News » Vintage Inspired
We simply wouldn't have “Retro Class with Modern Sass”, if we didn't recognize how inspired we are by Mid-Century Modern (MCM) design! This post-war movement was popularized between 1945-1969 and is characterized by simple, sleek lines with an uncluttered, minimalist aesthetic. As you can tell, it is still celebrated today!
Here at Cherry Velvet, we are definitely drawn to the kitschy, fun designs and colourful palettes of the Atomic Era, which coincided with the rise of MCM.
Why was it called The Atomic Era? Around the 1950s, nuclear power and space exploration had quickly become household phrases, and the world was excited about this new kind of energy. It symbolized the potential our future held and everyone was obsessed. And so, this era produced bright, cheery designs; demonstrating the positive outlook the world had at the time.
From fashion design to transportation, Atomic was the way!
Cherry Velvet's Atomic Necklace Sets
So let's come back to the future! – Some of our most MCM items at Cherry Velvet are our handmade necklace sets, custom designed by local jeweller, Mirror Mirror Bijoux. From their galactic sparkle to their scientific-inspired design, these glass bead beauties definitely echo that Atomic appeal.
Royal Atomic Set | Black Atomic Set | Rainbow Atomic Set | Atomic Tiffany Set
Now, we would be remiss to ignore a few of our most stellar prints!
Below are a few of our favourite MCM prints in our latest collection - Paired with our aptly named necklace sets. From jewellery to dresses, these looks are out of this world 😉:
With its uncomplicated illustrations, geometry theme and contrasting colours, this fun print is a great example of the simple, clean drawings popular in comics and cartoons at the time.
Which brings us to these next looks! These Kitschy-cool prints fully embodies the lighthearted, playful vibe of the period. Times were booming, so people were living it up! If Mad Men taught us anything, it's that Happy Hour meant all hours
Our newest dress to touch down on earth, this print features straight lines and subtle dots, against a tidy black background. It deftly illustrates the stark, yet striking impact this minimalist style can have!
What a fascinating and optimistic time in our history, don't you think? Suffice to say, this aesthetic has had and continues to have such an significant impact in our culture and it's such a testament to the hopes and dreams we have for our future. We love it!
So, how does the Retro culture inspire you? Tell us in the comments!
XOX Cherry Velvet
This flashback friday special is all about the Doris dress, one of our customer favourites. Join us for a stroll down memory lane, as we look back on previous releases of this beautiful style, and get excited for the new prints coming out very soon!
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 perfectly cover your bra's. The full skirt looks lovely with or without a crinoline, and there are pockets, of course!
In 2015, the Doris was first released in 4 beautiful and iconic prints - including our signature cherries on polka-dots (available right now!). For that season's photoshoot, we went to the stunning Hycroft Manor, an Edwardian mansion in Vancouver that's a popular spot for weddings.
Our model for this shoot was Charlotte, who's also an advocate for body acceptance. Didn't she look so lovely in the Doris?
You can say our 2016 release was definitely "stellar"! With two galactic prints (one that glows in the dark), we brought back the cherry dots, and added a fun digital-age pixel print.
We chose to shoot this time at Pier Park in New Westminster, BC (near Vancouver), with its beautiful greenery. Veronica Belle was on the mission this time, with her bombshell glamour shining as much as the glow-in-the-dark Star Magic dress!
In 2018, we released 5 fun and beautiful new prints. We had more kitschy options, like Bat the Lash and glow-in-the-dark skulls, and realistic prints, like Rose Crush and Citrus Slice, plus the stunning floral; Enchanted Garden.
Our model, Veronica Belle, is pure pin-up glamour and a Cherry Velvet veteran, shooting with us until this very day!
And that brings us to our newest releases! You can look out for these beauties very soon on our online store, and our lemon-y "Squeeze The Day" is available right now!
Squeeze The Day - Swizzle Sticks - Violet Femmes - Fly With Pride
It was fun looking back, but you can see there are also many exciting things to look forward to!
We hope you enjoy these new releases and make sure to follow us on our social media or subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to hear when all the new Doris dresses are available.
XOX Cherry Velvet
Tracy wears The Doris in Royal Roses
Long before I joined this team, I struggled with depression and body dysmorphia. For years, I did my best to love my curves,
but I became very aware of the lack of clothing that loved my curves back. Disillusioned by modern fashion, I turned to the wonderful world of Retro/Pin-Up fashion...
Years later, destiny would walk me through the doors of a place I wished I had found so many years ago.
Working here is like working in Disneyland; every new print, every new dress...there's magic for everyone. :) It's SO fun to pour over the swatches and discuss what's to come. I love that not only do our dresses love curves, they encourage them!
I would be remiss if I didn't reminisce about my favourite thing to do here - I absolutely love connecting with our customers during personal shopping appointments and studio shops (sadly on hiatus at this time). Helping our customers find their dress(es) is so undeniably fulfilling, I live for those happy twirls in front of the mirror! :)
As I continue on this journey, I reflect about how much I've grown here - In this short while, my energetic, positive personality has been more than welcomed and I'm so motivated by the strong women I'm surrounded by every day (Diane, Julia and so many of our wonderful customers). I love motivating our team, and I love sharing everyone's excitement for every dress we release.
I look forward to continuing my Reign of Sunshine here :)
Read my last blog post here!
The Danielle: A much-beloved sassy frock, produced in about 15 different prints over Cherry Velvet history. Named after a darling previous staff member and model, this design was released for the first time way back in 2015.
With so many versions of it, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at all the past Danielles! Plus, here's a secret just for you: A little bird has said we might be seeing this frock again this summer...
Image credit: Disney
One of the special features of the Danielle is that we often use one-way prints. This takes more fabric, but also means that we can use more unusual and striking prints.
This charming design features an alluring "V" neckline, with buttons that match the print, a pointed collar and best of all a unique peek-a-boo back. After all, your exit is every bit as important as your entrance! The full skirt looks lovely on its own or with a crinoline, and includes (as always!) hidden pockets in the side seams.If you like it from the front, wait 'til you see it from the back!
And now, for your viewing pleasure, here is a gallery of all our past Danielles!
Let us revel in nostalgia...
Prints: Bazaar, Celestial Damask, and Red Rose
Prints: Hexi Dot, Bird Bath, and Bento Box
Prints: Rose Picnic, Cherry Luau, Poppy Lagoon
Prints: Silhouette, Shutterbug, and Black Geo
Prints: Beach Pugs, Rose Floral, Retro Star
We know, we know. They're so beautiful and fun. We wish they'd still be available too, but they are long sold out. However, fear not: we have exciting new things coming this year!
Did you enjoy seeing the history of our Danielle dress? Let us know if you did, and if you'd like to see more Frock Flashbacks.
Stay tuned for Name That Print contests, new releases, and other fun news!
XOX Cherry Velvet
Published Dec 24 2019 in behind the scenes, Canadian Designer, Canadian Made, Cherry Velvet, Cherry Velvet Dresses, Customer Appreciation, Employee Appreciation, Made In Canada, Made in Vancouver, Thank you, Vancouver-designed, Vintage Inspired, what's new
It's been another wonderful year, we thank you, all of our beautiful fans and customers for your support. It absolutely fills our hearts with joy to see our customers smiling; our dresses making you feel confident and ready for anything.
We know none of the success we've shared with you wouldn't be possible without *you*, and to be completely honest, it wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable without you, either. So, once more, we want to express our great appreciation to you for being on this journey of fabulousness with us.
Wishing you the happiest of holidays, the merriest of Christmases and nothing but the very best for the New Year and beyond.
XOXO With Love from all of us Diane, Julia, Logan, and Tracy.
The holiday season is upon us, and with it, the most fun part (for many): Parties! Offices, families and friend groups alike are organizing merry celebrations for the end of the year. Gift exchanges, delicious dinners… And dressing up! It's all part of the fun. How many of us wait all year for this time to shine?
Here at Cherry Velvet, we have some beautiful dresses to give you vintage flair and retro style as you dazzle at your functions! Whether you’re looking for kitschy fun, glamorous glimmer, or flattering classics, we have options for you.
These outfits were prepared to showcase a bit of what we have, but there is so much more available at our online store and during our Studio Shops!
And without much ado... The outfits!
Are you a bond girl, femme fatale, or a smoke show bombshell? This is the outfit for you! A glimmering black dress - our Lana in Black Shimmer. With its seductive curved V neckline, when paired with our red chiffon crinoline... It's like the Louboutin of party dresses. Add our red Samantha shrug for warmth; and to really set things ablaze: the Light My Fire matchstick necklace and earring set!
When traditional, magical Christmas captures your heart, you'll be perfectly suited for out Brigitte in Festive Fairies print! Magical folks frolicking amongst poinsettias, perfectly evoke the ancient traditions of the season. A black chiffon crinoline gives this dress lovely volume, and our Claire capelet will cover your shoulders in whimsical, magical drape. Accessorize with the subtle accent of a black necklace, such as our Black Atomic necklace and earring set.
For the glamour of a silver screen diva, look no further than our shiny, metallic frocks. The Norma in Silver Filigree, for example, captures light beautifully in its regal silver pattern. A chiffon crinoline gives your dress a glamorous shape, and our Samantha shrug in black sparkle will cover your shoulders in warmth and shine. For that final twinkling touch, use the Atomic Galaxy necklace and earring set, and you'll shine on all night long!
We hope to have inspired you to find your perfect holiday outfit, be it for a casual party at home, or for a glamorous night out on the town!
And make sure to share your photos with us by tagging #cherryvelvet or sending them by email to email@example.com for a chance to be featured on our social media!
Browse all our dresses online,
Or Shop in person at 1635 Powell Street, Vancouver BC on our next Studio Shop dates:
- Dec 13 from 2-7pm
- Dec14 from 11-5 pm
- Dec 20 from 2-7 pm
- Dec 21 from 11-5 pm
XOX Cherry Velvet
In a way, everything that you see and consume can become an inspiration. In the Design field, we call this "repertoire". They are all the things you've seen and learned about, and that serve as an influence for every idea you have. The more you see, watch, read, and consume, the larger your repertoire - and the easier it is to create.
Although most ideas come organically like that, we also sometimes work with direct inspiration. When it comes to modern vintage style, part of the challenge is adapting interesting features and details into contemporary textiles, techniques, and silhouettes.
In our collections, we have occasionally created dresses directly inspired by specific references. Today, we'd like to share some of these with you.
Our Dita dress was inspired by the one worn by Dita Von Teese a few years ago. In the '50s, contrast details were commonly used to add interest and make designs unique. White and bright colours were mostly used.
Diane designed the Dita with a black contrasting sweetheart neckline, making it the right balance between vintage and modern.
One of the most iconic symbols of the '50s is most certainly Marilyn Monroe in her white dress from "The Seven Year Itch", released in 1955. The airy fabric and gathered halter front are unforgettable.
Gathered halter tops were a summer staple of the decade. Many dress patterns featured the style. The Norma dress, named after Marilyn's birth name, was designed to have the lovely look of a halter top, with the comfort and wearability of a closed back.
Neckline, collar and top details made many 1950's dress designs unique. Buttons were commonly used in creative ways, such as on these overlapping criss-cross flaps. Diane took inspiration from this '50s photo to design our Kate dress.
Recently, the same criss-cross button feature has been spotted on drama series "The Marvelous Mrs Maisel" once in season 2 (2018), and also in the filming of season 3 (2019).
We hope you enjoyed getting to know a bit about how some of our designs came to be! If our dresses piqued your interest, you can get yourself a Dita, Norma or a Kate at our online store in a variety of prints!
XOX Cherry Velvet
Last weekend at the Studio Shop a couple travelled all the way from Portland, Oregon, just to see us! We were so thrilled and honoured. And it's such a sweet story....
Meet Andy and Lisa. Andy's birthday gift to Lisa was a weekend trip to Vancouver and an "Empty Suitcase" to fill up with Cherry Velvet frocks. Can you imagine such a treat?
Lisa has a great laugh! And it was so lovely to watch her happy experience. She loved everything she tried on and was overjoyed with the fit and all the fun prints making it so hard to choose. These are the problems we all like to have: having so many choices of pretty dresses that fit!
The Paige Dress in Flower Power print was the first dress she tried and it was obvious that this dress lit Lisa up. She absolutely LOVED everything about this dress and it fit her like a glove but it was really the bright, vintage floral print that she connected to.
Next, Lisa tried on the Minerva Dress - Fantastic Beast, Unicorn print. This was a dress that she had on her list and was already excited to try on before she even got here. It didn't make it in her bag though.
The final choices included: The Shelly Dress in Slate Gingham, Elizabeth dress in the Graceful Dead print, Norma in the Gamer Girl print as well as the Paige Dress in Flower Power print. After her fun afternoon of shopping Andy took Lisa out for her birthday dinner to Maenam for delicious Thai food. What a day!!
Lots of folks have a heck of a time finding the right birthday gifts for their partner. What to do? A gift card is nice but can feel a little impersonal and a trip is a great way to celebrate another turn around the sun but... our new friend Andy really nailed it in our books. We've told Andy that he needs to spread the word about his magnificent idea! Don't you wish your partner would gift this for your birthday!
Thank-you so much Lisa and Andy! We loved having you visit our shop! Hope to see you next year!
XOX Diane and Barb
"This week we wanted to revisit this guest post by freelance writer Christina Myers. I would be lying if I said it didn't make a couple of us, here at the office, choke up a little. Christina is also a Cherry Velvet customer who decided to share with us her relationship with fashion and dresses. Thank you, Christina!"
Vintage fashion, self-love and the pleasure of pretty things...
I’ve always taken great pleasure in fashion – but for many years, that pleasure was reserved for browsing, only. I’d buy Vogue and Vanity Fair and spend hours relishing the designs and fabrics and accessories as they changed from year to year. Vintage anything, in particular, would catch my eye: cocktail dresses from the ‘50s, old-school silk and lace slips, war-era Victory roll hairdos. Don’t get me wrong: I loved modern things too (Tom Ford late ‘90s? Chanel all the way through the 1980s? Alexander McQueen basically any year ever? Yes, please!) But the things that always jumped out at me were the vintage touches: beaded clutches and Jackie O. pearls, glittery brooches and Mary Jane pumps, snug knee-length skirts and Cuban heeled stockings. If you think modern fashion in even its most simplistic, streamlined forms is a new-born beast each season, look again: vintage is everywhere, almost every year, though sometimes in just the tiniest details.
But, I struggled with the frivolity of fashion. I thought of myself as level-headed, smart – and strongly committed to feminist ideals, to boot. I worked in a field that required others to take me seriously. Was it fluffy-headed to like pretty things? Was I being silly and indulgent to care about this stuff?
Worse, I knew perfectly well that fashion could be a tool of oppression, a simple and effective extension of the intense scrutiny over female bodies – and a costly one at that, for an extra layer of gendered burden.
How was it possible that something that felt profoundly individualistic and pleasurable and even empowering – the fun I had in choosing a lipstick colour or a pair of shoes, the confidence I felt when indulging in certain outfits – was so laden with negative overtones? Could one be independent and intelligent and be taken seriously – and still enjoy a crinoline from time to time?
These were not idle thoughts but genuine debates I had with myself as I considered my responsibility not just to myself, but as a member of a larger “womanhood.”
On top of that, like many women, I struggled with my body – the food I ate, the shape of it, the way it changed through puberty and adulthood and motherhood. From my early teens forward, the message I heard was clear: unless you’re perfect, you need to cover up.
The result of all this body image/self-perception/internal philosophy was a wardrobe of black, with high necklines and long sleeves – and a lot of not-quite-being-myself-in-my-own-body. I’d treat myself to a pair of pretty tights or a satin purse or dramatic earrings – then tuck them away for “someday.”
It’s impossible to do that forever, without being unhappy. For me, a series of seismic life shifts, starting in my mid-20s, slowly – glacially slow at times – allowed me to come into myself in ways that were colourful, individual and most importantly, unapologetic.
It turns out that the unexpected result of indulging in the fashion that I loved – regardless of current trends or the disapproval of others or even my precise body shape at any given time – had the precise opposite effect I had feared when I was younger.
I don’t feel silly or self-indulgent, childish or fluffy – I feel like a woman in charge of herself.
It is a work in progress, and like most women, I’d be lying if I said I walk out of the house feeling divine every single day. I often pile on dramatic accessories, then take them back off. I try to tame my hair and lament when it’s bigger than it should be. I second-guess a polka-dot dress or a particularly bright pair of knee socks and wonder if I should go back upstairs and change. And it ain’t all silks and satins: many days, what makes me happiest is a pair of black leggings, an oversized sweatshirt, a ponytail and a pair of flip flops.
The point, though, is this: I dress for myself and I take intense pleasure in doing so – whether it’s dressing up or dressing way down – and if onlookers enjoy it, or don’t, is entirely secondary.
Discovering Cherry Velvet several years ago now, at the tail end of a lot of personal change, was (at the risk of sounding overly dramatic) a revelation.
The dresses were gorgeous, for sure: vintage shapes, big skirts, figure-hugging in the best ways even for curvy bodies.
But it was the spirit of the dresses that I fell in love with.
They’re meant to stand out. They are totally unapologetic. The fabrics are quirky at times, irreverent and fun. Squirrels and birds. Bicycles. Flamingos. Sushi rolls, anyone? Some are elegant, in classic colours and muted tones or bright primaries. They’re fun, and intentionally so. They’re pretty, elegant or cute, depending on the fabric and design. And let’s not mince words: they are ALL sexy as hell. (And, the cherry on top: the company is owned by a woman, the dresses are designed by that same woman, and the manufacturing happens locally – not to mention ethically, which can’t be said for most overseas clothing production.)
(Christina with her sister, both loving the same dress :)
But here’s the most important thing, in my opinion: these dresses are made to be worn. They’re comfortable and sturdy (yes, sturdy, and how often can you say that about a dress), practical (I’m talking pockets) and a breeze to take care of. They’re easy to get in and out of, with long zippers, or shapes that you can simply pull over the head.
In other words, they are made FIRST AND FOREMOST for the person wearing them. Think about that for a moment. They’re made with the woman who will wear them as the primary focus. Shouldn’t be so revolutionary, but it is.
A majority of fashion is made to look good to an observer but doesn’t feel so good to the person wearing it. Outfits are designed and made like props, objects one is required to “put up with” for the benefit of the world. The phrase “suffering for fashion” comes to mind.
But if I am truly dressing for myself, it can’t be just about the way a thing looks, it’s also fundamentally about how I feel while wearing it. And Cherry Velvet nails it.
I recently went out for a long-awaited celebration dinner with a group of women friends. All of us are CV fans and we each wore one of our CV dresses.
Not one of us wears the same size or even has the same shape. Between us we have given birth to nine children. We all have body image “junk,” parts of our bodies we like more or less. And we all enjoy very different things when it comes to colour and design.
The result? We were proud as peacocks in our dresses; from my solid cherry-red to my friend’s bluebird print, we were wearing every colour of the rainbow. We added cute-as-pie shoes, cardigans for our shoulders (hey, it’s still dang cold out), sparkly bead necklaces or pearls or no accessories at all, and off we went.
And every single one of us felt incredible. How often does that happen with a group of women? We were comfortable. Sexy. Smart. Fun.
We had a waitress take our photo and I sent it to Cherry Velvet that same night with a note about which designs we were each wearing. We are grinning like mad fools.
And though it was left unsaid, that photo for me was really a thank you – a way to say “look at us, all so different and so imperfect and so very, very beautiful being ourselves.”
Because what I’ve figured out, at long last, is that being different and imperfect – in body, in thought, in fashion - is not an impediment to being me.
Being different and imperfect – and feeling good about this – is, in fact, the very basis of being exactly who I am, as it is for all of us.
Christina Myers for Cherry Velvet
Christina Myers is a former journalist turned freelancer and creative writer. Her work appears in local magazines and she has been published in a number of anthologies. She is a fan of dresses with pockets, long socks and nerdy things. Find her online at christinaplus.wordpress.com, or on Twitter @ChristinaMyersA.