V.I. Buys - 1920s edition

As you all know, my eras of choice for my clothes and my hairstyles are the late 30s, 40s and the early 1950s. But I do have a secret, burning desire to get a 1920s outfit, learn to fingerwave and faux bob my hair, and, now I have learned a bit of it, go out and dance the Charleston all night long. I have never in my life seen a real vintage 20s dress, nor have I ever tried on anything reproduction 1920s. I have a horrible feeling that on someone like me, with a largeish bust and childbearing hips, that silhouette would do no favours at all.

But one glance through the Fedora Lounge thread entitled '1920s - fashion with fun, whimsy and chic', and one can hardly deny that the period from 1920-29 was a one that featured some of the most fabulous sartorial creations. The clothes of the time were undeniably the biggest change in fashion from the previous decades, the shapes, the fabrics and the hairstyles were all utterly revolutionary. And it's also one of the most neglected decades as far as reproduction clothing goes. A visit to the Black Cotton Club in London will reveal an abundance of hen party (batchelorette) ladies dressed in cheap, fancy dress flapper outfits and feather boas, the skirts skimming their bottoms and a trail of neon coloured feathers marking their tottering route around the dance floor, to the ladies and back.

But, as fashion history buffs well know, flappers were considered shocking for daring to show their knees not their thighs and bottoms, and the vast majority of dresses in that era were much longer. All this considered, I was delighted to discover a while back, also through the Fedora Lounge, LeLuxe Clothing. These truly stunning dresses are almost identical to the originals they were inspired by. In their own words, from creator Shane Burroughs' Myspace page:

"Jill and I draw on our combined experience and good taste as well as our extensive collection of vintage dresses to design authentic reproduction dresses from the 1920s era in a full range of sizes. Some are painstaking reproductions of original designs, but most are completely new and original. And all LeLuxe dresses feature design elements that are historically accurate. "

Just one glance through their catalogue shows that they are not exaggerating!

The stunning Deco Dot Gown (on the site in white now):

The Gold Duchess:

And the amazing Red Silk Millie:

Just look at the detail!

The also do the most stunning day dresses, in embroidered cotton. This is the 1930s French Knot Arts & Crafts Dress:

And this beautiful Yellow Daffodil Empire Smocked dress is one that has gone immediately on my wishlist... do you think it would work with my figure?

All pictures from the LeLuxe Flickr page.

They are also ethically made in India by one artisan. From their Myspace page again:

"He works exclusively for us and does nothing but our 1920s beaded dresses. He has become quite a master at these designs after six years of doing very complicated vintage reproductions. I have offered to find him other clients who are not in direct competition with me and he has declined because, he says, it would be harder to control the quality on a larger scale. You have to love and respect a guy like that. We are very blessed to have found him. He does all the finishing himself and he is VERY particular and detail oriented. It shows in the quality of his dresses. I would put our dresses up against any other manufacturer in the world.

He works from his home in India and he uses anywhere from 7-10 of the most experienced beaders available. His beaders are all grown men, supporting families, and he pays them higher than the going rate for beaders because these designs are often very complex and only the most experienced beaders can do the work. I have watched them work and I have personally supervised the operation and seen it with my own eyes. The conditions are good, and as I said, he works from his home and far from using child labor - as is, I suppose, common in India - the people he has working for him were all men, mostly in their 30s and 40s...some into their 60s."

I would love to try one of their beaded numbers, maybe swish about in the Millie. LeLuxe even do slips to wear underneath. And I'd wear it with a pair of Balboa pumps from Remix Vintage:

What do you think?

In other news, tomorrow is the event I have been waiting months for, the Chap Olympiad 2009! I have been appointed as the official, glamorous scoreboard lady. I am praying for a dry day as I want to wear my new, black straw 1940s sun hat, but it's undoubtedly going to be cloudy and none too warm. That's not too much of a pain as I won't get burnt, and I can wear stockings, but please, weather gods, make it stay dry! I'll be back with photos from the Olympiad, a beauty article and more, next week.

Tally ho!

Fleur xx


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