31 March, 2010

The Vintage Guru of Melbourne at Heritage Hill

I attended a talk yesterday by the lady who I believe is the Vintage Guru of Melbourne, Nicole Jenkins (owner of Circa Vintage Clothing store - Fitroy, writer and generally fabulous person).

Vintage Suburbia (left), Nicole Jenkins V.G. (rt)
Vintage Suburbia is wearing a 1950's dress Ebay Australia (a few yrs ago)
- see at end of post for a full photo of the dress
Nicole is also wearing a 1950's dress - very cute 

Nicole has been doing a series of talks in Melbourne to coincide with the publication of her fantastic vintage book 'Love Vintage'. If you do not have a copy of this, you need to get one now - seriously (see this link for where to buy it). It is like a bible for vintage collectors. I have a few vintage books at home, but Nicole's is by far the best - it has beautiful photos and is very comprehensive (she covers all the major designers of a particular vintage era and also things like sizing, clothing labels and the best places to buy vintage). Most other vintage books I have seen just discuss one particular designer (eg Chanel) or just look at where to buy vintage whereas Nicole's is far more broad-ranging than this.

Nicole signing a copy of her book after the talk.
The lovely lady to the left is a vintage seller from Mornington Antique centre.

In her talk, Nicole displayed and discussed a selection of clothes (mainly dresses, but also a 1760 pair of men's breeches!) from her collection. She had items from each important era of vintage, Edwardian and 1920's-70's. As Nicole is an accomplished seamstress, she loves to see how garments have been constructed and she turned many of the garments inside out to show us how to date clothing by the use of handstitching, overlocking and so on. It was very informative so I would encourage all of you to attend one of her talks. As well as having an encyclopaedic knowledge of vintage (she only had to take one look at my pink dress to tell me it was from 1953 - wow!) she is a really lovely person - very open, friendly and she has a great sense of humour. You can tell she has a deep love and appreciation for vintage, which I find very inspirational. I think we are very lucky to have such a great vintage person here in Melbourne.

The talk was held at Laurel Lodge, which is part of the Heritage Hill Museum in Dandenong. I have posted a few photos from the museum so you can see what it is like. I have also put up a full length photo of the pink dress I am wearing in the first picture in case you are interested. I wasn't able to get a proper outfit photo of it before I left, so I am sorry its just one I took last night with the dress on the hanger!

Cute fireplace - Laurel Lodge

Old fashioned milk bottle - how I wish we still used these! - Laurel Lodge

Oh my goodness, the most divine art deco era canisters - Heritage Hill Museum

And lastly, a not-so-great full-length photo of the dress I wore to the talk. My 6 year old photographer was not around when I was wearing it to take a proper outfit photo - sorry!

Below is a close up of the decorative panels on the dress (they are sewn on rather than embroidered straight on to the dress, Nicole did have a name for this, but I have forgotten sorry!)

And finally (really!) my favourite aspect of vintage clothing are the labels. This one says
'Duval of Melbourne'

I wished we saw more labels like these on modern clothes, then I might actually start buying them again!


  1. Oh your dress is lovely! And Nicole really is an absolute Guru when it comes to vintage. I must attend one of these talks soon!

  2. Such a pretty dress! I must go to one of these talks, and Heritage Hill is so pretty.
    And, I am hoping to get the book for my birthday :)

  3. Thanks for your kind words Maria, and I'm glad you enjoyed the talk. I've got another one coming up in August at the Ballarat Art Gallery and possibly one at a Melbourne library (stay tuned) in case you haven't had enough vintage goodness yet. Oh: appliques is the word you're looking for.