I sometimes think I was born in the wrong decade. All the people who inspire me, and all the fashions I love are from days of old. Ok, I realise that living through a war and rationing is the reality, and the things I love are merely the positives, but even so. The 1940s and 1950s were a time when neighbours knew each other, people went ‘dancing’ to socialise and women looked feminine. There was less pressure to be a size 0, and in fact curves were celebrated. Look at the ‘New Look’ by Dior of the late 1940s…a perfect hourglass. Pretty dresses with huge underskirts, gloves everyday, hats to go outside, court shoes to pop to the shops…life was for living, not a daily chore. I know a lot of this is a pretty sweeping generalisation, but fashion does that every day. Flicking through a glossy magazine presents images of skinny models, clothes no-one can afford and advice for ‘everyone’ that is so vague you may as well do without! They dictate the ‘trends’, they make life materialistic. And people believe them. Don’t get me wrong, I read glossy magazines. But I don’t take them too seriously.
Back to living in the past, life was easier to live. Technology didn’t rule our lives, and a holiday was a family event, not a break from work. I look at pictures of my Grandma from a 1956(?) holiday on the Norfolk Broads and she looks relaxed, happy and care-free. I also want nearly every outfit she is wearing 😛 I think looking back on other decades is always going to be through rose-tinted glasses as they are presented in the best way. The late 1940s and early 50s represent a new freedom – the war was over, fabric was more easily available and in larger quantities, the Americans brought over new things, and women played a greater role in society. They could be strong and empowered and became role models for other young women.
This brings me onto inspiring people and in particular one person who I have recently ‘discovered’. I say discovered in that she made a recent impression on me, rather than I had only just heard of her! A slender dancer, born in the Netherlands who lived through the war. England became her home, and she started acting. Soon she was known as one of the greatest icons of her time. Of course I mean Audrey Hepburn. I see similarities between her and myself…in looks, personality and aspirations. I am not saying that I look like her…she is much too attractive and bewitching for me to compare myself like that (it’s those eyes :P)…but she looks innocent, she looks sensitive and she is slender in a world of Marilyn Monroe. She danced, but never made it big as a ballerina. She always thought of everyone else before herself. I would love to be as selfless as she was. I recently watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s and was captivated by her…only she could make Holly appear so classy 😛 I still have Sabrina, Roman Holiday, Charade and Funny Face to watch. I have numerous books about her life, and portraying her through photographs. I decided yesterday to do some drawing and fell upon one of the photo books I’ve got on my shelf. Could I possibly attempt to capture ‘Audrey’ in a drawing? I hope I achieved it 🙂
After a lot more waffle than I anticipated starting this post, I go back to my original statement – I was born in the wrong era. However, one thing I do appreciate from today….I can choose to dress in 50s attire, I can mix it with something else, I can listen to old music and go dancing…but I can do it in the modern day. I can listen to 70s if I prefer, I can wear a flapper dress with platforms if I so wish (I don’t :P) because I have all these wonderful things available to me, along with a freedom to be myself. Yes I look back to the time my Grandparents grew up in, I love hearing their stories and I will watch old musicals all day given the chance, but I live in 2012. That’s not going to change, so I guess I’ll just have to stick to time travel 😛
‘Your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady.’ ~Edith Head
‘For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.’ ~Audrey Hepburn