Red and green hair flowers: Both from Arden
Silver tone metal and crystal earrings: Claire's
Black 1950s velvet stole wrap: etsy seller A Better Time
Vintage reproduction 1950s style red & white halter dress: Classy Dames from Blue Velvet Vintage
1940s/50s white faux suede gloves: (probably) eBay
Faux leather bow clutch: Bentley
Black seamed nude stockings: eBay
Black faux suede round toe pumps: Wal-Mart
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red
Photography by Antonio Cangiano
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As a maple-leaf-red blooded Canadian, I like to think that I have a rather strong constitution when it comes to icy weather, and should I be dressed accordingly for such, I typically do. However, even I admit to being as chilly as a snowman in arctic on the evening a few days ago when we shot today's holiday ensemble photos. It was more than worth the Rudolph worthy rosy red nose, goose bumps, and chattering teeth though to find the perfect backdrop for an equally perfect holiday dress.
Blue Velvet Vintage, a top-notch online vintage, reproduction and vintage appropriate clothing and accessories shop, which I profiled in this post last July, has been - and continues to be - an absolutely awesome blog sponsor, and it is their resplendently lovely house line, Classic Dame, of vintage reproduction dresses that includes the knockout red and white 1950s style halter dress that you see here today.
Though this stylish frock wasn't designed specifically for the Christmas holiday season, it suits it marvelously, and I was elated to receive it as a review gift from Blue Velvet Vintage recently. I knew before it even arrived, that a dress of this caliber deserved an extra special location to shoot it against, but where, I wondered, would that be? After much brainstorming, Tony and I hit upon the idea of taking snaps in front a large Christmas tree made of out shimmering lights that greets visitors and locals alike in Kelowna shortly after they come into town.
As it's only lit during the evenings, when Christmas lights look their best anyhow, we buzzed up there after dinner one night and found a location (on the concrete ramp pathway leading to a foot traffic bridge across the always busy thoroughfare that is Harvey Avenue) from which we could safely shoot in this bustling urban area (and from which you could get a sense of what the background was).
Though I'd been thinking about what I might partner this beautiful red and white polka dot dress with for some time now, when the moment to do actually came, I ended up styling it pretty much on the fly, taking things in a different direction than I'd first had in mind (initially I'd thought we might shoot inside, but as such wasn't ultimately the case, I needed too add a couple of accessories to help fend off at least a little bit of the -7C chill that evening).
While this is a frock that you could wear any single day of the year, its colour palette is inherently Christmassy and as this was going to be my holiday shoot for 2013, I didn't hold back on adding to its seasonal feel. Rand green hair flowers, icicle hued crystal dangle earrings, classic white cloves, and touches of timeless black in the form of a velvet wrap and bow adorned faux suede heels all helped me feel as festive as jolly Old St. Nicolas himself.
This dress is a dream. Not only does it fit excellently (something that is not always the case with me and halter dresses), but it's made of thick, great quality 100% satin finish cotton, features a pleated sweetheart bodice with darling polka dot cotton pique fold over collar, lined bodice, sturdy metal zipper up the back, and a full skirt (measuring 27" long) that just begs to be twirled in (which I did to try and keep warm between a few photos).
Though I don't own as much repro as some folks, I have bought and also received a lovely selection of such pieces from various brands over the years and I honestly say, with complete impartialness (to the fact that I was sent this dress as review gift), that this delightful 1950s style halter dress is one of the best made pieces I've ever owned. There's quality workmanship at play here, as well as excellent materials, classic tailoring and an overall sense of quality that can't be beat.
In addition to the Christmas season, I know that thanks to the colours at work here, this is a dress I'll reach for often come both Valentine's Day and Canada Day as well, while also enjoying it on many a non-holiday day the whole year round (I'm thinking it would be a perfect choice to wear to next year's Peach City Peach Cruise in June).
I won't lie to you, it was mighty nippy out there that evening, but it was also incredibly lovely, serene in so as much as be had in such a high traffic environment, and rather magical. I've never done a shoot outdoors at night, let alone one set against a towering tree made of holiday lights. I will remember this night always, not simply because the weather was so invigorating, but because I felt positively alive with the Christmas spirit and was having a blast, even if my fingers, toes and shoulders were turning into Popsicles.
Nights like this, much like the holiday season itself, don't come along everyday - nor do stellar fifties style dresses like this one from Blue Velvet Vintage, and it was a rare and wonderful experience to get immortalize one on camera to look back on and always have as a beautiful memory of Christmas 2013 season.