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Vintage Smart-Dog Blog
|Posted on 17 August, 2013 at 5:49||comments (23)|
One thing I have learnt since starting my business 'Vintage Smart' is that photoshoots are much more complicated to arrange than I had imagined!
As a new business it is often a catch22 situation. You know you need to invest in some fabulous photos to promote your products but there are so many financial pressures initially, it is not always possible to finance the professional shoot you might want.
Although I was frustrated by this, I am now rather glad that I built up to the full professional shoot in stages, because I learnt more that way.
I will always be eternally grateful to my first model Hope Whittington, who modelled for free and spent the entire day in and out of outfits with nothing to eat or drink all day (because we were so engrossed) - well I was anyway! She looked great and I was pleased with what we achieved for a first try, although I know the photos are not technically brilliant. I did use a decent camera for this one.
From this shoot I learnt- EVERYTHING TAKES LONGER THAN YOU THINK IT WILL
Hestercombe House and Gardens.
It is always a good idea to take advantage of the backdrop of a fantastic venue for a few shots.
This impromptu 'shoot' was part of a venue open day at Hestercombe House in Somerset, where I had been invited to exhibit. I had arranged a model and created a hand-painted 30's style dress especially for the event. The weather forecast for the day was shocking, so it was a pleasant surprise when it turned out to be not pouring down. The gardens at Hestercombe are lovely and worth exploring with a model and camera. These pics were just experiments really. It was a windy day.The light was not brilliant and the lovely model (Fay Venner) was pretty chilly but cheerful. It was fun though and I was quite pleased with the pics.
Photos my Meryl Smart
One incidental thing I learned from this shoot was, take a blanket or something for the model to sit on if going around a garden venue: bird poo on the dress is not a good look!
For my next shoot I was lucky enough to have a professional photographer(Clayton-Jane Photography), who had volunteered his services and the venue - and brought another photographer Lucy Driver and assistant. So, having learnt a little from my previous experience, I lined up three models of different heights, sizes and looks, with varying degrees of experience, who were willing to model for free - as a favour and for the fun of it.
Rebecca-Jane (Vintage stylist) Sue Keates Fay Venner (Beautician)
Photos by Lucy Driver
I spent ages planning the outfits and accessories and shoes to go with each. I didn't know the venue but got there early and had a look around. This was a collaborative shoot and because I did not consider myself an expert and was not paying for it, did not feel that I could 'call the shots'. I was busy changing the models into one outfit after another throughout the day and saw very little of the actual shoot. This was a BIG mistake. It was a fun, busy day and everyone got on really well. There were some lovely pictures, but I was wrong to assume that the photographer would take many of the sort of shots I would be able to use.
From this shoot I learnt -
Photo by Clayton-Jane Photography
I will always be really grateful for all of the people who have been kind enough to participate in the shoots so far. For the next thrilling installment, please see my Blog 'Photoshoot- Kilver Court'.
|Posted on 7 May, 2013 at 4:55||comments (0)|
A great deal of planning goes into weddings to make sure that they run smoothly; the worry taken out of your hands a little if you hire a competent wedding planner! However, in my experience the bride and her family are focussed on the normal 'wedding' things and may not have planned for the little niggles that can sometimes create problems at the last minute, when you are miles away from home at the wedding venue.
I normally carry a capacious handbag, and at weddings this always includes my Wedding Emergency Kit.
Heaven forbid that something goes wrong with the wedding or attendants' dresses or even the grooms trousers! but these things do happen. Best to be prepared to solve the problem with a quick stitch here and there. or......
Trouser hems, broken fly zippers, etc. Trust me, you'll be glad you had a few safety pins!
A real life-saver if those gorgeous new shoes become agony as the day goes on.
Normally difficult for bride and even bridesmaids to carry a bag. They are busy with bouquets and having photos taken. It might be a good idea to ask one of your other friends/guests to take to the reception a bag with some of the things you would normally carry and or this kit! Whether because of tears or dancing exertions. The Bride is normally photographed from the beginning of the day to the end, not just by the official photographer but by all of her guests.These days the pics often end up on facebook too.
Sometimes these teary moments happen just before or during the vows when the emotion of the occasion can be overwhelming. Make sure the bride and sometimes the groom have easy access to tissues or a lovely handkerchief.
That 'ahhh, bliss' feeling of getting those shoes off after a few hours of increasing agony or irritation. Nothing like it! Not so easy for the bride wearing a full-length dress, making a transition from high heels, but sometimes it's just worth it towards the end of a very long day.
This doesn't just happen in films! Having a 'novelty' ring in your bag just in case, could be a classic moment.
I carry a digital camera with replaceable ordinary batteries for weddings because it is so frustrating to be 'caught short' at the church or reception venue with one that requires electrical recharging. Carrying a couple of spare batteries in the handbag is no problem. A charger is a bit more problematic.
It is really useful for the bride to be able to refresh the hairstyle during the day especially if a veil/headress has been worn and removed. These days very small cans of hairspray are readily available.
Unless the weather forecast is reliably 'unbroken sunshine' it is often prudent to take an umberella. I've been to several weddings where it has absolutely poured down. At one, the guests were asked to create an 'avenue' of umberellas to protect the bride from the church door to the car. We all got soaked but she made it to the car dry! I now have this Lulu Guinness see-through beauty.
Whilst by no means an exhaustive list, you may be glad to have some of these things to hand on the big day. If you can think of any I've missed please let me know.........
|Posted on 23 March, 2013 at 8:08||comments (77)|
1930's styling has become increasingly popular for brides in recent years and with the release of the latest re-make of 'The Great Gatsby' the 20s and 30s influence is likely to grow.
If you think you'd like a 1930's style wedding, this blog should help you to recognise, find and complete the look.
This was my grandmother's wedding in the early 30s and still shows influences from the 1920s. The dress itself was made from pale pink lace and worn with a looped string of long pale greeny yellow beads.
The Movies and now TV have always influenced fashion and in the 30s era, the glamour of Hollywood filtered through. The drop-waist of the 20s gave way to more figure flattering dresses with waists in the natural position. The bias cut fluid styles, skimmed the figure but were not tightly fitted or heavily structured with boning. Often accessorised or trimmed with feather or fur for added glamour.
Hollywood glamour meant pin-curl waves, luscious red lips, feathers and furs, slinky fabrics.
pic copyright meryl Smart
Finding the dress
Some vintage wedding dress suppliers may have authentic vintage dresses from this period. They are becoming more and more rare, the sizes tend to be small and the fabric quite fragile.
Most bridal designers should be able to create your dress in 1930's style
Pettibone Temperley Packham
D.I.Y. If you are comtemplating making your own.....
Patterns for bias cut dresses are also available, from fabric shops and over the internet, although you may not find them in the bridal section. Etsy and e-bay have sellers who specialise in vintage patterns. (sovintagepatterns.com)
Be warned however, if you are not an experienced seamstress, genuine vintage patterns often come with very little detail on the pattern pieces and the sizes do not correspond to modern sizing. (Vintage sizes are much smaller). Resizing a pattern is not an easy task if you are to keep the proportions right. Sewing bias cut seams is also a skill as they are prone to pucker.
Most modern pattern suppliers now offer a small 'vintage' slection, based on vintage originals with more practical pattern details and modern sizing.
The'30's bias cut dress has become a fashion staple in subequent generations. The style is still available on the High Street today, for day and evening wear, in different colours and prints.
Completing the look
In the 1930s Wide brimmed hats for Summer weddings were popular .
Veil Veils often made from beautiful lace were
worn across the head with a band fastened at both sides.
Waved and pin-curled. longer hair would be worn up at the back
pic copyright Meryl Smart
The rounded toe with T-bar is the iconic shoe of this decade,
The Art-Deco period spans the 20s and 30s
Long beaded necklaces were still in vogue. Beaded 'bib' neckalces, strung pearls and rhinestones
These are genuine necklaces from the period.
Modern brides don't feel compelled to be 'historically accurate' in every detail of their day beyond their outfit, but if you do want to arrive in authentic 1930's style. Here is a car of the period too!
The style is undeniably glamorous but also very sophisticated.
|Posted on 27 January, 2013 at 8:13||comments (2)|
Many fashion trends draw on the past for inspiration.The current Hi-Low/ 'Mullet' hem trend is no exception.
'Mullet' like the hairstyle of the '70s and 80s !
It is a flattering style for dresses. The back view is not everywoman's most flattering angle. The hi-low hem offers the benefits of the elegance of a longer gown with the convenience and practicality of a shorter hemline at the front, making it easier to walk without tripping, or the need to hitch up the dress.
The 1920's is remowned for it's uneven hemline but there were also 'hi-low' hems
1920's 1920's 1925 Lanvin
It was also a very popular design feature in the 1950's
VINTAGE 1950'S DIOR
The trend is very strong in BRIDAL wear for the 2013 season
I have been commissioned to make a wedding dress with Hi-low hem for this summer. The dress is 50's style made of ice blue silk Duchesse satin with matching silk organza overlay. It has pockets too!.
I think the trend may be around for a while. Design copyright Meryl Smart 2013
The Hi-low hem was already popular in 2012 and continues in 2013
Hi-Low hems can be stylishly casual too. The trend can be seen all over the High Street in tops. skirts and dresses,
So there is a version for everyone!
|Posted on 24 November, 2012 at 5:54||comments (3)|
|Posted on 25 October, 2012 at 17:57||comments (3)|
|Posted on 29 September, 2012 at 5:20||comments (3)|
At one of my sales events recently, a customer said,
"Sometimes with Vintage, you have to wade through a load of old tat to find the good stuff, but all your stuff is lovely."
Praise indeed! It is always rewarding when a paying client appreciates one's selection, and that is key to the way I run the 'vintage fashion' side of my business. I don't buy in Vintage- for- the- sake- of- vintage items, I only buy what I actually think people will like....... to buy. That means I have to like it too. Even if the item would not suit me because of figure type, height, colouring etc, I can see the potential for it to look gorgeous on someone else. I source to re-sell, as a business, not as a museum curator or theatrical costumier.
The vintage section in my studio is literally full of excellent quality Vintage and Vintage-inspired loveliness. Much more than I can list on the website. I am attracted to lace in particular but also beautiful printed fabrics, embroidery and silk.
Whilst there are many genuine vintage items in really good condition, I make no apologies for the fact that I have also selected newer pieces that are clearly inspired by styling from 'vintage' eras. This also means I can stock some larger sizes.
I know from speaking to some of my friends, that not everyone feels entirely comfortable buying, or wearing 'second-hand'. The thing is that, with most of my stock, if you weren't told it wasn't new, you would not know, and some of it actually is new! I aim to source good quality in the first place, but as a seamstress, I also have the ability to restore items that might need some TLC. This means that some beautiful fashion gets a second lease of life!
Display is also an important element. In my studio, I try to put things together in display, as a suggestion as to how items may be worn. Live models, rather than dummies, always show off the items best in pictures though, and I am still working on that for the website.
If you would like to visit the studio please e-mail me to arrange an appointment. [email protected]
|Posted on 13 September, 2012 at 5:25||comments (3)|
|Posted on 29 August, 2012 at 4:23||comments (7)|
As a bridal designer who specializes in Vintage and Vintage-inspired gowns, I am very aware that when a Bride-to-be tells me she wants a 'Vintage wedding dress', this usually means one of four things.
She's looking for
1. An authentic Vintage original from a particular era.
Vintage original late 1920's Vintage original 1956
2. An authentic reproduction of a gown from a particular era
3. An original design with style elements from a particular era
Original design with edwardian styling details Original design with 1930's style elements
4. A lacey, romantic dress, with a nostalgic feel ( No specific individual era)
In another blog post, 'What is Vintage', I discuss how I use the term 'Vintage ' on my website, because Vintage 'officianados' are quite particular about that sort of thing, but most bride-to-be s, in my experience, are not.
Sometimes you just know you love it.
Copyright. property of Meryl Smart 2012. May not be copied or otherwise reproduced without permission
|Posted on 19 August, 2012 at 9:20||comments (9)|