Caroline Enting is the editor of Good Magazine, a publication whose philosophy and conscious-living mantra totally aligns with her own ethics and values. We’re delighted she is part of our Painted Bird community, and asked her to share her views on vintage and how we can all make ripples for fashion change.
What fashion era would you transport yourself to, if you could and why?
Probably the 1950s because of Dior, Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn. Silhouettes are clean, elegant and glamorous. A favourite fashion film of mine is Funny Face starring Hepburn for which Givenchy and Edith Bird did the costumes. Swoon!
I also love the freedom of that era and in particular rock ‘n’ roll dancing. I used to dance competitively on the amateur circuit. I was invited to attend the 40th anniversary of the Wellington Rock ‘n’ Roll Club in 2018 and bought a great dress for the occasion from Painted Bird. I chose it because it had simple, clean lines and was easy to dance in. I’m pictured here wearing it with a young dancer Jason Reder who competed at the 2018 National Rock ‘n’ Roll championships.
What was your first piece of vintage (1940-1980) clothing? Do you still have it?
A black LBD (little black dress) with a beaded bodice and a scoop back that belonged to my grandmother, Roma Enting. It is absolutely stunning. I wore it to the opening of the Royal New Zealand Ballet season many years ago and will never part with it. The label says ‘Made in British Colony of Hong Kong’.
I’ve also got a gorgeous Brigette (Fashion) of London 1970s purple pleated V-neck wrap dress. It also belonged to my grandmother and has big bell sleeves which I love to wear. I couldn’t believe it when a friend turned up at a launch in 2019 wearing an almost identical dress that she’d just bought in Country Road. I wish we’d got a photo of together wearing our dresses as it was truly spooky how similar they were.
Favourite style advice given to you that you could pass on?
Know your body shape and learn what suits you, and use that as a guide rather than slavishly following trends. Jennifer Souness who is a friend of mine produced fashion shows in Milan for many years and taught me about body shape. Thanks to her, I discovered that I look better in dresses than a skirt and top combo, because I have a long torso and short legs comparatively. Dresses elongate my look whereas a skirt and top makes me look a bit stunted. I can now walk into a shop and know instantly what will suit me, and what won’t, which makes shopping easier. From time to time friends will invite me to take them shopping and style them, which I love doing.
What item in your wardrobe would you consider to be timeless and why?
A black lace LBD by Starfish. It was their Amy dress. Fine brocade black lace is overlaid onto matt black fabric – both of excellent quality. The cut of the dress is very Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s a total classic that will never go out of style.
Favourite style icon and why?
Audrey Hepburn. She was so glamorous as well as a gorgeous human being, and her style impeccable. I loved what she wore in My Fair Lady, Funny Face and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Your top tip on incorporating or wearing vintage in your wardrobe and everyday life:
Keep an eye on fashion trends and you will know what vintage pieces are back in vogue. So many trends come back round for a second or third time! My grandmother’s purple pleated dress from the 1970s is a prime example.
I also picked up a vintage faux fur cropped jacket a year ago at a vintage market in Titirangi that looks great worn over my Kate Sylvester dress or with a pair of jeans.