Fashion World

Fashion World



 Soon after landing in Ottawa, I choose Britannia Village. On an East wind, a sulphur smell rolled over all of West Ottawa. In the green Village, I didn't expect that.
My letter of protest and quite likely many others, was followed by the matches-maker's relocation.

I wrote a letter to the Speaker of the House in re. wooden poles in Sparks Street. "You can't be seriously inviting business delegations to a sight of such governmental frugality, or stark "British Colony" sphere." Soon after: a colourful pedestrian Mall. !

I wrote a letter to the Ottawa Mayor Mary Dewar re. not matching bicycle' paths at The Mill restaurant. She complimented on my hand-writing indicating that the City-spot is NCC and would forward it to Jean Pigott. She wrote that the junction of bicycle paths is studied.

My Partner in Marriage Iris was told on Mooney'Bay beach that she could stay that day but not come back to-morrow. Iris worked in one of her aunt's top haute couture studios in The Hague, Holland. Her attire was a conventional two-piece suit and she was not pleased.

There was the rumour that the length of shorts worn in the downtown of Ottawa would be measured and if judged to be too short, a warning were to follow and in case of non-compliance, a ticket. All that sounds 'cute' now, but serious stuff in those days.

Inch by inch, modern architecture advancing, Canada's capital Ottawa is getting touches of "chic" after a time of sober greyishness: permits for buying alcoholic beaverages -similar to a drivers-licence, in tough brick-stone buildings with small, barred, jail-type windows.

Nuclear power tests were conducted after WWII. These tests were comparable to the shocking happening of a volcanic eruption. The tests were done on ...Bikini atoll (atoll: ring shaped coral island enclosing lagoon), July 1st until March, 1954. Unfit for living until 2014.

UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site. French engineer Louis Réard named his new swimsuit design the bikini, in hopes that its revealing style would create an "explosive commercial and cultural reaction" similar to the 1946 nuclear explosion at Bikini Atoll

The strong winds that follow big explosions were felt by a London fashion designer in early 1960. The "New Look", the long skirts of the day, blew-up high. Mary Quant called them "fun wear" under the slogan, "BE FREE, BE YOURSELF." The mini skirt then went world-wide.

That Mary Quant' design eventually followed the earliest known culture in China for women wearing mini skirts, called "Duan Qun Miao", barely covering the buttocks, like a minidress. The micro-mini skirt has its hemline at the upper thigh. at or just below the crotch-level.

In 1974, an Ottawa Fashion designer held-up a 'Globe and Mail' with a big black 'n white photograph of the micro bikini: the Tanga. The piping-hot volcano-type explosions came from world-events in early 1950 to the 'BE -VERY- FREE'  life-style changes in later 1960.

Following these events, Partner Iris, having studied haute-couture in her aunts' studio, she developed and refined bikini-making by using the gentlest fabric and finishing materials while recording a "get-even" having been berated by a beach guard on a simple two-piece.

"La Boutique" in Britannia Village, 1970. A fine gathering of work by highly regarded craftsmen: Leslie Snidal: prints on Eskimo & Indian Art; Frank Oord: oils & photography; Mimi Templemans: handwoven panchos; Meta van de Wijnpersse, short knited summerdresses.

Other great artists followed: Cynthia Hussey and Ruth Dubuc: jugs, mugs, soupbowls; Sally Robinson: Necklaces and medallions. At the time, 1970, Jill Elder living at 66 Bradford, hadorganized the Ottawa Artsists and Craftsmen Organization. La Boutique was ideal.

539 Sussex Drive was made avilable for occupancy by the NCC. "au gout artistique" came into being one door over from "Le Hibou." My invitation to the Ottawa' Art World included a nice encouragement: 66 - 70 percent of sales goes to them and 30 - 34 percent to the shop.

Eventually, well-over one hundred artists were introduced with FREE wine and cheese parties in the early seventies. One evening was an outstanding event. FULL HOUSE !!!!Featured Artist: Mally Simms-Jones, watercolours. All but one were sold that evening  !!!!

The evening was further highlighted by the walk-on of Leslie M.Graham and friend at about this hour, 10 p.m., now 39 years ago. I was happy to show that the gallery is doing well. She might have been inspired. Some years later she received a B.A.(Arts, summa cum laude.)

We are in the middle seventies. The explosions had not spent all of its force. The micro skirts and just discovered 'Tangas' changed everyday living, not seen before or after. Not life-threatening, but a pinkish hue hung about humanity. Wide-spread social change. Freedom.

In that atmosphere, from middle sixties to middle nineties a long list of liberal happenings can be written while "la Boutique" and "au gout artistique" over time changed to Cafe WIM. Cafe WIM could be successful then as if written in the stars and filled that time exactly.

Ernstine Carter, a fashion journalist's remark, " is given to the fortunate few to be born at the right time, in the right place, with the right talents. In recent fashion there are three,Chanel, Dior and....Mary Quant." She anticipated the new freedom of-the-day amazingly well.

In my next diary entry, you see the world event, followed by a simple fashion change. The streams of the fall-out in Society afterwards, now seen as, " REALLY ??? " , then as everyday life. Nonetheless it made many a regular citizen at that time say. "maybe it's too free."

My logs are broadcasted. These blogs are open to comment. Virtual Cafe WIM CHATS.

I sign-off, this May 10, 2015. Have a fashionable sun-filled vacation on the beach !!  Wim

PS  The rumble -"I think the long-haired people had lost control" from "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns"", Robert Jungk, happened in early 1950s. In the sixties, Ottawa's 'dark-grey' as I perceived it, was lifted by...the Fashion World. Simple comme un bon jour. W.

PPS  Original BLOG'title: "Under The Sex Volcano" derived from "Under The Volcano" by Malcom Lowry. Similarity in titles only. W.




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07.09 | 19:54

Delightful. Contact, nice and gentle makes my Big Day.
Love you totally.

07.09 | 15:12

Whether blogs or books, your way with words is both whimsical and interesting. You are a delightful inspiration - please keep writing! Happy Birthday Dad 💝

04.05 | 10:09

Hello. I too would love a copy of the book. I spent many a happy afternoon and evening at Wim in my teens. It was a home away from home.

14.03 | 15:21

Where oh where or How do i buy the book ? i cannot find it :(

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