All posts filed under: 20th Century

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, …

Rate the Dress: Hattie Carnegie stripes and suit-inspiration

Last week I showed you the wackiest Halloween costume: a bug-bedecked floral frock.  Hana Marmotta correctly identified the bugs as may bugs, which frequently swarmed in Europe in the 19th century, which gives a bit more insight into the joke behind the frock.  One of the main points of criticism for the costume was that it didn’t look like it had taken any effort : it was just some pictures of bugs tacked to a dress.  From a modern perspective I agree: find an image on the internet, enlarge it, print out copies, paste to cardboard, boom: costume!  But the outfit was from 1900ish, when getting copies was a LOT harder.  Either she had them specially printed or hand drawn, and in either case, I’m impressed!  Whether you were impressed depended mainly on whether you thought it was icky creepy, or fabulously wacky.  The division between the two led to a score of 7 out of 10.  Not quite winning the costume contest! This week, I’m still inspired by florals, but have gone for something …

My Ballerina Moment

Last week I discussed the idea of how every girl should have a ballerina moment, and shared my inspiration for a ballerina inspired dress, using my grandmother’s fabric and pattern. I have definitely had my ballerina moment now, and it was worth every bit of angst and mad sewing and panicked moment of ‘Oh no!  I’ve ruined my fabric!’. As it turned out, my ballerina moment wasn’t, as I had planned, the Windy Lindy ‘Enchantment Under the Sea’ ball.  The dress was done, and I wore it, but the ball was a bit of a wash-out for me: the music was too loud, the dance floor too crowded, the theme didn’t quite come together, and I wasn’t feeling well the whole weekend. So I had to wait another week to be a ballerina, but it came together perfectly: I spent the night in Palmerston North with the fabulous Juliet of The Crazy Gypsy Chronicles, and we had a girl’s night and ate Korean and had too much chocolate silk cake and stayed up too late at …