Are you ready for the beach?

I don’t know about you, but the weather where I live (Greater London) has been pretty spiffing the last few days! So much so it has enabled me to get out the full on vintage frocks (outfit posts coming soon of course!). This meant that my next sale was one of my easiest to create. It’s a height of summer sale!!!

I’ve got more sunnies, hats, beach dresses and swimsuits than you can shake a stick at in a beautiful range of colours and fabrics.

View all the listings here!

First off is a brilliant selection of vintage sunglasses.

Fabulous 50s cats eyes

80s totoiseshell Ray ban wayfarers

Want to keep your head out of the sun? How about a fun vintage hat to sheild you from the ray.

Pop up 50s beach hat

80s large straw hat

I also went a bit mad with the stripes this week, because who doesn’t love a good striped outfit for summer?

Late 50s pastel stripe dress

Ted Lapidus shirt (who apparently in the 60s I’ve found out today was at the forefront of French pret-a-porter)

But the piece de resistance has to be the selection of vintage swimsuits I have on offer. Both Naomi and I have raided our collections to give you some real treats.

Amazing deadstock 50s swimsuit

Skirted 50s swimsuit

One of the cutest “beachball” print 50s swim tops

40s or 50s raspberry red Slix swimsuit (so stretchy it looked weird on my mannequin, so I took to modelling it instead)

50s little light weight beach dress (so unbelievably perfect for the heat wave we are experiencing)

Or for the collectors out there how about this orange wool number from the 1920s?

Since I created this listing I have found the V&A have an almost identical suit in grey and red. That’s a good piece of vintage for you right there!!!

Don’t forget, if you have any questions just drop me an email

I’ve left this post a little late, but there are just THREE DAYS left on this auction, and lots of bargains still to be had!

View all the listings here!

California Cottons and debutantes!

Back in May my lovely friend Holly asked me to shoot a few pics of her in some of her fabulous vintage dresses. Now, I am by no means a photographer, but I certainly enjoy taking some amateur snaps from time to time, I am sure over the coming months I will share more of these images, but today just one set featuring Holly.
Holly, like myself is a big collector of vintage, and her personal penchant is for California cottons. Here is Holly in one of her lovely California dresses.
Between the two of us we have not been able to ascertain too much information about the brand, apart from that it had roots in America (it looks like it might have been part of the larger conglomerate “The Great American Dress company” ), and dresses by the brand were being produced both in the UK and in New Zealand  It is interesting, though that the CC label is more often found in the UK than it is in the States.
There are a number of ad campaigns that feature California cottons to be found on the net, and most of these have an intriguing mix of American settings but using British models. The brand also had a tie in with the “max-factor” make up company.
On the day of the shoot there was a particular dress that we were both interested to shoot. This little number that fits Holly like a dream.
The dress features in a 1960 advert for California cottons. This whole series of adverts show both the continuation of 50s shape dresses into the 1960s and this America meets England aspect I mentioned.
The dress is modelled here by Henrietta Tiarks.
Tiarks is an interesting character, who I did a little more research on for one of my masters essays. Henrietta was a debutante, and “came out” in 1957. But Henrietta was more than your average debutante, and in 1957 was crowned “deb of the year”. Considerable press coverage surrounded debutantes at the time, and Tiarks epitomised the fresh face youthful ideal of the debutante. Brigid Keenan has suggested that in the period newspapers gave debs “star treatment”, and Tiarks is no exception.
If anyone does have any more information on the California cottons brand do drop myself or my friend Holly a message!

Laura Ashley press day and archive exhibition A/W 2013

On Wednesday this week i was a super lucky lady and got invited along to the Laura Ashley press day. HUGE thanks to my lovely friend Naomi Thompson for getting me the invite to come along. It was an interesting day where I got to meet lots of fabulous people, and also a great chance to see pieces from both the Laura Ashley archive and their A/W 2013 collection too.

I turned up to the event wearing one of a number of Laura Ashley vintage dresses I own. I adore Laura Ashley dresses for their extremely good quality. I chose to wear one of my early 70s numbers, but I have quite a few examples from the 1970s and 80s. The one I wore is a novelty hunting print and exhibits Ashley’s love for Victoriana in both its design and use of print that has more than a whiff of the Bloomsbury set/ William Morris to it. I wore my dress with a Jack Wills jacket embellished with two Tatty Devine brooches.

As you can see I had to wear sky scraper high Office platforms with the dress, I think at 5ft 3 I was a bit too short for it!

This is the label in the dress. The bramble logo came in in 1972, and I assume this is an early to mid 1970s example of Laura Ashley. I’m always on the hunt for more Laura Ashley’s with either this label or the white label with Laura Ashley in black, so do get in contact if you have one you are looking to sell!

So back to the press day itself, we arrived and were greeted by some lovely ladies from the team who were excited by mine and Naomi’s choice of outfits (Naomi rocked an 80s dress by the brand). i had my picture taken…alot!

The Autumn winter pieces on show looked great. Their were two particular looks “field trip” and “homegrown” that I really liked. Top of both mine and Naomi’s wishlist was this gorgeous plummy burgundy riding jacket. There were quite a few jackets in this style in the collection which I think will be perfect for Autumn winter.

Another of my favourite pieces was a cute printed jumper (seen in the middle of the rail below).

There were also lots of pieces featuring the archive prints but using them in a fresh and modern way. I adore the way that the Laura Ashley brand regularly references their past without just re-creating it all the time. The monochrome pieces that took their inspiration from very early Laura Ashley were particularly forward looking.

The homewares too were pretty swoon worthy. I loved this chair that reminded me of an Art deco shell chair (it was also incredibly conformable)

And their were lots of gorgeous printed bed covers and wallpapers too. (The scented candles were ever so fresh…perhaps not what you would expect for Autumn Winter scents, but lovely nonetheless).

But, undoubtedly my favourite part of the day was getting to look at the pieces from the archive. I’ll be writing a more in-depth history post soon, but for now I’ll leave you with a few interesting snapshots from the mini exhibition. For such a small space it really was packed with information. With my background in design I particularly liked being able to see both the designs themselves and the finished garments. It really demonstrated how a company archive can be a living thing that is functional as well as keeping a record of the companies history.

This was my absolute favourite piece in the archive.

I felt that it really left me with a stronger understanding of where Laura Ashley was getting her design inspiration from. It also left me wanting to see more of the images that Jane Ashley took as a photographer for the brand. My sincerest thanks to the amazing archivist Angela for giving up so much of her time to speak to me too!