Friday, 3 April 2015

Last-Week Links: 3 April 2015



I love the Easter weekend: the pleasure of leisure without the hysteria of Christmas. If the holiday has you running to the coast (I write while looking out at the greyest sky imaginable), may I suggest you pick up a copy of Amber Jane Butchart's newly released Nautical Chic book? It covers stripes, yes, and bell-bottoms but every other permutation of seaside style you could think of, from sou'westers to mermaids to tattooed sailors and even dazzle fashions (I had the delightful job of copyediting the book, so can vouch for the amazing range of material Amber has included). Given that - somewhat astonishingly - there's never been a book on this topic before, there's been lots of great press: this Telegraph article gives a great overview.  One important question, though - what on earth am I going to wear to the book launch?!



In more work news, and entirely suitable for Easter reading, is the new issue of The Simple Things. It's a breath of spring goodness, celebrating the joys of record players, walking, garden sheds and Alice in Wonderful. I've a special soft spot - or should that be a runny spot - for Dave and Alex, the wonderful couple behind the 12 Dozen Eggcups project. There's just a sample of their work shown above, taken from the magazine.

The issue also has feature with the always-inspirational queen of the circus Nell Gifford. She's one of the great women I got to interview when I was working on Oh Comely. Another favourite, Pat Albeck, was the subject of Desert Island Discs recently. You can catch up with that programme here.

Elsewhere: 

* An amazing online collection of British photography.

* Being an expat boosts creativity in the fashion industry apparently. Applicable to all creativity?

* Lose yourself for hours in this collection of photos and memories of New York after midnight.

* Lena Dunham film for &Other Stories? Dream collab!

* One of the best Mad Men looks ever. Buy Jane's 1967 Travilla here.

* And more dream shopping. 60 outfits from Celia Birtwell's Ossie Clark archive are being auctioned in June.



* Over on my other blog, Fancies, this week: Mod fashion, wallpapers and Pretty in Pink, featuring this Duckie brooch.

Have an eggs-ellent Easter!

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Thursday, 2 April 2015

Last-Year Reads: Style Me Vintage 1940s



Following on from Fashion on the Ration, here's another new book release on 1940s fashion. This one is a completely different proposal however, being one of Pavilion's hugely popular 'Style Me Vintage' series. It's a series I associate more with a 'vintage' lifestyle look, rather than proper fashion history (which they do really well - Style Me Vintage Hair finally helped me master the 1950s 'do' I dreamt about), so I was interested to see how this volume, written by curator Liz Tregenza, would work.

Style Me Vintage 1940s completely won me over. Although the fashion history element may cover familiar turf for those who have an interest in the subject, this is a great example of how to make an introductory book accessible and visually appealing without dumbing down - other publishers of 'decades' books please take note!

Liz's background and MA-training subtly comes through throughout the book. She's clearly wary of making sweeping statements about the period. So you can copy an early 1940s make-up tutorial (yep, the book still has those), but includes a later version too. Trends aren't just talked about as a homogenous mass, you can a brief survey of German and French wartime fashions, as well as what was happening in Britain and the US. Even zazous get a mention.

It's well worth the money if you want to start collecting the period - there are brief lists of jewellery, shoe, compact brands and the like, as well as a more detailed focus on particular labels. I was pleased to see the spread on Horrockses, as I first became aware of Liz thanks to an enthusiastic comment she left on my post about the label back in 2010. There's also a great list of shops - both stocking vintage and repro - at the back.

It is slightly different from most fashion history books, as Liz is not the mysterious, anonymous narrator. She's a model for some of the outfits for starters - which she does brilliantly, as you'd probably guess if you follow her on Instagram. Then there's the brilliant pictures of her Nanna in full-on forties fashion mood, which help add another level to the book. Her genuine interest in the period is palpable.

And - perhaps essential for this kind of book - it's stuffed full of eye-candy. I love the dress on p.76 and the shoes on pp.134/5 just for starters. I encourage you to buy your own copy if you're curious to see what I mean.

Will more decades follow in this series I wonder? They're bound to if this book is successful as it should be. The authors of those other books have a lot to live up to.

*Pavilion were kind enough to send me a copy.*

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