Category Archives: IntoVintageMay2013

Be Hep to the Jive!

With The Great Gatsby national movie release this month, you’ll want to be sure to get the Jazz Lingo down pat now, so you are ready to be ‘hep to the jive’. Don’t be left behind when the new craze of slang re-emerges, creeping into our everyday vernacular. Be one of the ‘wild cool and swingin’ hepcats’ – not only looking the part but sounding like it too!
6973026979_4e6549aa2a_o Flickr The Lane Team

Here are some favourites of the 1920s as well as the more popular definitions of jive. You’ll notice that we still use many of them today. Learn a few choice phrases and try peppering your speech with them. You’ll get a kick out of the reactions you get.

Flickr Allan Trotter


Most used phrase in the film:  Old Sport –  a 20’s colloquial kind of expression meaning like ‘Hey Pal’



Bees’ Knees – An extraordinary person, thing or idea
Baloney – nonsense!
Breezer – a convertible car
Caper – a criminal act or robbery
Cat’s Meow – Something splendid or stylish, similar to bee’s knees. The best or greatest
Flat Tire – A dull witted, insipid, disappointing date
Spiffy – An elegant appearance
You slay me – that’s funny
Hip (Hep) – someone who is ‘in the know’ or ‘in tune’ with the latest style. This usage of hip gained popularity around 1905, and in jazz it refers to the ‘cool’ demeanour of talented musicians or informed listeners
Hepcat [hep-kat] – a guy or gal ‘who knows what it’s all about’. It represents both lovers of the music and jazz musicians themselves
Dig – When a jazz musician really identifies with a tune or a jazz devotee discovers a new sound, you can say they dig the music
Cut of the Jib – One’s general appearance and demeanour
Daddy – a young woman’s boyfriend or lover, especially if he’s rich
Rag-a-muffin – a dirty or dishevelled individual
Giggle Water – An intoxicating beverage
Beat one’s gums – idle chatter

Edward_g_robinson circa 1920s Wikimedia Commons‘GATSBY SPEAK’ COMPETITION
Do you have a favourite slang phrase to share?

Just enter it into the COMMENTS panel below and you could WIN a double pass to Baz Luhrmann’s new film, The Great Gatsby.

Competition is now open and closes Sunday May 26, 2013. The Into Vintage team will judge the best on Monday, May 27 at 12 noon and the winner will be advised by email that afternoon.

Tickets will be posted to the winner by registered express mail the following day.

C’mon ….. slay me!

Images courtesy: Wikimedia Commons; Great Gatsby Book Cover image originally posted on Flickr by Allan Trotter.


Fashion Queen

Can we take our fashion cues from HRH? If the unprecedented rise in popularity of Launer London’s handbags is a guide, the answer is a resounding yes!

StateLibQld_1_102767_Queensland's_Governor_says_good-bye_to_Queen_Elizabeth_II_after_her_visit_in_March_1954 Wikicommons


When Queen Elizabeth II accessorised with her (personally designed) Launer London handbag at William and Kate’s Royal Wedding, she could hardly have predicted the shopping frenzy that followed, sending sales of their traditional style handbag skyrocketing by a whopping 60%!

Launer London Nocturne Handbag Purple 960 GBP

Launer London Nocturne Handbag Purple 960 GBP


Launer London Diva Handbag 1,015 GBP

Launer London Traviata Handbag Yellow 1,125 GBP

Launer London Traviata Handbag Yellow 1,125 GBP

In fact Launer London’s traditional target market of ladies aged 50+ also saw an explosion of new, younger buyers, and savvy management were quick to expand their retail and online presence to meet demand. Despite being positioned in the luxury items category with price tags to match, they continue to ride that wave of success today.

Elizabeth_II_greets_NASA_GSFC_employees,_May_8,_2007_edit wikimedia commons


With the upcoming Queen’s Birthday celebrations in Australia on June 10, we took a pictorial journey of her wardrobe throughout the decades and wondered … what might the next royalty–inspired fashion-jewel-in-the-crown be? Queen_Elizabeth_II_and_Prince_Philip_disembark_from_a_British_Airways_Concorde US Federal Govt 1991 Wikimedia Commons
2012 Titanic Belfast flickr-8178344427-original licensed under photopedia Reagans_with_Queen_Elizabeth_II_and_Prince_Philip wikimedia commons 1983 Queen_Elizabeth_II_and_Prince_Philip_visiting_NASA,_May_8,_2007 Goddard Space Flight Centre Maryland wikimedia commons

Images of Handbags kindly provided by Launer London publicity department

Queen Elizabeth II images are all public domain and sourced from Wikimedia Commons



Bitossi – affordable collectables

Russell Brooks from Circa Collectables shares his knowledge and passion for the famous Bitossi Ceramiche pieces which have been in production in Italy since the early 1920s.3 lamp basesA Bitossi item is a popular collectable that adds charm and style to any room. Sometimes you’ll only need that one special piece and other times, a grouping of animals or small vases adds an inviting and intriguing element to a room.

Cat Detail 3

Bitossi Ceramiche is famous for designing classic Italian hand-made ceramics, combining great artistic tradition with contemporary design and using local craft works. The Bitossi family founded this business in 1921 in Montelupo near Florence, Italy – an area with a long tradition of ceramic production dating back to the 15th century.

Close up Detail 1

Art Director, Aldo Londi designed thousands of pieces, patterns and techniques during his 30 years with Bitossi. As an 11 year old he showed an affinity with clay and became an apprentice at the town’s largest factory. When he returned from war in 1946 he joined Bitossi Ceramiche. His talent was immediately obvious and he was appointed artistic director, a position he held for 30 years until his retirement in 1976.

Londi was very aware of the marketplace and what buyers wanted, and he pushed forward with designs for the home that would surprise and delight. He wanted to stir people’s emotions with them.


Bitossi products retain a certain handmade look despite the fact they are now mass produced. This was necessary because the post-war workforce there was largely unskilled and inexperienced.

Forms centred on the cylinder, cone and sphere – modern in taste yet relatively easily made by these workers. Simple motifs were impressed into bodies, allowing consistency and ease of manufacture while still retaining a hand-crafted look. Londi’s ‘Rimini Blu’ is the most successful example of this and by far the most popular. ‘Scraffito’ is another main design element where lines or patterns were scratched into the surface. These two basic production elements followed ancient techniques combined with his modern, forward thinking designs.


‘Rimini Blu’, designed in 1959, quickly became the company’s signature range. It is still in production today. Other glazes were used with this pattern and included bright orange, green and mottled colours.

Lamp bases are a particular favourite of mine. Originally these bases would have been sold without a shade and it was up to the new owner to purchase one to match their décor.

I also love the ‘animals’ range which comes in various colours and patterns.

Horses group Horses

Bitossi is a desirable collectable, becoming more expensive all the time. But when you consider that most of these stylish items are 40 to 60 years old and undamaged, they are most affordable compared to mass-produced, modern day alternatives.


Thanks to Russell Brooks of Circa Collectables for this article and pictures. Find all their treasures at the Love Vintage Show, Melbourne 17-19, and the Sydney Fair, June 13-16. Check out their facebook page for details or contact Russell on 0414 489 784, or email



Style File: Ginger Rogers

Maybe she is best remembered for dancing in the arms of her long time dance partner Fred Astaire, but Ginger Rogers was also well known and adored for her fashion style and most notably her hair styles.

1. Ginger Rogers publicity photo still 1935    

Born in 1911 and having no less than 73 films to her credit, Ginger was a stellar actress, dancer and singer with a wicked comedic flare. Ginger loved fashion, style and dressing up. She said putting on one of her dancing gowns, doing her hair and donning one of her famous feather capes made her want to “turn and twirl in it”.

What was particularly striking about Ginger was her hair, which never looked the same twice. She was always the one to set the trend. Personally I loved that she was able to pull off so many wonderful hair styles and how the hairstyle not only changed her face, but her whole demeanour.



'Stage Door' publicity still

‘Stage Door’ publicity still

In 1937

In 1937

She was best known as a blonde, as this was the look she sported in most of the eight wonderful musicals she made with Fred Astaire in the 1930’s.

The Astaire-Rogers films were made virtually back-to-back though Ginger often crammed in other movies in-between. This meant that the same styles were in vogue from one film to the next.

5. Ginger_Rogers_Portrait publicity shot from studio 1937

Looking to be taken seriously and break the stereotype blonde bombshell dancer, Ginger got her break when she changed her appearance dramatically for a part in Kitty Foyle. Here, the blonde bombshell wore her hair long and brunette.

Later, she sported curls and an up-do in the comedy Once Upon a Honeymoon. She was only 31 at the time but Ginger’s movie career had clearly peaked. The memorable hair-do’s became a thing of the past for a little while, but style never really goes out of fashion, and we still strive to achieve her look to this day!

Kitty Foyle trailer 1940

Kitty Foyle trailer 1940

Kitty Foyle publicity still

Kitty Foyle publicity still

1940s publicity photo

1940s publicity photo

Most of the hairstyles (except the pleated braid) that Ginger sported would have required a great setting lotion, been pin-curled overnight then brushed out into the styles and shapes she was looking for.

9. flickr-2574851439-original Wikimedia Commons Flickr member danceonair 1986

Although we know Ginger as meticulously groomed and styled, she once told Look Magazine that she was happiest in a “shorts and bra outfit”!10. Ginger Rogers Argentinean Magazine AD 4 1944

Ginger passed away April 25, 1995 but left behind a legacy of style and some amazing hairstyles for us to emulate.

She once said, “The most important thing in anyone’s life is to be giving something. The quality I can give is fun, joy and happiness. This is my gift”.

The Lindy Charm School for Girls will give you some great tips on vintage hair and makeup at the Love Vintage Show in Melbourne, May 17-19. Don’t miss it – it’s only on here once a year!

Words by Miss Chrissy – The Lindy Charm School for Girls

Images are all public domain and sourced from Wikimedia Commons

Look Good, Feel Better

Definitions of beauty in the 20th century, when referring to human physical beauty, are nearly always constructed in terms of outward appearance and sexual attractiveness.
…a personal story by
Miss Chrissy, The Lindy Charm School for Girls

Marilyn Monroe 1962 George Barris Photographer

Nancy Baker’s definition of The Beauty Trap is more concerned with intangible personal qualities. “A truly beautiful woman makes the best of her physical assets but, more importantly she also radiates a personal quality which is attractive.” In Beauty In History, Arthur Marwick defines human physical beauty in more direct terms: “The beautiful are those who are immediately exciting to almost all of the opposite sex.”

Mum and SistersLooking your best boosts the confidence and the spirits. Just ask the ladies who’ve benefit from the Look Good, Feel Better organisation’s work for women who are battling or recovering from cancer. And often faking confidence can lead to genuine confidence.

As countless makeover shows have proven over the years, a change of image – even the slightest tweak – can work wonders, not just on your confidence but on how others see you. And that bounces right back at you and inspires self-confidence.

“The face and boobs are new, only the ass is the same”, said Crawford after cosmetic surgery for her comeback at MGM – 1953

Firstly let’s talk about our obsession with cosmetic surgery….

Starting with some of the most recognisable and gorgeous women of the Golden Years of Glamour and what they endured to Look Good and to Feel Better.

Then I’d like to talk about three very inspirational, independent women in my family and how the devastating effects of cancer have changed their priorities and made them question their own Look Good Feel Better regimes.

I was reminded of the power of the makeover Rita Hayworthwhen watching Rita Hayworth’s classic melodrama Gilda. Its star wasn’t a chameleon on the scale of Joan Crawford, but she did undergo a couple of simple yet radical transformations during her career. The first was when she underwent painful and intensive electrolysis to move her hairline back. Before the treatments her hairline was very low and unflattering. Post-electrolysis, her beautiful face was shown to full advantage and a star was born!

For years, actresses who wanted to avoid surgery endured the ‘Hollywood lift’- a face tugging device rigged up by makeup artists with glue, silk thread, and rubber bands. But it was hard on the ears and would sometimes snap in the middle of a scene.


Even crazier still is the Dimple Machine pictured left!

Even one of the most iconic women of the 20th Century, Marilyn Monroe, had plastic surgery. However there is no general consensus on how much she had or who performed it. In 1949 Monroe was known as a $75-a-week contract player getting nowhere fast.  According to Patrick McGrady in his book The Youth Doctors, after overhearing someone refer to her as ‘a chinless wonder’, Monroe had a tiny chin graft. In Marilyn Monroe, the Biography, Donald Spoto credits late plastic surgeon Michael Gurdin with inserting a silicone prosthesis in her jaw – to give her face a softer line and removing a slight bump of cartilage from the tip of her nose.

According to A. Richard Grossman, a plastic surgeon who worked with Gurdin in 1964, Monroe was also given breast implants. They were probably made of Ivalon sponge, the troublesome material that predated silicone gel. Other sources say Monroe may have also had (now-forbidden) liquid-silicone injected into her breasts. Shortly before her death in 1962 Rosemary Ashley Eckersley, the widow of Franklin Ashley, Hollywood’s other prominent plastic surgeon of that era said, “Marilyn’s breasts were infected. They were oozing. Marilyn wanted Frank to do something about them, but he wouldn’t”. Credit: Allure – May 1995

“Hollywood and plastic surgery started out together, and now, it seems, there can’t be one without the other.” Nipping and Tucking in Tinseltown by Joan Kron

Marilyn and EllaAs troubled as Marilyn was over her appearance and her life, she was much more than glamour personified. She was a philanthropist, a gorgeous hearted woman and I think so terribly misunderstood at times. Throughout the 1960s in America, when racism and bigotry was commonplace, it would have been easy to sit on the fence as a high profile celebrity. But Marilyn didn’t. In fact the late great Miss Ella Fitzgerald shared this story with the world, which I think sums the lady up. See how engaged Marilyn is with Miss Fitzgerald in this picture? She is completely engaged in her conversation with her. This speaks volumes for Marilyn’s honesty, integrity and authenticity.

At the time, the popular nightclub Mocambo would not book Ella Fitzgerald because she was black. Fortunately for Ella, she had a powerful and unlikely benefactor in Marilyn Monroe. “I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt… it was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo and told him she wanted me booked immediately. And if he did it, she promised she would take a front table every night. She told him that due to Marilyn’s superstar status, the press would go wild. The owner agreed and Marilyn was there at the front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. Marilyn was an unusual woman – she was ahead of her time without knowing it” – Ella Fitzgerald.

As the years pass the fashion trends change, evolve and revolve. Attitudes towards what constitutes beauty and how you attain it are questioned interminably. Today, the option of cosmetic surgery plays a disproportionately large role in how one Looks Good to Feel Better. I spoke to the three most important women in my life about their perceptions on this and here is what they said.

My baby sister Elisha is battling a rare and aggressive cancer  and, as sick as she is, still dons a wig and does her makeup (when she’s up to it) because she instantly feels better if she looks better.

Elisha Jack and Hospital BWElisha:

This is MY experience and my experience only. To me, beauty was all external. The better you looked on the outside the better you felt on the inside. This meant spending thousands of dollars on cosmetics, cosmetic surgery, fashion etc. I thought that to belong to an elitist society full of ‘beautiful people’, I needed to go on a never-ending quest to perfect my appearance through cosmetic enhancement. This quickly becomes an addiction because we never actually achieve the perfection we’re striving for.

Luckily through my experience with cancer I am now dealing with my appearance in a different way.  I have been unable to keep up my cosmetic addiction. No more botox, fillers, hair extensions, new makeup, spray tans, porcelain teeth, miracle creams, latest fashions, all the BS that claims to make you ‘perfect’.  So over the months my botox has worn off and my wrinkles have popped out,  my hair has fallen out and I am bald. But all in all I feel the same.  And I don’t believe the thousands of dollars I spent made the difference to my happiness.

Summing up, I’ve simply swapped plastic for fantastic, meaning how you feel inside is far more important than how you look on the outside! There’s much truth and power in the age old saying beauty comes from within.

(Side Note): In order to raise much needed funds to enable new and revolutionary treatments that cost a lot of money to be trialled on Elisha, with a hope of saving this young single mother of 10 year old Jack’s life, we have established The Elisha Neave Fund. If you would like to donate anything, no matter how small,  follow this link to Every Day Hero:  Every Day Hero – Elisha Neave

VeronicaFrom my other sister, Veronica:

When I had a double mastectomy at the age of 39 I seriously considered not having a reconstruction.  I was just not sure who I would be reconstructing for. When I was finally sure I was doing it for myself I went ahead and had a very painful reconstruction and many subsequent surgeries to sort out malfunctions. I am glad I have two ridiculously firm and dubiously pert representations of boobs but it does challenge my ideals about beauty.
My two sisters call me the tree-hugging natural hippie type. Well I never really hug trees and hippies would be ashamed of most of my lifestyle choices. I do however try very hard to accept the natural beauty that I was blessed with. I rarely wear makeup or high heels or go to the hairdresser, manicurist or beauty clinic but I do take pride in my appearance. I look in the mirror and say, ‘this is me and I’m OK with that’. I would love to think that I can grow old gracefully, happily, and with a shining beauty that is all my own.

Mum  Bald Jan 2012From my gorgeous Mum:

I always tried to dress well with what little I had. I have always believed that beauty comes from inside and giving is the only way to feel good even though sometimes it back fires. In those times we have to learn to give from the heart. Once we can learn to give freely and expect nothing in return, the beauty inside shines through. I knew I would lose my hair with the chemo I needed. Everyone said ‘buy a wig’ but I said no because this is what I am – why try to make myself something I am not? This is the real me!

Chrissy Keepence and the Lindy Charm School for Girls support the organisations Look Good, Feel Better, and Pink Hope.

The Lindy Charm School For Gilrs will host a raffle at the Love Vintage Show, Melbourne May 17-19, to support the Elisha Neave Fund.

Images courtesy of Chrissy Keepence, The Lindy Charm School for Girls



Cocktails from the ’20s

HarrysNewYorkBar_Neon Drhaggis Wikimedia CommonsThe 1920s, more commonly referred to as the Roaring Twenties, was a decade that saw a post-WW1 booming economy and Prohibition across the USA. Scottish born bartender Harry MacElhone, who was working in American bars pre-Prohibition, moved to Paris to start work in
The New York Bar, run by former American star jockey Ted Sloan in 1911. It is now advertised as the oldest cocktail bar in Europe

Harry bought the Bar in 1923 and placed his name at the front and the legendary
Harry’s New York Bar was born.

This place was a regular hangout for creative luminaries including Ernest Hemingway. George Gershwin actually composed An American in Paris in its Ivory Bar. Other celebrity clientele included Coco Chanel, Rita Hayworth and Humphrey Bogart.

He also penned cocktail books: Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails and Barflies and Cocktails – first published in 1927 and still in print to this day!

Harry claimed this was the birthplace of cocktails like French 75, The Sidecar, Bloody Mary, The Boulevardier and the White Lady. While their origins are actually unconfirmed, he made them famous! We thought we’d share the recipes with you in the leadup to The Great Gatsby release!

Enjoy …

Bloody_Mary williac FlickrBLOODY MARY created in 1921

45ml (3 parts) Vodka

90ml (6 parts) Tomato juice

15ml (1 part) Lemon juice

Add dashes of Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper into a cocktail mixer, then pour all ingredients into highball glass with ice cubes. Stir gently. Garnish with celery stalk and lemon wedge (optional).


Boulevardier Flickr Father AlongTHE BOULEVARDIER

1 1/2 oz. bourbon

1 oz. Campari

1 oz. sweet vermouth

Ice cubes

Tools: mixing glass, barspoon, strainer

Glass: cocktail

Garnish: orange slice, lemon twist or cherry

Stir long and well with ice in a mixing glass and strain into a cocktail glass.


Sidecar-cocktail Flickr The CulinaryGeek Wikimedia CommonsSIDE CAR, named after the motorbike sidecar he travelled around in and first appeared in 1922 in Harry’s book.

Four parts brandy or cognac

Two parts Cointreau

One part lemon juice

Mix the ingredients in a shaker half-full of ice. Strain and serve in a sugar-rimmed glass. Garnish with a strip of lemon rind.


THE WHITE LADY, softer form of the Side Car, created in 1919

1/3 Gin
1/3 Lemon Juice
1/3 Cointreau

Shake and strain and serve in your favourite cocktail glass.


French_75 Flickr Numinosity Wikimedia CommonsFRENCH 75

This combination was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm field gun, also called a “75 Cocktail”, or “Soixante Quinze” in French.

1 oz gin

1/2 oz. simple syrup (or 2 tsp. superfine sugar)

1/2 oz. lemon juice

Brut Champagne or other dry sparkling wine

Combine gin, sugar, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into an iced champagne tulip glass. Fill with Champagne. Garnish with a twist of lemon.


THE MONKEY GLAND, created in the 1920s by Harry MacElhone is a cocktail of gin, orange juice, grenadine and absinthe and named after a surgical technique of grafting monkey testicle tissue into humans! The practice was started by Dr Serge Voronoff, and was intended to produce longevity.Harrys_New_York_bar_Paris Flickr Frederic de Villamil Fotopedia

1 part gin

1 part orange juice

dash absinthe

dash grenadine

Shake well over ice cubes in a shaker, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Images are public domain and sourced from Wikimedia Commons