Era infatuation

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” ~ Coco Chanel

I'm infatuated with 1920s and 30s style at the moment and have been doing some research just out of personal interest. I'm also intrigued by the life of Coco Chanel, arguably the most influential person of the 20th century in terms of style, and definitely one of the most interesting. I admire her sass, her determination and her vision.

A little of the incarnate rebel without a cause myself, the flapper era in particular has strong appeal for me. With woman gaining the vote in the 1920s, they started doing things their strict Victorian parents had never done - they smoked, they boozed, wore makeup, cut their hair and their hem lines short, and revolutionized fashion forever. It was freedom!

I have a big thing for antique jewellery (so much more elegant than modern contemporary stuff) and over time have collected the odd flapper trinket. And I have some relative modern day garments in the style of that era, but now the gem in my collection is an original 1920s dark blue, hand beaded, simply divine dress
unearthed from London's Bermondsey Market.

Will I actually wear it? Probably not, it's bordering on being a century old, it's practically a museum piece. I think I will display it as such in my fabulous home of around the same era. When we have our (belated) housewarming party in the spring, we're thinking maybe a'la The Great Gatsby - so you can come and see it then - but only if you come in character!

Meet Dolores

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

I’ve been playing around with some characterisation lately. Meet Dolores…

The older Dolores got the more eccentric she became. Dressing madly, not unlike characters from pantomimes, story books and forgotten films from long ago. That’s what happens to spinsters, folk would whisper in their small town know-it-all way, when they don’t have a man around to keep them in check.

Once upon a time Dolores might have cared what people thought, but these days she didn’t see much point. She wasn’t particularly interested in the mundane. Besides, in her experience, affairs of the heart usually only led to disappointment. Men very rarely stood up to be counted when it really mattered she felt, albeit with perhaps a little too much self defiance to be totally convincing. But not often or easily was she successfully wooed - unless she wanted to be - she was only human after all.

Still, heads would turn when Dolores strode out purposely into the world. Her fiery hair dancing evocatively in her wake like a Survivor contestant’s torch never destined to be extinguished. That she possessed a certain intrinsic magnetism there was no doubt. But although widely admired, many also found Dolores just a mite scary, at least those who didn’t have the breadth of mind to look beyond the immediate surface. Deep down perhaps they were a little envious of her hell have no fury attitude to life, afraid they would never quite be capable of keeping pace.

Dolores lived life vigorously, vibrantly and with as much amusement as she could muster at any given time. With more acquaintances than you could shake a stick at, but only a handful of beloved friends, she dreamt of intimate and passionate associations with those who threw back at her as good as what she gave. She had few expectations and sometimes was even pleasantly surprised.

Hers was the big old white house on the hill, purposely kept a little dilapidated on the outside, as if to actively encourage judgement on her mental state. She’d rather be watched than be the voyeur she'd scoff with her typical wry smirk. On occasion, Dolores was even known to taunt the neighbourhood children just for sport; kids needed a little colour and toughness in their lives was her view on the matter.

In the evenings she would dress in especially outlandish garb and drink gin in a flamboyant fashion from her own still. Singing songs loudly, drunkenly and woefully out of tune, while dancing around her drawing room in ridiculously glamorous shoes. That was Dolores – she’d didn’t care for convention. She just took what she could find in life and laughed good naturedly at the rest.

My friend Dolores. I see her flaws but I like her a lot :)