Saturday, October 16, 2010

Boy, did I have dreams

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.


Ann O'Dyne said...

I think that model might be Barbara Goalen. Over at Vintage Chic she has a VOGUE cover shot similar.
Silk and velvet.
Anyone can get an elegant gown - the hard part is finding an elegant LifeStyle to wear it with.
Right now there is no elegance in the howling wind and pouring SPRING rain, and I just know some idiot bride is up to her knees in park mud getting married outdoors .. in a strapless tube frock an all.

JahTeh said...

Annie O, her make-up and hair, so elegant. I guggled John Rawlings who photograped for Conde Nast, some lovely images.
Personally I could just lounge around in a velvet gown and never go out.
Anyone getting married outdoors is birdwitted.

River said...

I love red velvet too and that dress is gorgeous, as is the chair the model is sitting on. I want that chair for my bedroom.
When I was 9 or 10, I was given some clothes that someone's daughter had outgrown. In the box was a white peasant blouse, you know those loose over the head things gathered at the neck and short sleeves? No buttons or zippers. AND a red velvet skirt.
All the clothes were exactly my size, but I don't remember what else was in the box. I wore that blouse and skirt until they fell apart. I pretended I was a gypsy only living in town because I wanted to go to school.

R.H. said...

Mizz Goldsworthy got married in velvet and there's been no news since except she is now manless. On her wedding night they had to evacuate the hotel because of a riot, seems she thought consummation referred to the meal at reception.
I've seen your photo as a teenager and you were good looking.

JahTeh said...

River, the chair is mine, the dress is mine and if the Angels had been fair, the body would be mine.

River, wasn't it lovely to get something that you really loved. I was 13 I think, when mum let me pick out a swimsuit and I chose a brown and black tiny stripes that met in a V down the middle. It made me feel so fabulous.

Robbert, gossipmonger that you are.
I had no waist then and still haven't got one. I look like one of those fertility goddesses, all bum and boobs.

Ann O'Dyne said...

Go here to A Nana's Journey for a similar story on clothes and mothers.

R.H. said...

There's no life without gossip, the best is always made up.