I'm back from my lovely summer holiday, a Mediterranean cruise! It was entirely lovely and just what I needed...
I had dithered about whether to pack any of my favourite vintage pieces to wear and decided against it, primarily because I'm averse to the idea of wearing delicate aged fabrics in heat I'm not used too (yes, I know 'ladies don't sweat, they glow', but getting real, perspiration has been the death of too many lovely old clothes). This turned out to be a good plan asthe weather was indeed gloriously hot all week. What I did discover is that maxi dresses are a really good idea on cruise ships - light and airy in the heat, but also long enough that when it's breezy up on deck they just wrap themselves round your legs instead of revealing all! Luckily, I'm a bit of a maxi dress addict, whether it be old or new ones, so I had plenty to take with me, so I did manage a vaguely 1970s vibe, even without the genuine article with me.
On holiday, I rule the camera and my hubby rarely gets a look in, so I have few outfit photos to share, but here's a suitable summery sunset picture of me in a dress I picked up very cheaply in Barcelona, complete with a Kir Royale cocktail.
On the vintage front, there were a couple of interesting discoveries on our journey. Hubby didn't really allow for many opportunities to shop - he was too keen on climbing big hills, volcano's etc to allow much time for that. One of our stops in Toulon allowed for a bit of market browsing (the smell of the market, combining fresh fruit, herbs and the traditional Provence lavender was just divine in places), and it turns out it's a pretty good market for interesting chep clothing. We also took a cable car up to a viewpoint there where there's also a small world war 2 museum at the summit, which had quite a few original bits of uniform on display that were of a bit of interest from a militaria point of view.
Barcelona was more promising. After taking in the amazing Gaudi church and park, we had a little time to wander round the shops near the Cathedral. As well as picking up the dress above, I stumbled on a couple of vintage shops. Now, Barcelona apparently has quite a few vintage shops at the cheaper end of the market, but these weren't the ones we found. Oh no, these were the kind that have doorbells you have to ring to get into 'because they're scared of being robbed' (or want to keep out the riffraff, more like). Having ogled the items in the window of one but chickened out of ringing the doorbell at the sight of the scarey proprietor, the second one, to our surprise let us in (baring in mind that by this time in the day, we were very obviously sweaty, dusty tourists).
This is Heritage Plus on the Carrer Dels Banys Nous street. It was a real Alladin's cave of top end vintage - I saw nothing cheaper than about 400 Euros, and that was the most basic items on the rails. There was a huge range of eras, including what looked like an amazing Edwardian dress, and also the most remarkable, full blown 1950s ball gown in white and black on one of the mannequins. something only a film star on the red carpet could get away with wearing. I barely dared to even touch anything, but anyone with a passion for high end designer vintage who happens to be in Barcelona should most definitely check this shop out. (The other shop that scared us off was on the same street, for those braver than me!)
The next day was our last, which we spent wandering round Palma in Mallorca. My favourite part was the Palau March Museum. It's not a big place, but has lovely 1930s architecture and decor, a series of interesting Dali's and a lovely courtyard with amazing views and filled with interesting modern art sculptures. What it also has is a slightly bizarre display of nativity scenes from the Eighteenth Century. These are of great interest to anyone interested in fashion history, as they are made up of literally hundreds of figures dressed in tiny recreations of 18th Century spanish clothing. Apparently these models were designed to be very accurate minatures, so they are an impressive history of what clothing of the time looked like. I could have stared at it for hours...