Meet Teresa from Bess Georgette!
YAY! Here is another fun interview to add to my Meet the Owner series here on Honey Kennedy. Meet Teresa, the lovely Australia-based proprietress from Bess Georgette. She has been collecting vintage for years but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago, that she realized she should share her passion for vintage design with others.
Teresa goes the extra mile a few times a year by putting together beautifully styled lookbooks of her most special vintage pieces and then reveals one look per week on her blog. Such a cool presentation! I’m so glad to have met her. You can chat with her on Twitter, her blog and “Like” the Bess Georgette Facebook page.
Where do you live? What’s it like?
Well… I currently live in Brisbane which is lovely and sunny but too hot and humid for my liking in summer. It makes my hair go curly! My aim in moving overseas is to be able to wear cardigans and tights all year round. ;)
What would you say your shop focus/specialty is?
Bess Georgette reflects my own tastes and its primary focus would be dresses from the 1950s and 60s. I have other items, too, like handbags and shoes, but the 50s and 60s dresses are what I love most of all.
What’s your sign?
I’m a Scorpio! And yep. I can be pretty typical with the kooky scorpion traits but I do like to think I’m made a little sane by having my moon (and Mr!) in Cancer.
Tell us something people don’t already know about you.
Whenever I pay for something with loose change I always arrange the coins in order from biggest to smallest. I find it a little annoying the Australian $2 and 5 cent coins are very similar in diameter!
Are you reading or watching anything lately that inspires you?
I’m loving the resurgence of period TV dramas. It’s a fabulous night of TV watching and fashion drooling when you can start with Downton Abbey in the 1910s, experience the 20s with Boardwalk Empire, continue through the 30s with Upstairs Downstairs, and then linger in the 60s with Mad Men and Pan Am. I’m just waiting for someone to fill the 40s and 50s void!
Who are your personal style icons?
Audrey Hepburn and Carey Mulligan are two very stylish ladies that I personally find inspiring. I also have quite a few friends who inspire me with their own individual styles.
What are some other shops online that you love?
I adore shopping online (naturally!) and apart from spending far too much time (and money!) on Etsy handmade and vintage, there are oodles of shops I love. Some in particular are Jenny Gordy’s Wiksten. Her prints and cuts are wonderful. I also constantly lust after items on the Gorman, Toast and Le Train Bleu websites.
What was the first piece of vintage that blew your mind?
I first fell in love with vintage when I was eight. I had a friend’s birthday party to go to and it said on the invitation I had to wear a dress. Today, this wouldn’t be a problem but back then (growing up with my older brother) I was quite the tomboy and didn’t own one. My mother (as she often still does) came to the rescue and produced her old Sunday school dress (which she wore during the 60s). It was lovely, blue and full skirted with a netted petticoat. It was my first vintage dress and I was in love.
Do you have a favorite era?
I love the silhouettes from the 1950s and the patterns from the 1960s but my favourite era would have to be the 1920s. While pieces from the 50s and 60s form a large part of my wardrobe, I simply adore the dazzling beauty of the beaded silk and lace gowns of the 20s. Those dresses were made not only for their jaw-dropping beauty but also for some fun and dancing!
How did you get into vintage?
I think I first properly got into the vintage way of things during my later teen years. I grew up in the small Australian national capital, Canberra, and it wasn’t until a vintage store opened up in the city centre that I started to seriously incorporate vintage into my own wardrobe. This was during the mid to late 90s and my favourite outfit was a 60s crochet cardigan with a pair of 70s corduroy flares. I’m more of a skirt wearing girl these days!
Do you collect some specific things for your own home/closet?
Anything I think is PRETTY! I have a slight obsession with black dresses (especially if they have red embroidery on them) and black shoes (one needs them to wear with the dresses!), so they form a large part of my collection. Oh! And I also collect vintage brooches! Pretty dresses need pretty brooches! ;)
What is your fantasy vintage score that you hope to find one day?
I would absolutely adore to see and touch one of Jeanne Lanvin’s beautiful and intricately embroidered and beaded creations from the 1920-30s. Oh, such a fantasy!
What is the vintage score that got away?
I think it was about 2 years ago when I came across THE most perfect 1980s Chloe little black dress on ebay. I lusted after it and had every intention of bidding copious amounts of money on it only to have a work meeting get in the way of my actual bidding on it. (Yep. I’m one of those old-fashioned people that likes to do the bidding myself and not with a web or computer application!). I still dream about its beautiful black military-esque style and hope to one day find another.
Do you have actual dreams that involve vintage?
I tend to talk in my sleep and Greg one recent morning said “What were you dreaming about last night? You were going on and on about how amazing something was.”
I’d dreamt about finding a fabulous vintage leopard print coat, which usually isn’t my thing, but when I put it on I fell in love with it and wouldn’t take it off.
Any vintage shopping pro tips?
Know your eras and their styles. Know your designers. Know your fabrics and finishings. And most importantly, buy when your instinct tells you to.
How do you unwind?
Not necessarily in that order with number two and three often repeated.
#1 dream vacation?
I know it sounds a little cliche… but I’d love to experience France properly. I visited Paris briefly about 7 years ago and, ever since, I have wanted to go back. I’d love to have a car to drive around and experience the beautiful country (and its food and fashions) properly.
Current snack of choice? Current fave restaurant?
Cheese will always be my (unhealthy) snack of choice. Restaurant-wise, I love Japanese food. Maybe because the only meat I eat is seafood, so Japanese caters very well to my diet… and is super tasty too!
What’s your poison? Current cocktail or soft drink of choice?
Not a cocktail or a soft drink but… tea! I can’t function without it. In the cocktail department, my favourite would have to be a martini. Gin and with a twist of lemon, which is a little James Bond inspired!
What is your ritual for hunkering down and doing your shop updates?
After selecting what pieces to include in the update, I get everything setup camera-wise and then GO! It’s pretty much a flurry of skirts as I dress Tima (my mannequin) and photograph her in all her splendour. Once this is done, some sustenance is required. After snacks, I’ll sit down at my computer and process the photos. The photo processing and writing the item listings is probably the longest part and is often supported by the intake of lollies (sweet) or wasabi peas (savoury). Depending on my mood.
Dream concert. Living or dead, Top 5 bands who are playing for you.
I have to admit to not being a huge music listener. My passion for music can ebb and flow but there is a constant theme in my music library of great female singers. I would love to be at a concert where Françoise Hardy, Émilie Simon, Sarah Blasko, and St. Vincent performed, followed by a breathtaking Édith Piaf finale.
Top 5 albums of all-time that you would have to have if you were stranded on a desert island.
I’m not sure how I’d cope on a desert island. Apart from needing copious amounts of sunscreen and worrying about my hair going curly… I’d need a mix of uplifting and soothing tunes to keep my boredom at bay. Perhaps a little Camera Obscura, Au Revoir Simone, Emiliana Torrini, Architecture in Helsinki, and M.I.A.
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Teleportation. Hands down! How handy would it be?! I sometimes think teleportation mixed with time travel would be the ultimate super power but then there’s that whole ‘great responsibility’ thing that comes with time travel. I’d just be wanting to get all the pretty dresses!
#1 pet peeve?
Not being able to teleport.
Do you have a biz partner or helper?
Not so much a biz partner but Greg (my Mr) is a very helpful ‘helper’. He’s super handy to have about the place as an extra set of editing eyes, for tech support, for when I can’t make it to the post office, and for hugs.
Do you have any announcements?
Yes! I’m moving!!!! At the end of October I’ll be leaving my current graphic design job and moving firstly to Victoria (via my folks) and then overseas!! This means, I’ll be spending the majority of my time on all things vintage which makes me very happy!!! (As you can probably tell by my abuse of the exclamation mark!) The move means I’ll have a lot more opportunities for Bess Georgette customers… but more will be revealed about that in the next few months.
What is the #1 most awesome thing about owning your shop?
Having first pick of all my vintage finds! Heehee! But… I do also love hearing feedback from customers. One recent lady will be wearing one of her Bess Georgette dresses to her wedding! How awesome is that?!
Images courtesy of Bess Georgette.