Saturday, August 7, 2010

Early Influences...And The Original Lady Gaga.

I've had a thing for lime green for a long time now. I always wondered why I was so inexplicably drawn to the color. Particularly lime green and white prints from the late 60's early 70's. Lime green mixed with navy is even more delectable--- it's not really so much my style, but when shopping for Xtabay I always feel a kinship to the combination. So while going through some old family slides it finally dawned on me what it was.... It's my grandma! Isn't it always about our grandmother's?  Let me introduce you to the  original Lady Gaga...
I deemed my grandmother "Gaga" when I was two. The name stuck and to this day the whole family still calls her that. She is turning 90 this year and still lives in the house where she was born in Bristol, Rhode Island.  I don't know why it has taken me so long to realize that it was the time I spent with her that has been driving my obsession with vintage clothing, and the magic pull that lime green seems to have on my heart. ( Here she is pictured in a chic palm tree print jersey dress--that's me with my binky).
Here's a dress Gaga would approve of....1970's silk day dress by Pauline Trigere. Available now at Xtabay.
Going to visit Gaga was the thing I looked forward to the most. My family would usually go for a couple weeks in the summer. The days would go something like this: wake up and have portuguese pancakes for breakfast, walk to the foot if the street for a swim in the bay, maybe drive "down country"to Tiverton, come home and have lunch---Gaga always had saltines and a bitter unsweetened chocolate milkshake. She would read the paper and I would work on my drawings. If I was lucky we would go up in the attic and rifle through the old storage bins and cedar chests. This was my favorite thing of all.  There were all sorts of treasures up there, dolls and jewelry, mink name it. Even a really creepy picture of Jesus where his eyes would open and close. By 5 o'clock it was time to come downstairs and get ready for "quiet hour". "Quiet hour" was the time when all the adults would sit on the patio and have gin & tonics and I would sip cranberry juice with a lime.  Then maybe cohog pie for dinner followed by Newport Cremery's coffee ice cream, then an evening walk and to bed. My idea of a perfect day, and probably the happiest time in my life.  (Here we are on the chintz davenport, I'm drawing and she's critiquing--by the way, I have a soft spot for floral chintz as well...).
Gaga wore lots of Lilly Pulitzer, the epitome of east coast summer wear.... I love finding Lilly's for the store, even though they don't really seem like that much of a Portland thing...
Here she is wearing the most amazing vintage Diane Von Furstenberg dress EVER! Oh how I wish she kept it! She really loved a good wrap dress....
...and so do I! This 70's cotton polka dot wrap dress by Georgia Bullock would be right up her alley.
This is my dresser, in my messy room, with the big lime green Kate Spade bag that contained my great big new lime green Kate Spade purse (totally Gaga) and next to it is the dress Gaga wore to my mother's wedding. It's the quintessential Gaga dress, lime and navy with a bold floral print, purchased in 1972 at Peck and Peck department store in Providence, Rhode Island. It was full length but I had it hemmed into a mini so that it would suit me better.  It's my inspiration piece.
So my mystery has been solved, every time I stumble upon a bold lime green print, it brings me back to my summer's with Gaga. Cozying up next to her on the chintz davenport, resting my head on her palm tree printed shoulder.


  1. Beautiful post, Lizzie. It made me cry just reading it. Love you and love Gaga!

  2. What a lovely post Liz. Brought back found memories of my Grandma, Quahog Pie and the Ocean State. The pictures of you and your grandmother are beautiful and of course your gorgeous dresses are wicked cool!!

  3. Dear Liz,
    This post struck such a cord in my heart...for my grandmother serves as my muse and passion for vintage fashion! Your "Gaga" is a lovely woman with fabulous taste! Bristol is just a few minutes away from me, we will have to rendevous on your next visit to RI! I would love to meet her, my grandmother shopped at Peck & Peck as well!

  4. Memory and what it evokes is one of the major reasons we love vintage. It will always have fascinating stories to tell those who take the time to listen. Great post Liz thanks for sharing your GaGa with us.

  5. Thank you Liz for the memories you shared. I never take any of the times that I spend with my mom and your "Gaga" for granted ...they are special, and I am fortunate to have all of them.

    Aunt Jan