News » #1950s
In an earlier blog, we discussed the work of Alfred Shaheen, a designer who operated from his adopted home in Oahu, Hawai’i. Shaheen was known not only for this iconic aloha shirts and impeccably constructed sundresses - he was also a textile artist.
One of Shaheen's most beautiful contributions to the fashion world was his collection of metallic prints. The shimmering highlights in these fabrics are the result of innovative metallic dyes. In the early-1950s, Shaheen collaborated with Dr. Edmund Lutz, his close friend and head dye chemist, to create revolutionary dyes including gold, silver, and gem tones. The metallics could be printed on almost any fabric, such as cotton, cotton blends, silks, linen, and voile. Vintage Shaheen garments are coveted fashion collectables, and these eye-catching details are still intact on many of them, despite the fact that it's been almost 70 years since these dyes were first created!
Cherry Velvet's trademark sass is inspired by designers of the past, particularly those who worked during the 1950s. Shaheen's revolutionary metallics dyes live on in some of our most sought-after fabric choices.
It's fitting that the newest releases of our Elly dress will also feature metallic details. The "petal-bust" on the Elly is inspired by similar features on Shaheen's Hawai'ian bombshell dresses, so it only makes sense that some of our Elly dresses are available in glistening fabrics that would make Alfred Shaheen proud. (with one more coming for holiday!)
Have you seen our Jacqueline dress in Violets 'R Blue that boasts bold blooms with delicate gold metallic outlines that shimmer in the sunlight? Our Marie dress in Pristmatic Peacock (right) is a classic we brought back that also features gold outlines on art deco angles. A brand new release is a Chrissy dress with Paisley Plumes outlined with a delicate gold edge.
We are also so excited to show you a sneak peek at the fabrics for our Holiday Glamour Metallics Collection. These shimmering, glimmering party dresses sparkle with special designer details in limited editions. Check out these three swatches of the new dresses coming soon!
If you're looking for a dress that will add some sparkle to your day, these designs are for you. Now you'll know that you're wearing a tribute to fashion history when you slip on these sensational looks!
Kim Palmer for 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
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
We hope you're enjoying this walk down memory lane. It's so fun to reminisce about the Cherry Velvet dress styles we've made over 10 years. This week's edition is all about dresses named with the letters J and K.
Introducing one of the newest dresses this spring; the Jacqueline was named after a lovely, long-time customer. Our Jacqueline dress embodies everything Cherry Velvet stands for: great fit, cute details, and fantastic prints. A stand-up collar accents a V-neckline and cap sleeves provide work-and-play versatility. You may already have noticed that all the newest designs have deeper, more generous pockets. These beautiful Jacqueline prints are available now; sizes and quantities are limited.
The Jennifer was a work appropriate style for the summer that came out 2 years in a row; for 2015 and 2016. She had a cute stand-up collar, front button detail and an A-line skirt. Sushi anyone?
The Judith came out in the Fall of 2015. She was named after a lovely lady from Nova Scotia that had the coolest laundry line we've ever seen! (Of course made up entirely of Cherry Velvet dresses!)
Her namesake dress had 3/4 sleeves and a very sexy neckline finished to mimic a bow at the front.
The original inspiration for the Kate came from a beautiful dress design from the 1950's. The design was originally worn by the iconic fifties model Dovima. Coincidentally the same design was used in a episode of The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel.
The cut of Kate's bodice uniquely allowed that stripes and checks were shown off to best advantage in this design. The beauty of the Kate design really came out with the use of these linear prints. You can see how the bodice is enhanced with the stripes cut on the bias at the center front.
The Kelly dress came out in the Spring of 2015 in Stretch cotton sateen fabric prints. This V-neck dress was perfect for the photoshoot that we did on location at the Granville Fluevog Shoe store. What a treat that was! We had our pick of all those beautiful shoes to match up perfectly to the dresses.
How time flies when we are having fun! These pictures bring back great memories of these dresses and the fabulous models that wowed us. Our story will continue next time with a chapter on the dresses beginning with the letter "L". I look forward to showing off the beauties in that group.
We have more gorgeous new dresses coming soon; because a girl can never have too many dresses, right?
This post is all about our beautiful dress designs that start with the letter "E". A word of advice, you may need a box of tissues handy. I have a heartfelt story to tell you about one of our models and the dress that was named for her.
The Elizabeth dress was first released in the Fall of 2013 and then again in Fall 2018. It has a similar cut and fit to the popular Chrissy dress. These first prints; as modelled on lovely Bianca Bombshell and Ruby Roxx were made from a beautiful stretch cotton sateen.
In our later release of the Elizabeth dress we switched to our regular 100% cotton in these stunning prints:
Of all of the dresses I have written about so far, this one is the hardest to write. These photos bring back memories of a young 25 year old girl that was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, the same disease my own mother died of when I was 12 years old. I know most of you remember Elly Mayday (aka Ashley Luther) she was a Cherry Velvet model for a number of years. At the time of this photo shoot she was very ill and had lost all her hair from chemotherapy. She is actually wearing a wig that I bought for her in these photos. I imagined how I would feel as a 25 year that had lost all her hair and my heart went out to her.
The Elly dress was designed and made especially for her, for an event called Strut for a Cause. It happened the night before she was scheduled to go in for major surgery. Since the blog about this event was on our old blog (and no longer accessible), I will repost it for you to read about if you wish as next week's blog.
The eye-catching wingbust design of the Elly dress was a vintage design inspired by the dresses of a very influential 1950's (and beyond) designer; Alfred Shaheen. I am launching a much anticipated remake of the Elly dress that will be ready for release in summer 2021. The prints are inspired by the original Elly dress with some updated additions (the original fabrics are no longer available).
Released in 2015, the Emma dress was made only once for our Spring 2015 collection at the Hycroft Manor photo shoot. The most popular print was predictably "Cool Cats" as modelled on Ruby Roxx.
This was an extremely limited run of dresses. Only a few of these Eva Lace party dresses were ever made.
I hope you all understand why I wanted to share these memories about Elly Mayday with you. I feel it was important to honour her memory in this post; by sharing some of her images and story with you. She was certainly an important part of our history and I will never forget her and the lessons I learned while working with her.
XOX Love Diane
D is for darling, delightful, decadent, divine... dresses! This post is all about the beautiful designs released with a "D" name. Come continue this journey through Cherry Velvet history with us!
Named after a darling previous staff member and model, this design was released for the first time way back in 2015. Ironically, we never did get a photo of Danielle, in her namesake dress. However, we'll always remember Danielle fondly anytime we wear one. We once did a photo shoot of the Danielle dress right in Fluevog's Granville store! What a treat that was to have a wonderful selection of shoes on hand to pair with the dresses.
After many requests for dresses with sleeves and due to the popularity of the Brigitte dress, Diane, our designer, combined those desires into one dreamy dress. You might recognize the back detail from the Brigitte as the neckline in the Daphne. Sometimes, that's how a new dress is born, from customer requests or details re-imagined into a new style. This first image is of our long time model Danielle of the 'Daneille' dress fame, here modeling the Daphne at our Save On Meats photo shoot. The Daphne dress debuted in our Fall 2012 catalog.
The Dina dress was named after a very lovely lady that was the buyer for a company called Gwynnie Bee. They bought many, many dresses from us over the years for their dress subscription service. The Dina was only released once in Fall 2013. (P.S. it was never made in the Camera Print)
This iconic dress was named for none other than Dita von Tease herself. It was a design that was directly inspired by a dress that Dita wore. It was originally released in 2 colours in the summer of 2014. And once again in the Fall of 2017 in the Golden Galaxy print with white and gold stars on a black background.
Named after 1950's songbird Doris Day, this dress is just as lovely as the lady. With a bustier style top, the details are fabulously flattering and just perfect for the summer, with straps that cover your bra's. She was designed with unique seaming at the bustline to not only emulate a corset but some of the classic Alfred Shaheen styles of the 1950's. You may not realize this but the Doris is actually the exact same cut as the Elly, the only difference is the addition of the 'wings' on her sister dress, the Elly.
Aside from our iconic Cherries and Dots print, there were several wildly popular and often asked about prints in the Doris. One was called Pixel Party....we even made a video game out if it!
Another super popular style was Octopus Garden. A fabric designed by Margot Elena of Tokyo Milk.
And how could we forget Starmagic? Glow in the Dark dresses are a fan favourite and this was the very first one we made that #glowedinthedark.
I hope you've enjoyed this chapter from our dress archives. Stay tuned for the next library instalment all about the letter "E"!
(...this is starting to sound like Sesame Street! :)
XOX Cherry Velvet
Recently, we made a post on Facebook asking for your best vintage name suggestions for our dresses. You gave us so many wonderful names that we have tons to choose from for upcoming styles! Thank you to everybody that wrote in telling us your stories as well. We loved hearing about your Nana and how she used to wear gloves and get dressed every day in the 50s. Thank you for the pictures of your pets, your favourite movie stars and those that deserve to be remembered. We appreciate you sharing these suggestions with us!
We noticed that many of the suggested names were ones that we’ve already used before. And so we thought you might like to read a Master Cherry Velvet dress name list...
And now that you know the names of our past dresses you're going to be curious! Right? We're going to expand beyond this Master names list. We want to show you the designs, the photos, the prints and tell you why we named each dress. This is going to be epic! It’s going to be the history of all our dresses. How appropriate as we're coming up to our 10th anniversary later this year!
XOX Cherry Velvet
If you’re like our designer, Diane, you love to find new ways to show off your favourite Cherry Velvet outfits. Finding the perfect accessory can complete your look and make it feel extra special. Recently, Diane discovered a unique Canadian connection to one of her sparkly fashion finds.
One day, Diane was browsing at a favourite vintage store when the clerk approached her, full of admiration for the rhinestone brooch Diane was wearing. The enthusiastic clerk told her that the piece was made by Sherman, a Canadian company.
Inspired and intrigued, Diane wanted to learn more about this Canadian brand. Founded in Montreal in 1949, G. Sherman & Company Ltd. had a similar goal to Cherry Velvet: making women feel special.
The founder, Gus Sherman, specialized in the design and production of beautiful costume jewelry, and his work was sold in every corner of Canada. “Jewels of Elegance by Sherman”, his ladies’ collection, offered brooches made from Swarovski crystal in intricate designs and countless colour combinations. With innovative plating techniques and individually hand-set beads, a Sherman brooch was a true reflection of mid-century luxury.
Because of the superior sparkle and craftsmanship of these pieces, Sherman brooches are highly collectable.Many pieces are marked with the distinctive Sherman name, but supposedly there are unmarked pieces like Diane's brooch. While she may never be 100% sure it's a Sherman, it certainly has the hallmarks of quality and sparkle that Sherman is known for. Vintage costume jewelry buffs enjoy seeking out these special treasures – each one is a unique and valued find.
Next time you’re at a vintage store, garage sale or flea market, keep your eyes peeled for one of Sherman’s dazzling treasures. You might find yourself owning a glittering piece of Canada’s fashion history!
XOX Cherry Velvet