I had the good fortune of stumbling upon some employment at a Sydney vintage fair recently: “The Way We Wear” fair at Marrickville on 26-27 November. Considering my “uniform” was a red and white polka dot dress with a bolero and petticoat, I wasn’t exactly a reluctant employee. Imagine my joy upon discovering I was to carry out my duties dressed like this:
Yes, “uniform” indeed.
The duties assigned to Siobhan and I were not limited to manning the door (“don’t forget to enter the lucky door prize competition”); rather, in something of a risky move, we were also billed as the “models” for the Titanic-era fashion show at the fair. Inexperience was no barrier to the impending launch of our modelling careers.
The fashion show was arranged by Fiona, who is custodian of an extensive collection of historical fashions stretching back to the 18th century. It being nearly 100 years since the ill-fated maiden voyage of the Titanic, Fiona was exhibiting an array of Edwardian gowns at the fair which we paraded around in extravagantly. I don’t have photos of the first set of outfits, but here are the three that followed:
Siobhan is wearing an exquisite frock which was so fragile after surviving 100 years, and I’m wearing a slightly daring shorter Edwardian gown with fur and wrinkled white socks (how they stopped them wrinkling, I can’t even imagine).
The finale of the fashion show saw us in nightgowns and lingerie, much to the delight of fair patrons. On the left, you can see Siobhan’s outfit is a shout-out to the glamorous ladies who escaped the Titanic in their nightdresses and fur stoles (shame on this lady and her ripped socks). Beside her, I’m wearing the work of a very glamorous Edwardian lingerie designer: a very transparent hobble-skirted petticoat. The old ladies at the back of the hall were particularly fond of this number.
It was an excellent, but very unconventional weekend of employment spent wearing fragile 100-year-old frocks and buying hats from the beautiful stalls. “The Way We Wear” vintage fair will be on again next August, and I understand you can expect some flirty fifties fashions sashaying around the room. In the meantime, I’ll be working at the “Becky Sharp” vintage fashion fair at Paddington RSL on December 10, so if you’re there, come and say hello – I’ll be passing out flyers on the street.
A bientôt, mes amis.