Fine Vintage – Dresses and the Ladies that wore them

…this one stepped out with Colin Theile

I was photographing these fine vintage dresses and thinking how lucky I am to have them in my possession.

The common theme today is fine vintage ladies who have generously shared a snippet of their extraordinary, full and fun lives with me. To Sylvia, Trudie and Grandma.

Grandma is currently zipping around hospital on her zimmer again despite being admitted only 3 days ago with pneumonia and having suffered from a small heart attack. At the age of 94, she certainly knows what she wants. There’s only two things that she asked me for yesterday: 1) to come home 2) for a manicure! That’s what I call priorities! The latter is something I can definitely fix for today.

…this one partook in an activity where a little wine was spilt

Meanwhile on the other side of the world, I’ve received good news from Mrs Sylvia Stewart (my good friend Len’s mother) on receipt of her Harrods pen. As a fellow stationery lover, I had promised Mrs Stewart that I  would replace her favourite pen which although had ceased to work many years ago, had been held onto out of love. Turned out that wasn’t all Mrs S had held on to.

Taking a break from surfing to visit Mrs Stewart in Newcastle (New South Wales in Australia not Tyneside!), and going to her home was like being on a film set or an episode of Mad Men. They had lived there for over 60 years and the house, particularly the kitchen was immaculately preserved in that time. It was beautiful.

We bonded over afternoon tea and cakes followed by an impromptu fashion show by me to model some clothes that older sister Trudie (in her 90s and 10 years seinor to Sylvia) had decided to send her younger sister.  ‘I was going through my wardrobe and can no longer fit into them anymore, let my younger sister have some fun with them!’ she’d said on the phone.  I have a younger sister 10 years my junior too but I’m not sure I can keep my tibetan christmas pants and American Apparel lycra in such good condition to pass on to her when I’m 90…

.. this original Oleg Cassini stepped out with a racing driver

Among the bag of gems was a dress reflective of each decade that these ladies must have partied in.  A Melbourne Dress Company drop waist black dress with a diamante bow was worn when she was ‘stepping out’ with the Australian author of Storm Boy – Colin Thiele, an Oleg Cassini number (designer for Grace Kelly and Jackie O) was worn when she stepped out with an Australian racing driver, and a 70s gold maxi that was made just for her, were all in the collection.

These dresses and ladies must have been to some serious parties.

There was definitely a mischeiveous twinkle in her eye seeing the dresses being worn again.  I’m always buying vintage clothes and jewellery and end up making up stories of who they might have belonged to so it was rather delightful and emotional to have the owners tell me exactly what kind of life each item had seen.

Mrs Stewart thought the dresses would have more fun in London with me than sat in the fed ex bag so they went into my suitcase and a few hundred miles later, I’ve made a promise to both Trudie and Sylvia not to sell these on ebay but to give these dresses another lease of life.

I can’t wait to wear them about town. Where are the authors and racing drivers? These dresses have reputations to live up to!

Sylvia on her wedding day with Trudie. Total babes.


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