Behind the seams with Frances Gore of Mintage

This week Natasha goes behind the seams with “the Singer Sewing Machine” Frances Gore from Mintage.

Auckland-based Frances Gore comes from a long line of crafters, makers and artists.

Having collected vintage fabrics since the age of 14, the talented seamstress and singing teacher has always had a passion for making and exploring the tradition, stories and skills behind antiques, collectables and vintage.

Her label Mintage specialises in one-off bespoke garments crafted from authentic vintage fabrics so you can be confident you’ll never find someone swanning around in the exact same dress!

You name it, she makes it; whether it’s a set of Art Deco-inspired beach pajamas, a Dior style style gown, a sixties mini dress or  a piece of 1940s-style knitwear.

“Often, all the customer provides is an image, so its off to our extensive vintage pattern library to investigate. Or it may involve grading a pattern off an existing favourite vintage garment,” she says.

Frances loves the understated but powerful glamour of the 1930s and 40s styles and says that although the patterns may be more complex, there’s no substitute for good tailoring.

Read on to find out more!

32928245_1700113950082197_760596467118243840_n

Portrait of a seamstress: By Emmy Lou Photography.

How would you describe your aesthetic? 

Personally, I feel “less is more.” The understated but powerful glamour of the 30s and 40s resounds with me most. However, each customer has their own aesthetic and it’s important to respect that and work with it in their choice of fashion decade, whether its 1920s, 1970s or anything in between. 

patts

Do you mainly make dresses or do you make other pieces as well? 

We do everything ! Beach pyjamas, dresses, coats – often, all the customer provides is an image, so its off to our extensive vintage pattern library to investigate. Or it may involve grading a pattern off an existing favourite vintage garment. 

Frances Gore

Frances Gore photo by Emmy Lou Photography.

How long have you been making things? Were you always creative/ crafty as a youngster? 

I was very fortunate to have grown up in a family of crafters, makers and artists. We have a long tradition of “makers” going back generations.

My grandmother’s sister was a tailor at Milne and Choyce in the mid 1800s in Auckland , and my grandmother and Mother taught all her daughters to knit, sew and embroider. I drew almost non-stop as a child, in between crafting, calligraphy, and tagging along with my older siblings to art galleries, rock concerts and plays. 

IMG_2350_2How did you learn to sew? Did you study fashion design or are you self-taught? 

I originally trained as a graphic artist, working in the printing industry for 15 years, but always sewed. Much later, creating around the Playcentre table with my offspring, I rediscovered the ever-tempting question… “I wonder if I could make that ?” 

47310887_1969702336456689_3601239462475988992_n

With the children at school, I did my time contracting and outworking. Then I was lucky enough to work for Gill Ward, mending and altering her amazing garments at Victorian Gilt and producing dresses for her, in her favourite fabrics.

You learn so very much from studying vintage garment construction. My skills experienced a major up-grade, compliments of the amazing Hillary Hines.

Hillary had worked for Anne Barlow, Anne McKay and Phil Brady in the 80’s in NZ and then for Margaret Howell, Nick Coleman and the Katherine Hamnett label in the UK. She patiently showed me the many errors of my ways, and shared her extensive knowledge and skill level.

It was then that friends, neighbours and strangers inquired as to where I had purchased what I was wearing and the orders have been coming in steadily since 2008. Exposure/sales  jumped forward after presenting on Facebook from 2013. 

_MG_0968 How did the idea for your label come about? 

I wanted a name that would reflect our predominant use of vintage fabrics, and the fact that we’re creating a new garment from them. 

One of my daughter’s friends commented on a dress, “oh ! that’s very MINTAGE “- and thus the name was born, along with our by-line ‘ Breathing new life into vintage treasures”

44810197_1914402305320026_5921420081841045504_n

It’s not until care, attention and love are shown to these wonderful fabrics, that they can start a new story with our customers.

mintweed2

lace2

What are your creative inspirations? 

Schiaparelli, Chanel, Balenciaga, Dior, Claire McCardell,  Miuccia Prada, Madeleine Vionnet, the Bauhaus Movement, 30s Hollywood glamour, my mother’s style in 1940s New Zealand. The Art History studied during Design School stands me in very good stead. 

40547569_1849239311836326_1373993585979949056_n

How has your taste and work evolved over time? 

I look back at garments I made even five years ago and can see all the things I could have done better. I’m always making notes and reflecting on how to improve the quality and method, researching and referencing vintage originals for this. 

47240022_1964231050337151_215749384237744128_n

The “holy grail” of a perfect fit for customers has been 20 years in the making. A series of measurements is just the start; there has to be ‘ease”, ‘negative ease’, the weight and content of the fabric and so many other factors to consider. I want my customers to celebrate their own individual size as perfect, and not to be confined to a mythical construct of size 6- 22. 

jobak3
 
What’s the first piece you remember making? 

An outfit for the favourite teddy bear. (This then had to be surgically rescued by my mother ! ) 

IMG_1430What are your top sellers? 

Probably the 30s and 40s style dresses, the patterns for these are more complex but often more flattering.  Having said that, our bespoke hand-knits that we started offering two years ago have been extremely popular. And then there’s the new brooches …. 

untitled

Are the majority of orders custom made/ one offs? 

Yes. Our customers do NOT want to turn up to events in cookie-cutter vintage. If ever we have enough fabric for two outfits, I check with the initial customer for clearance.

32293612_1692592654167660_8597808242011144192_n

Usually, there is only enough of the vintage fabric for one unique garment. Finish and quality is paramount. The inside-out should be just as beautiful as the exterior. Often this quality is sacrificed in industry, when a greater number of products is being made at a time.  

fabrics

Tell me about the process involved in making Mintage pieces. What materials do you use? And how long does each piece take to make? 

We work mostly with vintage fabrics that customers choose from our stock. They are also welcome to bring their own chosen fabric. Pattern and fabric choices are discussed and an initial toile is made up in each customer’s size. This helps with future orders. 

Completion time is dependent on the complexity of the pattern. Our busy order schedule is also a factor. Some pieces might be two – three hours work, but the Palm Springs tiki competition outfits for a lovely couple took a lot longer ! It really depends on the type of commission. 

41807098_1864018097025114_5665577680406315008_n

What do you enjoy most about what you do? 

Seeing the surprise and joy of customers who never realized what bona-fide tailoring could do for them. There’s also an intense satisfaction in nailing a particularly difficult make. The standard benchmark question in the workroom is: “does this garment say “HELLO ! “ to you ?”

I believe that focused attention generates a “sound,” as does the amazing Vintage fabrics we work with. It’s that, that speaks to you when you look at a well-made garment. 

44300769_1905471249546465_1842359988652081152_n
What do you do when you’re not making things? 

Standard family joke – I am the “Singer Sewing Machine”, I also teach singing. I’m a huge fan of art song, musical theatre, jazz and contemporary. 

42769452_1877975582296032_4472842610649595904_o
Finish this sentence: Handmade is best because………..

the agency of touch, fine attention and love is communicated through this skill. “Where the hand goes, the eye follows, where the eye goes, the mind follows, where the mind follows, the heart follows, and thus is born expression”

Where can people learn more about your work and purchase their own pieces? 

Visit us on the MINTAGE Facebook page or contact us on 021 255 0241.

We run on an appointment basis to provide customers an individual and optimum personal service. 

533581_480146372078967_843540771_n

 

Something old, Something strange…

In this edition of Believe It Or Not Laura Macfehin looks into the strange superstitions surrounding wedding dresses!

Recently I was lucky enough to see Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film Phantom Thread.

I had been a little nervous that the plot might be a bit Pygmalion-ish (which is one of my all time most hated storylines) but it wasn’t, thank goodness.

Instead it was an obsessively beautiful fever dream set inside a fictional and chilly couture house in 1950s London.

There was, obviously, lots of sewing which was great for me, as sewing is one of my favourite things to do/watch/think about.

phantom-thread-daniel-day-lewis

Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps in Phantom Thread

Wedding dresses play a central role in the story (as they do in real life couture houses), and the couturier, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, tells his new muse of some of the superstitions surrounding them.

In particular he tells of how his terrible nanny wouldn’t help him sew a wedding dress for his mother for fear that she would not then marry herself, and of how young models don’t wish to model them in case they marry a bald man.

These stories got me thinking of some of the weird superstitions I had heard around wedding dresses, a garment that has been loaded up with some fairly heavy symbology over the years.

1515544955_phantom_thread_unit_dress

Seamstresses prepare a wedding dress fit for a Princess in Phantom Thread

Oh no she didn’t!

First, let us do a little low-key myth-busting.  No- Queen Victoria did not ‘invent’ the white wedding dress as some people put about.  Although she certainly gave it a boost in the popularity stakes white wedding dresses were around before Victoria tied the knot with her cousin Albert (this is just talking about the Western European tradition of bridal wear, because of course Shinto brides have been wearing white for centuries).

She chose white because she wanted to make a feature of the Honiton lace that swathed the otherwise quite subdued satin gown, and support British cottage industries which were suffering at the time. Her gown was hugely influential and the Devon lace-makers certainly benefitted from her choice.

Queen_Victoria

Queen Vic in her wedding dress

She was not the first royal to marry in white.  A couple of decades earlier Princess Charlotte had married in a stunning regency gown of silver and white.

1816-princess-charlottes-3

Princess Charlotte’s 1816 wedding dress

And as many (including historical novelist Loretta Chase here) have pointed out- white wedding dresses were already quite in vogue; as these ladies magazine fashion plates from the 1830s demonstrate.

 

 

Which brings us to our second bit of myth-busting (or perhaps it is more like myth-tweaking? Anyway).  And that is addressing the idea that the symbolism of white as equalling chastity is an ancient one.  The reason aristocracy (and those wealthy enough to imitate them) had traditionally chosen white was because it is so impractical.  Most women throughout history (and even up until the end of the 1940s) married in their ‘best’ frock.

Even if they had a new dress or suit for the occasion (and sometimes employers would foot the bill or provide a hand-me-down of good quality) it was generally expected by most women that they would get more than one days wear out of their wedding outfit.

In the days before dry cleaners a white silk gown was the height of luxury, because it said to the observer I can afford to wear something new that I never expect to wear again.

shutterstock_110539385.jpg

A 1950s bride and groom

Historically blue had been the colour that signalled ‘purity’ and innocence-hence Our Lady’s blue garb.  The Late Victorians (wouldn’t you know it) were the ones who got caught up on the virginal brides thing and made the link between chastity and wearing white.

Certainly until the 1950s it remained common to marry in whatever colour you fancied (within some limits as we will see).

It perhaps not a surprise that in the 1950s, a time when both consumerism and gender conformity both spiked, there was a huge uptake on the notion of a white wedding dress as a one-wear garment.

shutterstock_114452044

Colour me lucky

Although marrying in a colour other than white was not unusual, that is not to say the were no superstitions around colour choice!

In Scotland, green was considered so unlucky it was not only banned from the bridal party but also from guests and even wedding decor.  As the following rhyme shows there could be repercussions for brides flighty enough to go with their own taste over folklore.

Married in White, you have chosen right,

Married in Grey, you will go far away,

Married in Black, you will wish yourself back,

Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,

Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,

Married in Blue, you will always be true,

Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,

Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,

Married in Brown, you will live in the town,

Married in Pink, you spirit will sink.

 
 
Different fabrics have different superstitious connotations as well.  In most traditions silk is lucky, satin unlucky and velvet will result in poverty!
 
It is not surprising that so much superstition should surround weddings.  In a time before divorces were attainable and property rights for women largely nil, there was a lot riding on making a decent marriage.  Brides really needed luck to be on their side.
 

I should be so lucky

This is where some of the weirder superstitions come in.  Although I scream inside to write it, it has long been held lucky in English folklore to find a spider inside your wedding dress (one would hope before the frock goes over your head).  This probably dates back to Roman times– the Romans considered spiders very lucky and used to carry spider charms around with them to aid in business transactions.

pcspidergl

Old postcard with a good luck spider

In other animal related luck– if a bride should find a cat eating from her left shoe a week before she is married then that is also hugely lucky.  And, you know, really probable without any highly involved orchestration.

The Evil Eye

Other superstitions built into the choosing and constructing of wedding clothes tend to be more about diverting bad luck.  Much of this is seems to come from people’s paranoia around hubristic displays of good fortune or happiness in public, with a little bit of not counting your chickens thrown in for good measure.

The wedding veil is a good example of this.  Although some point to the veil’s utility in keeping the bride’s face a surprise in arranged marriages, it actually has an older and more talismanic function, which was to ward off the evil eye from jealous onlookers or angry gods.

shutterstock_156893081

This 1960s bride easily deflects bad hoodoo with her nifty shoulder-length veil

In the not counting your chickens basket it has been considered unlucky to complete your outfit too far ahead of time.  Ideally the last stitches should be sewn (by the bride’s mother) just before she walks down the aisle.  Some dressmakers still leave a little bit of hem unstitched for this purpose.

When it comes to the construction of wedding dresses there is a whole bevy of superstitions.  Some (possibly dressmakers looking to protect their business) say that it is unlucky for a woman to sew her own wedding dress, and that every stitch she sews will be a tear she sheds in the marriage.

 

 

 

shutterstock_578658895

In the seamstress’s workshop

Within the couturier’s workshop there are plenty more superstitions that come into play with the sewing of wedding dresses.  A common one is for unwed seamstresses to sew a hair of their’s into a seam of the dress.  This is meant to ensure they will marry themselves.  Sometimes, to secure the bride’s good luck, they may sew in a hair from the head of seamstress who is happily married.  In other shops they may sew in a good luck charm, like a small cardboard horseshoe or a piece of blue ribbon into the hem or waist stay of a gown.

D.I.Y-not?

Once upon a time, long, long ago I myself got married dear reader!  I was lucky enough to have my mother sew my dress for me (she also sewed the dresses for my beautiful best-women) so I avoided the tears that would have come from sewing it myself, but I did sew a red velvet wrap to go around my shoulders.  Perhaps the fact that I was still sewing it the night before the wedding mitigated the terribly unlucky red velvet!

Scan 6

My mum fitting me for my wedding dress while my sister offers encouragement

Scan 7

Me sewing my wrap the night before the wedding

So far we’ve stayed married for coming up to eighteen years, so the D.I.Y approach can’t be too unlucky.

Scan 8

My parents and I on my wedding day

How about you?  Did you or would you sew your own wedding dress?  Do you have any family superstitions or cultural traditions around wedding clothes?  I’d love to hear about them!

In the closet with: Angela Carter

WELCOME TO PART ONE OF A NEW SERIES ABOUT WOMEN AND THEIR VINTAGE WARDROBES

“Fashion is a language. Some know it, some learn it, some never will – like an instinct.”
– Edith Head

Whangarei-based artist, blogger and seamstress Angela Carter shares her sartorial secrets with Natasha Francois.

With her sharp tailored silhouettes and angled  vintage hats, Angela Carter is one of those women who simply oozes style. She’s certainly one of the most ‘authentic looking’ vintage ladies I’ve ever seen at events. She looks like she could have just stepped out of a Dior advertisement or a gritty 1940s film noir.

 

The most amazing thing about her wardrobe however, is that it’s largely self-created. The couture-obsessed fashion fiend is sewing her way to her dream wardrobe, one vintage pattern at a time.

Read on to find out about her enviable wardrobe, why modern patterns don’t do it for her, and the power of a good hat. 

Vogue 273 full length skirt.jpg

Femme fatale: This film noir gown is one of her favourite dresses she’s made.

You have a great wardrobe. Wanna take us on a tour?
Thank you! I have a host of garments I have sewn, op shop pieces and ready to wear I have bought and looked after, way back when I was in regular paid employment, almost 10 years ago now, including quite a few hats, vintage gloves and scarves.
I have a few original vintage garments, a classic trench, a deep green wool coat, a full length leather coat, a couple of suits and dresses that I enjoy, but most of the time I’m wearing me made, supplemented with op shop finds.
My accessories are mostly vintage, I have way too many vintage gloves, scarves and items of custom jewellery, and hats! For me, I’m keen on a good design, good quality, and you can get that with some reproduction pieces.
Bolero Simplicty 2269 and skirt 3114 v6.jpg

Look sharp: Angela wears a bolero and skirt suit she made last year.

You’re also a keen sewer, do you make most of your clothes?
 
Yes! I make enough to kit myself out for most days, I have staple garments that get a lot of wear, like my favourite ’40s slacks, variations on some elegant McCalls dresses, a classic 50s-shaped shirt, and some jumpsuits, which are my current favourites to wear.
I can’t resist making cocktail frocks though!
Dresses I have sewn
How long have you been sewing?
I used to sew as child, making doll clothes, toys, but found sewing at high school so boring, and so I dropped it as soon as I could.
I started again around 9 years ago, properly, when I realised I could create a wardrobe I would enjoy more that what was available to buy.
My vintage suit sew along tall looking down nice shot

Angela’s project for the Vintage Suit Sew Along.

My vintage suit sew along tall looking down (1)
I had also had my first baby, and I was pretty sick of seeing off-the-rack clothes that were heavily marketed to surly looking teens and middle-aged women.
I just didn’t see myself in those clothes, so looked at styles that were fabulous and more individual.
I also had a limited budget, so started sewing as it was the most affordable way I could create my own style.
It helped that my mum still had my nana’s sewing machine and, as it turns out, quite a lot of fabric and haberdashery items.
Three special makes.JPG

Three special projects.

Do you make your own patterns or use vintage ones? 
I know the basics of pattern drafting, but I use vintage patterns, often making style adjustments, flaring a pant leg or lengthening a sleeve to create a more varied wardrobe.
I can drape and shape well, but I have an extensive collection of patterns to work from, so that makes it easy!
I have a couple of patterns that I use at starting point if I need to grade up or down, I am fortunate that I am mostly standard proportion, so my adjustments are minimal.
I just love working with my old patterns, they are so beautiful.
dresses she dreams of making.JPG

A few dresses she dreams of sewing.

What are you working on at the moment?
I work on multiple projects at a time, this year I plan to finish some garments that have been languishing on the shelves of my sewing room.
At the moment, I’m completing a Vogue Couturier pattern I started last year, which has some finishing details that have been challenging, mostly due to the fabric choice, a luxurious cream wool crepe (op shop score!).
Also on my ‘to finish’ list is a jumpsuit in black, a pair of slacks, to match a classic swing jacket I made this summer, on my ‘new projects’ list are a pair of pyjamas from a pattern that belonged to my nana, with a mandarin collar and ‘one piece’ pant legs, and a Vogue Special Design sheath dress using some soft upholstery fabric I picked up at an op shop – if I can can make it fit the small piece of fabric.
Vogue Special Design up next.JPG

“If I can make the pattern pieces fit, I plan to make this dress in this fabric I found in an op shop.”

Weigel%27s pjs up next.JPG

“I’m looking forward to some really snuggly pyjamas.”

Are you a vintage purist?
So far, I only sew from genuine vintage patterns, so that might make me a bit of a purist when it comes to my source patterns, I just prefer them now. I started sewing garments (as an adult) with a couple of early 60s and 70s patterns, and I haven’t looked back!
The 60s pattern I started with was a simple kimono sleeve wriggle dress, on unprinted pre-cut tissue paper, with different sized holes to represent the seam allowances, darts, straight grain etc.
I still find unprinted vintage patterns ideal to work with, no visual overload, and once you get your eye in, it’s easy. I also know the pattern companies various fit and style components that suit me, so basically, I use what I love and what works for my lifestyle.
Modern patterns just don’t do it for me!
mccalls-black-dress-shoulder-view1.jpg
 
What are some of your most prized pieces in your collection?
 
Oh so many! I think of my ‘vintage collection’ so broadly, I have the pleasure to sew on my nana’s old Bernina, notions and a few stunning pieces of very vintage fabric inherited from both nanas. I have a couple of patterns I inherited from my nana, and some Couturier patterns that I scored on TradeMe a while back.
Nanas patterns.JPG

Some of Angela’s nana’s patterns.

Vogue couturier design patternsVogue Couturier Design SuitsThese are really hard to find, and would fetch top dollar, so ‘investment’ pieces (cough) you could say.

As you might expect, Vintage Couturier and designer patterns were pricier, are rarer, have the most unusual features, they are sometimes very complex and well, they are so stylish!

Sewing from the Couturier patterns I have has been challenging and very rewarding.

Vogue Paris Original and Couturier patterns.JPG

“Stunning Vogue Couturier Patterns, I love the way these women don’t give a damn!”

I also have a number of precious printed posters that my poppa screen printed in the 50s and 60s, these are so special, as I also worked in the signage and print industry in my twenties, there is a family connection there that makes them more special.
There are other random treasures too, like a globe, some pressed glass and other odd bits that remind me of family.
Cool vogue women who remind her

“I love these women, they remind me of my mum, she used to draw women like this when she studied sewing at high school.”

Any noteworthy recent purchases?
Ooo I am on a bit of a ‘downsize’ the sewing room at the moment and I haven’t had any dream finds come up for a while.
Earlier this year I did pick up some stunning patterns, I have sewn up one, and have others on the ‘to make’ list.
I love this dress, and hope to make one of these coats for winter but I’m a little late starting. 
Butterick up next (1).JPG
IMG_3408

Angela shows off a recent op shop score.

How did you first become interested in vintage style?
I used to be sort of anti-fashion, I am a bit shy, and internalised stuff about not attracting attention to myself, so other than being a bit of a goth teen, I was not that into fashion or clothes.
But growing up with two nanas who sewed, a mum who sewed, and loving all my grandparents old stuff, some of which I inherited, and are now special pieces to me, it was only a matter of time before it became a bit of a passion.
 
I got some of my angst out and started to think more about what I wore, I had had my babies, and had reached a point, where I knew myself, and was a bit ‘life is short’ I’m going to embrace the styles I love!
I was also out of the paid work force, I knew how to sew, fabric was easy to come by in op shops, so I just started sewing clothes I liked, learned along the way, found my style, and didn’t stop.
Fabulous forties patterns (1).JPG

Fabulous forties patterns.

How does it make you feel when you wear it?

I love to wear my makes. Most days I’m wearing something I have made, like my slacks from my most used 40s pattern, so comfy, and a great style.

I’m still working on that perfect fit, though most of the time, my clothes fit me well, and I chose fabric and colours I love.

McCalls black dress swirl copy

“I finished this dress this year, just in time for my nana’s funeral, sad days.”

McCalls black dress skirt copy

“I’m wearing vintage gold gloves, op shop score, my VVDO shoes, black, read and gold brocade, and my other nana’s flower brooch.”

Since I have been sewing my own, I rarely go to clothing stores, and when I am in malls (which I loathe!) I look around and wonder, how many people have sewn their own clothes? Or have a connection to what they wear?
Vogue 6435 blue hat back.jpg
What are your favourite eras when it comes to clothes?
 
I gravitate to the 30s and 40s, I love jump suits, and the shapes that were popular during the war years, utilitarian yet chic.
There are so many things to love about past fashion trends and styles, so I dip into what I enjoy in the moment, sometimes that reflects what I’m reading or watching.
Vogue 3435 and black and white fabric
Vogue 6435 blue waist long groovy

“One of my jump suits, made with a 60s Vogue pattern.”

What are your general thoughts about op shopping and vintage shopping in New Zealand?
I have seen prices rise, and quality in secondhand and op shops drop, over the last ten years especially.
I think it’s a combination of rising rents (particularly in Auckland), op shopping becoming more trendy, and sometimes people forget that they are selling used goods – and that buying new all the time, is not an option for plenty of people, especially families, so it bugs me a bit.
Butterick 6299 finished and hem dropping.jpeg

“A recent make, using a new to me vintage Butterick pattern, using fabric my nana gave me.”

 

Butterick 6299 finished tall.JPG

The finished result.

The drop in quality clothing, speaks to the huge problem of fast fashion, garments are not made to last, and are of low quality fabrics, they are less well cared for, most of the time, they swamp the op shops. That makes the special vintage finds even more exciting though.
I enjoy op shopping, you never know what you may find, but it requires a level of commitment, time and regularly visiting, that I don’t always have!
 
My grandparents and mum used to get up early for Saturday morning garage sales, which were great for bargains and meeting your neighbours, it’s a bit of a shame that is no longer a past time.
I have a great green wool coat I scored at a garage sale, took out the shoulder pads, and voila! one of my most worn garments.
 
Do you have any holy grail pieces? 
My holy grails are usually the rarer Vogue Couturier or Special Design patterns, I would love more 30s and 40s, they are hard to come by if you’re a bargain hunter like me!
I limit my buying to local auctions (like TM) though some really nice patterns can be found on eBay and Etsy, the cost of shipping from international sellers is prohibitive.
 
Whose closet do you envy and why?
Actually, none! I’m pretty happy with what I have.
Vogue 273 full length back buttons.jpg
Who are some of your style icons and influences?
I love the work of Edith Head, she dressed a number of women on screen, so superbly, including some Hitchcock films I enjoy such as Vertigo, To Catch a Thief and Marnie, she used dress so cleverly to communicate.
edith-head-9332755-1-402.jpg

Costume designer Edith Head.

Diana Vreeland was a very interesting person, and I think she knew how to dress, and be herself, I admire her for her work and how she wasn’t just all about traditional beauty.
I find collaborations really intriguing, Isabella Blow and Alexander McQueen, and Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn, these relationships seemed to help define a personality through dress.
How do members of the public react to your get-ups?
 You know, when I’m out, I forget that I might look a bit different. I often receive compliments from people, especially if I’m wearing a jumpsuit, I see a few onesies around, but jumpsuits, not so much!
If I go all-out hat, dress, pearls, people stare, and sometimes rush up and say, “Oh my god I have to say you look amazing!”
That’s the power of a good hat for you.
vogue-jump-suit-mash-up-big-red-hat-and-gloves.jpg
Does your vintage obsession extend into other areas too such as home decor, car, accessories and other collections?
Absolutely. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents as a child, and loved their old stuff, I learned about quality and care, and many of my memories are associated with their homes, the textiles and homewares that we used.
The fact that these items can still be found in use is a testimony to the quality of such pieces.
I use Crown Lynn for my tea and coffee, we listen to records, occasionally use a reel to reel player, we have a bit of a mix of analog and high tech, for movies and music at home.
We shop second hand for almost everything, so we chose carefully and go for mid century pieces of furniture when budget permits.
                       My make of Butterick 7653, my nana’s fascinator, and gloves.
My love of vintage is also about knowing where I come from.
I love history and the social~political side of dress, and how various social movements have been reflected in fashion. Like the move to evacuate children out of London during WW1 brought into the public eye the scale of poverty that many families were coping with, the clothing they wore said it all.
Vogue jump suit hat in mirror.jpg
 
I am a bit of a sci-fi nerd and collect and read John Wyndham books, and when I can put aside the glaring chauvinism of the period, I get into 40s-50s sci novels, by writers such as Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clark.
 
And film! I love classic cinema, noir film, Hitchcock, and 60s science fiction series like Star Trek TOS, and Batman, so awesome! I have spent a couple of months binge watching Batman with the kids, and the costume design and set design is spectacular.
 
I also love a good classic cocktail…that counts doesn’t it?
See more of Angela and her amazing style at the below links:
Advance 6190 complete bodice necklinedetail

“I love this dress, such great detailing in the sleeves and back, I’m wearing a hat I that I picked up at an op shop for $3, it had a terrific shape, but was a little dull and faded. So I revamped it with some black fabric and it comes out more now.”

Advance 6190 complete  tall outside (1).jpgAdvance 6190 and fabric (1).jpg

 

%d bloggers like this: