Melbourne fashion c. 1939

It’s 1939, and World War II wages. Yet street style photography, even if we call it that just in retrospect, exists. This picture probably wasn’t taken for sartorial analysis, but like so many social snaps reveals how so much has changed. Swanston Street’s architecture will never again be so good, nor it streets so well paved. And the fashion? You’ll never again see such looks on Swanston Street; though a take on the female dandy may offer some similarities. Nor will two young ladies ever walk down Swanston Street to reach ‘The Tan’ equestrian track at Royal Botanic Gardens – it’s now nothing more than a jogging track.

Audrey Melbourne

The picture features Audrey and her sister and was sent in to the Sartorialist by Audrey’s granddaughter Maddy, who wrote;

This is a photo of my beloved grandmother, Audrey. It was taken in 1939, when she was 17, the same age I am now. On her right is her younger sister, Amba. On the way to the Tan at the Botanical Gardens for a horse ride, the two were captured walking down Swanson St, Melbourne by a street photographer. It was taken days before she enlisted in the Air Force for World War II. Personally I find it incredible that these places, that are frequented by thousands of people every day, including myself and my sister, were once travelled by my own Granny Audie. I can only imagine what kind of mischief she got up to with her own sister. As much as I loved her in her later years, I would have longed to know her when she was that age.

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