Tuesday 17 May 2011

Swing For Skin Forties event

AbleGrable is pleased to have designed a very special frock for the lovely Melissa Smith for her
wonderful forthcoming 40's event.

Buy your tickets here and read the fab blog!

Swing for Skin is a fabulous Forties event held to raise money for the charity DEBRA UK, which works with and for individuals affected by EB (Epidermolysis Bullosa). EB is a devastating genetic skin blistering disease, which causes those who have it to develop wounds and blisters akin to second and third degree burns when they come into contact with the slightest friction - sometimes the blisters and wounds can happen apparently spontaneously.

The effects of EB are incredibly debilitating, resulting in sufferers fingers and toes fusing into solid masses on their hands and feet, scarring their mouths and throats until they can no longer eat or drink, blistering their eyeballs, and causing massive infections, chronic anaemia, organ failure and fatal skin cancers.

At Swing for Skin, we want to invoke the Blitz spirit, and work together to overcome the adversity this disease faces sufferers with. And we want to have a jolly good time while we do it! So we will be having afternoon tea style food, dancing to a dedicated vintage DJ, singing along to the wonderful Polka Dot Dolls, having our hair and make up styled by Lipstick and Curls, playing games and drawing a raffle for lots of lovely prizes. Everyone will be dressed in their Forties finest, and we will be celebrating the spirit of unity that got Londoners through the Blitz.

Though I've always loved vintage styles from all eras, I really started to embrace vintage clothes after I attended Tart @ 40 Winks last May. EB has always made me very body conscious, and can make physically getting dressed very difficult. Plus, I always thought vintage clothes were for a well-off elite, who were either very slim, or very curvy, rather than my "boyish with a bum and tum" shape. But at Tart, I felt so relaxed that I happily tried on a dress in a room full of women, even though it meant showing my scars and dressings. My friends were amazed, but there was a sense of sisterhood - however cheesy that might sound! - and I realised that women of all shapes and sizes could wear vintage and look fantastic! It was just a matter of finding the era or styles that suit you. Since then, I have started building a vintage collection, and it really appeals to my love of having clothes that no one else does. I love anything with a history, too; I like to imagine who has owned and loved things before me.

Ooh, favourite era...that's a tough one... I've always been really drawn to Victorian and 1920s styles, but I am finding that Fifties and Sixties styles suit me the best. I love to feel very feminine in my Vivien of Holloway circle dress and petticoat, or very smart in my Mod style shift dresses and tailored pieces. The latter is definitely inherited from my Mod-esque Dad! If my body would let me, I'd be wearing corsets and bustles at every opportunity, and if I were slight enough, I would love to flounce around in a Flapper dress, but I am very happy with my Fifites and Sixties treasures!

I love the Victorian era because I'm a Decadent trapped in a good girl's body, and everything then was so flamboyant. I fancy myself laced into an outrageous dress, with a green carnation pinned to it, reciting Oscar Wilde! The 1920s evoke an idea of freedom and frivolity, and I remember seeing a photo of my now 98 year old grandmother all dressed up as a little Flapper girl, wishing I could wear such a beautiful dress and accessories. The Fifties have had a place in my heart since I watched Grease every weekend with my sister when we were young, and I drooled over the petticoats and capri pants, wanting to be Rizzo (minus the ciggies!). I'm sure Mod is in my genes, as I often feel drawn towards the straight lines and monochrome - it all makes me feel smart and purposeful.

If I can be completely unrealistic, I would love to live in the Victorian era, because there was so much change and revolution then. The clothes and jewellery were just beautiful, but the literature was incendiary and social attitudes were alive with the want for change. Of course, there were a lot of unpleasant aspects, too, but there are in every era. Maybe I could have been a muse for Beardsley?

Unusual things are becoming something of a collection to me. I like antique jewellery - nothing expensive! - but little, unique things. 'Memento Mori' brooches or 'Give Women Votes' pendants that other people have overlooked. I like to collect things that no one else is likely to have, and things that mean something to me. I collect old books, too, and writing equipment.

My biggest ambition...at the moment, it is making Swing for Skin a success, and giving as much money as I can to DEBRA UK. Long term...I would love to be an established writer in some field, and to be able to work, even with EB playing tricks. And, most importantly, I want to make the most of my life, because I'm very lucky to still have mine!

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