Thursday, 6 January 2011

I Heart Vintage Coats, For Better/For Worse

It has been a long time coming but my beloved vintage, hot pink, 1960s mohair coat finally bit the dust. The entire day yesterday and part of today was spent lovingly taking her apart and putting her back together again. She is now a new woman. Thank goodness I still have my industrial flat machine in my studio because I don't think my little domestic one would have been able to cope with the weight of the fabric.

She had been falling apart slowly and in small bits here and there for ages and every winter I would take her out of her 'sleeping bag' and fix little things by hand. The good thing is that the original material is in very good condition. It was only the threads in the seams that were deteriorating making it pretty easy to fix. Well, sadly (for me) this winter I decided to wear her to an important meeting thinking all would be OK but all the threads (bar a few) decided to give up the ghost on that day. By the time I got to the tube station, both arm holes in the back had split open. I knew because I could feel the cold, damp breeze blowing in. By the time I actually got on the train someone brought it to my attention that the entire side seam was flapping open. Gee I'm totally embarrassed. By the time I got off the bus at my destination, the collar started to come away at the back and the other side seam started to pop open. Every time I moved, something more would rip open. by the time I walked into the building where the meeting was, one sleeve had come off completely leaving only the lining there, the other sleeve hanging on by a few threads and both side seams wide open.

By now I was so self-conscious thinking that everyone must be thinking..."go out and get a real coat you freak"...or knowing that I was an artist they must be thinking "eccentric freak". one noticed. This is London after could run around stark naked with 20 ferrets wearing tutus on your head and no one would notice. Needless to say, I put my coat in bag and froze my buns off on the way home.

I felt tremendous compassion for my poor coat. She has a lot of sentimental value to me. She was the very first 'proper' coat I ever bought in my whole life. See, I'm from Los Angeles and it rarely ever gets cold enough there to warrant a big I never had one. Shortly before I moved to England in 1999, I went shopping for a coat. There were NO coats in California...unless you went to a ski shop...but I don't do ski way. It was on a random trip to a Salvation Army thrift store that I found her...for only $15.00...and in such good condition. I mean often do you find a vintage coat in a size 18, in mint condition, in super hot pink, made from mohair, with a stripey lining for only a song?
Her and me...we were meant to be!

Here is a picture of me wearing her shortly after I moved to London in 2000. I had just cut my very long hair to this short little poofy do. I thought I looked so smart, with my LuLu Guinness handbag...I kinda cringe now...I look so conservative!

I do love her so...even though she stinks to high heaven when she gets wet and even though people need to put on their sunglasses when they see me wearing her. Her cute Peter Pan collar, snug little raglan sleeves and tulip shape is so divinely vintage...such a gem!



Magdalena Nowak said...

With that smile and this contentment on your face you look just like a cheery cherry lady :D


Tamara said...

i actually just did a post about finding a blog through a blog through a blog...and that is how i just found your blog. i too heart vintage coats and in fact just bought a leopard print one that is totally unpractical...but how could i not get it? i LOVE this hot pink coat...fantastic!!

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