Here it is finally! My interview with the lovely Di of Clara Fox, a guest post for Vintage Shops Australia.
Clara Fox is one of my favourite vintage retail spaces in Melbourne and as I’ve come to know Di over the last few years I’ve lived in the city she’s been a wealth of knowledge and inspiration. It was such a lovely afternoon, filled with tea, cucumber sandwiches and gorgeous garments.
Read the whole interview here.
Vintage Shops Australia is a great online database that profiles vintage retailers in Australia. Thankyou to Pru and Tania for the opportunity to contribute to the blog and I look forward to working together again in the future!
Here are some photos and excerpts from the post.
GD: What had you been doing beforehand? Have you always been collecting vintage?
Always, yes. Well we didn’t call it vintage when I was younger but I was into second-hand clothing. I went to live with my aunt, I think I was around 15 and a half and her husband had just died. It was a big old house in Richmond, a big Victorian house. I remember she had two big wardrobes in my room and I wasn’t allowed to go in them, but I peeped into them one day and they were filled with, what her age group called (she’d be over 100 now) costumes. So they would see something or go into the city and draw something, then they’d go home and get them made. And there were all these beautiful, as I know now, 1930′s and 1940′s day dresses with little jackets- but they were all decaying. It was like they’d been locked away for 25 years then.
So from there I used to go around Richmond and Prahran and go into second shops because I had very little money and with very little money I could pick up a beautiful 1940′s black crepe that I thought was beautiful. Looking back, because I didn’t have a concept of how society viewed me as a young teenager, I just did my own thing. I was actually wearing these beautiful old garments, and that’s probably how it started for me.
GD: Do you have a favourite piece in your collection?
DI: I’ve been asked this question before, and I think it’s important to realise that in my case you don’t get connected to or caught up in one piece. When I was younger I had favourite pieces. If I was to say today what would be a favourite piece I guess it would be this crushed velvet dress which I acquired not so long ago. I love that, but I don’t have favourites.
I think for fashion the mid-20′s through to the mid-40′s is a very exciting time. The emancipation of women, they got out of all that boning. Schiaparelli made beautiful knits and it was as if you could be tall or short in those days and they would cut the garments so that it gave you that sort of boyish look. If I could wear it everyday I would love to wear 20′s and 30′s.
GD: Is Clara Fox by appointment now?
DI: No, its all trial and error, nothing is ever set in concrete. Of course you can make an appointment to come here but I am open Wednesday – Saturday from 11-5, and as you can tell the back section has some beautiful pieces in it. I guess the front salon, which I’ve tried to recreate from memory and looking at wonderful old books, is that you wouldn’t want to have a crowd in here, so it’s more like a one-on-one. I even think that people wouldn’t really even wear all of it, it’s almost more about collecting it- as people would collect wine or paintings or motor cars. If you can afford it you should collect a couple of good pieces – everything that I’ve collected I haven’t been able to fit into!
GD: That’s what I do! I keep buying little 24 inch waist tap pants! And then I keep asking myself ‘why am I buying these’?
DI: It will be revealed to you at a later date, it’s a process.
GD: If you weren’t doing Clara fox, what would you be doing?
I’d be doing a lot of gardening, I love old fashioned gardens and I really love the old fashioned plants. Given that water is so precious in our society today, there are a lot of plants out there that are very hardy that you have to go and find, and are really beautiful. I’d also be growing food, I like the idea of growing your own food, And of course I’d still be collecting.
479 Brunswick St, Fitzroy North, Melbourne
Wednesday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm
(03) 9481 1990