Objects of Desire

Is the name given to an exhibition that has been at Killerton this year and I managed to catch its final day at the weekend. It’s about fashion and includes some designs by students at Falmouth university whose remit was, F

and this is some of their work

The little red number is my favourite! Here is the Courtenay dress, apologies for the glare, its part of Killerton’s collection and so was behind glass.



Here are a few more gowns from their collections, they are all vintage but some would still be wearable now.


To bring us into the right decade, these last dresses are made by current designers.

Any idea which is my favourite?


Gypsy Meets a Red Hat Society Lady!

Now, I know that at least two of my blogging friends are Red Hat Society ladies, you know who you are over in Oregon, but at the weekend I met a real live one myself. Carol, whose Hatter name is Countess Caroline, had a table displaying her gorgeous handmade fascinators, many of which she has created for mellow hatters (I just invented mellow because fellow sounded too masculine for Hatty ladies). Once Carol told me she was involved in this craziness I just had to learn more.

She began by telling me that they are all show offs! ‘You almost have to be’ she said, ‘and I’ve always been a showy off person myself’, I don’t know about that, but she is certainly a very attractive and outgoing lady who loves to chat. As well as the red hats they wear purple clothes when they meet up in their ‘Chapters’. Most of them are middlies but you can still join in your forties, then you are a Pinkie with lilac clothes and pink hats. At fifty you are invested with scarlet sparkles or a wand. Carol is one of the one hundred members of the Riviera Royals, whose leader is Princess Cockington.

When the ladies meet up they go on a ‘Hoot’, days out, concerts, shows and balls, and men are never allowed. Occasionally other chapters are invited to a soiree, to which they often travel using their bus passes, fully hatted and gowned. They have big conventions and she has been known to attend as a St Trinians girl.

During a ladies birthday month, they dress in reverse, red clothes and purple hats. There’s a whole world of red hatters out there with dedicated internet shopping sites. Some hatters have appeared on the Vanessa show, I would imagine Ms Feltz would be in her element.

            Carol told me that she went on her own to her very first meeting and that from the start she felt welcome. ‘I’ve found that women can be bitchy, but never felt that in the Red Hatters. I think it’s because of our age, there are no grudges, it’s a sisterhood. No one minds disgraceful behaviour. Even out for coffee we wear our hats. It’s supportive as well as fun, caring for each other through bereavement, watching out for each other’s well being and remembering little details.’

For last year’s Royal Wedding they celebrated at a lovely local restaurant. They watched together, all dressed to the nines waving flags, as if they were actually there. Carol has immaculately painted nails and not a hair out of place. Last year the chapter went to Ladies day at Ascot, what a sight they must have been, but as it was £3-400, this year they will be going to Newton Abbot. I have no doubt they will look wonderful.

            They have a ‘Mother of the Bride’ evening planned shortly. This will be held at the Grosvenor Hotel, Torquay, as featured on a recent Channel Four TV series. This will be a major event for which Carol will be making a sash to wear and the high heels will be out in force – manageable because it will be ‘Car to bar’.

Carol said ‘I can’t promote the Red Hatters enough, it’s given me a new lease of life and I wouldn’t be making fascinators without the society.’ She taught herself to make these exquisite little numbers. I tried one on and looked incredibly silly, but she has made lots for her chapter.

            Carol is a glamorous lady and even on holiday her style is maintained. She is ecstatic if she can sit in the sea, watching the sun glinting on her red glittery finger and toe nails. I am grateful to this fabulous lady for sharing her Red Hat experiences with me and maybe one day I might just join. Or not, because I’m too much of a scruff bag!

As well as the unnamed Oregon ladies, I’m sure there are more of you out there around the world, would you like to share some of the fun you have had? I would love to learn what you get up to around the globe!

A Cycle of Platforms and Hot Pants

Browsing a few shops the other day my friend (also middle aged) and I had a lot of laughs at the clothes in the High Street fashion shops. Some of the things they would like young women to wear, are quite ridiculous, ghastly and even dangerous. I pulled tiny, bright yellow, jeans style shorts from the rack, held them against myself and decided that if I could somehow force them onto my plumptious rear, I would probably get arrested. I was told the next day that they are worn with thick black tights, uh so? They would still be ultra revealing. Again, from my old fogey perspective, I find it quite worrying to drive through the town on a Saturday night, and see girls, even in winter, in the skimpiest of garments, especially when they are far from sober. And then I remembered. I would have been sixteen, drop dead gorgeous and with a perfect figure, when I wore Hot Pants and walked down the town on a Saturday night, far from sober! I was never one for flashing the cleavage, but my  long, brown and sexy legs climbed high up to my very cropped denims. Actually my skirts were possibly worse than the Hot Pants, because they barely covered my assets and were definitely shorter than this.

We looked at shoes next; laughing at five inch platformed Betty Boo heels, that we would need scaffolding to be able to climb into, and crutches for three months if we attempted to walk in them. Some, like these are beautiful art, I’m tempted to buy some for posterity.

I asked a shopper if she wears anything like it and she said that yes, she does on a night out, and can keep them on comfortably for four to five hours. She was a sweetie, twenty-one and happy to have a laugh with us.  Apparently she usually wears them with skinny jeans, the mind boggles. I really hope she manages to keep staying vertical. And then I remembered. My five inch, sling back platformed shoes, shiny yellow patent and worn with those tiny skirts. I really wish I’d kept them or even had a photo . . . sighs. I wonder if the twenty –one year old will be looking at the fashion when she is middle aged,and laughing about it. In the 80’s, leggings were everywhere, they disappeared for a while but then lycra’d their way back to a whole new generation, who think they’re cool. But there’s nothing new under the sun is there? Are you old enough to remember wearing some of today’s so called hot trends? Do tell me!

In My Dreams

I turned into the campus this morning and slap bang in the middle of the forecourt of the Peninsula med school stood Gok Wan. I’d been expecting him since the last series and he hadn’t showed, but at last there stood this cute, quirkily dressed hero waiting to sort out my image for the new season. No cash management department for me today, Gok was going to whisk me away in the sleek yellow beast I’d just passed parked on Barrack Road.

It was going to be some serious shopping and he was just the man to help choose the very best colour, shape and style to fit my . . . ahem . . . curves to a treat, for every occasion for the next six months. Oh yes he could surely make me look stunning.

I hoped he would agree that purple is me, I love purple, it’s one of the things that makes winter tolerable – oh and magenta, deep red, sapphire blue and orange. All colours I don’t wear in summer but winters drawers on, and they’re a must have. Maybe he can find me some sexy knee high boots, Italian leather in black and purple with bags to match. A sharp black dress with some discreetly visible cleavage and heels, the shoes that is not the dress, and a wrap or something in silver silk? If he could teach me to layer my day clothes like other people seem to manage then that would be good, leggings, tunicy things and I’m sure he’ll like that I do scarves.

I suppose after shopping today I’ll get the full treatment tomorrow. Full spa session, facial, nails – I wouldn’t mind eyebrows and perhaps some of those eye lashes that can stay on for weeks. He may have to bring someone down from London for my hair, I quite fancy Splinters, and going a touch lighter, but I want to stay natural. Princesshay will be doing a fashion show so he’ll come back for that and I’ll have to have the treatment all over again. Last time I was on a catwalk I was about thirteen but it will come back to me I’m sure. Of course he’ll want to tie in my big ‘reveal’ with turning on the Christmas lights in November. They will probably use that big glass front on Next.  It will be gorgeous of course, with lots of VERY expensive satin and lace.

‘Are you waiting for me Gilly’?

‘Uh, what’? Oh hi I was just . . .

‘Ogling that Med student’? He looks like that Gok bloke doesn’t he’? Quite cute.’

‘Oh, uh does he? Maybe a little. Yes I saw your bus go up and thought I’d wait for you. Thank God it’s Friday, I need a lie – in.