Saturday, 14 April 2007

Close encounters with posh frocks

On telly the other month, I won an $1800 voucher to ye Alannah Hill frock shop. Alannah Hill appeared on telly with me. Big hair, scarlet lips, gorgeously frou-frou: the human equivalent of a rose-painted Victorian teacup full of boiled lollies. The voucher arrived yesterday in the mail, so this morning I scuttled down to Lt. Collins St, dreaming dreams of turquoise velveteen dungarees and ballgowns and


it was the most harrowing experience of my life.
For over an hour, the lovely Katrina patiently handed diaphanous nothings into my change room. Frocks with no sleeves, requiring strange stick-on bra-things. Frocks of a startling transparency. Frocks in an array of colours, none, disappointingly, turquoise. Katrina listened patiently while I requested garments in an adult-size, while I explained that, proud as I am of my slightly lopsided breasts, I prefer not to showcase their asymmetry, while I dismissed her proferred costumes with vague intimations that I'd much rather run round in a purple kaftan.

I know there are lassies out there who'd sell their pinky toes for the pleasure of spending $1800 at the Alannah Hillery, but I felt strange and denatured. Also, of course, in my typical post-Puritan fashion, altogether alarmed at the profligacy of it all. That rather peculiar ensemble above includes over $600 of Alannah Hill gear, the thing in my hair alone costing $29.

I am being an ingrate and an oddity, even though I am wearing a new pink merino cardigan with lace trimmings and embroidered cherries.

The good news is knee high socks! Three pair.

18 comments:

TimT said...

It started out as a frockumentary, and ended up as a sockumentary...

You appear to have a flower growing out of your noggin. Did you ingest a poppy-seed for breakfast?

JahTeh said...

Dear Alannah, never been seen without her make-up even after giving birth. Her clothes are outrageously priced because they're only for one season, now if they lasted ten years, the prices are good.

Why only three pairs of socks? Is it a bit like the old knickers thing, one to wear, one in the wash and one for good.

TimT said...

A sockshockschlockumentary!

emmy said...

How did those Temptators know? I cannot think of a Posh Frock Shop more suitable for a Lexi. I mean i can only think of entirely unsuitable PFSs. I do think you a very lucky and clever trouser [frock]indeed. And hats [frocks] off for surviving the grave and greivous job of frock-trying-on.

nailpolishblues said...

Wasn't there a character in the Addams Family who had daisies growing out of her head? For true sartorial elegance one cannot bypass such a delightful, if kooky, group.

TimT said...

And then there's the character Frank the Flower from classic kids novel The Pushcart War, who personally admits to having busted the tyres of 18,991 trucks.

'But what did you do it for?' asked the Police Commissioner. ' Have you got something againsgt the trucks?'
Frank the Flower shrugged. 'I am a crackpot,' he said.
'I
thought so,' said the Police Commissioner. Being a sensible man himself, he took the view that only a crackpot could have done what Frank the Flower had confessed to doing.
Besides, Frank the Flower did not look to the Police Commissioner like a criminal type. This was mainly because of the hat Frank wore. It was an old felt hat with the crown cut out of it and small flowers of different colours - mostly bachelor butttons and jonquils - tucked in the hatband.


(In fact, Mr Flower had lied about the number of trucks he had taken off the road in order to protect his fellow pushcart vendors in their cammpaign of civil disobedience. I have only the highest respect for Frank the Flower, even if he is a crackpot, and fictional to boot.)

nailpolishblues said...

Your knowledge of children's books is starting to concern me, young Tim.

Karen said...

I think you've done remarkably well to find an ensemble that a person over the age of ten can wear comfortably- and the slightly concerned expression on your face is lovely!
My more fashionable younger sister often gives me her old clothes and most recently I received an Alannah Hill turquoise confection of tissue paper which, from what I can gather, I'm supposed to wrap around my torso somehow or other. "You'll want this," she said. "It cost $X"*. It looks even more like a mangled piece of lingerie than the actual pieces of lingerie she gave me. Needless to say, I have not worn it outside the privacy of my own bedroom (where it did not impress the cat at all), since, among other reasons, it does not lend itself to the kind of sensible underwear I favour.

*I cannot report the figure, for I passed out in shock when I realised how many books/records/pieces of cake that was.

lucy tartan said...

JahTeh, it was even better than that, she gave birth fully maquillaged. Given the hideously gory unnaturalness of childbirth I think it's an excellent idea, personally.

In the old days her clothes were perhaps made a little bit better than they are now. I used to have a lot but nearly all got resold on ebay, the very last batch to help pay for the house we've moved into. They do last very well and as they're basically exactly the same year after year they don't need to be replaced.

Karen, your cat must be delightfully fussy, I find mine is not at all fussy about labels etc in the garments he chooses to go to sleep upon.

blue_haired_jennifer said...

Several girls wore Alannah Hill confections to my high school final dance. It was like navigating a dance-floor populated by swirling life-sized beribboned tea cosies. Their poor dates looked utterly overwhelmed by the frou-frou femininity of it all, and there was at least one incident of cigarette burn on chiffon.

Personally I think that the beginnings of a faux floral coronet and an update of your stockery in sockery is the best approach. Pity the lovely Katrina, who must spend her days attempting to make deranged diaphanous frock-mockeries seem viable to Real Girls.

alexis said...

I'm quite a fan of Alannah and her scarlet lippy, actually. That Wuthering-Heights-meets-bubblegum look seems - in her - like a performance, a joyful game of dress-ups, a representation of femininity so extreme it has to be parody.

It doesn't work nearly so well, though, when you stop wearing your pink hair ribbons playfully, and start wearing them in deadly earnest. Given my aversion to grooming, I'm not convinced I could carry it off even on a recreational basis. I'm all for a floral print, and I don't mind a nice trim, but I like something I don't have to get drycleaned, and I prefer not to look like I've just been gift-wrapped.

For those who take an interest in such things, I now own: a short mauve thin-wale corduroy jacket, with shoulder pads, and nice big buttons; a grey and pink pinstripe suit jacket (pinstripe! pink! grey! eek!); a woolly green and white floral knee length skirt; an alarmingly seethrough black shirt; a mohair green scarf; a silly hair clip; a pink cardigan with cherries; and all them socks. I'm inordinately distressed by all the pink, to say nothing of the grey. I like greens and blues and purples and strong scarlets, but I guess I'll come round.

Jahteh, only three pairs of socks because they cost $30 each. On getting them home, I discovered that "knee-high" equals "half-way-up-the-thigh-high", but there they seem to stay, without further support, so I'm not complaining.

Karen said...

My cat is indeed an odd beastie. She likes comfort, but nothing too comfortable. Hence she is more likely to go for my handbag rather than the designer clobber.

It seems like you've done very well, Alexis. I am also delighted to hear that Alannah Hill makes knee-high socks for people like me. Most of the time they never seem to reach anywhere near my knee (don't even get me started on stockings!) and I'm not that tall.

JahTeh said...

*gasp* *choke* $30 a pair and they don't reach the knees?

lucy tartan said...

A Handbag???!?

Karen said...

Yes, a handbag, although the first choice is, naturally, my right leg. In any case, from my observation, cats are ruled by their ferocious "grass is always greener" complex more than anything else. Whatever you're using or sitting on is better than what they have and they will employ what they like to think are subtle tactics to take it from you. Then, once you've swapped, they decide that the first position really was better after all. Aren't they just magical?
Sorry, Alexis. Will curb my cat ranting on the dog-worshipping blog.

Karen said...

This may not be the place to say this, but Dickens world is finally opening! I don't know why the idea delights me so much, but it does.

alexis said...

I saw this, about Dickens world. Lovely! I hope they have back to back performances of "Oliver!"

I like cats. I don't buy into this dog-worshipper-therefore-can't-worship-cats thing. Wilbur also likes cats. He tries to sniff their bottoms.

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