• New frock, or maybe just a respray?

    September 20, 2010

    Fabrican (literally, fabric in a can), which was showcased at the Science in Style  show at London Fashion Week, is an innovative spray-on textile developed by Spanish fashion designer Michael Torres in collaboration with the Royal College of Art and scientists at Imperial College London.

    The spray forms a seamless fabric when sprayed directly on to the body, is easy to peel off and can be washed and reworn.

    The Guardian reports that  “Torres took 15 minutes to spray a T-shirt onto a male model in a demonstration”, which is significantly longer than throwing on a conventional T, so it may not catch on with the fast fashionistas.

    Another drawback we have identified is that, while spray-on clothing may be fine for those without too many inches to pinch, some of us would need multiple layers of spray to keep the bulges at bay, or just smooth them out a bit. Will Fabrican spray directly on to Spanx, we wonder?

    On a serious note, this is an exciting invention, which has a myriad of applications, not least of all for medical use as sterile spray-on bandages. We aren’t sure it will catch on as a fashion textile, but we are certainly impressed by its multiple use and reuse potential.

    Take a look at this link for some video demos of Fabrican in action.

    We'll  need a rub down and some filler at the body shop before booking our respray, so will be sticking to conventional clobber in the  meantime.

  • Kool in the kaftan

    September 14, 2010

    As B.A. Robertson once sang, it’s Kool in the Kaftan. We don’t disagree, but looking back with the benefit of hindsight,  B.A.’s  own fashion sense left a great deal to be desired!

    Kaftans are not only 'kool', they are also comfortable and can be dressed up or down. A big unisex trend in the 70s,  the kaftan remains a popular and versatile  choice for every day wear, lounge wear, festival  and holiday wear.

    Whether you opt for a kaftan style top or tunic to wear with jeans, a knee length dress or a full length version, you are sure to find a kaftan that is 'kool' for you, with or without traditional embroidery and embellishment, in cotton or other cool fabrics, in a wide variety of colours.

    Here are some of our current stock favourites.

    70s full length embroidered kaftanfull length 70s kaftan

    Denim maxi kaftanfull length denim kaftan

    Black beaded kaftanblack kaftan

    Fuchsia kaftan style toppink kaftan top

    All together now!

    Fee fi fiddley dum
    I'm on the sitar tabla drum
    Fee fi fiddley dan
    Kool in the kaftan
    Love and peace man
    Fee fi fiddley di
    Three button t-shirt it's a tie-dye
    Fee fi fiddley dan
    Kool in the kaftan
    Love and peace man

    (Full lyrics available here)

  • Vintage at Goodwood

    August 12, 2010

    The inaugural Vintage at Goodwood festival kicks off tomorrow with a promise to celebrate "creative British cool from the 40s, 50s,60s,70s and 80s" and a stated ambition to recreate a new, vintage focused Festival of Britain.

    The three day extravaganza in Sussex is the brainchild of Geraldine and Wayne Hemingway, founders of Red or Dead and lovers of all things vintage, who wanted to bring together the fashion, music, art and culture of bygone eras to showcase Britain's  rich and creative heritage.

    On the music front, Vintage at Goodwood will feature an inspirational line up of world renowned bands and DJs from each of the decades as well as contemporary performers who have taken inspiration from the original artists. Performing for the first time in many years, Sandie Shaw will be a special highlight for festival goers.

    There will also be five clubs on site which will replicate ballrooms, clubs and disco venues  of past decades:  the 1940s styled Torch Club; Let it Rock, which will celebrate 50s rock and roll culture;  the Leisure Dome for easy listening and light pop; the Soul Casino Nightclub, a two room re-creation of a 1970s Mecca ballroom; and the Warehouse & Roller Disco which aims to capture the vibe "from 70s Funk and Disco, through early 80s Electro, Boogie, Rare Groove and onto early Rave and Acid House, played out in a fully recreated industrial warehouse and adjacent Roller Disco".  Wow!

    In addition to the music, the Vintage High Street will include shops, vintage hair styling salons, vintage cafes, restaurants and bars, as well as a marketplace packed with vintage clothing sellers.  Meanwhile,  the Vintage Timeline promises to "examine the lineage of art, design and the wider creative industries - culminating in Future vintage - future gazing about what we as a nation will be celebrating in 25 years".

    Vintage at Goodwood  certainly promises to be the most amazing weekend, but it's sadly a bit far for us to travel. We will be heading for Edinburgh instead for a flurry of fantastic Fringe frockery!

  • Frocky horror, or style sensation?

    August 11, 2010

    Like Marmite, you will either love or hate this shimmery blue 1980s jumpsuit / flying suit which we have just added to the catalogue. To be frank, the jury is still out at Frockery Towers, but it can certainly be described as sensational and is not for the faint hearted fashionista.  Abba aficionadas , come on down!

    8os flying suit jumpsuit

    One which didn’t quite make the catalogue (as a Facebook fan snapped it up) was this psychedelic 60s number, which has apparently already caused a sensation in the customer’s local Asda. The George clothing line can’t quite compete with original vintage!

    Those who aren’t quite ready to embrace such 'in your face' fashion need have no fear, however, as we have something for everyone at The Frockery, where our focus is on finding new homes for all those previously ‘must have’ items that have turned into ‘has beens’  and found themselves relegated to the back of  wardrobes or abandoned in attics, sometimes for decades.

    Take a look at the fab frockery in our latest update and you will find some exceedingly wearable vintage and retro fashion, as well as a huge selection of preloved contemporary clothing and accessories at a fraction of their original cost.  Don’t be fooled  by the fickle fashion police into following the crowd when you can mix and match pre-owned items  to achieve a unique look at an affordable price.  Throw off these high street chains and be a retro trendsetter!

    One serious story that caught our eye this week was this Observer investigation which revealed that some of the best known names on the UK high street have been dealing, albeit unknowingly, with suppliers who run sweatshop operations in India in blatant contravention of local working regulations and the industry's ethical trading initiative (ETI). Another good reason to buy fair trade, hand made, local or vintage.

  • Frockery Focus on Jean Varon (John Bates)

    July 22, 2010

    John Bates, creator of the vintage Jean Varon label, was undoubtedly one of the most influential and iconic designers of the 60s and 70s.

    Born in Northumberland in 1938, Bates secured an apprenticeship at the age of 18 with the design house Herbert Sidon in London before becoming a freelance fashion illustrator and going on, in 1959, to found Jean Varon – a name he allegedly chose because it was French and sounded more sophisticated.

    Along with his contemporaries, he helped push the boundaries of 60s fashion, raising hemlines to unprecedented heights, introducing trouser suits for women and creating the mesh midriff bikini dress. He made use of futuristic shapes and fabrics, especially leather and vinyl, in his avant-garde designs and is even credited by some as having been the inventor of the mini skirt.

    Julie Christie wore one of his dresses in ‘Shampoo’ and he designed the iconic black leather catsuit worn by Diana Rigg as Emma Peel, along with a whole range of clothing for the Avengers series.  Meanwhile, one of his midriff exposing designs won Dress of the Year in 1965. This newsreel film,  Dressed to Kill, gives a flavour of his innovative work during the swinging 60s and even features designs for canines!

    By the 1970s, ultra feminine evening wear was becoming a key element of the Jean Varon label, with the famous backless evening dress making its debut in 1973 and the empire line gown consistently featuring in collections. Royalty and many of the celebrities of the day - including Princess Margaret, Princess Alexandra, Julie Christie and Dusty Springfield - wore Jean Varon, assuring John Bates his well deserved place as one of the most influential designers in fashion history.

    John Bates is currently living, and painting, in Wales.

    We have been privileged to offer several Jean Varon pieces  at The Frockery over the past few years and they are invariably snapped up by discerning customers.

    We currently have this evening dress in stock, which is a beautiful example of Jean Varon and every bit as wearable today as it was in the 1970s.

    Update, July 2012: This vintage 70s Jean Varon black maxi dress has just been added to the catalogue.

    vintage 70s jean varon john bates black maxi dress

  • Time for T

    July 9, 2010

    T in the Park kicks off again at Balado today, and we have it on good authority that some of our frockery will be making an appearance at Fancy Dress Friday for this year's 'Mad Hatter's T Party' theme.

    Despite the recent heatwave, the weather is not looking at all promising so wellies will be a prerequisite for all festival goers, whatever else they choose to step out in.  Sadly we won't be joining them this year but it promises to be another fantastic weekend with an enviable line up which includes the magnificent Muse, Eminem and Kasabian.

    Boho festival frockery is one of our favourite looks and we have a good selection of maxi dresses,  skirts and tops to take  you through the summer festival season and beyond. Don't forget the woollies for when the temperature drops and the sun cream (just in case!), but above all remember to pack the tent poles, toilet paper and a supply of wet wipes. We speak from experience!