Vintage Fashion Show Review
Amy Butterworth, Online Lifestyle Editor, applauds the Vintage Fashion Show, an evening of championing independent brands and celebrating decade-inspired pieces.
Vintage panache prevailed in the Frocks in Swing Time and InExeter collaborative Vintage Fashion Show, as part of #EFBW (Exeter Fashion and Beauty Week). It has been a week of collisions; this, Fresher’s and London Fashion Week have all had to share the spotlight. But EFBW took centre stage, thanks to the sublime show put on by Hayley Shaw (who we recently interviewed). “I was delighted with how the show went, I had to pinch myself that it really happened! To bring so many independent businesses together was such an honour and the feedback I have received has been so positive,” says Hayley, in response to the success of the show.
In our interview anticipating the event, Hayley had mentioned her excitement of the show being held within the walls of the Cathedral, “a show in such a historic building that survived the blitz seems very apt”. And apt it was; wandering from Exeter’s city centre – dominated by fast-fashion retailers – to the Cathedral was like accidentally passing through a time machine, and a fashionable one at that! Uber-stylish retro cars adorned the entrance to the Cathedral (one of them acting as a photo-booth!) and the decision for the attendees to don vintage pieces themselves left my Exeposé stash looking (ironically) outdated.
To bring so many independent businesses together was such an honour and the feedback I have received has been so positive
Opening the evening was a performance by musical trio Hummingbirds, singing both classic and modern renditions of songs in vintage swing style. Hayley’s philosophy for her brand has always been to inspire the modern person to embellish their wardrobe with a splash of vintage; the Hummingbirds’ 50’s style cover of “Call Me Maybe” perhaps embodies this perfectly.
Hayley kicked off the runway with a presentation of her favourite daytime pieces. The first item was a pair of navy high-waisted trousers, Hayley went to great lengths to, not only style the outfit as authentically to the era as possible, but also discuss how you can incorporate it into your everyday wardrobe. She accompanied us through a whistle-stop tour of the history of decades fashion, illuminating us on the stories behind the brands that Hayley curates in store. The Seamstress of Bloomsbury is one of many independent brands; Hayley recounted the rich past of Lillian Wells: while on the brink of war, she mastered the art of seamstressing, and her designs and sewing craft are championed today by the brand. And men weren’t forgotten in this show; items from men’s vintage fashion brand The Real McCoy were equally celebrated.
Culture pertains to fashion; Hayley made that clear with her discussion and presentation of 1940’s nautical-inspired fashion, which came about because of the war, as well as men adopting a more casual attire in this time period. And with the end of rationing in the 50’s came fun prints and more extravagant skirts and petticoats, which embodied the ‘new look’ of the era, attributed to Christian Dior. Think rounded, natural shoulders, pinched at the waist jackets and full-flowing midi skirts, all to accentuate womanly curves. The Mod-movement, evening Flapper style, the Teddy Boy look and more were all honoured at the show, including a wedding edit, as the modern craze of hearkening back to vintage wear means that Frocks in Swing Time stocks dresses for bridesmaids, flower-girls and even the bride.
While London Fashion Week has been all about anticipating the upcoming trends, Hayley’s Vintage Fashion Show has taken us in the opposite direction. She hallmarked decade-inspired pieces, but most importantly, she proved their timelessness. The legacy of vintage fashion lives on – whether in the enduring cut of high-waisted trousers, or as the more conservative midi-skirt making a comeback (with unfortunately much less petticoat!). It’s certainly provided me with much-needed vintage inspiration to add some decades flair into my life.
Shop Frocks in Swing Time at 151-152 Fore St, Exeter EX4 3AT, and for more Exeter events visit https://www.inexeter.com/.