For this year’s fifth annual Norwich Fashion Week, the vintage show transported us long ago and far away to a journey through the Orient. Imagine bold red kimonos (actually the name of the ‘Mulan’ style of long wrapped dress, not the lightweight throwover that has been so en vogue of late) and embroidered haori (pronounced how-ree, and what we normally associate as kimonos, hey, you learn something new every day) for an elegant, tailored effect. All fifteen brands embraced the theme in one way or another; The Costume & Textiles Association teamed okobo style platform wedges with each look while Lovering & Co paired traditional oriental dressing with leather jackets for an individual, contemporary vibe.
Photo: Imogen Orchard
Held in The Norwich Puppet Theatre, the old screening room was the ideal location for the models to saunter up and down the aisle – miraculously remaining upright despite some shockingly dainty stilettos – while showing off the garments in all their close-up glory. And by George, they were glorious, because grandma’s right; they just don’t make them like they used to. Vintage fabrics – even the light, summery cottons – tend to be of much finer quality and have the overall appearance of luxury and generally looking more expensive. Trust us, the fabrics are thicker and you can more or less guarantee none of the clothing was made in the mass-produced way we kids buy into stuff nowadays. So even a worn denim jacket will remain loyal way beyond those hipster years.
But brands like Prim Vintage and Hyde Johnson Couture raised the bar with attention to detail only found today in the likes of the Couture sections of Valentino. Look at it this way – if the dress is over fifty years old and still isn’t missing a single sequin; it is a near miracle in modern terms, and one to snap up, pronto. While each collection was infused with tastes of the Orient, there remained a variety of dresses that wouldn’t look amiss in Breakfast at Tiffany’s or a Blondie music video. Expect high necklines, form-hugging silhouettes and a general air of cool lavishness.
Photo: Imogen Orchard
So while the vintage swayed from 20s glamour to 70s groove, it’s fair to say The Frock Spot and The Wedding Shed stole the showstoppers for their dramatic wedding dresses. Think satin petticoats and plunging V backs, mesh shoulders, masses of lilac and trains, so many trains. Each look featured gravity defying variations of the bouffant (we’re guessing a shed load of hair grips) and a bold red lip – a go-to for most complexions, and one that goes hand in hand with the classic vintage look.
While the first half of the show stunned with a variety of vintage clothing, part two featured accessories from the likes of Betsy Hatter and Ruby & Rose who wowed with their first collection including a fruit-inspired (dangerously tall and weirdly delicious looking) fascinator. The show was a definite cold shoulder to last season’s normcore and minimalist trends, focusing instead on making the most of your shape while welcoming the decadence of yesteryear.