Problems Promote Creativity & Change
As you know here at Revival we sell original vintage clothing as well as vintage inspired clothing.
We first turned to vintage-inspired items when as with most vintage sellers we struggled to provide the quality, different styles and particularly size range to cater for all our customers.
I have written previously about the pros and cons of buying original and retro, if you didn't catch it you can read it here.
However, my desire to offer an authentic range of vintage style dresses, in particular, for the ultimate 1940's look has not proved easy. There are plenty of companies out there of course but for me, a lot of the mainstream ones that offer wholesale options are a bit 'samey' or biased towards the pin-up look.
With a background in fashion design and pattern cutting, I decided to put my dormant and very rusty skills to use.
A large number of Revival customers are within the 30-60 age bracket so that is where I pitched my designs.
Of course, I fit into that age spectrum so first of all, I considered all the things I love about the vintage dresses I own and the little niggly things that annoy me about others. This black original forties dress with purples bows is a favourite and ticks a lot of boxes. The fit is figure flattering, love the little feature belt and adore the embroidery detail.
The pleated sleeve-heads give an iconic forties silhouette. The press studs have a habit of leaving little gaps as it is a very snug fit and the neckline a little high for my liking.
This led to the birth of Beau Belle my first 1940s replica dress in a trio of colours. All the good features are there including the little pads inside the sleeve-heads. The poppers have been replaced with a concealed back zip. Instead of the belt having press studs at the back with a fixed tie bow at the front, I changed the belt to be smooth at the back and tie at the front to allow a bit of flexibility with the size.
My design and pattern were made up into a sample which I wore to Haworth forties weekend this year to get a bit of feedback from 40s lovers attending the event. I was pleased with the feedback, better than I had hoped so with a tiny bit of tweaking it was put into production. As you can see even corrie's 'Peter Barlow' was impressed!
It's All In The Name
I needed a name for my new range, to gain inspiration I looked through some old movie books. My favourite book was Hollywood foto-rhetoric the lost manuscript text by Bob Dylan, photography by Barry Feinstein. One word caught my eye and cropped up a couple of times:
The Oxford dictionary definition:
A person who is well known in fashionable society and is fond of social activities and entertainment.
Dress one I have affectionately name beau belle which is a bit of a play on words but the sentiment is just right.
As far as I am concerned one of my worst fears about mass-produced clothing is the thought of arriving at a function to be greeted by someone in exactly the same dress, worse still looking a whole lot better in it!
Garments from our Socialite range will be limited edition, small runs with a maximum of 100 in any one style colour combination.
Looking forward I am not short of ideas, my sketchbook and pattern blocks are poised ready to crack on with my next style should the Beau Belle prove successful.
Here Elizabeth wears our Beau Belle, I wear the original.