A visit to the divine vintage style dress heaven that is Trashy Diva – New Orleans
If you weren’t already jealous after those photos from Viva Las Vegas last week, this one just might push you over the edge… sorry.
Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows that there is a special place in my heart for the pieces by New Orleans label Trashy Diva. At last count I have ten of their dresses and am always hunting for the next one. In fact, those eagle eyed of you will spot me wearing Trashy Diva pieces for over half of my USA odyssey!
When I had a bit more time in the USA after we’d been to Las Vegas, we’d decided to head to New Orleans. There were a few big draw cards to head to this city; the French Quarter Festival, the architecture, the food, but top of my Things to Do list was get in and meet the ladies of Trashy Diva face to face. After all, Candice Gwinn the founder and designer of the label is my name sake so I knew she had even more going for her than just being a fantastic designer.
Trashy Diva has a number of store fronts in New Orleans, both in the French Quarter (where their lingerie store is located) and also in the beautiful Magazine street where you’ll find both their fashion store and (recently opened) dedicated shoes and accessories store. Let’s pause a while to admire shall we?
Trashy Diva began in 1996 as a vintage clothing shop and grew into the fashion boutique we know today. Although they don’t claim to be vintage reproduction, compared to many labels on the market today touting themselves as such, Trashy Diva is much closer to the real deal than most. Their garment construction techniques are excellent and the fabrics chosen are top quality for an affordable price point. Many of their prints are based directly on vintage prints found on original garments, then tweaked and reproduced in their pieces. Cottons, cotton sateens, rayons and silks are all commonly found in a Trashy Diva dress, even linings of silk add to the quality experience.
But one of the very clever features of their ranges is the use of well designed standard blocks (or dress model types). Each garment is pain-stakingly worked to achieve the best and most flattering cut, so when you find the Trashy Diva style that suits your figure best, you can then choose which of the current range of fabrics, prints and finishes you’ve fallen in love with!
For instance, I know that short puff sleeves do me no favours, but a rear zip and a longer sleeve or halter neck are the most flattering on my figure. Which is how I’ve come to own several of the “Trixie” dresses in a number of different fabrics and finishes.
A little blurry but you get the idea of how fabulous this looks! I am IN LOVE with this Obi Dress and it’s gorgeous 1940′s styling!
Talking with Candice Gwinn it becomes clear just how strong her passion for her label is. This is no fly-by-night, make the most money for the least effort, type of operation. This is a labour of love, knowledge and passion. When Candice walked in with her baby on one hip, leopard print dress flowing and red lips grinning, I knew we would hit it off… and we did. Our shared passion for the glamour of vintage dressing had us talking flat out from the first second about cuts, quality and how these wonderful creations make us feel.
In fashion’s current moment where every man and his well dressed dog think they can design a “vintage inspired” look, it is heartening to talk to someone who really understands what a true vintage garment looks like and how its essence can be translated into a piece for today without loosing it’s soul. I know that sounds very intense, but I am very intense about this issue. When so many are tacking on the term “vintage” just to quickly part us from our money, for poorly produced and not even remotely vintage pieces, Trashy Diva are one of my “New Vintage” heroes. These are the pieces I invest in knowing I’ll wear them more times than I can count and feel a million dollars every time.
Excitingly, Candice gave me the low down on the newest developments from Trashy Diva that would be launched by the time I got home. A girls range! From sizes 3/4 to 11/12, this is one of the most neglected areas of fashion available in Australia. They are some great locals labels that make to order for children, ( Like Peta Pledger) but they must be more alternatives to branding your baby with a pink sparkly hooker t-shirt or hipster jeans and slogan t’s for an 8 year old. The simple black baby Audrey dress or my favourite rockabilly style baby Grace dress (yes I will wear my matching coat with this) are irresistible!
It is so easy to be loyal to a label you love, but even more so to one you believe in. Trashy Diva is one of my fashion super heroes and no self respecting, vintage loving lady should be without one of their pieces in her wardrobe. These are the gorgeous workhorses, the glamorous show stoppers and the cult collectables of a modern vintage closet.
Thanks Candice and Ladies for showing us your piece of vintage style fashion heaven!