Monday, 4 June 2012

The Vintage Boudoir

Just four weeks ago a bit of glitz and glam was brought to the streets of Lancaster. 

The Vintage Boudoir, Lancaster's newest vintage shop, opened on Sun Street. I came across it as I work at The Sun Cafe which is located next door, and I feel the need to tell everyone just how lovely it is! With fabulous dresses, shoes, bags, jewellery and even its own home section, there is plenty of amazing items on offer for those vintage lovers out there!

Whilst browsing I decided to find out more about the owner. Collette Corcoran is a school teacher and a yoga instructor, so why did she want to open her own shop? Well, it seems that fashion runs in her blood. Members of her family have previously been models - her mother in the 1960's and her sister in the 1990's. She has since been interested in fashion, particularly the vintage kind, and has been collecting vintage pieces for years. Whilst enjoying her company and pretty much taking over the shop floor with my photo taking, I decided to make the most of our friendly chat and ask her some more questions.

What is your favourite era of fashion?
1950's definitely. Just it's so girly, really glamorous, I love the way it nips in at the waist then flows out. I think it suits anybody's shape or style, I think any girl can get away with a 50's shape dress. I do get persuaded into getting too much 50's stuff but people love it and it makes people feel good. I also do love a bit of the 80's because it's fun.

Who is the influence behind your style?
No one, I change from day to day. Some days I'll feel like being really glamorous and girly but others I don't. I dress to make myself happy. I'd sooner be ahead than follow. I love Vogue and reading about what's in fashion, obviously we all like to be fashionable but I just go with what makes me feel nice generally.

Do you have a style icon?
I love Alexa Chung. I love the way she dresses because I love the fact that she picks really quirky things that make her look great! I love Kate Moss, Pearl Lowe and Fearne Cotton as well for being alternative. It's easy to say that Audrey Hepburn is a style icon - she is, but literally everyone knows about her and would choose her to be their style icons.

Where do you source your clothes from?
I get a lot from America, especially the 1950's ball dresses. There are a lot of places in Yorkshire, surprisingly, that I get things from. I hand pick in charity shops and I hunt literally everywhere I go. Zandra Rhodes who is the Queen of vintage fashion said that the best places to find vintage items is old seaside towns, and it's true. I also go to the flea markets in Paris, Camden and good local vintage fairs.

The shop hosts a wide range of clothing from many respected vintage designers. These include Emma Domb, Rappi, Polly Peck, Gunne Sax, Trina Lewis and Marjon Couture from the 1940's-70's era, Miss Elliette who is also considered to be the Coco Chanel of the USA, a real Ann Corbette couture dress and vintage Laura Ashley which is apparently selling for thousands of pounds even on ebay!

For me, it is the personal items which mean the most and make the biggest impact. This dress (left) is a vintage Polly Peck and was worn by a woman in 1950. Before selling it on to Collette, she told her the story of the night she wore it. Apparently she bought it as she had a date with a young gentleman, and that night he proposed to her whilst she was wearing it. They are still married today. Sentimental items like this are a treasure, and when she sold the dress Collette had to promise her that anyone who buys or rents the dress in the future has to wear it with a rose pinned to it, as this is what she wore with it that night she got engaged.

Another dress in the shop was made for one wear only. Apparently it was commonplace for women to get dresses made for special occasions, but they were only made to be worn one time. If worn again and again the insides of the dress would disintegrate due to the material it was made from. An example of one of these dresses can be found in The Vintage Boudoir. It even has the original wearer's name attached to the label, which makes me wonder who this woman is and for what special occasion did she wear this dress?

Collette also has links with local photographer, Gary Hill. Upon opening the shop, a catwalk was held on Sun Street with five models dressed in the vintage dresses found in the shop, and photographed by Gary Hill himself. He has done other photo shoots of models wearing The Vintage Boudoir dresses which are absolutely stunning (right). The link to his website is:

The Vintage Boudoir also hosts parties and special vintage nights, accompanied by wine and a 10% discount for the night! It's something different and you are free to try on whatever items you like whilst strutting around fancying your chances in these beautiful clothes.

I would reccommend that anyone with a true love for fashion whether it be vintage or not take a visit to The Vintage Boudoir. There is also a 10% student discount!

The Vintage Boudoir allows you to purchase or rent certain items, so take a look at its website or its facebook page for further details!

Here are some of my favourite items in the store!

Old Vintage Swim Cap!


Teo said...

loving the swim cap :D

Alice said...

ooh i need to go here very soon!!!! looks like such a gorgeous shop!!