Sunday, 24 May 2015

Folksy Finland

There must have been something in the water up in Finland in the 1960's and early 70's. While fashion everywhere else was going psychedelic, the Finns were getting folksier with several labels producing some fabulous pieces which are always a pleasure to have in store.
Scandinavian style in general could be very folksy at this time, the very collectable designs by Figgio Flint for example are practically dancing around a maypole 

But it seems to be Finland where the style was most adapted to clothing

Marrimeko were the first and best known, really finding their style from the late 50's on, especially when Jackie Kennedy wore them whilst on the campaign trail with her husband. There's a nice page HERE on Marrimeko, though I'd like to mention a few other smaller labels which followed hot on their heels.

 This gorgeous white linen dress is by Arola (an province in Eastern Finland) It has lovely embroidery to the front and hem and a wraparound belt.

A simple style that looks amazing when worn

There's little information on Arola available, aside from a handful of dresses, although there is a store called Arola in Finland which sells, inevitably, Marrimeko

More info HERE

Here's another sleeveless dress, by Marketta this time, another label with little info apart from the occasional item turning up.
This is more Marrimeko in style with it's bold flower print, but look at that collar and lapel! The way it sweeps from the neckline is a style I've not seen before

More info on this dress HERE

Another stylish Finnish label from this period that we see is Fenno-Sport. Another company that perhaps lived in Marrimekos shadow a little, certainly this red skirt has the look. Currently on Etsy

 Having said that Fenno-sport also produced gems like this extraordinary op-art dress. Are there any other labels out there that I've missed?

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Christian Dior Black Velvet - If you please

Is there a more luxurious fabric than thick, soft black velvet and was there ever a designer more associated with creating luxurious garments than Christian Dior?
Here's a few examples of what happened when the two combined

This amazing dress is known as the Cygne Noir (Black Swan)
The black velvet and silk was supplied by specialists
Bianchini-Ferier (info here) and was made around 1949/1950.
Just look at the outsize bow and the contrast in the charcoal gray silk and the light absorbing velvet.
It currently lives behind the scenes in the V&A, with more info here

In Space, our store in Harrogate UK, we're lucky enough to have two examples, this stunning Dior London dress is made from an astonishing heavy lace cut velvet, possibly also by Bianchini-Ferier, which I imagine would be incredibly difficult and expensive to produce even today, who knows how it was achieved in the 1950's.
There's a link here

 Another example in complete contrast is this 1960's 'Diorling' black velvet dress with silk embroidery.        The high neck, long sleeves and full skirt will cover any flesh but the cling of the velvet and the split in the leg will still look super sexy.  
We've paired it here with a Versace gold chain belt, pretty snazzy, don't you think?
More info here

And along with the vampiric image of the goths (itself soon assimilated into late 80's fashion), here's what the 1980's did to Black Velvet,