I was watching the film A Room With A View the other day and realised that I haven't lost my teenage love for the Edwardian era.
Thinking about it, I originally put the blame on the 1979 ITV series Flambards based on the novels by K.M. Peyton and set between the 1900s and 1910s. The story was based on a love triangle (all the best ones are!) between Christina and her half-cousins William and Mark; it had me fascinated - so much so that I even had to buy the books from the series, which I still have.
Then I realised that those Sunday afternoon films I had watched in my 1970s childhood such as Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Go-Between and The Railway Children might have subconsciously sowed the seeds for my later Edwardian love affair.
Rolling forward a few years into the 1980s, the visual delight that comprised the Merchant Ivory adaptations of E.M Forster novels fuelled this love. I thought Helena Bonham-Carter was mesmerising (I still do) as she flounced about in her cotton lawn dresses with beguiling wisps of hair framing her beautiful face; willed that Maurice and Alec would finally get together in the film Maurice and riled at the class snobbery in Howards End.
The Eighties was also a great time to buy Edwardian clothes cheaply. Those narrow Edwardian shoes didn't fit my teenage feet; however the cotton camisoles and petticoats with their intricate embroidery, crochet and thread-work did. In flea markets and antique shops I found lovely velvet jackets and linen duster coats with their large mother-of-pearl buttons. If I was particularly lucky, I might come across an almost sheer cotton blouse inset with lace panels. I happily jumbled these clothes up together with de-mob jackets and waistcoats, jeans from the local market or long fringed black Indian import 'Goth' skirts.
Unfortunately I don't have any of these clothes left now, with them being lost in house moves or too far gone to be repaired and thrown away. Mind you, I probably wouldn't fit into them now if I did.
However, old habits die hard and all these years later I still hold onto my love of Edwardiana. From the silver sovereign holder that Dad gave me which still gets worn regularly, to a monogrammed leather purse that I use daily. Its the best purse I've ever had with its numerous slots and compartments...
...and I still can't resist buying those camisoles that fit as they're perfect for summer.
Looks like it'll be a long-term love affair!