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We thought it would be fun to share an interview with our newest team member. Introducing our adorable new Graphic Designer, April, who recently joined us in August. You may recognize her cotton-candy tresses and bubbly smile as she recently appeared on the scene modeling the newest dresses on the website and socials.
April is a breath of fresh air with her optimistic perspective, creative talent and artistic viewpoint. April will be marrying the love of her life in Scotland next year and we couldn't be more excited for this wee lass. Let's get to know April:
Who are your style inspirations?
Life holds so many opportunities for inspiration; as a visual designer it is my passion to consume the physical world, then reflect the interesting bits back in my work. People that inspire me:Illustration: Christoph NiemannHumanitarian: Elladj BaldePersona: Kate McKinnonWeb: We Are Only HumanMusic: Sofi Tukker
What would people find unexpected about you?
I have a background in interior design and I love renovating. I don't shy away from the bigger jobs including flooring, plumbing, and minor electrical, I just need a ladder as I'm only 5'2".
You are getting married to a Scotsman! Do you have a favorite Scottish saying you've picked up?
I could not believe the first time car park came out of my mouth, and I definately have adopted Oi rather they Hey!
How would you describe your personal style?
My at-home style is 'sport-metal' heavily influenced by Lululemon, self-made tie-dye oversized hoodies and my fiancé's random 70's - 90's band T-shirts.
My going-out-in-public style is Power Feminine. This outfit hinges on how much walking needs to happen. I love pairing a straight leg one piece jump suit with chunky platform shoes or bad-ass stilettos. But we better be taking an Uber right to the door!
Do you have any hidden talents?
I'm a mom.. so obviously I can read minds.
Five things you can’t live without?
My family (quietly minding their own business while do what I do.)
Good Music always manages to inspire or lift me out of a funk.
The Adobe Suite, and my computer for that matter because ART=LIFE.
Opinions of the very few (you know who you are) “Care about people’s approval, and you will always be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu
Food and Water.. isn't that obvious?
And lastly, what is your favorite Cherry Velvet dress?
The Molecular Magic with the cutie black shrug is amazing. I feel like I'm going to my first year at Hogwarts.
We're so happy to have this lovely, creative girl working with us! Please feel free to say hi to her on our social posts!
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
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
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
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
One of the many things that makes a Cherry Velvet dress special is the assortment of wonderful quirky prints that we use. You may not have thought about this before, but printed fabrics come in either a “one way” direction or “two way” direction. We thought you might like to know why we choose prints for certain dresses the way we do.
Below are two charts where we show you a dress design and its marker, which is the guideline factories use to cut the dress pattern pieces out of the fabric.
A one way print means that all the pattern pieces that make up the dress need to be cut in one direction. For example, two of the prints you voted to see again, Castle Plans and Atomic Kitties, are both one way. You would not want upside down cats or castles on the front of your dress, right? So all the pattern pieces that show on the outside of the dress have to be cut in the same direction.
Alternatively, a two way print can be cut in either direction. For example, one of the skirt panels can be cut one way and the other skirt panel can be cut the opposite way. By the time the dress is sewn up, you have no idea which way the panels went, and it doesn't matter - it's beautiful all the same!
Certain dresses are designed specifically for one way prints. The fabric that we use is very narrow, high quality 100% cotton. It’s only 42 inches wide, so you can imagine that cutting a full skirt out of a one-way print takes a LOT of fabric! That is also why it's rare to see a full skirted dress in a one way print.
Our line-up includes unique dresses that were designed specifically for these special one way prints. They use the fabric in such a way that there is not a lot of fabric waste (more fabric waste = more expensive dresses). The Brigitte, Angelina, Danielle, Marie and the Norma are the one-way dresses we've designed so far. The pieces are fit together on the marker as tightly as possible to save fabric.
In comparison, some of the two-way dresses we make are the Doris, Olivia, Paige, and Shelly to name a few. Usually they have fuller skirts, since the two way print allows for better utilization of the fabric.
We hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about how we make our dresses. Next time you're wearing one of our creations, you'll have a fun bit of trivia to tell about how they're crafted!
Thank you for reading, and see if you can spot on our upcoming releases if they are one way or two way print dresses!
XOX Cherry Velvet