Category Archives: IntoVintageApril2013

Sending Mum some vintage love

Did you know? The tradition of giving gifts to mothers on Mother’s Day in Australia was started by Mrs Janet Heyden, a resident of Leichhardt, Sydney, in 1924. She began the tradition during a visit to a patient at the Newington State Home for Women, where she met many lonely and forgotten mothers.

Tfree-vintage-mothers-day-cardo cheer them up, she rounded up support from local school children and businesses to donate and bring gifts to the women. Every year thereafter, Mrs Heyden raised increasing support for the project from local businesses and even the local Mayor. [souce: Wikepedia]

And now the day has become a tradition for families to celebrate every year, on the second Sunday in May.

This Mother’s Day (May 12), you can show your Mum just how much you love her with something a little bit different and personal – a gorgeous, printable vintage card from the lovely folk at and Over the past several years, the owners have turned their passion for vintage art into specialised online businesses and have amassed an enormous collection – and here they share their vintage Mother’s Day cards.

Scroll down below the thumbnail images to read Instructions for Downloading. Please be sure to read the Rules of the Road (below), and then enjoy sharing these special pieces of history with the ‘Mums’ in your life…

Instructions for Downloading the Vintage Mother’s Day Cards

1.Please read the Rules of the Road terms of use before downloading any of the art. Please respect and abide by these rules.

2. Choose a thumbnail of any of the Mother’s Day cards. When you click on one of the images, it will appear larger.

3. If you have a PC, just right-click and save the final version of the artwork to your hard drive. If you’re a Mac user, control-click the image until you get a pop-up menu that will give you an option to save the file on your hard drive. Then you can print and make a personalised card, or email the picture to your Mum!

The images above are from
You can find more fabulous vintage cards and artwork on and




When Everything Old is New Again

The fashion trends of the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s are back, but this time you don’t need to have lived through the era to get the look, as a fabulous new video series, All About Vintage, shows. To win a copy of the video, enter the competition at the end of this article. (This competition has now closed, but please feel free to post your beauty tips)

WINNING TIP: Congratulations Melinda M! You have won the DVD…
My Best Beauty tips came from my mum who I adore is such a strong woman in everyway and is my best friend. She always told me to stand tall and be confident even if you don’t feel that way wear a smile, treat people the way you would like to be treated,be a lady of class and people will respect you.Be modest, wear clothes of class not arse. lol. She also taught me to set hair,normal sets and hot rollers she used to set and do her mums hair every week.Skills I still use to this day & of course teasing & back combing. This inspired me to become a hairdresser something she’d always wanted, My dad’s grandmother was big on pin curls never was her hair out of place even till 90yrs when she died and these skills helped score me top marks at tafe when having to do a full whole head set with pincurls. I would love to learn these styles you do I would consider them a taste of how my mum used to go out with gloves hat and all.


If you’ve always preferred Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn to Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, then you can breathe a sigh of relief—the fashion trends of yesteryear are back, according to renowned vintage stylist, Miss Chrissy Keepence.

Vintage Styling

Thanks to shows like Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men and The Great Gatsby, Miss Chrissy, who runs popular vintage styling school, The Lindy Charm School for Girls, has seen a popularity surge in vintage style.

A professional stylist, specialising in the vintage looks of the 1930s through to the 60s for the past 17 years, Miss Chrissy regularly holds vintage styling hair, makeup and fashion workshops overseas and in Australia. Having recently returned from Las Vegas where she was presenting, demonstrating and teaching the American vintage lovin’ gals at Viva Las Vegas, Miss Chrissy admits it’s hard to keep up with the demand!

“Trying to get out and teach all those budding fashionistas face-to-face is impossible,” Miss Chrissy says.

Set for filming Last minute adjustments

But never one to leave her fellow vintage lovers in the lurch, she has enlisted the help of a high-end production company to put together a series of styling DVDs called All About Vintage.

TAAV Flyerhrough the series Miss Chrissy aims to inspire women to live ‘vintage’.

“I encourage women to bring the style into their everyday lives,” she says, “not just on special occasions.”

The easy-to-follow instructional videos take viewers through each step in achieving the vintage look, literally from head-to-toe.

“Viewers are able to easily achieve the look of the era from hair and makeup right through to clothing and accessories”, she says.

“I hope they will reach many other women looking to enhance their own natural inner and outer beauty through the best vintage styling and etiquette,” she says.

To find out more about the All About Vintage videos or to start creating your own vintage style head to

Simply share a beauty tip from the past that you still use today… and Miss Chrissy will reward the writer of the best beauty ‘gem’ with a copy of Series One of her styling videos, valued at $47!
To enter: Write your tip in the comments area below. Enter before 5pm, May 8 to be in the running to win. Enter as many times as you like.
The winner will be announced in next month’s newsletter.


Now… and then, a mix for today

For tips on combining vintage fashion with modern, Beth Armstrong is the go-to girl. Her eye for layering antique and contemporary clothing is just one of her particular talents. Fashionistas everywhere are dressing this way so it’s fantastic to have a style guide like Beth to interview for Into Vintage.

Beth’s background in the film industry, both as an actor and behind-the-scenes in production (working with costume designers) dovetailed nicely into her passion for vintage clothing and paved the way for her business, The Travelling Dress. Here she shares her passion, inspiration and a few tips with us.

Silk CamiWhat is your background and how did you get into collecting and selling vintage and antique clothing?

Professionally I started out as an actor where I was fortunate to wear period costume a few times-always enormous fun! I’ve now switched to the other side of the camera and I work with production and costume designers to create character and style. Acquiring and selling antique and vintage pieces was a bit of a whim actually. I was taking a break out of the industry to have my two children and bought a few special pieces for myself, which I showed off to friends who immediately asked if I could find them something similar. The idea took off from there. I’ve also grown up with antiques and a love of fine fabrics and workmanship because of my parents’ antique dealership business.
My mother gave me a few beautiful pieces and every time a wedding came up and I had the dreaded ‘I’ve got nothing new to wear’ thought, I’d pull out an antique or vintage number, 1920s silk pyjamas or a satin ’60s dress and I always felt fashionable. I think great design can do that.

Who areCate_Blanchett_at_the_AACTA_Awards_(2012)_7a your style icons? Do you have some favourite examples of outfits they would have worn in your collection?

I love Helena Christensen’s style. Diane Keaton also interprets fashion in her own quirky way. Jane Birkin, Cate Blanchett and Florence Welch are all amazing women who might wear vintage but in a very modern way. I love how French women often do understated chic.
The Victorian black and white high collar blouse with chiffon beaded tails, worn in my film clip with leather pants is an amazing piece – 1890s labelled Los Angeles. It has lots of beading and very fine lace. I always imagine Cate Blanchett wearing it with a high-waisted skirt or tailored pants. There are layers to it including an interior corset. It takes about ten minutes to get into it and there are about 50 fastenings-a maid is required to assist!

tumblr_miy9e63iP11rpq8kzo1_1280What is your favourite era for vintage and/or antique clothing and why?

Edwardian I think. Downton Abbey for example. Often represented by very fine, sheer silk chiffons, fine linen and lace and hand-embroidery. I also like the period coming into the 1920s – it’s the quality of the workmanship plus beautiful materials.


What are your tips for successfully blending modern and vintage?

Well, for a special occasion I’ll often pair jeans or pants with something Edwardian. Many of the original Victorian/Edwardian/Deco blouses are petite and high waisted, it was the fashion at the time. So I wear them open, bolero style, sometimes back to front, with a silk or cotton camisole underneath, with contemporary heels or ankle boots. Sometimes with a modern scarf or piece of jewellery too, so most people wouldn’t guess I was wearing anything period. I don’t tend to dress top to toe in vintage or antique or stick to the one era.

The Travelling DressBut I love the idea I’m wearing a bit of history. One of my favourites is a very fine French white cotton blouse with pin-tucks and padded-stitch embroidery, blousoned just before the wrist. The long cuff has four tiny buttons with little loops so it fits snugly around the wrist, accentuating the fullness elsewhere. I love those little details. It’s superb and over a hundred years old.

I would recommend always going for an original, not a reproduction. I can’t afford haute couture but wearing antique gives me a little taste and is relatively affordable. But it can take time to find the right piece that fits and is in excellent condition.

IMG_1315I often think of the original wearer sometimes. Wouldn’t they be amazed, especially when someone is wearing a slip or their lingerie piece as outerwear or for a wedding?

In a funny way, I feel that pieces I sell choose their rightful owner. They’re little heirlooms. That’s why I called my business The Travelling Dress-a quality dress can travel through time, from one person to another.

Take us ‘behind the scenes’ of your short film fashion shoot.

My cinematographer husband, Tom Gleeson owns a great movie camera, so together we organised a small crew to do a guerilla shoot in an abandoned Sydney tram tunnel. We took a selection of eclectic clothing and accessories dating from the late 1880s to the 1930s. We used two models (Jaime Lewis and Venice Rish), a stylist (Marianne Malafosse), a make-up artist (Katie Angus,) hair stylist (Graeme Cummings) and florist (Tonia Blume) for these extraordinary floral head-pieces. I was also fortunate to know composer Biddy Connor who was willing to let us use a piece of her music.Video image

The tunnel was freezing and I felt for the models. The stylist and I wanted to show the antique pieces off in a really contemporary way so we loved the idea of the run-down industrial tunnel as backdrop to these delicate, detailed pieces. We also had a neon T, which we decided to include in the backdrop as an artistic counterpoint to antique. And putting the garments with edgy studded boots and leather pants was a perfect way to represent the idea of antique clothing as high fashion and worn in a contemporary way.

Happy vintage hunting!

Beth will soon be opening The Travelling Dress as an online etsy shop. For updates visit

Soundtrack courtesy:  Biddy Connor: Editors:  Jason Diffin and Adrian Chiarella
Images courtesy of Beth Armstrong; Cate Blanchett image from Creative Commons


Art Deco – a ‘modern’ era

Natacha Rambova Theda Bara photographed by James Abbe Viola Dana

The Art Deco fashion era was both influenced and inspired by the technology of the day. Youth was prized due to its comparative rarity, as so many young people were lost in the First World War. This young generation of the 1920s worshiped all things ‘modern’, just as the current younger generation do today, and this infatuation with new, exciting ideas was apparent in the style of the time.

Sapphire and Diamond Bracelet in 14ct White Gold. Geometry and bold, contrasting colours were highlighted during the Art Deco Movement.

Sapphire and Diamond Bracelet. Geometry and bold, contrasting colours.

Sterling Silver and Citrine Bracelet. Bold and symmetrical!

Sterling Silver and Citrine Bracelet. Bold and symmetrical!

Jewellery manufacturers embraced emerging technological advances in their designs where symmetry and geometry were emphasized.  So too were bright, bold colours and luxurious, intricate embellishments. The end result was a distinctive, instantly recognizable style that was a clear break from previous styles such as Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Victorian and the like.

Progressive social thinking was another modern concept embraced by the Art Deco movement. Designs of this era incorporate cultural aspects from China, India and especially Egypt. Art Deco fashions, particularly clothing, were easily duplicated, meaning it was accessible to more than just the upper class. Popular women’s magazines like Vogue gave the lower class access to images they not only aspired to but could copy from. And they did. This led to the upper class searching for ways to differentiate themselves with the use of luxurious fabrics such as silk, gemstones and pearls in jewellery. These rich materials have become synonymous with the Art Deco movement.

Popular women’s magazines like Vogue gave the lower class access to images they not only aspired to but could copy from. Advertisement 2 Advertisement 3
Advertisements from jewellery catalogues of the day.

However technology in the 1920s seemed to favour the underdog with inventions like rayon (also known as “imitation silk”) making silky stockings easily affordable; gemstones such as rubies and emeralds that were synthetically manufactured; and pearls made from plastic. Hundreds of pieces of filigree jewellery could be created in the time it would have taken a jeweller to handcraft just one piece and this meant the masses could wear the same style, but at a substantially lower price.

Cast production methods of mass production made filigree affordable and durable.

Sterling Silver Filigree Bracelet. Filigree for all! Cast production methods of mass production made filigree affordable and durable.

Jewellery manufacturing during the art deco period shows how quickly pieces were remade using alternative materials and techniques, allowing them to be accessible to the masses. Costume pieces varied greatly in value depending on the manufacturer’s choice of materials. Coco Chanel famously began creating fake pieces meant to be worn as accessories to her outfits. They were, in a sense, created to be disposable, only to be worn with the particular piece of clothing it was sold alongside. However many women kept the pieces and the ones that remain today can fetch thousands at auction.

Camphor glass pendant: 14ct white gold camphor pendant with diamond accent The secret to this radiant beauty? Formaldehyde ..."

Camphor glass pendant: 14ct white gold camphor pendant with diamond accent. The secret to this radiant beauty? Formaldehyde …”

Camphor Glass is another ingenious example of how Art Deco fashion borrowed from scientific advances of the day. This glass was used in everything from lampshades to candy dishes to necklaces, rings and bracelets.

Pearls are the quintessential gemstone of the Art Deco period. Long strands of pearls accentuated the drop wasted silhouettes of the time.

Bakelite, a plastic made from formaldehyde and phenol, was used to make bracelets, rings, and necklaces.

Amethyst Filigree Ring in 14ct White Gold. Cocktails anyone? When it came to rings, bigger was better.

Amethyst Filigree Ring in 14ct White Gold. Cocktails anyone? When it came to rings, bigger was better.

Cocktail rings were a fashion must-have in the 1920s. Rings usually had a large centre stone, either a diamond or other

gemstone, with embellishment around it. Hand created platinum pieces were the standard with rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds; however moulded versions using rhodium plating or sterling silver with simulated gems or coloured glass gave an identical look for a fraction of the price.

Filigree work is intricate, detailed metal work that is reminiscent of lace. Hand filigree is an art in and of itself. It takes hours to create and must be wrought by a skilled hand. Moulded cast techniques used in mass production of jewellery became common during the 1920s. These manufacturing techniques resulted in such strong, well-made items that there are many cherished examples still in existence today.

Egyptian Revival Filigree Bracelet. The discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb sparked an interest In all things Egyptian.

Egyptian Revival Filigree Bracelet.

Egyptian Revival came along courtesy of the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922. This inspired a wave of Egyptian influenced art, furniture design, architecture and jewellery creation. Pieces from this style often show images of sphinxes, trees, pyramids and the like and jewellers sought to incorporate these ‘modern social events’ into their craft like never before.

The Art Deco era continues to inspire designers to this day and can be seen emerging in new furniture, jewellery, architecture and even cars.  Long live Art Deco!

Penny Handley is the owner of Word of Mouth Jewels.  Her love of vintage jewellery was ignited at age seven when her Grandmother let her spend hours playing with a box of her finest costume jewellery.

Word of Mouth Jewels
t: 0423 320 460

Images courtesy of Word of Mouth Jewels
Additional Images from Creative Commons:

Rockabilly Festival in Vegas

VLV flyerHere’s how two Aussie girls, Miss Chrissy Keepence and Miss Bonnie Rose and their entourage, enjoyed their time at (and getting to!) the world’s biggest Rockabilly Festival, Viva Las Vegas!

Miss Chrissy shares her highlights:

Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend No 16 (VLV16) attracted thousands of visitors from across the USA and around the world, and the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada is where we set up camp for the week. This place was jumping from 6am to 6pm – of that you can be sure!  I lost count, but there was a contingency of at least 40 ‘loud and proud’ Aussies and we all had a blast.  Shopping, burlesque, bands, dancing, cocktails and dreams…..

Some of the Aussie contingent at Viva Las Vegas

Some of the Aussie contingent at Viva Las Vegas

Even work was play for us over there! Some of our highlights included:

  • The Lindy Charm School For Girls holding Vintage Styling Presentations to no less than 70 of the USA gals. We then spent the day sharing our styling techniques with the masses.
  • Seeing Little Richard play live – at 86 the man still has it! It was awesome being part of this historical performance.
  • Seeing 12 entrants from around the world compete in the Pin Up Girl Competition and watching as our Aussie girl, Miss Lady A Broad, takes out the crown!
  • Watching our own Miss Ramona Cachinero from Brisbane take 2nd place, out of 120 entrants, in the famous Vintage Bathing Suit Competition at the Vegas Pool Party!
  • Attending not one but two Vegas weddings. The first was impromptu attendance on our part when the couple arrived at 3am via stretch limo to the Stained Glass Chapel on The Strip. The other was for the fabulous Miss Emma & Rupert from the Aussie band The Sugar Shakers. Held on Easter Sunday at Graceland Chapel it was complete when a handsome Elvis performed both with them and for them at the altar.
  • And to top it off, a 24 hour Harley Fat Boy bike ride through Nevada and Arizona had Miss Chrissy walking a little funny for a few days, but a breathtaking ride none the less!

Miss Emma & Rupert from Aussie band The Sugar Shakers, marrying in Vegas

Miss Emma & Rupert from Aussie band The Sugar Shakers, marrying in Vegas

Our own Miss Lady A Broad, winner of the Pin Up Competition!

Our own Miss Lady A Broad, winner of the Pin Up Competition!

Nothing like a Fat Boy Harley Ride through the Nevada Desert...

Nothing like a Fat Boy Harley Ride through the Nevada Desert…

Congratulations to Brisbane’s Miss Ramona Cachinero, 2nd place in the Vintage Bathing Competition at the Pool Party! Image courtesy of Tim Hunter Photography

Congratulations to Brisbane’s Miss Ramona Cachinero, 2nd place in the Vintage Bathing Competition at the Pool Party! Image courtesy of Tim Hunter Photography

The legend in person… Little Richard!

The legend in person… Little Richard!

And from Miss Bonny Rose’s Travel Diaries…

Unlike Miss Chrissy, I started my travels in paradise! Aka Tulum, Mexico. I visited amazing beaches, ruins and swam in fresh water Cenotes. What a way to spend a holiday….

  • I then coasted into the USA on America’s mother road ‘Route 66’.
  • I drove through deserts, visited the Grand Canyon, ‘stood on the corner in Winslow, Arizona’ as sung by the Eagles. I visited old towns – ghostly remnants of their former glory thanks to the new I40 freeway. Last stop before Viva was Hoover Dam, a wonderfully amazing sight to behold and to think it was built to help relieve America from the Great Depression!

The bright lights of Vegas awaited us…

  • I saw the world’s largest Golden Nugget which, ironically, is from Victoria!
  • Then all the fun of the Viva festival where Miss Chrissy and I worked the Lindy Charm School magic! I will say I was a little disappointed with the dress effort this year compared to last year and found that overall the best dressed were the Aussies.
  • Watching Little Richard perform was a dream come true, what an amazing and talented man! I was truly humbled.
  • Miss Chrissy was nearly executed at the Goreatorium though for being too glamorous! I acted as fashion police and took care of those less glam.
  • Last stop before home was LA, city of angels.
  • After checking out of the Biltmore Millennium in West Hollywood we headed for Venice Beach, hired some bikes and rode the beach path along to Santa Monica Pier. What an amazing place. Muscle men, freaks and one or two movie stars. Not really the sort of lasting memories you want as reminders of an otherwise fabulous trip, wouldn’t you agree ladies?

‘Standing on the corner of Winslow, Arizona… such a fine sight to see!’

‘Standing on the corner of Winslow, Arizona… such a fine sight to see!’

No trip to Las Vegas is complete without a stop at the Grand Canyon

No trip to Las Vegas is complete without a stop at the Grand Canyon

Elvis is in the building… we must be in Vegas!

Elvis is in the building… we must be in Vegas!

Primed and ready for the annual Viva Las Vegas Pool Party

Primed and ready for the annual Viva Las Vegas Pool Party

On celebrity watch at Venice Beach… the gorgeous Aussie actor, Simon Baker

On celebrity watch at Venice Beach… the gorgeous Aussie actor, Simon Baker

The end of the road at Santa Monica Pier – the famous Route 66

The end of the road at Santa Monica Pier – the famous Route 66

 Images courtesy of Miss Chrissy Keepence and Miss Bonnie Rose unless otherwise stated.


The humble zipper is 100 years old!

We give thanks in part to the magazine and fashion industries for bestowing upon the novel zipper the popularity it enjoys today, but that was nearly eighty years after the zipper was first conceptualised.

These beautifully engineered vintage metal zippers from the 1950s and 60s are Australian made by Peerless and Embassy (early Coles) brands. Image courtesy of itsretrodarling

These beautifully engineered vintage metal zippers from the 1950s and 60s are Australian made by Peerless and Embassy (early Coles) brands. Image courtesy of itsretrodarling

Way back in 1851 Elias Howe (inventor of the sewing machine) received a patent for an ‘automatic, continuous clothing closure’ but for reasons unknown, unfortunately he didn’t pursue the marketing of it.


A full 40 years later a ‘Clasp Locker’ was made by Whitcomb Judson which was similar to Elias Howe’s patent. But because Mr Judson made and marketed his item, he became the ‘official inventor’ of the zipper. This ‘hookless fastener’ (hook and eye fastener) attracted little attention though, despite his best efforts to sell it.

Then along came Gideon Sundbäck, a Swedish-American who worked at the Universal Fastener Company. Following the death of his wife, Gideon threw himself into his work and designed the ‘modern’ zipper in 1913 – 100 years ago.

It was unofficially named the zipper around ten years later in 1923, at the Goodrich Company, when they were using this particular fastener on a new design for rubber boots. And the name stuck.

A side zipper from the 1950s

A ‘side’ zipper from the 1940s

In the 1930s it was incorporated into some children’s clothing because it gave children independence when dressing. During this decade it also replaced the button fly in men’s trousers, with Esquire praising its virtues, saying it was the end of ‘the possibility of unintentional and embarrassing disarray’! But another twenty years would pass before the fashion industry took it seriously enough to routinely incorporate it into their garments.

Despite the competition of rivals such as: buckles, buttons, safety pins, shoelaces, press studs and Velcro, it’s hard to dispute the fact the modest zipper is a feature of our daily lives, rarely appreciated until it breaks.

Or in the immortal words of actor, George Burns, “First you forget names, then you forget faces. Next you forget to pull your zipper up and finally, you forget to pull it down”.

Some interesting facts and a quick fashion timeline:

Press-stud fastening1920s   Zippers only used in men’s trousers or children’s clothing but not women’s clothing as it was considered too easy to slip her clothes off. Thus only easy women would wear garments with zippers!

1930s   Still rarely seen on women’s clothing but if there was a zipper on something from the 30s then generally a flap of fabric concealed this. It was almost always along the side seam and always metal, but most often enclosures were either hook and eye or press-stud as per the picture to the left:

1940s   The clever zipper was finally embraced by the women’s fashion industry (still always metal) and most often along the side seam.

Pic 3

A ‘back’ zipper from the 1950s

1950s   Well and truly accepted for its ease of use (except when it jammed, caught fabric, rusted or broke teeth!) the metal zipper moved from the side to the back (to allow the flow of the line down the side of the waste) but were still used in either position.

It wasn’t until the invention of nylon around 1963 that the metal zipper started to be phased out and the nylon zipper was introduced. It was softer and ended the problem of rusty metal, but still presented with its own set of challenges.


Pictures and some content contribution by Chrissy Keepence of The Lindy Charm School for Girls
So what’s next? It’s hard to imagine the humble Zipper being superseded. But in a fast-paced, industrialised world, nothing seems to last forever, or does it?
Happy Birthday to the Zipper!