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If you have ever buried your nose in a vintage handbag, dreamily inhaling the lingering scent of Soir de Paris, or scoured the make-up counters desperately seeking out a perfect match for a lip colour you spotted on Elizabeth Taylor in Butterfield 8, you’re among friends.
A love of all things vintage is like belonging to a special club, and we know each other by those stylish touches that mark us out from the identikit fashionistas and their slavish adherence to the high street. The perfect matt lipstick, careful eyeliner and subtle nod to your own personal 1950s Hollywood spirit guide – today I am channelling Audrey in Funny Face, how about you?
We share your desire to find the perfect gown, neatly cinched at the waist, and possessing a flattering fullness at the bust and a swirling skirt that swishes as you walk. The iconic 1950s dress shape owes its existence to Dior and his New Look; he exploited the post-war economic recovery and designed lavish full circle skirts that brazenly used considerably more fabric than the utilitarian uniforms and austere clothing of the war years. And he was so right, clothes should make you feel good, enhancing your curves and collecting admiring glances like trophies. And of course, the time was right, too; in a time of slow post-war economic recovery, the need to kick back and celebrate beauty was just too beguiling. I’m no economist, but I find myself identifying a correlation between then and now.
I am always looking for the perfect gown, the one that will flatter and make me feel like I possess the sass of Ava Gardner. I want something well-made, too, it needs to last, because if there is one thing a vintage glamour puss loves, it’s the idea of building a closet of perfect dresses that will go the distance. One day, some bright young thing is going to rake through my wardrobe and cherry pick the best of my collection. Not for some time, though, right now I’m planning some seriously hot Hogmanay parties in this figure hugging number.