17 December 2011

Vintage Fashion on Film... from the Midlands

I'm currently conducting a research project which is taking me around the country visiting regional film archives. In preparation for my interviews, I keep finding myself sucked into the online video section of the archives' websites. Amongst the gems are plenty of movies to keep the vintage fashion enthusiast swooning. I thought you might like to see a few nuggets from the Media Archive for Central England, the last archive I visited. Much of their collection is footage filmed to create TV news compilations, hence the reason the clips are short and silent... so put on your own tunes, put your feet up and enjoy!

Dior Fashions at Ragley Hall, 1959
Behold that tiny cinched in waist and stunning scoop back on the second dress! The models are so elegant - I simply must learn to walk like that... although possibly not practical down Brixton High Street...

Spring Fashion Show, 1961
Oh my! The floral and geometric prints being shown off at this Fabric Fair are just gorgeous! Great Horrockses style, don't you think? Plus some good twirling action to boot.

Jersey Autumn Fashions, 1963
Spot the Jenny Skirt with Suspenders!

Fashion Show, 1956
Loving the cape-sleeved (?!) coat. But again, is it practical to walk around with your elbows sticking out like that?

Fashion Parade at Grand Hotel, Birmingham, 1963
Another great coat here, with an adorable little bow at the waist, fabric covered buttons and cute collar.

Parade of Fashion, 1967
This one should come with a health warning. If you have even the slightest feminist inclination, be prepared to be disturbed by this undies display at the West Midlands Agricultural Show. Yes, "Agricultural Show".

And finally, to cheer us up after that hideousness, a nun sewing And why not.

Anyone got any patterns in their stash similar to the lovely styles showcased in these videos?

[Soundtrack: 'Try a Little Tenderness' by Otis Redding]


  1. what fun videos! thanks for sharing :)

  2. If today's runway models tried to do some of those moves, I have the feeling they'd end up on the floor. and I also noticed one move which I don't think anyone has seen performed by a runway model in a very very long time: the 'I'm going to show you the lining" maneuvre, where in this case, the model deliberately opens her skirt to show that the over-panel is lined. In the old days, especially if the models were showing suits or dress/coat ensembles, they would, at some point in the walk, stop, open the jacket or coat, slowly twirl, and show off the lining, the blouse underneath the jacket and so on. No one does this at all now; it's straight around, with a look of extreme boredom or hostility and back to the backstage they go.

  3. Oh, how brilliant - thanks for sharing! I'm surprised some of the models could walk in a straight line after all that twirling...eeek! 1959 Dior Fashions is my absolute favourite, followed by 1963 Jersey Autumn Fashions. 1967 Parade of Fashion left me feeling a little bewildered ;o)

  4. What a mesmerising post. I was all stressed and panicking over lists. Now I'm all inspired and full of smiles. The clip of the girls skipping round in girdle/corsets in front of apple munching men is hilarious! Thanks Tilly. You are my therapy!!! x

  5. Thank you for sharing the gorgeous outfits! The men didn't seem very interested in the underwear to be honest!

  6. Oooh fab footage Tilly. My favourites were the second dress from the first Dior clip (gorgeous), the flowery Horrocksey dress from the 1961 Spring Fashion Show and the coat trimmed with leopardskin from the 1956 Fashion Show.
    Interesting that the men at the Agricultural Show seemed more intent on stuffing their faces with pies than looking at the undies on display! x

  7. uh, yeah, that underwear show at the ag fair was a little uh... unusual. apparently while in underwear you must shimmy around ridiculously as well?

    thanks for sharing, though, there's something about seeing vintage fashions on film that makes them even more interesting than just in photos or drawings.

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  9. I like the 4th one at Bagley Hall! This is such a fun idea, Tilly. thanks for posting them.

    And the last one (at the agricultural fair), not so much different than how Kate met William, huh? ;-)

  10. I like the 4th one at Bagley Hall! This is such a fun idea, Tilly. thanks for posting them.

    And the last one (at the agricultural fair), not so much different than how Kate met William, huh? ;-)

  11. Shared this with my Mum (who has just joined facebook). She was a fashion designer in the 60s. Can't wait to see what she says. Thanks, Lissa

  12. These are hilarious. Thanks for sharing. Really love that Jenny skirt with suspenders. Great inspiration


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