One of the easiest and most stylish ways to add a touch of vintage to an outfit is to add a frame handbag. Here are four just added to the shop. Former film star, Grace Kelly, Princess Grace of Monaco, often carried a Hermès bag with top straps, and that style of bag evolved into the eponymous “Kelly”bag, which is essentially a metal frame bag, boxy in style, with a top clasp and top handles. This style is synonymous with the 1950s, the Grace Kelly era, but has remained a popular style which we think of as a classic and elegant accessory.
The classic frame handbag comes in many variations, from classic leather to pvc, shiny patent leather to pony skin!
I believe that the string vest was first brought into being in the mid 1930s by a Norwegian army officer, Henrik Brun. It was designed on the principal that it’s string net structure would trap heat in winter and allow the body to breathe in summer. String underwear was marketed for its athletic and health benefits and had its heyday perhaps in the 1950s. I certainly associate it with “kitchen sink dramas”, brooding young men in cinematic poses, and the memory of these iconic garments drying on a clothes horse in front of an open fire in our 1950s family home! Although it’s popularity dwindled at the end of the 1960s and died a death in the 1970s, we can still summon the vision of famous string vest wearer Rab C Nesbitt (played by the talented Gregor Fisher) in the 1980s!
Here is some authentic 1950s string underwear from the shop….perfect for costume purposes, AmDram, dressing up etc. Note the title “Tarzan”. Johnny Weissmuller played Tarzan in films popular through from the 1930s and 40s to the 1950s when they were often screened in afternoon matinées in British cinemas.
(The Strutts Health Vest cotton ad is period marketing and I am unable to credit the photographer.)
Ronald Joyce is a London based design house renowned for its evening wear and wedding gowns. The company was originally started back in the 1950s by husband and wife Ronald and Joyce Phillips.
This gown is from their 1970s “Afer Six” collection and , though sized as a UK 16, would fit a modern UK 10/12 , with a relatively small waist and generous bodice it would probably need to be altered to fit. Features include split sleeves trimmed with lace, and a large keyhole back. The fabric is a semi sheer polyester “georgette” with an acetate lining.
This would have been a perfect “Hostess gown” for passing round the canapés and chipolatas on sticks!
Donald Campbell was a London based fashion designer favoured by Princess Diana. This particular dress is late 80s or early 90s and is a fabulous blue and green paisley design on silk chiffon, with a blue silk lining. Midi length, the style of this dress is very feminine and flattering, with a crossover draped bodice , sheer sleeves and calf length gathered skirt. A silk velvet belt and flowing sheer scarf are included. This is the perfect dress for a summer garden party or for a day at the races.
Donald Campbell opened two shops in London, the first in 1973. He specialised in working in luxury fabrics as a couturier, but creating bespoke ready to wear pieces for individual clients. He made several pieces for Princess Diana, including a honeymoon dress.
Its January, and I have been restocking the shelves at Coolclobber. Today I added more beautiful vintage headsquares, some more pre-decimal wallets and a fabulous red leather Italian handbag.
January is a great time to take stock of your wardrobe. Take things out, try things on, try out different combinatigons and accessories. Whether you like full on vintage or just a few vintage details, it’s a good time for planning and for buying. Revamp your wardrobe and look forward to the Spring!
This classic 1970s black leather biker vest is a recent addition to the shop. It will fit a medium/large , and is complete with loads of pockets, a cotton lining and various straps to adjust the fit. Visit the shop for full details.
Deréta is a great English label to look out for. This fab two piece suit is in pure wool and has a brown taffeta lining to both the waistcoat and the skirt. From the 1960s, this look was really popular for the “girl about town” or for office wear and could be teamed with coloured tights and Mary Ann strap shoes, or with little boots. Under the top you could wear a nylon turtle neck ( as shown), a skinny rib sweater or a fitted shirt. As with all vintage of this era, it is best to check actual measurements with your own as label sizing is quite different then and now. This is labelled as a size 14, but is more like a 12 with a smallish waist!
A bit random…..Traditional Academic robe by Ede & Ravenscroft. This style is graduate attire for Bachelor awards. It has a fluted back falling from a stiffened yoke and stiffened fronts and it has bell sleeves. All details in the shop.