New York Couture

'Alligators, Old Mink & New Money' - One Woman's Adventures in Vintage Clothing. That's the title of a fabulous book I am currently reading, the author of which has Hooti Couture in Brooklyn, New York. Maureen has it on her 'must visit' list and will be there in just over a week!

An ex model, Alison Houtte encapsulates 'vintage' "as using older pieces to help create a fresh, one of a kind style, with almost no rules as to how that’s achieved. It means looking at what designers are putting on their runways and fashion editors are putting on their magazine pages, then finding the real thing, merchandise from the twenties to early eighties that has inspired the latest hot looks, as well as pieces that compliment them. It means introducing customers to designers – dead and alive – whose signatures they may never have seen before. Finally, vintage style, is as much about wardrobe accents as it is about ‘investment’ pieces like a Chanel suit or Burberry trench. ... Dressing with vintage is the ultimate ‘mix and match’ between the twenties and twenty first century of fashion, inspired by a hodgepodge of labels that draw as much from pop culture as from a specific decade or designer. Vintage is about surprise and fun and affordability, meeting individual everyday style needs with pieces from the past."

I love that description! This comes from woman born in '60 who will wear leopard print leggins with a close knit jumper and a leopard print scarf tied around her neck! Maybe Perth isn't at that point yet, but how exciting is it to introduce others to the intrigue of using a vintage piece to create a small piece of individual style, with maybe bold one of a kind style down the track? I hear the 80's are in, big, androgynous, assymetric, I remember my red Grace Jones t-shirt, the look of Annie Lennox and of course my favourite - Stuart Membery. And then there was Laura Ashley, not my style but the fabrics were gorgeous to touch, sew and look at.

If you haven't read the book or visited the website, then do, the photographs are truly inspirational. I rue the fact that I don't live in a place overflowing with Vintage fashion. But I also know we have some amazing creativity in this town that is transforming what is available into something reminiscent of style from the past. I'm looking forward to it all coming together at our first Vintage Vixens and Vamps event and blossoming out in the months following. My mind is already busy what we will bring together for Vintage Vixens and Vamps #2 .... July 2010.

Vintage Vixen Georgina

As a Vintage Vixen I have an interest in lots of things old(er). When I resided in Victoria I used to love the country deceased estate auctions (a bit maudlin I suppose but they were so much fun and the finds were soooo interesting, gosh, I miss them). So my home at that time was filled with old furniture, lace doilies, crockery, whatever caught my eye - and of course it was always fun and a little bit nerve wracking when bidding.

I am currently reading a book on one woman's adventures with vintage clothing and it has reminded me of the approach my mother took with clothing, the term fashion I wouldn't have applied to our home until we girls hit 18 and had money - then we took a real interest in what to wear! Platform shoes, flared jeans, Vadim jeans, mini dresses dripping with belts and big earrings with shiny gold leaves, voluminous dresses gathered around a yoke and billowing out (not really a flattering look), one piece pants suits, halter neck dresses and tops, culottes and as an old boyfriend reminded me the other day we also had terri towelling shorts sets - ugh! In reading this book I am relishing the memories and re-valuing of my mother's ways, dictated by the economic times back then and the skills she had acquired in her own family of origin. I am so grateful for the passing on of those skills and my reacquaintance with their emerging place in life today.

And I have always loved books. Hours in the library or reading The Secret Seven, books and the stories they contained within were another world I would move into, often for hours on end before returning to life in the suburban back yard. With memories locked into my neurological wiring of the pleasure I enjoyed in those books it is no wonder I turned to journal writing in my adult years - my senses yearned for grainy touch, musty smell and neurological pleasure chemicals! But writing on paper made in China was not the same experience and so I imported beautiful, dusky handmade papers and learned to make journals. I work with fabrics, embellish them with textiles and more recently have added old 45 single covers and collage to my repertoire of book adornment.

I am vintage, I have my own vintage story and all of it is captured in my personal blog If you are interested in things vintage beyond fashion then I invite you into my blog and look forward to sharing memories and questions that pertain to a time not really so long ago. G

A Taste of San Francisco

Some pics have arrived, the first taste of what's available in the US. Gorgeous! I will post the rest at a more decent hour.

Vixen Refashionista

Two nights ago I was thinking about what to do with this 'gorgeous' 'Stitches' frock recently purchased from an op shop. My favourite fashions were in the 80's. Stuart Membery was my designer of choice but overall I liked the androgynous look, square, hanging, big, different. I was into punk fashion (minus the piercings), music and nightclubs - Adrians in Northbridge was my favourite. And prior to that David Bowie adorned my ears, I had every LP ... until an ex boyfriend took them all with him. I was remembering my favourite album, David Bowie Live and yesterday when I visited Hannah at Pigeonhole there it was playing on the iPod! Those were the days. But back to the dress, I liked the retro look of the fabric, reminded me of our 'family room' wallpaper in the 70's - brown, geometric, one feature wall with orange carpet! Beautiful .... my bedroom had the lime green feature wall, it's a wonder I slept. So I tried my hand at refashioning the dress into something I would wear now, 30 years later - and this is how it came out. The shoes were recently op shop purchased, the earrings are mine from the 80's, I made the little black wrap around skirt - I like the flexibility of wrap around, the leggings and t-shirt are from some suburban store - and my refashioned retro over thingy come dress. What do you think? (And my apologies for the photographs - my six year old daughter took them, we will have to find a better position next time that catches the light and gives her enough room to adjust the camera.) Refashioning anyone?

Our Swishing Stylist

Gosh, lot's of conversations, things starting to come together. Today I met with Hannah McGrath, terrific creative person we met when Two Bucks Til Wednesday appeared at The Markets at Perth Cultural Centre. As many of you probably know she is a freelance stylist and experienced with X-Press Fashion, Scene, Two Bucks Til Wednesday,, and Pigeonhole. The latter is in fact where we met, very happy I did so, lots of interesting stuff and idol of my youth David Bowie playing in the background. Anyway, Hannah has agreed to be our roving mingler during our Swishing Event. While you are deciding which pieces to swap she is available for you to seek advice from. She's stylish, bubbly, creative and a lot of fun, you will all enjoy her in your midst amongst the clothes! I will post Swishing Rules in the coming days, don't throw those unwanted fashion items away - they may just get you the most gorgeous piece yet.

Red Feathers Sidewalk Show

Wow, I've just returned from the Red Feathers and a Hula Skirt Vintage Fashion Expose. Well done Melanie, Kerri and everyone involved for a sidewalk extravaganza. Champagne, nibbles, models, vintage clothing, music and entertainment, it really was terrific. Vintage fashion, upcycled, refashioned, sleepwear, evening wear and a plug for the environment, the show had it all. Truly well done. Unfortunately the battery was low on my camera but hopefully this one shot gives you some indication of the calibre of the evening.

Vintage Vixens and Vamps - Revamped

Maureen and I visited Kerri and Melanie of Red Feathers and a Hula Skirt yesterday. Very rich conversation, lots to ponder, the difficult part will be in narrowing down the ideas for our big event on May 23. This morning Melanie sent through a revamped poster - it is gorgeous. Maureen is off having it printed up and a 1000 will be distributed by the Poster Girls in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out for them and if you see one around let me know. Huge thanks to Melanie for lending a talented hand.

New Dress a Day Link

Had a fantastic conversation with Lara of Smith and Bird this morning. Talked textiles, refashioning, Swaperama, craft books, yarn bombing, the Mandurah Stretch Festival and Etsy. But the best thing to come out of our chit chat was the link Lara sent me Go to it. On the site you will find a woman who has committed to not buying new clothes for a whole year and at the same time wishes to get her creative juices flowing. She has set herself a budget of $1 a day with which to buy one used item of clothing which she then refashions. I started to look at all the photos but realised I could sit there all day and had to drag myself away. But I have signed up to get the daily posts. Very inspiring, now instead of continually being attracted to anything from the 80's in op shops I'm off to look for big and blousey! Making friends again with my Pfaff....

Red Feathers & A Hula Skirt

Last week, as I was on the streets I came across an incredibly colourful shop in Melville. Red Feathers is the creation of two women, Melanie and Kerri, and houses all sorts of delicious products as well as workshops and mini events. They support handmade, fair trade and sustainable goods, with a solid collection of vintage inspired fashion and products. They also have strong links with Living Smarties WA and we will be talking further later this week. On Tuesday 23 March they are holding a fashion expose and is open to anyone interested. And if you are interested in sewing, they run sewing and handcraft classes for adults and children. If you haven't already been into their shop then I thoroughly recommend that you do, it is a pleasure for all the senses.

Cupcake Days

A couple of weeks ago I was having a really bad day, I can't remember all the details but my mind was filled with everything that wasn't going right. Now, I know that we can only experience what is on our mind so I took a step back and had a look at what I was paying attention to. After a few moments I realised that nearly everything I was attending to (and thinking negatively about) was totally out of my control. The only thing that was totally within my power to make brilliant or dismal were the cupcakes I had made that morning - and they had turned out fantastic. In an instant I went from feeling lousy and thinking that I was totally useless to feeling great because of all the things that had crossed my path that day, the one that I was in control of had turned out brilliant. On that day I coined the term 'my cupcake moment', the moment in time when I was competent. Since then Maureen and I often talk about whether we have had a cupcake day or simply cupcake moments, and my six year old daughter has also adopted the term. In the last week I have had several cupcake days, ones in which things have just gone right. I have had shop owners very happy to put our flyers in their shop windows, cafes taking what money I had in my purse for my coffee rather than the full price, and a very serendipitous chance encounter with Melanie and Kerri of Red Feathers and a Hula Skirt. For many reasons both my daughter and I had another cupcake day today, one of my highlights being the acquisition of several great clothes racks. And whenever I think of cupcakes images of the delicious works of art by Kate Laurendi always come to mind. I first met Kate when with The Markets, and now she has eagerly put her hand up to join us at our 'Vintage Vixens and Vamps' event in May. If you haven't indulged your sense with her cupcakes then I recommend you visit her on facebook, and better still meet her in May. I hope everyone is having some great cupcake days, there is certainly some fantastic initiatives underway in Perth and I am really looking forward to mixing with them all.

International Shopping

Maureen and myself both have international trips on our schedule for 2010 - and will we make the most of them! On 22 March Maureen is off to one of the ultimate destinations for things chic, quirky, arty, funky, stylish .... New York! One of the venues she will visit is the Brooklyn Flea Market. "This great outdoor marketplace caters to bargain hunters, collectors, novice shoppers and anyone with an appetite." What an assortment and array of community eclectics. Look out for photos direct from New York into our facebook and blog, and make sure your diary is marked with our Vintage Vixens and Vamps event on 23 May in the Fremantle Town Hall. Stallholders are booking in, more information on them will be posted in the coming weeks.

Feeling Fab with Frugal Fashion Finesse

If you haven't seen the photos on our facebook page, then I heartily recommend that you do! Si (our Victorian Buyer) is on the hunt again this weekend for that quality fashion piece at a smidgeon of what can be purchased new. Make the most of yesteryear's quality and look your best today. In looking through some of the London and Milan websites (both cities we will be visiting for something really special) I came across the comment that "in dressing vintage, clothing items are old but the overall look needs to have a modern feel to it" otherwise we look like we're in a children's movie. It's how we put this with that, and obviously shoes and accessories play a big part. I love the quality of clothes of yesteryear, when I was in the job that paid the money I luxuriated in shopping in David Jones and George's in Melbourne, I miss the feel and look of those clothes, particularly the 80's and some of our Australian designers. But on 23 May I will have the chance to travel down memory lane again - and all under one roof! If you haven't been onto our facebook, get on to it and join up. Si will be posting photos of his purchases throughout the next few months, you can have immediate access to their viewing and post your own comments on their appeal.

Vintage Vixens & Vamps Launches!

Welcome to our birth announcement launching Vintage Vixens & Vamps events for 2010! The beautiful, historical, Art Deco Fremantle Town Hall has been booked for our first vintage fashion, sassy swishing, photo shooting, 'girls dressing up', inspired event.

12noon-5pm, Sunday 23 May will see 30 fabulous vintage stalls - fashion, accessories, recreations, fabrics and patterns. All set up inside the auditorium of the Fremantle Town Hall.

30 different Vintage stalls: You will see Perth's best vintage inspired stalls all under one roof with activities throughout the afternoon to make this one big fun day out for women of all ages. From quirky to classic join Maureen and Georgina at 1 pm as they introduce a select range of designer label vintage inspired fashion pieces and explore fashion combinations that match those of our London based sisters.

Try a little swishing for fun: At 2 pm our sassy swishing mini event is on. Raid the wardrobe and bring along 5 items destined for a new home. For $15 they can be exchanged for five other pre loved pieces, adding new spark and pizzazz to your signature look for a fraction of the price. Ever wanted to explore backstage and swan down the catwalk? Our first event offers that chance. Sashe down alleyways behind the stage, don your attire in backstage dressing rooms and strut your stuff under stage lighting across our royal red catwalk - with the audience esconced in luxurious parlour style seating upstairs at the back of the auditorium - a true performance experience - all with that sense of fun that only women can bring to a girly gathering.

Watch this space for updates on vintage fashion businesses taking part and join our facebook fan club to get the gaggle going.
For further information: Georgina 0417 949 179