Thursday, 28 April 2011

Vintage Gowns for 21st Century Brides

As promised here is the post on finding vintage wedding dresses. I've started by listing specialist boutiques and the second half is dedicated to contemporary designers whose collections feature vintage-inspired bridal gowns.

For original vintage, I really recommend Glory Days, based in York. The boutique has a staggering selection of vintage wedding dresses, some of which you can see online:

The Vintage Wedding Dress Company, set up by stylist Charlotte Brear, has an impressive selection of vintage and vintage-inspired dresses. Here is one of their sublime 1920s-inspired silk gowns:

Kate Halfpenny is a renowned celebrity fashion stylist and is known for her superb designs. She also has a great collection of vintage dresses - I particularly love this one:

Elizabeth Avey is a London-based bridal boutique specialising in vintage wedding dresses. I really love this 1930s silk gown (below) and there are many more pictures on her website - click here to view.

Antique Lace Heirlooms is a UK-based shop selling a stunning selection of vintage lace wedding veils. For other bridal accessories, I recommend Unique Headdresses. They specialise in real flower headdresses and tiaras which can be made to match your bouquet. Check out their gallery to see historical designs such as Art Deco floral tiaras, Elizabethan garlands and this particularly beautiful Georgian-inspired headdress:

Hope & Harlequin sells amazing restored and customised vintage wedding dresses from their shop in Brighton. A selection of stock is available to view online - click here for details.

Dress from Hope & Harlequin

There is a phenomenal original 1960s Oscar de la Renta beaded silk gown available to buy on Ebay at the moment which would work brilliantly as a wedding dress. It really reminds me of the dresses from Spring/Summer 2011 Dolce & Gabbana show!

There are some wonderful dresses out there by contemporary designers that give more than a nod to vintage wedding dress design. This 70s-style frock is from the Brioni SS11 collection:

Alberti Ferretti had a similar design from the same season:

Carolina Herrera, famous for her bridal collections as well as RTW, shows how a statement veil can add extra drama to the wedding gown:

This wedding-friendly dress is from Chris Benz's Resort 2011 collection. The nice thing about relatively simple bridal gowns is that you can get away with serious hair. Big volume hair + big volume dress = Princess Margaret!

This dress by Monique Lhuillier is the perfect combination of contemporary and vintage design. The Edwardian-style heavily embroidered skirt is balanced by the very modern low neckline:

Every collection by Alexander McQueen includes several high-drama gowns. I'm convinced Kate Middleton will wear McQueen tomorrow - but we shall see! Many designers have been mentioned in the run up to the big day, but very few boast designs that are able to carry the weight of the occasion. Temperley makes gorgeous dresses, but a beaded floaty number just won't cut it in Westminster Abbey. This dress with 30s-style bodice is from the Alexander McQueen AW10 collection:

Marchesa is a popular choice for brides - Georgina Chapman chooses such romantic fabrics for her designs. Here is a modern interpretation of a 50s wedding dress silhouette from her SS10 collection:

I love how Jean Paul Gaultier mixes it up in his collections. This design features a flapper-inspired veil with a 1970s-style crochet tunic. And it works!

I blogged about vintage wedding dresses last year - check out the post to read about more online boutiques selling vintage or vintage-inspired frocks for your special day. If you're looking for a book of glamorous inspiration, Reel Art Press are about to launch their lavishly illustrated 288-page book, Weddings & Movie Stars. You can buy it at the pre-launch discount price of £35.00 via this link.

Other books I recommend include Marnie Fogg's wonderful Vintage Weddings...

...and Harriet Worsley's White Dress. We have both books in the studio and customers are welcome to pop in and borrow them. We have quite an extensive collection of vintage-related books - for more details click here.

If I've missed out specialist vintage bridal boutiques (and I'm sure I have!) please add the links in the comments box. I'll be posting again on Saturday - with lots of pics, of course - about the royal wedding. I'll be watching the ceremony like a hawk... one of the guests is wearing a Juno Says Hello dress so fingers crossed we'll get a glimpse of her going into the Abbey! Have a great weekend x

Monday, 25 April 2011

Modern Royal Weddings

On Friday Kate Middleton becomes Princess Catherine. Part of the transformation involves a big white dress - designer still unconfirmed. I'll be doing a specialist vintage wedding blog (including images from historical royal weddings) later this week, but in the meantime here is a photo round-up of recent royal weddings throughout Europe.

In 1995, Marie-Chantal Miller married Prince Pavlos of Greece in a Valentino gown thought to have cost £150,000:

In 1999 the Belgian heir-apparent Prince Philippe married speech therapist Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz:

The same year Princess Alexia of Greece married Spanish architect and yachtsman Carlos Morales Quintana:

In 2001 Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway, married Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby. Their relationship was not without controversy, as she was a former waitress with a four-year old son from a previous relationship with a man with a drug conviction.

Princess Märtha of Norway married author Ari Behn in 2002:

Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, married former investment banker Máxima Zorreguieta in the same year:

In 2004 Prince Felipe of Spain married newsreader Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano:

In 2005 Prince Pieter of Holland married Anita van Eijk:

In 2008 Prince Joachim of Denmark married advertising executive Marie Cavallier:

Later that year Microsoft executive Mary Donaldson (below) would marry Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark:

This is a photograph of their first dance. No pressure!

Prince Edouard Lamoral Rodolphe of Ligne married actress Isabella Orsini in 2009:

Last year Princess Victoria of Sweden married personal trainer Daniel Westling in a spectacular ceremony. The bride looked beautiful but the guests really went to town - check out the outfits here.

This sort of post wouldn't be complete without a clip from the 1986 wedding of Charles and Diana. Regardez! I'm doing two more posts later this week with a royal wedding theme - one with plenty of pictures from historical royal weddings (from Eleanor of Aquitaine to Grace Kelly) and how to get the corresponding 'vintage' look on your special day - and another with links to the best royal wedding street parties in the UK on Friday 29th. Stay tuned x

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Our dress in the window of Persephone Books

This wonderful bookshop prints mainly neglected fiction and non-fiction by women, for women and about women. The titles are chosen to appeal to busy women who rarely have time to spend in ever-larger bookshops and who would like to have access to a list of books designed to be neither too literary nor too commercial.

They have a very pretty bookshop on Lambs Conduit Street in London. I walk down this street all the time as it's on the route I take from the studio to our dry cleaner (a vintage dealer's best friend). They usually have a vintage dress in the window, and I thought how lovely it would be if they agreed to have one of our dresses on display for a while.

When I approached the owner she was very enthusiastic. After handing over the dress I thought would work best, she told me that its pattern was almost identical to that found in the endpapers of their new book, Miss Buncle Married by De Stevenson. She very kindly gave me a copy and it's true, the pattern is almost exactly the same:

The frock itself is a beautiful 1930s tea dress with seamed bodice, made from sheer lawn fabric. There is no fastening (it's pulled on over the head) and comes with a matching belt. The dress also has drawstring puff sleeves and is approximately size 10.

When Persephone Books changes its window display the dress will be available to buy from our online shop and customers are always welcome to drop by our studio on Judd Street, WC1. To make an appointment please contact us via this link.

If you're looking for gift inspiration have a look at Perseohone Bookshop's fabulous list of suggestions here.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Alligators, Old Mink & New Money

This is the wonderful title of a book about one woman's adventures in vintage clothing, written by sisters Alison Houtte and Melissa Houtte. Alison was a fashion model in Paris and Manhattan before she opened up a vintage clothes and accessories store in Brooklyn, selling everything from pre-War ball gowns to 70s glitz.

Houtte knows that every article of vintage clothing has a story behind it. This is not only the story of one woman's life in fashion, but a wonderfully entertaining guide for anyone seeking out vintage finds to add to their wardrobe.

Available to buy here.