Monday, 28 November 2011

Debutant Debby on Horseback

This incredible photograph arrived in my inbox today and all I can say is WOW!!!! My tulle prom dress looks rather splendid up there modelled by the beautiful Bella and this has to be my favourite image of one of my dresses so far.
I really wish all of the dresses could be worn on horseback or in adventurous places, they are to be enjoyed and played in, not to be too precious about :) Go have fun in your gowns, please!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

New party dresses!

 We had a day of shooting the new party dresses in leopard, lace and a fabulous vintage red print yesterday. The super gorgeous Kimberly Louise Hill modelled for us and looked fabulous in each of our dresses, she also bought along an awesome shoe selection. 

I love the length of our longest lace cocktail dress, it reminds me of early Twenties full skirted evening dresses with the full bell skirt to the calf and the scalloped lace hem.
This is the new corded lace which is beautiful and a great weight similar to the old corded lace. Laid over the charcoal grey it looks stunning in the off, faded black tone. This will be in the boutique soon available made to order to your size.

Lovely fabulous leopard print. This is one of my little obsessions, along with crepe and lace that I keep searching for. The perfect leopard print, I found it in this bengaline fabric but now can't source any more which is always the case when I hoard fabrics for years.
This little leopard lady is a one off. The shoes were my wedding shoes in pony skin leopard!

Kim wore a vintage style Osprey silk cravat in her hair which gave some added colour pop to the little red border dress, she looks like a J H Lynch painting here, gorgeously kitsch and you can imagine her dancing in a jazz club in Harlem or in West Side Story. This fabric was an American Etsy find with a bold red and navy screen printed hem. Wish I had some more!

This one will be available made to order, a soft heavy lace draped over a ballet pink taffeta. The bodice as a 'sqeeze me tight fit' and sits just on the tips of the shoulder. Perfect with a sweep in red lipstick and killer Mary Janes.

'THE' black lace I have be coveting and the one I have been inundated with emails about. I had just enough of this lace to make two dresses and this is one of them which is a one of a kind and has a sheer lace Edwardian influenced panel in the centre.

These dresses will be coming up very soon to the boutique and a couple will also be available made to order. As always the vintage prints are one of a kind so keep your eyes peeled!

Model: Kimberley Lousie Hill
Hair and Make Up: Kimberley Louise Hill
Photography : Alexandra King and Anna Vickery

Shoes: Topshop and Models Own
Dresses: Alexandra King

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The end of vintage, really?

So I read the post on the vintage wedding style being over and the overdone vintage styling on the Huffington Post yesterday. You can read it here.
I partially agreed about the vintage thing and  partially thought it was a big old load of nonsense mainly about the return to formal wedding with rules.  I then really needed to ramble so bare with me here.

Thankfully with wedding bloggers like Rock n Roll bride the rules are breaking, you can get married for as little as £200 at the registry office and have a picnic after with two friends (you really can!) or you can go all out. There are no rules!

Here's my two cents worth  on 'vintage' style and weddings pressures...............

So what does 'vintage' actually mean?

in terms of clothing it covers anything over 20 years old. The dictionary defines it as 'representing the high quality of a past time' and I think it's time to be more specific and concentrate on this term quality. 

To me vintage has become an empty word that kind of means nothing and 'vintage style' is just anything that looks old ish but is new. So yes Harmony is very right it has been over-used and some people who jumped on the vintage bandwagon despise the idea of anything old! 

But, this love of historical fashions and things will never end, it's like saying antique collecting will end, museums will end, history lessons will end. We like to look back to the past, with clothing as in all design there are techniques that have changed with industry and it is important to learn from this.

Then you have the personal level, a 1930s wedding dress has a story, a romance and some of us actually get excited by that musty smell!  This silk satin dress hanging on my wall is an original 1940s evening gown, I found it in a skip. That doesn't bother me, it's beautiful.

the stunning Forties dress I found in the skip

On the opposite level there is some absolute rubbish masquerading as 'vintage' or vintage style. So yes it may be time to step away from that word, let the genuine dealers become more respected for their knowledge and carefully curated collections and let all the 'nonsense' disappear over time.

What do I know about vintage clothing? 
I know quite a lot really (not to blow my own trumpet here) . I'm very passionate about Vintage (representing the high quality of the past) clothing.
I have a BA Hons degree in fashion and textile design, a 2.1 and the majority of this was spend studying 'old' clothing.
It funded my way through Uni selling this 'old clothing' and I then ran my own vintage clothing business online.
I worked for the rag man in Bristol sourcing vintage clothing from a whole factory full of discarded textiles the charity shops couldn't sell. I got to the point when I could tell the age just by finger tip rummaging through bins of clothing.
I then worked in a consultancy role for one of the major Bristol Charities, advising for their online shop and on how to make the most from their 'old stuff'.
I did talks on Vintage clothing and eventually I saw it slowly run out. It was all hopefully in the right place, boutiques, peoples homes, being appreciated more.
I still collect and have study sessions at the fashion museum updating my knowledge and understanding.

Isn't what I do 'vintage style'? 

Well yes and I this article made me think a lot about what I do. I need to be more specific. My designs are inspired by dresses of the late 1940s to the early 1960s. It's the techniques and quality that mainly inspires me, the fact that during this era dresses were made with craftsmanship, couture wasn't loosing brands money and having a dressmaker was quite normal. Factory made clothing wasn't here yet so finishing was more hand made. I love this quality and want to bring this to my dresses.  I'm not just designing and making with the style because it's fashionable, it's what I love.

I'm guessing that these 'vintage' photographers, don't learn to use an Rolleiflex properly just because it's on trend, nor do they shoot beautiful, personal images, it happens to be their style.

the details and fabrics that are so important

How important is trend to a wedding? 

It's not or at least it shouldn't be to the bride and groom, it needs to personal to their style whatever it may be.

This sounds really, really silly but Sex and the City the movie did actually have quite an intelligent message when it came to weddings. It's easy for it to be all about the bride and the wedding styling instead of the couple. Big didn't turn up when it got out of control and the city hall wedding at the end was so romantic and most importantly meaningful to the couple. Still in a gorgeous dress too!

My friend just said to me 'do us modern girls really need weddings?'  I'll leave this one to you.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Pretty Birdie Dress

Birdie Print fifties inspired party dress with the super cute multi-coloured birds popping out of the grey background.

I'm working on a few novelty print dresses at the moment with fabrics from my favourite and best local fabric supplier Millie Moon. Every time I visit the shop I fall in love with yet another print! Have a look at our pink elephant print here, i just love this design.

 The novelty print dress was a staple of the summer wardrobe and hostess warddrobe from the late forties through to the early sixties with the ready to wear label Horrockses at the forefront of these fashions. you can just imagine all those 1950s wives in the prints all together discussing suburban life Mad Men style!
I have my original 1950s Horrockses dress hung on my studio wall, it's made in a gorgeous cotton with green and pink roses in stripes and a fabulous full skirt. Horrockses employed artists Graham Sutherland, Eduardo Paolozzi and Pat Albeck to design their striking patterns which ranged from lobsters, florals, fruit and veg anything that could be turned into a pattern that would turn heads.
There is a brilliant book all about Horrockses fashions published by the V&A for further reading on the brand. 

It's Horrockses that has inspired my novelty print dresses, my fabrics picked from rummaging in vintage shops, charity shop curtains and the wonderful Michael Miller prints, the soft cotton makes them very easy to wear and feel amazing with the full swishing skirts around you.
I'm now searching for lobster print cotton to make a lobster dress paying homage to the great Schaiparelli and Horrockses.

I'd love to hear about your Horrockses or any vintage novelty print dresses. What's your favourite print and have you found anything really unusual? 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Pink Elephant Dress at Millie Moon

 Millie Moon is this amazing fabric shop run by Rachel and Becki which has just opened in Wells. This is their second shop, the flagship is in Frome where they also have a sewing school  and a massive following. This may seem like a major suck up to this shop, but for me when something it really good I like to shout about it and it really is genuinely brilliant.

Each time I have visited the shop, not only does my mind turn to mush over all the gorgeous fabrics, trimmings, sewing treats galore but I'm always so happy to see it packed full of people wanting to sew. I'm always at the back of a big queue which in this case is wonderful.
They stock very carefully selected and beautifully presented fabrics by Amy Butler, Liberty, Michael Miller (my favourite at the moment) and many more along with quilting supplies, gifts for sewing enthusiasts, great quality trimmings and little exciting sewing bit and bobs. And it's all wonderful quality.
Here is their website so you can buy online and feed your addiction! 

This dress is one of the first dresses I have made from their fabric and it is a dream to sew, it has a slight stretch which is great when it comes to fit and a lovely medium weight which has just the right balance between drape and structure.
We chose a Pink Drunken Elephant print for the shop dress by Michael Miller, It reminds me a little of Dumbo and how can you resist pink elephants on the dark charcoal grey?

This design is another fifties inspired silhouette with a slight off the shoulder neckline, boned bodice and a fine pleated, very full skirt. Trimmed with satin piping and trim at the waist in olive green to match the juggling bottles.
This fabric has been very popular so we may be able to make just one more of this dress if anyone would like to order, it makes a fabulous party dress!

Even just looking on the website, I just can't help myself!!!  They have a blog too here with lost of sewing inspirations and ideas.  A huge thank you to Millie Moon just for being here in Somerset and inspiring designs. x

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Vinnie's Fifties Sari Wedding Dress

This is exactly what I like to see when receiving images from my brides! Twirling and smiling, just perfect!

Vinnie came to me earlier this year for her wedding gown and bought with her the most gorgeous wedding saris to have her dress made in. I had just got back from a trip to Singapore where I indulged in many stunning silk saris with the intention to make dresses from (they are still hoarded in my 'best' cupboard and will be coming out very soon!) and this was like a dream request come true.

Vinnie had a traditional Hindu wedding for the first part of her day in a bridal sari and then slipped on her version of our Christy dress for a gorgeous Mad Men Fifties style in the evening. Complete with antique gold Jimmy Choo's! 

She looks so stunning, Congratulations to Vinnie! 

Photos by Nic Serpell-Rand at free range weddings.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Tulle Capes

We have some gorgeous capes back in stock, our cafe capes sold out very quickly and now we have these lovelies in soft ivory and an amazing polka dot lavender trimmed in velvet ribbons. They make a great cover up for brides and for cocktail dresses and look pretty cool with a vest and jeans too.
Peruse at your leisure in the shop x 
I'm still loving our candy purple back ground! 

Monday, 7 November 2011

New Dresses!

I'm still super super excited about the Rock n Roll bride tutorial from Saturday and thank you to everyone for their lovely comments and tweets! I love hearing feedback from people! 

Here we have two new dresses and a very misty morning which looks gorgeous and Wintery.

I love love love the print on the toile de jour dress which reclaimed from a vintage pair of curtains and we made the skirt super full and twirly which works perfectly with the cinched black silk waistband.
The second dress is a super chic fifties hourglass dress, it's going to work real good on curves and the black lace and green silk look amazing together. The silk draped belt is detachable to wear with or without the added drama.
Both available ready to wear and made to order in the shop! x

Friday, 4 November 2011

Em's Wedding Photos

Emma has very kindly shared her photos with me of her wedding in August for which we made her tea length gown.. The wedding was held at Huntstile Organic Farm complete with chickens and goats and makes a gorgeous location.
The bouquet looks beautiful and bright against the ivory and the huge bow Emma requested looks fabulous in the photos.  I just adore Emma's MASSIVE smile, it's the best advert I could imagine!
 Here is the post about her dress with more images.

Photography by Graham Morgan  
Location at Huntstile Organic Farm

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Forties Pin Up Bridesmaids

 For the Thirties/Forties wedding we made matching crepe dresses in a wartime 'pin up' style. The bridesmaids looked fabulous complete with victory rolls and red killer heels!

The dress was cut on the bias in many panels over the bodice that were then piped with Liberty's pepper print in red, white and blue. The Thirties is all about the bias cut and fabulous panelling. The challenge was after creating this great pattern with the panels, how to finish the inside without adding a load of bulk? It was very fiddly but in the end the seams were bound with the seam allowance from the piping. It was quite incredible, wish I took a picture!
The neckline had more gathered pepper print and the dress was trimmed with matching covered buttons running down the back.
Bridesmaids dresses are always really great to work on as this is where the colour of the wedding can be used and they can be used to set the style of the day.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Green, organic and fair trade

So the 'Betty sure was Good' dress, was brilliantly good and gorgeous along with the 'Betty's Good Tee' and 'Betty's Good Night' dresses made in an organic, fair trade cotton produced by Bishopston Trading company. 

I now have 'Betty's good night' in sea foam green as requested by one of our lovely Australian customers. Isn't it great in this colour? I'm always happy to receive requests for bespoke colours. Send me an email or a colour swatch and i'll see if I can match it for you.