A Revival Retro 1920s Fashion Show at the Fashion and Textile Museum

Due to my interest in 1930s and 1920s fashions, I have been eager to visit the Fashion and Textile Museum to see their Jazz Age Fashion exhibition. Unfortunately, (mostly due to transport issues), I had not got around to doing so – until last week. Rather fortuitously, an invitation from Rowena at the fabulous Revival Retro dropped into my inbox, inviting me to a fashion show displaying their latest 1920s inspired designs; along with a late night viewing of the Jazz Age Fashion exhibition.

Revival Retro is a wonderful boutique in central London, specialising in high quality vintage inspired clothing. Labels and brands such as Emmy Design, The House of Foxy, Stop Staring, Miss L Fire and What Katie Did all grace the shelves and rails of this thoughtfully curated boutique.

The 1920s are a decade often overlooked by reproduction clothing brands. Most designers favour styles which are seen as more accessible, such as mid century designs. As the 1920s silhouette differs from aesthetic standards of our modern-day times, it is often a decade that many are weary to try. For these reasons I was excited and curious to see the designs from the boutique – made all the more exciting by the fact that all the designs displayed would be actually available to purchase from Revival Retro!

The show certainly didn’t disappoint. Along with embellished evening styles, I was impressed to see a nice variety of 1920s inspired daywear. Again, I find many brands seem to focus on occasion wear, whilst forgoing the more casual/versatile daywear styles. There were definitely a few designs included in the show that made me gasp in delight!

The show was compered by Rowena, who shared insider information and insights into the construction and design process of each style. A variety of models were utilised to showcase the designs, across a spectrum of sizes. It was fantastic to see the dresses modelled on women of all shapes and sizes, in addition, each model added their individuality and personality to showcasing each design. Some models posed in classic early fashion show modes, whilst others danced and shimmied their way along the floor!

After the fashion show I looked around the Jazz Age Fashion exhibition. The exhibition was fantastic, from the intricately painted set designs, to the individual themes and concepts within each genre. I was equally impressed by the actual exhibits on show, as I was with the curation and design of the exhibition as a whole. I would actually go as far to say it was the best exhibition I have seen in a museum.

Although each section contained many items, each piece was carefully displayed. The accompanying text for each exhibit was clear, and did not leave me seeking to match the written information with its material counterpart. My only regret is that I did not visit this exhibition earlier, as I would certainly have loved to visit it at least 3 times to fully immerse myself in the displays. On the night I attended, I also did not get time to pop into the gift shop, so I also regret not being able to purchase the exhibitions accompanying catalogue.

In addition to enjoying a fabulous fashion show and marvellous exhibition, I also got the opportunity to meet a very special lady I have been eager to meet for a long time – the lovely Nora from Nora Finds! I was apprehensive about meeting Nora (as I am apprehensive about meeting pretty much anyone!), but we got on so so well, and I can’t wait to meet up with her again!

Many thanks to Rowena for inviting me to this fabulous fashion show, and in turn allowing me to finally visit the Jazz Age Fashion exhibition (which is now closed).

All items featured in the fashion show are available to purchase at Revival Retro https://www.revival-retro.com/

This piece may also be of interest:  In 2015, the Fashion and Textile Museum curated a Riviera Style exhibition, which I also visited and wrote about here.

Until next time dears!



Make Up Masterclass with Vanessa Frankenstein

When it comes to make up, I am a bit lazy. I normally just wear the least amount I can feasibly get away with, and I only wear eye make up on very rare occasions. This is partly due to finding that spending that much time staring at myself in the mirror is boring and disconcerting, and partly due to the fact that most eye make up products that I have worn in the past just never stayed in place; and inevitably my eyeliner/mascara would end up smudged underneath or around my eyes.

So when I discovered that one of my favourite models and Instagrammers Vanessa Frankenstein was holding a make up masterclass, I was definitely on board! The class was to be held at Scarlet Rage Vintage, which is also one of my favourite vintage clothing shops. I had the pleasure to meet both Jade (the owner of SRV), and Vanessa last year when I attended the launch of Scarlet Rage Vintage pop-up shop in Camden. I was so excited to be seeing them both again, and to get the opportunity to visit SRV flagship store for the first time!

After getting to know everyone in the class (which was pretty nerve-racking for me, as even though the group was small, I panic a bit *read – a lot* when talking to groups of people. But it was really interesting finding out where everyone came from, what their careers and hobbies were etc); we then commenced with the class.

For this demonstration, Vanessa was recreating a Betty Grable inspired 1940s make up look on her model Nicola. This look was to be a fresh-faced take on the innocent girlish 1940s style, taking you through from daytime to night time easily. She talked us through prepping the skin, applying foundation then concealer afterwards, using a brush to apply the foundation to the face. She then talked us through contouring, a concept which I find slightly terrifying as a make up beginner. But Vanessa demonstrated it clearly, and I can see how the foundation ‘flattens’ the skin, so contouring brings definition back into the face.

Next was the blusher, which I actually do not use myself. But, Vanessa used Besame Apricot Cream Blush, and I am so tempted to get some! I have always veered away from blusher, as my pale skin flushes easily, so I am scared I may look clownish. But actually, the blush Vanessa demonstrated looked so lovely, so natural, dewy and youthful – that I may have to start using some. Vanessa asked Nicola to smile, so that the apples of the cheeks were apparent, then blended the blusher directly onto the apples of the cheeks.

After the eyebrows, she then talked us through creating a 1940s eye, using eyeshadows, mascara and false lashes. All of these things fill me with an uncomfortable feeling of fear, but seeing how Vanessa expertly applied the make up to create a beautiful effect has changed my mind. I particularly loved how the false lashes were trimmed and applied to the outer edges of the eye only, creating a natural but beautiful wide-eyed look. Before applying the false lashes, Vanessa curled Nicola’s lashes with an eyelash curler, then gently added the false lashes. After this, the mascara was applied to help the real and false lashes blend together and appear more natural.

Lastly, creating a 1940s lip. Vanessa showed us that by using two different shades of red lipliner, you can achieve a lovely depth to the pigment. Using an orange-based red first, Vanessa drew around the lips, then filled them in. Then, taking a darker red liner, Vanessa then started to create depth and dimension to the lips. I had never thought of using lip liner to fill in my lips entirely, I had only used it to draw around them to ‘contain’ the lip colour that I would then apply on top. But by using lip liner to fill in the lips, it creates a great base for your chosen lip colour to sit on, making your lip colour last longer. Besame Red Hot Red was then applied on top as the ‘main’ lip colour.

To finish, a light dusting of Besame Vanilla Powder was applied, just to combat any shine and ‘set’ the make up.

I think you will agree that Nicola looks absolutely stunning in the pictures! Vanessa is truly a highly talented and skilled make up artist, and I’m so happy I got the opportunity to learn from her.

As a special surprise, we were each given a goodie bag, which contained some Besame products! Swoon! I have been wanting to buy some Besame make up for years and years, but have never been able to decide on what colour lipstick to get, or which shade of blush. Now I can try out Red Hot Red & Besame Red shades and see what I think, hurrah!

It was a lovely evening, and I also to got to meet and chat with the lovely Siri, who I have been following on Instagram for a while now. It was especially amazing to meet her, as we both share a passion for lingerie, and she actually lives in Denmark, so I was excited that she was here in London for a visit.

Thank you so much to Jade and Vanessa for a fabulous evening, I’m sure I will be back to swoon over all the beautiful vintage pieces in the shop before long!

Until next time dears x