Monday, 29 April 2013

I Can See Clearly (through) Now

In my last Post, I promised to let you know how my escapades went regarding getting a photo-shoot done for some saucy website pictures.  In truth, it wasn't the success that I had hoped - partly down to some bad planning on my part.  I arranged to meet one of my photographers in deepest darkest Cheshire last weekend, and had already planned my outfit for the day.  Late last year I had bought a gorgeous see-through mackintosh to wear over my vintage outfits in poor weather, but the harlot in me had already noted the possibilities of wearing it with very little underneath.  So, with mac in my bag, and stockings and high-heeled boots on and wrapped up in a warm coat, I set off for the pre-arranged meeting point.

What I had forgotten to check properly was the weather forecast.  When I arrived at the meeting point and pulled the mac out of the bag, the photographer took one look at the thin, translucent coat and then one look at the overcast and darkening sky, and said, "Oh dear.."  We agreed that some haste was going to be required, so I quickly donned the mac and immediately regretted my decision to go for this outfit.  The biting wind glided it's chilly fingers up the hem of the mac and coiled it's cooling arms around my naked flesh.  My legs, encased in black hold-ups and boots, were fine, but the rest of my body was struggling to keep warm.  When the first heavy raindrops began to fall, I knew it was time to go, despite being outside for only half an hour.  Nevertheless, we did get a couple of pictures - last week's Picture Of The Week was one of them.  It has gone now, of course, but there will no doubt be another in the near future.  Until then, I'll leave you with this somewhat smaller taster...

Dexi - PVC Raincoat, and a cold Spring day
Onto this latest weekend, and this time I wasn't bothered about the weather - the reason?  It was the York Festival Of Vintage at the city's beautiful racecourse, and it was indoors!  I was well-wrapped up this time, anyway - vintage wool suit (yes, the Goodwood Revival winning costume came out again), stockings, vintage girdle, leather gloves and heels, of course.

Dexi - York Festival Of Vintage 2013
 Although this event has been running for some time, this was the first time that I had attended, and I can certainly say that it is well worth visiting.  Two large halls selling vintage clothing, furniture and memorabilia, some lovely old cars to view and entertainment, too, from various bands and DJs over the weekend playing music of the 40's, 50's and 60's.

Dexi - York Festival Of Vintage 2013
There was already a fairly impressive queue when I arrived just before the doors opened at 10.00am on Saturday, and I managed to stay until the very end of the day, too, as even then there was a little more to see and stalls to peruse.  I was really impressed with the effort some of the attendees had made with their outfits - there were some gorgeous and gorgeously-attired ladies there, and even the gents made an effort too - many looking extremely dapper and fabulous.  After the Nantwich Revival Festival, this also was a fantastic start to the vintage weekends that spring up all over the country during the Spring and Summer months.  Indeed Haworth, one of my favourites, is only a few weeks away.  I did only come away with a couple of small things, though - some lovely pink vintage gloves and a brooch that complemented my outfit on the day.  For once I was a good girl.

Dexi - York Festival Of Vintage 2013
Being a good girl didn't last, unfortunately.  Sunday saw me attending another vintage fair at another racecourse - this time Decorative Fairs at Chester racecourse.  A little closer to home, but not the size and splendour of the York festival, it was nevertheless another reason to slide on some stockings and a vintage dress and see if I could pick anything exciting up. 

Unlike York, however, this time I did find a dress that caught my eye.. a vintage dress of such fine material that it is, like my PVC mac, completely see-through.  When I tried it on in the ladies toilet it clearly showed the vintage girdle and stockings that I was wearing underneath!  It would, maybe, not be a good idea to wear it like this to a daytime vintage event... I ended up buying a sexy silk slip to go under it from another stall for such occasions!

Dexi - Chester Vintage Fair 2013, and a see-through vintage dress!
So, my last two weekends have been bookended by see-through outfits.  I wonder if I'm getting a little, well, perverted...

May is already looking very busy, and I'm going to be out and about for the next few weekends - so there will be plenty to catch up on this month!


Friday, 12 April 2013

(Not) Puttin' On The Ritz

The road to Hell, they say, is paved with good intentions.  Well, my 'intentions' this week were to get my Blog update done last Sunday before a busy week enjoying myself in Altrincham.  As you can guess, that didn't happen as planned.  Oh well, 'they' also say "Better late than never," so that will have to do.

Last Saturday, intending to enjoy the first true bit of sunshine this Spring, I headed over to the north-west coast to visit the beautiful Midland Hotel at Morecambe.

Dexi - The Midland Hotel, Morecambe
 The hotel itself was originally built in 1933, and it's beautiful clear lines can only be from the art-deco era.  It was restored to it's true glory in 2008.  It's been on my list of 'to-do' things for some time, and it was a recent positive comment by friends who had lunched there last year made up my mind to make it sooner rather than later. 

I decided to dress appropriately for the venue, so high-heels, seamed stockings and retro dress were the order of the day.  I arrived in the town mid-morning, and a quick stroll around the seafront before heading over to the Midland for lunch.  Morecambe, like many of our seaside towns and resorts has suffered massively since the availability of the cheap package holiday abroad, and the town itself still seems to be struggling to come to terms with where it's future lies.  It certainly hasn't gone the route of cheap kiss-me-quick hats and garishness of Blackpool, but also does not have the cosmopolitan air of Brighton.  It appears to be a little stuck with what it's next move should be.  Maybe, perhaps, The Midland could be pointing the way forward.

Dexi - The Midland Hotel, Morecambe
I was luckily enough to be the first customer of the day in the lovely sea-view bar, complete still with a truly fabulous art-deco interior to match the stunning lines of the hotel itself.  Tucked away at the rear of the bar, but away from the sea-view, were the delightful 'snugs' - again, all in keeping with the theme of the hotel.  Complementing the time-warp experience was the music - Billie Holiday, Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby and host of other 1930's and 1940's stars providing the perfect soundtrack. 

Dexi - The Midland Hotel, Morecambe
I ordered a fantastic 'tapas' snack, and, though it was only lunch, a cocktail, as the occasion seemed to warrant it.  I decided to choose the sea-view instead of the 'snug' however, as the clear air gave truly outstanding views over Morecambe Bay to the snow-covered hills and mountains of the southern Lake District.  With Billie Holiday and the cocktail soothing my soul and my mouth-watering lunch before me, I was just thinking that it couldn't get any better when....

...it didn't.  The door to the Bar opened, and in came the next of the Bar's customers.  Kagools, jeans, 'trainers', t-shirts.  The loud foursome sat close by, and soon enough poor Ms. Holiday began to fade into the background.  The door opened again, and next group shuffled in, followed by another group, each a little more casually-dressed and unkempt than the last.  And so it continued until the Bar was full and the rustle of cheap nylon jackets grew and grew, and the voices and songs of a past that the Hotel was trying to recreate disappeared.  If I'm honest, I despaired a little at the intrusion of the impolite, dressed-down and don't-care attitude of modern living - suddenly The Midland, sadly, seemed to be the right place in a wrong time.  Now, I am very aware that those comments may just sound a little, well, 'snobby'.  I don't mean them to be - in fact, I'm very much (and proud) to be a working-class working girl, as those who have visited me will know.  Yes, I can be crude and rude, but certainly also appreciate that there are times and occasions where more decorum (and a beautiful dress, stockings and heels) is required - and I just thought that The Midland was such a place and deserves better.  And maybe, just maybe, Morecambe deserves better, too.  A quick tour around the town after lunch revealed more treasures - streets of well-kept 1930's houses and lovely art-deco public buildings.  Yes, there are parts certainly that need tidying up, but the promise, however faint, is there.  Let's face it, Morecambe can not rival Brighton (with it's proximity to London), but maybe it could try and offer something different to both Brighton and Blackpool.  Perhaps an attempt to recreate some of the glamour of the past along it's lovely sea-front, and use the theme of The Midland to establish a standard for the rest of the town to match?  I have commented previously on some cities that seem eager to sell their history to anyone willing to put thirty pieces of silver into the Council purse, but maybe Morecambe could embrace it's past instead, and use it as a template for a better future.  The massive interest in the summer 1940's/1950's events (including the colossal Goodwood Revival and Twinwood Festival, of course) shows that there are lots of people out there who would relish a glimpse and taste, no matter how rose-tinted, into a glamorous, slightly decadent, and definitely well-dressed past.  There are lots of superb big bands keeping the magic of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman alive, torch singers keeping the flickering light of Billie Holiday burning and truly fabulous burlesque acts to provide some gloriously sexy midnight entertainment too, all of which could help with attracting the retro crowds to the resort.  No kagools, jeans or trainers allowed, of course.  Who knows, perhaps the glamour of the seaside holiday could return. 

Sunday brought a little more retro-themed fun.  This time, it was south towards Nantwich, who were hosting a Retro Revival event at the lovely 1950's Civic Hall.

Dexi - The Civic Hall, Nantwich
This time, it was heels, stockings and my vintage 1940's suit, to match the event.  For a small fee it was, I have to say, a truly lovely day.  Along with some real bargains in the market itself, there was also entertainment from live bands and a DJ playing classics from the 30's, 40's and 50's.  I decided to treat myself to a well-preserved vintage navy blue suit, complete with flared skirt that will be perfect for flashing my stocking tops, no doubt, and a couple of vintage hats.  With the imminent return of the 1940's seasonal events, it's a good time to be 'stocking' up on some necessities!

Dexi - Retro Revival Festival, Nantwich
I am hoping that the sunny and slightly warmer weather holds out, as I have plans for an outdoor photo-shoot this weekend, with the aim of providing more lovely pictures for my Picture Of The Week.  I'll let you know how I get on!