Category Archives: IntoVintageApril 2014

Up Close and Personal with Tara Moss

“Life is too short to live the same day twice” – Up Close and Personal
with Tara Moss

Words: Chrissy Keepence Photos: Berndt Sellheim and supplied by Tara Moss

 Tara Moss


I have admired Tara Moss for many years for her many accomplishments, and she has inspired me with her strength as a woman, her courage of conviction and her sassy style. So you can imagine I went a little weak at the knees at the thought of her booking into one of my Vintage Styling workshops. I got the call and thought it was a prank. You see, we’re so used to putting celebrities up on a pedestal that when faced with meeting them we are filled with the fear of becoming all tongue tied and coming across as kind of odd! My first thought was “Oh my, what shall I wear?” Ridiculous huh? Tara was coming to my workshop to learn from me and I was worried about what to wear! This lasted for about a minute before I composed myself. When I finally did meet Tara at our first workshop in Penrith it all felt very normal, lovely and familiar – which is exactly how we like our workshop environment to be. It was also exactly how Miss Tara made us all feel too. Wanting to research the 40′s for her upcoming 40th birthday, Miss Tara threw herself at it and all by all accounts loved it.

I recently asked her if she wouldn’t mind sharing a bit about herself and without hesitation she said yes. Enjoy getting to know Miss Tara Moss, the self professed ‘Vintage Newbie’.

You recently turned 40 and decided to dive into the 1940’s styling for the occasion.  Have you always had a penchant for Vintage or is this something new for you?

Tara in vintage 1When my daughter was nearly two years old, I decided that it was time to get rid of most of my old wardrobe. I’d gradually returned to my pre-baby weight, but I had a curvier body and my old clothes simply didn’t fit anymore. Instead of hanging on to the old clothes, or buying the same kinds of things again in a larger size, I decided to try something new. After seeing a 1950s classic film one night – with knock out curves and bullet bras, red lipstick, magnificent dresses and hats – I thought, why not try vintage? The shape in the 40s and 50s suits my curves much more, as it was common in that period to have a smaller waist and a generous hip and bottom. Vintage is inexpensive, unique and fun to wear, and I like that it is a form of recycling as well. Now I find it easy to track down vintage things in my exact measurements, which is rare with modern brands. I am the ambassador for Jacqui E and they are one of the very few modern brands that fit my shape perfectly. Too many brands cut for a very narrow hip, in unforgiving fabrics and hem lengths. With vintage, it is easy to find a good hem length and a curvy proportion. It’s been just over a year now since I made the switch, and I am hooked. I’ve been writing about the experience here: and posting some of my inspiration and vintage looks here:


What is it about the 1940’s and the 1950’s that is so appealing to you?  The clothes, hair & makeup, morals & ideals, or?

I have long been fascinated with midcentury history, particularly WWII, with the rationing and ‘making do’. I remember my Canadian grandfather’s uniform and medals, and the stories from my Dutch grandparents, who were in Holland during the occupation. My Opa escaped a Nazi work camp before he and Oma emigrated to Canada with my mum and her siblings, so WWII has always been present as an important part of my family’s history. In terms of style, the ‘ration fashion’ of that period fascinates me, as does post-WWII style, with the sense of optimism and escapism that was put into design. They did novelty fabrics and kitsch handbags. There was a sense of fun and colour. I have always loved the look of vintage from that era, but had always had bad experiences trying to find something vintage that fit me in second hand shops. Basically, I didn’t know how to go about it  so I thought I’d learn. The experience has been wonderful so far, and it is enjoyable to be able to put together a great look cheaply and without help, by using old, recycled clothing and accessories with a past. As a hobby to take me out of my sometimes intense novel writing, nothing beats vintage and retro.

Tara by vintage caravanThe vintage scene is a lot of fun, too. Vintage enthusiasts are wonderful people. We have a vintage caravan, done up in 50s kitsch style. We do a lot of caravanning as a family, and to be honest, it makes me happy just to look at a nice old caravan. Stepping inside is like being on holiday. Sometimes, with a particularly fun retro outfit, it feels the same. Vintage gives me pleasure and the reactions, particularly from other women who love the look, can’t help but bring a smile.

If you are travelling for a weekend with only carry-on luggage, what essentials would you pack? 

Ideally, we would travel in our vintage caravan, but if I only had a piece of carry-on luggage, I would pack a good book, sun block, bobby pins, red lipstick and a brow pencil, and a simple vintage outfit and scarf I can wear two ways. And 40s or 50s style low-heel shoes… always. I have no patience for uncomfortable shoes!

How do you intend to develop your daughter’s self confidence?

She is a smart, kind and beautiful young girl and my husband and I intend to continue what we’ve been doing – being hands-on as parents and allowing her to be creative. She reads a great range of books (with our help, of course, as she is not yet three) and I am quite particular about the film and TV she watches at this age, because I want her to see stories about brave and capable women and girls. A startling proportion of films have male lead characters, so I am seeking out the stories that buck that trend and show what girls can do.

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When using beauty products as a mood enhancer, what is your favourite? Great red lipstick? A great hair do? Manicure?

Red lipstick gives me a real lift. Even if I don’t have time to do anything else after I get up, except brush my teeth, throw on some clothes and put on a nice red lipstick, I feel ready. I’ve had people tell me how ‘glamorous and dressed up’ I look in flats, a black pull on dress and red lipstick. It’s the lip that does it, I think, as you don’t see that punch of colour so often these days. I only started wearing red lipstick about a year ago and I feel drab without it now. It is an easy mood enhancer.

What experiences as an international model did you witness in the industry that has empowered you as a woman?

I did not find the modelling industry itself particularly empowering, but I did find it empowering to travel the world and become my own boss, in charge of my own career, my finances and my choices as a teenager. Now that I am a writer, I’ve never looked back. My motto is; Life is too short to live the same day twice. The world is a fascinating place, and working as an international model helped me to expand my horizons and see different cities and cultures.

TaraYou recently attended 2 of The Lindy Charm School for Girls Workshops, what did you enjoy most about the experience and what practical advice did you get out of them that you are still practising at home today?

After months of watching YouTube tutorials or flicking through Pinterest in my spare time looking for inspiration, it was good to finally sit in a chair and have a hands-on lesson, face to face, with vintage aficionados. Miss Sammy and Mistress Chrissy helped me to wrangle my very thick hair into some good, easy victory rolls, which I hadn’t managed before. Now I am getting the hang of it and it doesn’t take me any longer to get ready than it used to, but I enjoy my new ‘old school’ look. Basically, any day with victory rolls or a flower in my hair is a good day for me. I want colour. I want to feel vibrant and happy. The classes helped me explore some vintage styles, and perhaps most importantly, it was a friendly room full of women having a good time. I liked the celebration of our ‘fore mothers’ and their lives. I took their tips with me, and I’ll pass them down to my daughter.

Tara wrote a lovely blog post about her experience. You can read it here.

Chrissy and The Lindy Charm School team will be at Melbourne’s Love Vintage & Retro Fair, Royal Exhibition Building May 16 – 18.

The Vintage & Retro Fair, Australian Technology Park, Eveleigh, September 27 – 29.



Mystery of Marion’s Costume Designs

The Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series is set in 1920s Melbourne, starring Essie Davis as Phryne Fisher and is based on Phryne’s personal and private exploits as a detective. The costume designer for series
1 and 2 is Australia’s own Marion Boyce.


The following interview was transcribed via a telephone conversation between Marion Boyce and Michelle Moriarty from Vintage Made magazine, from questions put forth by Rie Natalenko.

The Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series is based on the written work of Kerry Greenwood, aired on the ABC and adapted (by Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger) for television. It is set in 1920s Melbourne, starring Essie Davis as Phryne Fisher and is based on Phryne’s personal and private exploits as a detective.


“I started studying fashion at RMIT, learning patternmaking and cutting, but I was not that interested in mainstream fashion. I needed to put myself through college and found a job with a costume designer. From this I started doing fashion parades at night clubs, and was soon approached to design for a film. This was a better fit. I have been designing for many years now.” Marion Boyce, on how she got started in costume design.

What sort of research do you do for the series and the character of Phryne?

“I am always doing research in some form or other. I have a great love of the 20s and 30s period but I also read a lot…history, social etiquette, books on architecture, painting, theatre and novels. It is helpful to get involved in the whole period and its social nuances.”

How did you decide on the ‘Phryne’ look?

“Creating the look is challenging for an existing character, especially to adapt it for film, as you are interpreting someone else’s vision. I find this aspect terrifying. To get a feel for Phryne I started reading the books and got a real feel for where Kerry Greenwood (the author) was going. It was never going to work to try and follow directly from the book, so instead I created a ‘Phryne style’ that would stay true to Kerry’s intent.”

MFMM the look

How much freedom are you given in the design?

“Quite a lot really. It is a curious thing…there are lots of meetings and discussions from various information pools and departments. You read the script and sort it out from there (where you are heading) as every episode has its own feel to it. You need to design for the emotional content, as well as the time period, to bring something else to the table for each episode”.


Did you design based on ONLY the actual styles of the times (do reproductions) or do you transport yourself back to the 20s and imagine what a designer of those times would be thinking, then come up with new things?

“Phryne was not a typical or traditional lady from 1920s Melbourne. She was ahead of her time and a bit bohemian—she made a lot of her own rules, so her wardrobe was developed according to her character. Phryne was a very stylish, exotic creature with overseas adventures and influences. So, it was a conscious decision to make her ‘new and shiny’ as opposed to a ‘faded glory’ that would have come from using exclusive 1920s pieces. We came up with a lot of new things for Phryne.”

Do you prefer to design the evening clothes or the day clothes for Phryne?

“It depends. Some of my favourites are the day clothes—day outfits have a particular journey to travel. I may have a piece of cloth and an idea but you cannot complete the design until you have all the components…it is a hunt and compiling them helps inform the design.”

How many costumes are there, on average, for each episode?

“Wow! It depends on the script and what is happening. There was very little used from the 1st series. You make day coats, evening coats, opera coats, bridge coats, car coats, evening dresses, day ensembles, underwear, hats and handbags. It totally depends on script requirements how many. Around 95% of Phryne’s outfits are made from scratch.”

MFMM costumes

Are costumes reused? Where do the outfits go after they are used on set? Will they be on exhibition in the future?

“Some of the things are hired and what is hired is always returned. There was an exhibition of costumes recently at Rippon Lea Estate (an historic property located in Elsternwick, Victoria, under the care of the National Trust of Australia). I own a lot of the chinoiserie, jewellery and accessories. Some of the fabrics come from my own collection, so they will be preserved for the future. The rest go into storage.”

Do you have a favourite Phryne outfit?

“There is a dress in series 2, where I had a piece of black and white beaded cloth (that I had picked up in Italy). I made it into a sheath dress—this is one of my favourites. It was an interesting learning curve to create the correct drape, but it was good fun.”

Did any of the outfits present any interesting problems?

“Often. We have to be aware of the script and be true to the mood and character. You are only successful if you design for the emotional and physical content, taking safety and the need for multiples (of the same outfit) and other factors into consideration (many factors). It can be problematic to create an outfit for a scene that requires grace, drape and a karate chop, for example. By looking closely at vintage clothing you get to be informed on how the clothing was pieced together and this can tell you a lot. The construction methods are becoming a lost art.”

Where do you source the fabrics from?

“All over the world. A lot come from India and Italy but also from Australia. I am lucky enough to travel quite a lot, but things sometimes come from strange sources or collections.”

Is there anything else you think our readers would like to hear about the process of making such delicious costumes?

“Clothes should never get too serious…they should have a sense of humour and you should be able to have fun with them. You put a lot of yourself into it (creating designs) and it is nerve wracking. I am thrilled that people are interested in vintage again. Vintage can tell us so much about the history of the world. Fashion now is very disposable and homogenised. Even in remote villages in central China you find ‘brand names’ and it is a pity because we are losing the traditional beauty, textures and cloth that help define us.”

MFMM jacket

Vintage Made is a relatively new biannual magazine all about the love of vintage, and the girls who run the mag were kind enough to share this recent interview they snared with Marion.

All images copyright and courtesy ABC TV.

You can catch Michelle and subscribe to Vintage Made magazine at the Love Vintage and Retro Fair in Brisbane and Sydney. Or visit the website

A Vintage Buyer in Europe

“It was my first time heading to Europe and the UK in search of vintage, which presented some challenges before I even got on the plane!”

Vintage Manequin

Jason Cormick has always had an appreciation of great design and a knack of distinguishing between what is a strong design and what isn’t. About two years ago he fell in love with the silhouettes of the 50’s & 60’s while sharing a stall in a local Melbourne market and the seed was sewn for his own vintage business. Jason shares the following story with us from his recent buying trip in Europe.

Words and images: Jason Cormick, Bleecker Street

It was my first time heading to Europe and the UK in search of vintage and it presented some challenges before I even got on the plane! But the experience overall was an enjoyable one.

Research was crucial so Google became my new best friend and pretty quickly I worked out that second hand shop visits were out as it would consume too much valuable time. Auction houses were also off the list because there weren’t any running during my stay!

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I was getting a little anxious as Google was letting me down and there wasn’t much time left. But then – a light at the end of the tunnel. I came across a specialist Italian vintage wholesale designer who did business by appointment only. My email explaining my Australian based business and my expression of interest went off into cyberspace, then I crossed my fingers waiting for an invitation into their ‘secret society of vintage’. A few days later, which honestly felt like weeks, their email arrived confirming my appointment! This was a really exciting moment which re-energised my upcoming trip.


Picture4Fast forward a few weeks and there I was walking the streets of Italy on my way to the mystery appointment to immerse myself in all things vintage and designer vintage. Buzzing the doorbell I imagined the person on the other side as someone with taste and style, probably dressed in something like Iris Apfel and Tavi Gevinson. I discovered I was pretty close – greeted by Nabila, a young, effortlessly yet stylishly dressed Italian woman (imagine an Italian version of Kate Moss).

I was led upstairs to a modest sized warehouse filled with vintage goodness, and with a wave of her hand she indicated I could begin perusing the vintage stock while she busied herself at her computer.Gucci coat being modelled

A smaller section of the room was reserved for high end designer vintage which was exactly what I was after. I saw Versace, Gucci and Moschino. There was a lot to choose from, but I knew I had to be selective. One piece that really stood out was a Gucci coat which I asked Nabila to model for me, because vintage pieces can look different on a person than on a hanger. With her skinny jeans and blouse it looked amazing, so it had to come back with me along with some other select gems.


A few days later I was in Paris, wandering through the alleys of an area well known for its antiques. There were some lovely vintage selections but because it was a little too well known, the prices were through the roof! Not to be deterred, I managed to find some cute brooches and amazing Babar screen-prints, which came from a book in the 1940’s. I also discovered vintage Chanel dresses that were selling for more than $1000. A lot of money? Yes, but as early Chanel pieces were actually stitched by hand the cost was justified.


One corner of the room Vintage Babar poster circa 1940s Close up of Vintage Gucci coat

Learning about overseas vintage based business trends and how high end designer vintage is priced was invaluable, and I have returned with some gorgeous vintage treasures!


You will find Jason’s designer vintage pieces at the Love Vintage & Retro Fair, Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne on May 16 – 18. The Babar prints can be purchased online at



‘Not So New’ Zealand

Words and pictures: Claire, Rose and Natasha from Glory Days magazine

Not so New Zealand

The three ladies at Glory Days magazine know their vintage stuff. They’ve run their own businesses independently – from vintage styling to plus size vintage wear. They each have a penchant for a particular era and a colossal wardrobe to match, and through their new magazine they have a finger on the vintage pulse in New Zealand.

If you’re visiting this gorgeous country, the girls are here to tell you there’s more to it than picture postcard scenic views, adrenalin packed outdoor activities and must-see movie sets. The last few years has seen New Zealand’s vintage scene go from being a kooky alternative style to being a fully-fledged and accepted way of life, and this vintage community now encompasses a number of distinct groups and events that are just the cat’s meow!


There are the ‘rockabillies’ with an accompanying music scene and wealth of clothing businesses stocking premium reproduction labels from around the world. There are two main rockabilly festivals during the year – Auckland’s Very Vintage Day Out in April, which also hosts its own Miss Pin Up New Zealand competition, and Hamilton’s Atomic Festival each October, set in a classic car museum and jukebox diner.



There are a host of regular hot rod and classic car events, the biggest being The Beach Hop. This is set in the picturesque beach side town of Whangamata. It is huge, vibrant and boasts a line-up of fantastic bands, cars and a vintage market. Cars are entered from all around the country and a big Australian contingent makes the pilgrimage every year.



Twice a year, Art Deco enthusiasts are in their element with the Art Deco capital of Australasia – Napier, holding the well-known Tremains Art Deco Weekend to celebrate all things 1920s and 30s, and the winter deco weekend later in the year.

In 1931, Napier was destroyed in a major earthquake and architects rebuilt the city in the style du jour – the result was a love letter to Art Deco. This has led to a fantastic weekend festival in February and a smaller but still fun weekend in July, DIY Deco weekend



Victoriana and Steampunk can do one better than that – with its very own town – Oamaru. Each year there are both Victorian and steampunk festivals held in the picturesque Victorian setting.



There is also a thriving war re-enactment scene, as well as numerous dance clubs, with plenty of swing dancers and rock ‘n’ roll enthusiasts. Burlesque also reigns supreme here – with everything from local chapters of alternative life drawing group Dr Sketchy, to regular burlesque revues from local and overseas performers.

Not So New Zealand 3 Not So New Zealand 4 Not So New Zealand 5

Yes, vintage is thriving here. Original pieces of vintage clothing are getting harder to find, but there are more and more reproduction labels getting started and vintage stylists have popped up in most cities now.




The girls will be on hand with copies of their magazine and to chat about everything ‘New Zealand Vintage’ at the Love Vintage & Retro Fair in Sydney in September. And if you want to know more  in the meantime, you can check them out at or join them on Facebook.






The Vintage World is Not So Small After All

It’s well known that women who are over size 16 have been ignored by mainstream designers for a long time…

Vivre Sa Vie AW14

Words and pictures by Teresa from Hey Fatty

Not content with running their own business, the girls at Hey Fatty wanted to reach out to other collectors and sellers so in September 2012 the Hey Fatty and Friends Fair was created. This was an event where all the clothing on sale was over size 16 and featured a huge variety of vintage, retro and recycled clothing as well as a runway show. The Hey Fatty and Friends Fair was the first ever plus size fashion fair in Melbourne.Elyse CCR

Last month they featured in the successful Curvy Couture Roadshow – a plus size event in the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival’s Cultural Program where they were the only ones who showcased recycled vintage down the runway.

“It was amazing to be part of this event and to give people another perspective when it comes to dressing and shopping. It also brought together a myriad of plus size businesses all under one roof”  Teresa said.

It was a blast meeting with so many fans, fashion bloggers and media but it was the brushes with fame that had the team jumping around all afternoon. Teresa was a little star struck with host Casey Donovan but she managed to hold it together to chat and have some fun, while Melissa could only manage a smile whenever Casey walked by. Melissa’s nerves were further tested when plus size fashion sensation Hayley Hasselhoff dropped by the Hey Fatty stall. Hayley took some time to browse through the stall items and handpicked a number of dresses, opting for light pastel colours and choosing almost everything that had a drop waist, pleated skirt and/or sailor style neck bow. Melissa managed to suppress her obvious excitement when chatting with Hayley, who was fresh from appearing in British Plus Size Fashion Week and heading off to Paris Fashion Week – Oh La  La!!

It’s well known that women who are over size 16 have been ignored by mainstream designers for a long time, and while there is a large range of low end fast fashion on the market, there isn’t much out there that is well made and allows women to express their own individual style. Melissa and Teresa believe that vintage and retro clothing is one of the best ways to do this as clothing made pre the big-fast-fashion boom has so much more thought put into the design, cut, fabric and print. Many European and USA designers from past eras celebrated and designed for women in sizes larger than today’s mainstream fashion models, so there are so many more options, no matter what your taste.

image purple AW14 Aley CCR
Tee CCR IMAGE aw14


While there are so many options, Melissa admits that sourcing vintage clothing over size 16 is a challenge, but she feels it’s an important one to pursue.

“All women, at every size have a right to look and feel amazing. We think vintage clothing does just this.”

In terms of styling, don’t feel you need to be a vintage purist. Mix vintage with modern pieces, pattern clash and generally wear what you want to wear and how you want to wear it!


Come and see more at the Hey Fatty stand at Love Vintage and Retro Fair in Melbourne 16-18 May, 2014. They also have an online presence, which is regularly updated with new stock and you can find out where they’ll turn up next on their Facebook page.


A Princess to Remember

Grace Kelly is unquestionably one of the top style icons of the 20th century, and the much anticipated movie, Grace of Monaco, focuses on a year in the life of this 20th century iconic, glamorous Princess…Grace of Monaco the movie

 Pictures supplied by: EntertainmentOne

There’s been rather a lot of fuss surrounding the recent Royal tour of Australia by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge which has centred most particularly on Kate Middleton and her outfits. A princess who captures the imagination of the people wherever she goes, touches their hearts with her warmth, natural beauty and style, is a princess who cements her place in history.

So it was with Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco.

ABC segment featuring Kelly aired on her wedding day in 1956.

ABC segment featuring Kelly aired on her wedding day in 1956.


Grace Kelly is unquestionably one of the top style icons of the 20th century, and the much anticipated movie, Grace of Monaco, focuses on a year in the life of this 20th century iconic, glamorous Princess. 1962 was a crossroads year for the Princess, a year in which she strived to reconcile her past and her present as she battled with a yearning to return to the big screen with her newfound role as a mother, monarch of a European principality and wife to Prince Rainier III.




Thanks to EntertainmentOne, Into Vintage got the scoop on the movie’s costume designer, Gigi LePage. Gigi is self-taught and has worked with director Olivier Dahan (La Vie En Rose) for more than eighteen years. “We understand one another without having to use words” she says. “The minute he throws me into a project, my imagination takes off and I can’t wait to get started.” She worked for a year and a half on Grace of Monaco, painstakingly reconstructing the glamour of the fashion of the 1960’s and working closely with the star of the film, Nicole Kidman.  “We had a hard time finding authentic clothes,” she says. “We did a tremendous amount of research, pouring through the archives of the great stylists of the period.” The House of Dior re-created some of the original dresses worn by Grace Kelly for the film that were designed by Dior’s then creative director, Marc Bohan – a great admirer of Grace.


Gigi assembled a veritable ‘atelier’ of haute couture pieces for the production and put together the 49 different outfits worn by Nicole for the title role.

Moviepic5 Grace Poster Moviepic7
Grace Princess Shot Moviepic3 Grace couch pic resized

The movie is due for release in cinemas June 5 Australia-wide – you could see it for free!

Be one of the first 500 people through the door at the Love Vintage & Retro Fair in Melbourne (on any day), to receive a postcard styled movie pass granting the pass holder to ‘BUY ONE MOVIE TICKET GET ONE  ONE FREE’ at the cinema box office.  Valid across a range of cinemas around the country, from June 5.


Entertainment One Square Logo


For further information about the film visit the EntertainmentOne website



Image of Princess Grace courtesy Wikimedia Commons. Author ABC