Last week I was invited to an event for Chitra's Closet in Brunswick. I was delighted to be sent the invitation and accepted with the intention of taking along my sister. She bailed out at the last minute today and I called in my friend Claire to fill her spot. We got dressed and loaded into the car as soon as I finished work and started the long drive into Melbourne-town.
One thing lead to another on the trip, my brother says one thing, the Tom-Tom says another. We end up going the long way, there's traffic. Before you know it we're arriving an hour late to the beginning of a very tasteful fashion show.
People were squished into the shop and others had their noses pressed against the front window in an attempt to view the models as they stalked up and down the red carpet.
Fashion photographers pressed in on the girls as they slunk down the alley of bodies, whiskers twitching. I stood with Claire at the front window, chatting happily with the watchers beside us in delight at the short glimpses we got of the she-cats.
As the show finished the store became abuzz with movement and coat-hangers were whisked forwards and back on the racks. Claire and I chatted with a couple of the models and took the opportunity to get a better view of the clothes that were being paraded through the store.
Chitra - a firecracker in a yellow hat - stopped me and looked at me as though she were trying to remember something. She asked where I was from and when I responded with 'Ballarat' she shivered in sympathy. She stopped briefly for those fast enough to catch a photo of her and strode around the shop, quivery rippled of delight bubbled through the people around her as she passed.
I know that this picture is blurry but in the low light, it was the best one I could snap of her.
We gratefully took a glass of bubbly and some snacks and browsed the displays. I didn't know what to expect as the pictures I had seen on the internet of Chitra's clothes were less lively compared to the filled out garments.
Women of all shapes and sizes queued to have a curtain or bi-fold door to try on clothes behind. The shop's main mirror captured a huddle of ladies turning about on the spot to see how the clothes hung on them. Some animated the clothes. Others the clothes animated.
After a few laps of the shop, the crowd began to shrink to a more maneuverable size and I selected a couple of items to try on myself. A violet number had caught my eye through the window when we first arrived and I was keen to try it on. Standing in line for the change rooms was a perfect opportunity to photograph more of the stores delights and the hum of shoppers. It was also the perfect opportunity to photograph my new Chanel shoes. I was told they were real Chanel (but quite old, from before the items were numbered) from Ruby Rouge on Main Road in Ballarat.
Where was I? Oh, Right.
Chitra strode past me again but stopped this time and clasped my arm with her gloved hand. She asked if I was Liana and when I said yes she exclaimed 'Why didn't you say so before?' and proceeded to first introduce me to the women immediately around us and then she snapped through the hangers in my hands proclaiming that 'No. Not that. Liana' - she shook her gorgeous curls briskly - 'What are you thinking. You're an 8'. She strode off through the back curtain. It's always impressive when someone my height manages to stride with the effect of someone over six foot.
I stood nervously as she bustled back and thrust another hanger into my laden hands. Then she shot off again into the crowd of people. She was a tornado of energy, whirling around the room, her yellow hat bobbing in between the shoulders of shoppers. Her feet never stilled, nor did her hands as she helped her guests choose sizes, greeted friend and guided the party at full steam.
She came back to me and took my arm again and thrust me into a change room. She grinned at me mischievously as she bossed me about. I changed in a makeshift corner and emerged in the violet suit. (The above image is the little nook where I changed) Chitra appeared from the crowd of whisker faced girls with pins and expertly pulled and pinned the jacket to a more tailored shape. Her quick mind directed my decision, helping me find the best of her collection with the best fit, even turning me away from something she felt inappropriate for my figure to bring about a more defined shape with something else.
I walked away at the end of the night with some classy new clothes and a new pair of gloves. You can find this cute show on Sydney Road in Brunswick. I'm sure it looks even more delightful during the day. Oh and here is a shot of a charming gentleman in a blue velvet suit (that he bought in an op shop in Amsterdam).
I took a lot of photos on the night of the event itself. So if you want to see more of the clothes, cats, decor and attendees then look on my flickr.