Because, hey, apparently I’m totally rubbish at finishing and publishing posts I’ve half written, so here’s two years in one.
OK, for reference, Glyndebourne is a country house that hosts the annual Glyndebourne Festival in it’s grounds (the 80th year this time around). Apart from some wonderful music and singing, amazing sets and costumes, many of the audience go to town on their outfits and (weather permitting) bring completely over the top picnics, often with tables, chairs, flowers and candles to eat in the immaculate grounds. Over the course of the evening you eat a multiple course meal around the performance (starter when you arrive, then there is a big interval so you can eat your main course, usually with dessert afterwards, followed by candle lit coffee and mints at the end…..or is that just us!!?). My very generous Sister kindly treats her best friends and me to tickets each year and as I don’t get out much, I take it as an opportunity to dress up.
When there a few years ago, we chatted about opera coat envy (oh yes, there are opera coats) and there was talk about my making some, but, in reality, the cost of the fabric alone (I was thinking tweed or velvet, Scottish Widow style) would be high, and then there’s the actual making, which I just know I’ll never get around too. A quick Etsy hunt showed it would be a much better idea to just buy a vintage one.
I found this 1930’s beauty quite modestly priced and it was swiftly delivered from Mexico City (the listing photos were a bit dreadful, so it was a punt, but one that worked out well). It’s been shortened at some point, so is a bit below knee-length on me, the lovely beaded ‘phoenix wings’ were in good condition as was the velvet and lining. I washed it. Now that was a gamble, but the white lining was more than a bit grubby so I chanced it, the dye did run a bit from the velvet but I managed to wash the lining separately so it ended up looking pretty good. I did quite a lot of fixing, as some of the actual seams were splitting and I re-stitched nearly all the beads on just to make sure they stay there over time.
These last three photos were taken a few weeks back, as the poor thing has been waiting for a new button before being carefully stored away (I don’t like to leave dark coloured things, or ‘dust catchers’ on display in case they get sun damaged, or worse, clothes moths move in).
The rest of my outfit was matched to the cloak, from things I already owned. There was this fab Orla Kiely dress that sat on my wish list for months, I remember being a bit gutted that in the sale, there were none left in my size, then my pathetic ‘keep looking at it’ method paid off as some more were listed and I snapped one up.
My shoes were an addition to my Chie Mihara collection, courtesy of a Christmas gift, ‘Anuncio’ in the brown/gold colour. I notice that these are still hanging around on some sites in the sale, even after a year or so.
A rare chance to get my nails done and drag out some family jewellery, the ring was my Mum’s and the bracelet my Gran’s. I used to wear the ring daily when I was an art student but it mostly sits in a box now and rarely wear gold, I tend towards silver and more modern style for day-to-day wearing, so the bracelet doesn’t come out much either. Shame really, I must wear them more often.
A very dodgy selfie complete with out of focus bits.For the first time, we abandoned plans for a picnic. The year before we’d eaten in windy, cold, dampness and it rather took the fun out of things, so we booked into one of the on-site restaurants. It’s a quick turn-around for the serving staff, you choose your food order in advance and the starter is in place when you arrive, it was yummy as well as pretty. Sadly this was the only photo I took of the day itself. We did take pre-Opera nibbles and champagne to have before, setting ourselves up on a side lawn to try to stay out of the wind, only to discover we had a prime view of the dressing rooms, which didn’t put a few of the male singers off from stripping down to bare chests in front of the glass. It was a bit like a Diet Coke advert but we’re maybe a bit old for leering (not!).
(Incidentally, we saw ‘Falstaff’ which was funny, easy to watch and well designed; not as exciting, visually as ‘The Cunning Little Vixon’ which we’d seen the year before, which had AMAZING sets and costumes, but still good).
Now for this year. I did consider wearing one of the many floor length dresses I own, largely donated to me by my Sister, as it’s a rare occasion that I can wear a proper long frock, but then I fell in love with this amazing number some time at the end of last year. Clearly, it’s not me in the photos, but the shop owner (Animal Head Vintage – what a cool name!)
Being a little…humm…’larger’ it’s not quite so flattering on me, as it hangs off the bust and makes me look like a little dumpling, but I don’t care, I LOVE it! As it’s another just under knee cloak, the rest of my outfit is the same as above, just in case you think I go the whole hog and wear all new. I have no problem recycling outfits, I am happy to (and often do) wear a favourite frock over and over with no shame, for a couple of very busy Wedding and Christening years I pretty much wore the same two frocks in rotation, everyone must have thought I owned nothing else (which is clearly not true, as those who read this blog regularly know).Besides, it gave me an excuse to finally buy a jewellery piece from Bill Skinner, in the form of a Tiger Bracelet,
I’ve a bit of a crush on the dome necklaces and rings too, which is the fault of Maison Bentley Style, for blogging these beauties some time ago, but for now they’ll have to sit on the wish list.
We’re going to see Don Giovanni this year, which is an opera I know (phew) and have seen other productions of, I read this one is well staged and from the above publicity photos, I know I’m going to like the costumes.
The flaw in my plans will be if the sun shines, then I’d roast in the large opera coat as we’ll no doubt take a posh picnic to eat in the grounds, but it’s looking a bit stormy right now; and clearly I should be writing this AFTER I’ve been, but I know myself well and bet I don’t take any photos on the day, so I may as well publish now.
On other news, the boys go back to school today after half-term (spent in Centre Parcs for their joint Birthdays) and despite the house and garden needing attention, I’ve promised myself a week of sewing, as I haven’t done any in ages. Besides, M has come down with a stinking cold and is at the stage where you feel lots of sympathy, but at the same time would like to kit him up in one of those infection control tents as seen in the movies, or in my case, hide out in the studio, donning a mask and lots of Purell before entering the rest of the house. Perhaps I can give him a bell to ring so we know when he’s coming and can clear the room? Actually it wont be needed as he’s coughing so much you couldn’t miss him (I joke, but it’s crucial Iron Man training time so it’s bit of a disaster for him really).
Back soon, maybe with some Glyndebourne photos?