retro

Florals for a Florist | Sam’s Custom Swing Dress

Florals for a Florist | Sam’s Custom Swing Dress

Some people put a smile on your dial in an instant. Samantha is one of those people!

She’s also a total babe.

Florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha wearing her custom made floral 1950's swing dress designed and made by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer

We met at The Very Vintage Day Out 2015, in the fruit smoothie queue – as ya do- and struck up a conversation over our outfits. Samantha’s enthusiasm and humour over the glories and pitfalls of pinup style was contagious, and I was thrilled when she contacted me about a custom dress.

Sam needed a dress for a family wedding. She was doing the flowers, so she needed to retain an easy range of movement, but still look amazing ( obviously).  Inspired by her vivacious nature, I designed something bright that showed off her stunning tattoos. I really wanted to make her feel special

The Dress

Bright floral swing dress custom made for florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer specialising in 1950s and vintage reproduction inspired gowns, made to measure.

Bright floral swing dress custom made for florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer specialising in 1950s and vintage reproduction inspired gowns, made to measure.
Bright floral swing dress custom made for florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer specialising in 1950s and vintage reproduction inspired gowns, made to measure.

Bright floral swing dress custom made for florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer specialising in 1950s and vintage reproduction inspired gowns, made to measure.

The resulting swing dress combined elements from the 50’s style gowns she loved, mixed with the modern comfort of a stretch cotton sateen. As always I tailored the dress to Sam’s shape for a perfect fit ( Well fitting clothes are so important but can be hard to find for our curvy pinups! ).

The bodice is fully boned for support and shaping, and while  bright floral print is colourful it doesn’t clash with her fiery red hair. Stretch mesh allows movement in the folded cowl around the wide neckline. A feminine bow and a line of sassy cobalt blue covered buttons finish the back.

For the Very Vintage Day Out 2016  Sam accessorised her dress with the most gorgeous jewel green hat, green shoes and a wide white belt.

Florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha wearing her custom made floral 1950's swing dress designed and made by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer
Florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha wearing her custom made floral 1950's swing dress designed and made by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer

Sam was stoked with her dress and we’re excited be working on another gown later this year!

” Velvet is such a star! We bumped into each other at the very vintage day out in 2015 and early 2016 she finished off a beautiful custom dress for me! She was a dream to work with, a very clever lady and such a sweetheart. ”
– Samantha Keen

 

Photos of Samantha | Fran Robertson – Taken at VVDO 2016

 

If you’re interested in having your own dream garment made, you can contact me here for more information and to discuss your ideas. More happy clients and their stories can be found on my Fashion Design Page for your viewing pleasure!

With Style and Sass,

 

       Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 0 comments
Vintage Fashion | Glove Etiquette for Beginners

Vintage Fashion | Glove Etiquette for Beginners

I admit, I have a bit of a thing for gloves.

Specifically vintage gloves that are small enough for my stubby hands. They look smart, come in a trillion styles and colours and make you feel like a lady. They are also the one part of my wardrobe that gets consistently noticed.

But since our mothers were freed from the social expectation of hats and gloves, we’ve forgotten how to wear them! Gloves were an integral part of dressing for many eras, but the majority of questions I receive are from lovers of 1940’s – 1960’s fashion. So here, my darlings, is a beginners playbook for the wearing of gloves – information courtesy of several 1950’s fashion etiquette brochures.

When to wear gloves

Gloves should be worn on the streets of cities and large towns.
They should be worn when driving or travelling on trains, planes or other public conveyances.
Gloves should be worn for church and formal occasions including weddings, luncheons, dinners, garden parties or receptions.
The hostess should also wear gloves while she is receiving guests at these functions.

When not to wear gloves

Please remove your gloves to eat, smoke, apply makeup or play cards.

Glove Etiquette

  •  If you are lunching in a restaurant remove your coat on entering but retain your hat and gloves. Removeyour gloves when you are seated at the table.
  •  When attending a party with food or hors d’oeuvres turn your gloves back at the wrist or remove one while eating. ( This is where those gloves with wrist buttons come into play )
  •  When attending an informal event, remove your gloves on arrival and leave them with your coat.
  •  Always remove your gloves completely when seated for a meal. Try to do so discreetly, a lady does not make a spectacle of removing her gloves.
  • Gloves are left on while shaking hands.
  • Bracelets are the only jewellery that should be worn over your gloves.

Miss Pinup New Zealand 2017 Velvet DeColette walks us through the basic rules for wearing gloves, the perfect vintage fashion accessory.

Which gloves do I wear?

Day Gloves 

  • Short gloves in cotton or nylon come in lovely styles. Consider bright polka dot prints for the races, and embroidered or lace-trimmed gloves for summer parties.
  • Black kid leather is appropriate for city sightseeing and theater in metropolitan settings.
  • Crotchet or string gloves for casual garden parties and fairs in the country, or at the beach.
  • Leather gloves are wonderful in winter, especially for shopping and also driving.

Evening Gloves 

  • The appropriate length of glove can be chosen according to the length of your sleeves – the shorter your sleeves, the longer your gloves.
  • White and off white, including ivory, beige and taupe, are the traditional colors for opera gloves. these pale colours are appropriate for virtually any occasion on which opera gloves are worn.
  • Black Opera Gloves should not be worn with light-colored dresses, but can be worn with black, dark-colored or bright-colored clothing.
  • Black gloves are also considered the most elegant with evening dress.
  • Long coloured gloves should really be worn only with dresses of a coordinating colour scheme.
  • Opera gloves should not be put on in public but should be put on in the privacy of your own home. If they must be removed in public please do so discreetly. ( I can only imagine this was included in 1954’s brochure as the sight of a woman peeling off an opera glove could drive a man crazy.)

Lilli Ann inspired gold and black floral ladies suit. Made and worn with vintage hat and gloves and modern back seam stockings and leather heels.

Of course, these are the fashion rules from the era our beloved gloves are from. Modern women have the freedom to disobey or obey them as they please. Personally I find the subtle nuances of wearing vintage clothing part of the experience, so I  hope these guidelines will help you confidently don your gloves like the retro beauty you are! Have fun and be bold!

With Style & Sass

    Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 4 comments
Nylon Stockings & Vintage Tease

Nylon Stockings & Vintage Tease

I’m all about the tease. Silky nylon stockings, a wayward bra strap and a cheeky grin appeal to me far more than brazen modern erotica. Not to say the modern stuff doesn’t have it’s place, it’s just not my place.

The Villa showcases all that soft vintage deliciousness. Capturing only natural light, these photos have a dreamy homemade feel, like a lazy rainy afternoon. The kind where you turn up the heater and don’t bother getting dressed.

Unsurprisingly, we photographed this set in a small renovated villa. I enter the scene wearing a peach silk chemise and knickers with vintage nylon stockings, but it does get somewhat naughtier. For those wishing to indulge Froger has compiled the full set into luscious E-book, available here. At just $15 NZD it’s a steal for all my USA and UK fans!

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Outfit

Chemise | Galliano
Stockings | Vintage fully fashioned nylons, thrifted

When I’m choosing clothes for a shoot I imagine the character I’m trying to portray. What would a cheeky 1950’s babe be wearing on a lazy afternoon with her lover? What would have her comfortable and confidant, laughing as he snapped some pin up photos with their Kodak Argus?

I settled on this soft peachy slip. It’s the kind of lingerie I’d put on under a dress, and then lounge around in after the dress hit the floor. Not wearing a girdle or suspenders was a deliberate choice. I think our flirty fifties character would have taken her girdle off by now, or maybe she’s only just getting ready to go out?

Model, HMUA | Velvet DeCollete
Photographer | Froger

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Looking for more? If you’re into pin ups, girls in stockings or vintage inspired erotica, these posts will be right up your alley…

Play Your Cards Right ( Bubblegum )                 Retro Playboy                                      Reading in Lingerie 

With style and sass,

            Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 0 comments
12 Days of Vintage Christmas | Festive Sheer?

12 Days of Vintage Christmas | Festive Sheer?

Introducing *drumroll please*

12 days of Vintage Christmas!

In the form of my favourite ridiculous print ads from the 1950’s and 60’s , one every day from now til Christmas day.

Because nothing makes me feel festive like cheesily marketed Christmas beer and knowing my husband will never gift me a vacuum cleaner.
So without further ado …

On the first day of Christmas

Be his Christmas star! In sheer lingerie and silky siren gowns, because this Christmas he’s giving you the gift  he wants to unwrap later. ( also because it’s day one and you gotta werk it before those mince pies hit your thighs ).

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Seriously though, I would actually love anything from a Frederick’s of Hollywood catalogue. That gold dress is bangin’.

With style and sass,

                   Velvet DeCollete

Hey! If this isn’t enough festive cheer for you, there’s a link to all twelve days on this post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, OTHER, 0 comments
Start Your Engines | A Bad Girl Photo shoot

Start Your Engines | A Bad Girl Photo shoot

Bad girls have more fun. Especially with big shiny Cadillacs and skintight powermesh skirts.

This set was shot almost a year ago, outside an imposing venue, next to a busy dog walking park. That’s right, wholesome citizens innocently walking their dogs saw a lot more than they expected. But that’s kind of what we do right?

Stylewise I wanted the silhouette of an 1950’s or early 60’s wiggle dress, but with the brazen sexiness of a retro grindhouse heroine. Layering garments of varying opacity and texture lent interest to the all black ensemble while creating a game of skin hide and seek for the viewer. Scroll down for a full outfit breakdown.

Photographer | Froger
Shoot Assistant | LaVonne from Tock Tick Vintage
Model | Velvet DeCollete (moi)
Puppy Wrangler | My Ever Patient Husband

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Which way to Vegas Honey?

 

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Outfit Breakdown

Black Satin Bra | Pleasure State
Lace and Mesh Bodysuit | Stella McCartney
Mesh Skirt | Retro Lip Service
Leather Belt | Alannah Hill
Gloves and necklace | Vintage
Sunglasses and Earrings | Tock Tick Vintage
Hosiery | Pretty Polly Vintage Top Nylons
Shoes | Borrowed from my Mother’s collection
Bracelet | Gift

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The upside of shooting near a dog park? Our then-puppy Echo got to ride along. Look how liddle she was! It’s actually lovely to have photos before she grew up all big and serious looking.

Naughtily yours,
Velvet

PS: Keep an eye out for this sets Hollywood starlet flipside, coming to a computer screen near you!

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 1 comment
Why I Use Vintage Notions

Why I Use Vintage Notions

Notions are the decorative or functional trims and closings on your clothes. If you wear vintage clothing you may have noticed these tiny touches are a little different; A carved button, handwoven lace trim, that hook & eye kissing at the top of a metal zip, they’re all available new but vintage ones are just …. nicer.

So much nicer that I hunt them out to use in my reproduction garments. Not only do they add legitimate vintage elements to a design, but I find they are often better quality than their modern counterparts. ( I’ve never had a 1960’s hook and eye unbend but modern ones sure have! )

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Buttons are my biggest weakness. From the 1920’s through the 1960’s buttons were wonderfully inventive. Novelty buttons in glass, carved shell, molded plastics and wood displayed all shapes,designs and colours imaginable. The right buttons can instantly lift a dress from cute to oh-my-god-I-have-to-have-it, and I just adore them!

Some trims that are hard to find new because they simply aren’t used that often nowadays. All my circle skirts and full skirted dresses have a wide braid referred to as Horsehair in the hems to maintain shape and movement – not something you’d often see in a mainstream skirt. Leaded cord to help garments hang correctly was used by Coco Chanel, but isn’t stocked by many  modern haberdashers. Even seams were finished differently, with pinking shears leaving an attractive zig zag edge in place of unsightly overlocking.

The packaging on my old haberdashery is a nostalgic reminder of yesteryear and the importance of home sewing. Needles are meticulously packed in paper envelopes while Newey’s Hooks & Eyes claimed worldwide fame (really?). Sewing materials were salvaged, saved and re-used and notions were pricier than today’s common brands. I really enjoy the detailed packaging – complete with notes and prices scribbled by former owners – and I hope you’ll enjoy this very brief glimpse onto my sewing box…

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Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 1 comment
Birthday Snaps | A Retro Luau Party

Birthday Snaps | A Retro Luau Party

Remember that lost weekend between Christmas and New Years Eve? The one when everyone (hospo staff included) are on holiday and nothing opens. Nothing.

That’s my birthday weekend.

So this year I celebrated in true pinup style with a vintage inspired Luau at home!

It started with cool drinks on a hot day and ended with burlesque dancers lip syncing the Chicago soundtrack under disco lights. Lei’s and fruity cocktails for all!

Here’s some candid poolside snaps so you can see how it went down. Plus a bonus picture of my not-quite-one-year-old niece dressed like the island princess she is. Because she’s a cutie patootie.

(I forgot to take pictures of the idyllic decorations my awesome lover set up, but trust me, they were amazing )

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Posted by velvetdecollete in ADVENTURES, LIFESTYLE, 0 comments
A Classics Museum Carnival

A Classics Museum Carnival

The Classics Museum 3rd Birthday Carnival fell on a sweltering New Zealand summer day.
Normally I’d be happy to swap my petticoats for sarongs in the heat – but after setting up the Vintage Amusements carnival in the midday sun I threw on a cute carnival outfit.

(I managed to win Best Dressed from the lovely ladies at Glory Days Magazine too!)

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Photos | Tiffany Curtis Photography

Outfit breakdown

Top | Forever New
Skirt | Custom made by me – Beckon Couture
Petticoat | Bought online somewhere
Shoes | Number One Shoe Warehouse
Bangles | Thrifted
Flowers | Equip
Parasol | Gift

Scroll down to see some sassy best dressed contestants and me being a cheese while receiving my prize!

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Photo | Tiffany Curtis Photography

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Photo | Tiffany Curtis Photography

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Photo | Tiffany Curtis Photgraphy

Velvets Tips for Summer Pinup Dressing

  1. Keep your fabrics light and try to avoid too many synthetics – They’ll make you sweat!
  2. Keep your hair off your neck. a beehive, cute ponytail or poodle ‘do is a lifesaver.
  3. Deodorant and spray on sun screen. Lots of both! I find spray on sunscreen less sticky and less staining on my clothes.
  4. (a very personal tip) tuck a cotton pad – like you use for toner or makeup – into the front of your bra to catch any chest sweat and prevent unsightly patches on the front of your top or dress!
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At the Kissing Booth with pinup babes Monique Sweet and Betty Rage

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James and I cooling off with a well deserved cold Coke

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The Jukebox Diner | Tiffancy Curtis Photography

Posted by velvetdecollete in ADVENTURES, OTHER, 0 comments
The Pinup Honeys: Congrats to Miss Victory Violet

The Pinup Honeys: Congrats to Miss Victory Violet

For those of you in the pinup world, you’ll know the glorious Miss Victory Violet took out Miss Pinup at Viva Las Vegas this year. For those of you not in the pinup world – that’s a super big deal and we’re all very proud of her here in little old NZ. Pinup or not you should check out her blog and show her some love! She’s an ocean of knowledge in all things hair, makeup and retro fashion related.

Anywho, The Pinup Honeys Social Club decided to have a wee shindig at the luxurious Langham Hotel Auckland to congratulate her on all her hard work. We dressed nice, we drank fancy cocktails, we posed. Alot. (you would too, don’t deny it).
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I didn’t have a gown quite formal enough so I whipped up a classy black iridescent ballgown from fabric left over from my bridesmaids dresses! I just knew it would come in handy, even if it’s 5 years later haha!

Outfit Breakdown 
Dress | Beckon Couture
Gloves | Vintage – Salvation Army Op Shop
Pearls | Vintage – Op shop
Shoes | Wild Pair
Stockings | Pretty Pins from Farmers
Hair Flower | Borrowed from my mama <3 

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Posing with some of my favourite dames Soda Fontaine, Miss Charlotte Cake and Miss Rouge. I love how we look like a sassy pinup Girl Gang.

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Couldn’t resist sharing this snap I took of the effervescent Soda Fontaine. She’s such a starlet!

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The Pinup Honeys Social CLub – we’re a well dressed bunch dontcha think?

Photos | Velvet DeCollete, Duke De Bonair + David Watson

Posted by velvetdecollete in ADVENTURES, 1 comment
A Very Vintage Day Out | Pt. 2

A Very Vintage Day Out | Pt. 2

Very Vintage Day Out Part two (read part one here)! The part where I bombard you with photos from all the rad Photo Safari photographers I posed for at VVDO. Two of the photos were even judged Runner Ups in the VVDO photo comp – Proof that hard work pays off ya know.

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Photo | Byard James

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Photo | Jeff Yu – Awarded Runner Up in the VVDO photo competition

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Photo | Froger

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Photo | Reese Waters – Awarded Runner Up in the VVDO photo comp

 

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Photo | Photo by Alyssa

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Photo | Reese Waters

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Photo | Jeff Yo

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Photo | Diana Vollmerhausen

Photos | As credited
Model | Velvet DeCollete
Wardrobe | Bespoke Design by Velvet DeCollete


These are the Very Vintage Day Out Best Dressed competition finalists! I was humbled to stand alongside such awesome girls and fab retro fashion. Isn’t Georgia the cutest with her diner girl tray!

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Photo | David Michael Photography – the Best Dressed Finalists!

As always, I’d love to know how you spent the day if you attended, there was so much on that I missed!

With style & sass,

                Velvet x






 


Posted by velvetdecollete in ADVENTURES, FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 1 comment