Sunday, 29 August 2010


There must be some sort of houndstooth in the air in Melbourne at the moment, because Vintage Suburbia just posted about her Pendleton houndstooth suit. Well, this is my little bit of vintage houndstooth, I picked it up at the Camberwell Market a couple of months ago, and bought some long black leather gloves on Etsy to go with it.

I had to get a friend at work to take the photos in the basement of the library, hence the less than inspired background! The suit is lovely and warm to wear, I think it must be early to mid 60s, does anyone have any ideas whether this is right? I'm wearing it with a red top from Cue, and my new Crocs (yes, I can't believe I actually own a pair) which are normal foot shaped, black flocked velvet, and cost me all of $15 on sale at the Crocs shop in Bridge Rd. They are super light and comfy, and plus, you can get them wet!

Speaking of the Camberwell Market, it is really a the most fantastic place to go shopping, like a huge garage sale. It's a bit of a Melbourne institution, and now I have a car, I go most Sundays. You can find some great stuff, last week I got a millinery hat block for $35. This week was very fruitful, you can see from my hoard! The navy checked wool fabric at the back was $10, and I think I shall make a pencil skirt out of it. The navy lace fabric I'm not sure what to do with yet, but it was only $5. There's probably enough for a skirt, perhaps just a simple one with a bit of gathering at the waist? I've never worked with this sort of fabric before, it's quite bulky. Any ideas?

The little metal things are chocolate moulds I think, although they do look like dolly-sized jelly moulds. There's a penguin, a cat, a lamb, a rabbit, a rooster, some weird unidentified animal, and some shapes.

I couldn't resist the cup and saucer set, it has blue violets on it! A lady was looking at it, and I was praying that she would put it down, and when she did I jumped on it.

The book, which was $1, is called Modern Knitting Illustrated, by Margaret Murray & Jane Koster. It is undated, but by the look of the fashions, it must be from the 1940s.

I love this hat and glove combo. The text says "Too good to be true! We'll let you into the secret. This smart hat is simply a circular piece of moss-stitch knitting, like a sock without a foot, arranged on your head in whichever way suits you best." Oh the 1940s, full of cunning little fashion tricks!

I think I want to marry this man.

The hairstyles are glorious, as are the pointy bosoms.

I really want a jaunty hat like the one on the girl leaning against the fireplace. There are tons of patterns for men's, women's and children's clothing, socks and even underwear, plus gloves, a snood pattern or too, and baby clothes.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Benjamin Lacombe

About six months ago, I bought a card with this beautiful picture on it, and stuck it above my desk at work. It only occurred to me today to find out a little more about the artist.

His name is Benjamin Lacombe, and he is French. He has illustrated several French children's books, including L'efant Silence, Le Petit Sorcière, and Le Grimoire de Sorcières, and has also done some comics/graphic novels. The painting at the top is "Blanche Neige" (Snow White) from Le Grimoire. This painting is called "Le Forêt d'Épingles" (The Pins' Forest). It's so sweet and cute but sad and creepy at the same time

This is "La Veuve" (The Widow) from Les Contes Macabres. There are a lot of other paintings on his blog, and you can also buy notebooks, stickers, cards and various other bits of stationary at Lamarelle. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


Just watched the 1997 version of Lolita, directed by Adrian Lyne, and am now reading the book. The book is beautifully written, although quite disturbing and horribly sad in places. I think the film does a good job of capturing Humbert's mixture of being both besotted with Lolita while at the same time being callously uncaring as to her feelings. Dominique Swain is perfect as the vulgar and brattish, yet sweet and fun-loving Dolores Haze who is both sexually precocious and terribly childlike.

Anyway, the reason for this post is to show you some of Charlotte Haze's clothes. A middle-aged, middle-class widow, Charlotte sees Humbert as sophisticated and European. Her attempts to impress him with her name-dropping and mangled French only repulse him, and he finds her narrow minded, boring and suburban. Poor Charlotte, she isn't a particularly likeable character, but she did have a few interesting outfits in this film.

This is the dress she is wearing when she first meets Humbert. A typical, pretty 40s frock with a sweetheart neckline and a peplum, in a pale grey and pink floral print. I love her hair in all those amazing curls at the front, with the rest tucked into a snood at the back.

It was very difficult to get a proper screenshot of this dress, as the whole scene is shown from Humbert's view on the stairs, but I do love it. Charlotte is going to church, so she has on a smart little navy suit or dress, with cream pleating around the neckline, and an wonderful navy straw cartwheel hat with spotted net and a bunch of white and navy daisies.

This hat is rather ghastly, like a strange flying saucer landed on her head, but I like the draped frock and the lovely mother-of-pearl brooch with what looks like two birds.

Just the thing for when you are lounging around at home with your lodger and your nymphet of a daughter - pink satin lounging pyjamas. Although these were more popular in the 1930s, they were around still in the 1940s too. As Charlotte's hair is in a fairly structured style, I'm imagining that this is something she would have changed into at home - the classic "I'll just slip into something more comfortable".

Humbert and the Hazes go swimming. I do like Charlotte's beach coat, it looks like it's made out of terry toweling. Imagine how nice that would be to put on over a swimsuit to keep off the chill.

Another snood, this time with a pants suit. Check out those mega 40s shoulderpads. Spring 1947 was the year that Dior's New Look came in, and big shoulderpads went out in favour of sloping shoulders, so we can see that Charlotte, for all her pretensions at sophistication, is not quite in style.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Nicholas Building Open Studios

Last night I went to see the open studios at the Nicholas Building on Swanston St. They are open again tonight from 4-9, and I highly recommend going and having a look!

The building, built in the 1920s for the Nicholas family (who apparently made their fortune from a local version of aspirin) has eleven floors of rooms, which are rented out as artists' studios and little shops.

I discovered an lovely shop called L'uccello, which specialises in vintage haberdashery, including millinery trimming, amazing silk ribbons, buckles, buttons and lots of other gorgeous stuff. If you are into shopping, there's also Kimono House, and Buttonmania to tempt the sewing-minded.

My millinery teacher, Mandy Murphy, shares a studio on the seventh floor with book sculptor Nicholas Jones, and there are plenty of other artisans and artists in the building, including a number of jewellers. It's a great opportunity to see inside people's studios and chat to the artists and craftspeople who inhabit this lovely building.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Gravitas of Fruit

My sister, Zsuzsa Kollo, has another exhibition at the Colville Street Art Gallery in Hobart.

There are a series of four paintings of girls with animals sitting on their heads, which I rather like. You can see the rest of them here.

I think this girl's face is so beautiful. This is the title piece of the exhibition, The Gravitas of Fruit. I wish I could have made it down to Tasmania to see the exhibition, but it's the worst time of year to get off work.

Friday, 13 August 2010

A History of Costume and Fashion

Aren't these the most beautiful, delicate illustrations? They are from a handmade book called "The History of Costume and Fashion", which was a diploma project of Tatyana Kartasheva.

Her website is mostly in Ukrainian, but I did manage to find out that these drawings are done in Koh-i-noor pencil and Faber Castell liners on Colorline paper.

Here are some shots of the drawings reproduced in the book. Apparently she only made one copy, which is a pity, as I'd love to have one, even if I can't read it! More views here.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Another Book

I finally finished this notebook for my friend Vera's birthday, which I'd promised her about two years ago...bad me! It's a hollow-backed book half bound in black leather (which used to be an old skirt) and apple green Arbelave buckram from Artwise Amazing Paper.

The endpapers are a Japanese paper from Kami, which is a wonderful paper shop in Brunswick St, Melbourne. They have drawers and drawers of this type of paper in all sorts of patterns. Heaven!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Biblioteque Pascal

Last night I went to see the only Hungarian film at the Melbourne International Film Festival, Biblioteque Pascal. The film opens with half-Hungarian, half-Romanian Mona at the offices of the Romanian Child Protection Agency. She's trying to regain custody of her young daughter, who has been removed from the care of Mona's fortune-telling aunt while Mona was overseas.

When asked to explain the circumstances that led up to her leaving Transylvania for England, she tells a fantastic story about the father of her child being a dream-projecting gangster, being sold into the international sex trade by her father, and ending up in a high-class Liverpool brothel (the titular Biblioteque Pascal) with themed rooms where prostitutes act as literary characters - Lolita, Pinocchio, Dorian Gray, Joan of Arc. After attacking the proprieter, she is sentenced to die in the Desdemona room, but is resuced in the nick of time by her father in a dream projected by her daughter.

It sounds like a rather seedy story, and there are some quite confronting scenes, but it's saved by the lush visuals and gorgeous dream sequences, as well as the extremely likable main character. It's a strange, surreal film, like a dark fairy tale, and as the story becomes more and more fantastic, the viewer is left to wonder what actually happened, and what is simply a story created by Mona to help her deal with the reality of her situation.