Other Peoples' Wardrobes - Heather
This week's edition of Other People's Wardrobes features Heather all the way from Christchurch. Not afraid to take her vintage wardrobe right up into the 1980s, Heather always puts together amazingly polished outfits that are accessorised perfectly. Let's sneak into her wardrobe to find out more!
What first sparked your interest in old things?
My mother's old evening dresses and accessories. I loved to play with her jewellery and drawers full of scarves and gloves from the 1960s. Our house was also furnished with inherited antiques and china and we always had nice crystal and china which gave me a taste for old-fashioned quality things.
Tell us about your background in vintage clothing and collecting.
In my teens I started putting together creative outfits for myself, often including retro and vintage items scrounged from my mother and my grandmother - they were both super skilled dressmakers with lots of nice clothes squirrelled away. Then I started op shopping: it was the 1980s and vintage/op shop looks were popular with arty kids.
What is the first thing you remember buying?
When I was about 15 I bought a 1950s party dress in shimmering fluorescent yellow-green! I wore it to a school dance and to a couple of fancy dress type things later: it wasn't exactly elegant but it was authentic!
What do you love most about vintage clothing?
So many things! The quality. I have a passion for beautiful fabrics, flattering design and great tailoring. I have a special love for the very classic, elegant styles like blazers and suits that persist through decades with only slight variations. And of course, dressing in vintage gives me licence to be as glamorous as I want. I am an ordinary woman with an ordinary life, but by dressing up I can bring a little more beauty and excitement into my world. Insofar as clothing can be a form of self expression, I am expressing a belief in beauty and romance and passion and drama and the idea that we can be more fabulous than our circumstances.
Are there specific eras that you concentrate on collecting/wearing and why?
Not really: anything from the 40s to the 80s interests me. My point of difference is probably my love of 1980s fashion which is a bit of a minority fandom... If I had to characterise my favourite style overall, I would like to think it is increasingly classic, tailored, and sophisticated as I get older. But not every day!
What is the best place to search for vintage bargains?
In Christchurch I have found quite a bit of unexpected quality vintage and retro at the $3 warehouse - worth a shuffle through if you are open minded and on a budget, which I am! I love op shops and do the rounds whenever I can in search of hidden treasures. I don't often buy vintage 'retail' and when I do it is still with a budget in mind so some things are out of reach except for special occasions. Which is part of the fun!
Any tips for readers on what to look for when shopping for vintage fashions and accessories?
Keep an open mind and learn to look at clothes objectively: that's how you find your own style. So much of what people think is style is just fashion: buying second-hand and vintage clothes can really encourage you to question your prejudices and received ideas. But if you want to create a particular look, Google authentic images to identify the elements: proportions, fabrics, details, accessories etc. and see how it is put together.
One piece you would save in a fire
My pearls from my ex-husband and my diamond ring from my mother, to remind me that love remains.
First piece you paid for yourself
The first expensive thing I bought was a 1950s ball dress from Madame Butterfly which I laybyed out of my extremely limited housekeeping at the time. I've never worn it except for a photo shoot. I have no regrets.
Your best collection
I have built up a pretty good collection of vintage accessories: jewellery, scarves, hats, gloves and handbags. They are really crucial to getting your look right I think: my outfits are about 80% accessories! I also have an unfeasible number of blazers.
Item with the best provenance story
I don't really know the provenance of anything except my family pieces. What intrigues me is how some beautiful things come to be languishing unloved and wanted in op shops; like a beautiful cream wool crepe, couturier-made 1960s evening dress. I would love to know its story!
My true guilty vintage pleasure is the time I spend on it - I have a job with demanding hours, a child, a house, my running ... I should probably be doing housework of some sort right now! But... no.
Something which doesn't fit but you love it anyway
I have a very beautiful, quite teeny brocade cocktail dress which I have worn a few times but thanks to the running it won't go over my chest at the moment! Not ready to give it up though...
A glass of champagne, darling.
Winter has finally arrived in New Zealand and it's got us in the mood to do some cleaning up and reshuffling in the office to warm up a bit!
We rifled through the prize cupboard today and realised that we had a few prizes still to be given away that people had entered to win and we have also have a stack of books that need to be read by a roaring fire in a new home so keep an eye on our facebook page as we will be giving them away over the next few weeks.
Without further ado, we are pleased to announce the winners of our past prize draws...
OUR ESTELLE OF BRIGHTON SUBSCRIBER GIVEAWAY
Our dear friend, Estelle of Brighton, created a fabulous series of Glory Days clutch bags over the summer season that we were lucky enough to give away to lots of well dressed people!
We had one final bag to give away to one of our valued subscribers, which featured the super talented Tami Neilson on the cover of our Country Issue.
Congratulations to our lucky subscriber Gemma Benson - you have won the hand made Glory Days clutch by the incredibly talented Estelle of Brighton!
OUR REAL MODERN BOOK GIVEAWAY
Bronwyn Labrum recently authored Real Modern - an immensely valuable and well researched book on everyday New Zealand in the 1950's and 60's. It's a fascinating read about how people like you and me live back in the day.
e Papa Press kindly gave us a copy to give away at our Mum is the Word event at MOTAT earlier this year.
Thank you to everyone who entered the draw at the Mother's Day fashion parades and we are pleased to announce that Sierra Fleming is our lucky winner!
OUR MINNIE COOPER FIVE STAR SLIPPERS GIVEAWAY
Our lovely friends at Minnie Cooper were kind enough to offer one deco-licious guest at our recent cocktail afternoon hosted at the divine Hotel DeBrett, a pair of their spiffing Five Star Slippers.
These are made in New Zealand in their Auckland factory and are the most comfortable and stylish slippers one could ever hope for... and who can resist a slipper with a pompom?!
Make sure you pop into DeBrett's House Bar some time soon to experience drinking in the best surrounds in Auckland City! Thanks to all of our guests who joined us for a cocktail and we are happy to announce that Megan Thomas is our lucky winner.
OUR SIMON JAMES CATHCART NECKERCHIEF GIVEAWAY
Way way back in our Exotica Issue, we offer one fine sea-faring reader a beautiful silk Sailor's Dream Neckerchief from Simon James Cathcart. SJC hails all the way from London and makes the most exquisite vintage inspired menswear. Do check him out and support independent design!
We had so many entries for this beauty and unfortunately only one to give away! Thank you for trying your hand everyone and we are happy to announce that Lhizz Browne is our lucky winner!
We are excited to present another Telegram in the series of Other People's Wardrobes. This week we get to hunt through the sizeable wardrobe of Miss Kitty Kat, AKA Andrea Haylings, and when someone says that they like both the 1950s and the 1800s you know you are in for an interesting interview! Andrea hails from sunny Kawerau in the Bay of Plenty and is a writer by trade. Read on to find out all about her passion for vintage.
What first sparked your interest in old things?
I honestly don't really know where exactly my love of vintage etc came from. Mum had a piece or two from the 50s and 60s that we dressed up in growing up and I loved looking at the photos of our grandmother and Mum and the clothes they wore. It may be that this is where my interest comes from, but that would just be a guess. Whatever the reason, it's been a lifelong obsession that's come to a head over the last few years and I LOVE it!
Tell us about your background in vintage clothing and collecting?
I started my vintage collecting after moving to Auckland. There was a store in St Kevins on K Road that sold Vintage and I happened to stumble upon it one day. That was it for me. Over the years I have learned what to look for and how to tell a knockoff from the genuine pieces. It only took me a couple of mistakes to quickly learn this and I'm fairly confident now when it comes to telling the difference. I was also lucky enough to become friends with people who know their stuff when it comes to vintage, so hit them up sometimes for help when considering pieces.
St Kevin's Arcade in the 1960s
What was the first piece you remember buying?
I was working in Auckland City (years ago) when I came across an amazing vintage store located at St Kevins Plaza. It was like a dream come true. There was a downstairs and a small half level upstairs. The ladies there were always so welcoming and lovely and I purchased a few of my most treasured pieces from them.
Back to my story.
It was my first time in the store and I was methodically looking through their dresses when I saw her. A black 1950s dress with white flocking. It was love at first sight and I was so thrilled when I tried her on and she fitted me perfectly. Needless to say I nabbed that gorgeous dress and although I can't fit her at the moment, I still love her.
(Note: I don't normally refer to my dresses as her, just this one)
What do you love most about vintage clothing?
There's so much I love about vintage clothing. Not only are the designs often elegant and feminine, there's a style about them that seems to be lacking in modern clothing designs (Well, that's my opinion) There's something amazing about wearing a vintage dress. I feel incredibly confident in many of my pieces and that's reflected outwardly to the rest of the world.
The other thing I love is the history connected to pieces. I've got 1 or 2 pieces that I know the background on and for me, that makes them even more special. Just knowing where it came from, who wore it etc, is a real buzz.
Are there specific items/ eras that you concentrate on collecting?
Definitely the 1950s and the 1800s! Why? I think there's a great deal of similarities between both eras, although one is a little more practical than the other. The fitted bodices and full skirts that are found in both areas suit my body shape perfectly. Then there are the glorious fabrics! There's something about them, a quality I think you don't really see too often today. Of course, finding something from the 1800s that's not horrendously priced and can fit me is an incredibly rare thing, so I'm confined to purchasing dresses etc from the 1950s. Not that I'm complaining as I always feel fabulous in my vintage pieces and who doesn't enjoy that!
Where is the best place to hunt for vintage bargains?
I adore Op-shops. While many of them are starting to realise the value of certain items, you can occasionally find a real bargain. My favourite is our local Hospice Shop. I've managed to purchase some gorgeous dresses from the Whakatane Hospice Shop. One was just part of a collection donated by an elderly lady who made her own clothes. It's a lilac, heavy satin dress from the 1950s and has a sash too! The dress was a perfect fit and amazing price, so it had to come home with me.
The other place is online. There are times, after scrolling through hundreds of dresses, shoes, tops etc etc, I've come across an incredible vintage piece at a pretty low price. Of course you can get stung with shipping, but I've been fairly lucky with my 'budget' online purchases.
Any tips for readers on what to look for when shopping for vintage fashion and accessories?
Do your research! The internet and social media are incredible tools and are filled with a huge amount of information on vintage clothes and accessories. However, the most important piece of information I can give is this: Follow your heart. I buy pieces that 'speak to me'. If something leaps out at me and I can't get it out of my mind, then it's meant to be. I had one dress last year on Etsy that I couldn't stop thinking about. It's a real wounded bird, but there's jut something about it so I purchased it. No, it doesn't fit at the moment and yes, it needs work, but I still adore it. If you can afford that special piece then buy it because you don't want to regret the one that got away.
One piece you would save in a fire
My Emma Domb dress (pictured at the top of the Telegram). I had wanted an Emma Domb for so long and my husband purchased this one for my 40th birthday last year. It's simple, but incredibly elegant and those rhinestones just give it a little something special! I set it aside, had the hem fixed (it was crooked) and wore it to our wedding reception this year. It's just so stunning and has amazing memories attached, I would definitely save it in a fire.
Best "collection" of items
Ohhhh, that's hard. I collect so much, it's hard to pinpoint one collection. Who am I kidding!! It's my cat pieces.
I don't go around just randomly buying anything with a cat on it. It's got to be something that really grabs my attention. The first cat themed piece of clothing I purchased was a skirt from Ains&Elke Stylehaus. It's dark blue with kitty shapes all over it.
Since then that collection of clothing, along with accessories has grown. My big goals are:
1. To own every Erstwilder cat brooch
2. Find more vintage pieces with cats on them!
Item with the best provenance story
Last year was our first ever VVDO and it was here that I acquired a gorgeous burgundy velvet dress. It's so incredibly soft and looks stunning on. It had belonged to one of the stall holders grandmother, who had originally come from Romania (From memory) She had brought the dress over there and it had made the journey to New Zealand when the family emigrated. It's amazing to think that the dress had started it's life so far away from New Zealand and is still in incredible condition.
Your guilty pleasure piece
Now I won't be telling you the price of this, because I don't want to remind myself! There are a few things on my bucket list and one of these is owning a fully sequined, vintage, wiggle dress. I had seen a few but they either never really gave me the 'wow' factor or weren't the right size.
It was while looking at Butch Wax Vintage on Etsy I came across the one. It's a woollen, 1950s dress and is fully sequined with small amounts of beadwork on it. The belt is still with the dress and it even arrived with spare beads and sequins. It's incredibly heavy and fairly hot to wear, but looks amazing on and I can't wait for the right occasion, and season, to wear it to.
First piece you paid for yourself
The first piece I paid for myself, is a 1950s black dress with white flocking. This was actually the first ever piece of vintage to come into my possession so am pretty thrilled I managed to buy it myself.
Thing that doesn't fit but you love it anyway
This is another from Butch Wax Vintage (she's dangerous). It's a stunning knee length, 1950s wiggle dress with Siamese cats hand painted on it. I had my eye on it for ages and couldn't understand why it hadn't been snapped up. After a few weeks I made the decision to buy it and I'm thrilled I did. I've never seen another like it. While it's too tight for me to wear, I hope with a little hard work I will be able to wear it soon.
This piece just happens to be my oldest one! It's from the early 1900s and is a soft velvet cape, with gold trim and silk lining. It's incredibly light to wear, but manages keep my shoulders nice and warm. It has started to show its age, so I don't wear it as much as I once did. The little cape is definitely a special occasion piece.
What a magnificent cape to finish on! Would you like to snoop around more people's wardrobes? Click here! Fancy featuring your wardrobe on our Telegram? Email email@example.com to find out how.
As readers of Glory Days will be aware, we hold a very special place in our hearts for the Art Deco Capital of New Zealand (and possibly the world), Napier! After a fantastic time running the Costume Competition and Hendrick's Gin Garden at the summer deco event in February, we are busy pulling together our warmer wardrobes for Winter Deco this coming weekend and getting ready to present the first ever burlesque show that has featured in Napier's Art Deco Trust programme of events. Read on to meet the fabulous talent that will be teasing the crowds on Friday the 15th and Saturday the 16th July at the Cabana Bar and if you haven't got your tickets already make sure you book in quick for the Friday evening performance by clicking HERE!
We always like to present something a little different during Napier's art deco events and this time is no exception. The deco period was a time when Western civilisation went through a remarkable transformation. Post WWI, people threw away many of the strict and rigid rules of past generations and rebellion was the attitude du jour. Women, particularly, revelled in their new found freedom - off came the corsets and ankle concealing dresses and on went the makeup, spit curls and scandalous sportswear.
In the spirit of the cultural shift that the deco period heralded, Glory Days is proud to partner with Red Delicious Burlesque to present the first ever Burlesque show to be included in the programme during an Art Deco Trust season of events in Napier! While we don't want to give away too much before the show, we are pleased to introduce the performers who will be presenting a fabulous evening of entertainment for the lucky guests who snaffled a ticket.
Like a freshly picked apple MisRed Delicious is juicy, sweet and a little bit... tart. She delights audiences with her insatiable need to tease using her talent for concealing and revealing.
MisRed Delicious is an internationally renowned, multiple title and award winning burlesque entertainer. She is the co-producer of the NZ Burlesque Festival and mistress of Red Rascal Productions which boasts a burlesque academy, regular shows and tour support for burlesque artists. She is a passionate force in the New Zealand Burlesque scene and is fast building an international profile having performed around the world, including throughout Europe, the USA and Australia. Her neo-classical style of seduction always is sure to tease audiences.
She's sweet as sin, sexy as hell and dangerous in the wrong hands... and her effortless elegance and dirty bump n grind recently won her the coveted Queen of the New Zealand Burlesque Festival crown. No stranger to the stage Dahlia Dangerous has been performing since she was five years old in various dance genres such as classical ballet, jazz, contemporary dance and cheerleading and has been captivating and tantalising burlesque audiences throughout New Zealand and Australia since 2013.
All around dance geek with a passion for vintage musicals, Coney Bow delights audiences with her “smooth as butter” dance moves.
Armed with 30 years of technical dance experience she creates slick jazzy burlesque and cabaret acts that have been selected in Burlesque Festivals around the world. Coney was awarded the title of Duchess of the Festival at the New Zealand Burlesque Festival in 2014 and 2015 won the title of "Most Dazzling Dancer" at the Finals of the burlesque competition Grand Tease New Zealand 2015.
Coney has also a passion for dance education and choreography. She is the co-producer of “Burlesque: the workshop series” and is the artistic director of the vintage and retro dance troupe “The Roaring Antoinettes”
Photo: Zandy J Photography
Auckland-based performer Amourous Ava will have you swooning with her vintage glamour and old-time charm. Whether performing as the most irrepressible of monsters, a bumping grinding rumble-shaker, or a dark and glittering gothic temptress, her acts are always a glorious spectacle and not to be missed.
Amourous Ava has been performing throughout New Zealand and internationally since 2011, including the New Zealand and Australian Burlesque Festivals. She was voted ‘Most Innovative’ and co-won ‘Favourite Costume’ in the New Zealand Burlesque Festival Golden Garter Awards 2015.
Trillian is a whirlwind of unexpected pleasures. Internationally recognised, multi award winning pole dancer and burlesque artist, this chick is your one stop shop of fabulous!
Her background deeply rooted in classical ballet from a very early age. Dancing wise she's an all rounder, experienced in jazz, tap, contemporary, hip hop, latin ballroom and african jazz. It doesn't stop there, Trillian is also a highly trained classical and jazz singer too.
Clothing That Bloody Woman...
Suffragist, activist and cyclist Kate Sheppard transforms from a face on the $10 note into a feminist firebrand raising hell in That Bloody Woman - a red-hot new rock opera. The smash hit of the 2015 Christchurch Arts Festival returns to The Court Theatre in Christchurch from the 2nd to the 30th July 2016. Rose Jackson got to question costume designer, Lisa Holmes, about her background in costume design and her radical sartorial interpretation of one of New Zealand's iconic figures. Glory Days also have two tickets to give away to a performance before the 16th July courtesy of The Court Theatre. Read on to find out all about That Bloody Woman.
Hi Lisa, do you have an early childhood costume memory?
We always had a big set of drawers stuffed full of old clothes, costumes and anything that could be used for "dressing up" as kids. My siblings and I used to get together with the kids who lived next door and put on crazy shows it was heaps of fun.
What inspired you to become involved in the theatre world?
I think there is a feeling you get watching live theatre that you can't get from a film. There is something magical about how it all comes to life infront of an audience. From a design perspective I like the challenge of having to visually present a character and also the excitement of delving into different eras.
What was your career progression?
I went to Massey University and attained a Bachelor of Design with first class honours in Fashion. From here I worked in the fashion industry and then for the New Zealand Opera and World of Wearable Art - both for Costume Designer Elizabeth Whiting. I shifted to Auckland to pursue costume design and have since designed shows for Auckland Theatre company and recently was the costume design associate on New Zealand Opera's production of The Magic Flute. Next I'm off to London to check out the costume industry over there!
Did you know that's what you wanted to do from very early or did inspiration come later?
I think I knew I wanted to design from my early teens - but it probably wasn't until I was studying that I knew costume was what interested me the most.
Is a career in costume mainly about what you know or who you know?
It's about hard work, dedication, creative thinking and passion for what you do.
What inspires you when you design? Is it the actors, the script or both?
Discussions happen with the entire creative team which includes all the designers and the director and from here you begin to go down a pathway - research then begins to inspire and influence my designs aswell as the actors who will be wearing the costumes.
How did you become involved in That Bloody Woman?
I am a freelance costume designer and so was hired to design for the co-pro production.
Did you incorporate historical influences in the outfits?
Yes historical referencing informed a lot of my design choices - Kate begins the show wearing pieces that are true to the period and her "gang" are modern punks but silhouettes and detail also reference the historical garments of 1890s New Zealand.
I love the punk vibe that comes through in the promotional shots - was it fun to combine rebellion of different eras into one show?
I found it interesting to portray both the juxtaposition of the different eras aswell as integrating them together to create the overall style. The audience needed to be able to read Kate both as a rebel of her time but also see her fight as still incredibly relevant to today's society.
What is your favourite thing about costume life?
The journey of the initial idea, to sketching and researching, right through to the costume construction, fittings, tweaking and finally watching the show open. It's always a different journey and full of excitement and challenges and fantastic people.
What is the biggest challenge?
Often the availability of products in New Zealand can create challenges and means you can end up having to bring in things from overseas- however this often can also lead to exciting discoveries of small NZ companies that you didn't know of before or pushes you into coming up with creative solutions where you make what you need rather than buy it.
Who and what inspires you?
I love to travel and explore new places and meet new people so I'm inspired by experiences, photographs and memories.
That Bloody Woman will be on at at The Court Theatre are from 2-30 July. Show time is approx. 1hr 40min with no interval. Tickets can be booked at www.CourtTheatre.org.nz
We have two tickets to give away to a performance before the 16th July. To enter the draw visit our facebook page and tag a woman that you admire before the 8th July 2016.