Interview with The Sydney Morning Herald

The Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday, March 26, 2010, Jane Southward

When Phillipa Fioretti, was finishing high school at SCEGGS Redlands she used to spend her weekends trawling through racks of second-hand clothes at the markets in Paddington and Balmain. Now she has brought to life her passion for vintage fashion in a novel called The Book of Love, to be published by Hachette next month. She has also launched a website filled with vintage products as well as anecdotes and photographs that have inspired her.

It just made sense, Fioretti says, that the novel’s heroine, Lily, would choose vintage clothes. Lily, the romantic co-owner of a second-hand bookshop, is stuck in a relationship with a caddish boyfriend who disappears after the pair discover a rare and valuable volume among second-hand books destined for sale.

“Lily is a romantic and loves living in the past,” Fioretti explains. “Vintage clothes allow her to dream of the stories of the women who once wore them.” Fioretti’s personal passion for vintage fashion continued beyond her student days at the University of Svdnev, where she majored in philosophy. On a holiday in Paris in the early 1980s she discovered a favourite item in a flea market – a handmade silk dress in ivory with blue and green stripes and a lace petticoat sewn into it, which the author says ” looks like something out of a Renoir painting”. That’s the beauty of vintage shopping, she says from her home in Adelaide: “You never really know what you will discover. [It allows you to] shop with a hunter-collector mentality.” Another reason for buying vintage clothes is they often have an elegance that mass-made, contemporary clothes lack, she says.

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