About Joyatri

Avid thrifter and vintage clothes wearer. Love 1960s and early 1970s styles. Partial to Art Nouveau, Pre-Raphaelite, Victorian, Renaissance and Medieval art. Former art historian. Current packrat. On a continual quest for good-looking, comfortable vegan shoes. Bhangra dancer since 2002. Fascinated by all things Indian. Vegan and animal advocate. 

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Words I like:

"She was dressed, as usual, in an odd assortment of clothes, most of which had belonged to other people." 

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (1913-1980)

 

 

“I said "Somebody should do something about that." Then I realized I am somebody.”

 Lily Tomlin

 

 

 

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Entries in Frocktasia (10)

Thursday
Nov072013

Nothing's changed

With the constant clutter in my apartment making it impossible to take photos without moving furniture, I tried improvising a backdrop to put in front of the furniture. Not sure if it saves me any work/time taking outfit pics...

I found this wonderful 1970s maroon polyester double-knit cape with its own scarf at Boomerang last week. At 20 bucks, it was more than I usually pay for clothes. But it's in perfect condition and I was hankering after a new cape after I realized that one I had since the early 70s had mysteriously disappeared.

Here I am in 1974 with oversized wire-rimmed aviator glasses, chipmunk cheeks, wide leather watchband, Indian cotton gauze blouse, and hip-length hair. And the blue wool cape (it had a hood!) that I'm pining over. I remember wearing it with clunky knee-high Timberland boots to traverse the snowdrifts of my college campus, and feeling like Kristin Lavransdatter. (I strongly recommend this trilogy written by Sigrid Undset in the 1920s)

1970s cape, no label, thrifted, Boomerang. Philosophy by Alberta Ferretti top, purchased new in the early 1990s, Filene's Basement. Restricted brand non-leather boots, purchased on sale. Hat and scarf from Frocktasia. Bangles purchased in India. 1960s glove,?, 1970s Pakistani bag, eBay.I bailed on Halloween last week. I had every intention of going to a party, sort of a community thing, with a friend (who wasn't that keen on going). But I called her at the last minute and said I couldn't go, “because I didn't have the right chain mail,” a reason she said she'd never heard before. I was planning to wear my chain mail tunic over a long gray dress that I made in 1976 and haven't worn since.

A couple days before the party I got the chain mail out of my storage space; all the other costume elements were accessible. A couple hours before the party, I realized that I had pulled out a length of chain mail, not the length of chain mail I had turned into a tunic, which wasn't to be found. I felt under-dressed without my chain mail and opted out of going out for Halloween.

Long dress made from sweatshirt material, made by me in 1976. Necklaces, also made by me in 1976. Belt, borrowed from a man in the 1990s and never returned. Wooden chalice and Indian bag I've had for decades. Man's shawl from India, no idea where I acquired this.Halloween at my office in 2007, with a colleague's princess pup. I know I've posted this pic before, but here's the tunic. I hope it turns up by next Halloween.

Garments that are vaguely (or not-so-vaguely) medieval, capes, and Indian shirts. My style really hasn't changed that much in 40 years. Do you find that you and your 13-year-old self dress similarly, too?

Tuesday
Jul162013

Highlights from Hippie Chic

Here is a wee tour of the Hippie Chic exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This Facebook album (you don’t need to have a Facebook account to see it) has many more photos of the show. I didn't photograph every mannequin—so there will be some surprises if you do see the show or read the exhibition catalogue.

The exhibition shows designer fashion inspired by the street style created by hippies, and touches on the different elements that went into hippie style: Trippy Hippie, Fantasy Hippie, Craft Hippie, Ethnic Hippie, and Retro Hippie. The phenomenal wigs by Jason Allen, a hair and make-up artist for the Boston Lyric Opera and Boston Ballet, are critical to each look since hair was as way out as clothing in this period.

All fashion is in the collection of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, unless I’ve stated otherwise. Props and accessories provided by a number of lenders (including me). If you do share these images, please link back to my Facebook page or my blog.

The info on each piece comes from the exhibition catalogue, which is available for purchase here. I can't recommend it enough. It not only contains images of many of the pieces in the exhibit, but there are supplementary photos that place each example in context.

Trippy Hippie

In the center of the gallery, on round platforms covered with shag carpeting in acid colors, the Trippy Hippies lead you into the exhibition. In case the colors and styles of these psychedelic clothes weren’t mind-altering enough, a couple of the platforms actually rotate.

One first encounters Patti Boyd’s doppelganger in a Cosmic Couture dress by Barry and Yosha Finch for The Chariot, about 1970. After the design collective The Fool disbanded, Barry Finch and Yosha Leeger moved to Los Angeles where they opened a boutique called The Chariot selling handmade clothing and furnishing fabrics. They eventually shifted to providing the “Cosmic Couture” label to upscale department stores. This dress is perfection with its vaguely medieval style, celestial theme and rainbow sleeves in cotton velvet.

A peak at the lining of the sleeves of the Cosmic Couture dress.

Alkasura jacket with stippled cat and flower print, c. 1970. The mannequin wears my faceted rose-tinted glasses (the ones in the header image of my blog and blog's Facebook page), which I’ve had since 1968.

On the left, the Noel Redding (of the Jimi Hendrix Experience) mannequin wears a Granny Takes a Trip jacket in fabric by Morris & Co. designed by John Pearse in about 1967. On the right, a Granny Takes a Trip velvet suit from the early 1970s.

Lauren told me that these jackets and the trousers were so small, they wouldn’t fit contemporary male mannequins, which are 6 ft. 5 in. tall and buff. So it was necessary to take the mannequins to the Museum carpentry shop to be cut down to shorten them. It was also necessary to have the chest, shoulder blades, pubic area and buttocks sawed off, leaving an effect, as Lauren says, "like Swiss cheese" which "caused the carpenters to be scarred for life."

Fantasy Hippie

As a hippie, you could be a Renaissance troubadour, a homesteader on the American prairie, a medieval princess, or any other persona pulled from history or fairy tales.

The ‘three graces’ in the center wear some of the most beautiful dresses in the show. From left, designed by Lee Bender for Bust Stop, circa 1970. Silk crepe dress designed by Ossie Clark with fabric designed by Celia Birtwell,, early 1970s. The exhibition catalogue notes that the center dress by Giorgio di Sant’Angelo was likely inspired by Sandro Botticellie’s early Renaissance work, Allegory of Spring (La Primavera). Dress from 1972 by the fantasy-frock master, Bill Gibbs, in a sea-shell print.

Betsy Johnson’s 1968 Tara dress inspired by 'Gone with the Wind'.

Craft Hippie

Much of hippie fashion was about DIY and designers followed suit by using a variety of construction and decorative echniques.

You can’t have a hippie show without tie-dye. This Halston pantsuit in silk velvet from 1969 is a luxe version.

Star-embellished boots (made by Gohill, retailed by Granny Takes a Trip, 1969) accompany a Holly Harp tie-dyed dress with an embroidered suede belt. The mannequin is seeing stars in 1970s sunglasses.

Ethnic Hippie

The hippie penchant for travel and the romanticizing of cultures that seemed to offer a "purer" way of life was reflected in the use of textiles from these cultures.

Left to right: John Bates hooded djellabah (barely visible) Geoffrey Beane dress, Thea Porter coat made from an Iraqi textile with fur added to cuffs and collar (1969), Thea Porter dress, Zandra Rhodes dress, fringed and beaded suede East West Musical Instruments Company jacket (loan from FIDM Museum).

The mannequins have been raiding my wardrobe again. This one wears a stamped leather hair slide I bought in the early 1970s, when my hair was this long.

Thea Porter chiffon dress with Central Asian suzani bodice (about 1970). Velvet Pakistani bag with gold braid on loan to the exhibition from my collection.

Retro Hippie

Unlike the romance of fairy tales and costume from earlier periods of history, the ‘Retro Hippie’ mined the recent past—the 1920s-40s. Recalling free spirits such as bootleggers, flappers and Hollywood villains and vamps, these fashions have a more glamorous vibe.

Ossie Clark certainly knew how to make feminine, flattering dresses with his use of bias cut fabric (black and white one with fabric by Celia Birtwell).

An art deco-print jumpsuit designed by Barbara Hulanicki for Biba in the early 1970s. The mannequin holds one of Biba’s mail-order catalogs.

See more photos of the fashion in the exhbition on my blog Facebook page.

Monday
Jul152013

Hippie happening at the MFA, Boston

At tonight’s opening reception of the Hippie Chic exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, curator Lauren Whitley encouraged attendees to be inspired by the exhibition and approach their wardrobe with creativity and a sense of fun, as hippies did. I think that’s something my fellow bloggers have taken to heart long ago.

I had planned to give you a tour of the Hippie Chic exhibition, which I previewed last week. But that would have made this post ridiculously long. So this is just about the party.

The Museum had two psychedelic painted VW buses parked out front to be used as photo opps

As predicted Lauren was the belle of the ball in her bright turquoise Mexican wedding dress. She had purchased a vintage maxi online to wear to the opening. Turns out it didn’t fit her. So I told her I’d find a dress for her in the vintage wonderland that is Frocktasia’s stockroom (you can see the dress behind me here) and brought it back from London. I must have had at least 20 people at the opening, including Lauren's mother, tell me how perfect that dress was for her (word had gotten out that I had a hand in its acquisition).

Lauren’s online purchase did not go to waste--I wore it. We both wore flower crowns that we made from flowers left over from a headpiece the Museum designer made for one of the mannequins in the exhibition.

My dapper escort Chris in a vintage seersucker suit and embroidered shirt. I made his boutonnière.

Lauren looks so beautiful, like a Scandinavian fairy princess. I usually go for an ‘ethnic’ or ‘medieval’ hippie style in earth tones, but I quite like this romantic look on me.

I was reminded of this photo taken at the opening of an exhibition I curated at the MFA, Boston, 17 years ago. I found the off-white satin Richard Tyler jacket that Lauren is wearing at Filene’s Basement. So, we have a long history of finding clothes for each other!

Throughout the evening, a number of people asked to take our photo. Check out Boston fashion and lifestyle blogger, Chynna Pope's post here. We're her "favorite Hippie couple of the night."

I worked at the MFA for 14 years and haven’t been to an opening there in at least a decade. So, I was catching up with folks and forgot to take party pics.

One of my favorite looks at the opening was worn by Barbara, who heads the Education Department. Her sister made this dress from an Indian block-printed bedspread in 1970.

Another Museum employee borrowed this hand-embroidered blouse from a colleague who made it in 1970.

The end of the evening.

Lauren singing along to Joni Mitchell, which the DJ was playing. By the end of the evening, she was a bit punch-drunk from being ‘on’ all day.

Late 1960s/early 1970s maxi by Young Innocent by Arpeja, borrowed from Lauren. Flower crown made by me. Victorian velvet bag I’ve owned since the late 1960s/early 1970s. Vintage necklaces. 'Natural Comfort' platforms with lengths of purple chiffon tied to them, thrifted. After the opening, Chris and I went to get some vegan ice cream at FoMu. I chose the flavor ‘Chocolate magic bar’ (chocolate ice cream with graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips and coconut flakes) which seemed a hippie sort of flavor.

Squeaking in under the wire for the party over at Visible Monday. And how can I not link to Spy Girl's 52 Pick-me-up: 70s Flashback.

Thursday
Jul112013

Hippie Chic sneak peek

Curating and installing a museum exhibition takes an enormous amount of planning and effort. When I worked in a museum, my colleagues and I would joke that ‘museum years’ were like ‘dog years.’ You could be writing a catalog of the collection or curating an exhibition for many, many years. There were no ‘quick fixes’ in terms of seeing your work come to fruition. But, it was creative and fun and I sometimes miss those days.

Detail. Man’s suit, Retailed at Granny Takes a Trip, London, England, about 1969. Rayon velvet with acetate lining. Museum purchase with funds donated by Doris May. Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 2009.2348.1-3My friend Lauren has pulled off the amazing coup of the Hippie Chic exhibition running from July 16 to November 11 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Curating the exhibition entailed choosing which items would go into the show as well as filling in gaps by acquiring pieces and arranging loans from private collectors and other museums. Plus, there was choosing and dressing the mannequins, finding and co-ordinating accessories, working with designers on the display, overseeing photography for and writing the exhibition catalog, writing text panels and labels, and a whole host of other things.

Given that I’m a bit obsessed with the topic of fashion of the late 1960s/early 1970s, I’ve followed the planning and preparations of the show with keen interest.

Detail. Woman’s coat. Designed by Thea Porter, England, London, 1969. Wool twill embroidered with wool yarns, fur trim, and silk satin lining. Textile Income Purchase Fund, Textile Curator’s Fund, Alice J. Morse Fund and partial gift of Shrimpton Corporation. Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 2008.1040Yesterday, Lauren was kind enough to give me a sneak peek of the exhibition. The premise of the show is the “trickle up” of hippie street style to designers in late 1960s and early 1970s. I don’t want to give away too much before the opening, but let’s just say that there was enough purple (the gallery walls), velvet, psychedelic prints, flowing mannequin locks, embroidery, fringe and Juliet sleeves to have me continuously oohing and aahing.

The wigs of the mannequins were created by the designer for the Boston Lyric Opera and the Boston Ballet. Lauren provided images of period hairstyles and each wig was thoughtfully co-ordinated with the outfits.

This mannequin wearing a leather and suede jacket by East West Musical Instruments Company in San Francisco sports a hairstyle modeled on Lauren’s (she doesn't usually work in bare feet, but has removed her shoes to stand--at my insistence--on the newly painted platform).

The show is divided into five areas: Trippy Hippy, Fantasy Hippie, Craft Hippie, Ethnic Hippie and Retro Hippie.

We decided that my ensemble yesterday placed me firmly in ‘Ethnic Hippie’ so I posed with the exquisite Thea Porter embroidered and sequined caftan from about 1969.

The tea rose cotton gauze dress with a smocked bodice and ties at the neckline was purchased in 2011 from Nabali at Greenwich Market (same designer who made the red wool coat in this post.) Since a smocked bodice is not a flattering look on me, I’m glad I had my trusty, recently thrifted denim vest. The antique Indian necklace was purchased from Tribal Arts at the Cultural Survival Bazaar and the Mexican embroidered bag came from another Cultural Survival Bazaar vendor.

The opening reception is next Monday and I still need to complete the finishing touches on my outfit. Lauren will be wearing a maxi purchased from Frocktasia and will be the belle of the ball.

Thursday
Jun272013

Blogging pals' big day out

For my last full day in London, I offered to take Jennie to lunch and then to a ‘secret location’ that I thought she would enjoy.

Figuring out how to get to the 'secret' location. Lunch was to be at bizarre café whose décor is more fitting for a goth/new age/horror film-inspired art installation than an eating establishment. But, it wasn’t open. I learned later that the woman who runs it was just late  that day—so, hopefully, we can go another time (although I don't have high hopes for it surviving much longer) After a sandwich elsewhere, we got on the train to Rotherhithe to the Sands Film Studio.

Last week, my boyfriend had been to a silent film screening at the Sands Film Studio, a film production company that also offers costume and set production and hire services. Recent projects have included costumes for the films ‘Les Misérables’ and Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln.’ You can get a good sense of the place from this narrated slideshow

When A. saw the stacks of fashion magazines, costumes on display, and the library at the Sands, he knew I’d want to visit. The Studio houses the Rotherhithe Picture Research Library, a free resource for stage and film set and costume designers.

So, last week A. and I poked around the Research Library for a bit and this was the ‘secret location’ I whisked Jennie to.

Interior, stacks of fashion magazines, and one of the picture catalogs. I chose 'Costume' as the first index to dive into.Near the entrance there are large, hand-written indices of the picture catalogs that fill the shelves. Categories include furnishings, interiors, architecture, transportation, costumes, and many more.

These large scrapbooks have an image glued to each page. Each is dated, but unfortunately, the source is not always provided.

Dated '1972.'I remember this look from the early 1970s very well: smock top, rolled-up straight-leg jeans, and clogs or boots. Some images from the 1969-1972 costume picture catalogs.

We admired the exquisite embroidery on view.

Embroidered doublets, waistcoats and accessories produced at the Sands Studio and used in various films and stage productionsIn the corner of the library is a little embroidery workshop.View from the exterior of a second-floor window. The Studio has occupied a Grade II-listed former granary since 1975. Jennie and I stayed glued to our seats pouring through vintage magazines well after closing time (no one bothered to tell us to leave). We came away with tons of ideas for projects (I really want to paint a shirt with a rainbow like Julie Driscoll's above). Now if we only had tons of time!

We then popped around to the church and graveyard next door for a little photo shoot. Jennie got all goth in the graveyard and suggested the contrast of the bright blue door for me. The fabulous flouncy, lacy blouse I'm wearing was a gift from Jennie when I went to her house last week.

Frilly lace blouse, gift from Jennie. Patchwork wrap skirt, purchased at a fair-trade bazaar years ago. 1950s reversible man’s waistcoat, purchased by my brother in the 1970s. Fleur boots, purchased at Vegetarian Shoes. 1970s bag, purchased at the Rock and Roll Yard Sale, Somerville.

I'm looking forward to hanging out with Jennie on my next trip to the UK. And should either of us win the lottery we have plans to open a vegan café/bakery with a vintage threads boutique next door. We'll live nearby in a big Victorian townhouse our partners and lots of dogs and cats. And we'll invite all of our bloggers friends to come by for a visit when they're in London.

On Tuesday, British Airways gave me an upgrade on my flight home. When I asked the man at the gate why, he said it was my lucky day and that I should play the lottery when I got home. I arrived home in Boston at night and went straight home. Hoping that my luck would continue, I played the lottery the following day but, alas, didn't win. So, Jennie and my plan will have to wait.

You can read Jennie’s account of our day on her Frocktasia blog here.

The good quality photos in this post are thanks to Jennie.

Sunday
Jun232013

Some dreams do come true

My last full week in London has been jam-packed.

I visited the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow 20 or so years ago. Since then it went through a major redevelopment and has just won £100,000 Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year so I was eager to see it again.

I enjoyed the works by Morris, stained glass by Burne-Jones, embroidered bags by May Morris and all the other original Arts and Crafts works. I did not enjoy the floor-to-ceiling, “where do I look now” installation geared for the attention deficit and the interactive children’s activities in every gallery (which meant that there were children banging on things and running around throughout).

I also saw the multi-media David Bowie exhibition at the V & A and quite enjoyed seeing the many creative avenues Bowie has been down: songwriting and music, stage set, costume, acting, painting and drawing, and probably a few more that I’m forgetting. I’m not an obsessive Bowie fan so I didn’t fight the crowds to see every hand-written lyric sheet or set design notes. It was fun to see his costumes and learn about all the influences for each phase of his persona.

V & A David Bowie is exhibition, 2013. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London A sign at the entrance of the exhibit said, “No photography or sketching.” Sketching? I wondered if my memory would be erased at the end, but thankfully it wasn’t. Or maybe it was that they didn’t want visitors parked too long at any point.

As a child, I had a re-occurring dream. Struggling to wake up to get ready for school, I would dream that I did get up. And when I walked into my tiny closet to find something to wear, it had turned into a giant closet filled with the most gorgeous clothes imaginable. I got to live that dream in the vintage wonderland that is Frocktasia's stockroom.

I had volunteered for the role of personal shopper for a friend in the States who was looking for a special vintage maxi for a special occasion. Jennie kindly pulled out every frock that fit the brief. To get a sense of the fit, I tried on each candidate and Jennie took pictures for me to email to my friend.

Of course, I couldn’t help falling in love with a number of dresses for myself. I bought this slinky purple ‘New Generation’ number. 

I love the color, the 70s-does-30s vibe and the label! Jennie also gave me two presents that couldn’t have been more perfect. One, a flouncy brown lace blouse, I wore that evening. Check out the gorgeous print of this skirt! The other present was this Indian printed wrap-around skirt, that I wore the next day.

Given that my outfit shot before I left the flat to go to Jennie's looked like this:

I asked Jennie to take some pics at the end of my visit and she graciously agreed.

This printed rayon top is one of my most favorite and I wear it often. Jennie saw the print on it and pulled out the skirt--with it's matching print--for me!

Hat, purchased from Frocktasia. Indian blouse, purchased 6 years ago at a consignment shop. Velour jacket, thrifted. Jeans, purchased at Gap and patched by me over the years. Clogs, thrifted and painted by me. Pakistani tote bag, thrifted, Boomerang. Bangles, purchased in India. Necklaces, purchased in the 1970s, purchased from Frocktasia and purchased in India.

There were far more activities this week than I can comfortably fit into this post so they’ll have to wait for another time.

Linking up with Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday.

Wednesday
Jun192013

Waste neither time nor money

This post is a bit all over the place as I’ve been a bit all over the place in my last days in London.

I can’t resist the thrifting bug even though I’m in one of the most expensive cities in the world and have managed a few acquisitions, mostly books and jewelry.

Red dress 1970s polyester dress, thrifted, PDSA, Kentish Town, London. Striped vinyl belt, thrifted, Goodwill. Natural Comfort sandals, thrifted, Goodwill. 1970s vinyl bag, purchased on Etsy.This is the dress I picked up at PDSA. At £9.99, it was than I would have liked to for it, but seeing as how it was for an animal charity, I bought it.

1960s flower brooch, no idea where I got this. I’ve had it for decades.  I walk everywhere and the sidewalks in my neighborhood are quaint brickwork that trip me up even when I’m wearing the flattest of shoes. So anything that makes me feel even slightly unstable is out of the question.

‘Natural Comfort’ sandals, thrifted, Goodwill. However, I thought I'd give these sandals a try. They are well-padded and I really like the ‘70s look of them. I’ve worn them when I only had to walk a very short distance. Unfortunately, because the strap around the ankle is wide elastic, walking in them produces a loud flapping noise – which is probably why they ended up at the thrift store.

I didn’t have to go far from my boyfriend’s flat for this lot. The library that is about 3 minutes away has a wall of shelves with books for sale. I picked up the novels for 30p each. Those in the middle and on the right are both told from the perspective of a young girl in a dysfunctional family and are set in Wales in the 1960s. ‘Mary George of Allnorthover’ by Lavinia Greenlaw is about a young woman growing up in an English village in the 1970s. I don’t know if the library was having a clear-out of books with this theme or what, but I’ve enjoyed “The Hiding Place” and “Shake!” and the other was on my “to read’ list.

The museum members’ magazines were free. The one for the V & A has articles regarding their Hollywood Costume exhibition and the Tate magazine is all about the Pre-Raphaelite show I was lucky enough to see that last time I was in London.

The 1970s pewter and ceramic pendant on the right (£2) came from the car boot sale a few weekends ago. The ceramic pendant necklace (£1) on the left came from Age UK in Kentish Town. The abstract design and blue/green color reminded me of the pewter one.

The spiral design on the back of the pewter pendant makes it reversible. And the ceramic one has a maker’s stamp of a weird little stylized face. If anyone recognizes the mark, let me know.

I also scored some books at the Oxfam bookshop and Age UK in Kentish Town. I had flipped through the Twentieth-Century Fashion book in the library and was thrilled to see at Oxfam for £1.99. It has academic articles such as, “Dress and Culture in Greenwich Village” and “The Beat Generation: Subcultural Style.”Gyoza with a mojito and a smoothie; raw lasagna with cashew ‘cheese’ adorned with a decorative and delicious dehydrated tomato; berry cheesecake and English trifle.And since A. and I seek out bargains for dining out too, we I took advantage of an online voucher to go to Saf in Kensington, which serves vegan, mostly raw cuisine. In well-prepred raw cuisine, every morsel explodes with flavor.

I’m headed back to Saf tonight to dine with my friend from the States, and tomorrow, I’ll have another visit with Jennie of Frocktasia. Then the David Bowie exhibition at the V & A on Friday night. So much to do!

Sunday
Jun162013

New friend, new frock

Vintage hat from Frocktasia. Calico scarf, thrifted, Goodwill. 1970s MMT dress from Frocktasia. Indian glass and brass necklace from Frocktasia. Acrylic bangles purchased in India. 1970s vinyl bag purchased on Etsy. Tights, retail. Clogs thrifted and painted by meThe highlight of the past week was an afternoon spent with Jennie at her cozy home. Her kind hospitality and warmth (and that of her lovely husband, too) made me feel right at home. Before I even left her kitchen--with its Indian wall-hanging, brightly painted walls, and retro canisters on every counter--I felt like I could move right in.

Jennie trades vintage clothing and accessories as Frocktasia and has an incredible eye for finding unusual pieces. Once I entered her Frocktasia stockroom, I was in awe. So many things to look at, so many gorgeous frocks and beautiful textiles and jewelry. In addition to knowing her vintage and being a gifted stylist, Jennie is also an inventive designer and I got to see some of her hand-made creations. You can see a selection of her wares here.

As other bloggers have experienced, there is something almost magical that happens at blogger meetups. You can talk your head off with someone you’ve only just met in person.

Not only did I have a blast with our tea-and-muffin-fueled chatting and rummaging, I went home with several new acquisitions. I have been searching for a wide-brimmed hat to wear with 1970s clothes and was pleased that Jennie had one in black that fit my small head.

And look at this 1970s dress from Sweden!

Manufactured by Malmö Mekaniska Tricotfabriksaktiebolag (1892-1976) and designed by Elisabeth Ladderup, it is a comfy cotton knit adorned with fantastical paisley-birds.

I also bought this Indian red glass and brass bead necklace. And, just when I thought I couldn’t be more happy with all my goodies, Jennie presented me with this obi-like belt/sash that she designed and made. I adore the bright red mixed with the black and white print and can’t wait to create an outfit with it.

Since I’ve been steeped in silent and classic films during my time here, I thought I’d include this “film noir” shot. I love this dress so much, I’ve worn it out 3 days straight. Here I've just left the flat to meet a friend from back home, who's in London for a couple weeks. We have known each other for nearly 30 years and she immediately exclaimed that this dress looked like it was made for me. How fitting!

I'll be linking up with Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday.

Thursday
Jun062013

A fine and dandy day

Here I am in London, surrounded by a myriad of things to see and do. But, the lack of blog posts is a reflection of my lack of activity. I did something to my back and have had a hard time getting around or even sitting comfortably (making using a computer a bit difficult). I have good days and bad, but I never know which will be which. It is immensely frustrating.

Last weekend A. and I went visited The Dandy Lion Market in Kentish Town, where I got to visit with Jennie of Frocktasia again. A bit of a chat revealed that we suffer from similar hoarding tendencies but we've both made the decision to mend our ways. She kindly invited me to her house so I will be able to see how our afflictions compare.

She had lots of lovely frocks on display, but my eye was drawn to the kerchief on her mannequin. I have an obsession with the color combination of purple (although it looks blue here), red and gold. Once I stated that, wweet Jennie promptly gifted it to me. I know I will get lots of wear out of it. 

I really wish we had these sorts of small, low-key markets at home. There are a couple crafts/vintage fairs in my area but they tend to be larger and more expensive for vendors.After the Market, A. and I walked to Camden Town for an early dinner stopping off at a couple charity shops on the way. I found a 1970s dress at PDSA that A. absolutely hated. I thought it had potential (in a church picnic sort of way) and bought it anyway. It was pricey at £9.99, but since the money was going for puppies and kitties I paid it.

At Age UK, I found two book: A History of Fashion in the 20th Century and The Practical Man’s Book of Things to Make and Do, reprinted in 1946. At £1.49, they were more in my price range. The fashion book has some images I haven’t seen before and the other book will be gifted to a practical male friend of A.’s.

After dinner at inSpiral in Camden Town, A. and I made our way to Kennington to a special event at the Cinema Museum. On occasion, the Oscar-winning film historian Kenneth Brownlow shows films from his personal collection. That night, it was a short comedy film and the 1925 silent melodrama 'Stella Dallas' (which was remade in 1937 and 1990). Both were shown with live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne who played piano, accordion, percussion and flute – sometimes even playing two instruments at the same time! I'll post more about the Cinema Museum later.1970s-does-1940s dress, purchased at Spitalfields Market, London. Tights, retail. Clogs, thrifted and painted by me. Necklace, thrifted, Goodwill. Bangles from India. That day I wore my ‘1970s-does-1940s’ frock which has made several appearances on this blog. I was looking at vintage sewing patterns on Etsy recently and Butterick 3835 immediately jumped out at me. Although it’s for a blouse and skirt, the view on the right bears a remarkable resemblance to my dress. Here, I lamely re-create the pose.

I'm hoping this trip to London will include some treasure-hunting, but I'm sad that they can't involve any train journeys.

Tuesday
May282013

Let the sun shine

The weather gods that rule this country are a fickle lot. They were gracious enough to allow the sun to come out over the bank holiday weekend. But, lest anyone get spoiled, it’s gray and rainy once again.

Denim jacket, H & M, purchased new in the mid-1990s. Cotton and metallic thread scarf, purchased in India. 1970s D.L. Barron maxi dress, Mr. Bird’s Flea Market, Birmingham, UK. Vintage Pakistani velvet and applique bag, thrifted, Boomerang. Thrifted Dansko sandals painted by me, Goodwill. Socks with striped toes, thrifted, Goodwill. But, I thank them for the weekend respite. On Saturday, A. and I went to the Can’t Buy Me Love Market at The Bugaloo in Highgate. We had visited this market before, maybe a year or so ago. A. liked this market as it’s in a pub and one vendor was selling vegan cake. Beer and cake—he was happy. Vintage clothes—I was happy.

I finally wore the D. L. Barron floral maxi dress that I bought on my shopping expedition in Birmingham last year with Vix and Annie. The sandals were thrifted brown Danskos that I painted silver.

I met Jennie of Frocktasia, whose blog incites envy – for the stunning photography as well as the gorgeous frocks. Even before I recognized her, my eyes were drawn to her dress, a vibrant mod number with bands of vaguely Celtic designs. Her stall had clothes at crazy-low prices and adorable little bundles of fabric that I was drooling over.

I was thrilled when she gifted me with one little bundle. Once home and unwrapped I saw that it was a trippy foliage and floral print with a 1920s vibe in some sections. I can’t wait to make a maxi skirt out of it.

I also met Leslie, the dynamo who runs The Dandy Lion Market and chatted about shared interests (like me, I imagine she’s someone who can’t imagine ever being bored).

On Sunday, A. and I went to the Columbia Road Market to buy flowering plants for his window box, then home to clean, clean, clean. Monday morning there was more cleaning to be done. In the afternoon, I traipsed about the city, enjoying the weather. Feeling ‘vaguely medieval,’ I wore my trusty gray-green tunic with green tights. The only problem was deciding on accessories.

Shell and silver bangle purchased in India. Silver and hematite bead necklace purchased in Turkey. Bronze moon-faced pendant purchased in the 1970s. Carnelian drop earrings purchased at a yard sale. Various silver rings. First I pulled out all my ‘vaguely medieval’ jewelry. 

Do I wear it with the Indian silk scarf (that I also bought in Birmingham) as a belt and my Vegetarian Shoes red Fleur boots?

My vintage polyester green jacket (that has made numerous appearances on this blog), 1960s woven belt, and thrifted clogs (painted by me)?

The constant was the applique vinyl bag, purchased on Etsy, that I spent hours researching.

In the end, I went for the green jacket, wearing the scarf at my neck, a thrifted mod vinyl green, white and blue belt, and the green clogs.

Not a very exciting weekend. The sun being out was excitement enough!

I hope y’all had great weekends.