Love My Dress® celebrates 5 years of blogging this weekend! I can’t even begin to tell you how much has changed in this time for this blog and for me personally – actually I may tell you about that soon, but this afternoon, I was keen to turn my attention towards, and celebrate something that the heritage of this little blog is steeped in – ‘vintage’.
Vintage was ‘all the rage’ when I started this blog – a new trend that was blossoming, then bloomed, then appeared to take over the whole of the wedding world. In fact, ‘vintage’ became such a huge trend so quickly, that by mid 2011, it had started to fall out of favour a little with the tastemakers and bloggers in the wedding community.
Those who worked in weddings were beginning to feel tired of seeing vintage everywhere – the problem was that anyone and everyone were using the word to label their photographs, products, services – and the wonderful vintage renaissance began to feel as though it was being abused and taken advantage off by the marketers and sales drivers and all those who wanted to ‘cash in’ on the trend.
We however, knew different. We have always celebrated the true nature of vintage at Love My Dress® and are not about to abandon a movement that proved so influential to the early success and popularity of this wedding blog. To reflect this, I’m so delighted today to be sharing these images from one of the UK’s best and most renowned suppliers of original vintage wedding dresses. Abigail’s Vintage Bridal talk us through the styles of vintage wedding dresses from each of the eras of the past century.
In my book, Style Me Vintage Weddings, I describe vintage as follows…
There term ‘vintage weddings’ tends to provoke a love/hate response – purists reject the loose application of the term in relation to weddings that have a subtle reference toward the past, and some wedding industry professionals have turned their back on the use of the term altogether – possibly fearful that the perceived trend will pass or become unpopular, and weary of how the description has proliferated the wedding blog community. Like it or not, there is no denying the beauty and appeal of a vintage wedding dress and all that exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail… — Style Me Vintage Weddings
I do hope you enjoy this piece and these images. If you are bride determined to wear an original vintage gown for your own wedding day, you will find the contact details for Abigail’s Vintage Bridal at the end of this feature.
Handing you over to Abigail’s Vintage Bridal…
With the collection of original vintage wedding dresses running to around 200 frocks one of the hardest things about doing a photo shot is choosing which dresses to take pictures of. The most popular decades are the 30s and 50s but we have a very strong collection of Edwardian dresses which broadly fit into the period between 1905 to 1920 so we inevitably chose quite a few of those too.
Our collection of vintage Japanese kimonos is also very popular, and as we encourage our brides to work with What Katie Did for their wedding day underwear we took the opportunity to showcase both of them at once. We now make or source all of the accessories we sell in house, so all the hair bands, clips and ear rings are all by Abigail’s Vintage Bridal. We indebted to Claire Shell of Pin Curls and Pompadours who did the quite wonderful 5 complete sets of hair and make-up for this shoot!
These dresses are the most blissfully romantic ones in the whole collection. The way they ethereally flow combined with the huge amount of detail in the lace and their ease of wearing makes them a favourite. They can be worn over a simple silk slip for a lighter feel. They also seem to be able to fit into any occasion: from a boho wedding in the woods to fully formal stately home affair.
The only down side is their relative scarcity with the youngest ones now coming up 100 years old so there is always a good deal of restoration involved in getting them ready.
Fashion in the 20s was a revolution: hem lines rose, corsets were loosened and taken off; frills, tassels and beading were in. They are relaxed and easy to wear with simple shapes; we try and find the ones in more interesting fabrics from Devoré velvet to Brussels lace to counterpoint their deceptive simplicity.
Very few original examples with heavy beading have survived so when on the rare occasions we do find one it is very exciting.
In the finest draped silk and hugging lace, a lot of 30s dresses are sexy and slinky but are really quite demure by modern standards with hardly any skin on show: sleeves were long, necklines high and skirts flowing. We often work with a bride to create her perfect gown by lowering the back or shortening the sleeves bringing it into line with evening gowns of the same period that were a little more daring.
The glamorous silhouette, so beloved on the red carpet, is not compromised. We often incorporate contemporary jewellery to add a little sparkle whilst staying true to the period.
Power dressing was the name of the game, red lippy and victory rolls is a great look and not for the faint hearted due to the dynamism and sexiness. There are wonderful fabrics to find from silk brocades to figured chiffons make our girls look like Film Noir sirens.
Our biggest challenge is to sort through the inevitably huge volume of rather pedestrian War Time examples available to find the truly glorious ones.
Original 50s wedding dresses differ rather significantly from their reproduction counterparts. Firstly the balance of bust, waist and hip has a transformational effect on both how a girl looks and feels, this is something we strive to maintain even when sizing a dress up from a size 10 to 14 for example. Secondly they tend to be more demure in their original format with longer skirts than many envision and often with sleeves.
Part of what we do is to harmonise a brides vision for her big day with what suits her shape and the kind of frocks available: skirts can become Ballerina/Tea length from floor length and sleeves become bracelet length quite easily.
We love to be able to re-use the fabric to create exquisite trim details on the dress and really make it the brides own.
The cut of a kimono has not changed in centuries unlike Western fashion, the way they are decorated on the other hand has. These 100% silk, vintage Furisode Kimono are from the mid Japanese Showa (1929-1989) period and are circa 1950.
We of course are not bound by Japanese traditional constraints and can wear a kimono on any occasion we like; that hair and make-up moment when the photographer is capturing your transformation is a favourite, but they can come in handy on the honey moon too.
We also offer a service of tailoring the back of the kimono so it can be worn more like a coat over your wedding dress.
In most cases if we can get the underwear for a dress right then a bride feels and looks better. We encourage our brides to use What Katie Did as their range of vintage style lingerie is second to none and their service exemplary.
Wherever they go we strongly recommend they get measured and fitted properly as it can make all the difference.
A huge thank you to the whole team of suppliers listed below, and an extra special thanks to the team at Abigail’s Vintage Bridal for inspiring us today with these images of beautiful vintage wedding dresses. You can find out more by visiting abigailsvintagebridal.co.uk, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 07729 888 751. Please either call or email for details of dress and appointment availability – appointments are available on Fridays and Saturdays only.
Long live vintage!
Love Annabel x
Photographer – Elli Dean Photography
All dresses and accessories – Abigail’s Vintage Bridal
Hair and Make Up – Pin Curls and Pompadours
Venue – Swans of Oakham
Shoes – Miss L Fire
Lingerie – What Katie Did
Petticoats – Annabella Designs
Models – Harriet and Mimi