Dress Dreaming – Tiffany Titshall – Fanny’s Flat – Talbot, Victoria

Posted on November 11, 2011



Warm Summer winds bring dreams of dresses to mind, especially inspired by Tiffany Titshall’s season choices for Fanny’s Flat, Talbot.  Each style is hand picked to conjure up eras past, from where fashion comes down to the present.  Every vintage dress must have its own story, provenance comes into the picture, and the rest is history in the making.  Our minds must go to the matter of the mysterious Fanny, and her history, one who made her entrance to the Fair in this earlier posting.

Well, then…


Fanny arrived at the Commercial Hotel on Fyfe Street as the sole passenger on a less-travelled Cobb & Co coach at precisely 9.52am sometime in early 1912.  The diminutive brunette, wearing French kid-leather gloves on her child-sized hands and a one-feathered jade hat on top of her precious curls, stepped from the 11-trunk heavy coach onto a pathway lined with wild rose petals … or so the butcher said.  The baker, however, disagreed.

Fanny arrived in Talbot during the 1870s gold-boom when the town was simply a sea of 15,000 miner-owned tents. Sitting side-saddle on the jittery leader of a posse of nuggety brumbies, Fanny tipped her tiny top hat to the town’s many dusty miners as she made her way to the grand Commercial Hotel. 

Although no local could agree on the manner of how Fanny arrived, or what she was wearing, all were unanimous that the two-storey Commercial Hotel was her destination and that she was the most elegant woman to set foot in the Talbot goldfields.  Fanny – songstress, chanteuse and butterfly brooch collector – arrived in the Victorian goldfields to promptly kick off the Commercial’s gala nights and dance season in the downstairs ballroom. These grand evenings would begin with a few of Fanny’s breathy torchlight numbers (later to become popular with blonde and bosomy 1950s siren) followed by dancing to the latest songs heard in smokey European salons.  Her dance card was always full. Fanny would be twirled by the town doctor, various mine owners and a somewhat leery visiting Irish architect. In fact, there were few eligible (and not-so-eligible) bachelors who did not desire the company of the well-accessorised Fanny.

Yes, she was breathy, brunette and bosomy – but it was her introduction of pre-supper promenades and the spirited promenade outfits that captivated the township. On the first promenade on Fyfe she wore a post-bustle bustle and her precious curls hung loose (hussy!) under her favourite one-feathered jade hat.  Dusty miners were compelled to remove hats (if they had them) and bid the lady ‘good evening.  By the third week, joined by the butcher’s wife and the baker’swife, Fanny dared to display some of her more daring ensembles.  Arm-in-arm and in-between the butcher’s and baker’s wives, Fanny minced her steps in an inch-above-the-ankle (oh my!) black fish-tail skirt and a modified men’s pinstripe jacket cinched at the waist. The locals watched in awe, unsure of whether to mock or go home and modify men’s jackets themselves.

Naturally, Fanny was the hot topic of conversation in all talking circles. The Commercial’s chefs giddily claimed her helpful presence in the hotel’s toasty single-story kitchen, located in-between the hotel’s two-story servants quarters at the back.  It was said that it was she who convinced the Commercial chefs to sprinkle little, coloured balls of sugar over the icing on sponge cakes.  (For the rest of Fanny’s Story read on  here, and find out how her life unfolded…)

It’s now clear that every vintage gown must have its story, and Fanny’s would have been no exception.  Of course, once you purchase a gown, it will carry your own story too.  There is something about vintage fashion, and those that care about it, that endures.  Visit Fanny’s Flat at Art of Elegance Fair for beautiful vintage dresses this coming Summer, and have a dress to dream on…


Fanny’s Flat, Tiffany Titshall, Shop 1, 40 Scandinavian Crescent, Talbot, Victoria 3371

Mobile: 0428 342 937


Words: copyright M. Roleff 2011

Images: copyright T. Titshall 2011

(Material on Fanny from Talbot courtesy T. Titshall, written by Jackie Cooper copyright 2011)

Posted in: Traders