Outfit Of The Day

Museum Pocket book: Outfit of the Month ‘very Grace Kelly’

Fordell Ball Committee, 1958. Merle Higgie is standing within the centre of the entrance row in her lilac night costume. Picture / Tesla Studios, courtesy of Dell Higgie

The September Ko te Kākahu o Te Marama – Outfit of the Month on the Whanganui Regional Museum is a classy night costume made from a lilac internet material over lilac artificial satin.

It has a boned bodice with stiffening interfacing. With two slim shoulder straps, the very full skirt has material flowers stitched from the waist down and a protracted internet floating scarf hooked up to the fitting shoulder strap.

The costume was worn by Merle Higgie, of House Farm in Denlair Rd, to a Wanganui Ladies’ Faculty ball in Fordell Corridor in 1958. {A photograph} taken on the time exhibits Merle, tall, slim and stylish in her costume, together with different members of the ball committee, all presumably Ladies’ Faculty “outdated women”. The ball might have been a WGC outdated women fundraiser.

When Dell Higgie, one in all Merle’s daughters, confirmed her youthful sister Janis the {photograph}, Janis was moved to say, “Very Grace Kelly”. Whereas it’s home made, it nonetheless has the period’s design and glamour; the swirling skirt alone has a circumference of eight metres of cloth. And Janis captures the spirit of the period together with her remark.

The costume was not made by Merle. Dell Higgie says her mom embroidered and crocheted, however by no means knitted or sewed, so a buddy might have made it for her.

Merle Higgie's lilac evening dress. Whanganui Regional Museum Collection ref: 1995.60.8
Merle Higgie’s lilac night costume. Whanganui Regional Museum Assortment ref: 1995.60.8

Merle at all times dressed up. She had an in depth and stylish wardrobe, a few of which she donated to the Whanganui Regional Museum in 1995. Her assortment features a brown rabbit fur coat, brightly-coloured day attire and extra night attire, together with a vibrant orange brocade from 1965, an electrical blue lurex from 1970 and a tangerine chiffon, additionally from the Nineteen Seventies. And there are her gloves – inexperienced, cream, olive, brown, white – Merle had gloves to match her outfits. Dell stated she by no means left the farm with out trying immaculate and good.

Merle, née Richardson, married Malcolm (Mack) Higgie in 1950 at St Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Whanganui. The couple had 4 kids and farmed at Fordell.

Merle led a busy life on the farm and tending her kids, however she at all times discovered time to be deeply concerned in her group. Merle’s college connections have been sturdy, as evidenced by her work on the ball committee. A former pupil of Wanganui Ladies’ Faculty, her daughters additionally attended WGC and boarded there. Merle was additionally a devoted gardener.

One in all her nice loves was music. She was an completed pianist and held a Licentiate of the Royal Colleges of Music. She attended St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Fordell and performed the organ for providers.

Merle handed away in Fordell in November 2015 and leaves a legacy in her fashionable assortment within the museum and within the recollections of her household and group of her power and abilities.

• Libby Sharpe is senior curator at Whanganui Regional Museum.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button