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Monday, 20 June 2011


If you were planning to spend your summer sprawled across the sand on some sun-soaked Mediterranean coastline, what would you wear?  Yes, yes, I know it's not entirely relevant, given that Sydney is currently in the middle of the Big Freeze, but hypotheticals are always in season. And what better way to get out of your own skin than by imagining you're 3000 miles away?

Picture this. (Yes, I know I sound like Sophia from The Golden Girls).

Italy, 1955.  The days are so hot they make the pavements steam.  Along the coast, the sea swells gently as if it breathes in its rest.  The water is shimmering and still, its movement stifled by the oppressive heat.  Old men bask in the sun's golden oven, wrinkled like walnut shells.  Cottonball clouds drift in the burning blue sky. 

Walk on the Beach, Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida.

Further inland, in the steamy womb of towns and cities, white shutters are thrown open, spangles of sunlight falling through drifting curtains.  Apartment balconies are lined with flower pots overflowing in delicious sorbet shades of vanilla, lemon and bubblegum pink.  Ice-cream carts crowd the cobbled streets with their cheery striped awnings and gleaming silver wheels.  Women wander dreamily past colourful shopfronts, tugging gently at the leashes of little dogs hot with bother who scramble along, tripping over their own growls. What would you have worn?

Florence, 1951.

Florence, 1955

These amazing photos I found on Flickr are like The Sartorialist on rewind.  You can find literally hundreds of amazing vintage Vogue covers and spreads from decades as beautiful and elegant as the 1950s and 60s.

I absolutely love the winding staircase and the soft pink dress.  Heaven.  I wonder what all the women were thinking in these photos?

Hmmm.  Should I take off this devastatingly beautiful dress and go for a swim? Perhaps not.  The lighting's too flattering in here to leave. 

They should have cast me in Gone with the Wind, not Vivien Leigh.  What were they thinking??

I was made for this dress.  I could practically sleep in it.  In fact ... Excuse me for a second.   

Where is Romeo?  I told him to meet me here half an hour ago!  He better not be hanging out with Rosaline ...

In all seriousness though, if you're not the type to swoon over vintage dresses, you might prefer some of the more modern looks seen on this year's Spring/Summer 2011 runways.

Ralph Lauren

Love LOVE this one.

Wild Wild West much?


Such an elegant silhouette.

Emilio de la Morena

Love the pastel colour blocks.

The colours actually remind me of a spread from the 1950s.

Gotta love canary yellow telephones.  Can we please see a revival of those??

Tommy Hilfiger

Too cool for school.

Lovely at sunset.


Tribal, but also beachy.

Can imagine this against the backdrop of Egyptian Pyramids.

Alexis Mabille

All photos from

And finally, some more beautiful vintage shots to take you back in time.

Happy day-dreaming.

1 comment:

Not Quite Nigella said...

I'm in love with all of those vintage dresses-and the hair and make up too! :o Just stunning and yes I know what you mean by The Sartorialist in rewind!