We Moved!

We Moved! We Moved! We Moved!

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Hello there! My name is Alexandra Fallows and I'm one of the new guest bloggers here. I can most generally be found over at Musie, where I ramble on about art, photography, fashion, and whatever else happens to catch my fancy. Here I shall do my utmost to limit my vagaries to vintage clothes and things pertaining to them. Feel free to virtually slap my hand if I veer too far off-topic… I do tend to be a bit of a chatterbox.

Anyways, introduction done. On to content.

One of the things that draws me most strongly to vintage clothing are the stories contained within the clothing. I’m enchanted by the histories and personas that can be assumed simply by donning an item from a given era. You know the drill. The slightest hint of marabou and (in your head at least) you're simpering like the dizziest of starlets, menswear-inspired pantsuits make you imagine you can drawl like Katharine Hepburn, and perfectly-tailored Forties summer dresses turn you into an Italian grandmother.


Works that way for me.

As a child, I spent countless secret hours poring over pictures of my step-grandmother I discovered while snooping through my stepfather's bureau. She appeared in many guises, but the two that stood out the most were the proud mother, clad in a pale summery dress, leading her chubby-kneed sons by the hands through the streets of postwar Rome, and the dreamy light-eyed girl in the white cotton dress leaning against the steps of her family's home in Venice. I would trace the lines of her face and her dresses with my fingers, dreaming life into the black and white images. It seemed an incredible task to reconcile the visions I saw here to the more familiar figure of the ageing matriarch, presiding with a mixture of lace ruffles and steel backbone over the world of her beloved sons. Eventually, features would emerge to prove to me that this was in fact the same woman—the unmistakable line of her flat nose, the particular shade of her lovely eyes, and most of all, her proper carriage and sense of decorum, evident even through these static images.

These pictures stayed with me, adding to the arsenal that makes up my mental idea of what it is to be Properly Dressed, in the primmest, most underscored, most delightfully old-fashioned sense of the word. By the time I knew her, Nonna Luisa possessed the fantastic style characteristic of elderly bourgeois Northern Italian women, but tracing her past and her development as a woman (always impeccably dressed and presented) allowed me a glimpse at what it was that defined the image she presented to the world. To this day, when I come across dresses of a certain cut, I am instantly projected to thoughts of a young Venetian woman living in Rome with her husband and three rambunctious boys, in the precarious period when Italy was picking itself back up and inspecting the extent of its wounds. I don’t know enough about her life to do more than romanticise it, but I do like to think I don a little bit of her grace and backbone when I put on something in her style.

Sadly, the pictures I talk about are all at home in Italy, and unless one of my family there can be prevailed upon to learn to operate a scanner properly, I fear they won’t see the light of day in these parts. This picture of this pretty dress shall have to suffice. While not precisely in Nonna Luisa's style, it conveys the same sense of grace and practicality that I got from her pictures. I think she would have approved.

Signing off for the Shrimpton team,

Yours in maunderings and mental wanderings,


1 comment:

Denise @ Swelle said...

I hope you're able to get those photos some day! Great introduction, a lovely tribute to vintage that's well in line with Shrimpton's undying love and appreciation!

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