V intage affair
...because vintage is a way of life.
issue 2 - 2012
elcome to the second issue of Vintage Affair - I know its been a long time coming.
Vintage Affair from now on will also be looking a little different. This edition will be online-so you can read on your computer, or phone. Our website www.vintageaffair.net has also been updated and will start to become a showcase for all things vintage. If you would like to have your store, online store, hobby promoted on our website, facebbok and twitter sites please drop me a line at email@example.com. I hope you like issue two. There are some womderful stories about all things vintage by an array of fabulous writers. Thanks to the wonderful Rebecca King and all contributers. I hope you enjoy this issue. Vintage is a way of life Bea
5 What is vintage?By Matthew Hogan 6 Vintage Blog - Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter - By Brooke Child 10 5 USA Vintage Finds By Alicia Moo 11 The 1950’s vintage fashions are making a comeback - by Teila Tankersley 12 Martini Anyone? By Lindsey Rendell
By Anna Angel 30 Retrobution Radio Razzamatazz By Christopher White 32 Vintage Collector - A Penny For An Old Friend - By Rebecca King 34 Vintage Flicks - 1950s B-Grade Sci Fi By Karie Weatherhead 36 Vintage Vinyl - The Crooners - By Christina Ong 38 Vintage Reads - 1950s Lit - By Robyn Collis
16 Look at Me I’m Sandra V By Rebecca King and Ilana Morgan
40 Vintage Travel - The Blue Mountains By Alicia Nally
20 Bang Doll Baby - By Jessica Sier 24 Charmed - By Amelia Bowe 27 Ursalady Creations 28 Anchored in Tradition -
44 Vintage Short - Ruby Corelli By Rebecca King Vintage Affair Editor/Publisher - Belinda Hogan Editor - Rebecca King
intage. Just what is vintage and what does it actually mean? The Oxford Dictionary explains: (a) Vintage is derived from an Old French word vendange. (b) Vintage refers to wine of a particular season. (c) Something from the past of high quality. The key to (c) of course is high quality and the past. Vintage may be applied to the afore-mentioned wine, to classic jewellery, fashion and accessories, motor vehicles, photographs, films, glass, cutlery, china and music among many others. Vintage may also apply to things as diverse as architecture, furniture and cheese. Vintage can never be associated with products from the contemporary era irrespective of how high the quality. That will be left to future generations to identify those items as worthy of ‘vintage’ status. Vintage music holds great reverence for names such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Bobby Darin, Glenn Miller, Harry James, The Beatles and ABBA to name just a few. Artists such as these are greatly admired by later generations of music lovers. The melodies and lyrics are eternal. Incidentally, The Beatles disbanded over 40 years ago! Vintage movies are another wonderful example, as they are graphic and known to millions worldwide for quality and ageless beauty. At the end of the 20th Century, The American Film Institute surveyed 1500 key film personnel to compile a list of the top 100 American films of all time. The leading 12 were 1.Citizen Kane (1941), 2.Casablanca (1942), 3.The Godfather (1972), 4.Gone With The Wind (1939), 5.Lawrence of Arabia (1962), 6.The Wizard Of Oz (1939), 7.The Graduate (1967), 8.On The Waterfront (1954), 9.Schindler’s List (1993), 10.Singin’ In The Rain (1952), 11.It’s A Wonderful Life (1946), 12.Sunset Boulevard (1950). Only one film, Schindler’s List, was made within the last 20 years. Only 12 films of the 100 were made within the last 30 years. The most recent three were number 71. Forrest Gump (1994), 95. Pulp Fiction (1994), and 84. Fargo (1996). This list begs the question: Which modern day movies will be classed as vintage in 40 or 50 years
time? Yours to ponder perhaps. Automobiles are another magnificent example of classic vintage art. Who could forget the sensuous lines of an E-Type Jaguar from the 1960s and ‘70s? (One is on display in the Museum of Modern Art in New York as an example of automotive beauty). Similarly, the absolutely stunning 1954 Mercedes Benz Gull-wing 300SL, now priceless, or the 1954 Aston Martin DB4 which the early James Bond loved so dearly, are both remarkable vintage classics. Let’s not forget the 1958 MG1600 Mk2 and the Austin Healey, the very best of British auto engineering. The Americans produced the glorious Chevrolet Corvette in 1959 to successfully counter the British invasion of their market. All of these cars are now worth many times their original cost and in some cases virtually unprocurable because they are vintage classics. Most were mainly handmade. Which of the mass produced, robot assembled cars of today will ever become ‘vintage’ in the future? It makes one wonder. In the world of fashion including accessories and jewellery, if one browses through the magazines of yesteryear it is strikingly obvious how beautiful are the gowns and the naturalness of the fashion models displaying the designer’s wardrobe. This was an era when women looked like women and their menfolk loved it. On the cat-walks of today the prominent bone structure of models seems to take precedence over natural femininity and a comment often overheard by casual observers is “who buys this stuff?” Vintage, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and it would not be unusual for readers of this magazine to hunger for times past when workmanship was of high principle and things were made to absolute quality standards. All manner of things were made to pass on to others rather than contemporary society’s penchant for cheap imports and a slavish following of disposable marketing. Vive Vintage!! By Matthew Hogan - who at 71 years old is a vintage veteren.
Don Juanâ€™s Reckless Daughter - Meg Olsen Interview by Brooke Child.
’m a product of the 1980s, so I suppose I’m vintage myself. I was born Memphis, Tennessee but grew up in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. Despite the seemingly odd location, I had a fairly typical upbringing. I left home at 17 and went to University in Seattle, Washington and also lived in London, a year. I now live in Los Angeles, California (Laurel Canyon to be exact) with my boyfriend, two Chihuahuas and two black cats.
that having a blog was such a healthy outlet for creativity and inspiration. It started off as more of an anonymous showcase of other people’s art, clothing, music and photos that inspired me and from there it sort of morphed into a more personal space. I love that my blog has connected me to all of these amazing people from around the world.
Since I was young I have had a special place Los Angeles and I have had a tempestuous in my heart for old films, music, and history relationship in the past but have come to in general. I think that goes hand in hand terms more or less. I don’t see myself here with appreciating vintage. forever but I do think this city is an often misunderstood place. Part of the reason I enjoy It has so many good so much is the “Part of the reason I enjoy vintage points that may be uniqueness of the pieces vintage so much is the and the illusion of them overshadowed by the world’s perception of uniqueness of the pieces being one of a kind – after ‘LA’. all, it’s quite unlikely you and the illusion of them will bump into anyone The shopping here being one of a kind – after wearing the same vintage is fantastic! I love dress. I liked thinking Golyester (Hollywood) all, it’s quite unlikely you about the history behind and Shareen (downtown will bump into anyone my vintage pieces: who LA). I also like Jet Rag them before me wearing the same vintage wore (in Hollywood) and and where they went. dress.” American Vintage (in Loz Feliz). My friends Hannah and Elvia just I am definitely more opened their very first shop, The Loved One, drawn to items that pre-date the 1970s. I in Pasadena! Those ladies have impeccable think my body type is particularly suited for taste and everything is quite reasonably 1950s and early 60s silhouettes. About five priced. years ago I found an amazing white and silver 1960s cocktail dress (very Edie Sedgwick) at We also have wonderful restaurants, parks Beyond Retro on Cheshire Street in London. and hiking trails galore, not to mention the That still ranks among my best ever vintage wealth of old Hollywood history. I love to finds. But then I have several 1940s novelty read books about LA’s past – they make me print dresses and I love 1920s-30s fashion. feel more connected to the city. I also adore Why pick one era when you have all those our neighbourhood, Laurel Canyon – it’s a options! hidden gem in the Hollywood hills. My personal style is playful, a bit girly but I started Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter in with (hopefully) just enough sophistication the summer of 2008 after many years of to be taken somewhat seriously. Dressing following various blogs and forums. I found should be fun and I believe that clothing can
very much have an effect on oneâ€™s mood. At any given point Iâ€™m inspired by a multitude of ladies (and gents) from the past and present. It's never just one style icon as such. Always and forever the Ziegfeld Girls are an inspiration of mine. I am in love with the 1920s and have been since I can remember. I also love Jane Austin heroines and the Pre-Raphaelites. I have become a camera junkie over the past few years and am always snapping photos. In particular, I have penchant for instant cameras â€“ including my 1960s Land Polaroid camera, which works like a dream. I want to get more into shooting film because I think it truly helps
you become a better photographer when you don’t have unlimited shots and there is no instant gratification. You have to learn not to use the computer as a crutch. I lived in London for almost a year while I was in school and I have always had an affinity for England. I’m not sure why but I just ‘clicked’ with London from my first visit at age 17. I also love New York and Paris.. There are no other places like them! Rome is an amazing historysaturated place and I could spend weeks roaming the ruins. My New Year’s Resolution this year is to try and travel more. We just got back from England visiting family and friends. Next on our list is Nashville, Tennessee where some friends of ours recently moved. I am also planning to meet up with a couple of blogger friends while I’m there. I love experiencing new places; it really changes your perspective on the world. The whole “Brit” thing started off as a joke, in all honestly; kind of like “Mr. Big” a la ‘Sex and the City’. I think I’ll always be a bit guarded with more private aspects of my life and I think that’s fine – so much of our lives are already online. A girl needs to keep an air of mystery! Vintage and I are in happily in love… here’s hoping the seams hold out!”
with Alicia Moo
CJs (Cheap Jackâ€™s) Vintage
The Way We Wore
303 Fifth Ave New York, NY 10016
334 S. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles CA 90036
272 Sutter Street at Grant San Francisco CA 94108
4 1 4 W e s t Franklin Street Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27516
1834 W. North Ave Chicago, IL 60622
The 1950’s vintage fashions are making a comeback by Teila Tankersley
he 1950’s vintage fashions are making a comeback
hanky, a newsboy hat, shirt studs, cufflinks, fedor and a cool pair of wing tip shoes.
Stars love it, but more importantly you’ll love them too, it’s a fashion craze that says it all. If you want to be chic, crazy, sexy or simply just want to make a fashion statement than vintage clothing is for you.
For women a 50’s wardrobe might consist of: a few pairs of nylons, a good pair of spectacles inlaid with diamante or scattered glitter dust and a hat.
Vintage clothing is a way to celebrate your own unique style while borrowing tips from faded days past. What makes a piece of vintage clothing a hit. Why, it’s the accessories of course. The 1950’s remind us of rockabilly ruffles, pencil skirts, sweater vests, a fedora, pocket watch and don’t forget those matching hats, pumps and purses. Wearing the right accessories can take you back to yesteryear, to a time of romance. The 1950s’ fashions were undoubtedly romantic and stylish. It’s a look that is fun and easy to create and the good news is that you can build your wardrobe one accessory at a time. Simply begin collecting items that appeal to you most. It might be a good idea to select some of the higher quality items in favour of larger quantities of less desirable clothes and accessories. Quality 50’s items can only become more desirable and valuable vintage items as time passes. Some 1950 accessories for men might include: suspenders, sweater vest, a pocket watch,
Matching hat and handbag, a pair of rolled up jeans and maybe even a cashmere sweater. And, don’t forget no wardrobe is complete without a slip! Like my grandmother always said, a good girls wears a slip. Vintage clothing is fun, dramatic and the good news is that it is as popular as ever. So what are you waiting, take a stroll on over to the local antique store and see what you can find.
Lisa has been wearing clothes from the 1940s through to the 1960s for most of her life. Inspired by Christian Diorâ€™s New Look collection, Lisaâ€™s particular love of 1950s dresses has meant wearing vintage head-to-toe every day is the norm regardless of where she is.
A t o m i c martini Words and photos by Lindsey Rendell
Vintage Brisbane - Northside
ith only a hand full of modern pieces of clothing in her wardrobe, Lisa decided to turn her knowledge and passion for vintage into her full time job earlier this year when she opened Atomic Martini. “It was always one of those ideas that sat in the back of my mind, opening my own boutique,” she says, “so this is like living the dream for me – and I am having such great fun.” With a love for good tailoring and an eye for a well cut frock, Lisa focuses on stocking quality items from local Australian designers and manufacturers such as the exclusive
skills and knowledge are renowned in vintage circles. Helping customers to understand the history behind the cuts and sizing of vintage attire and the variety of wonderful foundation garments, Lisa is an expert in helping her customers choose the right piece. “I like to research labels, designers, manufacturers and fabrics, she says. “It’s been 25 years of research and interest in fashion and design as well as 25 years of wearing vintage clothes.” This is what makes the visit to Atomic Martini a whole vintage shopping experience.
“I really want to focus on creating, supporting and bringing together lots of different people from different backgrounds, girls and guys, that like all the many different aspects of vintage fashion and design,” Lisa says. ranges that were made here in Australia for ‘David Jones’ and ‘Myer’ through the 50s and 60s, all the way through to ‘Mr. K’ in the 80s. Overseas labels such as ‘Leon Cutler’ and ‘R & K Originals’ will be familiar to vintage wearers and recognisable on the racks by their quality fabric and cuts. ìHaving worn and appreciated vintage clothing and accessories for so many years I want to ensure that my customers gets the opportunity to experience the very best of what past fashion has to offer, Lisa says. “I am absolutely passionate about making sure that only quality items come into the shop. Also, as a trained archivist, Lisa’s research
Being the passionate and savvy woman she is, Lisa has some very big plans for Atomic Martini. Already, on the first Tuesday of the month, Lisa hosts coffee mornings at a local café where like minded vintage enthusiasts get together to share fashion tips and beauty ideas. She is also starting tutorial-like get-togethers on topics such as: 50s hair and makeup; pyjamas through the ages; and choosing the right lingerie for a garment are also in the works. “I really want to focus on creating, supporting and bringing together lots of different people from different backgrounds, girls and guys,
that like all the many different aspects of vintage fashion and design,” Lisa says. “Opening up to people the benefits of wearing vintage clothing, both as a sustainable and stylish way of dressing and as a way to express their individuality, seems to also have the added benefit of opening them up to new friendships and contacts, which is just wonderful.” The bright red shop front is easy to spot on busy Lutwyche Road on Brisbane’s north side and Lisa has already turned it into a well renowned and respected boutique that recently won a ‘New Business of the Year’ award. Atomic Martini’s interior is decked out with racks of the highest quality vintage clothing and accessories for both girls and girls. There is even a couple of vintage lounge chairs to sit and have a chat, a cuppa and a read of one of the many vintage Vogue magazines also for sale. One of the charms
The bright red shop front is easy to spot on busy Lutwyche Road on Brisbane’s north side and Lisa has already turned it into a well renowned and respected boutique that recently won a ‘New Business of the Year’ award. of the shopping experience at Atomic Martini is that Lisa encourages her customers to play with garments, feel the fabrics, and observe the cut and style when they try on an outfit. “You have to have fun with it to be able to find your own style,” Lisa explains. So it is well worth a trip to Lutwyche to spend a little time exploring and sharing the many stories that come with such a vast array of pieces from the past.
Atomic Martini 491A Lutwyche Rd Lutwyche Brisbane (07) 3357 3622
Look At Me Iâ€™m Sandra V
Bang Doll Vintage
Vintage Melbourne 12.
Set in the idyllic village of Sassafras, Victoria, Sandra V is your one stop rock ‘n’ roll inspired store. Owned and run by Sandra Vincent, the store attracts vintage lovers who have a petulant for ‘50s inspired clothes make-up and shoes. By Rebecca Ilana Morgan.
andra’s love affair with the 1950s began while watching Doris Day, Audrey Hepburn, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe as a young girl. She was transfixed by their grace and femininity. However, at 15, while preparing for her Debutante Ball, she discovered her mother’s wedding from 1957. It was love at first sight and from that day, Sandra held onto the dream of one day owning her very own vintage store. Her dream came true in November 2009, when she opened the doors to Sandra V.
“The opportunity came about at the right time in my life and in the right location so I decided to jump in and have a go,” Sandra explains. With two young children, home renovations and a household to run, Sandra knew that life would be much busier with the running a store thrown into the mix. “Life is a big juggling act. But it is rewarding and amazing at the same time to have achieved this goal,” Sandra says. “It’s great having my own shop to create and change how I want, so I have a lot of self satisfaction.” The most popular items in Sandra’s store are retro giftware such as tea towels and cherry oven mitt sets, retro inspired coasters and lip balms.
Cardigans, funky leopard ladies shoes and hand-picked vintage clothing also adorn the racks. “The whole store has a Rockabilly, 1950s vintage theme,” Sandra says. “For Rockabilly lovers I have guys and gals clothing and accessories like bowling shirts, rock ‘n’ roll skirts, petticoats, creepers, heels, hair accessories, hats, bags, jewellery, belts, magazines, vintage adverts, a vintage clothing rack, and artwork.” Fashionably presiding over the store are Sandra’s collection of Barbie Dolls. They add an endearing atmosphere to the store and you feel as if you are walking into a 1950s museum. “I have displays all over the store, like, Lucille Ball, Wonder Woman, Scarlet O’Hara, the Wizard of Oz series, ‘50s Rock ‘n’ Roll Barbie and Coca-Cola picnic Barbie,” Sandra explains. “I also have a jukebox, several vintage cameras, as well as my Coca-Cola collection of bottles and memorabilia. There are lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’, and the reactions sometimes are
gorgeous,” she smiles. However, it is Sandra’s designs under her moniker Sandra V that are proving to be the big hit. Since that fateful encounter with her mother’s wedding dress, Sandra has carried with her a diary of designs and finally she has brought them to life. Sandra now has a range of fabulous hand-made designs. Rockabilly sailor inspired dresses, wiggle day dresses, and polka dot pencil skirts are just three of the fabulous designs you can purchase in person or online. With her label becoming more popular, Sandra has recently joined up with a manufacturer to bring more of her designs into her shop. Eventually Sandra would love to get her label into fashion boutiques. “I am definitely focusing on expanding my label right now,” Sandra says. “I want to keep improving the store and I would love to expand, opening more stores in the future.” People often ask Sandra why she is fascinated with the ‘50s and ‘60s. “For me, it is the clothing; the dresses and skirts. The ladies were so feminine, and always looked so stunning,” she says. “The movies of the era are also a huge reason. The technicolour of the time made everything seem so colourful and rosy, as well as the singing and romance. I don’t know why I am so attracted. I just seem to like the design of the 50’s and 60’s, the cars, the furniture, and even everyday objects. They all seem so classy and beautiful.”
Shop 2/1543 Burwood Hwy, Tecoma, Vic 3160 03 975 41956 www.sandrav.com.au
Bang Doll Baby
As soon as you walk into Bang Doll Vintage in West End, Brisbane, you are instantly teased by the array of high quality vintage garments jostling for your attention. Thereâ€™s the Studebaker dress fresh from the â€˜80s peering out between a crushed velvet smock and a flapper dress dripping in beads. And just like that, all three seduce me. Words and photos by Jessica Sier
Vintage Brisbane - Southside
avid and Sonya set up shop in West End around two years ago. After having owned previous stores, they began selling items at the West End markets. When asked about how vintage became an integral part of their lives, David is darling in his friendliness, but it soon becomes clear that Vintage–with a capital V– is something that he is inherently passionate about. “I like to think about it in wine terms. These are, after all, unique garments,” he says. “These are the cream of the crop, the best from the harvest of that era. That’s what Vintage is to me, at any rate. You are representing a point in time.” The store is spotlessly clean, and the clothes are in as mint a condition, but the real thrill about Bang Doll Vintage is diving in at the front of the store and working your way methodically towards the back. “It’s amazing how many people come in, and they’re not hardcore vintage-loving cats, but they start from here,” David says pointing to the front of the store. Flicking through the racks is no easy task. Colours and fabrics and buttons and ribbons and shoulder pads and seams sashay under one’s touch. There is nothing ‘second-hand’ about these garments; they are vintage pieces carefully crafted and meticulously cared for. “We really love what we do. It’s not just a business,” says David when I ask about the upkeep of the hundreds of dresses, skirts, suits, trousers, shirts, coats, blouses, hats, shoes, stockings, gloves and bags that line the walls of 163 Boundary Street. “We go home of a night, and source garments. And wash and launder and hand wash. I’m a Virgo, so everything has to be washed and has to be ironed.”
Bang Doll Vintage makes a point of authenticity, not only in the restoration of its charges but to the genuine understanding of what makes vintage, well, Vintage. “People seem to be attaching the vintage word to anything that’s second hand, which is totally not the point,” says David gently. “It’s a debatable thing but this is the most common rule I have for defining eras: 1940s, 1950s are vintage. Prior to that is Victorian, Edwardian and antique garments. ‘60s and ‘70s is retro, and ‘80s is, well, ‘80s. And anything after that...” he says shrugging. As David and I chat, people stream in and out of the store. Some browse tentatively and bemusedly through the clothes, others leap amongst the taffetas and silk with gusto, and
When asked about how vintage became an integral part of their lives, David is darling in his friendliness, but it soon becomes clear that Vintage–with a capital V– is something that he is inherently passionate about.
others simply pop by to say hello to David. The Brisbane community is a close but varied one, and the customers of Bang Doll Vintage are a good sample to observe. “We have so many regulars,” says David easily, as we watch two young ladies giggle before disappearing into the spacious change rooms. “We don’t follow any trends, and after having been here for a while, we know what people
like. We know what we like. We know what our regulars like and what they might be looking for.” It’s this homey attitude and genuine love of clothes, style, people and how all three come together that really makes Bang Doll Vintage an inspiring place to visit. “I’ll tell you what’s a nice feeling,” says David. “Being out and about on a Saturday night, and having somebody in something they’ve purchased from our store run up to us saying, ‘Look!’. But usually we can spot them a mile away and it’s a beautiful feeling.”
Since writing Bang Doll Vintage has sadly closed its doors.
Polish at Byron has been Stuart Pratley's showroom and workshop since 2004. We aim to offer furniture in a condition which our customers will enjoy for many years to come, due to the quality of both our pieces and our workmanship. Polish at Byron stocks both select functional antique pieces that work well with modern interiors and also a selection of rare and fine early Australian and English Georgian furniture.
16 Station Street Bangalow NSW Ph: 02 6687 0531 Mob. 0438 603 498
Vintage Beauty School
Certain of the charm that is vintage and a force behind its revival is one Chrissy Keepence aka Mistress Chrissy. Amelia Bowe sits down with Miss Chrissy, the beauty and brains behind The Lindy Charm School for Girls to talk pin curls, pouts and poise, and of course how this phenomenon all started. Photos courtesy of McLean Photography.
he school is the accidental child of Miss Chrissy’s swing dancing school. It was here that she donned her unique vintage look and taught vintage revivalists the ‘Lindy Hop’. Naturally the students began sourcing and collecting vintage clothes. “They wanted to know how to do their hair and make up to suit their new frocks,” Miss Chrissy recalls. “It was a natural progression to have vintage hair and make-up days, which were initially just a bunch of us girls meeting, sharing ideas and experiments. It grew from there and with a friend we started the school.” The ‘Lindy Hop’ remains a prized passion so she embraced it for the ring-a-ding name. “I am passionate about it. The Lindy Charm School for Girls is a fantastically fun concept and a wonderful start to any girl’s vintage journey,” she explains. Catering for all ages, the school and its workshops unleash the imagination of anyone with “a penchant for all things ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s.” For some of Miss Chrissy’s clientele the school is about fun, revitalising confidence or rediscovering pride in one’s appearance. “Ultimately the school is about spending
time on our self for ourselves, feeling great about looking great and being individual with like-minded friends,” she says. To lacquer on that vintage look, Miss Chrissy begins with the fundamentals of hair, makeup and style. She stresses that the secret however to nailing the vintage aesthetic is confidence. Confidence and the vintage look “make eyes wander, whereby all eyes are on you!” Along with manners, poise, an extra five in the mirror of a morning and red lipstick. It is a dangerously sexy combination. For ladies tempted to carry off a crimson cupid’s bow, Miss Chrissy has this advice. “Find the shade that works for you, your hair colour and complexion.” The Lindy Charm School for Girls offers ‘The Perfect Pout’ duo lip line and lipstick to help beginners pucker up with instructions for perfection from the Mistress herself in the workshop. “We teach the ladies who come to the workshops how to establish a quick and achievable vintage-ready routine so they feel that can truly start to implement this change in their day-to-day life and not just “dressing up” for special occasions.” Miss Chrissy acknowledges not everyone wants to be too ‘out there’ “If you want to be subtle about it, you can decide upon selecting one piece which may be the feature of your outfit, that is, a gorgeous blouse from the ‘40s, a statement hat from the ‘20s, a swanky pair of gloves, even a jewel encrusted brooch,” she suggests. Miss Chrissy describes her own transition to completely vintage attire to be easier than she first thought. She also confesses to owning modern day staple pieces that she builds on with vintage. Although Miss Chrissy admits to some vintage garments being a tad restrictive they are mostly comfortable and she believes that if you feel comfortable, you look comfortable in your outfit. “Vintage…” Miss Chrissy
clarifies, “often fits at the top and bottom but is just that one inch too small around the waist. They had smaller waists mostly because they wore a waist cinch. Cinches were a staple in every woman’s wardrobe.” Frustrated at how difficult it was to find pieces that worked, Miss Kim (the other Mistress) sourced fabrics and created her own garments. “Once you see the shape they create, they sell like hotcakes!” Miss Chrissy laughs. Determined to spread the charm around, The Lindy Charm School for Girls regularly goes on tour travelling from their home on the Gold Coast to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and even New Zealand to hold workshops. The ladies stop at nothing and a trip to Hollywood in 2012 is on the cards to discover off shore vintage pieces and to do some serious sightseeing. The ladies also organise vintage shopping tours. “I have to say for me, these vintage shopping tours are so enjoyable because of the people you go with, including two dapper gents. It’s about finding and admiring that perfect item. It’s about meeting new friends, swapping ideas and sharing your passion with someone.” The Lindy Charm School for Girls is a concept that truly breathes a new confidence in women hoping to embrace a vintage persona. Miss Chrissy’s prediction about vintage is that the beautiful garments of yesteryear will only become more rare and valuable however we will see more reproductions. Miss Chrissy explains that vintage clothing doesn’t have to be expensive either. “With a recycling and make do and mend mentality you can be quite thrifty,” she advises. Miss Chrissy believes we need only look to the past to see fashion of tomorrow. “Fashion from the ‘20s to the late ‘50s had such an impact and were so glamorous and classically feminine that it has never really gone out of fashion and its influences will continue to be seen through mainstream fashion labels.” Second-hand clothes no longer have that second-class stigma and if you’re serious about great style, this is a fad that won’t fade away.
Your one stop retro and rockabilly shop Ursalady Creations has opened its doors in Brisbane’s Stones Corner.
ancy a pair of guitar-pick earrings? How about a skull ring or a funky dice necklace? Add to the mix a good selection of burlesque corsets, Rockabilly and 50s style dresses and retro band t-shirts and you have UrsaLady Creations, a fun new one-stop destination for all things Rockabilly and Retro. UrsaLady Creations is the brainchild of local artist and designer Ursula Lyne and came into being over a year ago, with the setting up of a small shop in Coorparoo Markets in which to showcase and sell her unique jewellery and accessories. Her quirky, oneoff designs proved a big hit with customers and she swiftly gained a solid fan base, which has followed her to the new Stones Corner premises. Gradually over time fabulous retro, vintage and rockabilly clothing and accessories have been added to the mix, together with vintage cards and posters, to the extent that these items now make up a large part of UrsaLady Creations. The store stocks several well known Rockabilly brands, and also gives customers the opportunity to have clothes custom-made by our in-house seamstress. UrsaLady Creations has also been busy sourcing a range of preloved and vintage clothing and a section of the store has been
made over to these items, together with various quirky bits and pieces for your home from a previous era. Come along and take a look at one of Stones Corners’ newest stores, where customers will find a happy-go-lucky and relaxed atmosphere and be served by one of three generations of the same family – find us at: 6/357 Logan Road, Stones Corner or at www.ursaladycreations.com.au.
Anchored in tradition Anna Angel takes a look at the resurgence of old-school American tattooing by Australian artists.
tep right up and see the incredible tattooed lady! Held captive and tattooed every day for a year, she lives to tell her amazing tale!
Nineteenth century crowds flocked to circus ‘freak shows’ to marvel at the tattooed performers, who often invented fantastical tales to accompany their head-to-toe ink. By the turn of the twentieth century, the ancient practice had already become – in Western cultures and especially across the USA – a rite of passage for servicemen, sailors, jailbirds and circus folk. The style and iconography developed by artists of the era formed the backbone of the emergent tattoo culture up until the 1970s. Some blame Janis Joplin for inspiring a rebellious generation to go under the gun and seek out designs that spoke to them, not their grandfathers. Forty years on, Kat Von D and her merry crew of reality spin-offs are credited with inciting a new wave of tattoo aficionados. This time around, our society’s infatuation with bygone eras and simpler times has ensured the old guard of tattooing got its own back.
Traditional American designs were a staple of the Australian tattoo culture when pioneer artists like Melbourne’s John ‘Johnny Dollar’ Entwistle opened up shop, before eventually giving way to Japanese, tribal and contemporary styles. Nowadays, traditional and neo-traditional designs are so highly sought after many artists consider it a fad. The designs are characterised by thick lines, bold colours and the classic iconography that once graced the walls of tattoo parlours
everywhere. While there is a large interest in vintage flash today, these images held a different significance for the original wearers. Sailors earned a bluebird on the chest after 5,000 miles at sea, with the ever-popular mirrored bluebirds reserved for those who had doubled that. A pin-up girl design could keep you company when deployed at war, a flag or memorial would remind you of home.
traditional style, Young sees it as one of the many trends the industry has embraced over the years, but one with staying-power and artistic merit. “Maybe people romanticise them a bit, but it’s good to go back to the classic ones and back to basics, because it got a bit out of hand for a while there,” he says. “Things just get so overdone, even in music – it’s good to go back to simple rock ‘n’ roll.”
Traditional artist Wade Larkin, who has been tattooing for seven years at Brisbane’s Wild at Heart, believes the cultural relevance of these motifs is transferable, with each individual applying their own interpretation and meaning.
Young and Larkin are examples of how firmly the movement is tied to vintage and Rockabilly culture. Larkin, who has played in Rockabilly bands, takes an interest in vintage hot rods. Young’s nostalgia for simpler times extends to everything from music to graffiti styles.
“You get people choosing the classic ‘homeward bound’ tattoos, and I guess for them it still really means the same thing,” Larkin says. “But you can do anything as a traditional-looking tattoo; I’ve even done Playstation controllers.” The vintage-lover’s lament ‘they don’t make ‘em like they used to’ doesn’t just apply to the quality of fashion, home wears and cars. For many artists, a return to the style of golden era tattoos means work that will look as good in thirty or forty years’ time as it does freshly inked. “They’re timeless, classic and they never go out of style,” Larkin says. “You see all the tattoos from the ‘80s, with fine lines and detail, and they’re not looking too good now, whereas someone who got a classic panther design, you can still tell it’s a panther.” Danny Young of Melbourne’s Tattoo Magic agrees, saying an interest in old-school tattoos was what initially drew him to the practice. “I try and do a bit of everything, but everything I do I keep in that simple way; I keep it bold and clean,” Young says, adding, “I think they age better”. Having tattooed for seven years in the
Rockabilly and custom culture festivals like Brisbane’s annual Greazefest, almost invariably feature some of the nation’s most sought after traditional artists. Greazefest’s tattoo-inclusive art show is sponsored by local parlour True Love Tattoo, which opened in 2005 with the ethos of ‘keeping the oldschool dream alive’. For some the style allows an outward expression of their vintage tastes, for others an opportunity to pay homage to pioneering artists like Sailor Jerry and Ed Hardy and to share in a piece of history. It’s fascinating how much tattooing has progressed over the decades, in quality, style and popularity, but some things never change. Larkin will tattoo a Sailor Jerry design exactly as it appears – mistakes and all, but says the digital age has made it just as easy for copycats to reproduce custom artwork. “It seems that someone will post something online and a suddenly there’ll be three more of them exactly the same,” he says. “But that’s what traditional artists did too; tattooists have just copied and copied each other over the years.” Here’s to another century of timeless, quality body art.
RETRObution Radio Razzamatazz
Christopher White tells Vintage Affair how a fascination of old radiograms has turned into a full restoration love affair, with a modern twist.
s a young child growing up in the early 80’s my parents had a big, red stained radiogram that I used to hide under, drive Lego cars over, and poke and push it’s every button and knob I could get my little fingers on. When my Dad purchased a new Hi-fi system, the big red box was moved out to the side verandah, down under our house, and eventually it was taken to the rubbish dump. And it was a chance encounter finding another dusty old radiogram destined for the scrap heap almost 30 years later that was the catalyst behind RETRObution Radiograms. I developed a passion for all things vintage soon after finishing high school, what started out as an interest in old motorcycles and cars- moved on to clothing, design, and furniture. In early 2010 while helping to empty an abandoned house I discovered a dusty, forgotten radiogram. Having fond memories of my parent’s red one (and being a qualified carpenter and timber joiner) I decided I would restore it rather than dumping it. Back in the workshop I discovered that none of the electrics worked, so my initial plan was to simply restore it to be used as a static feature piece of furniture in my house.
After finding another unwanted radiogram in I decided that the obvious next step was to somehow make this one a functional, working item that would not only be a focal point of the room, but also be able to play music. I gutted the old broken record player and speakers, and built a new internal carcass to house a small CD player and iPod dock! Which brings us to the present dayobviously sound quality today has evolved, and far surpasses the technology that was available over 50 years ago. Unfortunately the finished look of today's stereos and sound systems pale in comparison to their old radiogram cousins. So too the radiograms we restore are constantly evolving. From the first simple restoration, to some now having concealed cocktail bars, hidden storage compartments, and our latest work in progress is to be fitted with a Micro Component Player and LCD HD TV. Every RETRObution Radiogram is a one-off, hand built, custom piece of furniture. Restored from the ground up, utilizing as much of the original radiogram where possible. It’s rewarding to be able to rescue these radiograms from ruin, and give them not only a new lease on life, but also a purpose and reason to be appreciated fifty years on.”
A Penny For An Old Friend Rebecca King reads the past with Penny Lambert and finds out what fortunes can be found in vintage magazines.
enny Lambert is excited today. Her vintage magazine collection just got older. She has just received in the mail from the US, The Ladies Home Journal from October 1900. She enthusiastically describes its condition and is impressed by its lovely glossy paper. Amused by its contents, she reads from an article on etiquette for young men. It advises when making an afternoon call, leave your overcoat, umbrella or stick, hat and gloves in the hall before entering the drawing room.
particularly beautiful. Artwork by illustrators like Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell and Willy Pogany in the early Ladies Home Journals can fetch over US$100 for the covers, as do magazines with fiction by famous writers including her April 1934 edition of an American Cosmopolitan with two complete short novels by Earnest Hemingway.
These days, Penny, a Sydney mum with two young boys, and a loving and collectortolerant husband, is amused by the contents of perhaps some 1000 magazines. She is unsure of the total number. “How many magazines do I currently have in my collection? Um. Too scared to count,” she laughs.
Strictly a hobby, Penny collects magazines to satisfy a childhood love of glossy magazines. She will occasionally resell some items but only to fund other magazine purchases. She preserves them by backing them with cardboard and wrapping them polypropylene covers. She also recognises their worth and carefully considers each purchase for their contents, covers and overall condition. Penny will trawl the internet, scour markets, and sift through charity shops. Quite often she is referred to another private collector.
Like her other vintage collections, her mass of magazines is the result of one thing. “I have a bit of an obsessive personality,” she confesses. Penny’s collection ranges from her early Weldon’s Ladies Home Journals, to the complete collection of Frankie.
“Generally most charity shops will not put out any magazines earlier than 2000 due to lack of space, but I have developed relationships with some of the managers and if any come sometimes they call me,” she explains.
Housed in vintage magazine racks, vintage suitcases, in her wardrobe, under the stairs and by her bed, there are magazines from the last 100 years. To name a few, there are Vogues including some early ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s flairs, the entire year’s worth of the large format Australian Women’s Weekly collection from 1968, some very collectable 1920s and ‘30s American Cosmopolitans and Everylady’s, as well as at least 50 Australian Home Journals, most with separate patterns included.
Apart from her very collectable early magazines, Penny is particularly fond of her Audrey Hepburn covers. “I adored Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday and Sabrina. I now have an extensive collection of Audrey Hepburn covers and a clutch and handbag similar to what she used in her movies,” she says.
Penny’s obsession is really driven by her love of vintage fashion. “I think vintage is very cool but I don’t have time to do the whole vintage fashion thing being a full time mum,” she says. And it is the earlier magazines that she really enjoys. “The earlier the better that show the fashions of the day in both clothes and home decor,” she says. Penny also finds the artwork for the adverts and covers from the early magazines
Penny’s hobby is a labour of love. Not one to capitalise on her extensive and very collectable items, she is happy to gather those things around her that remind her of her childhood. Penny has decorated her youngest son’s room with picture cards of vintage motor cars and she is proud to say her oldest son will often find things for her while looking through charity and vintage shops. Penny smiles and says, “I am content. I like that my hobby is a little different and something of my own”.
Forget all the hype surrounding modern big budget, eye popping, digitally created block busters which rely heavily on special effects, and cast yourself back to where it all began! By Karie Weatherhead.
In 1950’s B-grade Sci-fi flicks, you’ll just need to look past the fishing line the actors were corny, the which supports the flying saucers. heroine’s often fainted at the The Day the Earth Stood Still drop of a hat, the monsters or 1951…… aliens were generally extras dressed in tin or rubber, and ”From out of space, a warning and an Starring Michael Rennie, that all-so-memorable “wobbly ultimatum!”. Patricia Neal and Hugh Marlowe. Produced galactic” music was created by Julian Blaustein and Directed by Robert on a fabulous little instrument Wise. Armies are slaughtered and Women swoon as Gort , “The Tinman” from “Wizard called a (theromine). of Oz”, goes galactic. A lesson in how to treat fellow Humans, this is one of my all
Do yourself a favour, grab this time faves. bunch of movies from your local DVD store and have the Creature from the Black Lagoon 1954…. pop corn ready.....
Prior to being launched to stardom when he appeared with The Doctor in the TV classic “Lost in Space”, Robby the Robot appeared in “Forbidden Planet”. This super flick stars Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and a very young Leslie Nielsen, who seems to be affected with “line amnesia”. Filmed in Cinemascop and in colour, “Forbidden Planet” is a sight for sore eyes.
Not technically sci-fi, but definitely B-grade. Starring Richard Carlson and Julia Adams. Directed by Jack Arnold. Produced by William Alland. This underwater thriller had me falling in love and having a soft spot for the “Creature” – his rubbery abs and long flowing gills glistening…..my imagination ran riot creating a hue of green for his body… yes, this is filmed in Black & White. My mind casts me back to a photo taken on the set of the movie, where a can of coke sits next to the “creature” whilst on a break. See, he was human afterall….
War of the Worlds 1952….
The Blob 1958…
Before Tom Cruise there was Gene Barry, Ann Robinson and Les Tremayne. This 3 time Oscar nominated film reveals “we are not alone”, as a Martian invasion causes Policemen to disintegrate before your eyes, Women to shriek, and Men to appear chiselled but not dishevelled. Produced by George Pal who also brought to the screen “Destination Moon” and “When Worlds Collide” and based on the novel by H.G Wells. Keep your eyes peeled for special effects that will blow your mind….
“Run don’t walk from…The Blob” – I don’t know about you, but Jelly tip ice blocks remind me of this film…Starring a very handsome Steve McQueen and the gorgeous Aneta Corsaut. The Blob, a gelatinous creature which absorbs whoever crosses it’s path, arrives on Earth riding a meteor. Doctors, Farmers, mechanics and drunkards are consumed as The Blob “blobs” it’s way to the climactic ending of this famous film.
Forbidden Planet 1956….
Take 5: The Crooners By Christina Ong
Frank Sinatra Whilst Frank Sinatra did not consider himself to be a crooner, he is arguably one of the most popular and critically acclaimed singers of his time. Known as Ol Blue Eyes, Sinatra’s career spanned 50 years and spawned a plethora of memorable hits including Come Fly With Me and New York, New York. His iconic rendition of My Way characterised his singing; a deep jazz influenced voice that could hold notes for longer than needed found him admired for his talents.Widely touted as the leader of the Rat Pack, Sinatra appeared in several movies and earned an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in From Here to Eternity. An all round entertainer, Sinatra won 11 Grammy Awards. He founded Reprise Records, giving himself more artistic freedom in recording, with the label later becoming home to artists such as Jimi Hendrix and The Kinks. In 1993, he recorded a duet with Bono of I’ve Got You Under My Skin.
With his trademark bass-baritone voice, Bing Crosby is one of the most prolific recording artists of the 20th century. Crosby teamed up with the Andrew Sisters whose trio of harmonies provided a sweet sound on such songs as Don’t Fence Me In and Mr InBetween. Nothing, however, will ever beat Bing Crosby’s rendition of White Christmas; it is one of the best selling singles of all time
and saw Crosby at his crooning best. Crosby was an all round entertainer starring in films such as High Society with Frank Sinatra and won an Academy Award in 1944 for Going My Way. Strongly influenced by jazz, Crosby teamed up with Louis Armstrong in High Society to sing a duet Now You Has Jazz. Crosby sang four Academy Award winning songs, including Swinging on a Star and in 1962 received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He recorded a final Christmas TV special in 1977 in which David Bowie was a special guest, just days before he died.
Dean Martin Another member of the Rat Pack, Martin was also a film, TV and singer with over 83 singles and 32 studio albums to his name. Nicknamed “The King of Cool”, his most memorable hits include That’s Amore, Everybody Loves Somebody and Mambo Italiano. Vocally, Harry Mills, Bing Crosby and Perry Como influenced Martin. Whilst it seemed he was very similar to these voices, he eventually developed his own style of crooning that saw him duet with Frank Sinatra and Crosby. Martin teamed up with Jerry Lewis to make a musical-comedy team, “Marin and Lewis”. They first debuted their act in Atlantic City and played many lounges and clubs across the country. Their TV debut was in 1948 on the show that later became the Ed Sullivan Show. Martin was also a star of film appearing in Rio Bravo and Kiss Me Stupid. Martin has made an impact on popular culture over the years with his songs featured in films Most notably, Quentin Tarantino gives a nod to Dean Martin in Pulp Fiction when Mia Wallace and Vince Vega go to Jack Rabbit Slims. Wallace orders a “Martin and Lewis” which turns out to be a milkshake.
Perry Como Perry Como was a singer and television star
who was signed to RCA Victor Records for his whole career. Whilst often casual in his appearance, he was known as a man of good taste, which set the tone for his weekly musical variety show The Perry Como Show – it something was in bad taste it would not be broadcast. He received five Emmy’s and the Show saw many guest stars including Dean Martin and Mickey Rooney. Como was influenced by Bing Crosby’s singing style and it was often noted that he was both effortless and meticulous in his vocal abilities. Como filled in for Frank Sinatra on occasions and drew in the “bobby soxer” fans (named for the ankle socks and love of the crooners), who avidly followed his career. As well as starring on his own TV show, Como made several Christmas specials, including his final special being recorded in Ireland. He was posthumously awarded a Grammy lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.
Sammy Davis Jnr Sammy Davis Jnr was a dancer and singer who was also a member of the Rat Pack. He was prolific recording artists, recording with labels such as Mowtown, Decca, Reprise and MGM. One of his most famous songs, a rendition of What Kind of Fool Am I, reached number 17 on the Billboard Charts. An extremely talented singer, Davis Jnr was influenced by jazz and sang with a great amount of expression and pizzazz. A start of film and TV, he starred in the film Ocean’s 11 with the other members of the Rat Pack and had his own variety show the Sammy Davis Jnr Show. Davis Jnr was nominated for a Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe, winning an Emmy and being posthumously awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. Davis Jnr was also an ardent supporter of the civil rights movement in America. Sammy Davis Jnr was another to have an impact on popular culture, being portrayed in countless shows and films and even his name appearing in the lyrics on Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black album.
by Robyn Collis
1951 The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger Holden Caulfield is one of the finest angry young men you are ever likely to meet, rebelling against all types of authority and full of contradictions, misunderstandings and profanities. One minute he tenderly thinks of his kid sister and his lost brother, and the next he callously wishes us all to hell. Through Holden Caulfield’s eyes we get a glimpse into an America that is different to that of the movies. Family life is barren and indifferent, schools are brutal, old age is lonely and terrifying, and being a teenager is a living hell. Holden worries about sex, about love, about girls, about the future and often can’t sleep because of nightmares about death. The Cold War of the 50s is always present in his angst, “… anyway, I’m sort of glad they’ve got the atomic bomb invented. If there’s ever another war, I’m going to sit right the hell on top of it. I’ll volunteer for it, I swear to God I will.” 1953 Casino Royale by Ian Fleming The Cold War is very much alive and kicking in James Bond’s first assignment to bring down Le Chiffre, the head of SMERSH the Soviet Counter-intelligence organization. To achieve this he must defeat him at the game of baccarat in an up market Riviera casino–if you did not know much about the game of baccarat before reading this story you will afterwards. Along the way James Bond endures some serious tockley tickling torture at the hands of the bad guys and falls in love with the obligatory beautiful and clever woman. Weary of ever changing political realities in the post war period Bond says, “… today we are fighting Communism. Okay. If I’d been alive fifty years ago, the brand of Conservatism we have today would have been damn near called Communism and we should have been told to go and fight that.” 1954 Lord of the Flies by William Golding A group of boys find themselves marooned on a deserted island while being evacuated from a terrible war, and they must try to survive far from civilization and without adults to guide them. The boys separate into groups and a power struggle follows as different leaders emerge. The battle between the rational in Ralph and Piggy’s civilised group, and Jack’s brutal and primitive group has disastrous consequences. It is not hard
to draw parallels between what happens on the island and what had just happened to Europe as it fell under Hitler’s thrall. “Which is better–to have laws and agree, or to hunt and kill?” 1955 The Quiet American by Graham Greene Cynical and world weary war correspondent Thomas Fowler meets a ‘quiet American’, an idealistic and inexperienced young man named Alden Pyle. Fowler agrees to take him under his wing and teach him about Vietnam. The story turns when Pyle falls in love with Fowler’s young Vietnamese mistress which drives a wedge through their relationship. When a series of car bombings rips through the city and Pyle appears implicated it soon becomes clear to Fowler that Pyle is not the passive ingénue he pretends to be. The Quiet American is set against the background of real conflict and the likely involvement of American Secret Services in Vietnam through the 50s. At its time of publication it was criticised as an anti-American novel, but events subsequent to its publication put it into a much more reasonable perspective. “… we have to choose sides if we want to continue to be human.” 1958 Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote Holly Golightly is a wild and irresponsible girl who arrives in the big city to experience the bright lights, fun and freedom of New York whilst hoping to snag a wealthy suitor. Holly is the individual who does not want to conform to life’s preconceived paths but does she have a choice? She strikes up a friendship with an impoverished young writer who frequently looks after her and her pet cat. She abandons the cat in a downpour, throwing it from a taxi in her typical irresponsible fashion but Paul, the writer, forces her to go back and save it. Even the ownership of a cat and the existence of one friend is enough to dampen one’s freedom, but to live without any restraint on one’s freedom is to live entirely alone. Capote may have been commenting on the dilemma of post-war America here, exploring the illusory nature of freedom and the necessity of responsibility. ‘You call yourself a free spirit, a wild thing, and you’re terrified somebody’s going to stick you in a cage. Well, baby, you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself’.
While the Blue Mountains did make the World Heritage List (in 2000), and the yawning chasms of the Megalong Valley can leave one openmouthed in awe, this ancient mountain range also offers all manner of delights to lovers of vintage: from antique stores brimming with rare pieces to luxury, hundredyear-old hotels restored to the grandeur of the late 1800s, and even the opportunity to travel the surrounds in the transport modes of generations past. By Alicia Nally Just under an hour in the car from Sydney CBD, via the Great Western Highway, will bring you to Glenbrook, the first in a string of some 20-odd townships nestled along the majestic Blue Mountains range. Katoomba, the unoffcial capital of the Blue Mountains, is home to nearly 20, 000 people, the spectacular Three Sisters rock formation and, The Carrington – an one hundred and twenty-nine year old vestige encapsulating the elegance and opulence demanded by the holidaying upper class of the new British colony in the 1880s. Set back from Katoomba Street behind fountains and gorgeous rose gardens, a marble staircase delivers you straight into a time that is all velvety, richly coloured armchairs, crystal chandeliers, stained glass, high ceilings, and whiskies by the fireplace. The old-fashioned vibe of Katoomba, and indeed the entire Blue Mountains, is fiercely protected if a recent stoush between developers and locals is anything to go by. Plans for a McDonald’s in the area’s largest township, and the developers, were sent
packing: a warning for anyone interested in commercialising the area in the future. Unfortunately, in neat-as-a-pin Leura, not 10 minutes by car east of Katoomba, local protests weren’t quite as successful and a Witchery store has popped up in the popular vintage shopping mecca. It’s easily ignored even though holidaymakers from the big smoke have pointed out its incongruity to local shop owners like Jacqui Godfrey of Mrs. Peel, one of the few stores to offer an array of vintage men’s clothing. Mrs Peel focuses on classic vintage from as early as the 1950s, but also stocks handpicked, wearable pieces from every decade since. Leura evokes a delightfully wistful, old English charm with tiny red-brick cottages beaming from behind willows and pines. Smoke curls from chimneys, and a warm plate of scones is available from dwellings that have been turned into quaint little restaurants and tea houses. One of Leura’s most popular attractions has to be The Candy Store, a tiny shop harbouring floor to ceiling shelves crammed full of sweets spanning all colours, flavours and decades. Reminiscent of a 1940s corner store, the nostalgia and excitement is almost palpable as you stand with other customers wondering just how many peppermints you can buy for a shilling - or a dollar - these days.
It’s easily ignored even though holidaymakers from the big smoke have pointed out its incongruity to local shop owners like Jacqui Godfrey of Mrs. Peel, one of the few stores to offer an array of vintage men’s clothing.
If the desire for snapping up antique bargains is still not sated after a morning in Leura, make a beeline for the Victory Theatre Antique Centre a bit further down the road in Blackheath. Starting out life in 1914 as the Arcadia Picture Palace, the belly of this imposing art deco theatre is now chock full of gorgeous finds from early 1900s diamond rings to shallow, coupe style champagne glasses and wartime advertisements and posters. Situated in a bustling shopping strip, a popular cafe gives way to two floors of vintage heaven: on any given day up to 60 different antique traders are polishing, pricing and piecing together the history of countless jewels, decorations and furniture. The ornate façade of the Victory Theatre provides an ideal refuge from the biting mountain winds and you can easily lose yourself (and a few dollars) for hours amongst these nostalgic trinkets of yesteryear. If you’ve got little ones in tow, there are plenty of bygone joys for the kids, and those who are young at heart.
view of the ancient Blue Mountains range from a steam train. The Steam Tours and Vintage Rail Motor Tours wind their way back and forth from Clarence, at the westernmost end of the mountains, to Bottom Point, three times a day. The bellowing black engines can be heard well in advance and are followed by carriages bursting with little hands and arms braving the crisp mountain air to signal impending arrival to friends and family.
Tracing the route first built by convicts in the mid 1800s, The Zig Zag Railway allows tourists to get an alternative view of the ancient Blue Mountains range from a steam train. The Steam Tours and Vintage Rail Motor Tours wind their way back and forth from Clarence, at the westernmost end of the mountains, to Bottom Point, three times a day.
Tracing the route first built by convicts in the mid 1800s, The Zig Zag Railway allows tourists to get an alternative
On weekends, hundreds of not-so-lucky faces can be found gathered at vantage points above rail bridges and along the highway craning for a glimpse of the shuffling locomotives. Cool, amped-up Sydney may be just close enough to allow the Blue Mountains to be simply another tick in the day-trippers’ list of things to see and do.
But, for those whose passion is of the antiquarian variety, it pays to take the time to discover the stories behind the imposing geometric rooflines and turn of the century landmarks and soak up the atmosphere of a time when taking tea, strolling in the gardens and greeting the midday express were the height of modernity and luxury.
t was Ruby’s lucky day. Myer’s navy and white wool wiggle frock was on sale and there was a new season Rialto Lucite clutch direct from New York just begging to match the dress. “Charge it my account, Charles, would you darling,” she said putting on her black gloves. “Yes, Miss Ruby. Watch out now dear, there is a fierce southerly blowing,” Charles warned. He liked Miss Ruby. On a cold winter’s day it felt like spring when she came into the store. The work week was done. Gents held their bowler hats firmly to their heads and the ladies clutched tightly at their shawls. Ruby heard the clickety clack of workday heels rushing to catch the Bourke street tram. She loved Fridays because there was always a new show on at the Capitol. “Excuse me sweetheart, but is this the end of the queue?” the stranger asked. Cigarette smoke lingered around his long fingers. “Ah no. Yes. Please, help yourself,” Ruby nervously answered. “Don’t you just love a good musical?” he asked and a Ruby lost her balance at the sweet hint of his cologne. “Um, ah no. Yes. Yes I do,” Ruby stammered. “Would you like a drink perhaps? Gin?” he asked winking at her. Breathe Ruby, breathe. She told herself. After only two Gins, Ruby managed a cheeky conversation with Denham Rockforte and for several weeks, they met mostly at the Capitol for a show and afterwards at Pedro’s for a cappuccino. With a frothy moustache Denham invited Ruby to his parents’ country estate in the valley. They drove their in his Aston Martin and Ruby often had to
remember to breathe. After a successful first acquaintance, Ruby and Mrs Rockforte met every other Thursday for shopping and coffee and it was over a delicious carrot cake that Mrs Rockforte told her about Denham’s uncle. Wrongfully imprisoned for embezzlement. Apparently he was misguided by his partners in their newly established law firm. “It’s terrible, it’s tragic. And the poor dear is just so lonely. Denham of course tries to visit often but what with his obligations to the company, he finds it close to impossible. And you know dear I can’t because of my heart and my bad legs,” Mrs Rockfort went on at length about her various ailments. “You must let me visit,” Ruby interrupted without thinking. “Oh dear, you are kind. I will have Denham make the arrangements. Well I really must go dear, you will get the bill won’t you?” she said as she got up quickly on her ‘bad’ legs. After Ruby’s first visit to see Uncle Avery, she was just astonished at the injustice of the system and vowed to the weeping imprisoned that she would visit again the following week. This time Denham had asked her to give him a care parcel: just a book, some Rum to calm his nerves and a few pounds so he could ‘get by’. Happy to put a smile on the poor mistreated soul, she cheerfully presented herself to the guards at the municipal prison. “Cuff her, guard,” the warden yelled. His spittle was thick and rummy. Unable even to remember how to speak, Ruby managed only to remind herself to breathe. Breathe Ruby, breathe. “This parcel, young lady, contains counterfeit notes. Your story better be good,” he growled in a low voice. And it was. The judge sent her off with a stern warning to mind those rats. Ruby Corelli now goes looking for love in all the wrong places. She is the city’s underground Super Rat detective.
Vintage Short By Rebecca King
Vintage Affair -
Submissions and Advertising Vintage Affair is going to a new online format in 2012. Do you love vintage and have an idea for a story, piece or photo essay that you would like featured on our new improved website. We would love to hear from you. Please email the editor of Vintage Affair, Belinda Hogan at firstname.lastname@example.org for submission guidelines .
www.vintageaffair.net Vintage Affair Editor/Publisher - Belinda Hogan Editor - Rebecca King