|L'Uccello Haberdashery in Melbourne|
I'll start this post with a notice: I had a piece published in a recent Mollie Makes (Issue 45) all about Melbourne's Rose Street Artists' Market. It's Fitzroy's answer to Brick Lane's artsy, craftsy markets. If you fancy reading the article, it's HERE. With some smashing accompanying pictures by the gentlemanly and marvellous Corey Sleap.
So having read the article you've obviously decided to visit Melbourne. Once here I'd also also urge you to hop on a tram and visit what is one of my favourite crafty establishments of repute and elegance: l'Uccello Haberdashery.
Remember the blogpost about the Nicholas Building and its role as Melbourne's hub of textiley wonder? L'Uccello is in there. Imagine Liberty and V.V. Rouleaux had a love child who - once all grown up - then eloped to Melbourne with an 19th-century French haberdasher and had yet another child.
|Ribbons and trimmings aplenty.|
|The creative possibilities that l'Uccello affords is somewhat spectacular.|
Luckily I spotted that Kim has a passion for passementerie. Particularly metallic lace passementerie
"Passe... what?" I hear you cry.
Passementerie. You know, all the elaborate bells and whistles that used to festoon clothes in the days before the rise of polyester and the velour tracksuit? You know, fringes, galloons, gimps, rosettes, tassels and the Mighty Pompom? If you want a 19th-century interpretation, here 'tis. Today, passementerie is generally associated with furniture upholstery but Kim collects lovely pieces of brocade and embellishments made of gold and silver thread that were intended to adorn clothing. Imagine lacework but with silver, or tassels of gold. Then attach it to your clothes - or in the case of Catholic clerics, your vestments - rather than your chaise longue.
|A few examples of antique metallic passementerie in Kim's collection.|
|Basket of textiley delights and wonder!|
|Some bobbins with the metallic thread that was used for lace-making or the construction of weightier tassels and trims.|
|This two-tone silk moire is the sort of striking creative fodder that would set the heart of any miliner racing.|
|A few more examples of metallic trims. In this instance some lovely patina'd tassel that is yet to find a home adorning a frock or suit.|
|Silk jacquard ribbon and an original jacquard design from 19th-century Lyon|
|This was one of my favourite trims; a ruffly, ombre number that would look exquisite on some sort of evening dress affair.|
From the macro to the micro, you can still find echoes of the makers and wearers behind these tiny objects. The patina that develops on the metallic passementerie is not only from oxidation but the organic build up of generations of fingers that have made and handled the embellishments. It would be incredible to find out their individual stories, but the strangely compelling beauty of the patina's supposed imperfection - the dulling of the gold or silver - is often all that remains
|Art deco style metallic trims.|
|Silk passementerie embellishments|
*Oh, to have the time and access to the libraries and archives to read up on it all! But I will have to save that for another stage of life...
With thanks to Kim Hurley for taking the time to show me such an exquisite selection of haberdashery. It's always a privilege and pleasure to listen to someone who has such a passion and profound knowledge of their field. Aren't we lucky it's such a beautiful field that Kim is blessed to work in?
(Images: Zoë F. Willis)