As you probably are aware, I absolutely adore vintage fashion. Saying that, I love pretty much everything that would be considered vintage, from old music and vinyls to classic Hollywood movies, to old English recipes and secondhand furniture. There is something so aesthetically pleasing about styles from the 30s, 40s and 50s...and although my general style is leaning more towards a kind of 60's/modern mash-up, I do often find myself wishing I had been born in a different era, or at least maintained a more classically vintage look more of the time.
Fortunately, there is hope for my inner vintage cravings...the Twinwood Festival, now in it's 13th year, is an annual summer dance festival celebrating the fashion and lifestyle of the fabulous 30s, 40s and 50s. It was voted one of the UK's top festivals for three years running by the Telegraph, and is considered to be the Number 1 Vintage Music and Dance festival. You can go for the whole weekend or just one or two days, and be immersed in music, food and of course fashion from days gone by. It is the definition of a blast from the past, and you will surely be entertained by the countless stalls offering hair and makeup tutorials, selling vintage clothes and memorabilia, food stalls cooking up a storm, and of course fantastic live acts and vintage dancing lessons. It is an absolute no-brainer for anyone who is interested in vintage life, and is actually not expensive for a summer festival at all. You can see the full line up, and book tickets, here.
To celebrate the fashion extravaganza that Twinwood is, they have decided, for the first time ever, to host the search for the nation's 'Mr & Miss Vintage!' The first event of it's kind, the contest will celebrate those that best represent the iconic styles of bygone eras, and will give them the chance to win prizes from Twinwood Events, Vivien of Holloway and Vintage Life Magazine! It is the ultimate opportunity for vintage lovers to showcase their style, and is open for all to enter - age, gender, body shape or size are not important - Twinwood are looking for someone who embodies the spirit of an era, and are not judging the contest by any other factors.
I had the opportunity to interview one of the judges for this post, the amazing Lola Lamour herself (pictured below). A singer, entertainer and inspirational vintage style icon, she has been featured in The Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph, and is well known for her work on the 1940's reenactment scene. Lamour lives in an entirely vintage way, from the clothes she wears right down to the appliances she uses at home. She is the perfect judge of the competition, and was fascinating to talk to!
1) Have you always been interested in Vintage Style?
Yes I have…..ever since I can remember and before the word "Vintage" was even used to describe it! When I was a little girl, I adored all the old films and movie stars. I wanted to be grow up and be just like Doris Day, Rita Hayworth and Deanna Durbin. I used to collect bits of old crockery with lovely patterns on and bought a Dansette from a car boot sale for £4 to listen to old records!
2) Has it been easy adapting your lifestyle, or is living a vintage style life in a modern world sometimes difficult?
I don't think that I have had to adapt my way of life. I just live how I enjoy to live. When I was a teenager and started to dress and a period style, I didn't know anyone else would be interested in that sort of thing. It was just me. I hated people staring and pointing at me but I wasn't going to change who I was to please others. I don't consciously try to be "vintage" I just love to be surrounded by all my period furnishings and love to use them on a daily basis. To me a 1950s Prestcold fridge is more appealing to the eye than a modern one, so that is what I use…..same goes for my crockery, my furniture, my car, my clothes. I am a great recycler!! I have a very busy singing career and therefore have to use the computer to co-ordinate and advertise everything. When I am at home, I chose to live a very old fashioned life…no TV and I enjoy the simpler things like walking with my dogs and husband, I like reading and cooking and my garden….we have also just started a veggie patch and chickens are the next thing! It just makes me content.
3) Who are your style icons?
Top of the list would be Doris Day! She always looks so beautiful and favours classic looks…nothing too fussy but always chic.
Rita Hayworth was one of the greatest beauties of all time…and that hair!!! Wow! She takes your breath away when you see her in Gilda. She dresses and looks fabulous….so glamorous.
4) What are your tips for someone who wants to became more 'vintage'?
Well…….I would say to watch lovely old movies……look at how they dress, their accessories and co-ordination. You can then look at putting an outfit together from eBay, vintage clothes dealers or make something yourself from an old pattern. Don't forget that hair and makeup play a really important role in the look. It depends what look you want really…what era and whether it is a British or American look. They are quite different. For any….old films and history books are a good place to start. If you are really passionate about it and feel like living it every day…..you will just fall into that. I am sure that is something that is just inside you….not something that you can just make yourself do.
5) What do you think of current fashion? Are there any trends or designers you particularly like?
I have no idea about current fashion!!!!! I don't have TV, read a paper or go shopping!! I know there are a lot of companies making retro style clothing now. I recently did some modelling for 20th Century Foxy and they had some lovely British Made clothes.
6) What do you think the winner of Miss Vintage should be like? Do you have any tips or ideas?
Firstly, we will be speaking to the contestants so a nice personality and good manners will be a good start! I will also be looking for how they have put their look together…….clothes, shoes, accessories, hair and make-up. It won't be just one thing but how everything works as a whole look. I would say that my tips would be to think how you look as a whole and what look you are trying to achieve. Above all, smile and enjoy it. It's all about making yourself feel good and being who you want to be!
To enter the competition, all you need to do is send a photograph of yourself in your best vintage outfit to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The pictures will then be posted on Twinwood's Facebook page, and the top twenty ladies and gents with the most likes from the public will then go into the second round, where they will be selected by the judges to go forward to the finals at Twinwood Festival 2014.
The competition closes on the 22nd of June...so send your pictures in as soon as possible for the best chance! Good luck!
(Thanks to Poppy Ballard for organising the interview, and to Lola Lamour for answering my questions!)