New Zealand

A Photographic Tribute to John Willie

A Photographic Tribute to John Willie

Foreword

I first published this fetish inspired photo set back in February 2016.

One of my first forays into alternative pinup, it was a vital step toward developing my own style as a pinup model. Looking back at it now, I feel like it was a decade ago – Ruby and I look so young! With fetish influenced material now making up a high percentage of my modelling catalogue it seems like a notable shoot to revisit…

Alternative Pin up models Velvet DeCollete and Ruby Von Rifle pose in corsets, gloves and thigh high nylons for an homage to fetish godfather John Willie

My original 2016 Post ( With a Little Fleshing Out )

As a vintage loving model and designer I’m ever excited to pay tribute to those who shaped the worlds of fashion, pinup and vintage erotica. Illustrator and publisher of Bizarre magazine John Willie played an enormous role in these areas, so when Froger approached me about a photographic homage I was immediately on board.

 

Whisked off to a secret derelict location with co-model and friend Ruby Von Rifle, we worked in dingy, damp surroundings to create a fitting tribute to Sweet Gwendoline and her more dominant counterparts. It’s a more fetishistic theme than my previous shoots; something that presents its own challenges but which I thoroughly enjoyed and hope you will too x

 

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Pin up models Velvet DeCollete and Ruby Von Rifle pose for a photographic tribute to Sweet Gwendoline creator and Bizarre fetish magazine publisher John Willie

Pin up models Velvet DeCollete and Ruby Von Rifle pose for a photographic homage to fetish magazine creator John Willie

 

Outfit Breakdown
-Damsel in Distress-

Vintage yellow robe & nightgown | Preloved
Sheer nude nylons | Pretty Pins Hosiery

Would you believe that nightgown and robe are from different sets!? Both are vintage nylon garments and are identical shades of lemon sorbet yellow. I found the nightgown in a op shop, it has the loveliest sheer embroidered midsection. The robe came with a fluffy babydoll nightgown I purchased on Trademe. You can find photos and info on that set in my Lemon Souffle Sleepwear post.

 

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Outfit Breakdown
-Madame in Charge-

Corset | Corset Story
Wet Look Garter Belt & Gloves | Khandikane.co.nz
Knickers | Dita Von Teese Lingerie
Shoes | Gifted
Fully fashioned nylon stockings | Photographer’s own

Nothing makes me feel more in control than a black on black outfit. For fear of sounding like a broken record, creating a photo friendly black ensemble is all about layering those textures! Here I’m wearing a mix of smooth black satin, glossy PVC, sheer nylon and suede leather.

Visit Froger’s website to see more of Ruby and I, as well as a bevy of foxy vintage and alternative dames.

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

 

 

 

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Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 2 comments
Finding Your Personal Style – Insider Secrets From Pinup Stylist Fran Robertson

Finding Your Personal Style – Insider Secrets From Pinup Stylist Fran Robertson

Some people have an impeccable sense of personal style. They know exactly who they are, and exactly how to express it.
They’re the ones that make us say “That jacket is just so –insert name here-“…

This outward expression of your inner soul doesn’t come naturally to all of us ( I’ve had some horrific style phases over the years) so who better to share her innate style knowledge than the queen of colour – makeup artist, designer and Viva Las Vegas 21 contestant Fran Roberston?

No one. That’s who.

Keep scrolling for her expert tips, plus a bonus section on building your own capsule wardrobe for easy outfit creation!

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Meet Fran

Among many other things, I work as a personal shopper and wardrobe stylist!
People often employ the services of personal stylists when they’re going through a period of change in their lives – a new job, a big move, or a fresh start – and want an opportunity to re-invent themselves, but maybe need help figuring out a style that works for them.
It’s such a rewarding job – People don’t always realise how important style can be to the way people perceive themselves. If you know you look good, you’ll feel good and be more confident, which is so so so important!

How To Find Your Personal Style

1. Only wear things you like.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but unless something makes you feel happy, there is absolutely no point in owning it. Obviously work uniforms are exempt from this rule, but there are ways to make them less awful – Get your corporate uniform shirts tailored to fit you properly for example!

 

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2. Take inspiration from your accessories

Most people start with the dress, or the top, but sometimes you need to shake things up a bit, or you end up just wearing the same combinations all the time! Rather than viewing your accessories as an afterthought, basing outfits around them forces you to think about the clothes you own in a different light. Pick out a necklace and choose a shirt with just the right neckline to show it off, or choose a pair of earrings and then do your hair around them.

 

Miss Pinup nz Fran Robertson | Velvet DeCollete

3. Find a silhouette that works, and own it

My wardrobe is full of swing skirts, and dresses with nipped in waists and full skirts. This would still be the case if I had no interest in vintage, because this is a silhouette that works for me and my body shape. Jackie O almost exclusively wore sheath dresses, because that was her silhouette of choice.

 

Miss Pinup nz Fran Robertson | Velvet DeCollete

4. Keep track of what you have, and what you need

Take note (on your phone, or in your diary) of your favourite wardrobe staples, and the things that you are missing. This way, if you pop into a shop on your lunch break and they have brightly coloured belts, you know which colours you actually need rather than just buying double ups.
I also have close up photos on my phone of the prints in my wardrobe that are tricky to match things to. I can look at them when I’m out, which reduces the chance of buying things that don’t match anything!

 

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5.Break the rules!

There are so many ‘rules’ that just shouldn’t exist – Fat girls shouldn’t wear stripes, no pink over 40, ‘less is more’, short girls can’t wear maxis, etc.
( Side note from Velvet: Amen girl! Where did these rules even come from?!)

The only rule that matters is that you have fun putting your look together.

 

Miss Pinup nz Fran Robertson | Velvet DeCollete

 

Bonus Info!
What’s a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothes that all go together. It leaves you open to a whole bunch of different combinations, you can choose shapes you’re comfortable wearing, and you can add to it easily enough as you become more confident choosing pieces.

This is the basic formula I follow when building a ‘capsule wardrobe’ for someone, which can apply to almost any style!

  • 1 x Printed Dress
  • 1 x Plain Coloured Dress
  • 2 x Printed Tops
  • 2 x Plain Coloured Tops
  • 1 x Jeans / Pants
  • 1 x Printed Skirt
  • 1 x Plain Coloured Skirt
  • 1 x Jacket – Blazer / Motorcycle Jacket / Denim Jacket / Lightweight swing coat
  • 3 x Cardigans / Boleros / Casual Cover-ups

Tips for getting the most out of your capsule wardrobe

  • If you are starting from scratch, pick a colour palette that you like, and buy things that fit within that. A favourite of mine is White or Cream with Navy, Red, and Tan, but I am also partial to Black, Cream, Tan, and Gold.
  • Make sure your plain coloured items match the colours in your printed pieces, so you can mix and match
  • There’s no hard and fast rule about accessories, but they can really transform an outfit. I try to have necklaces, belts, and scarves in all the colours that show up in my printed pieces.

 

Thanks for sharing your style tips with us Fran!
Fran has a treasure trove of outfit inspiration on her website, Facebook and Instagram which I’d really recommend following if you need some style motivation! You can also hire her to make you exuberantly colourful things or do your hair and makeup.

Photos | Elizabeth J Photography, Zandy J and Glory Days Magazine

After more style inspo? Check out these posts!

Learn my three step technique for wearing 100% colour with zero percent effort in my Blue Hawaii post.

Drink up some pinup and vintage fashion goodness with my Inspirational Instagrammers roundup!

 

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, LIFESTYLE, PINUP, 0 comments
The Bride Wore Black | A Gothic Wedding in NZ

The Bride Wore Black | A Gothic Wedding in NZ

I spent hours trawling through images of artist Vivien Master’s amazing big fat gothic wedding trying to pick my favourites.

They’re all gorgeous… It’s a hard life…

But two cups of tea and many biscuits later, here they are – wedding photos proving that brides can wear black, gothic weddings can be classy, and that getting married your way is the best way! For all the wedding details visit the photographer’s blog, she’s captured them so well.

Fashion geeks can find full details and workroom photos of this bespoke wedding gown and it’s layers on my workroom journal post. ( I know you’re wondering how we supported those dramatic skirts, or how she no one tripped over the incredible veil!) I designed and made this black bridal gown back in 2014 and it’s still my favourite. Probably because I would 100% wear it myself!

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This is my favourite photo in the world right now..

Outfit Details

Couture wedding dress, foundations & veil | Velvet DeCollete ( That’s me!)
Floral Headress | Created by the bride, Vivien Masters
Shoes | Pinup Couture

Vivien looked like some kind of aristocratic vampire queen and couldn’t have been more beautiful. Imagine how those taffeta skirts rustled as she walked down the aisle. Imagine Nick’s jaw dropping when he saw this vision in lace, her ivory skin glowing against the black. It’s just too perfect.

I can never stress enough how personal wedding gowns are, and how the right one can fill you with confidence. It’s not a day to compromise on style, to bow to someone else’s demands or to water down your own unique flavour. It’s your day to celebrate your love. So be you! Be the most you possible and experience the pure joy that brings.

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I often make little information sheets for my clients, because it’s easy to forget hidden closures and details when you’re excited. While my info sheets look a lot fancier these days I found it so sweet that the wedding photographer decided to include Vivien’s in her photographs.

When I create custom wedding gowns and costumes, I always include care and wearing instructions for my clients

Making once in a lifetime dream gowns makes me happier than anything else. Nothing beats seeing someone put on their custom made dress and absolutely light up because they feel so confident! If you’d like to chat about having a unique gown of your own feel free to drop me a line, I’d love to make you feel like a million dollars x

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 4 comments
Workroom Journal: A Terrifyingly Beautiful Bride

Workroom Journal: A Terrifyingly Beautiful Bride

Eighteen meters of fabric. Seven meters of netting. One bag of Polyfill. Around ninety hours of work. One rock star of a bride.

A while back I introduced you to Vivien Masters , one of my gorgeous brides for the season. Apart from having impeccable taste (obviously), she’s also stunning. Like,  ethereal creature stunning. At first sight her future husband described her as ‘terrifyingly beautiful’.

Needless to say, her wedding gown had to be equally majestic…
I think it was…

Photo: Nisha Ravji Photography

Photo: Nisha Ravji Photography

 

Photo: Nisha Ravji Photography

Photo: Nisha Ravji Photography

Those first photos are by the immensely talented Nisha Ravji Photography. I’m following her Facebook page with baited breath, and letting out an excited squeal with every image she posts! ( You can see more glorious wedding photos in my full feature post now! )

The following photos are from my workroom records, showing you a bit more detail that you might otherwise see.

Dramatic goth rococco black wedding gown custom made in New Zealand

Bespoke gothic wedding dress with lace over sweetheart corset bodice NZ

 

The Dress

Fully boned and stiffened, the structured sweetheart bodice gives a corseted effect, slimming and supporting the bride. I created the bodice overlay by hand cutting and appliqueing delicate French corded lace over fine sheer mesh to achieve invisible stitching and closures. The lace looked incredible over Vivien’s porcelain skin!

The pleated overskirt allows the most beautiful light play on the textured silk taffeta fabric, showing off the texture and volume of the skirts. As a firm believer in wearability, I hate seeing brides hobbled by wrist loops on long trains – so Vivien’s dramatic train features bustle loops and ribbons hidden on the inside. A few quick adjustments and the gown’s train gathers into structure voluminous folds, leaving Vivien free to dance the night away unencumbered!

A smooth fronted underskirt, pleated around the sides and back, finished the visible elements of the gown. ( Viv actually took this underskirt with her when she moved overseas, and continues to wear it.)

Gothic Bespoke Wedding dress dramatic gown
Bespoke black rococo corseted wedding dress with bustle ties and train New Zealand

The Veil

Let me introduce you to the fairy gothmother of all veils.

An extravagant gown deserves an extravagant veil, and Vivien’s didn’t disappoint. With three layers of fluffy net at royal, cathedral and elbow lengths this was a gothic fairytale come true. The Royal and cathedral layers are trimmed with more painstakingly hand cut and stitched French lace.

You remember how I said I love wearability? The royal length layer of this veil – That’s the really long one – is detachable. Vivien wore it for the ceremony and photos, before removing it for the reception. No one’s standing on her veil!

Bespoke black rococo corseted wedding dress and custom made black veil New Zealand

The Foundation

So you’ve been wondering how the gown keeps that divine Rococo inspired shape?

I design and create customised foundations for specialty garments. Supporting the sides and back of the wedding gown is the sweetest lace trimmed bustle you ever did see! Inspired by structures used through the Rococo and Victorian eras this soft pillowy bustle is light, squishable and comfortable. No awkward seating issues or stabby crinoline here! I couldn’t resist designing a heart shaped pad for the back in celebration of such a romantic couple.

The best part? Vivien actually squealed with girlish excitement when she saw it. Her reaction made me so happy!

Bespoke heart shaped pillow bustle NZ

 

If you’d like to find out more about my bespoke bridal gowns you can contact me here ( I don’t bite! ), or take a stroll through my design gallery to see more of my glowing clients. Don’t forget to check out the official wedding photos, they were also featured in New Idea magazine and on the BBC news website!

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 1 comment
8 Ways to Get the Most from Your Custom Design Experience

8 Ways to Get the Most from Your Custom Design Experience

As a couture designer, seamstress and costumier my goal is to create the absolute best garment for you that I can. I offer a free consultation, ask lots of questions (not just about what you want the garment to look like, but also where, how and why you’ll wear it) and do lots of sketches before starting to draft the pattern.

But what if you’re not coming to me? What if you don’t know what to expect? What if you just want to make sure you’re getting the best result possible?

Grab your notepad, because I’ve collated my top 8 tips for ensuring you get the most from your bespoke clothing experience.

Fashion designer and pin up model Velvet DeCollete shares the 8 things you need to know to get the most from your custom made clothing experience.

1. Research

Before you pick a designer, tailor or dressmaker do your research.
Look for photos of their previous work, their qualifications, reviews from clients or recommendations from people you trust.  Do their style and skills suit the garment you want? ( for example don’t ask a designer who works in leather to make your bespoke silk wedding dress, and don’t expect a vintage reproduction specialist to be an expert in modern knitwear.)

2. Be Prepared

While I offer free consultations, most designers will charge you. Being prepared means you can make the most of your consult to ensure the designer or dressmaker knows exactly what you want,  and that they’re the right person for the job.
Things that I’ll ask you at a consult are: your time frame and budget, colour preferences, what occasion the garment is for, a few examples of styles or design features you like, and if there’s anything you really dislike.

 

Choosing a designer and ordering a custom designed piece of clothing can be intimidating, but here's 8 tips for getting the most from your bespoke experience!

 

3. Ask Questions

Ask if your designer does payment plans (this is especially helpful if you’re budgeting for a wedding) . Ask for a contract, what date they can have the garment completed and for an estimate of the price. Keep in mind that a custom made garment requires a personalised pattern, toiles, several fittings, quality materials and a high level of skill. These all add to the price so expect it to cost more than off-the-rack clothing.

 

When I create custom wedding gowns and costumes, I always include care and wearing instructions for my clients

When I create custom made clothing, I always include care and wearing instructions for my clients. These photo instructions made it into the wedding photos!

4. Be Open to Advice

I can’t stress this enough.
If you go to a professional, experienced designer or dressmaker they should be able to assess your body shape and advise you if the design you want will be flattering. Please listen to them. We want you to look and feel amazing so if we suggest a change of style or fabric please consider it.  You’re paying for an expert service so make the most of their expert knowledge.

I personally refuse to make garments I believe will be unflattering. If you want something that doesn’t suit you it’s easy enough to buy off the rack!

5. Measure Up

A custom made garment is made to fit you, so your seamstress will take your measurements to work from ( I take between 8 and 15 measurements depending on the design). It’s incredibly important you take any lingerie, shapewear or shoes you plan to wear with your garment to your fittings as these can dramatically alter your body shape and height.
It’s also vital to tell your dressmaker if you plan to lose or gain weight, are trying to fall pregnant or if you become very ill during the construction of your garment as these circumstances will affect the fit!

As an example, all sixteen pieces in the photo below create ONE fabric layer out of FOUR layers that made up this corset. Every one of these pieces would need adjusting on every layer should the client gain or lose weight. That’s 64 individual pieces to alter!

 

corset pattern pieces | Velvet Decollete

 

6. Be Honest

This is your dream clothing or costume we’re talking about, so be honest!
If you’re not sure about a design – tell us.
If something’s itching or uncomfortable at a fitting – tell us.
If we suggest a colour or fabric you hate – tell us!
One week from deadline is too late for most designers to change anything and will make the process far more expensive for you, so be straight up about anything you’d like changed as soon as possible. A good designer or seamstress will make it work, or at least explain why it won’t work!

7. Be On Time

Be on time for fittings, on schedule for buying your lingerie and shoes and up to date on your payments.
A missed fitting stops work on your garment, meaning it might not be ready for the agreed deadline. Not wearing your shapewear at your fittings could cause last minute alterations when you finally do bring it and find it changes your curves. Putting time pressure on your dressmaker by not being organised can cause delays, or a lower quality of work as we often end up working through the night in these cases!

 

Fashion designer and pin up model Velvet DeCollete shares the 8 things you need to know to get the most from your custom made clothing experience.

8. Be Realistic

Custom designed clothing requires hours of painstaking work. Be realistic about what you expect to pay for your perfect garment and how long it’s going to take. Remember that your order is probably one of several the designer is working on at any given time.

It’s also important to remember that inspiration pictures are just that – inspiration. Your designer should make the most flattering garment possible, but we aren’t magicians! Most fashion pictorials are heavily edited and while a skin tight non-stretch gown may look amazing pinned on a model, in reality you won’t be able to sit down. Sitting down is important, as it being able to breathe, lift your arms, and eat!

 

 If you have any questions about commissioning a customised or bespoke garment flick me a message on my facebook page or my contact page– I’m happy to help! Examples of my custom designs can be seen on my fashion design portfolio, where you can read feedback from my clients themselves x

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, LIFESTYLE, 2 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 outside an imposing vintage 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 this shoot is a mix of classic pin up and fetish inspired fashion. 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 a game of skin hide and seek for the viewer.

My Photoshoot tip | Contrasting garments with different finishes and opacity helps the camera capture detail when photographing an all black outfit. Meaning you won’t turn into a big dark blob!

Scroll down for a full outfit breakdown.

Wardrobe and photography style can create give the same location a whole new mood. Check out my Cadillac Dreams post to see the set we shot just before this one – same location but a totally different vibe!

 

Start your engines! Velvet DeCollete mixes classic pinup with sexy grindhouse style in this bad girl photoshoot featuring a sleek and sexy Cadillac.

Alternative pinup bad girl Velvet DeCollete poses in skintight black mesh against a pastel Cadillac car

Good girl gone bad alt pinup model Velvet DeCollete poses in mesh and leather with her puppy

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

 

A beehive hairstyle and cateye glasses are all you need for retro bad girl style. Black and white sexy pinup photo

Good girl gone bad, or just plan bad? Velvet DeCollete is the perfect mix of vintage pin up and fetish inspired sex appeal in this black and white pinup photo

Good girl gone bad, or just plan bad? Velvet DeCollete is the perfect mix of vintage pin up and fetish inspired sex appeal in this black and white pinup photo

Shoot Details

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

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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!

We adopted Echo from an animal rescue shelter after falling in love at first sight ( After I was adamant we’d look at lots of dogs haha). It’s lovely to have photos before she grew up all big and serious looking, I can’t believe she was ever this tiny.

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

 

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 2 comments
The Inaugural Easter Bonnet – Along 2018!

The Inaugural Easter Bonnet – Along 2018!

Welcome to the inaugural annual Easter Bonnet-Along!

What’s better than hats?
Really fancy hats.
Really fancy hats paired with friends and Easter treats!

What’s This Easter Bonnet – Along Then?

An Easter Bonnet-Along ( according to me ) is where we all decorate fancy Easter hats so we can feel like Judy Garland in Easter Parade. Sounds great, right!?

Here’s How It Works

  1. Enjoy some fabulous vintage Easter inspiration on the special Pinterest Board I created just for you.
  2. Join the Inaugural Easter Bonnet-Along Facebook group so you can share your inspiration and hat decorating progress.
  3. Sew, build or decorate your themed Easter bonnet however you like!
  4. Post a photo of you looking fancy AF in your bonnet by Easter Sunday ( April 1st 2018)

Optional step 5: Arrange an Easter weekend meet-up with your fellow Bonnet-Alongers so you can admire each other’s handiwork!

 

Welcome to Velvet DeCollete's inaugural Easter Bonnet Along 2018!

 

Why Make An Easter Bonnet?

The tradition of wearing new clothes at Easter goes back at least as far as the 16th century, possibly as a result of Christianity adopting Pagan celebrations where the new life and bounty of spring represented the renewal of the year. Wearing new clothes for Easter was thought to bring good luck. By the end of the Great Depression new clothes weren’t affordable for many, so existing hats and clothes were retrimmed. Irving Berlin cemented the modern Easter bonnet in popular culture by celebrating the New York Easter parade in his 1948 film.

Religious beliefs aside, Easter Bonnets can be creations of pure joy. Just check out the incredible creations of the NYC Easter parade; see any sad faces? Nope. Personally I just love anything themed, and who doesn’t want a bouquet on their head as the Autumn months start to loom?

I hope this Bonnet-Along will give people some crafting inspiration and an incentive to catch up with friends and maybe meet some new ones!

 

I’m so excited to get creative and decorate my own hat while you make yours! While you get a-thinkin about your glorious future headwear, I’ll leave you with the dulcet tones of Bing Crosby. *sigh*
Just look at all those fancy hats.

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, LIFESTYLE, 1 comment

Casually Glamorous | Michele’s Glittering Bridal Party

Some things happen for a reason. In this case I’d say that reason is love. Michele and Rob were meant to be, and their wedding was one of the most joyous and emotional I’ve seen.

The Design Process

When it came to gowns bride Michele and her daughter Kathryn knew what they wanted. With inspiration images and (sparkling, enchanting, ocean-esque) fabrics in hand they arrived on my doorstep for Michele’s first consultation. The theme was casual glamour – glittering gowns and romantic flowers in an outdoor wedding ceremony, followed by the reception was in an adorable rustic hall.

By the end of that consultation we had sketches for a glamorous wedding gown and three bridesmaids, each tailored to the individual body shape of the wearer.

The custom design process always has ups and downs. Weight loss and a last minute bridesmaid swap due to pregnancy threw some spanners in the works. Luckily creating dresses for happy people is a great motivator and a few late nights later I was back on schedule. Keeping calm when hiccups happen is part of my job as the designer – the bride has enough on her mind!

 

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That Beaded Jacket

My favourite detail of Michele’s bridal gown? The beaded lace jacket. Designing garments around lace patterns and hand stitching lace and beads is my specialty. ( Vivien Master’s gown is another example of my love for lacework, check out her delicate corded lace bodice here. )

I carefully cut the jacket from the center length of the embellished lace, placing each pattern piece to ensure a symmetrical result. I then trimmed the wide scalloped border from the lace and hand applied it to the constructed jacket to line up with the existing motifs. Careful cutting and overlapping of the scalloped border created the right shape and fit around the hem of the garment. Any stray beads were then resewn into the design. The dress itself features beaded lace motifs on and under the bust, making the jacket and dress appear as one piece.

The result is a garment that looks like it’s made from one piece of specially designed lace, when in fact it’s made from many. As a bonus, the separate jacket can worn over any dress, so Michele can enjoy wearing this sentimental piece on special occasions.

 

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Second wedding, second wedding dress, mature bride, mature wedding dress, colored wedding dress, wedding dress designer , wedding dress maker new zealand, waikato, mangawhai, beaded wedding dress, navy blue wedding gown, beaded bridal jacket

 

All of the gowns are fully lined and boned to give flattering support and shape. This is essential when creating strapless dresses – there’s nothing worse than seeing a beautifully presented woman hiking the top of her dress up all the time!

If you’d like to enquire about creating a stunning gown of your own, feel free to contact me. I promise it’s a relaxed process and not at all scary! More beautiful gowns and happy clients can be found in my design gallery.

With Style & Sass,

       Velvet DeCollete

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 0 comments

Cadillac Dreams | Hollywood Inspired Pinup Photoshoot

Bad girls may have more fun, but Paramount girls get away with it.

Inspired by the elegance of classic Hollywood and it’s movie starlets this is the sister set to Start Your Engines | A bad Girl Photo Shoot. Shot in the same location with the same magnificent Cadillac this set takes style inspiration from the publicity shots of 1930’s – 1950’s cinema stars. (With a few ‘paparazzi’ style shots thrown in for fun and accuracy).

 

Cadillac Hollywood Starlet | Pinup Photoshoot | Velvet DeCollete

Cadillac Hollywood Starlet | Pinup Photoshoot | Velvet DeCollete

The Inspiration

Back in the golden age of Hollywood film companies like Paramount and MGM would arrange photographers to snap their new stars at home ( usually not even their real home!) and at social events. These not so candid images were vintage equivalent of an intentionally unintentional looking celebrity Instagram photo.

My outfit inspiration was a chic movie star. Is she attending a cocktail party as some luxe resort? Heading to a rendezvous with her lover? Or is she on her way home, in the clothes she wore the night before? Either way, her studio will cover up any indiscretions.

Inspired by these totally posed but supposedly unexpected publicity photos, we shot a mix of classic glamour and paparazzi style images. This is one of the first photoshoots I worked with Froger on and it’s still one of my favourites today.

 

 

Outfit Breakdown 

Wiggle Dress | Velvet DeCollete – sewn from a Vintage Vogue pattern
Gloves, Sunglasses, Bag & Fur | Tock Tick Vintage
Shoes | Pulp Noir
Vintage Imitation Pearl Necklace | Gifted
Earrings | Diva
Hosiery | Pretty Polly

 

Cadillac Hollywood Starlet | Pinup Photoshoot | Velvet DeCollete

Cadillac Hollywood Starlet | Pinup Photoshoot | Velvet DeCollete

How beautiful is the vintage fawn skin bag in the photo above? I nicknamed it ‘The Bambi Bag’. Unsurprisingly it’s part of La Vonne’s personal collection, alongside the fur stole.

Oh and did I mention Elvis stopped by? He’s such a hoot!

Cadillac Dreams | Velvet DeCollete

Photographer | Froger
Shoot Assistant | LaVonne from Tock Tick Vintage
Model | Velvet DeCollete (moi)

With Style & Sass,

               Velvet DeCollete

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 1 comment

Choosing & Caring for Vintage Clothing | Secrets of a Vintage Store Owner

Wearing and caring for vintage clothing is immensely rewarding but also nerve wracking. Which pieces should you buy? How do you clean that delicate fabric? Where do you even start? While Google is great I’m wary of unproven cleaning methods.

Instead I turn to La Vonne ( Doyenne of the recently retired Tock Tick Vintage store ) for her tried and true tips on selecting and maintaining a gorgeous vintage wardrobe. With a lifetime of experience and impeccable taste to match, Lavonne’s a goldmine of knowledge! If you’re always buying clothes but have nothing to wear, you’ll want to check out my 5 ways to buy the right vintage, not any vintage.

VIntage dresses at Tock Tick Vintage | Velvet Decollete

LaVonne what do you look for or avoid when buying vintage items?

Early on I used to collect almost every vintage item from last century (pre 1980) that crossed my path, as I just love finding and collecting vintage lovelies.  Over time I have developed a more selective approach as some items are more commercial, collectible, rare and so on.  These days I try to procure pieces that translate easily into more modern day styling or quality timeless pieces that have withstood the test of time; either in functionality, style or both.  I am very particular about quality and I really do try to offer the best quality vintage I can, bearing in mind that some items were created decades ago, so some flaws are inevitable and to be expected.  Great care is taken in laundering and making tiny repairs if necessary to offer the items as close to the original as possible.

When I’m out searching for vintage treasure, the condition of the item is very important to me.  Whilst some items are simply great to have because they are like museum pieces and marking a moment in time, generally most are going to be worn regularly and need to reflect that in their condition.  I avoid items where the fabric is decaying or brittle. Vintage silks are beautiful, but when you hold them up to the light you can see the fibers are breaking, sheer or rotting.  Be mindful that certain fabrics, particularly natural fibers, do have a lifespan.  

Therefore my main tip for buying vintage clothing is to buy good quality.  Avoid items that have major faults.  Better to pay a little more for quality key pieces than having a wardrobe brimming with ‘average’ items.

If you could recommend one starter piece to someone new to vintage style, what would it be and why?

Vintage jewellery, hands down.  Add a brooch and earring set to a little black dress you already own and boom!, the stunning attention to vintage detail has us wondering if your entire ensemble is vintage too. The other wonderful thing about vintage accessories: they generally aren’t size dependent. I can wear a modern simple black dress and  accompany it with my beautiful handbag, gloves, brooch and hat.  The size of the dress is irrelevant yet the vintage detailing makes the outfit.

vintage accessories from Tock Tick vintage | Velvet DeCollete

Lavonne Says

Brooches added to a hat, a scarf, on a jacket.  Fabulous.  

A string of simple pearls, always in style!  

Similarly a black jet necklace!

Clip on earrings!  

Take a look at Mad Men folks … every woman is wearing jewellery to polish off her look.  These items are affordable too.  Compared to buying a dress or an entire outfit, you can add your $30 earring, brooch and necklace set to many outfits.  To your twinset, with your capris on the weekend, or on the bodice of your evening gown. 

Just a tip, if you are not used to wearing clip on or screw on earrings they can take a little getting used to! However, like wearing in a new pair of shoes, it’s the same for your vintage earrings.  Wear them for an hour at a time around the house often and over time your ears will get accustomed to them.  Got a great pair of classic shoes?  Your clip on earrings can double as pretty shoes clips to give your outfit instant vintage glam !

Tock Tick Vintage is known for your stock of wonderful furs. How do you clean and maintain them?

  • Firstly, I recommend you do the following with any of your valuable clothing items:
    P
    lace the garment outside on a hanger two or three times a year on a gentle breezy day (not too hot and sunny, furs don’t really like too much bright sun for too long and extended heat dries out the leather pelt).  Ventilating your clothing is a simple and easy way to keeping them fresh.
  • I purchased a natural soft bristle pet brush from the pet store (was not expensive) … and every now and then I brush the fur, this is actually quite a tactile lovely process I find.  It aerates the fur, removing any dust particles  and keeping it silky. Of course, dealing with many furs it’s handy for me to have a brush.  You can do this with clean hands for the same effect.
  • Getting rid of that musty smell. You can hang the fur in a garment bag and place an open envelope full of coffee granules at the bottom, zip it up and leave it for about three days.  Take the fur out of the bag,  brush it, replace the coffee and repeat for another  three days.  Then air the fur outside for an hour or so over a weekend.  The fur will smell of coffee for a short time but this will completely go, as will ‘that smell’.  This is surprisingly effective!I also personally use a solution of one parts vodka to 3 parts water in a spray bottle to remove smells. Hanging the fur outside on the line, I stand back from the fur and spray a fine mist over the fur (and articles of vintage clothing too) making sure to not wet the items, but mist them.  Allow to dry then brush.  I have never caused any damage to my items through this process but of course care is required.
  • Never store your furs in plastic .. they need to breathe .. in fact never cover with anything when in storage. If possible, store in a dark cool place (closet is fine) .. but maybe place a hook from the ceiling or on the wall in there so it can hang slightly separate (ie) you don’t want it to be squished between all your other clothes, will flatten the fur and will not allow air to circulate around it.
  • I highly recommend buying a product like ‘DampRid’ and keeping these in your wardrobes. Not to protect just your fur, but your other wardrobe treasures.  I find I replace these quarterly at a cost of around $7 per time.  These little buckets of moisture absorbing crystals are incredibly effective at keeping moisture and mould out of your wardrobe. Not a bad investment for keeping your clothes in great shape at $30 per year.
    I know it seems straight forward, but run your hands though the garments in your wardrobe each week and quickly vacuum the floor and ceiling as part of your housework routine. This keeps dust and wee bugs away from your treasures and is another simple 30 second solution to help keep your clothes fresh.
  • Your fur needs to be placed on a decent wide, padded or shaped coat hanger  to retain good shape and be well supported. I have had customers purchase furs that they are going to keep displayed on a mannequin in their home.  This is fine so long as it is never in direct sunlight, is in a relatively cool position  and is regularly brushed and shaken to keep it aired and dust free.  I agree, they look beautiful, why not display them!!!!
  • Gentle surface washing will do no harm to fur, but wetting the pelt might make the fur fall out.  Using a very mild baby or pet shampoo diluted with water then using a cloth or a brush the solution to clean the fur without penetrating the pelt works well.
  • When you see a label on vintage fur items ‘clean using the furrier method only’ this refers to a process where furs were tumbled in machines filled with gritty sawdust .. the dry friction cleaned the leather and left the fur silken and clean.
    I have effectively cleaned fur stoles/collars/hats  with unprocessed bran (gently heated in the oven first).  You then place the fur in large bag (pillowcase even) with bran.  Shake it around vigorously for a few minutes, then discard and brush out the bran.  This is pretty labour intensive, the bran takes ages to brush out, but it really absorbs smells and dirt and leaves the piece lovely.  Crazy I know!Caring for vintage furs | Velvet DeCollete

As furs were more common in the past, there were expert furriers that would care for fur treasures.  These are now difficult to find and possibly quite expensive. I personally use common sense with my fur care.  If you pay $100 for a vintage fur stole you may not necessarily wish to go to the expense of paying a professional to care for it.  The silver fox fur I owned is still as immaculate as the day I purchased it some 20 plus years ago just by using some common sense. That said, if you own a top quality blue fox coat that cost thousands of dollars, I do recommend getting it the professional care it requires.  

I don’t know of any furriers in Auckland but I am sure if you check with your trusted dry cleaner they could point you in the right direction.  I would imagine in cities with colder climates where fur coats might be worn more commonly due to temperature, more places would be available to purchase and care for fur.

This all sounds very in depth.  It is actually relatively simple.  I make small mends when seams come apart and I spot clean if I have to.  When buying a vintage item there will often be imperfections, these items have been lovingly worn over time and that is to be expected.  You will lovingly wear it and care for it too.

Top tips for keeping your vintage clothing in good condition from vintage store owner LaVonne

What do you feel are the most important accessories for vintage style?

It’s no surprise I’m obsessed with vintage accessories.  I would toddle off to Secretarial College in the mid 1980’s wearing my Nana’s 1950’s houndstooth coat with black fur collar, my Mother’s 1960’s patent handbag and a pair of slingback black suede winklepicker shoes.  Ironically I never questioned my ‘look’, whether is was current or relevant, whether it was appropriate even, I just loved those items and I felt fabulous.  Those vintage treasures brought me real joy.  They in some way transported a piece of me back in time, gave homage to those I loved and were different to anything I could find in high street stores.  I guess that was the beginning of the obsession.

Whether fully immersed in vintage styling or you have alternative or eclectic tastes, or just love the beauty of pieces crafted in a time of quality and attention to detail … vintage can be a great way to individualise your wardrobe with things you’ll love.

Vintage accessories are so great for this.  My collection of vintage handbags is vast however I always recommend to my customers that owning a black and a neutral vintage handbag is a great start as then you can always add that vintage flair to your outfit .  You can add a brightly coloured hair flower to your classic handbag to tie in your look.  

My vintage go-to accessories

Jewellery

Handbags

Gloves

Scarves

Classic coat

Fur (or faux fur) collars

It really is fun hunting out those vintage pretties to tie an outfit together.  Don’t be afraid to experiment and enjoy.  Remember; if you love something .. isn’t the joy you get from that piece what’s special? ♡

Vintage shopping tips from Tock Tick Vintage

A few of La Vonne’s happy customers.

And there you have it, expert do’s and dont’s for protecting and laundering your vintage treasures! I recommend you bookmark or pin this post, I come back and refer to it whenever I have a new-to-me vintage garment that needs some TLC.

With Style & Sass,

   Velvet DeCollete

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, LIFESTYLE, 3 comments