It’s getting a bit cold outside…

Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet on the old blog of late. I’m writing a book at the moment (gulp) and working every hour God sends at the two museums who employ me to try and scrape together the funds to pay for the second year of my masters course. An exciting post to come about vintage and sizing, but for now….LOOK AT ALL THE PRETTY THINGS I AM SELLING!

This week I have some lovely bits and bobs up on both Etsy and Ebay.

New to etsy are some zingy bright 50s dresses, almost all of which are in a size 12 or 14.

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50s autumnal dress. Size 8-10.

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50s French print dress. Size 12-14. 

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50s black and white check dress. Size 12.

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50s deadstock housecoat. Size 8 to 10.

Visit my etsy store here

Over on ebay I’ve gone all wintry. If you want a coat, I’ve got one for you! Lots of fab coats from 30s through to 90s. Personal highlights include

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An amazing 70s leather number with mink collar

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Fabulous early 90s with a 30s hint by Laura Ashley

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Gorgeous green wool coat with check backed collar

And if you lurvvvve check I also have two great kilts for sale

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D&G basic mini kilt

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Moffat weavers kilt

After a little suit for Autumn winter? I have those too

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Fur trimmed 50s suit

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Berketex couture wiggle suit

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Alexon Young Set 4 piece suit

You can view all current ebay listings here. Get your bids in quick, when these are gone, they’re gone!

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It would appear I’ve been feeling a bit blue…

Today it is time for an outfit post, which in reality contains a smattering of two weeks outfits. I always say to myself, yep I’m going to try and take pictures every day, but in reality I never get round to it/ my hair looks terrible. Actually if I’m totally honest my hair looks terrible in most of these pictures anyway… (*note to self* must go and get fringe cut soon).

First off is this little dress. One of my fave Horrockses to wear because the cotton is so light and cool. I’ve had this dress for about two years now, and owing to its missing bolero it cost me the princely sum of £20. This is a particularly nice, fully lined dress, and i think it might have started off life full length. Although for me it is much more wearable at the length it is now. I’ve worn it here with my trusty Miss L Fire shoes (as you can see from the rest of my pictures I live in Miss L Fire‘s/ Vans at the moment). This was also the last day I still had my glastonbury wristband on. *sob*. Memories.

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My next outfit came from a few days later. Again with the miss L Fires, and the first day of terrible terrible “humidity hair”. The dress is a 1970s number, it is a Rose for Radley dress and came from the ever wonderful Liz Eggleston of Vintage-A-Peel. If i’m feeling brave I may soon post a pic of the swimsuit I purchased from her too.

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Next off in my string of summer dresses was this lovely blue number that came from Rainbow valley vintage. I’d intended selling this dress on, but it seems to fit me better than it did last summer and managed to creep back into my wardrobe. Worn with another pair of Miss L Fire’s that have a fabulous bow on the back. I really do love Miss L Fire shoes for their ability to accomodate my fat yet childishly small feet.

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Then came this pretty little dress, which is actually far too tight for me. It’s late 1950s American (junior miss size), an ebay purchase some years back I decided that the blue check was a bit too plain for me and jazzed it up with a Tatty Devine necklace and a hot pink belt that came via a charity shop for the princely sum of 20p.

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These were the nails I was rocking for the enitrety of last week. Combo of Barry M, Rimmel AND Models Own nail polish

After I got to this point in my photo taking. I realised WAIT A SECOND. Every dress is blue, I honestly think I have a problem with wearing blue dresses, as in this time period I wore a further two 1950s blue dresses. I don’t even like blue that much as a colour….

So after that revelation on wednesday I dug out a GREEN dress from my wardrobe. I purchased this last year at the festival of vintage in York and it is by Blanes. One of my favourite labels. The toile de jouy print on this is quite subtle and incredibly elegant.

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And finally my outfit of choice from yesterday. In the morning i went cycling (I give this as an excuse for my lack of make up) and had to wear something that wouldn’t get caught in my bike wheels (Ah. Vintage girl problems i think we might say). The shirt is 1970s by John Craig, purchased from Clobber in Bournemouth and the shorts are a fabulous shipping flag print by Sportaville and came to me via ebay. One of my colleagues at work yesterday afternoon was particularly amused by them. You can “read” the shorts in their full glory in this post.

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Has everyone else been enjoying the hot weather with summe suitable outfits?

Rae Spencer-Cullen and Miss Mouse: The beginning of the kitsch revival

 

This year I’ve decided to go back to my roots a bit more with more posts around fashion history. I’m going to aim for one informative post a week (lets see if I can actually keep up with this!). Last week I gave you Mariano Fortuny. This week Rae Spencer-Cullen.
Rae Spencer-Cullen was the designer of the fabulous Miss Mouse label. Miss Mouse is one of the first brands to really capture the spirit of the first 50s revival that hit in the early to mid 70s. This revival spirit was well documented in the recent Pop! Exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum. Spencer-Cullen was one of a small group of designers who were using the kitsch spirit of the 50s and re-inventing it for a modern audience.
Two Miss Mouse garments in the recent Pop! exhibition. 
 
I have two pieces of Miss Mouse clothing, which I think account for some of the most collectible items I own.
My two Miss Mouse dresses
 
This was the first Miss Mouse dress I purchased- and I believe accounts for her earlier label- definitely in use until 1974.
My dress dates to 1974-This is known as there is an example of the fabric in the Victoria and Albert museum.

The label found in the earlier examples of Miss Mouse garments

My second Miss Mouse dress

 The later Miss Mouse label
 
This is another example of a Miss Mouse dress in the Victoria and Albert museum which I think really exemplifies the kitsch spirit of the brand.

This dress- like mine also dates to 1974. The dates of these items are particularly fascinating, how do we know they categorically date to 1974? Well, the dress above and the fabric for my dress both featured in one of the Victoria and Albert museums first exhibitions to focus on contemporary fashion. The fabric of pop.

The original exhibition poster from The fabric of pop.

From the fabric of pop exhibition catalogue
“Pop Art’s influence on textile and fashion design owned all it’s inspiration and much of its success to our mass-produced urban culture. It found it’s full expression in the commercialism it poked fun at and came full circle by ending up on the pages of those glossy magazines that has originally proved pop art with much of its imagery.”
 
 
And just a few more examples of garments that featured in the Fabric of pop. I think you can see how the items in this exhibition show distinct similarities to those that featured in the recent exhibition at the Fashion an textile museum.
 

“Fred” fabric- 1973- Lloyd Johnson
Raspberry lips fabric- Designed by Jane Wealleans for Ok textiles Ltd.- 1973

And now, back to Miss Mouse. Here are a few items of Miss Mouse clothing that particular captured both my imagination and the spirit of Spencer-Cullen’s design.
I’ve discovered that the museum of fine arts in Boston has the blouse version of my dress

 This INSANELY fabulous coat, which actually matches my dress was sold by Liz Eggleston a few years ago, I remember the intense swooning over it at the time it was for sale.


Fab red polka dot example. This red polka dot was a signature of Miss Mouse designs and often featured on the linings of Rae-Cullen’s garments.

This sensational and (less typical) example of Miss mouse comes from Manchester City galleries
dated 1973-76


According to a Glagow Herald article in 1976 Spencer-Cullen started designing her quirky pieces in 1970.
As the article suggests, to begin with “she was elusive, hazed in shadows, a real mouse about publicity in fact.  The only evidence of her existence was her clothes”
Her designs are described as “cheerfully schizophrenic”, which I think accurately captures the haphazard spirit with designs borrowed from the 50s but made entirely new.
“In summer her designs always seem especially right, breaking through winters dinginess to show off Lucy Locket pockets, drainpipe trousers in deckchair stripes, sweetheart necklines and shimmering raincoats”
I’m particularly interested by the “flowery skirts in cotton with detatchable lucy locket pockets” suggested in the article (I’ve never seen one of these but I’m guessing it is like a Dorothy bag). If anyone has come across a Miss Mouse example of this, please do let me know!
Spencer-Cullen was a young designer in the 70s. In 1976 she was just 29, suggesting that when she started her company she was a mere 23. Her spirit imagination and quirky spirit are all hugely appealing. Well known for having at periods her hair either crimson or emerald, she was an alternative designer yet was clearly highly commercial.
In 1976 Harpers Bazaar stated she was one of the “leading style innovators” and
West one magazine stated she (along with Vivienne Westwood) had the strongest style in London. Rae Spencer-Cullen certainly must have been a fashion force to reckon with.
(I’m going hunting for these issues as soon as my work load eases in the NAL)
Rae Spencer-Cullen and Duggie Fields. One of the few photos I could find of eponymous designer.

I’ll be honest- at the moment I’m struggling to find that much indepth information about the brand, but I’m currently contemplating writing about the 50s revival in the early 70s for my masters dissertation (along with about three million other topics that are floating around in my head) so watch this space for more information about the brand!
Additional information from: