Ruby red lipstick and victory rolls, it’s the annual 50’s fair at Rose Seidler House.
Zora Regulic gets into the swing of things.
Not even the dark clouds could overshadow the colour and vibrancy that is the annual Fifties Fair at Rose Seidler House, one of the most lively fairs on the Sydney calendar. Now past its 20th birthday, it’s become so popular that tickets are pre-sale only, as space is limited in the grounds of the home that Australia’s most famous architect built for his mother.
Vintage is the word of the day, from the vintage bus that drops you at the fair to the vintage cars you stroll by on your way to the entrance. The venue for the fair is in the bushland grounds of the fabulous heritage-listed Rose Seidler House, designed by architect Harry Seidler for his parents Rose and Max. The home, in the leafy northern Sydney suburb of Wahroonga, caused a stir when it was completed in 1950. It wasn’t your typical 1950s suburban Sydney weatherboard house, it was a modern, futuristic home that combined architecture, art and technology, all influenced by the Bauhaus style. The popularity of the home was a launch pad for Harry’s career in Australia.
After the tour of the house, my first stop for a refreshment is at Madame Pop for an all-natural ice cream. I chose chocolate éclair, salted caramel with chocolate ganache swirls – delicious. Onwards to other delights, vintage stalls filled with so many blasts from the past. Jewellery, vases, tin cars, there was also an abundance of porcelain donkeys that must have been a big thing in the ’50s. There were fabulous hats that would sit perfectly on Sandra Dee’s head, dresses, furs (fake, I’m sure), even a hair salon which, for a reasonable price, can create a hairdo that would make Marilyn Monroe proud. Caravans wafting with the delicious smell of barbecued meat. Coffee, sweets – dainty Jelly cakes all made for a lovely sense of nostalgia, a longing for simple times gone by.
A walk through the main attraction of the fair, Rose Seidler House, instantly transports you to another time. It is filled with original furniture from the 1950s (complete with a Kenwood chef mixer in the kitchen). Colourful murals fill the walls on the deck, making it a delight to wander through – shoes off at the front door please.
My eyes popped at all the lovelies who had gone to much effort to look so glamorous on the day, all happy to oblige for a photo. Colourful petticoat filled dresses, fluffy fur stoles, gorgeous hats and perfectly pinned victory roll hairdos, although no outfit was complete unless there was an application of the ruby red lipstick. Contestants for best dressed shared the stage with musicians who made you want to join the rockabilly dancers doing their thing. Then again, it may be a better idea if I just lie on the lawn and enjoy the all the beautiful sights and sounds and leave the dancing to someone more agile. TTW
Rose Seidler House is one of Sydney’s Living Museums and is open to the public on Sundays.
More at sydneylivingmuseums.com.au. Photos: © Zora Regulic.