Singin' In The Rain at Her Majesty's Theatre

Monday, May 16, 2016

Singin' In The Rain opened at Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne last week, and it's an absolute corker of a show.

With an equal mix of humour and romance, the Australian production of Singin' In The Rain is everything you could want from musical theatre. The show stoppers are undoubtedly those scenes with the cast showing off their tap dance moves and impressive vocals. 

Not forgetting, this is the only performance you will see using an impressive 12,000 litres of recycled water used to create that famous rain scene on stage.  (The front two rows of the audience are given raincoats so they don't get wet!)

That said, the costumes and sets really did it for me.  The 1920s, is a fashion era I am most fond of, in which the story of Singin' In The Rain is set.

The glamorous costumes worn by blonde airhead lead character Lina Lamont are just stunning.  Think; sparkly evening frocks with plenty of sequins, pearls, impressive headpieces and oversized stoles.  Lamont is the ultimate Hollywood superstar diva.

The dancing girl performances are just incredible too, as are the outfits worn by those stage actress stunners.  Total babes:

I loved everything about Singin' In The Rain, and would see it all over again in a heartbeat.  You can see my full review on Meetoo.

Please don't miss out on Singin' In The Rain, the musical.  If you are anything like me, you will feast your eyes on those gorgeous vintage-inspired costumes, and adore everything about this incredible all singing, all dancing spectacular.

 Chose to wear: 
Shirt: Gifted
Shoes: Vinnies

Singin' In The Rain is now showing at Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne until 2 July, 2016 before moving onto Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.  Book your tickets here.

Images: credit Jeff Busby


Womens Fashion Items From The Past That Never Date

Friday, May 13, 2016

Do you ever look at fashion pieces of yester-year and wonder why they didn't stick around?  I know I do. Every decade of the past has left something for us to embrace into the 21st century, although the majority choose not to wear old fashion.

The following, from the 1920s through to the 1970s are my personal picks of women's fashion items that never date. I wonder if you agree?

1920s: Flapper Dresses

Image: Lady Bohemia Vintage on Etsy

The Great Gatsby bought 1920s fashion back into the limelight again, with those gorgeous 1920s flapper dresses complete with stunning beadwork and sequins. 1920s was the decade when fashion trends saw an upturn. Flapper dresses were part of a new modern era.  Matched with long pearl necklaces and feathered headwear, flapper dresses forever hold onto the glamour of a bygone time.

1930s: Cloche hats
Angelina Jolie wearing a cloche hat in Changeling
Bell-shaped cloche hats never seem to go out of fashion.  Invented Caroline Reboux in 1908, cloche hats didn't really reach the limelight until the 1920s and 1930s. The name “cloche” is derived from the french word “bell”.  In 1960s and late 1980s, these hats were reinvented with a buttoned brim. Then, again in 2007, many designers added cloche in their collection.

1940s: Tailored women's suits

Classic 1940s suit seen via ChatterBlossom Vintage
Classic 40s suits scream style and class.  One might say, the early power suit?  This vintage look comprises of a suit skirt and a jacket stayed popular due to being comfortable and practical. In 1947, plain A-Line skirts with pleats became popular, too. 

1950s: one-piece swimsuits and Converse Chuck Taylors

1950s Swimwear seen via Vintage Dancer

Less is more?  I don't think so!  Throw me a 1950s bathing suit over a string bikini anyday! Swimsuits or bathing suits from 1950s were designed to add stretch to the tummy area and were used with bra cups and even boning.  I am sure you will agree, vintage bathers flatter the majority of female shapes, and add a certain femininity and glamour to our beaches.

Converse All Stars aka Chuck Taylors (sneakers), in my humble opinion, have not dated one bit.  It's funny as I'm writing this, I'm actually wearing pair of thrifted Converse boots!  Although Converse is close to a century old, it wasn't until the 1950s that Converse Chuck Taylors moved from athletic wear to mainstream fashion.  Since then, these classic kicks haven't faltered through fashion history. Long live the beloved Converse.

Vintage Converse seen via Pinterest

1960s: GoGo boots (knee high)

London models wearing Ossie Clark seen via EcoSalon
If you're a fan of  knee high boots, you will do doubt appreciate Go-Go boots of the 60s.  Knee high boots with short skirts were the thing to to wear back in the day, and you can see why.

1970s: Flares and platforms

Not just a style reserved for the women, men rocked flares (or bell bottoms) and platforms just as much as the ladies in the 70s.  The late and great Bowie for instance:

David Bowie rocking flares and platforms in the 70s

Flares are still loved by women around the world, and the iconic platform shoe is arguably the best footwear to wear with them.  Such a winning combo.

There's a lot to be said for the amalgamation of true vintage with contemporary, and thus it would be good to see some of the aforementioned women's trends incorporated into today's fashion.  Which picks are your favorites?   What fashion items from the past do you think never date?


The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition at Rippon Lea

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What a delight to be invited as a guest to attend the media preview of The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition at the historic property Rippon Lea Estate. Despite being an incredibly wet night, which saw frocked up attendees hidden under a sea of umbrellas, the exhibition received a warm welcome from media folk and guests; my friend Annabel of Clothe and I, included.

The National Trust's stunning mansion, in all her splendor, is far cry from the dusty scenes of the Australian outback town of Dungatar, in which the story of the movie (and novel) is set. That said, the combination of the exquisite works of Marion Boyce and her costume team is well matched with Melbourne's grand suburban estate.

 If you have yet to see the 2015 award-winning blockbuster The Dressmker on the big or small screen, the fictional tale is set in 1950s Australia.

The story, based on the novel of the same name written by Rosalie Ham, follows Myrtle "Tilly" Dunnage (played by Kate Winslet) as she returns to small town Australia, to take care of her ageing, mentally unstable mother. Tilly, now an accomplished dressmaker trained by Madeleine Vionnet in Paris, starts to transform locals with her stunning couture outfits. Tilly creates outfits for her town folk clients, which become more elaborate, daring, colourful and exceptionally stunning over the course of the story.

There is a darker side to the plot, which delves into themes of grief, abuse and revenge alongside the aforementioned creativity, but that's something you'll need to learn for yourself once you become familiar with The Dressmaker.

When you visit The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition at Rippon Lea House, you catch a glimpse of the lives of those who work in the costume department of a major movie blockbuster. In this particular case, costumes are priority. The phenomenal skills of Marion Boyce and Margot Wilson; the dressmaker's for The Dressmaker are absorbed into the outfits for the movie. Over 50 costumes worn by Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth and the rest cast from The Dressmaker are on show over two floors in Rippon Lea House.

Prepare to be wow'd by the impressive collection of gowns, skirts, headwear, capes, suits, brooches and more. Admire exquisite beadwork and detailing, feast your eyes over luxurious fabrics, precision pleats and cinched-in silhouettes. Enjoy behind-the-scenes costume making footage, and take your time to admire the great work of Australia's finest artmanship.

It is no surprise to hear The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition achieved great success when on display at Winchelsea earlier in 2016. It is without doubt, the same exhibition will draw in the crowds to Rippon Lea House between 22 April and 31 July, 2016.

Tickets for The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition can be purchased in advance online HERE.


This post is bought to you by Nuffnang

Reasons Why You Are Rubbish At Thrift Shopping

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Attempted but failed to second-hand shop? This is why

Bad lighting, musty smells, and aisles clogged with sloppy merchandise. If this is what you think about thrift stores, then probably you haven’t taken your time to visit one lately.

Thrift stores, charity shops, op shops; call them what you will, are all great alternatives for anyone who loves to find a bargain, or prefers to buy pre-loved over new for ethical reasons.

Want to add extra items to your wardrobe without spending a fortune? You know thrift shopping is the way to go. You can score countless pieces on cheap while playing your part to help the community and decrease environmental impacts. Though thrift shopping makes some folk feel proud of the bargains they find, others, maybe you, flinch at the thought of spending your money on castoff items.

Why You Are Rubbish At Thrift Shopping

#1-You avoid regular visits

You only becomes a master or an expert at something, when you practice. The same applies to second-hand shopping. If you don’t visit thrift shops regularly, then yes, you may not find anything, so you think you are out of luck. Visit regularly, and you will have more opportunities to find something suitable.

#2- You don’t hunt for quality fabrics and brands

With low prices on every item in such stores, the ultimate reaction would be to fill up with your cart with anything that catches your attention. Random selection is not always a wise choice. Remember that if you merely skim through clothes, you won’t pick out quality. You have to take your time and dig deep to spot the hidden quality gems. If in doubt, take a friend who knows what to look for.

#3- You are too lazy to shop at thrift stores

Lazy? Yes, because fast fashion is so easily accessible, you ask yourself why bother shopping second-hand, when you can buy new fashion for the same cheap price. Unfortunately, fast fashion outlets sell low quality garments, which often fall apart. If you think thrift fashion is not premium quality, ask yourself why top brands are donated, and still remain in tact? Particularly true vintage fashion, which lasts the test of time. When you choose to buy fast fashion over quality second-hand, you may aswell throw your money away. Don't fall into the all-too-easy fast fashion trap.

#4-You are scared to think outside the box

To avoid shopping for anything slightly different, you head over to the nearest high street shop and take note of the latest trend. Don’t look like a high street clone, try a new style or colour that you wouldn't usually. Remember that fashion moves in cycles, so what you think looks outdated, probably isn't! Besides, fashion trends aren't for every shape or size. Dress for you, not other people.

#5- You can't see past the first appearance

You should know that appearances can be deceiving. There is a high chance that you are bad at thrift shopping because you can't look past the first appearance of a garment. Don't pay too much attention to a garment's size label. Remember that brands vary in sizing, and clothing can also shrink in the wash (bonus for you, because second-hand fashion comes pre-shrunk and won't change again!). Also consider that different clothes with different styles have variable textures. Try on something first, before dismissing it due to the size label. Sizing aside, you might knock back a fashion piece because it bears a small hole, or needs to be hemmed to fit you. Again, don't dismiss for such reasons, even if you can't repair clothes or hem yourself, you can pay someone a small fee to do it for you.

Master the art of second-hand shopping and soon you'll be thrifting like a pro. Take your time, visit regularly, pick out the best or left-of-the-middle garments, and you can easily fool people into believing you bought your current outfit from a lavish mall or outlet. Others can do it, so why should you be rubbish at thrift shopping?  Get out there and op shop with the best of them. 


Ethical Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Celebrate Mother's Day with your Mum on her special day, bearing gifts that are special yet don’t impact on the environment.

Mother’s Day might be considered a consumer driven day for many. That said, mothers around the world are arguably the most cherished people, which is why Mother’s Day should be celebrated as a recognition of love, right?

It doesn’t always have to be flowers and chocolates, there are other ways to show a little love for your Mother, in ways that don’t impact on the world’s resources.

Here are a few ideas that you could use to make your mum a great recycled gift. Get the kids involved and show that little hands make cherished gifts, too.

Ethical Mothers Day Gifts to Make

Sentimental Photo Frames – Get creative with hard board by constructing a photo frame. Select photos from your family, and put them on the hard board after calculating their proportions, cut a rectangular frame around them and cut it out. Super glue these photos on hard board and decorate the frame with glitter glue and a message to your mother.

Mason Jars Photo Vases – Are both sentimental and beautiful. Clean a Mason jar and superglue a photo of you and your mom together on the Mason jar. Cut a piece of paper which is the size of the photograph and tape it over the photography. Take some poster colour or oil paint and paint the Mason jar. Finish with some transparent enamel or varnish. Now un-tape the piece of paper and you will see the photograph of you and your mom. Fill the Mason jar with water and fill it with your mother’s favourite flowers.

52 Reasons “I Love You” Deck – If you have an old deck of cards lying around the house, make use of it. Sit down and think of all the reasons you love your mother, specifically 52 reasons and write them down. Take measurement of the middle pattern on the cards’ back. This is going to be the size on all the cards’ back. Cut out 104 pieces of paper of that size. Decorate the first paper piece with the words “Reasons I Love You”. Now take glue and paste those pieces on the back. Once you have done that, grab a pen and some sharpies and on each piece, write a reason that you love her. Write your reasons on all cards and then punch two holes on the same side of the card. Assemble all the cards in a numbered order and tie them with two ribbons or metal rings from an old file folder.

Recycled Brooch – So you know there is a broken pendant or a ring that your mother loved but it broke and it’s just now lying at the bottom of her jewellery box. Take it out, clean it thoroughly and polish it if needed. Now take a bottle cap and flatten it with a hammer. After that puncture two holes in the middle at 3 cm distance and pass a safety-pin through the holes. Secure the safety-pin by putting in some super glue and let it dry. Now take the superglue and put it all over the side of the cap that is empty. Press down the pendant or the ring piece and press it to hold it in place. Let the glue dry. Test if the piece is fixed properly. Gift the new brooch to your mother on Mother’s Day. Cute and thoughtful

Ethical Mothers Day Gifts to Buy

Although the above gifts are thoughtful and friendly to the environment, if you’re not a crafty person, why not buy an ethical gift for Mother's Day, instead.  Here are some ideas:

1. What Daisy Did Satchel

What Daisy Did's Carnival Collection satchels and bags are made from recycled and factory offcut leather, which may have otherwise gone to waste. Bags are made in India, in ethical conditions, where all tailors are paid a fair commission with living wage realistically achievable within normal working hours meaning they will never find themselves in poverty.  More here.

2. Woodfolk Peardrop Necklace

Woodfolk specialises in jewellery, accessories and homewares that are designed in Australia and humbly handmade both in Australia and by Nepali artisan families, throughout Nepal. The wood used is a Nepalese hardwood that has been grown sustainably. More here.

3. Ungalli Tee

Ungalli Clothing Co. design and produce a collection of t-shirts, sweaters, hats and tanks using 100% sustainable materials (recycled materials such as water bottles and scraps from cotton factory floors). $1 dollar the sale of items from the company’s charity lines , goes to charities dedicated to protecting natural habitats and/or wildlife.  More here.

4. Pea Sea Green Infinity Scarf

Australian based designer Susan, under her business name Pea Green Sea, re-purposes sari silk into beautiful infinity scarves and sells them via her online store. More here.

5. The Base Project Bracelets

The Base Project, partners with artisan cooperatives in Northern Namibia. Two Kunene based tribes Himba and Herero, create hand-cut unisex bracelets carved from discarded plastic pipes. More here.

Ethical gifts aside, remember, a hug or even a phone call, can go a long way, too. Too all the mamas out there, enjoy Mother's Day with your loved ones.


An Evening with Marion Boyce Emmy Award Nominated Costume Designer

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Once upon a time, a girl received an invitation, to attend a one on one evening meet with Emmy Award Nominated Costume Designer Marion Boyce, in the grand Victorian era National Trust Labassa Mansion.

That girl was me, and this is my story.

Marion Boyce, is best known for her costume work on Australia's treasured crime series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, set in 1920s Melbourne. Hollywood also beckoned Marion's costume design skills for the award-winning movie The Dressmaker, set in 1950s Australia.  Marion Boyce won an AACTA award for her work on Series 2 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, and Best Costume Design for the feature film The Dressmaker.

Emmy Award Nominated Costume Designer Marion Boyce
When it was suggested I could bring a 'plus one' to meet Marion Boyce, I could think of no-one I'd rather ask than clothier, blogger and friend Annabel Butler of Clothe.

Annabel Butler with brooches and beautiful burgundy shrug from the Miss Fisher Collection
The focus of the evening with Marion pointed toward her exclusive designed Miss Fisher Collection - Marion Boyce. That said, it was a pleasure to spend time with Marion, getting know her inspirations and passions behind her most admired vintage inspired fashions.

Interviewing Marion Boyce
Although much of Marion's costume work is designed and made from scratch, much of the adornments on her exquisite pieces, are re-purposed from old (such as trims, braids, lace and ribbons).  Marion refers to herself a 'collector'.  When jet-setting to far-away lands, she talks fondly of fabrics found in Italy, and sari textiles from India.  She jokingly adds that her patient husband always locates the nearest FED X depot wherever they travel, to ship the aforementioned textiles back to Australia.

Scallop scarf from the Miss Fisher Collection
As we look through the Miss Fisher Collection, I notice sparkles and Annabel notices movement and swish on Marion's sequinned scarf.  Fashion accessories are made in very small quantities, with rare materials sourced by Marion. 

Anyone familiar with Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries would assume Marion's fashion forte would be the 1920s. She agrees that late 20s and early 30s is a fashion era Marion is most fond of, "Post-War when people could have fun with fashion again", she says. 

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries' main character is a glamorous lady detective, The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher.  She is often seen wearing ornate brooches, sometimes pinned to unconventional places (on the hip of a dressing gown, for example).  Marion's brooch collection features inspired 1920s designs; the silver and green bee brooch caught my eye in an instant.  

Bee brooch from the Miss Fisher Collection
Ornate insect brooches were not uncommon in 1920s, and the bee brooch Marion tells us, is one of her favourites, too, "Because it is topical, with today's concern over diminishing bee colonies".  Plus, she tells us, gardening is her relaxation time, and she practices beekeeping at home, which "produces 27 litres of honey a year".  

I should also mention, the stunning 19th century manor in which our meet-and-greet took place; the Labassa Mansion.  Much of the lavish property, tucked away in Caulfield North, remains intact, despite once housing squatters before the National Trust took ownership.

Labassa features gilt embossed wallpapers, ornate stained glass and a rare trompe l’oeil ceiling.  If Labassa Mansion's walls could talk, many stories would be told, for the property housed some of Melbourne's elite in the 20th Century.  One resident, starlet Louise Lovely, was the first Australian silent film actress to succeed in Hollywood.

Louise Lovely?  No.. it's just Erica Louise!
These days, Labassa Mansion is open to the public on the third Sunday of each month.  Otherwise, the lavish estate is used to film TV shows such as Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and Upper Middle Bogan.  Labassa's grand sweeping staircase with magnificent stained glass window is used as a backdrop for wedding shots and fashion magazines. 

Labassa Mansion in Caulfield North
A meet with Marion Boyce proved quite a memorable occasion.  Next time I watch an episode of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, I will study each costume in greater detail, knowing the importance that fashion has to convey the 1920s in the famed TV show. 

Miss Fisher inspired jewellery and accessory range from the award winning Costume Designer Marion Boyce is undoubtedly big news for loyal Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries fans.  Add a piece of Miss Fisher inspired jewellery or a fashion accessory to your wardrobe available exclusively at Every Cloud Productions Online Shop.

This post is bought to you by Nuffnang and Labassa Mansion.


What Daisy Did: Ethically Made Satchels and Fashion Accessories

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Psst.  Have you heard What Daisy Did?  Well, Daisy designed some groovy satchels.  Daisy sourced materials that are recycled and sustainable to make those satchels, and found partners in India to produce her designs in ethical conditions.  That's What Daisy Did (alongside Ozric) and here is an insight into the UK business.

Old school satchels; they just don't date do they?  Satchels are somewhat nostalgic because their style has remained mostly unchanged over the decades.  That said, those nerdy looking leather bags are no longer reserved for teachers wearing tweed jackets with elbow patches; everyday folk use satchels to style into their look.  What Daisy Did satchels and bags make old-school cool, and in a sustainable way, too.

What Daisy Did's Carnival Collection satchels and bags are made from recycled and factory offcut leather, that may have otherwise gone to waste.  Take a look and see:
Blue Jay Bakpack
The Forest Collection bags are handmade with small scaled farmed goat leather, naturally tanned under the desert sun, without using any chemicals:

Hornbeam Holdall
Want to know more?  The lovely folk behind What Daisy Did, share their business story and ethics with Recycled Fashion readers.  

Q. Can you tell us a little about What Daisy Did and why you started it? 

What Daisy Did is co-founded and run by Daisy and Ozric, we are partners with a passion for sustainable, slow living and travel.

Daisy and Ozric - What Daisy Did

It was founded after 5 years of working in sustainability which opened our eyes to the reality of humanities disposable lifestyle and led us to create a fashion brand whose products were beautiful, functional, affordable and tackled waste from every angle. The ways we achieve this are by using natural and waste materials to create our bags in timeless styles that will outlive the micro trends and seasons of fast fashion. The bags are hard wearing and made to last, keeping them out of landfill for as long as possible. We want to inspire others to think about the way they live and the clothes they wear.

How long has What Daisy Did been trading?

We have been trading for 3 years now.

What is your background prior to What Daisy Did?

Both of us have backgrounds in art and fashion from school and college. For several years before setting up What Daisy Did we worked for events across the country helping with their sustainability projects. Our original idea was to create products from festival waste such as tents, an idea that we are now revisiting in collaboration with a well known Festival.
My Bonnie Bag
Tell us about the name 'What Daisy Did' and what it means?

It all started as a blog that Daisy wrote as we travelled, gradually evolving into a blog about the business and the business name itself.

Who designs What Daisy Did bags?

Preliminary designs are done by Daisy and Ozric, these are then submitted to the master tailors, Chotu for the Carnival Collection and Babu and Raju for the Forest Collection to look over. They go through them with us and Pinu who manages the production and advise us on any changes that will improve the production of the bags. The master tailors then make prototypes and stencils that are submitted to us to clear for production.

Ozric and Pinu working through What Daisy Did designs
How did you find and connect with your partners in India?

Having finished work at the Festivals we travelled India for 3 months and met Pinu along the way. Pinu was already creating beautiful products at this time and had a passion for utilising waste. We asked him if he could make our designs, and the partnership was born.

Sadie Satchel
 Do you only sell online, or do you stock in stores / sell in markets?

We currently sell across 5 online stores including our own website and our bags can be found in over 65 independent retail outlets worldwide.

You are based in the UK, do you also distribute your stock to other countries?

We distribute worldwide, with our bags being stocked from Alaska to Australia. We are looking to set up a second distribution hub in the USA next as our bags are very popular there, but postage from the UK can be very expensive.

Is your business 'making a difference', if so, how?

The materials that we use to make the bags are bi-products, the Carnival Collection of the leather bag and shoe factory industry and the Forest Collection of small scale community meat farming. Thus saving the raw materials from being wasted. The bags are made by tailors who live in small communities, many of whom are ex shoe makers that lost their jobs in the trade shift to China. All tailors are paid a fair commission with living wage realistically achievable within normal working hours meaning they will never find themselves in poverty, they work from home and have complete working flexibility.

Daisy and some of the women who help to make What Daisy Did bags
Flexible work is great for them as it means they can work around other commitments such as university or parenting. The bags are designed to last the test of time and fashion meaning that unlike fast fashion bags they won't get sent to landfill after a few wears. Any bags that do unfortunately don't pass our strict quality checks enough to sell get broken down back to leather to be sent to jewellery makers. We are registered with the British Association of Fairtrade Shops and Supplies and we are also partnered with The Woodland Trust to offset our carbon footprint.

Willow Mini Satchel

Now you know What Daisy (really) Did, and why Daisy is pretty fantastic, don't you think?

You may find What Daisy Did bags in a store near you, if not, head to and stock up on ethical fashion goodies for yourself and your loved ones


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