All posts filed under: 20th Century

Karen’s Gift: A velvet 1920s confection by Mrs Martina Downing

I really wanted to post something today, but wasn’t sure what.  When in doubt, what could be better than costume deliciousness? Two months ago (has it been two months already!) I shared with you the first piece of Karen’s gift. If anything, I love this piece even more, though it’s hard to pick between two such glorious items! This velvet dress dates from the mid 20s, and bears a label with the name Mrs Marina Downing, 22 East Sixty-Fifth St, New York.  Presumably Mrs Downing was the dressmaker. The dress is primarily in petrol blue silk velvet (be still my heart!) with flashes of cerise pink silk satin around the neck and in the hip trim. How fabulous! There is simple metallic embroidery around the neck, down the left side, and around the hem.  It’s just another touch of detail and handiwork on the frock, and lends a nice shock of coarseness and permanency to a garment that could otherwise look too sweet and delicate.  It’s like an amuse bouche for the dress. The dropped waist …

The Ngaio blouse has a day off from crime and drama

My first photoshoot with the Ngaio blouse was all very dramatic and formal – pencil skirt, stockings, heels, finding black and white backdrops in the CBD, and me giving the camera my best ‘come hither’ eyes and ‘don’t even think about coming hither’ chin lift. When we got home, I put on jeans, and curled up on the couch to do the last of my semester’s marking.  After a few hours of that, I popped out into the yard to enjoy the sun and give my eyes and brain a rest, and Mr D got another sew of photos of the blouse: relaxed, casual, hanging out with Felicity. (and yes, the house needs painting,  It’s on our to-do list to sort this summer.  Colour suggestions?) I think I like the blouse even better worn this way! Certainly Felicity does. 😉

The Ngaio ‘Queen of Crime’ blouse

I’ve written a lot about one famous New Zealand author recently: Katherine Mansfield.  This is blouse is dedicated to another famous NZ author – one who was certainly, at least for a long time, at least as famous as Mansfield.  I’m talking, of course, of Ngaio Marsh, one of the four ‘Queens of Crime’ of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. Unlike Mansfield, I hadn’t heard of Marsh before I moved to NZ – but she’s not exactly high school reading curriculum material, and I’m not that in to detective fiction. I’m afraid I’m still not much of a fan of Marsh’s works, but that’s mostly because I find Inspector Alleyn, her most famous creation, to be an insufferable know-it-all with terrible taste in women.  If I met him in person I’d probably describe him as a wanker (but only because even after over a decade in NZ I still think words like bollucks and wanker and bugger are cute, and can’t actually make my mind believe they are proper ‘swear’ words). Other than Alleyn, …