News » #retroglam

  • More Vintage Inspiration - Shaheen's Shine

    Published Oct 13 2021 in #1950s, #alfredshaheen, #holiday, #metallic, #partydress, #plussize, #retro, #retroglam

    Alfred Shaheen metallic fabricsIn 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!

    Alfred Shaheen metallic fabrics
    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. 

    Blue Cherry Velvet Elly dress with a wingbust and metallic fabricIt'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!)

    Cherry Velvet dresses with metallic printsHave 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. Cherry Velvet Chrissy dress in Paisley plumes worn by Ruby RoxxA 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! Cherry Velvet dresses metallic prints for holiday 2021
    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

  • Strut for a Cause: Benefit for Elly Mayday and Ovarian Cancer

    Published Mar 30 2021 in #ArthurErickson, #cherryvelvet, #ellymayday, #ladyballs, #madeincanada, #ovariancancer, #retrodress, #retroglam, #waterfallbuilding

    *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                       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 AmerJihan Amir (Wilhelmina Models) in 'Brigitte Shutterbug" Patrick Rooney Photography 

    Charlotte Doering       Charlotte Curve Model in Brigitte "Turquoise Orchard" Patrick Rooney  Photography

    Lexi WhiteWall    Sarah Lexi Lafontaine (Lexi Whitewall) in Elizabeth "Floral Bouquet" photo by Zemekiss

    Chrissy Barham                  Christine Barham (Chrissy Noir) in Trudy "Chatroom" photo by                               Zemekiss

    Nadine Eberts   Nadine Eberts (Rain Hair Salon) in Trudy "Cherry Blossom" photo by                    Zemekiss

    Tracy Cake wearing Cherry VelvetTracy Cake (Tracy Cake Make-up and More) in Brigitte "Anime Flowers" photo by Zemekiss

    Chery Velvet Brigitte Dress
    Leah (MissLuscious Ness) in Brigitte "Rosy Dots" photo by Zemekiss

    Elly MayDay wearing the Cherry Velvet Elly Dress
    and of course Elly Mayday in the Elly Dress in "Black Damask" photo by Zemekiss

    Elly MayDay wearing the Cherry Velvet Elly Dress
    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

  • Highlights at Hycroft Manor

    Published Jan 20 2021 in #cherryvelvet, #hycroftmanor, #madeincanada, #pinup, #pinupdress, #plussize, #retroglam, #retropinup

    It's hard to believe it's been 6 years since we did this catalog shoot for Spring/Summer 2015! So many people came together to carry this out without a hitch: Ruby Roxx and Charlotte Doering were the two stunning models. We were also lucky to have the incredible Glam Queen, Shimona Henry to transform these lovely ladies into Pin-up Perfection.

    models Ruby Roxx and Charlotte Doering wearing Cherry Velvet dresses at Hycroft ManorOn shoot day, the models and the Pin-up Perfection team arrived with pin curled hair, curling irons, make up kits and large coffees!  There were 40 dresses to shoot; we knew it was going to be a long day.  For two models, that's a hard day's work of pose-smile-repeat. Standing and posing in freezing January weather while wearing a summery cotton dress and teetering on high heels is much harder than it looks!

    Model Ruby Roxx wearing a Cherry Velvet Dress at Hycroft ManorHycroft Manor was the perfect location; a combination of the classic retro feeling we love and traditional architectural detail. We arrived with a plethora of fluffy crinolines, boxes of colorful shoes, a suitcase full of pretty jewelry, and of course the beautiful dresses.

    Model Charlotte Doering wearing a Cherry Velvet dress at Hycroft Manor

    Model Ruby Roxx wearing a Cherry Velvet dress at Hycroft Manor

    Models Ruby Roxx and Charlotte Doering wear Cherry Velvet dresses at Hycroft ManorHycroft is a magnificent Edwardian mansion, originally built for Alexander Duncan McRae, at the beginning of the twentieth century.  McRae made his new home a spectacular show place for legendary parties and masquerade balls. Every room in the mansion is spectacular; like this Art Deco conservatory.

    Model Ruby Roxx wearing a Cherry Velvet dress at Hycroft ManorThe guest book at Hycroft read like a Who's Who of the 20's and 30's with  names of visiting royalty, well-known business associates, politicians and the social elite of Vancouver. It was said to be an honour and a delight to be invited to Hycroft and if you were, you would most likely sit in this stunning drawing room.

    Model Charlotte Doering wears a Cherry Velvet dress at Hycroft ManorModel Ruby Roxx wears a Cherry Velvet dress at Hycroft ManorModel Charlotte Doering wears a Cherry Velvet dress at Hycroft Manor

    Model Ruby Roxx wears a Cherry Velvet dress at Hycroft ManorThe grounds of the manor are as impressive as the inside. We shot outside among these ionic columns with stunning views in every direction.

    Charlotte Doering models a Cherry Velvet Dress at Hycroft Manor

    Charlotte Doering and Ruby Roxx model Cherry Velvet Dresses at Hycroft Manor

    Charlotte Doering models a Cherry Velvet Dress at Hycroft ManorWith my favourite photographer -Shimona- on hand and such a beautiful setting, I couldn't resist getting my photo taken too. I'm wearing "vintage" Cherry Velvet. This one was called the Charlotte; I just love all the beautiful green and blues in this butterfly print.

    Cherry Velvet designer Diane Kennedy at Hycroft Manor

    I can't believe how fast time flies and it was so fun to look back at this blast from the past with you. I hope you've enjoyed these highlights from our epic photoshoot at Hycroft Manor. 

    XOX Diane

  • Confessions of a Fashion Designer

    Published Nov 05 2020 in #cherryvelvet, #pinupdress, #plussizeretro, #retroglam, #retropinup, #themarvelousmrsmaisel

    Thanks for sending in your Cherry Velvet questions! We caught up with Diane as she opened up about what she's doing next, her process and her take on the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. 

    A drawing of Cherry Velvet designer Diane Kennedy with the caption ask Diane

    I have a lot of trouble doing up the zippers in the back of the dresses. Would you ever consider changing your zipper to have a pull that would allow the use of a zipper helper?

    Great question. I'm so glad a few of you brought this to my attention. I've always cheated and pulled the dresses over my head without ever undoing the zipper. (as a plus size this is possible, but not for the smaller sizes) So going forward I've changed the zipper we're using away from the invisible style zipper. The tiny pull does not allow the attachment of a ribbon or hook to help with doing up the zipper. So starting with our next dress, the Olivia, most of our dresses will come with this new exposed zipper that allows for the attachment of a longer zipper pull. I want getting dressed to be easier for you!

    What trends do you follow when picking prints?

    As a dress company inspired by vintage dress designs, I admit we really don't follow a lot of trends. Every season I comb through the fabrics offered by a multitude of fabric companies in search of the prints that I think you will love to wear. Lately, I've found a beautiful 70's inspired floral, and as 70's fashion has seen a resurgence in the past year or two, that's probably the closest we get to a 'trend'.

    Do you follow colour trends? Is that a byproduct of fabric trends?

    Again I have to say, I don't really follow colour trends much. Perennially popular are black dresses with bright prints. I do try to keep a nice assortment for all of you with colours like red, blue, aqua, purple and the occasional green. Less often you'll see colours like pink, orange or yellow, even though I truly love these colours. Right now I'm considering a print with a goldenrod yellow background.

    Are you the only designer or is there a design team?

    I am the only designer, however my staff does provide feedback and input on choosing new fabrics. I did have an assistant designer a while back, but she left on maternity leave and I have not replaced her.

    When will the Vanessa dress come back in stock? I am looking to update my wardrobe with dresses that cover the chest area a bit more.

    Thanks for your feedback. I agree the Vanessa was a great style, however it was hard for the factory to sew the tip of the V neck accurately and I was not 100% satisfied with the result. Hence I decided to discontinue this style. There is going to be an updated version called Jacqueline that will be loosely based on the Vanessa but with a change to the neckline design.

    I think you will like the Olivia, this classic dress is suitable for work as it covers the chest nicely. I had planned to cut this new style weeks ago but, unfortunately there have been two unforeseen delays with the fabric. The Olivia dress is in production now and I'll have this one for you very soon in 6 lovely prints.

    Do you make any styles that are longer?

    This is a question we get asked a lot. I would love to make a few dresses that are longer, but the reality is that takes a lot more fabric to do that. The cotton we use is very narrow, only 42" wide, so making longer dresses really adds to the cost of the dress. I did make a style that is longer called the Waterfront dress and it comes in 4 beautiful prints here.

    Have you watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel? Did any of the dress styles in it inspire you?

    I ordered Prime just so I could watch Mrs. Maisel. I was not disappointed, the clothing was fabulous! There was an adorable stripe dress that caught my eye later on in the season. I'm always looking for a stripe fabric that's just right to make a sundress. I did find one for Spring that's inspired by the bands on vintage Pyrex kitchenware. Making a stripe dress offers unique challenges but the results can really be striking. Besides her dresses, I was enamoured with her coat wardrobe! Just WOW. So many beautifully cut and tailored coats and those beautiful bright colours!

    Marlesous Mrs. Maisel wearing a striped sundress

    I would love to know what the process is for when you make a new dress design. Are there special ladies that inspire you and you create a dress that you feel is "them"? I ask because I have noted that all your dress designs are ladies names.

    I confess that usually I have an idea of a dress I'd like to wear myself and I go ahead and make it happen. Sometimes I see a photo of a dress that inspires me that was worn by a famous star like Marilyn or Dita. Or I imagine one of my girlfriends or customers that I think would look amazing in my design. I am absolutely inspired by the female figure. It's so important to me that my dresses really look good and flatter a women's curves. Not much makes me happier than seeing my ladies looking and feeling amazing in my dresses.

    I really love the Marie dress with the zipper in the front. Will you ever make any other front zip styles?

    As a matter of fact, I'm planning a sleeveless style with a front zipper in the Spring. I'm guessing it'll show up around March as long as the fabric fairies are on our side and the Spring fabrics arrive in a timely manner.

    Cherry Velvet Dress designer Diane Kennedy standing in her office wearing a dress of her own design

    How do you encourage/support your creative spirit during this pandemic?

    Other than slowing down a bit mostly due to delays with the fabric supply, really my creative drive is still strong. I truly love my job and so it's not like work to me. I love to look through fabrics and plan what's coming next. The pandemic has impacted my social life far more than my creativity. If anything, the slower pace has encouraged more time to be creative. I have new dresses and prints already planned into next summer.

    How do you measure for the varying sizes when making dresses? (Some companies are so off)

    When I make a dress pattern for the first time I start with a block which is the technical term for a base pattern. By reusing the same base pattern each time it allows for more continuity of fit. In the final result there will be some variation in the fit between styles, but that does allow for the variation that happens naturally between women's bodies. There are other natural variations that occur with fit, for example if the fabric changes, the fit can also change. After the pattern is finalized the grading rules are applied to create the other sizes. This means the pattern grows and shrinks from one size to another by the same amount no matter the dress style. 

    What are your top 5 favourite Cherry Velvet dresses ever?

    Oh well, that's easy and hard to answer at the same time. Often my favourite dress is the one I'm currently wearing! My all time favourite dress is the Norma, I just love how it enhances the feminine figure. My favourite Norma prints are Unhappy Hour and Santas in Space; both amazingly artistic and special prints. My next favourite dress is Doris, because I love the cut of this style around the bust. My favourite Doris print is Enchanted garden, it's a spectacular large scale floral in shades of pinks, blues, purple and jade. The Shelly dress is another  favourite named after my girlfriend Shelly and my favourite print is called Party dot. It was black with vintage coloured dots. A classic! The Brigitte in the Camera print will forever be my favourite sundress. I love the shorter length (I'm short) and the open keyhole back detail. *Please note none of the prints I've mentioned are still available

    What is your inspiration for choosing new prints for each season?

    Customer requests are often my motivation for looking for new prints. I also might look for a colour we haven't had for a while. But mostly I just look for the the coolest, the most beautiful and unique prints that I can find that I think are worthy of becoming a Cherry Velvet dress. Last year when we did a survey the top requests were dinosaur prints and florals. So I've been looking hard to find these prints for you. You might have noticed our amazing "Dino-might" glow in the dark print, and there is another Dinosaur print coming very early next Spring. Also, I've found lots of beautiful florals for Spring and can't wait to show them to you.

    Thanks again for sending in your questions!

    We're always happy to hear your opinions, suggestions and feedback. Feel free to send in your comments anytime!

    XOX Diane