Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Millinery Course

I'm rather excited to be starting a short course in millinery at the CAE this Thursday evening. I've been wanting to have a go at this for a while, so I hope it's as much fun as I am imagining! For our first class we have to bring the ingredients to make a fascinator. Unfortunately, fascinators in my mind are synonymous with drunk bogans at the Melbourne Cup, like these delightful ladies below.

I think the thing to avoid is an excess of stripped cocktail feathers, which although perfectly nice when used in restraint, seem to be the main ingredient of cheap and cheerful fascinators. I'm going to try for a more restrained (and I hope, classy) version in grey silk dupion on a teardrop shaped base, with some small poisonous green emu feathers, and grey veiling. Photos will follow hopefully. I'll leave you with some examples of hats by the very talented Philip Treacy, the pinnacle of modern millinery.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Hooray for Ice!

I'm celebrating the fact that I finally have a refrigerator again! I didn't have one when I moved into my flat, and for the past three months I've been fridgeless. It's not much fun, and ended up being quite expensive, as I had to eat out a lot. Luckily, a friend has come to the rescue and lent me his bar fridge for as long as I need it, so now I can have milk and fresh vegetables again.

I was mentioning this the other day when I visited one of my relatives. She's my first cousin twice removed, and was born in Hungary in 1921. She was saying that she remembers how in the winter when the Danube river froze, they would take a horse and cart and cut blocks of ice from the river. These would be placed in a big pit, which had been prepared with straw. The ice was then covered with more straw and planks of wood, then straw on top of that, and finally a layer of earth. Throughout the spring and summer, they would chip off enough ice to fill the ice box and keep food cool. How laborious!

My father remembers the ice man coming round in Budapest in the 1940s and 50s. He came by at least once a week, and had a horse-drawn cart with a big block of ice in it. If you wanted a piece of ice, he would cut it off, then balancing it on his shoulder, which was covered with a piece of leather or hessian (much like in the photo above from Berlin) he would take it up to your flat. You could buy different size pieces for different prices. The ice would of course melt eventually and you would have to drain the water out through a little spout at the bottom. And I though defrosting the freezer compartment was a pain!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

A Good Woman

Browsing around my local video shop the other day, I came across A Good Woman, a film from 2004 starring Scarlett Johansson and Helen Hunt. The plot is based on Oscar Wilde's play Lady Windemere's Fan, although transposed to 1930s Italy. It is a reasonably enjoyable film, nothing special, and certainly has none of the wit of the original. However, the costumes are rather nice.

I must confess I can watch the most awful dross as long as the costumes are interesting. Look at that lovely spotted dress Meg Windermere is wearing above, with a swoopy hat trimmed in the same fabric.

I'm also rather fond of this pale blue hat with its rosette of white cording.

Helen Hunt as Mrs Erlynne also had some lovely costumes, although I can only find a picture of this one. I love the cut jet beads, and that hat with the finest wisp of veiling at the front. So elegant.

My favourite however, was this dress which I cannot find a full-length picture of. The colours and the pattern, which looks like pansies, is just what I think of when I think of the 30's, and look at the sheer brim on that hat! The pattern of the dress actually reminds me of this china pattern, which is also from the 1930s. The pattern is called "Raymond", and is by Alfred Meakin. I picked up a set like this, plus four dessert bowls and four entree plates. I've never had any really nice china before, so I'm rather excited. I'm going to try and collect some of the other pieces in the set, as they are quite common.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Red Door Burlesque

Last night I went to a great burlesque performance at The Order of Melbourne, called Red Door Burlesque. It is hosted by the lovely ladies from Hi Ball Burlesque (pictured above in a photo from their fan dance finale), and includes special guests such as the amazing Anna Pocket Rocket, who brings a circus element to the show, with hula hooping and trapeze acts. I forgot to take my camera, but there are a couple of lovely photos on Vintage Suburbia's blog. I met up with her (dressed in immaculate vintage) and her very dapper husband on the night.

Red Door Burlesque is held on the last Sunday of every month, and is well worth checking out for a classy show with lots of sequins, diamantes and feathers, gorgeous girls and fantastic underwear! I particularly liked Rusty Nail's fan dance, and Brandy Alexander's secretary routine, and Andrew McClelland was hilariously silly as the MC. Although we rocked up a little late, two lovely older gentlemen let us share their table. One of them was the over-70s World Champion Triathalete, which was very impressive.

This photo is a little late, but I had to wait for my uncle to email it to me. My cousin Bella and I heading off into the city on St Valentine's Day to eat Harajuku Crepes and go shopping. Bella is a really talented seamstress, and made her dress without a pattern I believe. My dress is from Vintage Clothing, the cardigan is an old one from Portmans, and I picked the little handbag up at Vintage Fair in Launceston when I was down there at Christmas. It is navy blue crocheted raffia, with a lucite inlaid frame.