Thursday, 12 August 2010
It's raining, I drank too much last night (again) and felt it was time for a whinge. And with general gnarliness being particularly rife in the blogosphere right now thought I'd dip my poisonous painted toe nail into the virtual water. 'Wot I hate about Vintage' seemed a good place to start. Pleasingly I have realised there isn't much. Rather there are things, largely peripheral to the whole business that get up my nose. Which is a good sign. But I am selfless so I have had a go at a good old rant:
1) Unfriendlies. There you are. Walking down a street in your best forties tea dress, fifties shoes and adorned with your gallant attempt at victory rolls. Walking towards you a girl with a lucite bag, V of H dress and similar attempt at coiled hair. There you are, both surrounded by a sea of cheap sports wear and torn jeans. You smile, she blanks you. This is not only rude but stupid: the chances of meeting again are high and when tipsy I am formidable.
But you really aren't...
2) Evil Dealers. The cowboys of the second-hand clothing market. They lie, they sew fake labels in dresses. Like the woman on Sunday who told me a dress was by Horrockses, it had the right kind of look but was too flimsy. The label was virtually unreadable and in the wrong place. Evil Dealers also know nothing about their stock and if you ask for a few quid off they look horrified. It's not Harrods love, its a crappy stall!
3) Ecoretro-warriors. It is good that vintage is recycling and I don't want to pollute the world any more than I have to. But in terms of my vintage tastes my motivations are stylistic and romantic. Somehow or the other I don't like being associated with that whole Notting Hill, Dave Cameron festival eco-thing, I prefer to be privately responsible.
4) Remaking. That habit of getting designers to remake and butcher old clothes for 'recycling'. The result is always rubbish. I don't mind having bad old second hand stuff cut up but I have seen a couple of nice things hacked up. They survive four decades and then some twit decides to turn them into an asymmetrically hemmed tunic top with patches. It hurts to see it.
Pass me the scissors.....
5) Regrets. You know, the special vintage ones. Why didn't I get my gran to show me how to set my hair? Why didn't I buy the fantastic fifties prom dress that didn't quite fit even though if I had engaged brain I would have realised a couple of panels would have solved the problem? And for that matter why did I bunk off for a sneaky cigarette at school during sewing lessons?
6) Stinky spots, stains and smells. That smell that we have to endure, hopefully only we do notice it. I have a couple of things that niff of damp so much I cannot stand too close to others. Dry cleaning, various home remedies and sprays help but it never seems to go. Then there is your vintage find, spoilt by a mysterious stain in a strange place. Euwww.
7) Excellence. Our ancestors were good at things. They waltzed, lindy-hopped and jived superbly, just look at the oldies gliding around the dance floors at weddings and feel shamed. Then there is the dressmaking, knitting, expert hair setting and curling and unflappable make up application. All this and two world wars, suffragettes and feminism. Maybe it is because they didn't have television. Or maybe it is because I am rubbish. I can't dance, my make-up is a nightmare and I feel like I should undergo rituals and carry out invocations before attempting to roll my hair up. Thank gawd I can rustle up a cocktail.
Amazing what you can do with a kirby grip and a mangle.
8) Ignorance. From the whole non-vintage world. We like our retro stuff because it looks good. Fabulous fitted, slinky, swirly, swishy, severe, elegant stuff. So why aren't the shops always full of great tea dresses, petticoats, fitted suits and well tailored suits? The designers try, but look at Prada, they make a perfect retro dress then adorn the front with a frou frou bib that looks like insect spittle. Bah!
9) Doppelganger effect. Sadly there are a limited number of repro dress makers out there, and we buy lots from the good ones. So anywhere you go there is a very high chance of seeing the same dress out there on someone else, looking better on them. However to be fair, as a cheerful bunch with wildly differing hair and looks this can be cheerfully laughed off.
10) Fundamentalism. I don't mean being wedded to one period, or seeking to live in an environment reflecting one era or even being completely nuts about it. What I do mean is that minority who regard a love for the past as naturally sitting with an idealised past with greater certainties even when they are regressive or oppressive. People should happily follow their tastes regardless of religion, political inclination, race, sex or view. I don't like PC behaviour, the 'oh I feel so offended' or she used a 'rude' word attitude.
I found it really difficult to find 'hates'. What I have found, is that you meet the nicest people, from different walks of life and of different ages. My vintage world is different from others. I fantasise about the deck of a cruise ship in the 30's, drinking cocktails in a Noel Coward world whereas others may imagine a sunny fifties seafront, with cars cruising and Cochrane singing from the radio. At heart I expect we are all romantics!
Comments are as ever very welcome, Minn x