A Review: Thea Porter, Bohemian Chic

Several years ago, when I taught my first class at Costume College, I had to decide what to wear. And of course, as I sell silk, it had to be made out of silk I sell. Anyone who has attended CoCo knows that you THINK you have all the time in the world until suddenly it’s July and the event is right there, fast approaching, and while you have your Gala Gown, and Sunday Tea outfits all planned, you have no idea what you’re wearing for classes during the day time. And when one is teaching, this becomes especially panic inducing. So I reached in to my costume bag and pulled out a T-tunic I had made for the boyfriend for an SCA event we were vending. Add a belt and headband, some high heels and I was ready to rock. It looked exactly like this…but with shoes:

Also works well as a dance tunic…

Also works well as a dance tunic…

After class, one of my friends told my I did Bohemian Chic really well. Now, for a little background, in high school I once wore a Tasmanian devil t-shirt with a Tasmanian devil head rag with a Tasmanian devil purse. Fashion is NOT my forte. So I had never even heard the term bohemian chic. Being a good little book worm, I went to Amazon. And found the book on review today, Thea Porter, Bohemian Chic. Published by V&A Publishing in London, this very fast read is a series of essays highlighting the different life stages and designs of couturier Thea Porter. Thea Porter’s fashion career lasted approximately 20 years, which is a blip compared to Chanel, Dior, and Versace. But her style was elegantly charming. And because she used unique textiles on every piece she created, each piece WAS unique, even when sharing a similar cut with other pieces.

Among her clients were Sharon Tate, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Joan and Jackie Collins, Bianca Jagger and Crystal Gayle. The book works it’s way through her early life, to opening her own business, through failed expansions, and the ultimate collapse of her fashion house. Filled with pictures, none of the fashions explicitly scream 1970’s, but due to the elegance of the textiles use, remain fairly timeless in their cut and simplicity. The book even mentions that as bohemian chic cycles it’s way through fashion runways every few years, Porter is invariably listed as in an influence on the designer’s choices.

And as I flipped through the book before reading it and looked at the various dresses I wanted that one…and that one…oh and THAT one…

So of course I do recommend this book. I’m starting to think I never met a book I didn’t like…