Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Charity Shop Finds - The Holy Grail of Hippiedom For The Price of a Pint




Such is my love for Indian textiles that this January we're touring the traditional craft villages of Gujarat, India's textile state, where we'll see at first hand age-old techniques like patchwork, embroidery, tie-dye, weaving and block printing, produced by artisans using ancient skills passed down through the centuries by their tribal ancestors.
  

Authentic block printed hippie dresses are massively popular on the vintage scene and command insane prices - have a look HERE at this eBay seller's listings. Back in the '70s they were cheap and cheerful but, due to the delicate nature of the gossamer fine cotton and the gold painted accents painstakingly applied by hand, most didn't stand the test of time, hence their rarity today.


I've owned a handful of midi length, block printed Seventies dresses (remember THIS beauty?) but always ended up selling them - in Vix's world hippie dresses need to be hippie length & only a floor sweeping maxi will do.


I'd resigned myself to simply drooling over them on eBay...until today.....when I spotted a maxi length vision on the dress rail in the charity clearance shop and nearly expired with excitement.

Vintage coin necklace from the Banjara tribeswomen of Karnataka in South India, several available on our website (HERE)

£325? No, £3 (the £322 I saved was less than we paid for a return flight from Birmingham to Mumbai!) Get in!!!! The only issue is the perished elastic in the cuffs which will take me all of ten minutes to replace when I'm swearing at the TV watching The Apprentice later.


The question is will she join me on a return trip to the land of her birth or is she too precious?  I've got two months to decide!

Vintage Adini block printed maxi dress worn with wide-brimmed felted wool hat & my suede River Island platform boots (all charity shopped)

Want a taste of the incredible textiles produced in Gujarat? Have a look at this video (not that us hardcore indie travellers are going on anything as sensible as an escorted tour, we'll just bumble around and get lost like we always do). Those ladies better lock up their jewellery or I'll be trying to buy it off them!


Better go easy on the rum tonight as we've got a skip arriving at the crack of dawn. The parental home has to be completely empty by midday tomorrow, god help us!

See you soon. 

76 comments:

  1. holy cow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! no pun intended. That is a beauty.

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    1. Ha! A very apt comment, love it! x

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  2. It is beautiful and what a fabulous bargain! It looks perfect on you. Might it not be too hot to wear long sleeves when you go away?
    xxxx

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    1. Thank you! The cotton is so gauzy, its like wearing nothing - probably why they were so popular in the summer of 1976. It won't be that warm in Gujarat. There's the dilemma - I've got to pack for two climates and cultural sensibilities - Goa's used to skimpy dressed Westerners. xxx

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  3. Wow! What an amazing find and it looks perfect on you.

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    1. Thanks, Booby. It made my day. xxx

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    2. Ha ha, you called her Booby!!!

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    3. Oh dear! that'll teach me to multi task! Bobbi!

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  4. What an absolute bargain. I LOVE your dress. You used to see them everywhere but they definitely do not stand the test of time. Mine always went under the arms. :) I can't believe that they have become so expensive now and will definitely keep my eyes open for them in the chazzas. What amazing textiles and such beautiful jewellery. Your holiday sounds like it will be brilliant. Xx

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    1. I seem to remember my Mum's going under the arms, the print used to wear off and the fabric went all holey. I'll take extra care of this one - I was terrified I'd wash the gold paint off it but stuck it in the machine on 30 degrees inside a pillowcase secured with a hair band and it survived - phew! xxx

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  5. Love this so much - love anything blockprint.
    East used to have a load of gorgeous Anokhi video clips on their website before they went bust.
    Sorry for dearth of comments from me - Blogger HATES me LMAO
    https://youtu.be/EcpSXiDJaPk

    Elaine Monkeypaints (Tra la la as was)

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    1. Hello Elaine! Lovely to hear from you! That's a wonderful video. The Anokhi for East stuff was lovely, I always snap it up when I find it in chazzas. there's a dress to die for on Ebay at the moment but bidding starts at £100! xxx

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  6. Stunning! (Both the dress and the price.) You look rightfully delighted with your latest score. Good luck with the house clearance. Xxx

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    1. Thank you! Such was my excitement when I rushed to the menswear department to show Jon that the manager came out and laughed at me. xxx

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  7. Very nice - I am always drawn to hippie album covers (not always the music) with dresses just like that. Fab price too! Good luck on the clearout of the parental home, always a stressful situation, I am sure you will need the rum for after your long day ahead

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    1. Oh yeah, usually accessorised by one of those Emmanuelle peacock chairs!!
      I'm beyond rum, I'm done for! I think we need a Wetherspoons session when we pop into town to give the keys to the estate agent. xxx

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  8. I love the way you've photographed the beautiful dress, it shows it off in all it's glory and you look so happy. I'm not surprised, what a fantastic bargain.
    It sounds like you have a heavy day tomorrow, good luck with getting everything sorted. xxx

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    1. I love how voluminous the dress is. Sod dressing to suit your shape, the more excess fabric the better! xxx

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  9. Oh my. It sounds like you are renovating your entire house!

    What a brilliant score! It looks gorgeous on you. Especially with the magenta hat and boots.

    Good luck on the renos!

    Suzanne

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    1. Hopefully it won't be my house for much longer - fingers crossed! Next task is redecorating our own house from top to bottom. I'll be needing a holiday after all this manual labour! xxx

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  10. That is some jewellery committment on the video!
    I love the feeling of authenticity a genuine handmade textile brings.
    That dress had your name written all over it!
    I always feel sad when I see people having to carry water no matter how beautiful the containers and how skilled the balancing.
    I am thinking of you in your clearout!
    Xo Jazzy Jack

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    1. That jewellery is incredible, isn't it? I'm captivated by those huge nose adornments.
      I love to hear the Indian womens' joyful chatter as they draw their water. It does seem such a harsh existence but they seem to revel in it. xxx

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  11. Beeeautiful dress! I had one when I was a teenager, bought from the fancy dress section of one of my local charity shops (which incidentally was where I got all my clothes from as a teenager!) for £1 or so, I remember being astounded when I sold it for £42 on Ebay a couple of years later! I should have held on to it!

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    1. I do love a fancy dress rail - I always find good stuff on them!!
      Those hippie dresses are just getting rarer and rarer. This one could be my pension at the rate their going up! xxx

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  12. I feel like if I ever found cool stuff, I'd have to buy just because of you! Love the hat too.

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    1. That's lovely, Sam. I hope you do. xxx

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  13. It is just gorgeous and you wear it so well. I would have loved to have seen your face when you first saw it!

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    1. Grinning like a Cheshire Cat, I was! xxx

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  14. Love, love love Indian textiles!
    Amazing dress!
    xox

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    1. Me, too - I want all of them. Just as well the internal flights have a 15kg luggage allowance or they'll be no clothes left! xxx

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  15. What a find! It is a beautiful piece of textile. Best of luck with skips and such today xx

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    1. Thank you!! It sort of makes up for all the mucky manual labour I've been doing today. xxx

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  16. I wondered for a sec whether you'll be back from India with a nose ring. :)
    The dress is AMAZING! I would love to wear it too. Suits you so well. There is always, when you write about India, so much love in your posts! <3

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    1. I've had a nose ring for over ten years! I'd love one like the ladies in the video.
      You'd look fantastic in a dress like this, the colours are so you. xxx

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  17. I also had found an Adini dress that I mostly used as a house dress ( I even slept in it, yikes!) and then I discovered how much they sell for!
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/491412805/gorgeous-1970s-adini-caftan?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=adini&ref=sr_gallery_20
    crazy... now my dress is folded up o the shelf until I figure out what to do...

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    1. Hello Maya. Goodness me, a gorgeous dress but man, that's a crazy price! Look after yours - no sleeping in it! The prices will only go up! xxx

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  18. swooooon************
    perfect dress and in perfect colors for you! it looks like never worn before. 3 english pounds! i can understand that you almost fainted.
    sadly myself looks not as half as good in this cut - but if i ever find such fabric i will make me a dress out of it!
    please make lots of pic on your trip to gujarat - you know i´m a textile junky - esp. for tribal stuff.....
    xxxxx

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    1. I didn't think a short arse like me could wear something so voluminous but I feel so good in it and it's a joy just to hang it up at the window and admire it. xxx

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  19. I am amazed at how much those Adini dresses sell for. Do people really buy them at that price, or is that just one very optimistic seller?

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    1. It's utterly mad. I always wonder how that seller manages to flog anything but when you check the completed listings it's clear that she does. Mind you, her photos are lovely. The are even more expensive on Etsy. xxx

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  20. she should go with you, it would be rude not to invite her! I think you are going to find loads of sisters for her on your trip though. What a ridiculous pricetag! but great news for you - find of the year I think.

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    1. I hope I do find lots of sisters for her but I've a feeling they won't be cheap - but you never know!!
      Those prices are mad, aren't they? Mind you, you'd probably love it for years and years (and cry your eyes out after it fell apart!) xxx

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  21. Wow, that dress is exquisite. I'm not sure it would withstand travelling back to India, though. You'd better treasure it and wear it to stun the people of Walsall! I imagine that while I'm writing this, you've already filled most of that skip. Hope all went/is going well. xxx

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    1. That's what I'm afraid of! It would be perfect for travelling as it's so lightweight and doesn't need ironing but I'd cry if I ruined it! xxx

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  22. I love that dress.
    What a treasure.
    Hugs-x-

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  23. What a bargain, it was meant to be yours. xx

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    1. It really was! I don't think anyone else would have been as excited as I was yesterday, I think the new manager of that charity shop already thinks I'm mad! xxx

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  24. The video is enchanting, such an exciting tour (not Colour whatsit but yours) to make of the art and crafts of such a traditional group of people. I've seen videos of block printing, such skill.

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    1. Isn't it a fab video? I'm entranced by that jewellery and those tattoos.
      We did look at those tours but I don't think either of us would tolerate being made to stick to an itinerary or having to stay in anonymous, sterile 5 star hotels. xxx

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  25. That's such a beautiful dress, it looks perfect on you!

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  26. Great find, and in such good condition. When I saw your headline before the photo I thought you'd scored a Thea Porter. You nearly gave me a heart attack ;)
    You will of course at some point (find a Thea Porter, not give me a coronary) and I'll look forward to it. Meanwhile, this is a hell of a good score!

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    1. I live in the hope that one day I'll find a Thea Porter - an antique dealer acquaintance told me he has one and isn't sure what to do with it. My suggestion of "Give it to me!" hasn't worked yet! xxx

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  27. My rupees are on the dress returning to the place of its origin: just the thing for an upscale hotel! Thanks for the close-up of the still intact gold decorations, Vix. I use the remnants of two skirts of that vintage gossamer cotton as summer curtains in a bathroom. There's absolutely nothing left of the gold but shadows.

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    1. Great idea to use your tatters as curtains, Beth! You can admire they daily and I bet they look gorgeous with the light filtering through. xxx

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  28. absolutely fabulous dress, and even more fabulous because it was such a bargain!, I love it!, love that you're so gorgeous wearing it!
    I'm one of the many girls that had that kind of dresses and skirts, but I gave or donated, and now I regret (bitterly) not having them anymore!.
    besos

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    1. Thanks, Monica! You've got that incredible block printed caftan which I'm in awe of, don't ever get rid of that beauty! xxx

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  29. I've been missing in action since traveling in September. But here I am, back to enjoying every minute of your glorious post. The vintage block printed maxi is a dream and you wear it beautifully! As always!

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    1. Lovely to hear from you, Judith! I've been following your travels on Facebook! Welcome home. xxx

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  30. I also love these dresses! I had a skirt in this sort of material and I loved its lightness! My favourite top is a beautiful Cheesecloth blue one of my Mum's from the 70's I think- it's got hole in it but I still wear it! I am so pleased you have found one at long last and so cheap!!! You look a dream in it!

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    1. They really feel like you're like wearing nothing, they're so light. Fab that you've got your Mum's , she's got great taste! xxx

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  31. How long did Adini make dresses? I know my Mum had quite a few in the 70's and I certainly had some skirts and shirts as an art student in the mid 80's.

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    1. I think they were making them well into the 1990, I remember Mark One used to sell them although the label was slightly different - printed as opposed to woven - and the colours and print were more European than Indian. xxx

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  32. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. I deleted your comment as it seemed a bit spammy! x

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  33. I'll be excited to see the photos from your textile tour—I fell in love with block prints on my first trip to India, in 1996, and have since acquired various bedsheets, embroidered and mirrored pillowcases, etc. My (New York City apartment) home doesn't feel like mine without them.

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    1. Hello Brikka. I PROMISE to take loads of photos, I've been pouring over all my India books for weeks getting inspired. xxx

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  34. (self-guided tour, of course!)

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    1. I think a guided tour would do my head in! xxx

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  35. Oh nom nom nom, I wanna eat that yummy dress up!

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xxx