My aunt was a catwalk model in the late fifties, not overseas but here in Australia. Unfortunately the camera didn't love her face, lovely though she was in person. When I was about 12 years old, she brought over some of her model dresses for Mum to make into clothes for me.
Did I fight to keep those model gowns from being cut up into girly dresses. I mean what was wrong with a 12-y-o wearing a calf length dress with a flying panel from the shoulders AND it was lined with pure silk. But I came across this photo by John Rawlings for Vogue and there it was, the beginning of my love affair with velvet.
She had brought a dress of this shade of velvet. Draped at the neck and long with a lined wrap for the shoulders. I was in love and the love for velvet and this colour still lives. I ranted and stormed to keep the dress as it was but good material was too expensive not for it to be used. At least my mother did one thing, she made it up in a 'princess line', a pattern without a waist. How good it was not to have a waisted dress when I didn't have a waist.
My lovely velvet had a slightly flared body, a scoop neck, no sleeves but in a style that was known as ballet dress bodice. Under it I wore a crisp white blouse with tiny ruffles down the front and a collar I could turn up like the Audrey Hepburn I wasn't. The one thing I can't remember are the shoes I would have worn.
I still remember what it felt like to put on that gown and watch it fall around my ankles and spread over the carpet. And I remember when models looked like ladies instead of stick insects and heroin chic.