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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
Take our walk down memory lane this week to revisit the "L" dresses. Many of these dresses were especially designed to go out on the town and party in style. Remember those good old days?
Beginning with the Lana party dress; this one was designed to dazzle after dark in Jacquard and sparkle fabrics. This dress was perfect for dancing the night away; with a shapely V-neckline, glimmering fabrics and a full-circle skirt. It was especially pretty with a crinoline to emphasize the fullness of the skirt in a twirl.
The Leah dress was named after our sales agent, that's been with us for many years (like more than 10 years!) and also models for us. There were two version of this dress, the first of which being the Lace version. It had a layer of lace over a comfortable cotton lining. There were three versions: Royal lace over nude, Black lace over nude and Black lace over Black.
This was also a limited edition version in jade green with a black flocked velvet damask print.
The Leanne dress was named for a lovely and very clever customer that collects Cherry Velvet dresses. One day, Leanne came to visit us at the studio and showed us her library on her phone with all the prints and dresses she owned. This was her way of making sure she knew what she already had in her collection and what she wanted to buy next. What a great idea for coordinating her closet!
Leanne is currently available now and all are on Sale here!
Lisa was an adorable sun dress. This easy-going beauty debuted the Summer of 2016 in cool cotton. The prints were carefree and perfect for a pool party or beach BBQ. The photos show the sweetness and whimsy of this fun style.
Lucy made her appearance in the fall of 2014, debuting at our Canadian Museum of Flight photo shoot. This vintage inspired dress was special with only two colours offered. Lucy featured a sweetheart neckline edged in ric rac. The fabric was stretch-cotton sateen and looked amazing on curves with a crinoline. She was named after Lucille Ball, because who doesn't love Lucy!
That's it for the "L" dresses of yesteryear. It is so fun to see these styles again as we plan for the new ones that are coming in soon. Cheers to soon having more occasions to celebrate with party dresses!
XOX Cherry Velvet
Wow, we've sure made a lot of styles over the years for you to enjoy; so many that it's hard to remember them all! It's been so fun to look back at our dress designs, remember how they came about and reminisce over the prints that were carefully chosen for them.
This week is all about the 'G' dresses (we never found a cute 'H' name to make any 'H' dresses). We're even giving you the story of our newest dress that's almost here; even though it's not officially online yet...the Isobel dress! (P.S. We just added a few to "Coming Soon"
The Gigi sundress debuted in the Spring of 2012. With it's wide, bra covering straps and sweetheart neckline, it was a real charmer. Popular prints included gingham, birdcages and Moorish tiles. The brightest colour combos were the first to sell out.
It's also fun to look back at some of our early marketing....
Think of a perfect dress for a Hawaiian vacation and something close to the Ginger might come to mind. Even the prints were tropical. Named after Ginger from Gilligan's Island, she had some serious sex appeal. She was one of the few dresses we did with a pencil skirt. It also had the sweet addition of a tie belt.
The Grace was a sweet and flirty little sundress. She appeared only once in the summer of 2013 although we did make a similar style later called the Phoebe. She had some seriously cute nautical prints and also one that was aptly named Spirograph.
ISOBELOur youngest fan is the inspiration for the name of our newest sundress. Isobel, also known as "The Littlest Velvet", loved visiting our studio with her parents. Her mom, Brandi, is a long-time customer with a full closet of fabulous CV dresses, and her dad, John, modelled our men's shirts for us. Isobel herself owns 3 Cherry Velvet dresses that she used to wear just for dress-up to be like her mom. This photo was from a very early visit to our studio with her Dad. For a school project she was trying out being a fashion designer for the day. It warms my heart to name a dress after this sweet girl.
Isobel's namesake is a fun and versatile sun dress with a little something extra; a front zipper that allows you to decide whether or not you want to share a peek of cleavage. You'll want one of these if you've owned a Marie dress and love a front zip. Isobel will debut in a series of bright and flirty prints any minute now - we can't wait to share them with you!
XOX Love Diane
*The story of "Strut for a Cause" to benefit Elly MayDay and Ovarian Cancer was originally posted on Jan 20, 2014. Since we've been sharing the history of our dresses, this addendum to the Elly dress is an important part of the story. Elly had a message for all of us women: to be aware of our #ladyballs, the Silent killer "Ovarian Cancer" and the symptoms to look for.
It was truly a surprise! In several short weeks, Katherine Dockrill (Helly Hepburn), Nadine Eberts (Rain Hair Salon) and Jen Kaboom (Jen Kaboom Designs) planned a spectacular event for their close friend Elly Mayday. #strutforacause was both a fashion show and fundraiser to benefit Elly and Ovarian Cancer. A unique event space, the Arthur Erickson designed "Waterfall Building" was chosen. Then the mad dash began to line up models, sponsors and volunteers. So many people helped put this event together, and everyone involved deserves a thank-you, but my purpose here is to tell you the story of this special surprise for Elly.
To get Elly 'party ready', what better than to plan a photo shoot? Gal pals Shimona Henry (Pin-up Perfection Photography) and Stela Licina (model and make-up ninja) whisked her out to a studio in White Rock, did her hair and make-up and spent the day shooting. Elly had graciously agreed to take a few photos for me on this last day of shooting before her scheduled surgery. So we quickly sewed up a new Cherry Velvet wingbust dress design with a full skirt, and named it the 'Elly', with the hope that she would wear it to the party. We kept our fingers crossed that we'd gotten the size right (as Elly has lost 45 pounds) but we did. From our size large at the start of her modeling career about a year ago, she's now a size XS in our dresses.
With a ruse to pick up Nadine at Rain Hair Salon (adjacent to the Waterfall building), they got Elly all the way to the door without her really suspecting what was planned. With a full house including family, friends, photographers and press, the look on her face was both touching and priceless.
Elly Mayday and Nadine Eberts (photo credit to Brian Perkins)There was a total of 5 segments of fashion shows, including ours, with a huge line up of models all donating their time to the show. I'd like to thank all the amazing models who enthusiastically strutted their stuff down the runway. We're in the process of producing a video of the show which we'll share asap! But I'd like to personally thank all the girls that represented Cherry Velvet:
Jihan Amir (Wilhelmina Models) in 'Brigitte Shutterbug" Patrick Rooney Photography
Charlotte Curve Model in Brigitte "Turquoise Orchard" Patrick Rooney Photography
Sarah Lexi Lafontaine (Lexi Whitewall) in Elizabeth "Floral Bouquet" photo by Zemekiss
Christine Barham (Chrissy Noir) in Trudy "Chatroom" photo by Zemekiss
Nadine Eberts (Rain Hair Salon) in Trudy "Cherry Blossom" photo by Zemekiss
Tracy Cake (Tracy Cake Make-up and More) in Brigitte "Anime Flowers" photo by Zemekiss
Leah (MissLuscious Ness) in Brigitte "Rosy Dots" photo by Zemekiss
and of course Elly Mayday in the Elly Dress in "Black Damask" photo by Zemekiss
Elly took her turn walking down the runway in her new "Elly" dress. Patrick Rooney Photography
Elly's story and legacy is meant to be shared. She brought awareness to Ovarian Cancer and through her advocacy; Elly helped many, many women who struggled with this silent killer.
XOX Cherry Velvet
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