Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Real vintage bride of the week! Gorgeous Chelsea and her 'pastel pirate' vintage wedding.

Dear Reader

This week one of my heavenly vintage brides, Chelsea, has agreed to share the pictures from her fabulous vintage-inspired wedding. 
Vintage bride chelsea, in her vintage wedding, on the dancefloor in a pastel dress
Chelsea and husband Chris take the first dance at their vintage inspired wedding
Super-stylish Chelsea and fiance Chris have been together since they were sixteen... so romantic!

Be sure to check back at my vintage wedding blog on Friday for lots of lovely pictures from the moment this wonderful couple said 'I do'.

Heavenly Vintage Brides
vintage wedding blog, butterfly logo in violet
Wedding photo c. Lucy Turnbull

Friday, 25 October 2013

A guide to 1960s vintage wedding dresses: from Princess Grace pretty to Swinging Sixties style!

Dear Reader
Thanks for visiting my vintage wedding blog. Today, I've planned a whistle-stop tour of 1960s wedding fashion.

Although I do love the 1950s - with its exaggerated femininity, wasp waists, full busts and circle skirts - by comparison the 60s offers so much choiceMore than any other decade, 60s vintage wedding fashion offers amazing freedom of expression for a vintage bride.

First, a little background...
In the early 1960s, a fashion explosion took place - and London led the world with designers like Mary Quant, Ossie Clarke, Thea Porter and John Bates. In Paris too, fashion was changing fast as designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin and Paco Rabanne explored cleaner lines and more modern styling.

Fashion became hugely varied, and suddenly allowed girls movement and freedom. Liberated girls wanted clothes that freed them from the tight-fitting and restricting (and sometimes uncomfortable) dresses of the previous decade.

But when it came to wedding fashion, traditions didn't change overnight. And although Grace Kelly's wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco actually took place in 1956, the style of her dress was still the most desired right through to the mid-1960s.
Princess Grace in Helen Rose dress. A guide to 1960s vintage wedding dresses, c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Princess Grace in Helen Rose wedding dress
Most early 60s brides still wanted traditional elegance and romance. And most vintage wedding dresses from this period are based on Princess Grace's iconic style, with its long lace sleeves and fitted bodice, designed by MGM's wardrobe designer Helen Rose

By the mid-60s, wedding fashions were beginning to catch up. More girls wanted to be in touch with 'Mod' fashion, and suddenly there was much more variety of shapes and styles available.

Seven lovely 60s trends to consider...

1. Early 60s 'Mad Men' style
1960s vintage wedding dresses - lovely Jackie O style dress full-length c A guide to 1960s vintage wedding dresses, c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Classic 60s chic, Jackie O-style
Jackie O style 1960s wedding dress, c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Chic and elegant in 1960s vintage wedding style
Full length lace 1960s dress, neckline and back of bodice, A guide to 1960s vintage wedding dresses, c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Original 60s vintage dress, price £850
Original 1960s vintage wedding dress, full  length image. c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Original 60s vintage dress, price £850
Typically chic and sophisticated, the dress pictured above is made in gorgeous lace with a slash neck and a very fitted hourglass shape. 

This original vintage dress is available, priced £850.

2. Edwardian Style
Edwardian vintage wedding dresses, c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
'Edwardian' dress in lace and silk, £995
Edwardian-style dresses - like Princess Grace's wedding dress - featured a demure high neckline, long sleeves, and a fitted bodice. They were often trimmed with lace for a softly romantic look and feel.

The original vintage dress shown here is a beautiful example, and is available priced £995.

One very notable designer in this trend was Priscilla Kidder, who designed as Priscilla of Boston. At her Boston studio, Priscilla famously designed the bridesmaids dresses for Princess Grace's wedding, as well as the wedding dresses for the daughters of two American Presidents!

The beautiful dress pictured below is an original vintage wedding gown designed by Priscilla, and available priced £995.

1960s vintage wedding dress by Priscilla, full length with train
Beautiful 1960s vintage wedding dress by Priscilla of Boston, £995
Detail of 1960s vintage wedding dress by Priscilla Kidder, c. Heavenly Vintage Brides vintage wedding blog 2013
1960s dress by Priscilla (lace detail), price £995
3. Babydoll
By the mid-60s, fashion no longer emphasised the waist and bust. The new silhouette focused on a more Twiggy-inspired, gamine shape. 

For wedding dresses, this translated into a trend for softer and more girlish dresses. These would  typically be ankle-length, with shaping seams below the bust. 
Ankle-skimming Babydoll style,1960s wedding dresses c. Heavenly Vintage Brides vintage wedding blog 2013
So pretty! 60s Babydoll dress, £550
The pretty original vintage dress above is available, price £550.

4. The Mini
Surely the most iconic and influential of all 60s fashions! The mini makes a fantastic statement dress for an adventurous bride. 

Yoko Ono famously caused a stir when she married John Lennon in 1969, wearing a pretty tiered mini, white knee socks and a huge white felt hat.

US designer William Cahill was beloved by the New York socialite set. His dresses were used in many movies, including 1967's The Graduate

The William Cahill original mini dress pictured here, with its integral cape, is a perfect way to show off lovely legs. It's available in my vintage collection, priced £750.
Side view of William Cahill white mini in lace, with integral cape. c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Original William Cahill mini dress, priced £750

5. Feathers and fur

By the late 60s, trims were very fashionable - whether fur or feather. They were used on necklines, hems, cuffs, and sometimes on hoods. 1960s pop star Cilla Black wore a feather-trimmed mini for her wedding to Bobby Willis in 1969.

The lovely ostrich feather trimmed dress shown below is by famous London designer John Bates, who created Emma Peel's slinky styling in the Avengers. Bates' designs were greatly sought after but he retired from fashion at the height of his fame to become an artist. His work remains highly collectible.

John Bates ostrich feather trimmed 1960s wedding dress c. HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Gorgeous John Bates original dress, price £750

6. Broderie Anglaise and Cotton Lace

In contrast to the delicate lace of the Princess Grace period, the fashion turned to fresher 'broderie anglaise' and cotton lace - particularly with daisy motifs - as worn by Brigitte Bardot in 'And God Created Woman'. 

The dress shown below is beautifully made in a pretty daisy 'guipure' cotton lace. 
Cotton lace mini 1960s vintage wedding dress, bodice and 'daisy' lace neckline, c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
1960s 'daisy' dress, £595
1960s lace wedding dress, detail of neckline with daisy lace, c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
'Daisy' dress lace detail, £595

7. Trapeze or A line
By the late 60s, a new silhouette had arrived. A more pared-down look could be seen in the work of couture designers like Pierre Cardin and Paco Rabanne. 

The A line or trapeze dress was a more modern shape, with its clean lines and structured fabrics.

The stunning Christian Dior dress shown below is a simple ivory silk A-line, high-waisted dress. It has an understated beauty with its simple and long lines and its chic low back. This original vintage wedding dress is available, priced £1350.

Christian Dior 1960s wedding dress, full length image c. HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Christian Dior A Line in silk
Rear view of Christian Dior 1960s wedding dress, c. HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Christian Dior, £1350
The dress below shows a real Pierre Cardin influence, combining the modern A Line shape with a short skirt length and beautiful French lace overlay. This short and pretty style would be lovely with little ballet flats or pointed kitten heels. The dress is size 6 to small size 8, and is available priced £745.
A-Line 1960s wedding dress, short length with lace overlay, Pierre Cardin style. c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
1960s short A Line dress with lace overlay, £745
1960s Cardin style vintage wedding dress, side view showing lace top, c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Pierre Cardin style A Line, £745
I hope I've given you a taste of the different trends of the 60s, and an idea of why I love the dresses from this decade - with all their variety and excitement. 

In addition to the lovely dresses featured here, I have many other 60s originals in all lengths, styles and fabrics. If you'd like to know more about any of these lovely dresses, please do contact me or visit my website.

Thanks for dropping by!
Heavenly Vintage Brides
Orange butterfly logo c Heavenly Vintage Brides vintage wedding blog 2013

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Say "I DO" 1960s-style! Beautiful vintage wedding dresses, Mad Men style, from the glamorous 60s.

Dear Reader

Just a little tease today... 

On Friday, I'll be posting all about 1960s wedding dresses. This gorgeous decade is sometimes overlooked when considering vintage style dresses. 

But 60s dresses have so much to offer. From the sassy styles of the swinging sixties, to the sheer glamour of Mad Men styling.

Here's just a few pictures to set you thinking...

1960s vintage wedding dress style! c. Heavenly Vintage Brides. Fitted bodice and pretty hair accessory.
1960s glamour - Betty Draper style!

1960s style wedding dress STELLA, c Heavenly Vintage Brides - lace overlay and boat neck
1960s vintage style wedding dress 'Stella' from the Heavenly Collection

1960s vintage wedding dress c. Heavenly Vintage Brides. Bodice and hair accessory.
1960s vintage wedding dresses - sheer glamour

So please do visit on Friday, for my guide to the ultimate 1960s vintage wedding style.

Heavenly Vintage Brides

All photos, thanks to Robert Lawler

All hair accessories, thanks to Abby at Cherished Vintage. 

Friday, 18 October 2013

Vintage-Inspired Wedding Dress of the Week... in dreamy original vintage lace. How romantic is this?

Dear Reader

I hope you've had a good week and have exciting plans for the crisp Autumn 
weekend ahead...?

Yasmin, one of my heavenly brides, is getting married tomorrow in a pale pink lace 1930s dress, which we've matched with a stunning Biba marabou feather cape. She looks radiant.

I'm sure you'll join me in wishing her a wonderful day!

Now.... drumroll please, heavenly ladies... I'd like to share the first ever pictures of my newest vintage-inspired design, 'Angel'. We only finished this lovely dress earlier this week, so this really is a super-sneak-peek.

1930s Vintage Wedding Dress "ANGEL" by Heavenly Vintage Brides, fluttery sleeves
ANGEL 1930s vintage style wedding dress - dreamy fluted lace sleeves 
I've called her Angel as she is very dreamy and romantic. She is very closely modelled on a lovely 1930s lace dress, with just a few small design tweaks for a super-flattering fit.

1930s Vintage Wedding Dress "ANGEL" by Heavenly Vintage Brides, deep lace v-back
ANGEL 1930s vintage style wedding dress - gorgeous lace back detail 
1930s Vintage Wedding Dress "ANGEL" by Heavenly Vintage Brides - covered buttons at side of bodice
ANGEL 1930s vintage style wedding dress -  elegant fitted bodice 

I chose this dress to show off one of my happiest finds: the uniquely beautiful lace. It's made exclusively for me by a small family lace-making atelier in Nottingham - the traditional home of English lace-making. Now run by two brothers, the company was established by their Grandfather and handed on to their Father. 

It really is part of the famous history of English lace-making, acknowledged to be among the very best in the world.

I was so excited to discover this pattern in their original catalogue. It has been out of production for many years, and uses a skilful old-fashioned lace-making technique called 'English Net' - really an embroidery onto tulle.

This lovely company also make the wonderful lace for my 'Butterfly' dress. (Angel can also be ordered in that type of lace, which is the same lovely light weight.) 

1930s Vintage Wedding Dress "ANGEL" by Heavenly Vintage Brides - slinky lace bodice
ANGEL 1930s vintage style wedding dress -  dreamy and so romantic!
Angel comes with its own satin slip - shown here in a deep ivory. But a pale gold, or a delicate blush colour would look equally dreamy and show off this special lace while keeping its romantic feel.

And lastly, see how prettily the skirt drapes - two godets (carefully positioned inset panels) give it movement and another godet at the back forms an elegant train. Just imagine how gracefully it would swish down any aisle... 

If you'd like to see more, I'd love to show you at my West London studio

1930s Vintage Wedding Dress "ANGEL" by Heavenly Vintage Brides - amazing lace fishtail skirt train
ANGEL 1930s vintage style wedding dress - stunning godet fishtail train

Now, if you have time, I'd also love to show you two new variations on my other dresses. First, 'Chantilly'...

1950s Vintage Wedding Dress 'Chantilly' c. HEAVENLY VINTAGE BRIDES - delicate French lace three-quarter sleeves
CHANTILLY 1950s vintage style wedding dress in fine French lace
Chantilly is shown here in palest champagne, with a three quarter sleeve in delicate French lace - very feminine and flattering. 

The lace is the same ultra fine French Chantilly lace as in the original 'Chantilly' dress. But the new lighter colour underneath gives it a delicately airy, floaty feel. Don't you agree?

1950s Vintage Wedding Dress 'Chantilly' c. HEAVENLY VINTAGE BRIDES - pretty, floaty skirt
CHANTILLY 1950s vintage style wedding dress design - pretty and floaty
This sleeve can be adapted to any preferred length. It is super-pretty short, and very elegant worn full length. The skirt shown here is 'tea length', which generally means just below the knee. But it can be adapted to the most flattering length for my heavenly client. It is amazing as a ballroom-length dress.

1950s Vintage Wedding Dress 'Chantilly' c. HEAVENLY VINTAGE BRIDES - tea length with three-quarter sleeves
CHANTILLY 1950s vintage style wedding dress in tea length
This summer, one heavenly bride chose Chantilly in the prettiest pale dusky pink, and another ordered it in elegant ivory. Both brides were equally beautiful. It really is a special dress and can be perfectly customised to make it unique to its wearer.

And finally... 'Blanche'.

1950s Vintage Wedding Dress 'Blanche' c. HEAVENLY VINTAGE BRIDES -
BLANCHE 1950s vintage style wedding dress in deep ivory lace
Blanche is shown here in a deeper ivory colour, with a three quarter length sleeve. This used to be called a 'bracelet sleeve' and is a very vintage and pretty sleeve length. 

The skirt is Ballerina length (rather than the shorter tea length) - perfect to show off a shapely ankle! Ballerina length does tend to suit taller girls but there are always exceptions to the rule. 

I've made Blanche in several types of lace now, to personalise it for my heavenly girls. Here, it's reworked in slightly heavier, 'corded' lace that has a lovely three-dimensional effect making the dress really tactile. You just want to touch this gorgeous, rich fabric... 

1950s Vintage Wedding Dress 'Blanche' c. HEAVENLY VINTAGE BRIDES
BLANCHE 1950s vintage style wedding dress in 'Ballerina' length

All these dresses can of course be tried at my studio in West London. Just email me with an idea of your requirements, and the date of your special day.

Now, I hope all this heavenliness hasn't worn you out, dear reader. And I wish you a wonderful weekend.

Look forward to seeing you next week, and thanks for stopping by...

Heavenly Vintage Brides

All photography © Robert Lawler Photography 2013

Friday, 11 October 2013


Dear Reader,

I have so much to tell you. I hope you'll forgive my absence these last few months... I've been busy, busy, busy! Choosing, restoring, and designing the most beautiful vintage-inspired wedding dresses - based on gorgeous original vintage bridal gowns from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. 

But now it's time to turn over a new (Autumn) leaf: I promise to post every week! New dresses, new ideas, and so much to share with you. I do hope you will join me.

To begin, I'd like to show you the full 'Heavenly Collection' so far. Eight gorgeous new wedding gowns, all closely modelled on the prettiest, most elegant and most timeless original vintage wedding dresses.

Each of these gowns can be personalised with a range of carefully chosen options in sizes, skirt lengths, sleeve lengths, colour of dress and underskirt, and fabric - making your dress unique to you, and perfect for your special day.

Whether it's scarily soon, or still a distant dream, take a moment to enjoy picturing yourself on your Heavenly day...

Heavenly Vintage Brides

A romantic dreamy dress made using stunning Nottingham lace, it has a soft mermaid shaped skirt, and a waterfall frill on the neckline. This dress was copied from a 1930s lace wedding dress, and the elegant proportions have been kept exactly the same. 
'BUTTERFLY', a romantic 1930s lace vintage wedding dress

This elegant gown is also modelled from a classic 1930s dress, and has a sensual 'Movie Star' feel. It has a  very low cut back with cross over straps, and fine pleating under the bust. It is handmade in flattering drapey silk satin with a wonderful texture.

'STARLIGHT', an elegant and glamorous 1930s vintage wedding dress design in silk satin.

A beautiful sophisticated style, based on a 1930s original, this time with a slightly updated neckline and a sweet petal-shaped sleeve. 

The beautiful Art Deco seam patterns make this very special, and the bias cut heavy silk satin gives a 'slinky' feel. The skirt ends in small train.

'VIOLETTE', a 1930s vintage wedding dress design in slinky and sophisticated satin

Inspired by the glamorous stars of the 1940s, this dress is based on a gorgeous evening gown. It is very well cut, and is a really figure-flattering dress. The silk crepe fabric has a lovely heavy drapey quality, and the soft pleats on the upper section of the skirt create a small peplum effect. It has a subtle cowl neck at the front and a low back  with sparkling ivory and silver beaded trim. A small belt - sparkly or simple - completes the look.

'BETTE' a 1940s vintage wedding dress design - flattering, glamorous and sophisticated

Based on a perfectly proportioned 1950s dress, a sweet flirty shape in gorgeous French lace, with a pretty sweetheart bodice. The dress has  a boat neck, low back  and flattering short sleeves. This lovely shape flatters most body types.

'BLANCHE' 1950s vintage wedding dress design, sweet and flirty in French lace.

This super-pretty dress is based on a classic 1950s shape. The lovely swishy skirt is made in a really special Italian silk organza, and comes in a range of lengths. The bodice is made from fine french Chantilly lace with a contrasting mocha lining for a pretty vintage colourway. 

'CHANTILLY' 1950s vintage wedding dress design - swishy and pretty in Italian silk organza and lace

A classic chic 1960s style, which  flatters many body shapes. STELLA has a boat neck and low back, with a French lace overlay and a neat ribbon bow on the waist.

'STELLA' 1960s vintage wedding dress design - chic and figure-flattering column style

A beautifully shaped, neat cover-up, AUDREY works particularly well with STARLIGHT and BUTTERFLY. 

The fabric is embroidered silk organdie - made in England by a family firm who have been lace-makers for three generations. The jacket hem is edged with a vintage-style beaded leaf trim.

'AUDREY' vintage wedding dress jacket design - a pretty shrug cover-up in silk organdie.

For more information on any of these dresses, and information on how to order,
please see my 'Heavenly Collection' section.

All photography thanks to Robert Lawler Photography.