April 18, 2011

Crinoline Hems Trailing in the Mud: A Tribute to Vintage

by Andrea Quinlan

"I am a very MODERN woman. I like Life in my clothes,” Katherine Mansfield wrote to Ida Baker. Mansfield is just one of the women of New Zealand's past who loved clothes. I think about them as I finger the vintage clothes in my wardrobe. All these pieces of women's lives. A mended hole here, a faint stain there. Lipstick and traces of perfume. A fashion magazine with drafts of poems in between the pages. After the destructive Christchurch earthquakes I have become even more attached to my vintage. The clothes bought in the city are literally part of the fabric of it's history that is rapidly fading from view. So wearing them feels like a positive action, as dressing up always does. Like the colonial women with their crinoline hems trailing in the mud. Me, these clothes and accessories and their previous owners are a part of each others stories and poems. It is much more than just a simple parallel between creating a new outfit from old clothes and a new poem from old materials.

powder blue 1950s halterneck dress
pink satin 1940's dress
1930s black crepe tea dress with multicoloured embroidered detail
black lace 1920s slip with gold thread design
blue 1950s nylon dress with white flocking, black velvet ribbon detail and jet buttons
a stiff white 1950s petticoat that crunches like scrunched paper when you move
1950s red velvet full skirted dress
bright blue velvet wiggle dress
1960s hot pink accordion lace pleated dress
floral silk dressing gowns (2) a pink satin 1930s bra and tap shorts
quilted dressing gown with pockets for lipstick, handkerchiefs or poems scribbled on notepaper
pink 1940s blouse with tea stained trim
gold strappy sandals made in New Zealand with heels worn down by dancing
a white handbag with yellow art deco sunburst clasp
double sided duster coat
1950s pale pink bolero jacket
crunches coloured silk velvet pink tie self and dress
miniskirt cotton pearl flowered black bright checked skirted
clasp made dressing dress dress pink with holes blue top heels
double dress embroidery 1920s neck leaves green orange silk nylon shoulder
green yellow abstract strappy pink art floral scarf shaped
striped Pink 1950s multicoloured with suit dress pleated
1940s red embroidered sailor nylon gown
jacket lipstick 1960s tap with flower bra skirt
look accordion and satin crepe dress stone collar satin floral
look stitched buttons luxurious move sandals Zealand gold
bolero silk of rose crepe velvet crepe net bell
sparkles pale satin duster trim petticoat clear
white rose red scrunched satin piece blue cotton dress
at powder ribbon white dress and blue white jet short fur dress
pattern beaded full knit buttons wiggle red dress ring top green
leather gown style in paper belt pink

Bio: Andrea Quinlan has had poetry published recently in brief and Gaga Stigmata. Another recent project was covers of Finnish songs for the Kemialliset Ystävät big band. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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