The Dresser's Room

Personal blog of Jade Halbert, style director of The Dresser

Blogging Retirement

Hello!

If you’re a regular visitor to The Dresser’s Room blog you’ll have noticed that I’ve not posted since November last year.

I’ve decided to retire the blog. It was started to promote a business I no longer run, and as such, is a little bit (!) redundant now.

Thank you all for reading and commenting over the years; I’m leaving the site as it is, so if you want to go back and look over anything you’ll still be able to.

Best of luck and thanks again,
Jade

Glasgow Style?

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A gold and silver lamé tunic-style evening dress stocked by Murielle’s of Sauchiehall Street, c 1924.

I’m back to apologise AGAIN for my lack of updates on this blog – between work with my own clients, Braehead and uni I’ve not had a minute to even think about blogging.

I’m currently working on 19th century dress, specifically how women learned tailoring techniques. Not to get all ‘historian’ on you, but women, traditionally were dressmakers and needleworkers. Men were tailors, and tailoring was a fiercely protected trade. In the latter decades of the nineteenth century women needed more practical clothes that would allow them to work, to participate in public life, to enjoy sport and leisure. They needed tailoring.

One system of teaching women tailoring was devised by the Glaswegian, Joseph Fox. His ‘Rodmure System’ was specifically designed to teach women effective tailoring and dressmaking techniques. He is an incredibly interesting figure, indeed, his whole family is intriguing. His system was called Rodmure after his daughters, Rhoda Fox (later Levine) and Muriel Fox (later Hymans). Rhoda went on to manage the Rodmure school and Muriel went on to own Murielle’s, where the above vision comes from.

I find it both exciting and a bit sad that Glasgow is famous for its ‘style’ and yet all these names have been allowed to fade into the past. I’m sure there is a very interesting story to be uncovered here…

I’m eagerly awaiting a parcel from the fabulous Historikal Modiste, who, on her travels picked up an entire archive belonging to a student of Joseph Fox’s ‘Rodmure System’. It includes the books he wrote, pattern pieces and the student’s own notes. Is it sad I’m so excited about this?

Until next time, when I’ll hopefully have more to share about Rodmure and the Fox family, thanks for reading!

The London Nobody Knows

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James Mason in Spitalfields 

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Flower and Dean Street

A few years ago I wrote a short blog about a film called Glasgow 1980, a surreal documentary about what Glasgow would look like once the council bulldozed the history and built ‘cities in the sky’. Fortunately, although they did succeed in ruining much of the city’s heritage, their full vision remains incomplete. The film is mostly forward looking; there’s not much history.

In contrast, The London Nobody knows, which you can watch here, is an equally chilling film, presented by James Mason, which tells the story of London’s past and present, as it was in 1969. There’s something so unsettling about this film.The scene showing where the second of Jack the Ripper’s victim was found deserves a special mention. As does the scene with the meths drinkers. Every time I come across it online I watch it and it never fails to leave me feeling a bit haunted.

I’m fascinated by London history (as you might have guessed). Fortunately for me, there are so many brilliant blogs online dealing with different aspects of the city’s history. My favourites, in no particular order are:

The MASSIVE Victorian London website written and  maintained by Lee Jackson, which you can find here.

Another Nickel in the Machine, which mainly deals with the underbelly of the twentieth century metropolis,written by Rob Baker which you can find here.

Georgian London, written by Lucy Inglis which you can find here.

Spitalfields Life, written by The Gentle Author which you can find here.

I’ll be in London for five days when I attend the Monarchy symposium and I’ll have two of those days to myself. I LOVE traipsing around London on my own, or with people who have equal stamina and enthusiasm, it’s a complete luxury and every time I visit I try and sneak in a day just to walk. I’m furious with my 18 year old self, who was a student in London for three years and spent all three years hanging around pubs talking crap.

Robin Derrick’s Cut Flowers

Robin Derrick was the prolific creative director for British Vogue for yonks and now he’s gone to Bazaar in the US to work his magic. He’s also a fabulous photographer and I recently came across his series, ‘Cut Flowers’. I’m in love. If anyone fancies sending me a present…

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To see the series in its entirety you can visit the website at www.robinderrick.com/cutflowers

 

The Quincunx (The Inheritance of John Huffam) by Charles Palliser


As much I’m fascinated by the first quarter of the twentieth century, I nurse a very soft spot for the late Regency and early Victorian period. I cannot get enough, particularly anything concerned with London’s history.

Last year while looking for a good holiday book I came across The Quincunx, a pastiche of a Victorian novel which takes from elements of Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens. This is a monster of a book, a colossal achievement and a colossal source of inspiration and hair-pulling frustration. I’ve now battled through the 12 THOUSAND PAGES three separate times, most recently keeping notes along the way and I still have no idea what the last sentence means. Well, I do, but it’s complicated.

If anyone out there has read The Quincunx and wants to help, please COMMENT.

Otherwise, if anyone is in my vicinity at the moment and would like to come to my aid with a cold compress and a stiff drink that would be lovely.

Also, if anyone has any recommendations for similar books I’d be most grateful!

Vanessa Paradis

I’m rooting around for some style inspiration and came across some beautiful shots of Vanessa Paradis. She is just a raving, mad beauty. Especially love the shots from the Mui Mui campaign a few years ago. 

I was looking for good red carpet shots of her, but couldn’t find any really great ones. I’ve always loved the way she dresses; it’s so relaxed but also rich in texture, colour and style. A truly beautiful woman. 

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*sigh* 

The Dresser @ Braehead!

I’ve been wanting to share some exciting news with everyone for some time now, and as there’s no time like the present, I thought I’d get on with it!

From next month I’ll officially be working with Braehead as their in-house stylist! I’m so delighted about this; last year I worked two huge styling events for them and as everything went so well, we’ve decided to work together to offer Braehead customers something above and beyond the usual.

The first big event in the calendar is the Jean Genie event, from 29th April – 3rd May. You can book in for a FREE 30  minute one on one session with me and I’ll diagnose your issues and find you the perfect jeans. 

If you’ve ever thought about booking a session with The Dresser this is the perfect way to meet me and have a little taster session.

You can book your appointment online right now here:

http://www.braehead.co.uk/Whats-on/Events/Jean-Genie?dayID=1

Book soon though, as slots are filling up fast!

Last week I styled their new TV and advertising campaign, which was a huge amount of fun. Alongside my incredible assistant, Cara, we came up with around 30 different looks that will be incorporated into the campaign, so I’m really excited to see the finished product.

Here’s a sneaky few images we took behind the scenes.

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There’s loads more interesting Braehead news to announce over the coming weeks, so keep checking back for updates!

 

Very Pintresting

I’ve recently joined Pintrest, mainly for work purposes; I’ve been prepping for a huge shoot for the last week or so and have found it incredibly useful for sharing images with art directors and the client.

Anyway, if you’d like to follow me on Pintrest I’ll be creating lots more boards, some for myself and some for other clients.

If you’d like to see what I’m pinning, follow me here:

Let me know your thoughts!

Thanks, as always, Jade.

Internships and Work Experience With The Dresser

I get emails every week from students and graduates looking for internships or work experience. Unfortunately I don’t always get time to reply to each one and it makes me feel awful. As much as I’d like to reply to them all, I just don’t have the time.

The reason for that is that basically The Dresser is a one-woman-band. It’s just me. No other staff except a trusted assistant who helps when I do big events, and only when I do big events. On the everyday schedule it’s just me, either with clients one-to-one or catching up with admin and writing work. So really, on the whole, I just don’t have anything for an intern to do. Unless of course said intern wants to come to my house, make me coffee, take the dog out and generally fetch me things. Which I’d imagine is not only against the law (of decency, at any rate) but also crushingly boring for the intern.

Also, I feel really, really strongly that interns should be paid, and I’m just not in a position to do that. So, sadly, every time someone emails I either need to send a really disappointing response or I don’t have time to reply, or I forget to reply and it’s ghastly.

I’m not really sure what advice I can give anyone looking to break into the fashion industry. There’s plenty of advice online, all of it much more useful and eloquent than anything I could write here. In general, however, I’d advise you to remain cheerful, optimistic and keep trying. It’s a notoriously tough industry to break into and if you don’t have a thick skin you won’t make it very far. Also, try and be really specific about what field of fashion you want to work in. General airy-fairy ‘I want to work in fashion’ won’t cut it with anyone actually working in the industry who knows that it really is hard graft, often without pay, for years.

I hope that’s helpful for people. If you have any specific questions please leave a comment in the box, so that everyone can benefit from them and we can try and get a conversation going.

Jx

Worshiping Woolite – a Quick Post

Magic Woolite

 

Apologies for the lack of updates on the looking after your clothes series, I’ve been booked wall to wall with clients in the last few weeks and struggling with a lingering bout of tuberculosis (not really, just the cold, but it’s been very persistent!).

Just wanted to quickly write a little post about the wonders of Woolite. Remember I mentioned the 1950s baby alpaca jumper that I ruined in the washing machine? Well I came across something that said if you treat baby alpaca like hair, it can be  restored (hurrah!) Hair would not take kindly to being washed in Ariel non bio, so I decided to give Woolite a go. It’s impossible to get a hold of, when you see any in the supermarket buy it. I found one lone bottle on a shelf in Asda and swooped on it.

So, I used half a tea spoon of Woolite in a basin of tepid water, didn’t handle the jumper at all, just let it soak for about a minute, drained the water, then soaked for another minute in cold water. The jumper is currently laid flat, re-shaped and drying beautifully, it’s almost back to normal, so I’m delighted!

Also tried the Woolite on a 1930s silk collar that’s embroidered with real gold wire, rhinestones and pearls. The collar was absolutely filthy and had been in storage forever; I’d never worn it as frankly it was so badly stained. Again, in a basin of tepid water overnight with a tea spoon of Woolite and it’s come up absolutely perfect, all stains, marks and (most importantly where this collar was concerned) SMELLS are gone.

Overall, I’m delighted with the Woolite, will now be going round Glasgow buying up every bottle I see and using it for all delicates, wools and antique clothes.

If you can’t get a hold of Woolite, I’ve heard that Co-op’s Silk Wash is on a par.

Until next time, which I promise will be soon, happy shopping!

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