IN VINTAGE THREADS BY JESS RUBY JAMES
STYLIST: Tabatha Turner
MAKEUP: Jasmine Abdallaoui
WORDS: Mariela Summerhays
“There’s something about vintage clothing that ignites the child within,” stylist Tabatha Turner observes. A something that inspires dancing and being and crawling around apartments in underwear and an oversized tee; a something that inspires taking to city streets in diaphanous fabric and none of another’s opinions of you. Inspired by the places and people that preloved garments encounter before coming to us, Turner styles model Gigi Midgley in Paris, the spiritual home of vintage clothing. “Perhaps it’s the joy of knowing you may be the only one on this planet with such a piece. The intrigue of knowing it has had many lives before you, seen moments of history, overheard world-changing conversations; met so, so many people.”
Sometime in the last months, days or hours, the shirt She wore when you last met lost its scent of you; but it was in her closet, She was elsewhere, there’s no way for her to know when. She’s been draped in the dress of a woman who never knew you, never mourned your leaving. Friday nights She loves the feeling of going out in nothing but moonlight and delicately woven threads (and never your hands again). It was found on a hanger in-between two 501s, the one with a darker wash holding a tear at the inseam. The dress’ original owner now lives in the suburbs, and no longer needs it while she tends to her babies, garden vegetables and streaming services that keep her and her husband occupied when the little ones are asleep. If she knew how her darling dress now accompanies another to dimly lit bars and then cheap, fluorescent light-dotted Chinese restaurants in the middle of the night, she’d smile and warn to be careful of the length; “I’ve tripped on the hem so many times.”
“There’s an energy from each piece that, perhaps, is brewed from all the lives lived before; one that grabs your attention from a rack of sometimes thousands, and seamlessly enters your world,” Turner says (“I like to dress up when I’m at home,” Midgley adds. “Last week I did the laundry in a tutu, no one on the block batted an eyelid”). Lastly, a call-to-action, a dare: “Reclaim the child-like sensibility that comes from the dreamy illusion of a long-lost treasure. Reclaim the originality of putting together an outfit based purely on imagination. Reclaim the past and make it your own.”
SIDE-NOTE acknowledges the Eora people as the traditional custodians of the land on which this project was produced. We pay our respects to Elders past and present. We extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples reading this.