It has been a little while since the photoshoot I did at Revival Retro boutique in London but I have such fond memories of that day that I feel it imperative to share them and talk about the event in more detail. For I must say, prior to this event, I had struggled to find reproduction vintage clothing that I found aspirational, fit me well and embodied the feel of a true 1930s/1940s piece. I confess that as I wear a lot of original vintage clothing, I had not invested much time into discovering lesser known reproduction brands so being offered the opportunity to visit our great nations’ capital, meet the team at Revival Retro and browse their stock was something I felt could widen my vintage-loving perspective.
I, along with several other instagrammers and bloggers were cordially invited to visit the boutique one Sunday to essentially play dress up, take pictures, get to know one another, have a tea party and have the girliest fun day ever. Well, im not the girliest girl out there by any stretch of the imagination, nor I am a svelte size 6 who looks good in everything; my love of cake gets in the way of that one. Therefore the greatest attraction to me (aside from cake, obviously) was the opportunity to meet other like-minded people, make some new friends and address my current views on reproduction clothing with the hope that I could find something that would cater to my own style and body shape.
I was not disappointed. Revival Retro, located in the Fitzrovia area of central London, is a mini-mecca for vintage reproduction garments, where the stock is handpicked by Rowena and the team to ensure that quality and style are centric to their brands’ reputation.
The store exterior itself is one that evokes thoughts of luxury, decadence and individuality. In gold lettering, the store name glistens against the black background, inviting the customer in to experience what lies within. Inside, the garments and accessories are beautifully displayed by arrangement of colour with ample room to float around between rails and lust over the impeccably arranged shoe display (which shall now be referred to as the wall of shoe porn). Large vintage mirrors and an open display armoire add to the indulgent feel .
Not long after arriving and being given a wonderfully warm invite from Rowena,( store owner), Sarah (store manager) and the rest of the team, the other ladies arrived; Annora of @norafinds, already someone I knew, floated in with her impeccable style and we were soon joined by @missvictoryviolet, @retrocat.de, @blossomsandbuttercups, @wilhelminaaffera and @vintagemaedchen_by_victoria, all ladies with style, elegance and undeniably strong presence. Honestly, I *may* have felt a little in awe at these ladies and how effortless they appeared to exude their individuality and glamour, but I put one’s own self-conscious thoughts to one side and reminded myself that I must have been invited on my own merits…..
It wasn’t long before we hit the rails and perused the delights on offer; inspecting the craftsmanship of the beautiful Remix shoes and the softness of the leather (baby bum soft, let me tell you). I do not yet own any Remix shoes as I have always been concerned about sizing, customs and shipping rates from the US (getting your shoe size wrong could be fatal to your wallet) so having somewhere where I can actually LOOK AT THEM IN PERSON AND TRY THEM ON?!?!?! Definitely a winner in my book.
I soon found the rail with the trousers and it is at this point that I discovered the brand ‘Emmy Swedish Designs’ as nestled between the rail were the ‘Fancy Pants Slacks’ in navy salt and pepper. In other words, high-waisted trousers made of soft marled wool with buttons on the outside for wearing suspenders that would spark a new obsession. Teaming them with a white pussy bow blouse and some navy stripe suspenders, I felt like I had created an outfit that Marlene Deitrich would approve of. I accessorised with a brooch in the neckline, monochrome earrings and Remix ‘Balboa’ shoes in black and white. I had discovered something new; a reproduction outfit that a) fitted me, b) embodied my own style c)was comfortable and allowed me to raise my arms above my head without splitting a seam/cutting off the circulation to my forearm, the latter being something that true vintage can occasionally inflict upon me.
Throughout the day, numerous photographs and selfies were taken, numerous cups of tea in beautiful china were drunk, numerous chats with these beautiful ladies were had and numerous mini homemade cakes were consumed but it is the feeling of comfort, glamour and empowerment of being in an outfit that fuses with your own sense of self that has lingered with me.
It sounds rather dramatic I know, but it truly was an awakening for me that reproduction clothing can also offer great quality, superb tailoring and impeccable style. I have since bought the trousers that I modelled (and the fig colour which I had to do some serious detective work to find them – they had sold out most places, resulting in me using Google translator to decipher the text on an online Swedish clothing store. God only knows if I have ordered the right thing). I have also since discovered the joy that is the ‘Ice Skater’ cardigan, again from Emmy Swedish Designs and stocked at Revival Retro. At £116 it isn’t the most purse-friendly cardigan out there but it more than makes up for its higher price tag. It’s genuinely warm, the cable knit and cropped design with slightly puffed shoulders embraces 1940s styling and it is hands-down the best fitting piece of knitwear I own. It is curve hugging, doesn’t start bagging with wear and moves when you move, without feeling like a million tiny mice are knawing at your skin, which wool can sometimes feel like. I have intentions of living in this over winter and so if we think of it as a cost per wear, it will certainly pay for itself. I am also informed by Emmy veterans that these wash well and look in great shape for years to come and so I see myself getting through many more winters in style!
So to conclude, my photoshoot with Revival Retro offered me the opportunity to make new friends and experience a different take on reproduction clothing, an insight which has broadened by perspective, narrowed my available closet space and hammered my wallet. The former, I am forever grateful to Rowena and her colleagues for, the latter two, not so much….
But for those of you who read this and fear for my love of true vintage, do not panic! I will always be intoxicated by true vintage pieces, I love owning something unique and collectable but I can now appreciate that I can find similar enjoyment from vintage inspired pieces and don’t have to spend so much time on Sunday afternoons repairing those split seams from all the arm lifting….
Photgraphs courtesy of @Torysmithphoto and Revival Retro Boutique.