Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Going Carny

Spending a fortnight in the imaginary embrace of life as a carny has it's drawbacks.
I guess.
For me, it means spending extra time stroking my 1930s knickers and nighties and finding new ways to wear them.
For the locals, I guess it means possibly falling over and getting a concussion.

I made a mad dash home before dark to snap off these pics.
Tonight is State of Origin night (interstate rugby league comp) and footy fans everywhere are flying flags, wearing team colours and generally getting ready for a huge night on the piss.
I wondered about the odd looks I was getting today, but realised that if people feel good in ugly league shirts, PJs, dressing gowns and strange hats while carrying slabs of beer around, I have the right to look like a carny;)).

I'm wearing a 1930s silk PJ top, 1920s tail coat - both from eBay; Saba bag; thrifted silk scarf and leather shorts; Midas leather and glitter shoes - flea market and some tricky Black Milk leg wear.
The style is based on their Wet Look Leggings, but with feet!  So they're warm, slinky and shiny all-in-one piece!

I dub thee: Cooch Dancer Shoes.

Laura Palmer brooch from The Bookhouse Girrrrl's Etsy shop.

When Carnivale aired late at night from 2003, I was knee-deep in two sets of babies' nappies and boobies leaking breast milk.
Sadly there was just no time for the grit of life in the 1930s Dust Bowl and Great Depression.
Until now.

My recent discovery of Carnivale had The Phoenix and I in its apocalyptic grip for endless nights.
Then I saw a poster for  Water for Elephants, the film set in the same era, and remembered someone had given me the book a few years ago.
So I dived in and devoured it too.

I've just emerged for air and think I've turned carny.

1930s silk knickers - eBay; black kimono worn inside out - eBay, I added the gold silk patches to the torn lining; 1980s silk sequinned top - thrifted; 1950s leopard-print hat - gift from Nelly.

My parents were born in the mid-1920s and grew up in New Zealand and Australia during the Great Depression, so it's an era I experienced second-hand.
They were sad and desperate times.
My dad left school and started working as a farm labourer at age 13.  
The same year, he bought his first pair of shoes.
My mother still doesn't throw ANYTHING away and I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s steeped in frugality and the WWII "make do and mend" ethos.
I must have seemed a strange child.

The circus and the carnival arriving in America's rural towns must have seemed a few hours of sweetness for the poor folks doing it tough.
Far from the harsh life in the Dust Bowl, my parents' generation also experienced desperate battles for their daily needs but I always suspected they sugar-coated daily life in the 1930s and 1940s.
What I love about the modern interpretations of those times, is the subversive content of what life was really like.
There was friendship, kinship and loyalty.  
On the other hand, there was rape, alcoholism, prostitution, poverty, starvation, cruelty and murder.
Bit like today huh?

When was the last time you were sartorially inspired by a book, movie or television program?
Desiree xo


  1. So gorgeous DD and you look 100% better than any footy crazed fans could ever look.I havent watched Carnivale but have seen small bits of it am hearing a few bloggers talking about it so may have to start watching.

  2. Phwoar those leather shorts look amazing on you! And those tights are very slinky indeed. Looking forward to seeing what you'll wear on Saturday.xx.

  3. You look fab, as always, Desiree, love your red cape and ADORE your 1950s leopard hat. Isn't it lovely to be so inspired by something? I constantly refer back to Joan from Mad Man for sartorial inspiration.

    Sarah xxx

  4. Fridaaaaaaaa - all the way.
    With side excursions to Orlando and Elizabeth the Golden Age. I'm FOREVER in the dressing up box.

    Also - ye gods that butterfly headpiece

    You look remarkable D.
    I cannot understand sports wear or the fibres it is made of or people who wouldn't think you are a wonder.

  5. Love every look! I'm currently in the thralls of Carnivale, too, what a coincidence... it's completely affecting the way I get dressed every day, haha! I love Sophie's dusty classic looks, and Lila's got some pretty luxurious looks going on too.

  6. Desiree, I'm loving those lucious leather shorts and that cape on you.
    I cannot understand why anyone would want to walk around in nylon sportswear however fanatical they are about supporting their team.
    I don't have cable tv and don't know that programme. I was watching George & Mildred last weeked and am always inspired by Yootha Joyce. What a woman, even Morrissey stuck her on a record sleeve. xxx

  7. what an adorable tail coat! i love you whole outfit and that inside-out kimono is gorgeous :) hope you have a great day!

    love, M

  8. Love the green headscarf!(THE GREEN SHOES WOULD BE GOOD WITH THE HEADBAND GIGGLE)but the silver shoes are great too.
    I am reading about the dust bowl now, its a great book and i think all should read it.
    I ask a lady in the nursing home if she was in it and she said yes and that it was awful.
    my love to you friend, you are as beautiful as EVER!

  9. I have never heard of carnivale. I guess it aired in my "Partying days of my early 20s" I googled it and it looks VERY interesting. Carnivals are one of my favorite things. So I suspect I will totally enjoy this show!
    Thank you =)

    Your outfit is smashing!! I am lovin that hat!!

  10. My grandparents never threw anything away either. Though they did often give gifts back to you! Some people though seemed to react to living in that period by hating to have anything old once they were out of the doldrums. I have to watch Carnivale xx

  11. Hi There....I found Carnivale last summer, a friend lent me the DVD. I watched it nearly every night, & was completely obsessed!! The best thing I had watched in years. The fashions are totally gorgeous and it is one of my favourite era's. Brother Justin eeek what more can I say!
    You look fantastic by the way
    And Nelly if you read this you've got to watch it you'd love it!! xx

  12. P.s thanks for following.... have followed you too!!

  13. whouahhhh

    so sexy....

  14. You make me smile every time...

  15. new here, love your style and attitude.
    anyways, I adored the sets and outfits of Carnivale (although I felt the plot and character development were lacking). haven't seen or read water for elephants yet

  16. I love those tights! Actually all the outfits but the tights are a standout.

  17. wow - look at all those hats! I'm jealous of that collection!
    What a great era to draw fashion inspiration from!

  18. You look smokin hot in that tux jacket, shorts and heels! I love your take on carnival dressing too. I love period films and series for inspiration but never have the time to indulge - I do want to see that Water for Elephants flick though - costumes look divine!

  19. Liquid look tights are crazy cool, I need those, stat! It's great to have a sense of humor about mediocre dressed people staring you down, it happens to me quite a bit too! And WFE is on my library list, I am looking forward to that book and the style suggestions it may inspire!

  20. I must watch Carnivale too. I'm contantly inspired by old film stars and eccentrics - many of them are already in your right side bar, we have very similar taste in people.

    I love all your outfits but my favourite is the look with the tail coat. And I LOVE the tights xx

  21. Well I'm definitely going to be checking out Carnivale, don't know how I hadn't until now. I really love those sparkly shoes with the wet-look tights!

  22. My folks were born in the 20's too!
    Carnivale is fantastic,but I've only seen most of the first series. I must recify that!
    And as for you,my darling,you look frigging amaaaazing as per usual! The carny look is divine for you,with all your sexy vintage lingerie!
    I haven't read that book,Water for Elephants,yet!I've only just heard of it,but am dead keen to see the film,the costuming looks wonderful!!
    Slurp! XXX


Just do it ...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...