The fabric of the dress fits snug against curves. The silk holds its tension but is not yet taught. The rivers and mountains and roads and ridges flow over her body and the menace of the past just washes on by.
Nothing is wasted and nothing is lost. But the times, they have moved on.
The material comes fashioned from old military maps – and this reinvention isn’t just limited to women’s fashion and curves.
There are cufflinks, lampshades, maps, cards and passport holders all decked out in these smudge proof, rustle proof postcards from the past.
During World War Two, British soldiers had to navigate through France and beyond, evading capture by Nazi hands.
Paper maps smudged and sogged when wet. When dry, the crackle of crunched paper maps spelled out danger.
So, the solution came with its own sense of beauty: meticulous military maps printed on silk. Tougher yet softer, these maps could withstand the demands of both the Cold and hot Second World War. Plus, they could be sewed into uniforms, into heels of boots and even board games.
Fast forward 60 odd years when Sara Jane, aka “the Map Lady,” stumbles across this little known fact in a vintage fair in Kent. What starts as a hobby builds up to a business, one that includes driving the length and breadth of Britain in search of these relics destined for dustbins.
It is, perhaps, poignant that I discover these fabrics on the Remembrance weekend – and write them up at Easter, with its theme, even in secular terms, of new chances, hope and rebirth.
Because it is one sweet example of bringing beauty from the ashes – and of repurposing the past to create new hope in a brand new world.
Happy Easter everyone, whatever your beliefs. We can surely all hope for the promise of hope and hope for the promise of a better world.
Note – Sorry to give away any mystery, but I stumbled across the Home Front Vintage on a “non working” weekend, which means I didn’t have all my camera gear with me. Instead, these images come from my iPhone. So please forgive them if they’re not up to the usual scratch. It’s certainly not the fault of the lovely Sara Jane!