This week I’m getting married…yay! So it seemed appropriate to showcase a few of my favorite bridal collections. Today is all about Florrie Mitton’s handmade couture bridal garters.
I know garters are a little old-fashioned, but they’ve been on my mind a LOT lately. And these beautiful garters from Previously, while not my pick for the big day, make me want to incorporate this old-fashioned item of my lingerie into my wardrobe more often. I especially adore the ones with the dangling pink rosettes above and below. After all, vintage is always in style, yes? What do you think of Previously? And have you ever incorporated garters into your everyday wardrobe?
I first found out about the Deja Vu Dessous line when modeling for Dollhouse Bettie a few months ago. I modeled three complete looks, and found myself loving each one. Most of the pieces start from a vintage slip, from which designer Valerie Santillo makes everything from full teddies to bralettes and garter belts, half-slips, and panties. Occasionally a slip will even get transformed into a very different slip as damage is cut away and it’s mixed with other fabrics and trims.
The execution of each design is elegant in its simplicity, nimbly transforming damaged vintage classics into a new look while preserving the integral charm of the original garment. In this feature, I sit down with Valerie Santillo, who designs the Deja Vu Dessous line at Dollhouse Bettie. You can view and purchase the Deja Vu styles online or at Dollhouse Bettie’s Haight St. boutique in San Francisco.
Has the current vision for the line changed at all since its creation?
I think the vision has remained the same, but we are constantly expanding and evolving the line and getting re-inspired. We had started with using primarily vintage woven rayon slips and have grown to transform anything from tricot slips, bralettes, nightgowns… the list goes on. It’s all just trial and error, and as I create more pieces I get new ideas about finishing techniques.
What’s your favorite part of designing Deja Vu Dessous?
I love trying to maintain what I think is really beautiful about any given piece while also modernizing and updating it in some way. It can be a bit challenging at times, working from an already existing garment, but I think that challenge of trying to create something using only what I have available in front of me also encourages a lot of creativity.
What’s your background in fashion and design?
I have a BFA in fashion design from the Accademy of Art University here in San Francisco. My initial focus was not designing lingerie; I was primarily interested in designing women’s clothing. The longer I spend time around all this gorgeous lingerie the more I see it influencing my designs!
What do you find most challenging?
For the most part I have named them with popular women’s names from the 1920s, 30s and 40s, depending on the personality of the item. However, I will change it up from time; each style in the last group, for example, was named after a Dollhouse Bettie employee.
Yes, quite a bit actually. We have patterned some Deja Vu styles already, and I think it pretty much goes without saying many vintage pieces inspire and inform the styles that are put into production at Dollhouse Bettie. Working with the pieces to revamp them for Deja Vu gives us additional insight into their construction and design. Personally, I am endlessly inspired by vintage garments and detailing, and creating Deja Vu pieces has helped me a lot with coming up new ideas and designs.
What about current designers, are there any in particular whom you admire?
I am constantly inspired by very small lingerie designers I might discover on Etsy, through a blog, or from a friend. Most recently, Stephanie Bodnar of Honey Cooler Handmade comes to mind. I kind of just stumbled upon her Etsy shop and I found her design aesthetic to be particularly charming. I really love her point of view, not to mention her insertion lace technique is absolutely stunning! The fact that she does everything by hand is also a very inspiring aspect of her line, I love the uniqueness and individuality of all her pieces.
What do you think is in the future for Deja Vu Dessous?
I am really excited to feature a special silk collection for Deja Vu. We have not yet expanded the range to include silk garments and there is quite a bit of stock just waiting for the right moment!
What do you think of Deja Vu Dessous by Dollhouse Bettie? How would you style the designs? Do you have another favorite upcycling/vintage-repurposing designer? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Today’s Ask the Addict question comes from Patricia, one of our Facebook fans, who writes:
I am looking for a gartered chemise that is body hugging but not shapewear, any ideas?
Absolutely! Garter dresses were one of the items I was first interested in, and I can definitely understand their appeal. Here are 5 options you might like:
Playful Promises Garter Dress – £54.00
Felina “Bridgette” Babydoll – $58.00
Leg Avenue Garter Dress - $26.95
Samples for this review were provided by BareNecessities.com, the UK Curvy Kate team, and the US Curvy Kate team. All opinions are my own.
I’ve always been a fan of Curvy Kate’s Star in A Bra Model Competition, but I hadn’t tried their bras until recently. Most of this was due to proximity, or lack thereof. If you’re a full busted woman, bra shopping can be hell.
After a large period of shipping bras that didn’t fit back and forth to Poland, the UK, and lands beyond I was a little sick of international shipping. This is one of the reasons I’m really excited that BareNecessities.com has picked up Curvy Kate! No international shipping, no waiting two weeks to a month for my bras to show up, and no problems returning them if they don’t fit.
I was lucky enough to be able to put together a review of lots of the new offerings, most of which are already up on Bare Necessities. I tried to go for a mix of basics, but had to give into my need for more brightly colored bras in the end. Before I get started on the individual bras, here are some general observations about Curvy Kate lingerie and how it fits.
1) The bras are well constructed, and built to last. I had one for about two weeks when I had no others that fit, and it held up during every day wear and washing beautifully. Curvy Kate’s designs are also trendy and young, which is great if you’re tired of feeling like you’re wearing your grandmother’s bra that comes up to your neck.
2) The sizing within the line is a little idiosyncratic, but it’s worth figuring out what works for you to be able to wear this line. If you’re US based, you’ll now be able to return things easily, so this shouldn’t be as big a deal as it once was.
3) Panties run almost a size smaller than many brands, so size up for comfort and muffin-top avoidance.
This bra was a lifesaver for me. I changed sizes fairly recently and this was the first bra I found that fit me perfectly in my new 32J size. I loved it so much that I wore it every day for two weeks until I found some more options that fitted perfectly. If you’re new to Curvy Kate, the Portia in white or black is a great place to start.
The Lottie bra comes in white and black as continuity colors, but I couldn’t resist the clashing lavender and coral colorway. This was the set I was most nervous about, as I felt like it had the potential to make me look like a giant Easter egg. I was relieved to discover that the lavender and coral colors are actually really flattering, at least on my pale skin. Pictures don’t really do it justice. This bra doesn’t give you as rounded or as uplifted a shape as some of the others, but it’s incredibly comfortable and very supportive. The boy shorts that go with it are cute and practical, and the sheer panel in the back gives them more sex appeal without sacrificing coverage.
The Angel set this year comes in a Bluebell color way, which has white trimming and pink bows. This is one of the few sets that has two styles of underwear that go with it, as well as a matching suspender belt. I love this set, but it was one of the trickiest in terms of sizing. If I hadn’t had help from the lovely Cheryl and the UK Curvy Kate team, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have figured it out. I ended up with the bra in 32JJ, so size up a cup if you’re planning on buying it. I went up a size in the panties, but the suspender belt worked in my regular size.
The suspender belt surprised me by pulling me in like light shape wear, which was a delightful discovery. I love both the thong and the boy shorts, although I’m obviously likely to wear them for different occasions. The bra fit just as well as the others, although it did take more wiggling and strap adjusting to get it to that point.
The Curvy Kate Romance bra is the most vintage looking of all their offerings this season, and I love the purple swirl design that they’ve used. This bra also fit well in a 32J, and was very easy to mix and match with things in my lingerie drawer. The fit and feel was very similar to the Portia.
I’m looking forward to the rest of the line coming out in the US so I can pick up some newer silhouettes like the Daily Boost! Until then, I’ll happily wear my current collection on a regular basis.
If you’re interested in learning more about Curvy Kate, their offerings, or the US version of Star In A Bra, BareNecessities.com has lots of information. Even more details can be found on the Curvy Kate site. I’d love to see tons of entries for Star In A Bra this year, so start taking your pictures! The modeling competition begins in the US on April 5th.
Prefer video instead? Check out our video on The Lingerie Addict YouTube Channel – “How to Buy a Garter Belt.”
Where can I buy a good garter belt?
That’s a great question, especially since garter belts are not only in fashion again but surprisingly hard to find in the average lingerie boutique (or department store, for that matter). If you’re new to the world of garter belts, take look at this article – How to Buy a Garter Belt.
The cliff notes version is that a good garter belt has at least six garter straps, metal adjusters and metal garter clips, and several rows of hook-and-eye closures at the back (much like a bra). A good quality quarter belt is also fairly wide (about the width of your hand at it’s fullest point) and made of reasonably durable materials like satin, powernet, or even cotton.
The vast majority of the garter belts I own and wear come from two brands: What Katie Did and Kiss Me Deadly. If you’re new to the world of garter belts (I remember when I was shopping for my first one…it can be a little intimidating!), I highly recommend What Katie Did’s Maitresse (black) or Harlow (peach) Garter Belt or Kiss Me Deadly’s basic 6 Strap Van Doren Suspender Belt. And if you’re searching for stockings, StockingsHQ has one of the best selections online and impeccable customer service. Hope this helps!
Got a question for The Lingerie Addict? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it may appear here on the blog!
Yesterday, The Boyfriend and I went out on a “real” date and attended the 8th annual Seattle Erotic Arts Festival, held in the Seattle Center. Events like SEAF are not only a great place to see and be seen, they’re also an excellent excuse for dressing up.
I had the chance to pull out my custom Totally Waisted corset (which I haven’t worn since September–last seen in my Dragon*Con post here) and paired it with an Alexander McQueen for Target skirt and La Perla stockings.
Unfortunately, photography wasn’t allowed at the event, but you can find dozens of photos from the spectacle (including an amazing burlesque show…which featured my instructors Inga Ingenue and The Shanghai Pearl) right here on Facebook (probably NSFW).
Hope everyone had a nice weekend, and come back tomorrow for a very special article on “How to Buy Lingerie for Mother’s Day.”