Welcome back to part 2 of the sassy, sexy "S" dresses. We hope you are enjoying a look back at these feisty frocks designed to fit and flatter your curves.
Diane introduced Sophia to give a little extra va-va-voom to your style (à la Sophia Loren). This fetching party dress appeared in fall of 2012 with flirty peek-a-boo shoulders, a sweetheart neckline, three quarter sleeves and a beautiful full skirt that was lovely with a crinoline. This one was especially flattering for a fuller bust and only made once. The Sophia dress debuted at our Save-On Meats photo shoot, don't you love the nostalgic, retro diner vibe?
The Stacy dress was first conceptualized in 2014 and from the beginning was designed to be made for striped fabric. If you look closely at the pattern, you can see how Diane planned it to be compatible with stripes which are notoriously difficult to match up and look good. The first sketch is the original design with cap sleeves.
By the time Stacy was produced in spring of 2019 the design was modified to have three-quarter sleeves and was offered in a jaunty banker pin stripe in two colours; Black and Navy. The V-neckline and gathers at the bust added interest while the vertical stripes were slimming (we love that!)
Stela was a fabulous party dress introduced for Holiday 2013. She was made in a stretch cotton sateen and her full skirt looked amazing with a crinoline. The scoop neckline was accented with a flirty notched detail. There was a bow at the empire waist and three quarter sleeves with gathers finished off the look.
Suzy Sundress was a fun one; this cheeky shorter dress was designed for summer picnics and beach days. The cheerful prints, wide straps and sweetheart neckline were completed with Ric Rac trim around the bodice and pockets for a vintage look. This adorable dress was featured in our unforgettable Retro Road Trip photo shoot.
Revisiting these dresses brings back happy memories of good times at these fun photo shoots. We appreciate being a part of your celebrations and hope our dresses add joy to your events.
The next exciting installment of our dress archives will be the last one, T - Z dresses. Stay tuned ...
XOX Cherry Velvet
Milestones are meant for celebration, and Cherry Velvet is about to reach a big one: 10 years of retro class with modern sass!
For those of you who’ve followed our brand, you’ve likely heard the Cherry Velvet origin story. Diane Kennedy, our founder and designer, already had a line of beautiful clothing designed to fit modern women’s bodies and lifestyle. She then found herself looking for the perfect dress, and simply couldn’t find it. Being the entrepreneur that she is, Diane decided to start making fabulous dresses that she loved to wear. Cherry Velvet was born in July of 2011.
There are many constants that have defined our brand over time. Our dresses are made to fit and flatter the female figure, with comfort and eye-catching style. With long-wearing fabrics and handy pockets, they’re also tremendously easy to care for and wear. Of course, there are the prints – Diane scours the internet and finds stunning colours, charming prints, and dazzling patterns.
We’re also so very proud to be consciously Canadian. Our dresses are designed, sold, and shipped from beautiful British Columbia, and our ethical creation process is a defining element of the company.
But what’s the most critical part of the chronicles of Cherry Velvet? It couldn’t be more simple – YOU. Our fabulous customers have given life to our dresses. Watching your eyes light up when you find the perfect fit, or seeing your gorgeous smiles in the photos you post and send… That’s why we do what do, and why we’ll keep doing it.
So let’s celebrate! On July 16, we’ll be releasing three lovely and highly limited designs. Naturally, these anniversary dresses will be our most popular and beloved styles: Norma, Doris, and in a very special return, Elly. The prints are just as colourful and unique as you’d expect.
We want to take that joy you feel when a new dress arrives and multiply it, so we’ll be adding exclusive swag with each shipment of our special releases. Each anniversary pack will also include a limited edition, numbered paper doll print, to commemorating the occasion. Make sure you order early, because these added goodies will only be available while supplies last.
Stay tuned and be prepared to want them all!
XOX Cherry Velvet
Can you believe that we have made it to the 'S' dresses already? Only a few more chapters to go before our dress history is complete. This week is Part 1 of our journey through the splendid, sassy dresses that begin with the letter S.
One of our very early styles, the Sabrina has made many appearances. Named after the classic and timeless movie with Audrey Hepburn, she embodies those qualities as well. We're thinking it might be time to bring this style back for an encore performance! (let us know what you think). This dress was first revealed in the Spring of 2013 and reappeared in more beautiful prints for a few more limited productions.
This one time production of the Sally Sundress was back in 2016. She was set up for one way border prints which meant the pattern pieces were laid out sideways on the fabric. She was available in a memorable Flamingo print and some lovely border florals too. Don't you just love the printed patterns that follow along the hemline?
Our regular readers will recognise Shelly as a friend of Diane (our designer), whose fun and whimsical fashion sense makes her the perfect choice to have a dress named after her. As a self-proclaimed, "sexy, fat chick" with a penchant for dresses, Shelly is an avid Cherry Velvet aficionado with a collection of dresses to envy. We first made the Shelly dress in the winter of 2014 and again several times after. Her unique neckline is her best feature but she also boasted 3/4 length sleeves, a lovely full skirt and of course, pockets too.
Once in a while, you meet someone special that's destined to have an impact on your life and creative process; and that's how we feel about the uber-talented Shimona Henry. The first time Diane met her was at her studio right before Cherry Velvet Dresses' very first photo shoot. Pin-up Perfection Photography is her company and it's certainly been her primary focus for many years. Several years ago, she decided to go back to school for hair and makeup with the goal of more regular work hours. So now she's not just an extraordinary photographer but also does amazing hair styling and make-up artistry as well. We were thrilled to name this adorable dress after someone that has been such a big and important influence on our brand.
The Shimona dress was as versatile as the woman, she had a pretty convertible collar that could be worn open or buttoned closed to show off a cheeky diamond cut out as her defining feature.
How exciting was that recap? Only 2 installments left on our dress history! Stay tuned as we're about to start announcing details about our 10th Anniversary celebration. Yes, it's just around the corner. Hint; there will be special limited edition dresses in gorgeous new prints coming out soon and SWAG goodies too! Squeal!)
XOX Cherry Velvet
Have you ever wondered how we choose the fabulous fabrics for Cherry Velvet dresses? Back when our team shared a large, open office space, we used to gather around the computer and discuss the pros and cons of various prints. Diane, our designer, would show everyone a selection of options, and then the fun would begin. We would vote and debate and decide on the best of the best.
Remember our Pixel Party dress? It happened because of one of these informal meetings! Diane had passed right on by the online image, but everyone else in the office was wowed by this funky fabric. It so happened it sold out in a blink of an eye!
Kim, who handled social media for us before moving to the Okanagan, once mentioned that her top choices were prints with the full colour spectrum. It's a suggestion that we're grateful for, because those colourful rainbow designs have become some of our most popular options. Diane admits that she wasn’t really into them at first, but oh my, they have sure grown on her! Not only are they very popular and sell extremely well, Diane has also discovered how fun they are to accessorize. With so many choices of colours, the possibilities are endless.
There's a wonderful added benefit to our rainbow prints; as well as looking amazing - they show support for our LGBTQ+ friends and customers. These multi-hued dresses represent love and acceptance, and we're proud to be part of that message.
Then there's the sheer joy that comes with an explosion of colour. How can you not smile when you're wearing a rainbow? We've seen first-hand that brilliant, pretty shades make you and everyone around you happier. We believe that getting dressed should be a joyous thing, and we sincerely hope that our dresses brighten your day.
XOX Cherry Velvet
Ready to reminisce over these ravishing, romantic, regal dresses? Passing right over the letter "Q" (because we didn't make one yet) and we've arrived at the letter "R" this week with some of the most desirable dresses to date!
Released in the fall of 2014, The Rachel was a charmer with her pretty portrait collar, short puffed sleeves and A line cut. She graced our epic photo shoot at the Canadian Museum of flight. What a lovely day we had at that photo shoot among the vintage planes with these gorgeous models! Rachel made her second appearance for Fall 2018 in fun seasonal prints.
This darling dress was a tribute to the legendary Rita Hayworth of course. With sweet accents like a tiny bow tie at the front of her square neckline, 3/4 sleeves and a lady-like skirt; the Rita was as classy as the fabulous star she was named after. Rita debuted in the Fall of 2013 and reappeared one more time in 2015 with rave reviews.
The most darling of sundresses; demure she was definitely not. The Robin had some serious sass and a daring sweetheart neckline, banded straps, featuring a charming gathered knot between the 'girls' and shorter hem length perfect for summertime soirees. Robin appeared at our Hycroft Manor photo shoot in the spring of 2015 and once again in the summer of 2016.
The Roxy was a stunning style from the Spring of 2013 that showcased a lovely portrait collar. The Roxy was originally made in stretch cotton sateen to give a fabulous fit and had 3/4 sleeves with turn back cuffs, a fitted bodice with a mock row of buttons and a full skirt. She reappeared in Fall 2018 in classic solid colours too.
Named after the vivacious Miss Ruby Roxx, the Ruby dress was appropriately full of sass with plenty of attitude just like our model. With her fitted princess seam detail and a daring mermaid hem, she was a showstopper for sure. Cut in only 2 prints both with illusion black side panels for plenty of va-va-voom. Ruby was a one-time limited edition in the fall of 2013
Now that you have strolled on past the "R" dresses on our walk down memory lane you can envision how each of our dresses comes to life with their own personality. The inspiring women behind these designs are a big part of the creative process. Our journey continues with the scintillating, sensational "S" dresses soon....
XOX Cherry Velvet
This week we have positively perfect dresses for you to peruse with names starting with the letter "P".
Way back in the Spring of 2013, this special dress joined our collection. Inspired by a home sewing pattern from the fifties, this dress harkens back to a time when we would sew ourselves a dress and show it off it with our best gals on a bike ride and picnic. The prints were fabulous, the collar was to die for and our signature A-line skirt was a flattering fit for any body. Oh, and of course we added pockets!!
The Peggy dress was a festive frock designed for Holiday 2011. Inspired by the popular show Mad Men and the divine dresses worn by "Joan Holloway" as portrayed by the fabulous, curvy Christina Hendricks. Peggy made the most of a curvy figure with her deep scoop neckline, 3/4 length sleeves and a very full pleated skirt. Can't really explain now why we named this dress the Peggy, really it should have been the Joan dress?
The Phoebe was a sweet, summery sundress style with straps and an A-line skirt. She came in only one print and was a very limited edition that was made only once. It was a special order dress created for a company in the US and we made some extra for our store. It came in this playful blue and white lattice print.
Named after none other than Priscilla Presley, this was another limited edition dress that was only made once. The neckline and waistband were cut from narrow printed borders at the edge of the fabric. Diane remembers the pattern for this dress was tricky to make because of the constraints of the fabric. We made the skirt in a solid black to go with the printed bodice.
You can see how daring and different each of these dresses are and why they have become collector's items throughout the years as you have supported the brand and helped us grow.
We keep these designs fresh for you by making small quantities of each print so you are unlikely to see your dress on someone else. We see how unique each of you are and we know you want to express your personality with the print that suits your mood in the designs that feel best for your body shape. It is so much fun to create these dresses for you to enjoy. We can't wait to have more new designs for you, soon!
Signing off until next week's next instalment...
XOX Cherry Velvet
This new chapter of our dress history series is a major one! One of our most frequently released designs is featured, plus a couple other gorgeous past looks and many nostalgic fabrics.This week is all about the dress designs that start with the letters "N" & "O"!
Who remembers the Natalie dress? It was named after Diane's lovely niece and was one of very few dress designs that came with a wiggle skirt. Finished at the hemline with a flirty flounce, the Natalie made it supremely fun to flaunt a little wiggle. With a short sleeve, square neckline, a row of colour matched buttons and best of all a cheeky keyhole cutout in the back, the Natalie was memorable indeed.
Inspired by Marilyn's famous white halter dress in the movie the "Seven Year Itch" our Norma gives something extra special to everyone who wears her. Norma is possibly the best loved of all our dresses because the cut of the bodice and waistline give this dress a fit like no other. While there's no doubt that she fits a curvy girl best, this dress noticeably gives a lift to your "girls" and seems to give everyone more of the much-coveted hourglass figure. The next batch of Norma are on the horizon and are coming in amazing new limited edition prints for summer because Some Like it Hot!
Aside from the beautiful cut of the dress, the Norma is extra special because Diane designed it for one way prints. As this is Diane's favourite dress, she also tends to put the most whimsical prints into this style. Follow along in our social media accounts to enter the "Name That Print" Contest for a chance at winning a gift certificate while helping us name the prints for the next batch of Norma's coming soon...
Another much loved style, the Olivia is the dress that can be worn to work and then dressed up to dance the night away. While the scoop necklace is demure and office appropriate, her lovely full swing skirt just begs to be twirled. Olivia first appeared in the fall of 2016 and has been a popular style for her charm and flexability. Olivia is available to buy right now in these beautiful prints here.
Thanks for following along with our history of Cherry Velvet dresses.
You'll see the new Marie's dresses are coming next! We're working hard on getting new dresses ready for you.The Normas will be after the Marie's and we have surprises coming too!
XOX Cherry Velvet
As promised, here's the final 4 marvellous 'M' named dresses. Enjoy this stylish stroll down memory lane in our ongoing herstory of Cherry Velvet designs.
"A wise girl knows her limits, a smart girl knows that she has none." ~ Marilyn Monroe
Inspired by the one and only Marilyn Monroe, Diane designed the Marilyn dress as something she could imagine this icon wearing back in the 1950's. The original concept behind this popular style was to design a halter style dress that could be worn with a regular bra. She knew that having to find and buy a special bra just for one dress was neither practical or desirable. The Marilyn was created with straps that cover your bra plus a halter tie neck so you could wear a normal bra for support and still have the style of a halter neckline.
Birds have always captivated the hearts of Cherry Velvet gals and this print started the love affair. How much do you love this cute tie-neck back bow and the adorable 'Wind Song' print? The romantic vibe made it the perfect summer dress.
Marlene made a first appearance as one of our very first festive frocks for Holiday 2013. Marlene was a holiday party dress with a dramatic flounced hem of ruffled chiffon for added flourish.The original version was designed to add decadence to your evening look with beautiful damask and jacquard-like fabrics.
Marlene came back one more time in the Fall of 2019 with an updated new look. She now had Glow-In-The-Dark capabilities or a metallic shimmer. The sleeves offered coverage with a stunning neckline that really captured attention and this skirt looked beautiful with a crinoline.
Melody brought a Polynesian twist with a low cut sweetheart neckline, wide contoured straps, and an adjustable tie front which emphasized the bustline. A longer length skirt balanced out the design. She came in some seriously cute prints including the memorable "Tea Room" design. Diane has been looking for a 'tea' print for years and has finally found one that is particularly flirt-TEA and will be available this summer!
If you already have a best-selling Norma dress (more arriving soon) you'll imagine how cute it would be to have a variation that offered sleeves for cooler weather. Minerva was designed to accommodate a wonderful witch print from the Tula Pink fabric collection called De La Luna. This was an extra design challenge too because of the scale of the print. Diane designed the Minerva to have a solid colour bodice and a printed skirt.
That's all of our 'M' dresses wrapped up for your enjoyment. Hope you are loving these fun chapters as much as we are. On to "N - O" next week!
XOX Cherry Velvet
Get ready for Marvellous "M" dresses! There are so many beautiful "M"s to share that we are giving it to you in two parts...
There's a story of a lovely lady....yes this dress was named after that Marcia. Inspired by the iconic 1960's designer Andre Courreges, the Marcia dress featured a unique cut out neckline that was covered yet cheeky at the same time. This dress was made in a smooth rayon-poly blend. Offered up in solid colours of Black, Blue and Coral for a one time appearance in the Spring of 2015.
Taking over the top spot as our most popular style to date and a complete crowd pleaser....drum roll please...the Marie dress! Everyone loves the Marie. This dress looks all business but the unexpected convenience of the front zip makes it easy to go from secretary to sexy in a zip! The Marie was designed to accommodate one way fabrics; this means you also get an amazing assortment of fun and whimsical prints to express yourself. Check out these available Marie Dresses!
Sneak Peek! New Marie dresses arrive soon in these new prints:
With lapels and cross-over front design, she had 3/4 sleeves and only came in sizes XL to 4XL. Maxine is a modified version of the earlier Christina style, the Maxine was offered in cotton canvas and lovely prints.
The bold colour-block style of Monica was made in tandem with Marcia in the spring of 2015. Diane pulled her inspiration from 1960's bold geometric styles and eye-catching colours. This dress was made in a smooth rayon-poly blend. She was a streamlined design that came in two colourways; Navy/green Black/hot pink.
The 2nd part of the "M" dresses will be coming your way next week. We hope you're enjoying this flashback through the years as much as we are!
XOX Cherry Velvet
You’ve likely heard our Cherry Velvet slogan: “Retro Class with Modern Sass”. But what do we mean by “retro”? What is the foundation of our vintage aesthetic, and who are the designers who inspired the modern day pin-up silhouette? This may be the first time you’ve heard about Alfred Shaheen, but you’ve definitely seen his design influences in Cherry Velvet’s dresses!
Photo of Alfred Shaheen's granddaughter wearing one of his dresses
Diane, our founder and designer, is an avid fashion historian. Specifically, Diane takes many cues from the 50's which originated with Christian Dior’s “New Look”: cinched waistlines, emphasized bustlines, and deliciously full skirts. Alfred Shaheen took this style, added his own unique details, and employed it brilliantly.
Born in Lebanon, Alfred Shaheen was a textile pioneer and designer who operated from his adopted home in Oahu, Hawai’i. In the heyday of 1950s and 1960s fashion, he was the most creative and prolific of all of the Hawai’ian manufacturers, and was famous for that most perfect of souvenirs, the aloha shirt. Who can forget the undeniable appeal of Elvis Presley in one of those bright, flowered button-up shirts?
Elvis Prestley in the movie Blue Hawaii wearing an Alfred Shaheen Shirt
Shaheen's unique, trendsetting designs became high fashion thanks to their unique fabrics, high-grade materials, quality construction, and striking prints inspired by the Hawai’ian Islands and their multicultural influences from Polynesia and Asia.
Beautifully cut and fitted sundresses also defined Shaheen's brand, including the famous Hawai’in bombshell dress. Shaheen's signature “halter neckline” may have evolved from a traditional variation of wearing the pareau (pareo), in which a single rectangle of cloth is wrapped around the body from the center back with the top two corners brought to the front and crossed, then brought upwards, and then tied at the back of the neck to form a loose “short dress”. Shaheen’s fitted interpretation was engineered to enhance the bust line, which led to its widespread success. Shaheen’s impeccably constructed dresses are some of the most collectible vintage pieces on the market today, and with good reason – they are seriously flattering!
One of Shaheen’s most distinctive innovations was his wing-top bust dress. This design is fitted with an accentuated “wing” or “petal”, often done in a complementary fabric to make it stand out. It has been one of Diane’s most coveted inspirations, as seen on our modern version of the wingbust dress, The Elly Dress. The eye-catching style of the Elly dress was a significant moment in Cherry Velvet’s evolution, and we’re excited to announce that Elly will be returning with a flourish this summer in a stunning range of new prints!
XOX Kim Palmer
for Cherry Velvet