Deco Lamps, Fake Leopard Rugs & Rosemary's Black Latex BikiniThursday, August 16, 2012
In the 80s for many of my glamour photographs for Vancouver Magazine I would buy bolts of very nice satin. My secret weapon was my faithful makeup artist, Inga Vollmer who with pins here and there could manufacture dresses (that revealed just enough) in a few minutes.
It was always an adventure to go to Dressew during the boom in strip parlours in Vancouver. Lusty Leanne had promoted the custom of dancing on the exotic dancing bar stages on some sort of rug. This was the third phase of the dancer’s show when she would take it all off and do legwork on her back or stomach. Dancers (I knew many of them) would buy up al the fake leopard rugs they could find plus stuff to make their outfits.
Today I went to Dressew in search of a fabric called Dauphine. I am having my art deco desk lamp shade re-covered. This is the second time. My Rosemary wanted the textured strip ridge (cut in a bias) for this but the Victoria Lampshade Shop, 103-1926 4th Ave did not have that fabric and suggested I try Dressew. The Victoria Lampshade Shop is the last place left (they have a store in Victoria) where you can have lampshades re-covered. People now buy the whole lamps and when the shades look bad they buy a new lamp. Those days of finding and choosing from a myriad of lampshade stock at Sears, the Bay or Eaton’s are gone.
|Rosemary at KOA in Mexico circa 1970|
They did not have dauphine at Dressew but I found a very nice textured off-white silk that will do the job. I noticed many beautiful young women with very dark and precise bangs. They had very white faces and I know that at least a few of them were burlesque artists in search of inspiration for their costumes.
When I got home I became nostalgic for the idea of cloth, sewing, needles, etc. In some way that sort of thing has been part of my life since I can remember. I used to thread needles for my grandmother and mother.
|Camile & Saffron Henderson|
satin from Dressew
haute couture Inga Vollmer
By the time I was 15 I had learned to fry eggs and sew buttons. When I complained to my mother that she had broken the egg yolks of my fried eggs and told her I would not eat them, she informed that hence I would have to fry them myself to my satisfaction. Nagging her to sew a button or hem a pair of jeans led to the same reaction, “You do it.”
I was thinking about this only last week when we were talking about the verb to baste and I brought up the topic that it did not only involve turkeys. I drew a blank with everybody except Rosemary.
When I hem my jeans I baste them with a stapler. My grandmother would not have been horrified as she was practical.
In the picture of Rosemary here sunning herself in a KOA pool somewhere in Mexico you can see that she is not wearing a proper bathing suit. She did not own one. We then embarked on the project of making her a black latex bikini (alas I cannot find a picture of her wearing it). This was around 1970. I went to the Palacio de Hierro, a very good chain of Mexico City department store and bought a bra (Rosemary’s size) and a pair of low cut panties.
At home I carefully took those apart using small nail scissors and a razor. We then made a pattern with the different sections. We then went shopping for the latex, which somehow we found.
Then Rosemary, by hand, put a black latex bikini together. I do remember that the fittings became a terrible distraction which ended with long and languorous siestas.
The lamp will be fixed soon. Few of you might know that the lamp is very important for my plant scanning. I have thin, green bamboo stakes (the garden variety) which I clamp to the top of the lamp and then move the lamp near the scanner flatbed glass. I suspend roses and other plants from the tip of the bamboo over the glass so that the rose almost touches the glass.
|the art deco lamp, left|
centre, Yuliya Kate at my computer
|The pinking sheers we bought to cut the black latex &|
my grandmother's traveling sewing kit with initials DG (Dolores de Irureta Goyena).
For the still life scan of the sewing stuff at home I found in one of our sandal wood Chinese chests (in the family since 1930) a Filipino party bag made of jusi which is a fabric woven from silk, pineapple threads and banana fiber originally used in he 19th. century and much of the 20th. In the bag was a carfefully folded jusi handkerchief with the initial N. My mother was called Nena, short for Filomena. Going to Dressew is almost as magically nostalgic as opening those Chinese chests, every now and then.
|My mother's jusi party purse|