Friday, August 16, 2013

Mother Hubbard

'Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard...' remember that Nursery Rhyme? Everywhere you look in Port Vila (Efate Island, Vanuatu), you see women dressed just as Old Mother Hubbard may have. Introduced by 19th century missionaries, they are actually called Mother Hubbard dresses and provide local women with a sense of identity.

8 women all in Mother Hubbard dresses in 1 small area

Their expressive dresses in colourful patterns usually have puffy sleeves, side flaps, and are decorated with lace and/or ribbons. I found a shop downtown that was filled with ladies who sewed and sold their creations. Aisle after aisle of sewers and displayed wares...

Which one do you want?

Women also sewed and displayed pretty blouses and attractive men's shirts, sarongs (wraparound skirts/cover-ups), and even Mother Hubbard dresses in children's sizes.

A competition of fancier examples was included at the 3-day Tradefair that we attended. First prize went to a lady in a bright orange dress with surprisingly no pattern but still with lots of ribbons and lace.

I feel so pretty!

Would I wear one of these dresses? No, but on the other hand, everywhere you look in many countries all you see are people in plain old blue jeans. Maybe there's something to be said for colourful Mother Hubbard dresses...

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