, 2022-11-06 22:04:07,
Jean Clarke of Tairua crafted a whole fashion show of 50s outfits from op shop items. Photo / Alison Smith.
Jean Clarke of Tairua can achieve Audrey Hepburn style from second-hand duvet covers – a superpower being showcased in a one-off catwalk show like no other.
The former hairdresser and secretary who never trained professionally in sewing has spent hundreds of hours creating 1950s fashion worn by glamorous icons from Hepburn to Marilyn Monroe to Elvis.
But these are no ordinary copies of the glamorous originals.
“The brief was ‘everything must have originated from an op shop’,” explains Jean.
Jean and fellow society member Auriol Farquhar began searching hundreds of photos online for styles worn by a handful of well-known 1950s celebrities before scouring op shops in Thames, Tairua and Waihi.
“There were some looks that I almost managed to recreate with just a little bit of adjustment but just couldn’t find one of the items, like a jacket in a Doris Day outfit. So then it was back to square one,” says Jean.
“Other times I used a duvet cover because it had this lovely spray of pink flowers and I thought, ‘that’ll make a Princess Margaret dress’.”
Jean used the fabric on the back of that duvet for another dress, working for several hours most days for three months to sew the entire collection.
Half the original items came from Tairua Op Shop, where the team of women volunteers helpfully put clothing aside for the cause when they saw something they thought might be useful.
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