Friday, 27 March 2015

Happy Birthday Gloria Swanson

gloria swanson Alexandra King
Gloria Swanson by Edward Steichen

Sunset Boulevard

On the set of Sunset Boulevard, costume by Edith Head

Today is Gloria Sawnson's birthday. She played my favorite character of all time, Norma Desmond in the fabulous film Sunset Boulevard 1950.
She claimed six husbands, had a long standing with a Kennedy and was dressed by Coco Chanel herself. Later she became a fashion designer with her own 'Gloria Swanson' label.
She aged beautifully and gracefully looking at what I thought as her peak in Sunset Boulevard at the age of 51.

Happy Birthday to the style star that was Gloria Swanson.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Town and Country Bride Kim at Penard House, Somerset

Bespoke Wedding Dress for Kim

bespoke wedding dress
Laura Power Photography

Back in September Kim and Jon got married in Wells, Somerset. It was a beautiful day with a little rain but that didn't dampen the spirit of their gorgeous wedding.

Anna worked with Kim on her bespoke wedding dress to get the design and fabrics just how Kim wanted for the big day. Something soft, feminine and simply beautiful with great style.

Anna sourced a fine beaded lace from Berwick Street, Soho on a shopping trip with Kim and the full floaty skirt was made in a complimenting matte silk chiffon. The dress had a 1930s feel to it with a open cut back and beaded straps making a perfect Summer wedding design. The skirt just skimmed the floor allowing for a lot of dancing into the late night.

Kim opted for a soft hair style with plait detail that was in keeping with her style and a bespoke head piece was made to match the dress.

The bridesmaids dresses were made to measure a in a blue Liberty London print with a 1950s full skirted style. To finish blue suede shoes by Rachel Simpson were styled to match. Anna also made all 12 of hand sewn ties for the ushers and added some lovely finishing touches with centre pieces for the tables, a garter for Kim and a ring pouch all in Kim's chosen blue Liberty print. .

The wedding was held at Wells Town Hall, a low key venue that again came in to consideration when designing the dress. Demure was very much the order of the day. Then the wedding couple squeezed into the cutest blue mini and made their way to Penard House for the reception

This is a fantastic venue ideal for wedding parties with a grand, but not ostentatious house and converted stable block beautifully finished with a bar.

The couple then danced late into the evening to a two piece band ......  Congratulations Kim and Jon!

bespoke wedding dress by anna vickery for alexandra king

liberty london bridemaids dresses

Happy Birthday to Joan Crawford

It was the great Joan Crawford's birthday yesterday. Born Lucille Fay LeSueur she worked her way up to become one of Hollywood's greatest goddesses. She's right at the top of my list.

I love how different Joan is from her early dancing days where she's all pretty and big eyed. She became the sensational typist in Grand Hotel, the bitchy 'other woman' in The Women, the FABULOUS Mildred Pierce and my absolute favorite as Blanche opposite her arch rival Bette Davis in Baby Jane.
Joan Crawford was powerful on screen and always came across so strongly with her head held very high. Her style was impeccable, dressed by Adrian and photographed by the great George Hurrell.
Such a style muse.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Ask Alexandra - Tweeds at the races?

what to wear to Cheltenham festival ladies day

This weeks Ask Alexandra question is great for planning your ladies day outfits. 

It's Cheltenham race season this week, being still quite cold, what can I wear and not have my skin go pimply and turn blue? Are tweeds OK and what colours please?

Tweeds are the fabric of the equestrian world and a tailored look on a chilly race day at Cheltenham Festival will be far more chic that trying to pretend its Spring in florals. 

Take inspiration from the great French labels, Chanel does tweeds to perfection with her classic suits and teamed with a Hermes scarf would be divine.
For an androgynous look, Biba did it perfectly in the 1970s with fitted waistcoats and wide leg trousers with a neat shirt and tie 1920s style. There are so many ways to make tweed look beautiful. 

I've had a look through the ladies day galleries of the past few years and have devised a few rules that should help you avoid looking like horsey trollop. 

1. No super short skirts for Cheltenham. Its not summer, not a night club and the hooker look doesn't quite work for day events. 

2. Make sure you can walk in your heels!  Try a pair of heeled brogues, laced boots or take inspiration from the 1920s with a firm heel. Wobbling on stilettos in a field just makes you look dumb.

3. no boot - skirt gap as this just makes you look like an elephant in wellies with thick knees. Horrible.

4. Fascinators are wrong at the races. Wear a proper hat, tipped back on a tilt to show off your face.

5. Don't go mad. It's great fun dressing up but remember races are a day event. Subtlety and matching goes a long way. 

Have a fabulous time at the races, we'll answer your summer questions in a few weeks on the run up to Ascot ladies day. 

what to wear to Cheltenham festival ladies day
This lady took inspiration from Chanel for the 2015 Cheltenham Festival. Take away the fussyness of the necklace and ponytail and its gorgeous.

what to wear to Cheltenham festival ladies day
Chanel 1950s

what to wear to Cheltenham festival ladies day
Marion Cotillard in a perfect hat

what to wear to Cheltenham festival ladies day
1950s elegant tweed and veiled hat

what to wear to Cheltenham festival ladies day
1940s ladies in tweeds

what to wear to Cheltenham festival ladies day
Dita Von Teese

what to wear to Cheltenham festival ladies day
Biba Tweeds.
what to wear to Cheltenham festival ladies day
1970s does 1920s tailoring - Image from Barefoot Vintage

Vintage Dress Collection - 1960s Mods and Bohemians

vintage mod dress

boho vintage wedding dress

vintage 1960s blue lambskin princess coat

New 1960s arrivals to the vintage section ....

1. A perfectly formed grey wool mod dress with white collar and cuffs complete with a velvet bow.

2. Late 1960s cream lace boho maxi dress that would be beautiful for a summer festival wedding. 

3. A fabulous pale blue lambskin suede 1960s princess coat with cream shearling trim and lining. Super soft and snug. 

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Ask Alexandra - How to Wear the Tulle Ballerina Skirt

 This weeks question was one I've heard and read so many times.

How do I wear those tulle ballerina skirts without looking like a fairy or a ballerina? 

Firstly, If you're not comfortable with the idea of wearing a ballerina skirt then maybe just walk away. You don't have to wear anything you don't want to.

Secondly, NO you don't want to look like a fairy, but not wanting to look like a ballerina? The most beautiful of all creatures in the world? Really?

The ballet skirt is now a wardrobe staple and can be worn so many ways on so many days.

The tulle ballet skirt is designed to be all about femininity. The design is taken from classical ballets like Giselle which is all about romance and ethereal beauty.

Take style inspiration from the world of ballet. Think strong, lean and elegance. You don't need to go full bubblegum and it's all about balancing the proportions. If you're more curvy in figure try a full circle tulle skirt instead of the bell shape to smooth the line or a sheer tulle skirt with a pencil skirt underneath creating illusions.

Teaming it with strong contrasts like a black crop top, bralet or bodysuit work well.  I love wearing mine with a plaid shirt and it looks great for day with a belted knit sweater (this can be a little tricky).
Think about proportions, the skirt is very full so wear a tightly fitted top making sure the smallest part of your waist is defined so you don't turn into a ball.

You can find our tulle ballet skirts and tops here.

Here are a few looks to get you started .....

Movie of the Week - Grey Gardens

The Movie of the week is 'Grey Gardens' 1975 

Where to start? I had heard the words 'Grey Gardens' used a lot and always thought it was a softly spoken, Edwardian drama with Meryl Streep. Oh how wrong I was. 
I can't remember why it hit my radar recently but we rented it and watched it last week. It also happens to be the 40th Anniversary this year of the documentary being made. 

I have been missing Grey Gardens for all of my life, the missing reference has finally clicked into place! 
I don't know how to describe it or what to say about the film other than you have to watch it. It's not great cinematography or even a great documentary quality wise. But if this documentary hadn't been made we would not have met the two Edith Bouvier Beale's. If you are interested in crumbling grandeur and old socialites then this is for you. 
And don't you dare mock them, it's worse than blasphemy. 

Edith Beale aka Little Edie is a real hero and an inspiration. A style icon, a draping queen and the most entertaining would have been star that the world never met. Her story is tragically unfair.

I haven't stopped thinking about Grey Gardens since I watched it. I'm fascinated and obsessed. 
The house, how it was, what it became and what it now is, is all fabulous. Could Little Edie have been 1st Lady? A huge star? Of course. 

Best quote and why I love Little Edith Bouvier Beale ....  "This is the best thing to wear for today, you understand. Because I don't like women in skirts and the best thing is to wear pantyhose or some pants under a short skirt, I think. Then you have the pants under the skirt and then you can pull the stockings up over the pants underneath the skirt. And you can always take off the skirt and use it as a cape. So I think this is the best costume for today."

Heartbreakingly brilliant and a reminder to never EVER, EVER get a cat. 

Little Edie got her chance to shine in the end. 

She Loves Dresses - Red Lace Cocktail Dress

The gorgeous Jenny from She Loves Dresses in our bespoke Sophie dress. I love the red and pink together. Take a look at her post and her gorgeous photos here.

Visit The Studio

We are open! The next private appointment spaces at the studio are April 11th, give us a call on 07841 71887 to come and see the dresses!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Our Packaging

We spent a long time finding the just right packaging to transport your dress to you and here is how it's packaged ....

Firstly your dress is freshly steamed then lined and padded with tissue paper. We use colourless tissue paper to protect your dress that is lightly scented so the whole experience of your receiving your dress is just that little more special.

Your dress is then neatly placed inside the large matte black dress box along with everything it needs to belong in your wardrobe, a satin padded hanger, care slip and dust cover. For vintage pieces this is the ideal flat storage too.

The box is then sealed and tied with the 'Alexandra King' ribbon ready to be finally placed in its protective shipping packaging.

We love that old-fashioned way of receiving a dress in a proper box and this is what we give to you. x

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Ask Alexandra - Styling The Sunflower Dress

Vintage style advice from Ask Alexandra. 
We have two great styling questions this week on how to wear a dress like the Sunflower dress. 

Hello Alexandra,

I do so love the new Sunflower dress, so perfect and welcoming for Spring.  Please can you help with ideas on how to wear in more casual settings, sadly people don't always 'dress' for evening events.  I am planning a race night that will be busy and active.  What shoes and maybe some shoulder covering.  Audrey Hepburn always looked just right in her full skirts whatever the setting, but I am not Audrey Hepburn! 

Well hello 'not Audrey Hepburn'! You're not going to feel very great if you think like that!

The sunflower dress is quite a formal cocktail dress but the races do call for some flamboyance. 
For shoes take style inspiration from the great Audrey with ballet flats, they always look pretty, keep feet looking small and you can run around all you like, even dance!

To make this more casual and with shoulder covering try teaming a cocktail dress with a sweater. I shrunk my husbands sweater for this occasion and it works well.
Or try layering with a long cardigan or the classic wrap dress. Something that is the same length would be better then how I've styled this but knitwear does add a lovely contrast to the textures.

Wear full makeup (smart/casual doesn't mean sloppy) and just remember 
Audrey Hepburn was Audrey Hepburn, and you must be YOU. Both can be fabulous. 

And our Second question.

Hi, Please can you advise on what underwear is best for wearing with Sunflower dress neckline and exposed back.  How can I keep secure. 
Also, I don't have a good neckline, how can I disguise this problem, yet still enjoy this style and design.

Good underwear for strapless dresses is essential. We are proud to say that our dresses don't fall down as they are securely boned with internal stays to keep everything where it should be.

However for extra security and shape we recommend The Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless Bra. It has little hands that hold onto your assets and push them skywards!
Alternatively with low backs try the What Katy Did Cabaret Bustier which has gorgeous vintage styling. And remember the matching knickers, no one like a miss-match under a dress.

If you are feeling a little insecure about your neckline, don't be. Many women are conscious of this area but look back to the forties and fifties and women of all ages embraced a strapless design showing off their shoulders. Look to the stunning Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard  crazy but so elegant. Also look to Advanced Style for inspiration, these women knock the pop socks off youth!

I layered the Sunflower dress below with a long sleeved bodysuit. The v neckline still shows some skin and doesn't make you feel so exposed whist keeping the main focus on the dress and you.

At the end of the day, take care of your body and you can wear whatever you like until any age.
Wear sunscreen!

ask alexandra

I hope this advice was of some help to you? I can't wait for your new questions. Ask me anything at

Monday, 2 March 2015

Film of the Week - The Hustler

This weeks 'Movie of the Week' is The Hustler  1961

Film fans will know this movie well but if you haven't seen it, it is simply one of the best written films of all time, and about pool.

Now personally I find snooker, pool, billiards (whatever you call a game that involves putting balls in pockets) not nearly as fun as it sounds. But this is a beautifully crafted story of self destruction, talent and sex.

Paul Newman as you would expect is perfection playing Eddie a very talented pool player. This may be his best film. He makes you hate him and love him and draws you deeply into his intense world.
And along comes Piper Laurie as Sarah, the spokeswomen for Sixties American cool. I had never seen a woman act like this with such character and subtlety. Her limp, her voice!

Behind it all is a perfect balance of brilliant writing, directing, acting and cinematography. The cherry on top is costume designer Ruth Morely bringing the characters just what was needed, a dirty coolness. Known for Taxi Driver and Annie Hall you can see where she made her icon making first marks on Paul Newman and Piper Laurie in 1961.

The sequel to the Hustler is The Colour of Money by Martin Scorsese which I saw first and thought was great. I watched them as a double bill recently and sadly it lacks that very special magnetism of The Hustler.

Watch it and watch it again. Enjoy the film.

Piper Laurie, she's way cooler than this but the dress is still fabulous.

The Hustler 1961
Starring: Piper Laurie (Twin Peaks) and Paul Newman
Director: Robert Rossen
Cinematography: Eugen Schufftan
Costume Design: Ruth Morely (Annie Hall and Taxi Driver)