Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

Posts tagged ‘Designer’


Ballet and Holmes? I Like Quirky Combinations :)

Hiya all! 😀

Here are the last two pics that I’ve taken recently whilst wearing Chicstar clothing. The first pic features elegant wide leg pants, and a faux corset top from Next clearance.

The second pic features a unique pinstripe and ruffle skirt with lace-up ties on the side matched with a pinstripe peplum blouse I got from a cute little discount boutique I found.

Hope you like them!

The statue is one of my favourites in London; she looks a little lonely and strangely situated but I love her 🙂 The items I’m wearing include a floral embroidered Silver/Black corset style top with chiffon sleeves from Next.co.uk. I was a new customer so got a discount and the top was already on clearance sale so double the savings! The trousers are from Chicstar.com and are in the beautiful wide leg flowing style made in stretchy fabric. Unfortunately they are now discontinued.

At a very quaint specialty museum – small but very detailed 🙂 The Sherlock Holmes Museum can be found at 221b Baker Street (of course! 😀 ) London, UK. They have the best gift shop I’ve ever been into at an attraction, the gifts are very thoughtful, decorative and fun. I bought a an excellent detective board game (up to 4 players)!

The skirt I’m wearing is a fabulous couture design from Chicstar.com, it costs $59.95 and $65.95 in plus size. It also comes in Black fabric with Red stripes.

Here is the shop photo:

Stripe Pinstripe Gypsy Swag Lace Skirt

Top Vintage Designers NO:4 – BIBA

Welcome to the last (but not least) name on my favourite vintage designer list –  BIBA!

1. Bob MackieExtravagant Glamour

2. Frank UsherElegance

3. Mary QuantInnovation

4. BibaReinvention

From a ‘humble’ mail order company and boutique in the late 60’s to worldwide fame with an art deco themed flagship store in Kensington dubbed ‘the most beautiful store in the world’, BIBA was a sensation albeit short lived. It was the ‘in’ thing to do to just go shopping and hang out at BIBA, celebrities to working girl fashionistas got their fashion fix there.

Where labels like Mary Quant created and smashed fashion trends, they were still couture, but BIBA brought those styles to the masses, the vintage equivalent or precursor to the ‘highstreet’ stores of today that quickly bring the catwalk to everyday buyers. BIBA’s target market was predominantly under 30’s, the youth and young adult female market that hadn’t really been catered for post-war and hence were hungry for fashion they could call their own. The fabrics and colours were largely what was already in use for older women, but the designs and cuts were decidedly ‘youthful’, though I’ve read they were quite uncomfortable to start, but that didn’t stop the buyers. Later on, in the 70’s, the designs got more flamboyant and colourful but BIBA was known for taking the best of the not so distant past and updating it to make it fabulous again.

BIBA closed its doors in the mid-70’s due to an unsympathetic takeover, but is now available again at House of Fraser.




c20vintagefashion.co.uk - Satin Blouse

c20vintagefashion.co.uk - Cream Satin House Coat

c20vintagefashion.co.uk - Blue Kaftan Coat



The store was purported as always busy/full, with would-be shoppers queuing outside.

bibacollection.co.uk - Gorgeous Leopard print maxi coat

bibacollection.co.uk - Red asymmetric collar maxi coat

bibacollection.co.uk - Stylish check/plaid & faux fur jacket


Top Vintage Designers No:3 – MARY QUANT

Hello again!

Welcome to part three of this mini-series on my favourite vintage designers who changed and influenced fashion. In order they were:

1. Bob MackieExtravagant Glamour

2. Frank UsherElegance

3. Mary QuantInnovation

4. BibaReinvention

Mary Quant – a name synonymous with many things and a huge name in the swinging 60’s for her revolutionary innovations in fashion whilst creating a whole new genre of ‘timeless/classic’ pieces for the future generations.

Mini skirts and hot pants – did she invent them? We’re not sure, but they have been attributed to her; she definitely made them popular and was known for the ever higher hemline. Apparently she named the mini skirt after her favourite car the Mini, but the name is also just the appropriate opposite of maxi length clothing. I’m not a personal fan of them and I’m not convinced that many women known how/when to wear them for maximum impact, rather they just wear them to show off their bodies too much but I do agree there are times and places for them.

Mod fashion – I believe Mary Quant’s unique style which led to ‘Mod’ (Modernist – based on a entire cultural trend at the time, with clothing being just a part of it) fashion was inspired by the beatniks beforehand. She took the ‘poetry cafe’ look and made it fun, carefree and added more colour/patterns (e.g. large polka and check/plaid) – in contrast to the ‘deep/heavy’ feel of beatnik culture. (Note – there’s a good Mod fashion walk through in film ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ starring Julie Andrews/Mary Tyler Moore/Carol Channing and some great Mod moments in ‘Sweet Charity’ starring Shirley MacLaine.)

Twiggy – a fair amount of Mary Quant’s fashion, in the advertising/modelling of it anyway, celebrated a different female form to the classic siren; she shed limelight on the female ganymede or androgyne. Even her design name ‘Quant’ was named after the long thin pole that is used for propelling  punt river boats. Twiggy was a revolutionary model herself, being taller than average but shorter than the average model, thinner and ‘boyish’/prepubescent in looks with a bob haircut – and an international hit very young. Her inspiration Jean Shrimpton also modeled for Mary Quant, a legend in her own right, a supermodel before the self-proclaimed Janice Dickinson came along.

On to the pics!


Top Vintage Designers No:2 FRANK USHER

Hello all!

Welcome to second post in this 4-part mini series on my favourite vintage designers. In order they are:

1. Bob MackieExtravagant Glamour

2. Frank UsherElegance

3. Mary QuantInnovation

4. BibaReinvention

Frank  Usher was a UK/London WWII startup company and has since managed to retain it’s reputation as a ‘go to’ brand for elegance and beautiful timeless design for any fashionable event in a woman’s life from evening parties to weddings. 

They are known for their longline, flowing designs in flowing and ‘feminine’ fabrics which are flattering to all as well as their sequin/embroidered/beaded pieces and sometimes they combined the two. They also set a high standard in bridal fashion not just for the bride as they specialise in ‘mother of the bride’/church suit styles which are always gorgeously shaped and well cut in comparison to many work/off the shelf suits, they are definitely not boring.

Another thing I love about vintage Frank Usher is that wherever I’ve come them, be it vintage markets, shops or online e.g. eBay, is that they’ve always been affordable for small budgets. I’ve come across so many beauties for £25-50 and they’ve survived in very good to perfect condition so with care they will continue to last. However, in my experience I’ve found that they didn’t really cater to smaller sizes in height or weight so it’s harder to find those but there are some and they don’t disappoint.  That is good news for medium to big sizes though as they can benefit from the fine pieces available and of course the items can be tailored for even better fit.

Zurburbia.com - Chiffon Print Gown

Samayalingvintage.com - Satin Gown

Seller Milly-Jo on eBay - Pink Rose Chiffon Pleated Dress

Seller Milly-Jo eBay - Salmon Pink Wedding Suit

Seller Applebyvintage eBay - Fuschia Pink Flower Style Wrap Jacket

Candysays.co.uk - White Grecian Drape Gown

Seller Cherrypickedvintagedresses eBay - Black with White Trim Layered Dress

pennysaid.blogspot.com - Black Chiffon Gown

Merchantarchive.com - Black White Floral Dress with Bow

Emmapeelpants.blogspot.com - Green Ruched Sash Gown

Styledispensary.com - Pink Chiffon Dress

Marthascloset.co.uk - Kaftan/Kimono Style Floral Drape Dress

TheCherryCloset shop at Flickr - Black Chiffon Jumpsuit with Gold Sequins

It’s quite common to come across the retro sequin/beaded jackets and tops from Frank Usher like the ones below, I’ve never been too keen on them but they are impressive:

Sharonrosepixie.blogspot.com - Sequin Bead Jacket

Theelectricgypsy.com - Purple Sequin Top

Top Vintage Designers No:1 – BOB MACKIE

Welcome readers,

I thought I’d share a little about my top 4 vintage designers with you and illustrate exactly why I love them. I’ll dedicate a post each to these fab four:

1. Bob MackieExtravagant Glamour

2. Frank UsherElegance

3. Mary QuantInnovation

4. BibaReinvention

Even though all of the above brands are still available today (Mary Quant and Biba in limited availability, through mail order and House of Fraser respectively) and still have gorgeous modern designs, it is their vintage history that really set them a part and where their best fashion designs shone through.

In the top spot is BOB MACKIE, not a household name but very famous and very acclaimed nonetheless, best known for Hollywood costuming and outfitting for show stopping events like award shows. He was the most dazzling of the sparkling variety at the time and his works are easily remembered.

antiquedress.com - Gold gown as worn by Whitney Houston

vintagetextile.com - Gorgeous beaded wrap scarf style sweetheart dress

runwaytoretail.blogspot.com - Uber glam Red sequin/fur (go faux) ensemble

stylehive.com - gorgeous simple Grecian style robe dress with Silver polka

antiquedress.com - Amazing Pink beaded costume

coolspotters.com - Simmering White/Silver elegance

fashion.1stdibs.com - Sumptuous Red beaded frock, I'd buy this in a heartbeat if I could.

fashion.1stdibs.com - Dreamy White gown with gathered bust and fantastic beaded bolero jacket

antiquedress.com - Nude colour sparkly slinky dress as worn by Cher

Bob Mackie also has an impressive range with Barbie, now I’m not usually a fan of Barbie (or Cindy or Bratz) but I do admire their clothes now and then and the Mackie collection is exceptional. Additionally, unlike most Barbie dolls, the faces are all different which adds to their overall design.

1994 - Queen of Hearts

1997 - Madam du Barbie

2001 - Fantasy Goddess of the Arctic

2001 - The Charleston

Bob Mackie is also very well known for their costumes for touring stars such as Cher who worked with them frequently on her tours, Whitney Houston, The Supremes and Tina Turner.

Some might call his designs garish and tacky and it’s true to an extent, but when they’re right, they’re unbeatable as an overall collection. I’ve seen plenty of individual pieces or seasonal collections from other designers and from other periods that I prefer but overall the Bob Mackie brand is a benchmark for the true glamazon siren.