Vast quantities of vintage garments, dishevelled, abandoned sewing machines and garishly printed cotton. The only problem, it was all mens wear. Sigh.
I managed to bag a few small sized shirts which I will alter to fit my frame with the help of Mum’s old Singer sewing machine. A remnant of vivid seersucker also came home with me to be transformed into a nice frock.
The fittings and fixtures are straight from the 1950’s, and provided endless fascination to my creative eye. The building has been sold, I don’t know what will become of this treasure trove of fashion and nostalgia, her heady days as a doyen of the rag trade clearly behind her!
My favourite, staff are volunteers, including an Australian from Traralgon, manning the dressing room. Stock is good quality, some genuine vintage pieces, or new designer, it can be on the pricey side.
Went and saw the movie ” Advanced Style ” today , at ACMI 2 . It was screening as part of MIFF , Melbourne Film Festival .
Based on a popular blog by Ari Seth Coen , the film features six elderly New Yorkers , all women , and the way they dress .
Each woman is sensitively portrayed . It shows their lifestyle in NYC and the sublime way they attire themselves . Innately individual they each have a unique mode of attire from vintage to classical , they are living art . Each day is a creation of couture and the backdrop of Manhatten is a perfect foil to their folly . As equally impressive as the outfits is their massive age , 95 , 92 , 87 , with the youngest being 67. Just proves true style , fashion sense and grace is ageless .
The thought niggled at the back of my mind like a worrisome toothache .
Gasp ! I had purchased just one ticket to attend the esteemed Women Of Letters November Outing. Would i be brave enough to go solo when the time came ? Sure I had watched two other people do it . One a young man , who’s partner was possibly performing on stage , and the other a young woman , who took copious notes , maybe , a journalism student .
The day arrived . I hastily planted out my vegie patch , washed the car , dog , clothes , engaging in endless domestic minutiae , anything to delay the inevitable moment of departure . The middle daughter imperiously informed me it was time to go . Not one to be argued with , the third of four children , she wages a daily battle with an older brother , and both younger and older sister , a cranky mother and headstrong border collie . To say she is assertive is an understatement .
I meekly got in the car , in my gardening clothes , don’t want to go too glammed up and draw attention to myself , although i hastily applied foundation to cover the glaring freckles , the spring sun has awakened on my fevered brow . No time to prevaricate I begin a frenzied descent down punt rd . Have I also mentioned the middle daughter drives likes a maniac .The youngest daughter attempted to impede my departure , by a belated request for a drop off to the next suburb . ” Get the train ” , I breathlessly uttered as we catapulted out of the driveway .
In headspinningly quick time we mounted the rise of the high st hill and the theatre loomed large , dark and foreboding above us . We were there .” You can do this “, my brain screamed . You’ve birthed 4 children , buried 2 parents , left behind your country roots to become a southside urban dweller , loved , laughed ,cried , and blundered through 56 years of life . ” What are you afraid off ? ” ” Get over yourself “, a line a I frequently chant at my battle scarred kids , sprang to mind .
Ejected rudely in a screech of brakes , and wave of petrol fumes , I was unceremoniously dumped at the side door , by an uncaring daughter . I jauntily leapt out , and tenuously mounted the front steps , furtively looking around , envying the jostling crowd of women together , and in groups . I tentatively handed across my crumpled , sweat laden entry ticket , upside down , to an uncaring , unseeing , Marieke Hardy . Did she suspect I was on my own , and smell my fear ?
I made it to the foyer where the bar provided a welcome distraction . No just a glass I croak out as those all around me order bottles , 2 glasses , 4 cans , and every combination of multiple orders .Its a chance to fill in a few more precious minutes , and blend into the crowd .
Tottering inside , clutching my glass like some sort of talisman , I squint around with some trepidation . Many tables are already filled , the front ones sporting reserved signs , oh , the omnipotent dilemma of where to sit ! I approach a table half full of women facing the stage and nervously ask if this seat is vacant . I receive a very frosty reception as the firmly ensconced , lead iron maiden , informs me , ” yes they are all reserved “. I stumble blindly away in panic , my whole being suffused with embarrassment . I chance upon a round table in the middle of the room , where an elderly lady sits with a young man , and another three couples , who include men partners. Encouraged , I tentatively ask , yes ,this seat is spare , and I sink into it with a sense of relief . Nervously I glance around , the man is reading , the older lady writing , and the couples are carousing with bottles of wine . I too write , to my daughter , on the proffered Chinese aerogramme . I thank her for initiating me into this literary world . It is she who introduced me to this gig , many years ago now . I remember all the occasions we jointly attended , all the inspirational speakers we have heard , both men and women , and the great love of the written word we both share . She has gone from me now . A journalist , she is grown , and living in far flung Edinburgh , with a career as a wordsmith , a partner , and a home of her own .
The soiree progresses , music and wine flows , many inspirational women grace the stage , and talk ,eloquently and passionately on all manner of things . A young man sits next to me , finding as I did , a single seat alone , but he is not truly alone , as his wife is a presenter on stage he proudly informs me .
It is a wonderful afternoon and I manage to write 2 postcards and well as my letter . I ask Marieke where they are performing in Scotland and as she proudly informs me it is Glasgow , in april , a kernel of an idea forms in my mind . Dare I plan to meet Bridget there , couriering her precious , RMIT Bachelor of Communication Journalism Degree Certificate , to entice her to come from Edinburgh , and meet me , travelling from Melbourne . It could be an appropriate reunion at Women of Letters ,and one I wouldn’t have to attend alone !