Nothing less than full victory

“Nothing is ever really new in fashion… As you go back in time you would gradually find the predecessors of every ‘New’ Look.”

Seventy years ago an estimated 160,000-allied troops crossed the English Channel in an initial D-Day assault on 6th June 1944 from Portsmouth, the preeminent departure point for troops bound for Sword Beach. An attack of which not only paved the way for the defeat of Nazi Germany, but evoked the loss of approximately 2,500 allied troops in the ensue of battle. As the anniversary of the D-Day landings are being commemorated by hundreds of last surviving veterans on both sides of the English channel this weekend, we wanted to take a look at the cumbersome affect of a nation devastated by chaos and mass destruction spanning over a grueling six years of war on the fashion industry.

D-Day Operation Neptune, Channel 4
D-Day Operation Neptune, Channel 4

In an era of desolation and ruin, communities grew to connect in abutment, the populace developing economical measures and thus demonstrating the upmost creativity and ingenuity as a result of the worldwide rationing of textiles imposed in 1940 thus forcing women to dress in a practical and versatile manner, using up as little material as possible and those of synthetic nature, like viscose and nylon. In Britain coupons were introduced where people could exchange clothes for food, with the Board of Trade controlling suppliers and fronting the campaign “Make do and Mend,” encouraging society to recycle clothes and produce makeshift clothing until 1943.  Coinciding with this, the utility scheme was introduced, providing minimum quality clothing for a highly unreasonable price.  Inspired by the term “old dress, new hat,” women began to make hats from newsprint as well as turbans in 1942, made from veiling, ribbons and other less-restricted materials resulting in the decrease in hat sales. A different story in Paris, women were infuriated by rationing, taking revenge by wearing the most enormous hats, piled with bizarre decoration! People made whatever use they could of materials they could maintain, consequently inventing the “peasant” skirt, a patchwork skirt made from an array of useful materials in terms of fabric and ribbon that was to be sewn together in patchwork squares.  A trend featured heavily on the Autumn Winter 2014/15 catwalks by the likes of Phillip Lim, who cartoon brights and whimsical inspiration as opposed to his harsher, streetwise influences. Parisian couturiers presented lines with suggestive titles like ‘False Alarm’ and ‘Attack,’ featuring military jackets and gas masks in the bag while Pierre Balmain presented evening gowns named ‘Occupation’ and ‘Underground,’ – a trend cropping up on the European catwalks this Fall with Fendi’s swish/grandeur combination of heavy duty, stiff wool parkas and army jackets and bomber jacket rendered dresses coinciding with Versace’s upright tailored jackets featuring fringed epaulettes and ceremonial buttons.

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Junya Watanabe Autumn Winter 2014/15
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Phillip Lim Autumn Winter 2014/15

Our absolute favourite look of Autumn Winter 2014/15 is that of Zadig & Voltaire, with creative director Cecilia Bönström describing the collection as a “A military winter with a bohemian feel,” encompassing androgynous masculine and feminine clashes of lace, sequins and utilitarian jackets.

Zadig & Voltaire Autumn Winter 2014/15
Zadig & Voltaire Autumn Winter 2014/15

Whilst the likes of Lucien Lelong was petitioning against the abolishment of the industry all together in Paris during the Occupation, in Britain, British Vogue was still regularly inundated, though focusing on informing women how to get the “modern makeshift” look as opposed to the next buy, with photographers like Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) making the most out of war scenes in a light humoured, rebellious manner as a source of entertainment, as well as inspiration and respect for the men of Britain at war – as well as Lee Miller, a fashion photographer who focused on women after the war. Amongst a time of desperation and despair, women were still constantly under pressure to look their best at all times in case their husbands were to return from the battle fields, though still undertaking war work which was often incredibly strenuous and dangerous.  The Hollywood ‘Golden Age’ stars were therefore tremendously influential, those of which all women aspired to be – Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth, Jean Harlow and Jean Crawford to name but a few, were actresses turned models for women everywhere, who, before Vogue, drew all fashion inspiration from the Silver screen. Americans were buying haute couture from Paris, replicating and making tons of copies, leading the world into mass production and clothing in standardised sizes, introducing us to the world of ready-to-wear and as Paris lost its position as the epicentre of fashion towards the end of World War II, London and New York designers began to establish opportunities, with American Designers starting to gain confidence therefore putting their name on their designs.

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Cecil Beaton
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Cecil Beaton

In 1947, one of the most revolutionary lines in fashion history, the ‘Corelle’ line (named from a vision of huge skirts spreading like ‘petal cups’ from fitted bodices) was presented, revealing an entirely new image for women after the war, constituting of full blown hips, neat shoulders and slim waists and contradictory exceeding a vast amount of material and freeing the imagination from years of rationing.  Christian Dior was greatly disturbed at the new fashions women sported throughout the war, stating that “everything about their attire spelt misery, suffering and sham – clunky shoes with cork wedge-heels, a fake stocking seam drawn skilfully onto the leg, short skirts with a split, and on top of it all a harsh square-cut jacket.” He wanted to abolish the profound effect the war had on women, emphasising the beautiful femininity and elegance that had surrounding the female population pre-war.  Hemlines were dramatically dropped nine inches, made from contrasting, flimsy wartime materials in velvet, taffeta and satin and using hip padding and boned, bustier-style bodices, creating the ‘hourglass’ silhouette with the neat, sloped shoulders featuring in the first collection of Dior’s former colleague, Balmain in 1945. After achieving worldwide population in a very short period of time, this line was deemed the ‘New Look.’ However, such lavish and elegant style did not go opposed, on a visit to the states in 1947, Christian Dior came up against expressive play cards when arriving in Chicago, stating “Christian Dior, go home!” of which he joked “it was as if we had narrowly escaped an assassination attempt.” On another occasion, a Dior model was attacked by housewives on the Rue Lepic in Paris.  Not phased, Dior’s luxurious and elegant sculpture structures went on to influence countless designers and has since secured the continuation of Maison Dior. Combining Christian Dior’s classic ‘New Look’ and Cristobel Balenciaga’s 1950s ‘Sack,’ such monumental silhouettes have found themselves in the full front of fashion over past seasons, with Proenza Schouler paying homage with preppy crepe jackets and metallic midi’s for Spring Summer 2014.

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Christian Dior’s ‘New Look,’ 1947
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John Galliano’s interpretation of Christian Dior’s ‘Corelle’ line
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Proenza Schouler Spring Summer 2014

View our full collection of 1940s vintage clothing here or at www.thestellarboutique.com.

1943 Vintage Original M43 Womens US Army Jacket
1943 Vintage Original M43 Womens US Army Jacket

Mas: The Notting Hill Carnival

The party has started. The festival season is well underway (and thankfully ongoing,) with the desolate demise of Reading and Leeds Festival this weekend, BUT with that brings our favourite event of the solstice – yes, Notting Hill Carnival is commencing this bank holiday weekend with a prodigious fashion paroxysm and is set to be one of the most stylish and fashion accelerative yet. The largest street festival in Europe and once started in 1964 to celebrate the abolition of the slave trade it is now an alliance of social solidarity over colourful sights and sounds. Take note the fashion conscious, this is one you will not want to miss!

The Notting Hill Carnival Heritage
Behind the Mask...

Vibrant Days and Vibrant Nights
Inspirational Palette

Here at The Stellar Boutique we’ve been keeping an eye out this season and if our predictions are correct, (our eyes never deceive us,) it’s going to be a inequitable concoction of acid house and neon tropics showcasing the best of the best nineties grunge a la Cara Delevigne and Alexa Chung and combining it with a traditional vibrantly flamboyant and intensive carnival palette. The emphatic Caribbean festival sees the streets of West London come alive every year with over twenty miles of vibrant costumes and surreal fashions with this traditional aspect established from the very roots that brought the festival to life, with attendees dressing up in costumes that satirized the European fashions of their former masters. And what exactly do I wear? We hear you ask! Think the utmost sparkle, the brightest of colours and the most outlandish of the prints mixed with vintage denim for a hint of subtlety!

The Notting Hill Carnival Wrangler AfterParty 2012
Mario Testino for Vogue, December 2008
Fashion Fantasy in Harpers Bazaar, August 2009
Feel the Ora

Still stuck for inspiration? View The Stellar Collection here.

We've earned our Carnival stripes...
They call it mellow yellow...

All hail style from the streets

At The Stellar Boutique we bode a massive importance on our favourite street style images from the past and the present in regards to us sourcing the most innovative and on trend pieces from an array of novel and edgy up and coming brands and designers for our lovely customers. We love to watch our customers interpret key trends and make them their own to make sure we always get it right first time and play a huge part in this trickled transformation! With this we have decided to present to you an ode to street style, an online shine if you will, of collated images from the likes of Tumblr and Pinterest encapsulating our favourite trends of this season.

View our new fashion collection here at The Stellar Boutique.

Aztec a la Discotheque
Don't Look Back In Anger
XY Androgyny Forever
Neutral Ain't Boring
Ruffling Feathers
Vintage Nights
Smells Like Teen Spirit

New Summer Collection

The fashion clothing collection available at The Stellar Boutique has expanded rapidly this summer, bringing you a whole new array of fashion forward garments and delightful on-trend pieces.

This fun & flirty collection features pieces from our fave designer Dahlia, as well as a new addition to The Stellar Boutique – coveted new concept brand Maggie + me.  Maggie + me is an innovative brand offering a unique style statement and making new waves in the British fashion industry.

With the festival season fast approaching, these lightweight fashion essentials are a perfect buy when effectively packing minimal clothing with maximum impact! Easy wearabilty and versatility is regarded highly important of course, with the denim and playsuit acting as a staple piece for both festivals and holidays alike. Perfect with a boho carpet belt to cinch the waist and an essential fashion item to take on this seasons layering trend. The Maggie + me khaki festival jacket fits neatly into any backpack and is a must-have when considering the unpredictable British weather!

With an all-encompassing range of throw on statement jackets, playsuits, simple tees with a girly twist, culottes and harem trousers, this new collection is a beautiful combination of femininity and summer fun.

View the full fashion collections here.

New Moroccan Boho Belts

As we await summer’s arrival (a long wait by any means…) everything can seem dull until that period of hot daylight lounging and warm summer night barbeques. However, at The Stellar Boutique we have decided to try any means necessary to moderate that locational prolonged wait for you, by bringing you a new selection of exotic boho belts direct from the warm climates of Morocco! Each product is a genuine article, obtained profoundly within the souks of the magical city of Marrakech.

These boho belts are absorbed with Moroccan culture and ethnicity, ranging from Jim Morrison inspired 60s disc belts to the utilisation of excess fabric in the form of a tribal carpet belt with the implementation of leather, incorporated with traditional and authentic Moroccan carpet – a development of the renowned boho carpet bag!

Versatile and a “must-have” in the backpack, perfect that festival look by using the tan disc belt to cinche that lace vintage dress in at the waist. Alternatively, hook the boho carpet belt on a pair of cut off denims and combine with gladiator sandals, (a typical cardigan to accommodate the unpredictable weather) and a boho vintage tassle bag for the definitive bohemian Aztec festival look this season!

Because we purchase our belts directly from the artisans of Morocco, we are able to ensure a fair trade policy. Working together to bring you unique North African delights straight out of the souks and delivered directly to your door.

As always, these exquisite belts are exclusive to The Stellar Boutique, guaranteeing you stylish and original fashion that cannot be found anywhere else!