A Dress From Audrey’s Wardrobe

I, have been working in vintage fashion for over 15 years now, and, by far, one of the things I MOST love about vintage is the history and stories behind the clothes. I adore the fact that many of these dresses have been around longer then I have been alive, have lived a life, enjoyed outings and been loved by others before me. I especially relish in a dress when I find out who it once belonged to and where it has been before it arrived in my hands. I love pink, I love gold and I love vintage dresses, so, my heart skipped a beat when I came across this amaaaazing sugar pink and gold satin brocade cocktail dress. I saw this beauty on eBay and, to be honest, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, it had captured me and I knew I needed to make it mine. I’m a determined girl and that dress wasn’t going to go anywhere except for my closet. It was destiny for sure. I bought the dress, hitting the ‘buy it now’ button without hesitation, I knew that it and I would be a perfect match. Helen, who sold it to me messaged me straight away explaining that it had belonged to her Mother, Audrey Watson, and that it was a part of her huge collection of clothing that she had lovingly collected throughout her lifetime and that she hoped I would love it as much as her Mother had; that it had been a hard one to let go of. It immediately added charm to the dress that I now knew who it had belonged to. Then it arrived. It fitted me as if it had been tailored just for me and I knew it was gonna go straight into my own personal collection of vintage dresses that I will never be able to part with. It is a pure stunner. I love it so much I included in in my collection of dresses recently showcased in The Vintage Show as part of Norwich Fashion Week, I just had to show it off. In the package with the dress, Helen kindly enclosed a copy of an article in Saga magazine about Audrey and her vast collection of clothing. I was thrilled to know more about the previous owner and hurriedly messaged Helen to tell her that I loved the dress even more than I thought I would and to ask if she could let Audrey know that it will be forever cherished. She was delighted, I was delighted, and I hope Audrey was delighted too, that her dress had found a new happy owner. IMG_9870

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Would ya just look at the beauty? Isn’t it pretty? Made by ‘Marjon Couture’, I discovered that Audrey bought this dream dress in 1962 in a small shop in Sleaford, in a sale, she actually bought two of the same dress and took apart the second in order to make a matching jacket. Oh my. Imagine the days when there was more than one of these dresses on the rail! Audrey will be 88 years old in May this year and during her life so far she has amassed thousands of items of fashion including dresses, jumpsuits, jewellery and shoes. Just imagine! What a fashionable gal! Her collection has even caught the eye of vintage lover Wayne Hemingway, that’s how great her archives are! During the 60’s and 70’s Audrey made many trips from her home in Lincolnshire down to London to hit the boutiques on the King’s Road and Carnaby Street. How I would adore to ask her about all her memories; “I went for clothes that stood out and were unusual rather than a particular label. I didn’t want to look like everyone else” she said to Saga Magazine. The interview in Saga goes on to say that ‘One outfit was rarely enough. Audrey used to put several in the car boot in case she changed her mind halfway through the evening’, she sounds like a true fashion dream! The majority of Audrey’s collection has now been auctioned off and is now being worn by a new generation, you can see more of the story on the Facebook page that Helen has set up. It turns out that Audrey never actually wore this pink dress, so I will be the first person, after all these years, to wear it, and I cannot wait. It has been cared for and saved by Audrey until it found it’s new owner; meeee! Thank you Audrey for this dress, it will be truly treasured. “All my clothes have memories attached” said Audrey, and now it will be making new memories with me. I couldn’t love it more.

Here’s some gorgeous pictures of Audrey and her love for fashion!

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First image by Anna Gowthorpe, images of Audrey by kind permission of Helen and her Facebook page

Prim Gets Pretty For Norwich Fashion Week

It’s pretty ace to think that since 2010 Norwich Fashion Week has been blasting out a heap of fun every year, growing bigger and better each time, and, that my shop Prim Vintage Fashion has been involved since the very beginning as part of the gob-smackingly gorgeous Vintage Show. Pink. That’s my favourite colour and it’s the signature hue of Prim so it was nothing less than excellent that the set for this years show was pink and sparkly. Boom. I showcased 8 vintage dresses from my store and, oh, a few of them were pink. I was in the pink. Big time. The models were lush, the 70’s music was perfection and the entire event stood out as the most fun and frolicsome of the entire week; well, to me anyways. The Vintage Show always has a very cool tone, a playful vibe, and it was so blummin’ well put together by the NFW team and in particular the marvellous Karen; thanks Doll, you did real good. I was happy as always to be part of this wonderful week; proper fun.
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Beautiful photographs by Andi Sapey

5 TIPS FOR SPRINGTIME DRESSING

Phew! Now that we’re pretty much over the peak of winter, a lot of us are gonna have our minds fixed on one thing: when will we be able to crack into our spring wardrobe, pleeeease? Soon enough, you’ll be able to ditch the tights, sit outside for lunch, forget the gloom of winter and get on with the year ahead. Hurrah! The days are already getting longer, so get into that fast lane by sorting out your spring style now. Here are five tips for the months ahead…

Discover the Duster Coat, or Something Similar – Duster coats have a lightweight design, ideal for wearing over the garb you have now. Just make a point to ditch your chunky knit jumper, as the extra layers can create too much bulk for a piece of clothing that’s all about looking smart. Various different labels have put out styles that are great for dressing down or going to occasions, and spring usually has a lot of both. A good duster will smarten up your jeans, and present a refreshing change to winter’s short jacket/dress ensemble. If you want something a little more cosy and understated, long cardigans are a good alternative. Here’s a great post on how to style a long cardigan. Whatever your tastes, a duster coat, mac, or similar piece is going to be totally essential for your spring wardrobe.

Stick with Long, Lean Hemlines – Now that it’s getting almost too warm to go out wrapped up in a dozen layers, you’re gonna want a transition, and get used to feeling a breeze around your ankles again; lush. It may sound too simple to be effective, but longer, leaner hemlines are a great way to make the change. The best way to do this is to lose your tights, but keep a long skirt or dress so that you don’t feel too much of a shock. Soon enough, you’ll be ready to start wearing summer’s airy, flirty skirts once again!

Crack out the Florals – Flowers are just totes synonymous with spring. They sum up the fresh starts and beauty we associate with the season, so start digging the florals out from the back of the closet. A floral dress is sure to be the trophy piece, but while the weather’s still warming up, you may want to put it off until you can say with absolute certainty that it’s summer. Still, the weather’s going to be comfortable enough for skirts, tops, jeans and so on. This will get you more tuned to a warm mindset, and get you ready for all the sun that’s on its way, yaaaaaay! 

Let Craft-work Back into Your Life – This is another seasonal tradition that isn’t going to go away any time soon. You know that spring’s arrived when the crochet and lace starts appearing on skirts, blouses, and the hems of dresses. In a few weeks, it will be time to let them all out to play again! While we’re still in the transition period, make sure you’re easing those frills in. Add too much in too short a space of time, and you’ll just over-saturate your outfit. Instead, start off with some touches here and there to give yourself the perfect level of spring dressing. Like, you could go looking for understated decorations on a jacket, and combine the piece with a simple black t-shirt, or a roll-neck. Sleek trousers, either skinny, cropped or wide-leg, but always in a neutral colour, can also be great for balancing out the craft-work in your outfit.

Bare your Feet – You’ve had your feet shut up for long enough. Dip a toe into those fresh spring waters with a good sandal. Gladiator styles are still in massive demand, but these will be better when the summer rolls around. Now, a more standard style will work better, combined with cropped trousers to keep yourself firmly in the right part of the calendar. If you can’t handle these, there are some a lot of boot-sandal hybrids currently on the market which might pique your interest. It can be pretty hard to make these mesh with the rest of your outfit when the days are still fairly chilly. However, they’re always going to beat socks and sandals! Let your feet breathe a bit now, and you’ll be all set for slipping into your favourite heels in the summer.

Getting your spring wardrobe right is all a question of balance. Lighten or lose a few layers, compensate where you need to, and above all else get comfortable and ready to feel a little sun on your face!

DAVID FERREIRA, MY FASHION CRUSH

 

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Be still my beating heart.

Yeah, I know, London Fashion Week was a coupla weeks ago now, but, I’m kinda still in the honeymoon phase of it all. Because not only did I have an exceptionally ace time over the 4 busy days, I also kinda fell in love. Yup, I fell slap bang, head over heels, heart thumpingly in love with the fashion of David Ferreira. I am totally love sick. I reviewed this dazzling show in detail for PlusMinus magazine but, seeing as (like a love-struck schoolgirl and her heart-throb crush) I can’t stop thinking about it, I wanted to share my love over here too. And, it gives me the sweet excuse of filling my blog with images of all the looks from the collection. Preeeetty! Now, I loved everything about London Fashion Week, truly, even the cold and hangry moments, because the fun and fast pace of it all keeps you thrilled, but, something about the David Ferreira show made it stand out as THE best part of the entire week for me. I didn’t know what to expect from Ferreira, I was a complete virgin to his work so had no clue what was about to hit me. We got reeeally great close-up seats for this show and as soon as the first model came out, boom, my heart picked up the pace and I was giddy with awe! I was fizzy with glee for the whole show, each model showcasing another outfit which made my knees go weak, I mean, wowzers, would ya look at the colours here, not only are they a mix of my faaavourite brights, but heck, they just come up and smack you in the face with their bold lushness. Like a party popper in the face. Ferreira’s designs blur perfectly the line between art and fashion, the theatricality of it all is sublime and, I dunno, I’m still new to fashion shows but I think really, when I see a runway show I wanna be overwhelmed by the sight of it all. I can look at pretty dresses, sure that’s nice, but I kinda wanna be blown away, and Ferreira achieved that fully. This AW17 collection was titled ‘The Freakball’ taking inspo from old freak shows and circus acts, celebrating uniqueness and confidence in being your own true self. These designs aren’t all totally wearable to the average gal, I get that, but loooook at the structure and shape, and the COLOURS!!! Goodness, I cannot stop looking! The dresses I would TOTALLY wear are the two long bias cut 30’s style ones, they are pure bliss. And, if I had an event, well heck yes I’d throw on the pink tulle number. And, ya know what? I reckon I’d feel a billion damn bucks in it too. Oh man, Ferreira is now my full on fashion crush and I cannot wait to see what he brings next season.

I, am super smitten.

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Photos by Simon Armstrong, by kind courtesy of Forward PR

The Perfect 1930’s Fashion of Woody Allen’s Cafe Society

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If movies were beverages, Woody Allen’s Cafe Society would be a cool glass of smooth Champagne; sparkling and decadent. A beautifully enchanting and bittersweet film, set in 1930’s Hollywood and New York. This latest Allen offering has his usual perfectly paced wit and charm, with Jesse Eisenberg captivating in his lead role, particularly personifying a younger Allen, a modern embodiment of the man himself with his faultless delivery of the dialogue and eager awkwardness. The film has a gorgeous, subtle and easy pace alongside the scintillating quickness of the script. Blake Lively and Kristen Stewart are the fashion in this film, gah, what era is more cinematically superb than the 1930’s? This is a feast of fashion indeed.

Floaty, feminine fabrics, dainty and fragile details, the 30’s clothes in this movie are so expertly selected, with pastels and ditzy florals in abundance for day wear and jaw dropping glamour when it comes to the evening wear. We’re watching the Bette Davis era, the elegance and sophistication is magnified and each outfit creates heart-shaped eyes for the viewer. Frilled cape sleeves, floppy neck ties, slim lines and below the knee hemlines conjure up a time when fashion was neat and beautifully effeminate. On a fashion note alone, this stunning film is worth watching just for the red silk gown worn by Lively, which in my opinion easily rivals that green dress worn by Keira Knightley in the film Atonement. Oh my.

You’ll come away from this movie with the 30’s on your mind, eager to add some of that look to your wardrobe, trust me, you really will. You’ll want sherbet colours, delicate details and prim gloves, you’ll be inspired to add a bias cut to your repertoire – which is flattering for every shape – you’ll want a neat short curled bob in your hair and a beaded bag on your arm. The day wear is cute and accessible and the evening wear is pure luxury on your skin, be it crepe or silk, no gal can feel unnoticed in a 30’s gown. Scour sites like Etsy for originals and replicas, or seek out online vintage fashion stores like mine which have done the hard work for you and have found the best pieces. To wear authentic items can be a pricey affair, but these pieces are a true investment with their value constantly on the rise, they’re an excellent addition to any collection, plus if you take the time to search you can find amazing items at fair prices or you can simply invest in some accessories of the era to add to your modern look, giving a discreet nod to this perfect period.

Cafe Society is available to own on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download from 26th December 2016, courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, and I defy you to watch it and not be inspired to dress and dream as though you are living in the utter delight of the decade. Swoon.

 

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