boutique on Etsy, and follow on Facebook and Twitter for more vintage and original fashion!

2

Etsy Treasury List: Memorial Day Blue and Red

I was featured in this list of red, white, and blue Memorial Day gifts by Michelle Hawkins from wirequeen on Etsy!…Or to be more exact, it’s my shop’s vintage 70s navy blue pleated skirt

‘Hurrah For the Red White and Blue’ by wirequeen

Gifts to celebrate Memorial Day.


Wirewrapped Earrings Red Que…

$40.00

Spa Bath Soak – Lilac And La…

$10.75

Pearls Of Wisdom

$32.00

4th of July Star Glycerin So…

$7.50

70s – 40s style navy blue pl…

$24.00

FREE SHIPPING red shawl,wome…

$75.00

Maraschino Red Lampwork Spac…

$12.00

Patriotic Red White and Blue…

$6.00

Red crochet purse with owl l…

$35.00

His and Her Mr and Mrs. key …

$20.00

Sheer Wedding Handkerchief H…

$9.00

Get Well Gift Aromatherapy H…

$19.50

stained glass heart, suncatc…

$22.95

Patriotic Inspiration Red Wh…

$3.75

Reversible Baby Bib – Red, W…

$6.50

The Best Is Yet To Come, Fra…

$40.00

Treasury tool supported by the dog house

Aren’t these such refreshing, summery colours? It’s also reminding me of Independence Day and Old Home Week in Edith Wharton’s novel Summer; of hot, sunny summer days, with parlours of cooling drinks, a little dusty.

One afternoon toward the end of August a group of girls sat in a room at Miss Hatchard’s in a gay confusion of flags, turkey-red, blue and white paper muslin, harvest sheaves and illuminated scrolls.

Memorial Day 2012 was 28th of May, but I’m pretty sure that this list will be useful again in the US for Independence Day in July, and if any town is having an Old Home Week? Or just any day – we love red, white, and blue.

Here in Ireland there is usually potentially the Remembrance Day, with red poppies; but it’s in November.

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*Please subscribe to this blog, check out my http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HowthPretty Bones Jefferson Boutique on Etsy, and follow on Facebook and Twitter for more vintage and original fashion!

0

Etsy Treasury List: Marshmallow Home

I was going to write a note about a sweet Etsy treasury list that Anne-Marie O’Rourke, from the Etsy Ireland team, has made which features one of the vintage dresses from my boutique; and I had meant to do it right after I had seen the list, because it happens with Etsy treasury lists that sometimes when an item listing is changed or de-activated, it disappears from the list, leaving the carefully curated list visually incomplete. But alas! I got busy and worried about the gig that I was playing on the 29th of April, and I let it slip through, so that today when I went back to check on the treasury, it was missing one item already.

However, better late than never. So here it is. It was a rainy week in Dublin when Anne-Marie posted the treasury list, and I thought it was just such a comfort to see these soft pink and light pastel colours. And it was an honour to be the only dress in the diverse list!

‘Marshmallow home’ by byAMOR

Crafty Ireland Team rocks!


Arklow Pottery soup tureen i…

$70.00

Small Midcentury Lamp. Adjus…

$155.00

Vintage Wooden Box. Hand Pai…

$30.00

Vintage French Style Cream C…

$618.00

80s – Spanish Clouds – 60s s…

$31.00

Vintage Wooden Rule. School …

$10.00

German solifleur vase in sha…

$30.00

Lavender Bags, 2 Dried Laven…

$4.00

Ivory Wedding Favor Handbag …

$2.11

Vintage kimono silk fabric i…

$17.99

White stud earrings – Vintag…

$8.00

Bead Woven Peach Amber Quart…

$56.00

Eco friendly hanging mosaic,…

$25.00

Cream & Beige Fleck Aran Men…

$15.00

Dusky Pink Single Rosebud Fa…

$45.00

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio

Here’s my shop’s vintage tan dress, 80s made in Spain.

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*Please subscribe to this blog, check out my Pretty Bones Jefferson Boutique on Etsy, and follow on Facebook and Twitter for more vintage and original fashion!

3

My Etsy Treasury: Claudia (The Vampire Chronicles) 1

I just made a new treasury list of lovely things that are for sale from different shops on Etsy. This time it’s about Claudia from Interview with the Vampire, the child vampire with the angelic face and many pretty things.

I was reading the book in February when I was writing my college thesis under great pressure (on another topic), having found the book on Monsieur JEG‘s shelf.  I just finished reading the third book in the series yesterday, skipping the second because it hasn’t come my way; which I obtained through an encounter with BookCrossing on Sunday as I mentioned in the blog post earlier this week, and which brought back to my mind Claudia.

I can’t say about the second book in the series as I haven’t read it, but compared to the third, I think the first in the series, Interview with the Vampire, will probably always be the greater inspiration; because of the attraction that the 18th century and American South hold for me, and maybe because it was just a better written story with more mystery. The film adaption, too, has been a valuable addition to the imagination.

I must also add that the fourth item in the list, which is the vintage 70s green taffeta gown from a wonderful lady ForgottenMuse‘s shop, was also a main inspiration for this treasury list – when she had first posted the dress sometime ago (was it on Facebook?), I thought, my, how it reminded me of Interview with the Vampire!

I had started with many more items for the treasury and it was difficult to let go of any one of them, so I think I may continue the theme (which is the reason why the treasury is called Claudia “(The Vampire Chronicles) 1”) and put together a few more lists for Claudia, if I should obtain some favourable responses. After all, the little lady and her guardians were attentive to detail, and their elegance was endless.


Vintage Silver Gilloche Powd…

$68.00

Dollhouse Miniature Flowers …

$63.90

Interview with the Vampire C…

$950.00

70s – My Bonny Sweetheart – …

$148.00

Pink Harlequin Opal Ring Tea…

$65.00

Rose Garden – Paris Roses 8x…

$22.00

Girls Silk Dupioni Dress Vin…

$729.00

vintage 1930s art deco brooc…

$58.00

For Her, Mom, Wedding Rhines…

$98.00

1950s Wide Crocheted Rhinest…

$34.00

vintage 80s Mike Benet teal …

$55.00

Vintage Brooch Forget Me Not…

$13.50

1950’s brush and mirror …

$10.00

NEW ITEM-French Script-Lovel…

$3.99

White hanky w/ purple floral…

$3.50

FRENCH CHAIRS Aubusson tape…

$795.00

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio

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*Please subscribe to this blog, check out my http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HowthPretty Bones Jefferson Boutique on Etsy, and follow on Facebook and Twitter for more vintage and original fashion!

2

For the boutique: photos of the Laura Ashley “Blue Velvet Waterhouse” dress

*Now available in the shop!

It’s the full post for the Laura Ashley “Blue Velvet Waterhouse” dress, finally. I’ve got quite a number of photos to add! Well maybe not going to turn out very editorial, but as the dress is a boutique item, I’d risk erring on the side of posting too many photos.

Dress: vintage 80s Laura Ashley, UK made, available at the Pretty Bones Jefferson boutique

Gloves: vintage 50s, from Vintage Ireland‘s vintage fair at the Freemason’s Hall

Shoes: REDZ

But before I do, here’s a famous John William Waterhouse painting that I’d like to share, as an explanation why I’ve been calling this Laura Ashley velvet dress “Blue Velvet Waterhouse”. JEG, my wonderful photographer in this venture, was the one who thought of that the images of the Laura Ashley were quite “Waterhouse” during the photoshoot last week.

Miranda, The Tempest, John William Waterhouse 1916

I thought it a really lucky coincidence that we should happen to discover the “higher aesthetic” of this dress, since I had set out for the photoshoot without any definite concept or plan except to get practical photos of the dress, and possibly because I was focusing on the “Laura Ashley” attribute of the dress so much, it hadn’t crossed my mind that it’s actually just ever so slightly Pre-Raphaelite. But why of course! how could I have forgotten their massive use of velvet in the paintings?

One of the Waterhouse paintings that came to my mind was this one, “The Crystal Ball”, which I had a chance to see in another big town a few years ago when it was on a tour exhibition, before I had had an idea who the Pre-Raphaelites are. Look at the velvet.

(Now I could probably start talking about how George Lucas must have been inspired by this painting too, but then I digress.)

The Crystal Ball, 1902

As usual as for the boutique listings, I’m going to put up some headless photos, just to show the dress. This dress is actually a bit large for me overall, and I imagine it would look even more flattering on someone of the right size.

And some close-ups including ones that I won’t be able to fit onto the Etsy listing. As you may have noticed, the dress has two little flaws – one is that a button being of a slightly lighter colour than the others (apparently the original button was damaged and a lighter blue velvet fabric was used to replace the covering); and the other is that there was a tiny damage/hole on the back of the dress skirt, which has been repaired so that there is not danger of fraying or the damage getting worse. Here next is a close-up trying to show where the damage is. The fortunate thing is that as the velvet is so deep and rich, and the skirt is wide and pleated; the fault is unnoticeable when the dress is worn. If you click on some of the above photos for a larger view, you may be able to see where the damage is, like a little lighter spot beneath the hip in the centre right.

And the buttons:

I personally think that having a slightly lighter button at the bottom lends an subtle interesting element to the dress and draws attention to the waist, though of course it would depend on personal preference.

I’m going to finish writing up the listing description in a minute and then I’ll add the shop link for this dress to the post! So you’ll be able to read more technical details and see if it’s your size. I suppose I’ll just post one more Waterhouse painting before I finish this post; it’s my favourite, Mariana in the South –

Mariana in the South, John William Waterhouse 1897

I think I’d like to thank Waterhouse many, many times for helping me feel better about my hair.

(Photos of me by JEG.)

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*Please subscribe to this blog, check out my Pretty Bones Jefferson Boutique on Etsy, and follow on Facebook and Twitter for more vintage and original fashion!

2

Coming up in the boutique: the Laura Ashley blue velvet

vintage 80s Laura Ashley blue velvet dress

I’ve been meaning to post this vintage 80s Laura Ashley blue velvet dress in the boutique shop, and finally had time to do the photoshoot during Easter week. Choosing which photos for the listing is quite difficult, though. But here’s a sneak preview!

I’m playing a bit of guitar for one of JEG’s songs at the EEP (yep, it’s spelt “EEP”) launch of our friend Fin O’Brine this evening, so I’m not sure if I’ll get time to finish writing up the listing. But if not today then definitely tomorrow this dress will go up and join the other lovely Laura Ashley dress in my boutique. There’s also a red taffeta Victorian-inspired (but short!) dress with black velvet bodice that I’d like to introduce together with this blue velvet – I’ll blog + facebook the news once they’re ready in the shop.

(Photos by JEG.)

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*Please subscribe to this blog, check out my Pretty Bones Jefferson Boutique on Etsy, and follow on Facebook and Twitter for more vintage and original fashion!

1

Coming up in the boutique: a 1970s lilac Edwardian style dress

*Dress is now listed! 34 USD at my shop http://www.etsy.com/listing/96226662/vintage-1970s-dress-lilac-edwardian.

I’ve been spending some time editing the photos of a very special dress. Thought I would list it in my Etsy boutique shop yesterday but the editing took a bit longer. There were so many photos and details to choose from for this dress, and the colour correction was somewhat tricky. The dress is a lovely pure lilac (the waist corsage on the dress is true lilac flower!) with more lavendar in it than blue, but the photos showed too much of a blue tint, which, as I’ve heard fellow Etsians in Ireland exclaim, the strange Irish sunlight is prone to do; now all corrected to actual dress colour.

Where do I start? Well all right a photo. This one is exclusive to the blog (and maybe Facebook).

Vintage 1970s lilac Edwardian dress

And to show the front…

front of dress

This one is perhaps my favourite collage, and you can see the lace as clear as in real life. I’m liking it so much that I’m taking a risk to use it for the front picture on the Etsy listing. It doesn’t show the front of the dress but you do see the bustle trim so nicely. If in a week everybody complains I’ll change it to the above photo or another more conventional collage.

Vintage 1970s lilac Edwardian dress

And some collages to show the various details of the dress – front close-up, back, waist corsage (again, look it’s lilacs!), sleeves (press studs closure), skirt hem.

dress details collage

dress details collage

The flowing skirt.

dress skirt

(I should have done a better ironing job though; I’m always so impatient when it comes to photoshoots).

And finally here are the extra photos that won’t fit onto the Etsy listing.

front of dress

dress

vintage 1970s Edwardian style dress

back of dressfabric

back of dress

back of dress

I’ve been so fascinated by this dress (and would have loved to wear it myself if lilac were my colour; I can’t wear anything purple). This dress was apparently custom-made, and every time I look at it I keep thinking how much work it must have been to put this dress together perfectly. The high neck collar and cuff sleeves alone would have greatly confounded me. There is also much of hand-sewn finishing touches at the hem which must have taken much, much time and care.

In addition to everything else, I especially like the bustle trim at the waist which is so handsomely cut, and the trimming white lace is something to take note of – I mean, there’s discreetly so much of it! The pattern is unusual and so elegantly lovely, with a leaf and flower motif that gives an overall impression of sea waves. I was motivated by it today to read up on types of lace though alas, haven’t been able to identify its origins yet. But I’ll keep reading – here seems to be a good place to start – http://gwydir.demon.co.uk/jo/lace/types.htm (she’s got photos of examples which is really helpful).

The dress looks as if it could have been a theatre costume piece or one commissioned for a special occasion. I think it would be great for an Edwardian re-enactment (though for a very serious re-enactment the back zipper will have to be replaced with hooks and eyes), a day dress for something special like Easter, general good wear with a historical flare (I would wear something like this on any sunny day), or even a wedding dress for a lady who loves lilac.

And a good opportunity to refresh my education on Edwardian fashion (before fashion went adolescently boyish in the 20s with the flapper style), which I’ve always thought somewhat more slimly teenagerish in style compared to the Victorian. I loved this that I read today on tudorlinks.com’s article on Edwardian fashion:

The 1890s merge seamlessly with the early 1900s in an age of extravagance and style, appropriately called la Belle Epoque and lasting from approximately 1890 to 1914. This world began to decline by 1914, but the Great War ended it forever. Until then, throughout the early 1900s, fashion enjoyed its last true age of elegance, in what has been described as one long Edwardian summer.

One long Edwardian summer.

And fashion-era.com, as usual, has an enchanting section on “La Belle Époque Edwardian Fashion History”, with lots of notes and enchanting illustrations. Vintagefashionguild.org’s fashion timeline is also a good place to look at and they have photos. I think I’d like to read up more on Edwardian dresses and maybe either make or modify something relevant, especially the eternal slim long white tea gown that films like Picnic at Hanging Rock has made so famous (I’ve finally finished reading the book, by the way; my post earlier this month about some thoughts and impressions of the book and film is here).

I was happy to find a tiny section with photo on the Edwardian ladies’ high neck collar in the Wikipedia article on collars (Just look for “high neck collar” on the page). Also came across this reproduction product of zigzag wires for Edwardian collars on this website called Farthingales Corset Making Supplies, maybe something to remember for if ever I make or mend a dress with an Edwardian high collar…

I found this out-of-print 8375 Simplicity pattern for Victorian and Edwardian bustle dress online and I thought the outfits in the picutre reminded me somewhat of our lilac dress here.

Simplicity 8375 Victorian Edwardian Bustle Dress pattern

There, that’s good. I’ll go and put up the actual shop listing for the dress shortly today, where you can read the measurements and other construction details (and to buy, if you like!). And I promise that it’ll be a good affordable price like all the other dresses in the boutique.

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*Please subscribe to this blog, check out my Pretty Bones Jefferson Boutique on Etsy, and follow on Facebook and Twitter for more vintage and original fashion!

5

The 1920s drop-waist flapper dress (brought on by the Yahoo list of high street versions)

It came up in my Yahoo news yesterday a list of 10 current high street flapper dresses that Yahoo had put together. It was a useful update,  as I haven’t been to high street shops for a while (it’s difficult to make oneself go to high street shops when one can spend so much time looking at the real classic fashion on Etsy and blogs…).  I had been curious to see what high street would be putting out for modern interpretations of the 1920s flapper dress, since interest in the 1920s fashion era seems to have been steadily ascending recently in our quest into past eras for inspirations, and I thought they were sure to do it. The recent great success of the film The Artist has certainly helped, and Yahoo says that the new film for The Great Gatsby is coming up (I thought, what, another one? and I haven’t even seen the older one or read the book yet! My isn’t it tough catching up with the past?). And even before all that, my local retro film club Film Fatale in Dublin did back in December a screening of Singing in the Rain which was 1950s recreating 1920s (and flapper dresses). Then there have been the many TV period series which I unfortunately don’t watch.

It’s actually not a bad list, especially the very last one from Wallis, which is a beige light short dress with gold threading, embroidered embellishment at neck and hem, and sewn-on drop-waist belt. It’s surprisingly authentic-looking (Wallis says that it was taken from their dress pattern archive in the 1927 Swing range), although I’m not sure about the colour pairing in the model photo on Wallis’s product page – ink-blue fur stole and Christmas-red stockings on beige dress? The three colours together just don’t work for me and look rather like a patch-work quilt (the blue and the red would be tricky in the best of situations) and I really hope it’s not Wallis’s idea of how to update a flapper dress – definitely neither glamorous nor rebellious. The dress itself is attractive.

Wallis beaded flapper dress

Wallis beaded flapper dress

That being said for the design, I have to say that the construction and decoration can’t match the real thing, i.e., vintage flapper dresses or the truly meticulously designed and crafted modern recreations, and would run the risk of looking dowdy soon after a few wears. The details (oh the sequins and beads!) on real vintage (now approaching antique) flapper evening dresses are absolutely so (almost terrifyingly) exquisite, like this vintage art deco 20s dress from ForgottenMuse and this other from PomPomClothing on Etsy. And also I would not like so much to run into people wearing the same dress as I, which is always likely to happen with one-piece high street fashion…

Authentic vintage 20s dress from ForgotteMuse

Authentic vintage 20s dress from PomPomClothing

I personally think the flapper style, especially the Art Deco drop-waist beaded evening dress is absolutely fascinating and flamboyant. I’m less fond of the swing fringe dress although they are somewhat easier to wear and I have a vintage one myself. But the drop-waist beaded sheer dress is just…so like a glamourous boy’s vest that it’s absolutely incomparably cool?

And it does take a figure to carry it off.

Louise Brooks

Louise Brooks

Which I thought Bérénice Bejo did an awfully good job at in The Artist this (last) year:

Bérénice Bejo as Poppy Miller in The Artist (2011)

Bérénice Bejo as Poppy Miller in The Artist (2011), dress by Leluxe Clothing

All very admirable. However I myself am somehow perpetually stuck with the Victorian silhouette, as I was telling  Miss Nicole Dotto on Etsy recently. I’d still like a good waist any time of the day or any day of the year…Maybe I just don’t have very flapper-ish manners, or hair, for that matter. I’d be interested to see if I can find a flapper style of my own, maybe a transition between an Edwardian girl and a flapper (which was constantly happening in the real 20s). I guess I’ll need to find that flapper dress – there was this drop-waist vintage 50s but 20s-style dress that I bought from Nicole’s shop on sale last month, which is pearly pink with white three tiers of lace from the hips and mid-calf length – It’s really sweet but I think I may try to beautify it more, , maybe by laying skirt(s) underneath to make it longer and adding more details to the top part. It’ll be an experiment! (in which no part of the dress shall be harmed).

One of the real causes for my now thinking that the flapper style is lovely is Madame Chic de France‘s recent couture creations of flapper dresses. She puts so much research, detail, and craft into the dresses; and they turn out absolutely unbelievably classy and authentic looking. I must say that dresses such as this flapper wedding gown by her have helped restore my faith in the 20s. Soon after having seen her flapper wedding dresses, I started looking at pages such as this Squidoo flappers page and the fashion-era.com’s 1927 weddings page, and it felt like, aha! Victorian creeping into Edwardian creeping into flapper! – at that point I realised that flapper could be just as classy my beloved Victorian and Edwardian.

flapper wedding dress by Madame Chic de France 2012

flapper wedding dress by Madame Chic de France 2012

In closing, I must mention that I found, while writing this post, a limited-edition Topshop 20s dress which is detailed and quite lovely.

Topshop 20 beaded flapper dress

Topshop beaded flapper dress

The beading does look impressively exquisite, and the price knows it, which is 510 USD on the website. Although the Topshop description says it’s pink, the photos look more like a salmon colour and I wish they had explained it better, as it looks like a potentially difficult colour. It certainly is pretty, in any case, although for 510 USD…I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to buy a flapper dress for that much money I would definitely get something vintage whether straight from the 20s or later eras on Etsy rather than Topshop. It’s such a pity that there are not many original 1920s dresses left because the material was often so delicate, but with a bit of money and research, one can still find a good number of stunning real 20s gowns!

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*Please subscribe to this blog, check out my Pretty Bones Jefferson Boutique on Etsy, and follow on Facebook and Twitter for more vintage and original fashion!

2

Books from the Temple Bar Book Market: Picnic at Hanging Rock

I ought to be putting up new listings on my Etsy shop (there are a few dresses that I can’t wait to edit the photos for; big polka dots, more floral, Edwardian dress, and a Middle-Eastern style robe), but I’m a hopeless reader. We stopped by at the Temple Bar Book Market on Sunday, and got these books and more for a little money. These are mine:

Four book covers, Richard Hollis, The House of Mirth, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Oscar Wilde Richard Ellman

[The House of Mirth (1905) by Edith Wharton, Penguin Classics Red edition (2010); Graphic Design, a Concise History by Richard Hollis (2001 edition); Picnic at the Hanging Rock (1967) by Joan Lindsay, Penguin Books (1986); Oscar Wilde (1987) by Richard Ellmann, Penguin Books (1988).]

I was absolutely deliriously delighted with these finds. I’ve always wanted to read more of Edith Wharton’s works since Summer, and the cover of this edition was good-humoured enough to entice me to buy the hard copy rather than go and read  the text online (the usual covers of The House of Mirth seemed to have always turned me off at the last minute); Monsieur spotted the Hollis’s Graphic Design and I liked it instantly (who hasn’t?); and I never, never expected to see Ellmann’s definitive biography of Oscar Wilde there at the market, I’ve been holding the college library copy for needing to check it up constantly yet not quite being able to bring myself to buy a full-price hardcover new copy at the bookshop, now it’s going to be some good news for the library!

But it’s Picnic at Hanging Rock that I meant to talk about. I finished The House of Mirth yesterday afternoon so I started on Picnic at Hanging Rock this morning. I think I’ll like it but I’m still feeling a tentative going into it. I never thought I would read the book before seeing the film. Monsieur is a big fan of the 1975 film; I had only caught glimpses of it on Youtube a few years ago when I was watching Louis Malle’s Pretty Baby (Brooke Shields) and checking for its soundtrack on Youtube, I think, I’m not sure. If it was so it must have been because both of the film were set in Edwardian times (Pretty Baby is later in 1917 and Picnic at Hanging Rock is 1900).

That is, white muslin dresses.

Picnic at Hanging Rock, Joan Lindsay 1967

The back of my book cover says: “On St Valentine’s Day in 1900 a party of schoolgirls [in Macedon Australia] went on a picnic to Hanging Rock. Some were never to return…”

(A friend of mine in Australia said last year, “How incomprehensible it is, that you guys know of an Australian cult film that I hadn’t heard of, and in Victoria too?”)

Nowadays for some reason whenever I think of Picnic at Hanging Rock I think of Liebemarlene saying that there are now great vintage inspired independent fashion labels in Australia (like Lover, Secret Squirrel?), which makes my head go all misty because it just opens up another picture of Australia for me and I sometimes feel as if I could be there, this misty Australia with a summer afternoon and a dry hot horizon, I could know that.

The first page in my book:

Joan Lindsay was born in Melbourne, where she went to school as a day-girl for a few years at Clyde Girls Grammar, then situated in East St Kilda. She knew and loved the Macedon district from early childhood.

In 1922 in London she married Sir Daryl Lindsay. The Lindsays travelled together in Europe and the U.S.A, Daryl with his paints and Joan with her typewriter. Sir Daryl died in 1976. Joan lived at their country home on the Mornington Peninsula, Mulberry Hill, Victoria, Australia. She died in December 1984.

I still define my feelings about the film by this tribute with the original soundtrack on Youtube that I was posting on Facebook last year, where in the end one of the girls quotes:

“Miranda used to say, that everything begins, and ends, exactly the right time and place.”

Miranda is the girl on the book cover, and, If you knew me from before, she used to be a namesake of mine.

Monsieur says, it’s a brilliant soundtrack.

But now back to more dress listings. If I have time to fix my 70s Edwardian style white tea gown, I think it would be appropriate for Picnic at Hanging Rock…

“Are we all present, Mademoiselle? Good. Well, young ladies, we are indeed fortunate in the weather for our picnic to Hanging Rock. I have instructed Mademoiselle that as the day is likely to be warm, you may remove your gloves after the drag has passed through Woodend. You will partake of luncheon at the Picnic Grounds near the Rock. Once again let me remind you that the Rock itself is extremely dangerous and you are therefore forbidden to engage in any tomboy foolishness in the matter of exploration, even on the lower slopes. It is, however, a geological marvel on which you will be required to write a brief essay on Monday morning. I also wish to remind you that the vicinity is renowned for its venomous snakes and poisonous ants of various species. I think that is all. Have a pleasant day and try to behave yourselves in a matter to bring credit to the College. I shall expect you back, Miss McCraw and Mademoiselle, at about eight o’clock for a light supper.”

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