Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Vintage or Retro?

I confess that I am obsessed with 1940's style glamour. I think it's something to do with the eyebrows and the shoes. Don't ask me why but I've always had a thing about eyebrows. The shoe thing is just a female default. I was given this lovely book for my last birthday ....



I took it with me when I visited my grandmother on Sunday. She's 89 now, but may as well still be 19, as she was in 1938 when this picture was taken.


She was trying to escape back to France, disgusted with her parents for having had the audacity to move to London when she was too young to have a say in the matter. They didn't want her to travel because war was about to be declared, but in the end she ran away for the love of a man, and his country, along with her gas mask which she was allowed to take with her, but which she said she would rather die for than wear. Here is the dashing fellow she was after, he was 26 at the time and working as a chef in Paris. My grandfather.


My Nana and I leafed through the book together on Sunday with the usual "cooo'ing" and "corrr'ing" noises you would expect while she was reminiscing and I was listening with wonder, and then we arrived at the shoe page ...

Shoes?????? she suddenly bellowed with extreme indignation! "SHOES!? We didn't have SHOES!!!" she said with as much disbelief as if somebody had told her that Hitler was really a woman. I looked confused having never heard her talking about the part of the war where women were forced to have bare feet due to lack of supplies. She saw my horrified and concerned look and explained that in German occupied Paris, if you wanted shoes, especially nice ones, you had to make them. Apparently, you would buy your pre-sized wooden wedges at the market. Then you would take them home and make covers and straps from whatever you had handy; Coat material for winter shoes; and dress material for summer shoes. Luckily, my Grandfather was pretty good with a hammer, and made some nifty ones for her. I saw pictures of them. OK .. they made her dainty legs look a little bit like golf clubs, but they were beautiful shoes, very cool, and I'm sure they would have the likes of Vivien Westwood turning green with envy, and wishing she had designed them herself, had she been alive then. Unfortuntely, I don't have a picture of them to show you, so you will have to settle for a picture of the latest acquisition to my own shoe department.


I love them with all of my heart.

And while we are on the subject of vintage, I would like to say Thank you to Caroline of Bag the Jewels (and her lovely daughter Lauren) for adding a link to my blog from her dangerously tempting website. I have to say that I have seen alot of this stuff in person where it is displayed in Oxford, and I wouldn't be selling ANY of it .. oh no .. it would be mine ... All mine ...

3 comments:

julia said...

Thanks for visiting, I'll be trying the lemon in rice pudding trick next time Ian's away and I can eat it in peace without pretend vomiting sounds in my ear every time I take a mouthful!
Julia x

kathi d said...

Well, it's no wonder you are so gorgeous, seeing your grandparents here!

Anonymous said...

Just had time to read the whole blog, not just the bit at the end about me and my mum haha! I agree with Kathi d! :-) x