Warming the cockles of frozen fashionista hearts

It’s a well-known fact that fashionistas love winter – more layers than a Sara Lee pastry mean more scope with exciting texture and colour combinations and luckily this month’s a) freezing and b) sees two gloriously fashionable books model-strutting to a bookshelf near you.

Forties fashion: from siren suits to the new look is one such and flicking through there are some terrific examples of that oh-so-retro-chic period. True, it was probably not that much fun to live through (at the height of rationing New Zealand women were allowed a measley two pairs of stockings per annum- gah!).  At the rate I go through mine I’d be bare legged by February. 

Fantastically illustrated there are pictures of Betty Grable-esque bikini pin-up posers, the military influence, V for Victory, buttons and aprons and Hawaiian prints.  For those interested in seeing something similar in the flesh (or should that be cloth?) The Airforce Museum has a free exhibition entitled Fashion at War: New Zealand style in World War 2.  For a taste of what’s on offer check out their gallery.

Like I give a frock : fashion forecasts and meaningless misguidance might have been designed specifically to appeal to moi.  Implied bad language, punning and pointed fashion-based bon mots.  Upon sighting this book on the shelf I was irresistably drawn to it like a moth to a flame.  The imaginary author “Michi” is sardonic, scathing and oh-so-sane (when did it become okay to wear a tracksuit to the supermarket?  Answer – it didn’t). Very sharp and very funny with whimsical, painted illustrations that are a delight to behold.  For those who can’t stand the tyranny of the reserve list some relief can be got from the website (which has fast become my new favourite thing) but do try and get your hands on the book which, with its pink fabric cover and little ribbon bookmark is a lovely thing in and of itself.

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