A Crime of Fashion

True crime stories are right up there on my love-o-meter. A somewhat surprising fact given my inner nature. I am normally the kind of person who turns the TV off if a show or movie depicts violence higher than a G rating. So, it’s just as much a mystery to me why true stories of crime and murder grab a hold of me tighter than my son’s grip on his XBox remote.

Recently, I was listening to my favorite true-crime podcast on my daily drive. This particular episode was about the unsolved murder of the incredibly eccentric and imaginative wallpaper designer Florence Broadhurst.

Who’s that you say? Right. I had no idea, either. So, I immediately jumped onto my library’s catalog to find any published works about her. Now that I had the whole story about her gruesome murder under my listening belt, I was craving to know more about this fascinating woman and her extraordinary life.

Thanks to my amazing library system, I was able to receive a book titled Florence Broadhurst: Her Secret & Extraordinary Lives written by Helen O’Neill.

Extraordinary is an understatement. Florence Broadhurst was a feisty go-getter who didn’t conform to the societal norms placed upon women of her time. Born in 1899 in Queensland, Australia, Florence Broadhurst first burst her way onto the theater scene and eventually wore many hats during the course of her life, including that of self-fabricated French couturier Madame Pellier.

Her last claim to fame came in at the age of sixty, as Florence reinvented herself as a designer of wallpaper, claiming that her home country of Australia was “afraid of colour”. She founded a hand-print wallpaper design studio in Sydney, choosing colors and patterns that were as bright and bold as herself. At the time of her untimely death in 1977, her company had a catalog of over 500 prints that were sold globally.

Florence Broadhurst’s screen prints no doubt made a bold statement on the walls of the homes, and nightclubs, and other public and private walls they adorned, and it got me thinking about some of the fabulous patterns and prints in my Poshmark closet.

While the patterns on the clothing I have here are not tied to Florence Broadhurst in any way (other than my great imagination), they are what I call my Florence Broadhurst Inspired Fashion Finds.

From the silver foil leaf print shirt made by Tibi and the gold and black brocade Exhilaration dress, to the amazing bright silk patterned ankle trousers from J. Crew and the peacock patterned Free People top seem to pay homage to Florence Broadhurst (pictured at top) and her bold and beautiful wallpaper prints.

Sadly, her life ended on a tragic note, and her 1977 brutal murder case is still unsolved to this day, but her wallpaper lives on. A google search of Florence Broadhurst wallpaper lead me to many online shops and retailers where I can purchase my very own paper when the time is right for me.

Check out my online resale shop if any of the fashions shown here have inspired you!

Published by Kelly W

I'm Kelly. I am a mom of four, a full-time librarian with a fashionista alter-ego, and I live each day with kindness in my heart. I love what I do, and I'm here to share words, wisdom, and wardrobe with you.

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