Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Retirement Living / Fashion / Coveting / Darnell, Doris / Out of the closet / Sydney Morning Herald / Sydney / Australia / Oceania /14-Oct-06//… The collection was bequeathed to Smith three years ago by her godmother, Doris Darnell, a Quaker from Pennsylvania, aged 90. It comprises 3500 pieces, including designer dresses, undergarments and accessories such as gloves, hats, hatpins, jewellery and handbags.

The items were gifted to Darnell from the 1940s, and they keep on coming. "Doris is a very devout Quaker, and Quakers are not meant to covet things, and of course collecting is coveting," Smith says. "She started innocently, in the sense that she would always wear vintage clothing.

"Back in the 1940s no one wore vintage clothing, especially in a Quaker community. She would wear her mother's furry jumpers, little capes and 1920s skirts. People would see her and say, 'Oh, my mother has got one of those, would you like it?'

"She started acquiring these things because she wanted to wear them. When she became well known people saw her as a nice little storage point for all the things they didn't know what to do with."….At least Darnell can still get her hands on some of the collection she amassed. When she handed over the clothing to her goddaughter, she kept a few pieces for herself, and still wears them around her Quaker retirement village in Pennsylvania.

"I think (collecting the clothes) was her way of being a bit of a maverick, just breaking away," says Smith. "She's fabulous and so flamboyant. At the moment she's living in a Quaker retirement village in Pennsylvania and she wears (the clothing) to breakfast, lunch and dinner."......


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