Friday, 8 January 2016

Folk Tales

So far January has been very very rainy, today there was a little glimpse of beautiful wintery light and I grabbed it to snap some pictures. This sort of light always seem to lend itself to Folk inspired outfits, it's my favourite of any weather. The crisp, clean freshness is so refreshing after the seemingly endless damp days! 

These pictures are inspired by a multitude of things that have been dancing around my mind lately. Firstly Russian, Hungarian, Bulgarian and Romanian wedding and funeral ensembles. I saw Hungarian and Bulgarian wedding and funeral costumes in the Ethnographic Museum in Budapest and they have been playing on my mind ever since. I love the delicacy of the colours and the intricate layers of embroidery, beading and ribbonwork; truly exquisite!

Ethnographic Museum, Budapest
Ethnographic Museum, Budapest

Ethnographic Museum, Budapest

Ethnographic Museum, Budapest

I wanted to try and re-create something of them in my ensemble - the layers, trinkets and colours in particular. My own folk story if you like, a little love, a little loss and of course a chicken because of course what Eastern European folk tale is complete without a chicken? This one is named Percy (short for Persephone). It was a gift from my mum a few years ago, I walked passed it in a shop in Bath and fell in love - so fluffy and much tidier than a real chicken. You can purchase one too (if you care to) direct from Hansa or via Amazon.

  Whilst thinking about these things my mum posted on Facebook some paintings she has been working on for Galway Early Music Festival and it seemed so in tune with everything I had been whirring over in my mind. Hands clasping hearts are perhaps one of my all time favourite symbols.

Second Claddagh Triptych, Penny MacBeth, 2016

The Claddagh ring, featuring two hands clasping a crowned heart is a symbol firmly embedded in the cultural history of Galway however, hands clasping hearts crop up everywhere including in Hungary, it being a universal symbol for love or betrothal. They often appear, like the Claddagh, in rings known as 'fede' - meaning fidelity. However, in Hungary we also saw hearts crop up on doors and brooches:

Brooch, Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Lace is something else which I've been thinking about lately, mainly after listening to my friend Elena talk about it having traveled around Europe studying it. It is such a beautiful, and I feel under appreciated, art form! I've owned this 1980s does 1920s machine lace dress for a few years now. It's wonderfully versatile; sometimes I wear it belted, other times loose, sometimes over a underskirt or tucked into leggings. I recently found the same dress in a charity shop but in black, at first I was excited but it was badly dyed and sections of it had taken on a slightly odd faded look. It's of course nowhere near as intricate as proper handmade lace but it's pretty good machine version. 

And of course my headdress, this is another that I bought in Budapest but have yet to wear on this blog. It's not quite as well made as the other one (which was hand-stitched by the ladies who sold it to me!) but it's still such a wonderful colour and shape. Headdresses for weddings and funerals are definitely an item I feel is missing from English occasions: 

Wedding Headdresses
Source: 1

Norwegian wedding headdresses
Source: 2 

I hope you are all well and enjoying the small glimmer of winter sunshine, it is definitely to be relished whilst it lasts. Remember to wrap up and stay warm in this chilly air. On another note - what did everyone think of the BBC's first episode ofWar and Peace? I was left a little underwhelmed! 

Outfit Details

1980s lace dress - charity shop
1970s cotton lace print skirt - charity shop
Red velvet and lace headdress - Central Market, Budapest
Pink lace gloves - H&M
Crochet, lace and felt choker - Penny MacBeth
Malachite ring - Miranda Hope Jewellery
Sequinned ribbon belt - Istanbul



  1. Your Mom's artwork is so pretty. My oh my, beauty and color and joy just dance all around in your family. You make the most wonderful dreamy folkloric girl. Like a character in an Eastern European fairy tale. And I love that you have a favorite stuffed chicken. Not everybody can say that.

  2. Simply wonderful, love your Mum's art too :) Happy weekend x

  3. I really want to visit the Ethnographic Museum now! Also agree with the smart ladies above, your mum's work is amazing and I can kinda see how the Bulgarian, Russian, Romanian folk ensembles influence it in a very subtle way

  4. I've been gagging for ginormous headwear lately. You're inciting lace, bead, braid and wax flower envy in a million people right now. Just wait, they'll all want to plunder their eastern european roots before you know it. Simply glorious. xxxxxx

  5. Beautiful post, I love all the colour you surround yourself in, and I love Percy. I have real chickens, 10 in fact.

  6. I love how intricate and colorful folk clothing can be, and the lighting here really adds to the mood. What lovely photos! And Percy is so cute :)

  7. I like the headdress & the belt most out of this outfit!
    Though... I adore headdresses, whichever country they're from anyway! :) They make an ensemble look so much better.

    Your mother's Triptych is beautiful. As always her art is awesome!!

  8. Hi Lally, just popped over to say thanks for visiting my blog. You look sensation, I love the headdress, in fact your entire ensemble, it's beautiful. Fancy us both being in Cornwall - hurrah! Percy is uber cute x
    Anna's Island Style

  9. These photos are a gift to my eyes! So thanks to the sun that inspired you and all cultures of Eastern Europe which, for most people, they have been forgotten and leveled to the surface mode .. You are really beautiful, and I thought that the chicken was real. . fantastic! And now I hope the sun come back here! Happy 2016!


  10. Very atmospheric photos and very beautiful! I really enjoyed this post