The View From The Dresser’s Room (March 2010)
Is it just me or has the glamour of gaudy suddenly become gauche and déclassé? This time last year I would have screamed with delight over a fully beaded dress, trimmed in feathers; or maybe a velvet cloak banded with fur. I wouldn’t have left the house without a double height hair doo, a tail comb and an extra strength can of Elnett. Now I’m into straight hair (not ironed straight, just a but more chic). I’d always have worn a huge heel on a night out. Now I’m inclined toward a flat shoe.
Is that boring? I don’t think so. Having just emerged from one of the most conspicuously ‘bling’ eras in recent history, where everything from clothes to housed was bigger, better and more expensive than the next. Not dissimilar to the 1920s, and we all know what happened at the end of that – The Depression. After the depression, however, came an era of more streamlined, elegant splendour: the Thirties.
When we think of the golden era of Hollywood we think of the Thirties, where sartorial excess was pared down and swapped for a more subtle sexuality. The bias cut became the all-powerful tool of seduction, hair became platinum, accessories became inconspicuous but still luxurious. In homage to this I’ve filled the shop to the rafters with elegant 1930s clothes, simple but luxurious all the same.
Now for something completely different! I recently rediscovered the work of William Hogarth and although I couldn’t quite say that I ‘love’ it, I’m finding it absolutely fascinating. From that I’ve started reading and watching everything I can get my hands on about Georgian London. The squalor, the poverty, the prostitution…all wonderfully juxtaposed with the ‘Jane Austen’ image of the powdered and ridiculous aristocracy. I’ve just watched the Channel 4 production of A Harlot’s Progress which I can highly recommend and I’m about to start reading about the Ladies of Covent Garden. Look it up, although, I have to say, its not for the faint of heart.