Wednesday, March 26, 2008

time poor but very happy!

Neglect is a terrible thing...These past few weeks I have been a little slack I must confess! My postings have dwindled from daily to every second day then to a dismal twice a week...and why? Well, marriage is my only excuse! Actually, I should say WEDDING - I'm not married yet...but I will be this coming Saturday.
Ours is a small wedding with only 70 guest's. There is no church service, no bride maids, no reception and no lengthy speeches etc. A simple cocktail party in a beautiful old heritage building in Sydney's Botanic Gardens. Relaxed, perfect.

So, you would think that would be easy to organise right? ha! I am completely absorbed in details! And averting various minor catastrophes with wedding frocks, marquee hire, honeymoons flights...Not too mention celebrating with many wonderful friends at a range of events (which, incidentally, has resulted in one very bruised leg and several vows of "I'm never drinking again")

So, I apologise for not keeping up with my posts and I really miss checking out my favourite bloggers too. A big part of blogging for me is to pop into other bloggers sites to see whats going on in their world(s) of fashion - I haven't had too much time to do this either :-<

However, I am taking my trusty laptop with me to Hong Kong and Japan so I will try to do regular posts once wedding mania is over and I'm enjoying some (much needed) R&R on my honeymoon!

Bowerbird Vintage will definitely be open for business as usual while I'm away. There will always be someone here ready to post out a fab dress or other treasure so don't be afraid to shop away if you feel the need!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Winter fashion trends to look forward to

Man style dressing at Marc jacobs

There are a couple of stand out trends coming through for winter that I'm pretty excited about. I mentioned in an early blog that brogues and wing tip man style shoes are popping up everywear but it's not just mens shoes we are embracing. Geek Chic and Preppy are making a big comeback.

Now, I admit that I love a girly dress teamed with a pair of heels and I rarely wear jeans anymore, but I'm quite fond of the man-style pants, white shirt, vest and trench coat combo I've been seeing in fash mags lately.

It's a tricky one to pull off though, particularly if you are layering and/or road testing the high waisted trend. Baggy harry high top pants and lots of layers look best on a slim silhouette otherwise it can add a few extra pounds unfortunately. Slim line pants, crisp white shirts and tailored vests on the other hand are very flattering on mst shapes. It's just a matter of investing in a great pair of black pants.

I'm also loving the naughty librarian look too. The geeky pussy bow blouses teamed with high waisted pencil skirt and stillettos. Knitted vests and cardi's are everywear as well which I'm v.happy about as they look great belted with a full skirt or pencil skirt.

Monday, March 17, 2008

so many dresses to finish!

I have been busily trying to get some frocks completed and up on the Bowerbird Vintage web site before I head off on three weeks break/honeymoon (Yes, the store will still be open for business while I'm away!)

Luckily, the lovely Larna (who helps out with the Rescued by Bowerbird label) is also patiently sewing a few gorgeous 50's style frocks together which will be added at the end of the week.

Hopefully I will be able to get mine finished as well so that there are a few gorgeous new pieces to choose from. The other sun frocks we did have sold really well and to be honest these dresses are just so comfortable and classic I think I'm going to keep this style (or similar) in the range permanently - Who doesn't love a handmade, 1950's style frock in vintage inspired fabrics afterall?

I live in them!

Not the best photo as it is taken on my dining room table - but it kind of hides how much more work I have to do on this dress!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sydney Vintage Fairs

If you are wondering what to do with yourself today and you live in Sydney, there is a vintage fair on at Hunters Hill until about 4pm today. Actually, I only found this out yesterday while reading the Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum lift out.

Usually, I am all over these things. I know exactly when each market, fair, antique show and fashion exhibition is on. They are diarized and if I have time or they are really interesting/important to my business I make a point of being there. Particularly the bigger fairs such as The Way We Were and Sydney Vintage Fairs.

Unfortunately, I can't make the Hunters Hill fair today as I have a lunch organised then photography backdrop scouting in the Botanical Gardens and then onto dinner with friends. The photography backdrop scouting expedition is not for the web site mind you but for a fairly momentous occasion happening in 2 weeks time - my wedding.

In fact, this is the reason I have been a little tuned out of my vintage world lately which I am usually totally immersed in. There has also been a slight stall in the production of my "Rescued by Bowerbird" label...not to mention the hundreds of new dresses I need to start uploading on the Bowerbird Vintage website and of courses there are the less than regular Blog posts!

Although our wedding is a simple cocktail party to be held in the Botanical Gardens in a fortnight with only our closest friends and family, it is in fact, taking over my life! How on earth do those brides who have the whole church, reception, 200 guests kind of wedding do it??? I certainly have a new appreciation for the kind of precise planning that goes into this day now! (not to mention the honeymoon)

Anyway, if you have more time than I (I envy you) and want to spend a day out looking at/buying beautiful frocks and all things vintage, head over to the Hunters Hill "Way We Were Fair" at the Hunters Hill Town Hall Masonic Lodge until 4pm today.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

New vintage shoes...

It appears that ladies wingtips and brogue style shoes have resurfaced as essential footwear this season. Knowing how incredibly fickle and fast moving fashion is, it's silly to say "I never thought I'd say this..." But in this case, it is indeed true. I really didn't think I'd fall in love with a pair of flat, 2 tone (bl & white) lace up shoes that look a lotlike those I wore last time I went ten pin bowling - but there you have it!

They are very retro looking though and appeal to me because now that I don't own the shop anymore and work from home, flat shoe make much more sense.
Also, I think that they are the perfect partner for the 1950's style dresses that I wear on a day to day basis these days. Arrrhhh, who ever though I'd be dressing for comfort?!

Actually, I clearly remember my Gandpa having a pair of white wing tips that he would wear with a nice pair of knee high grey wool socks and brown tartan short - if he were alive today he would apparently be king of fashion.

After several hours of web based research (I was trying to find a pair that I could buy on line as I've been banned from physically entering shoe stores of any kind by he who thinks owning more than 10 pairs of shoes is both wasteful and unnecessary) I have found a few worthy contenders:

Campers brogues "Twins" (see outfit selection below) are what the fashion set are buying. They are available in a lovely grey colour. $270.00 but there is not e-store at present in Australia so you will need to head into the QVB or Chatswood to purchase
Diana Ferrari "Ramona" Brogues (see top photo) in black or tan are pretty funky too - and half the price of Campers (although I don't think they have the lovely leather sole)
Ebay - plenty of vintage brogues to choose from as long as you are happy to fight to the death with other ebayers and you have a size 6 or smaller foot.

My absolute favourite though...which sadly, are not available on line, are from Scooter shoes for the bargain price of $130.00. I couldn't find even find a photo of them on the net but Marie Claire came to the rescue! Black & white patent leather lace ups. Not very subtle admittedly, but I've always loved LOUD shoes and they will look fab with a pair of tights and all my lovely full skirted dresses this Autumn.

Now, I just have to work out how to justify my 860th pair of shoes to someone...

...complete with new Camper "Twins" $270

1960's "Sweet Lizette" frock by Bowerbird Vintage

Lilac Fedora by Bowerbird Vintage

Blue plastic beaded 1960's handbag Bowerbird Vintage


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Venus in Furs

I found a gorgeous little boutique today that has just opened its doors in Camderdown. Run by the delightful Tamara who is both a costume and couture designer as well as a collector of retro, art deco and vintage curio's and collectables (including some fabulous pieces of furniture).

Not only does Tamara design beautiful vintage inspired fashions for both day and evening (at very good prices) she also makes shoes and hats!

Definitely worth a peek if you are in the area..."Venus in Furs", 63 Kingston Road, Camperdown (In Sydney)

We are now the proud owners of a very large handmade Polish vase from Venus in Furs

.....we just have to work out where to put it!

Monday, March 3, 2008

A few key points about buying vintage...

I went to brunch yesterday morning with friends and wore a beautiful bright floral day dress from the 1950's. It's the type of dress that I imagine my Gran probably wore to her Sunday church service with matching hat and gloves. A lovely fitted bodice with the original metal side zip and a slight flare to the skirt to give you that perfect hour glass figure.

I don't often wear this frock as the cotton fabric has not been well cared for over the years and it is now very delicate. Yes, you know where this story is heading...on the way to the cafe in the car I twisted around to grab something off the back seat (no I wasn't driving while attempting this) and heard a ripping noise. I had managed a large tear in the bodice right on the left breast. Not even on a seam - right in the middle of the fabric. Thankfully, I had a cardi with me which saved me (although, I almost perspired to death...)
This little episode reminded that there are some fundamental rules when buying vintage:
1. Always check seams, zips and fabric for wear & tear. This doesn't mean don't buy at all if there are faults. I'm absolutely of the belief that some small flaws actually add to the history and uniqueness of the garment. Nevertheless, if the fabric is threadbare, no amount of doctoring will save the garment from the inevitable disintegration it is ultimately destined for.
2. Just because you love the pattern/colour of the fabric does not mean it is quality fabric. Just like modern materials, some vintage fabrics were not made to last. Many are also a pain in the bum to wear. Fabrics like some silks and linen crease and stain very easily and are also hard to maintain and susceptible to rapid degeneration. Underarm stains are a good indication...If there are yellow stains and/or the fabric is thin under there, probably best not to buy it.
3. If it's not the right shape for your body (ie: too tight in the bust, or waist) it will stretch, it will be uncomfortable to wear...and quite possibly you will have an embarrassing moment in it.
4. Just because it is vintage and has a designer label does not mean it is a quality garment.
5. Only buy a vintage garment that you know you will wear and feel confident that you can pull it off. What is the point of buying something because you like the idea of it...You have to also like wearing it...otherwise you've wasted your money!
I (usually) always check zips, seams and quality of fabric before buying

a birds life

"To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation"

Life of Pi - Yann Martel