Brought to you by Nuffnang and The Sound of Music
There is a warm feeling that happens somewhere inside you when you know that everyone around you is in the same delightful moment.
The Sound of Music has been a part of so many childhood memories for generations. The iconic image of Maria, arms flung wide, atop a mountain with a look of pure joy on her face. It has been the cornerstone of many a classic movie channel, the songs part of many bedtime routines and it even makes an appearance in memes every now and again.
I finally saw The Sound of Music live on stage for the first time, under the twinkling chandeliers of the Regent Theatre in Melbourne, and it filled me with happiness.
The familiarity of the story makes this production a wonderful way to introduce newbies to musical theatre, the words want to trip of your tongue as you find yourself rooting once again for Maria to succeed in her quest.
Superbly played by Amy Lehpalmer, Maria is already a friend with a witty sense of humour and playfulness that sits perfectly in the role. Amy inhabits the character with exceptional style, the lilt of her voice striking just the right chord in so many familiar tunes.
The operatic power of Jacqui Dark in the role of Mother Abbess is sensational. Intense and moving, her performance built a connection I’d never experienced with this role, always having seen the Mother Abbess as a minor role. Instead Jacqui’s portrayal gave me a much greater sympathy for Maria’s story.
It was the beautiful 1930’s frock that first caught my eye when Baroness Von Schrader made her appearance. Bias cut coral crepe with ecru piping, it took me a moment to realise that the figure wearing the ensemble was Melbourne theatre royalty, Marina Prior.
The score for this production of Sound of Music is more than you expect, elegantly weaving lesser-known pieces through the narrative to give a greater spotlight to each performer. Bolstered by these numbers this production has a full and rich sense that makes this an unmissable event, one that for novice theatre-goers, will leave you feeling its familiar warmth.
The audience on opening night was exceptional, laughing, singing and even dressing up for the occasion as I saw a few fabulous dirndls and petticoats around us.
Now playing at The Regent Theatre in Melbourne, The Sound of Music is the show to make a real family outing of. I’m already planning matching alpine outfits for my girls and I!
“What should I wear?!?” is by far the biggest question we’re hearing as we countdown to the exciting Ballarat Heritage Weekend.
While some vintage stalwarts and BHW regulars have had their looks ready since last year, we can all benefit from some style guidance and suggestions for the perfectly primped looks to pair with the wide range of events.
Plus, there’s no specific era or niche for this event, which makes it such a delight to both dress for and people watch! You can take your cues from all manner of vintage and create a look and style that’s entirely your own.
Since dressing up is one of my favorite pastimes — and our mission for our Vintage Current Fashion Fair — I want to share my personal recommendations and style/event pairings to inspire your ensembles.
Enjoy these vintage styling tips and templates, as well as our new #VCFF vintage styling contest (details below). I can’t wait to see you rocking your own classic concoctions around this wonderful heritage weekend!
Daytime Style Tips
Vintage Current Fashion Fair + Fashion Parades = The Serious Shopper
Your dresses or tops should be button up or zip up, nothing should go on over the head. This gives you the ability to change quickly without worrying about messing up your hair or makeup (or the garments).
To handle cold mornings and nights but beautiful clear days, use simple layers. Opaque tights are one of my “go anywhere” secrets; they can be easily changed out for sheer stockings during the day and stashed away in your handbag.
With your accessories, keep it simple: scarves, bangles, etc., not loads of fiddly jewelry. And if you’re trying on outfits, you can also tie the scarf over your hair and face to protect the garment from makeup, as well as your vintage hairdo.
Hats add a classic style and interest while dealing with any wind or chill in the air. And of course, shoes that are suitable for walking, standing and browsing are a must. Even though there’s a City Circle tram to help you get from place to place, you’ll have a full day on your feet (perhaps two full days)!
Keep in mind the seasonal trends that will also inspire your look: tweed, velvet, boho embroidery, perhaps a dash of this year’s weekend theme … steampunk?
All of these tips, plus the examples in the style board below, will prep you for the Vintage Current Fashion Fair, where you can augment your collection and refine your look, and from there it’s a short hop to check out the beautiful fashion parades hosted by Charlotte Smith in the Mechanics Institute.
Tweed Ride + Carriage Rides = A Casual Afternoon Affair
If a leisurely bike ride, tea and scones or a late afternoon beer is on your agenda, a simply put together, casual look is in order. The Tweed Ride is a popular annual tradition, so a most excellent pair of trousers, and stylish sunglasses, are a must.
In the style board below, I’ve paired these wonderful slub tweed trousers with a 1950’s beaded and embellished cardigan, a camel wool suit coat and a brilliant pair of reproduction lace up boots. Classy, comfortable, practical and cozy, each of these elements makes the ideal blueprint for a head-turning autumn wardrobe.
Whether you’re traveling by penny farthing, horse-drawn carriage, double decker bus or the Circle Tram, you’ll look sharp and feel fine while taking in the historic downtown sights and events!
Dinner Date Style Tips
Fine Dining + Cocktails = The Smoldering Standout
Dressing for dinner is an art I’m very keen to revive. With so many stunning heritage venues to stage your dinner time debut, Ballarat is ready made to spotlight your wardrobe.
Be brave, be daring, be impressive. After dark, it’s time to add more luxury, capes, longer hemlines and statement vintage jewelry.
Make sure to book your dinner engagement in advance for time to enjoy a proper old fashioned cocktail and give everyone the chance to truly appreciate your upscale ensemble.
If you’re seeking recommendations, check out the style board below, and for dining ideas around Ballarat, consider the fantastic dining options we prepared earlier. As for cocktails, keep an eye out for our forthcoming post …
Evening Wind Down
Fireplace + Cozy Room = The Sleepy Beauty
After a big day of shopping, sightseeing and catching up with pals, having the right wind down look ready is quite a treat. I like to pack my favourite tea, a good book and a deliciously warm wrap or knit for these autumn evenings.
For an overnight stay, make sure to bring (or acquire) luxurious pajamas, a velvet robe, slippers and sleeping socks.
Other vital elements to consider include:
- Wide legs pants in cashmere, jersey or even a well cut fleece.
- Knit tops that reflect your style.
- A wrap, shawl or pashmina.
- Infinity scarf to avoid bulking up the look.
There’s no good reason that your off duty look needs to forgo the vintage influence, so I’ve taken some familiar motifs and worked them into the easy, comfortable pieces in the style board below. These outfits and concepts will send you off for a restful night, ready to meet the morning refreshed and ready for another day of vintage style.
For the Gentlemen
Beard Competition + Craft Beer = The Classic Chap
Gents come into their own at this year’s Ballarat Heritage Weekend, with the Beard and Moustache competition providing the perfect stage to show off their commitment to serious facial grooming, and the Hop Temple BBQ and craft beer events.
Dressing the part need not be painful (growing a handlebar moustache is not required). With a few choice accessories to reflect his personality and taste for the finer things, polishing up a winning look is a snap. Here are some ideas in the style board below to get him going down the right road …
For One Lucky Winner … YOU?
Social Media + Your #VCFF Style = Personal Styling Session
Now, if you’re taking all this in and worrying that your wardrobe is not up to the task, we’re adding a new twist to the Vintage Current Fashion Fair …
While you can find and buy gorgeous fashions like these from our wonderful VCFF vendors, I want to ensure that your hair and makeup styling are just as on point as your wardrobe.
We’ve added a #VCFF Personal Styling Session Competition to the mix!
Entering is easy — just three quick steps:
- Snap a photo of your Ballarat Heritage Weekend outfit (what you’re planning to wear, your dream look, or what you’re wearing throughout the weekend)
- Share it on Instagram or Facebook and tag @VintageCurrent (be sure to follow us!)
- Include three hashtags: #VCFF #CDVStyling #BallaratHeritage
We’ll select our lucky winner at random and notify them on Monday, May 9th, with all the details on how to redeem your session. Entries are open to anyone in Australia who ticks all three boxes above. Enter as often as you wish!
This special contest starts NOW and closes at midnight on Sunday, May 8, 2016. Good luck and we can’t wait to see you online and/or in person at Vintage Current Fashion Fair 2016!
With Ballarat Heritage Weekend close at hand, and 20,000 vintage enthusiasts converging on the charming historic city, we’re sharing our best tips for making the most of your visit.
So we’re dedicating part one of our special five-part “Best of Ballarat” series to those most critical biological needs: fine food and coffee.
Whether it’s before, during or after our Vintage Current Fashion Fair, here are our top picks for treating your palette right around the city …
Breakfast Pick: The Unicorn
The Unicorn is my pick for breakfast in Ballarat. The menu is full of unexpected and delicious choices (including vegan) and the artistic vintage vibe gives this venue a feeling of community. Situated in a stunning heritage building, the decor alone with its collectible vinyl is worth the trip. Be prepared to spend an hour or two simply reading the walls and taking it all in.
Verdict: A feast for all the senses! Make sure you take the time to visit the Ladies room, you’ll know why when you get there.
Lunch Picks: The Hop Temple, Golden City Hotel
With warm open fires, delicious craft beer and juicy burgers, The Hop Temple is a no-brainer for me. This is exactly the type of place that you can settle into for lunch and also make a night of (the next day, of course). The selection of craft beer here is something you must take seriously, none of this “just pop in for a pint”, no sir. Carve out some time to exercise your palette, bring your note book and get stuck into some serious tasting.
Verdict: Come for the beer, stay for the food and teach your palette a thing or two about the heady appeal of hops.
Right across the road from the Vintage Current Fashion Fair at St Patrick’s Hall, is the Golden City Hotel. Large, light filled and plenty spacious for big groups, this spot delivers on both the food and drinks menu. I thoroughly enjoyed the lamb wrap, as my partner made short work of the spring rolls. They have an excellent range to please every patron, plus great selections for kids, too. If you get in early you may even get a group spot on the sofa by the open fireplace!
Verdict: Try the warm thai beef salad or lamb wrap for something healthy and hearty.
Afternoon Tea Pick: Little Bird
There’s one cafe that reminds me so much of having afternoon tea with my Nana. Little Bird has become the go-to place for coffee meet ups for vintage fiends in Ballarat. Formica tables and chairs, old school cakes that look like they were lifted directly from the pages of the Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook circa 1958, and a cozy diner feel set the scene. But the coffees and homemade sweets and delicacies are where you’ll find the most win.
Verdict: Perfect for catching up with coffee, cake and retro selfies.
Dinner Picks: Cafe Merkama, Craig’s Royal Hotel
Cafe Merkama may be one of the best kept secrets in Ballarat. Even many locals I’ve talked with had never heard of this little place. Opened only a couple of years ago by an Ethiopian refugee, Cafe Merkama serves simple, hearty dishes that encourage sharing and introduce your palette to an entirely new range of flavours.
Verdict: Perfect after a long hard day when you want comforting exotic food and a good chat with friends.
A beautiful heritage hotel that you’ll want to do a bit of swanning about in, Craig’s Royal Hotel offers an impressive dining experience. Often a bit of a roulette, gnocchi has never been high on my menu choices when dining out, but this one was so impressive we’re still talking about it a month later! The grilled gnocchi at Craig’s Royal Hotel Restaurant (“The Gallery”) recently took out the title for Best Gnocchi at the Ballarat Rural Lifestyle expo, so there’s even more proof. I highly recommend you put this one on your list.
Verdict: Make a booking for this one and check out the menu ahead of time to give you plenty of time to make a selection, as it’s so hard to pick a favourite. Finish off your meal with what I personally believe may be the best coffee in Ballarat. It’s so good in fact, that I asked the Barista to pose for a photo so you can find her!
Readers’ Choice: Share Your Ballarat Foodie Picks
We’d love to hear about your favorite dining spots as well, while we prepare for the big Ballarat Heritage Weekend 2016 (and many other visits). Where will we see you?
Please share your personal favourites and insider foodie tips in our Vintage Current Fashion Fair Facebook group, and let’s all enjoy and support the local winners!
Do you remember “finding your true home” in the vintage community?
And how wonderful it was to discover that your passion was shared and cherished by others?
I do. It was at the best vintage fair I’ve ever been to (still to this day).
There, for the first time, I didn’t feel out of place in my 1940s suit, hair piled high. From the moment the first person tapped me on the shoulder and asked about the “soutache” on my lapels, I knew I’d found my people.
It was a long way from home, a plane ride away. I had saved for almost a year to acquire my own pieces of history. And although I went alone and didn’t know anyone there, when I walked into that room, heaving with smiling people, I felt instantly at home.
Finding Your Vintage Story: A Source of Inspiration
That experience set the bar for me on what an exceptional, authentic vintage fair and event should be: a community of like-minded people, with myriad styles and inspirations, brought together by their mutual love of historical fashion.
There were no hard and fast rules as to what should be worn and how. Instead what I found was a genuine exchange between friends, buyers and sellers, hardcore fans and the curious, all sharing their joy and finding appreciative homes for each treasure.
However, in recent years, as the vintage trend has taken hold, I’ve seen hyper commercialism chipping away at this wonderful camaraderie at the heart of why so many of us love vintage.
What I didn’t realize, back at that milestone event, was how much it would later inspire me to create and launch a new initiative to bring out the best in vintage for our community.
Ready, Set, Go! Breathing New Life Into Vintage Markets
I’m thrilled to announce the debut of Vintage Current Fashion Fair, coming this May 7-8 (Mother’s Day Weekend) as part of Ballarat Heritage Weekend 2016!
Having inherited my love of fashion from my mum, with her talent for sewing and restyling old outfits, and nurturing the love of vintage in my own daughters, teaching them to shop smart and appreciate styles from bygone days, hosting this event over Mother’s Day Weekend is an extra special treat for me.
Just as exciting is the opportunity to collaborate with so many talented, passionate vintage lovers around this event.
Thanks to our partnership with the brilliant teams at the City of Ballarat and Ballarat Regional Tourism, we anticipate a crowd of 20,000 enthusiasts at Ballarat Heritage Weekend 2016, and we’re working with several partners, vendors and sponsors to make this premiere event one for all to remember.
Here’s just a taste of what you can expect during this fun-filled weekend …
Pictured clockwise from top left: St Pat’s Hall VCFF heritage venue, local Ballarat fashion blogger Finding Femme, ladies ready for the Tweed Ride, Charlotte Smith on stage.
We’re teaming up with our good friend Charlotte Smith, author of Dreaming of Dior and Dreaming of Chanel, to host an interactive session on how to discover and refine your own vintage style. Charlotte is also hosting an array of stunning vintage fashion parades plus her “In Conversation” sessions with the fabulous Catriona Rowntree and Claudia Chan Shaw (pictured below).
Amongst our fast-growing list of wonderful VCFF vendors, you’ll find:
- Audrey Scarlett Vintage a personal favourite for their extensive range of affordable pieces.
- Frizzy Vintage with a great range of accessories and stunning Japanese vintage frocks.
- Vintage Online who carry a superior range of genuine vintage jewellery to fit every budget.
- Jack’s Daughter our friends set the standard for authentic vintage reproduction fashion (several of their designs are in my wardrobe right now).
- Steady with Betty Vintage Clothing beautiful vintage pieces, with show-stopping gowns, featured in countless glamour shoots I’ve styled.
- Recycology always makes me smile with their exotic collection of brightly coloured, fabulous pieces (including the most stunning burnt silk velvet kimono I had to have).
That’s barely the tip of the iceberg, as our plans and partnerships are rapidly growing, and the other key ingredient we’re looking for now is YOU.
Vintage Vendors, Makers and Sponsors: We Want You!
With over 25 years as a collector, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some of Australia’s finest vintage vendors — the backbone of these events. Their tireless sourcing, restoring and curating is what makes these people as rare as the gems they sell.
The same goes for the vintage makers, who take the time to faithfully reproduce garments and accessories to our needs. From hoarding buttons and trim, to custom making the perfect piece just for you, these dedicated individuals are creating the vintage of the future.
And of course, the re-imagineers (a term I much prefer to upcycling), who allow us to see what is possible for things that may otherwise have reached the end of their lives. They breathe new purpose into pieces, giving us the chance to create a new story for them.
Join Our Vintage Current Fashion Fair Mission
We’re proud to be creating a new haven for quality vintage vendors and passionate shoppers to come together during Ballarat Heritage Weekend.
We want to bring back all the reasons you fell in love with vintage in the first place, and that’s shaped our mission for Vintage Current Fashion Fair:
- It is unique – allowing you to explore your own personal sense of style to create something that reflects who you are.
- It has a story – vintage has romance and history, quietly weaving the tale of social change through each hemline.
- It is a responsible choice – wearing well and living through generations, teaching us about true value per wear and quality of make.
- It inspires – No longer are we slaves to the vicious cycle of fast fashion and the dictates of trends, we get to write the story.
- It represents real value – The hand beaded, pure cashmere sweater you find on these racks can be had for ½ or less the price of a mass produced high street version, and is made to a quality standard rarely seen today.
Whether you are a collector, a vendor, a maker or any manner of vintage enthusiast — anywhere in the world — if this mission resonates with you, we’d love to hear from you!
If you’re a seller of quality vintage, based or trading in Australia, let’s work together to help promote you and your passion. Click here to learn more and apply to be part of VCFF!
(Note: If you’re not based in Australia, don’t worry: We’ll be sharing videos, photos, posts and more online, and you can catch the buzz via our #VCFF event hashtag.)
To create my art, I use brushes of a different kind.
I look at faces, both old and new. Round, soft, open, wide: each face is a new canvas and a foundation that I’m privileged to work with.
I first learnt the power of a great hairdo when I was very young. The Silver Screen was my mentor. The elderly women in my life, the discarded magazines and dog-earred manuals of bygone days were my teachers.
Meanwhile, my own thick, unruly hair was both a constant battle and an inspiration.
While I dreamt of a Louise Brooks bob, when I looked in the mirror I saw a puffy, frizzy chaos of curls. I’d built a powerful image in my mind of the woman I wanted to become … and this was not what she looked like.
At age 14, my rudimentary tools were limited to hair mousse and a hair dryer diffuser. That year, everyone wanted to look like Jennifer Beals; I wanted Rosalind Russell. Writing my own style script was the only way forward.
Join me at NGV as the past meets the present
That history is why I’m honored to conduct a special demonstration of three classically 1960s hairstyles at National Gallery of Victoria this week, coinciding with the brilliant Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei exhibition.
Andy Warhol clearly knew the transformative power of hair.
From Marilyn to Mao, his artwork prominently features iconic hairstyles. And his silver grey wig became an inherent part of his iconic status. You simply can’t picture Warhol without it, can you?
This Australia Day, January 26th, from 12-3pm in the Great Hall at NGV, I’ll be creating three different looks, taking you through the step-by-step techniques of how these are achieved. We’ll also chat about hairstyling history and trends in the 1960s, with particular focus on the ornate and complex styling worn by many of Warhols’ celebrity muses.
In a time where it has never been easier to become your own work of art, I’d love to share with you the experience of creating these mini-masterpieces.
This event is free and doesn’t require a booking. Join me, come say hello and enjoy our iconic styling adventures this Australia Day (or follow the fun via hashtag #WarholWeiwei).
You can find the complete event details here.
“The best thing about a picture is it never changes, even when the people in it do.”
– Andy Warhol
This post is brought to you by Nuffnang and Transition Films
It’s one thing to be entertained, another to be educated, and something entirely different to have your world perspective altered.
Suffragette hit such a sharp and painful note with me, my heart lurched and tears immediately sprang to my eyes.
In a society where so many young women spend their time competing with one another, forming their sense of self worth on social media and counting their personal value in likes, Suffragette is more than an historical film, it’s a wake up call.
The sense of utter powerlessness, of servitude and anger felt by women in a world dominated and controlled by men, is one that we have but a very small understanding of.
Across the most of the Western world, women have held the right to vote for less than 100 years.
Here in Australia, as white (Anglo) women, we’ve had the right to vote since 1902. Sadly this didn’t extend to our indigenous population till as recently as 1962.
Worldwide, these rights we hold as fundamental, are still not the norm. With many women (too many) still facing a future that does not include education, where they can be sold into marriage as children and their bodies used as instruments of retribution, how is it that more of us don’t make our voices heard?
There is a lack of awareness I see around me of our rights as women, and how those we now take for granted, were won.
How fragile is our position when even here in Australia we still don’t receive equal pay for equal work or even hold complete rights over our own bodies in 2015?
The Suffragette shatters any sense of complacency or entitlement you may have felt.
“All my life I’ve done what men have told me. Well I can’t have that anymore”
Opening in early 20th-century England, the story of the suffragette movement is told with the kind of raw humanity that let’s you feel the personal torture of it’s central characters.
Maud Watts (played by Carey Mulligan) is young, poor and voiceless; living with her young family in Edwardian England. Becoming swept up in the suffrage movement, we are confronted with the reality life as a second-class citizen, marginalised and forced to turn to violence as the only means of being heard.
Under the wing of a group of women fighting for equality and the right to vote, Watts and her compatriots become increasingly radicalised in their struggle. Risking their families and their lives, these tenacious women put everything on the line to fight the brutal State.
In 2015, when as a group our voices have never been so prolific or broadcast to a wider audience, there is a shameful lack of conversation, of information and of action.
Suffragette is not just an entertaining piece of cinema; it is a vital work of political and personal awakening.