Tuesday, 23 June 2015


Ah, the classic British summer. As we put this post together, the month of June is drawing to an end- which, apparently means one thing: grey skies, digging scarves back out from the bottom of our wardrobes and lots of drizzle thrown in for good measure. While the weather might just sort itself out by the time this post goes live (yeah right), here’s our pick of vintage cover ups to help keep the chill at bay.

The Kaftan
You know when you see an item of clothing that’s a little bit quirky and you fall head over heels? That’s how we feel about our Kalua kaftan. Its statement colours, geometric shapes and sweet ribbon tie come together to create one of the most playful cover ups we’ve seen in a while- and it’s light enough to be whipped away into a bag when the sun (finally) makes an appearance.

The Denim Jacket
Our sunshine yellow Diesel denim jacket gives this season’s denim trend a summertime twist. It’s all about the details with this piece, with its sweet floral embroidery and metal collar wings adding a feminine touch to its oversized shape.

The Oversized Shirt
Taking cues from seventies icon Jane Birkin, we love throwing on an oversized shirt over a feminine summer dress. The leaf print on our Hazel shirt, edged with white loop stitching, makes it the perfect piece to team with a white dress, either worn loose or knotted at the waist. In a much cooler hue, our sky blue Lani shirt looks sweet not only with high waisted jeans, but worn over a dress too. (And, as if its versatility wasn't enough to earn it some serious style points, did we mention it’s only £10?)

All items are available at bettyraevintage.com.

Words by Anam Rahim

Friday, 19 June 2015


In 1940, a nineteen year old Jane Russell was signed to a seven year contract by film maker Howard Hughes. She made her debut as Rio McDonald in The Outlaw (1943), the first of a string of films in which Hughes was determined to emphasise her sex appeal. The film's exposure of Russell’s figure stirred up a highly publicised censorship scandal and the film was only fully released in 1950. Its publicity shots, showing Russell reclining on a haystack, made her one of the most sought after pin-ups of World War II. Hughes’s obsession continued in 1954’s The French Line with a cut out swimsuit, and he later declared, ‘there are two great reasons why men go to see her. Those are enough.’

What Hughes failed to see was that there was so much more to Russell. Her portrayal of showgirl Dorothy Shaw in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) was a perfect example of her sharp wit, singing talent and comedic side, and became the ninth highest grossing film of that year. It was this singing talent that earned her an Academy Award in the 'Best Song' category in The Paleface (1948), and another nomination for the film's 1952 sequel, The Son of Paleface. 
In 1954, she formed the Hollywood Christian Group (despite being at the forefront of censorship controversy, she was actually a devout Christian), reaching number 27 on the Billboard Singles chart in 1954 with ‘Do Lord’, and releasing an LP soon after. And if that wasn't enough, she formed Russ-Field Productions with her first husband, Bob Waterfield, churning out titles such as Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1955) and The King and Four Queens (1956). She deliberately addressed Hollywood’s manipulation in 1957’s The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown (another Russ-Field release) saying, ‘that splendid career of mine? Don’t mix me up with the girl in the movies . . . all that’s only make-believe.’

Words by Anam Rahim

Tuesday, 2 June 2015


One of the first garments by Alexander McQueen featured at the V&A was a soft pink jumpsuit as part of its 1997 exhibition, Cutting Edge, a showcase of British designers of the twentieth century. Eighteen years later, Savage Beauty is dedicated solely to the McQueen and features over two hundred of the designer’s creations, from his MA collection at Central Saint Martins to the final set of garments he designed in 2010. Amongst the exhibition are items from some of his most memorable shows: Highland Rape, The Girl who lived in the Tree and Voss to name a few, laced together with quotes written on the walls and recordings of McQueen’s voice.

Savage Beauty captures the key themes throughout McQueen’s work well. A ghostly hologram of Kate Moss (the finale of the 2006 show, The Widows of Culloden) and a dress eaten away by silkworms show the designer’s fascination with decay, while gowns of skin, fake hair and dried flowers show the way McQueen’s designs also took influence from the natural world. For McQueen, fashion wasn't just about creating pretty pieces (although his designs are damn stunning). His shows were a theatrical performance, an idea that Savage Beauty, through its use of film, performance and media reflects.

What's really breathtaking when seeing the garments close up is the way McQueen took the most fragile materials and transformed them into something so much more powerful: a corset made of glass, gimp masks encrusted with tiny black pearls and structured frocks made from flowers that look as though they would crumble at the first touch. At the heart of the exhibition is the Cabinet of Curiosities, a trove of beautiful oddities: a corset made of metal coils, towering armadillo shoes and fierce headdresses while, in the centre, a paint splattered dress revolves around slowly in an echo of McQueen’s Spring Summer 1999 show. The last room in the exhibition shows McQueen’s final collection, Plato’s Atlantis, set in a futuristic underwater world. With structured shoulders and pronounced hips, the rich metallic minidresses are a perfect example of McQueen's signature tailoring. 

Savage Beauty celebrates McQueen's imagination and creativity, his talent for tailoring (an understatement) and the way he blurred the boundaries between art and fashion. We're calling it a must see exhibition.

Words by Anam Rahim
All images c/o Victoria and Albert Museum, London