The strangest year on record continues...but we have enjoyed the time to work on new styles and ideas for both the upcoming AW season and for next year. Although we cannot ignore the doom and gloom of the news - nor avoid worrying for our future of our businesses - but what I can do is spend some of the time immersing myself in the joys of creating lovely new things and trialling new fabrics. We have certainly been using this time well :-)
The Utility Coat
First on the agenda was the new 1940s Utility coat. Always something i'd been thinking about following the great success of our 50s couture and glam coats. I think we will release a new style of coat each autumn - they are beautiful to design and work on - but take time and the fabric is expensive.
We want to produce coats our customers will treasure and wear for many years - so quality is really important.
So I wanted to create a practical early 1940s coat and set about researching original garments, photos and looking at original patterns. This was possible the first time i was focussed on practicality as well as silhouette! A bit of creative licence was needed to make this work in our modern market - less exaggerated shoulders so coveted in the 40s and a slimmer silhouette.
I wanted something super warm, elegant but in the main - super wearable! Below is a summary of my favourite design elements.
Im overjoyed by the result and this beauty is now available in 3 fabrics. We hope you enjoy wearing our new favourite coat and look forward to seeing some amazing pics of you wearing it!
The Jitterbug dress brings me much joy.
It is a bundle of happiness and optimism personified in a dress. I honestly think that we were channelling this when we started creating it! A tonic to help us stay positive in a very strange year!
We wanted to create a late thirties style dress that was very wearable and would translate easily in our extended size range. Something similar to our best selling 1940s ‘Grable’ dress that emulates the desired silhouette but also meets the demands of the modern wearer. We also wanted the dress to work well as a day/office style and be easily dressed up for evening.
I particularly love the styles of the mid to late 30s – not just because the fashions were so elegant and feminine, but also because of the attention to detail. The shirring (big fans of shirring here!), gathers and pleats on sleeves and around the bust-line creates demure, enhancing and super flattering style lines. Hem lines rose a little after 1937 – which helps the shorter amongst us and the shoulders started to become stronger. So many interesting sleeve styles too!
We had so many design ideas that the first concept took a bit of time to get to – but we are very happy with the design we settled on.
The silhouette of this dress is ‘strong shoulders, bust definition and a smooth sweep in the skirt that skims the figure’. The waistline is nipped in but this is enhanced further by a blouson bodice which reinforces the bust. We spent a lot of time getting the folds and gathers of the bodice right – mindful of washing and ironing too! We love how the neckline of the dress is raised and hugs the back of the neck creating a deep but still modest plunge V neckline. The removable drop bow detail gives that added extra detail and is lined in contrasting colour. My favourite part is the sleeves – which took the longest to get right. These sleeves are extra special – covering the upper arm area and have pleats into the shoulder head and some gorgeous delicate shirring at the cuff.
We are consciously trying to produce styles that work well on different shapes and sizes. The combination of our rayon/viscose crepe on the upper with a stretch heavier crepe on the bottom gave us extra confidence for consistency of fit. The upper design lends itself to varying bust sizes whilst the stretch in the lower will accommodate and latter the waistline. We will be offering this style up to a size 24.
There’s something special about this and we hope you love it as much as we did making it!
I wanted to reproduce this magical and exquisite print for a long time. I love Navy with Gold or mustard - i think it's a much underestimated colour pairing. When i found this print, although this may sound slightly irrational - but i was speechless!
The rich french navy base suits and flatters most skin tones and the chartreuse gold leaves move the print into both day and evening wear. Then the sprinkle or small flowers break up the strength of the gold and add extra interest. Could this be the perfect print?
This is based on an original American 1940s print - and it proves how vibrant prints were (not dowdy as some would say). It's a fairly large repeat which created a small challenge of not using it for designs that had many pieces - so we came up with the new 'Ingrid' dress (pictured above) which is also based on an American original. The simple bodice and 2 piece skirt means that the print is given the space it needs to spread out in all its glory.
We've also made our bestselling Ava dress in the gold leaf - as shown below and modelled by @Wilhelminaaffera
At a time of year when most are wearing red, black and a dash of sequins or glitter - this print will stand out from the crowd. Still party wear but makes a statement of its own - great for non-conformers :-)
to see our full range of gold leaf - click here