Vintage time and time again
SWEPT up in the romance of bygone eras, Nicole Jenkins is a vintage junkie.
She surrounds herself in the garb of yesteryear, particularly dresses of 1930s floral fabrics, and lives in an art deco home boasting a mixture of Victorian and mid-century modern furniture.
The former Cottesloe, now Melbourne-based style specialist has penned two books showcasing her passion and owns prominent online emporium Circa Vintage, with items spanning 200 years of Australian fashion.
“You will truly never get bored with vintage; it’s a boon for the creative person,” Jenkins said.
“Over the years I have come to appreciate its rarity, the fabrics that simply aren’t made anymore and the intricate and time-consuming techniques that are only possible when someone makes something with love (or is paid very low wages).
“More recently I fell in love with it for being the ultimate in green fashion – reusing and recycling rather than supporting an often exploitative modern industry.
“One of my most prized possessions is a ’20s silk velvet opera coat that my mum found in an op shop in the ’60s.”
Jenkins originally opened Circa Vintage as a retail store in Fitzroy’s Gertrude Street in 2004 and relocated to the city in 2012 with a salon in the Mitchell House art deco building.
Her desire was to show people how timeless fashion could enrich their lives.
The stock has grown over time to comprise women’s, men’s and children’s wear, as well as fabrics, haberdashery, linen and curtains.
“I love all old things – the passage of time imbibes items with a depth, a soul,” Jenkins said.
“There is a great irony in older things being better quality than what we buy now in our modern, affluent world and I love the stories that they have to tell about other people’s lives.
“It’s a reminder that we’re all just passing through.”
Jenkins’ latest book, Style is Eternal, discusses the philosophy of fashion and is available from local bookshops, as well as her online store, www.circavintageclothing.com.au.
“The book is about looking outside of the mainstream fashion world to find the wonderful treasures that lie elsewhere,” she said.
“It talks about tailoring off-the-rack styles to fit you perfectly and keeping them safe from poor cleaning and storage practices.
“These are ideas our grandmothers followed to look and feel their best without spending a fortune, but we’ve forgotten them in the modern world of disposable fashion.”