We’re delighted to let you know that we’re offering a selection of our size 12 pre production samples for sale at very special prices.
Our samples are made in exactly the same way and to the same high standard as our regular production pieces, using the same fabulous silks and wool and all lined in pure silk.
We currently have:
Peacock – green silk taffeta, size 12. Usual price £845, sample price £470 http://shop.janeandmarilyn.co.uk/peacock—sample-sale-946-…
Audrey – purple wool, size 12. Usual price £695, sample price £235 http://shop.janeandmarilyn.co.uk/audrey—sample-sale-923-p…
Ava – Mercury cotton/silk mix, size 12. Usual price £695, sample price £230 http://shop.janeandmarilyn.co.uk/ava—sample-sale-938-p.asp
Elizabeth – purple wool, size 12. Usual price £735, sample price £265 http://shop.janeandmarilyn.co.uk/elizabeth—sample-sale-96…
Grace – Pearl grey wool, size 12. Usual price £740, sample price £275 http://shop.janeandmarilyn.co.uk/grace—sample-sale-969-p.…
Katherine – Banana silk, size 12. Usual price £395, sample price £215 http://shop.janeandmarilyn.co.uk/katherine—sample-sale-86…
Veronica – Coral silk, size 12. Usual price £455, sample price £270
Gina – Slate silk, size 12. usual price £445, sample price £245
Suzy – Ocean silk, size 12. Usual price £425, sample price £235
Glamorous fashion was on the menu at a sumptuous lunch in the glorious setting of Coworth Park in Ascot recently. Our lovely volunteer models sashayed between the tables showing Royal Enclosure ready outfits and we gave our top tips for dressing elegantly for special events.
Here are our edited highlights:
We always think if you’re looking for guidelines for formal dressing, look no further than the queen – she’s spent her lifetime in formal clothes so she knows the rules!
For example, you won’t see the queen wearing sandals with her hat, similarly you won’t see her with bare legs. If you’re wearing a hat it’s formal, and if you want to look polished you need to wear something on your legs (we’re big fans of fishnets as they are really light and comfortable) and shoes should really be court style.
Never wear a hat just flat on your head – always at an angle, and do make sure your hairstyle works your hat so it doesn’t look like the hat is an afterthought. If you have long hair, wear it up or back in a chignon, or at least tuck it behind your ears.
Handbags should be ladylike; structured is best, and big enough to hold everything you’re going to need but small enough to be elegant.
Keep jewellery minimal especially if you are wearing a statement hat.
Fundamentally, think one statement piece and keep everything else simple and elegant,
We’re delighted to let you know that Jane & Marilyn is now stocked at Creativations Chelsea – 301 Fulham Road SW10.
Creativations Chelsea is a unique concept showcasing new designers, artists and artisans and you can find clothing, accessories, art and home wares there.
In addition to Jane & Marilyn stock pieces we can also offer appointments at the shop to provide a bespoke service for a wide choice of colours and a perfect fit.
To make an appointment contact us directly on 0208 334 0204 or Creativations Chelsea on 07423226323.
A fabulous vintage shop in Kensington is now stocking Jane & Marilyn.
They have a large collection of decadent cocktail dresses and elegant evening gowns for all occasions, including bridal wear – and you can find Jane & Marilyn there too.
In addition to the stock pieces we also offer a personalised bespoke service for a wide choice of colours and a perfect fit, so you will have your own vintage inspired dress made to the same high standards and totally unique.
Orsini has a stunning range of vintage furs – full length coats and beautiful stoles and shrugs – plus glorious jewellery and mouth-watering vintage handbags in pristine condition from labels such as Chanel and Hermes.
If you’re in the area it’s well worth a visit to pick up something special for yourself, or perhaps a few gifts for glamorous friends!
We’ll be bringing our grown up glamour to Surrey in November when we support Fashion For Good’s uber stylish fashion weekend at the Brooklands Hotel in Weybridge, Surrey on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 November.
Fashion For Good, a Surrey-based community fund-raising initiative, is bringing together some of the hottest up and coming boutique designer collections, stylists and make-up artists under one roof.
There’s an evening catwalk show on the Friday, and we will have our Premiere and Silk Collections on display for fashionistas to peruse during a one-off shopping and pamper experience on the Saturday.
We’re delighted to be part of such a unique event that’s supporting worthwhile causes and we’re looking forward to welcoming ladies of all ages and helping them channel their inner Hollywood sirens with designs and tailoring to take them from work to play!
Fashion For Good helps people, who love fashion and beauty, to shop and pamper themselves whilst knowing that they’re helping to do some good in their local community at the same time. The initiative is working with The Community Foundation for Surrey to distribute the money raised to local causes, including Christopher’s Children’s Hospice, Your Sanctuary, The Oasis Childcare Centre, SAY-It’s Friday! and Happy Days.
For more details on the Fashion For Good Surrey Fashion Weekender, visit the official website at www.fashionforgood.co.uk.
Stay glamorous X
Sorry to mention but Christmas is nearly upon us! If the thought of what to wear for the festivities is vexing you may we suggest the perfect ‘little purple dress’? Purple is one of the hot colours for A/W12 and has the added bonus of flattering most skin tones, as well as making you stand out in a crowd of black!
Our flattering Elizabeth and chic Audrey dresses – http://shop.janeandmarilyn.co.uk/elizabeth-83-p.asp & http://shop.janeandmarilyn.co.uk/audrey-33-p.asp – are both available in vibrant Violet lightweight wool, and we can also produce Sophia, Grace and Jane in this colour too on request.
And if purple isn’t your thing, how about the other on trend colour for this season – green, as seen here shimmering in taffeta on our Peacock dress http://shop.janeandmarilyn.co.uk/peacock-140-p.asp.
We have these styles in stock in a range of sizes but there is also just time enough to create a dress for you before the party season starts.
Why not contact us for details of stock availability and delivery times for made to order pieces…
… and let’s make this most glamorous Christmas ever!
We were delighted to see the gorgeous Anna Friel spotted in our Grace dress (http://shop.janeandmarilyn.co.uk/grace-432-p.asp) on the set of her latest film, “Pavement Psychiatrist.”
Endlessly versatile, the Grace dress, available in soft pearl grey or black, offers classic lines with its boat neckline, bracelet length sleeves and niped-in waist. From the back, the dress gives plenty of va va voom with its heavily panelled, fluted skirt. Made from 100% soft, lightweight wool, it’s fully lined in pure silk in our signature lipstick red.
And it’s clear that Anna is a fan of the dress too – ‘I feel like I’ve just come off the set of La Dolce Vita,’ she commented.
Stay glamorous like Anna X
Well what a summer so far – it’s been a whirlwind of events, the Jubilee, Royal Ascot, Henley Royal Regatta, Wimbledon, Henley Festival, Glyndebourne and now the Olympics.
Up until recently the weather has been truly appalling, but we Brits made the best of it (we always do don’t we?) and it looks like summer has finally arrived!
So we thought we’d share some of our highlights and observations of the summer’s events so far:
First, the Jubilee. Stunning us all with her seemingly endless energy and fortitude (that river pageant must have taken it out of her, standing for hours in that dreadful weather), the Queen and her support team showed us all how dressing for formal occasions should be done http://tinyurl.com/82w99qo. Effortlessly chic in colour coordinated outfits; dresses, suits and coats (we know tops and skirts are having a moment, but they’re simply not smart enough for formal events and just look wrong with hats); no bare legs; no sandals; fabulous hats http://tinyurl.com/clms4ec.
‘The Queen is not interested in high fashion’ says one of her couturiers ‘but she is very interested in her clothes and is very particular.’ It’s an excellent philosophy, and one which we wholeheartedly recommend, high fashion and formal dress are not easy bedfellows.
We had a flurry of purchases of our blue Joan dress; it’s just the thing for Jubilee events and the rich blue on a white background is patriotic too – especially teamed with red accessories. So popular has it been that we’ve almost sold out in that colour way now.
To Royal Ascot and the new tightened up dress codes were a triumph with ladies looking really elegant, everyone was remarking what a difference it made and how good everyone looked http://tinyurl.com/blarl5z. Just one observation though, ladies in trouser suits with a typical ‘Ascot’ hat just don’t look right. The only way to pull off this look is with sharply tailored ‘Al Capone’ style suit teamed with a Fedora.
Gina, Rita, Katherine and the Peacock dress all went to Royal Ascot this year in a variety of colours. The most popular colour choice was blue, albeit in a range of shades from the palest sky, to the richest Royal blue.
For Henley Royal Regatta, Marilyn, Joan and Peacock swished their full circle skirts through the enclosures, while we enjoyed brief outbreaks of sunshine and dodged the rain and howling winds!
One lesson we learned from this year’s goose bump inducing series of events is to go for either a dress with sleeves or a dress and matching jacket next year to cope with the vagaries of the British weather. That and always take at least one pashmina too just in case!
Another lesson to be born in mind for next year is however much you love a large hat ( and don’t we all) – it’s a really good idea to have a smaller, ‘plan B’ hat so, on the day if it’s impossibly windy swap for the smaller one. There is little more tedious or painful than ‘hat arm’ – spending the whole day hanging on to your hat while you’re arm aches and the blood rushes to your shoulder! It’s far easier to anchor something small (as long as it’s 4 inches across for the Royal Enclosure) with elastic and hat pins and you can hold your head high and your arms by your sides all day with impunity!
One great find which was a real lifesaver on the boggy ground was Clean Heels www.cleanheels.co.uk. They’re fantastic for protecting your heels on grass and protecting you from sinking into the mud! They make plain ones and charming ones with crystals and flowers.
On the subject of shoes, we saw a lot of ladies wearing shoes they couldn’t walk in. Nothing spoils a look faster than hunched deportment with a face contorted in pain. These big summer events always require lots of standing and walking, so learn how to carry yourself in your heels and wear shoes you can walk properly in. Avoid what the delightful Manolo Blahnik calls ‘furniture shoes’ (not elegant) think ladylike courts, and never ever wear brand new shoes for the first time at occasions like this. Wear new shoes around the house a few times first to soften them up and find out if there are any pressure points that will hurt or give you blisters. If they do, invest in a shoe stretcher to ease them (John Lewis does a great one). Being able to stand and walk with poise and elegance will do more for you than any amount of designer clothes. Holding yourself properly can give you real presence. Keep your back straight slightly leaning back, hold your head up, and point your toes forward swinging legs from the hip and placing your toe down before your heel. Let the Duchess of Cambridge be your role model – see how she walks tall – and glide gracefully through the rest of the season!
Stay glamorous X
Fishnets have been coming in for a lot of flak recently, largely it seems due to Madonna sporting them at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami teamed with bondage boots and tight satin shorts.
Mimi Spencer and Liz Jones (http://bit.ly/Hbe6Vc) have both criticised Madonna’s choice of stage outfit and suggested that fishnets shouldn’t be worn over 50. And to a point we have to agree that you do have to be careful, especially with the black variety, when you’re a little more mature.
Fishnets and big pants can make glamorous and practical stage wear – Marlene, Judy Garland, Liza M, Marilyn and Kylie have all pulled of the look – and Madonna probably could have too if she’d got the rest of the outfit right. The pants for example, need to be big, covering the entire buttock, not, like Madonna’s, skin tight and cut so high they flattened and pushed the bottom half of her derriere out in a most unflattering manner! And rather than the fetishist lace-around-the-leg-up-to-the-knee boots, a pair of high, pointy toe stilettoes are sexy in a sophisticated, grown up way.
Stage wear apart, black fishnets can work on all ages but, at night, preferably in winter and definitely with a hemline well below the knee. Team with sky high but ladylike heels and it’s a simply glamorous look.
However, there is also another way to embrace the fishnet, one of which we have long be devotees – the flesh colour fishnet. In flesh the fishnet loses all its burlesque overtones (particularly if you go for the finer micromesh fishnet), and becomes a practical solution to uncomfortable hose issues. Especially in summer, if you don’t want bear legs (and for special occasions and in particular when wearing a hat, you really shouldn’t be doing bear legs) but can’t bear the thought of encasing your legs in nylon, flesh fishnets are the solution. They allow your legs to breath – you hardly know you’re wearing them – whilst making your legs look smooth and beautiful.
They help to prevent blisters too!
Stay glamorous X
The months of designing, research, fittings, sampling and photography are over … our new ‘Silk Collection’ has arrived!
We’ve used Matka silk for most of the designs. This is a beautifully soft woven silk that looks and feel a little like a cross between wool and cotton. It’s very comfortable to wear, year round, and comes in some luscious colours too.
The collection comprises seven ‘forever’ dresses and a cropped, matador style jacket.
True to our 1950s glamour signature style, our new designs have a shapely tailored look, with elements including pencil skirts with double box pleats or fishtail godets at the back, wide set necklines, pleating and waterfall draping. As before our dresses are versatile, perfect special occasions and ‘dress code friendly’ so no embarrassing moments at the entrance to the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot, or Stewards’ Enclosure at Henley Regatta! They all work with hats too.
We’ve chosen banana and coral instead of the currently on-trend ‘fluoro’ yellows and oranges, as they’re easier to wear for the average English rose complexion. We’ve also included ocean, slate and stone in the colour choices for our ready to wear collection (all the designs in the Matka silk are available in all these colours). We can also offer a choice of around 40 other colours in this cloth, as part of our demi couture service.
We’re also very excited to have secured a beautiful silk jacquard woven exclusively for us (here in the UK) in pink, mauve and green, which we’re using on one of our Chinese-inspired dresses. This dress (called Lily) is available in cocktail and full length and we’re also going to offer it in a bronze/silver colour way.
We’ve introduced a jacket too as a result of your requests for something to wear over our sleeveless designs. It has 3/4 sleeves that can be worn up or down, and a folded feature across the top of the sleeve, for a sharper silhouette.
And there’s more good news: through sheer hard work and determination to deliver the same level of quality at a slightly lower price point, we’re delighted to say our new collection retails from £295 for the jacket to £580 for the full length evening gown.
We’ve done our glamorous photo-shoot (watch this space for more on that) and the collection is now available to purchase from our website – along with our gorgeous new hat and accessories collections.
Enjoy, and stay glamorous X
So, what to wear?
The pure cotton Lana dress is the perfect match for wardrobe dilemmas of the tennis watching kind. Choose it in white (naturally) and you’ll look as cool and crisp as the players on Centre Court. With large lapels, a double breasted front fastening and full circle skirt it oozes tailored glamour and its pure silk lining means it’s not only gorgeous to look at but it’s gorgeous to wear too.
If the weather’s really fine team it with a natural straw sunhat, or if it’s cooler, wear a cardigan over the top – wear the dress lapels and belt over the cardigan, or drape it loosely around your shoulders and add a headscarf for Audrey Hepburn chic.
A dress to love indeed!
My best friend doesn’t seek the limelight, she allows me to shine. She goes with me everywhere, pointing out my best features to everyone.
My best friend is my confidante, she knows all my secrets. She hugs me and moulds me; she gives me confidence when I need it.
My best friend never lets me down, she’s always there for me. I don’t know what I’d do without my best friend.
My best friend is fun, beautiful and patient; my best friend is – a great dress.
We have been pondering of late on the power of the dress and in particular, what we like to call the ‘result’ dress.
It’s incredible when you think about just how much power a dress can have. Kate, then Middleton, caught her prince’s eye in one (hardly surprising though as she is such a stunner and the dress was transparent – a result dress to end all result dresses.)
And as we now all know that dress led to another, one which will be enshrined in history: that gorgeous, 1950s inspired and Grace Kelly-esque bridal gown. In fact it’s clear that the Duchess of Cambridge totally understands the power of the dress.
And history is full of result dresses. Think of Liz Hurley and that safety pin punk inspired dress, it completely turned her career around and you could say, changed her life.
Marilyn Monroe was rarely photographed in anything other than a dress and 56 years later that picture of her in the white halter neck dress (a result dress if ever there was one) billowing up around her legs is still recognized by all.
But just what makes a result dress – it could be sexy or demure, dressy or casual. It depends of course on the result you want, be it to blow your partners socks off, win the contract or impress your child’s headmaster. A result dress makes an impact in the right way, it must work in harmony with you, it should never wear you. It should flatter, make you look fabulous and also, and this is essential if you’re aiming for a specific result, be appropriate for the circumstances.
The dress is the perfect garment for achieving results. It makes a statement.
It’s the single most valuable piece in your wardrobe; the best dresses are versatile too, able to achieve a variety of results. A great dress can take you from boardroom to cocktail bar, from lunch with the girls to a wedding, or the Royal Enclosure. A great dress can showcase fabulous accessories or a statement hat for a special occasion. A great dress instantly solves that ‘what am I going to wear?’ dilemma – you can be perfectly turned out in an instant; fabulous heels and bag and you’re done. So think about your wardrobe strategy – and think about what results you want to achieve with it …
The past two weeks have sped by in a haze of interviews and requests for dresses to be photographed by magazines. More media coverage has been secured – we’ve done an interview for another lifestyle magazine on what you should wear if you are invited to THAT wedding and also for fashion trade bible Drapers. We were profiled in Drapers as part of a feature on designers manufacturing in the UK. As you’ll know by now, supporting UK business is something we feel very strongly about. Drapers has launched a campaign to promote skills training in the fashion industry so that young people looking to make a career in fashion can gain the necessary knowledge and qualifications. We are delighted to be supporting them in their campaign and will be attending an event next week which will bring together fashion industry representatives including manufacturers and designers to discuss the need to preserve education of garment production skills.
We were also delighted to be asked to do an interview for BBC Radio Oxford next week on March 10th between 2 and 3 (if you’re in the area tune in)!
Fashion Week frenzy has also been in full force over the past couple of weeks with plenty of controversy being generated by skeletal models at London Fashion Week and then Jean Paul Gaultier sending an – admittedly very beautiful – young man down the runway wearing a wedding dress! We attended the A LA MODE International Catwalk Show where the highlight for us was the glamorous bags from Saudi designer RAJADANO. In vivid colours some embellished with crystals these structured, ladylike clutch bags would accessorise a chic Jane & Marilyn dress beautifully. RAJADANO isn’t selling in the UK yet but she’s working on it so look out for her.
A couple of great books have come to our attention over the past few days: ‘Grown up Glamour’ by Caroline Cox obviously struck a chord with us and it’s full of useful advice. ‘The Art of Being a Well Dressed Wife’ by Anne Fogarty has just been reissued. Along with such hilarious missives as: ‘the idea of not wearing a girdle under a full skirt is wrong. As for slim, tight skirts I think there should be a federal law against wearing them girdle-less,’ there is actually some really good advice on clothes care. And we have to remember that this book was first published long before the advent of the fabulous Spanx concept!
The first two weeks of our marketing and PR activity have been very productive and the media reaction very positive.
We’ve been featured on a number of fashion newswires including Fashion Capital and Fashion Monitor and our designs are also being recognised as perfect wedding guests and glamorous mothers of the bride wear. We’ve been included in a wedding feature for a glossy lifestyle title and have had one of our dresses (Peacock) shot for a feature in a leading bridal magazine (probably shouldn’t say which one yet!)
We’re also currently working on features for two national newspapers, one women’s glossy and have had two dresses (Elizabeth and Marilyn) called in for a photo shoot with a well known Oscar nominated actress!
We’ve had lots of interest from stylists too and were very excited this week to be asked to provide two dresses for a pop up shop in a very glamorous space in London’s prestigious Brompton Road.
The pop up, at 221 Brompton Road, is the brainchild of Ascher Studio, a family owned business famous for its innovative textile designs. The company is showing its newest scarf collection and two of our Audrey dresses (in black and Violet) appear in the window artfully draped in Ascher Studios’ stunning designs. The simplicity of the Audrey makes it the perfect foil for a statement scarf and emphasizes the versatility of its classic lines.
The store-cum-gallery space also includes framed, vintage ‘artists squares’, silk screened prints by masters such as Picasso, Matisse, Cecil Beaton and Barbara Hepworth which were commissioned by the founder, Zika Ascher.
The pop up shop launched last night (February 17th) with an exclusive preview, and will remain open through London Fashion Week and on until March 15th. If you’re passing, call in and take a look…
More soon …. stay glamorous x
Over the past few weeks our technical team have been busy beavering away on the ‘back-end’ (ghastly expression) of our website. Technology is just brilliant when it works but according to my webmeister, the set up process is always ‘challenging’! Anyway, after all the programming and what seemed like endless testing to make sure the site behaves impeccably, we finally got to the finish line. At 11AM on Friday February 4 the Jane Marilyn website went live and our first collection was launched, unleashing our particular take on grown up glamour into the world.
It’s been an amazing experience; it feels like we’ve come a very long way in the past two years, but of course this is just the beginning and we’re so looking forward to watching our new brand develop and grow…
We wanted some pictures of ourselves for our website so last week it was our turn for the photo treatment. We went back to Julia Boggio’s studio where Kaz Fernando got to work on us! It’s such a luxury to sit down for a couple of hours and have someone else do your hair make up – we both agreed it would be marvellous to have that every day!
It’s also a great opportunity to pick up some beauty tips and get the low down on the professionals’ favourite products – we made lots of notes…
One tip which we were really impressed with was ‘flat lining’; it involves using a flat eyeliner brush (Mac 212 was Kaz’s choice) and a gel or liquid eyeliner (Laura Mercier does an excellent powder eyeliner that you mix with water to get the right consistency) and you push the eyeliner in between your upper eyelashes. It really brings out your eyes, makes your eyeliner look more intense and your lashes denser. It’s also ideal if you’re rushing out with no time to do a full makeup as it’s a really quick way to emphasise your eyes.
Another tip courtesy of Kaz is to put mascara on the ends of your lashes first to lengthen them, and then build up the density from the roots.
Kaz uses a lot of Mac and Benefit products; some of the ones she swears by and we really liked are:
- Benefit ‘Stay don’t stray’ which is great as a base for eye shadow, it really anchors it so it stays put all day, and you can also use it under concealer to help that stay in place too
- Benefit ‘Pore Fessional’ conceals pores and smoothes appearance of fine lines
- Mac Taupe eye shadow for contouring socket lines
- Benefit blusher in Sugarbomb
- Laura Mercier lip liner in Beige; good for camouflaging your natural lip line so you can create a fuller lipped look
Of course we had to be photographed in our signature red lipstick and Kaz had done her homework, finding the perfect shade – Mac ‘Cockney’ – to match the red we use in our logo.
So we were painted and primped and weighted down with lashings of lashes (we just love false eyelashes, the quickest and easiest way to glam up for the evening – just add a strip of falsies, or even a few individual lashed is you’ve a steady hand). Then it was our turn in front of the camera both wearing our Peacock dress, Marilyn in the rich green and Jane in blue.
We have to take our hats off to professional models, holding a pose, and a smile for any length of time is really hard work – and cramp inducing too! We had such fun though, and we got some great shots.
So now it’s all about putting the finishing touches to the website ready for our launch early next year. We can’t wait, we are beyond excited.
Have a very glamorous Christmas X
Day three started with our gorgeous tree surgeon, Sally. With her glamorous make over we all thought she looked very Sophia Loren-esque. She was stunning in our lipstick red wool sleeveless dress with long leather gloves and a very cute red cocktail hat by Jane Taylor Millinery.
Next it was our singer, Sophie. Her transformation was amazing, she has fabulous bone structure and dark hair and her bright, Violet dress really worked spectacularly with her colouring and figure. She wore a tiny Jane Taylor cocktail hat in Violet and black, and of course, those long leather gloves.
Our final model was another incredible transformation; Annette is a very pretty accountant, with the kind of looks that need little make up really. However, when she had her sophisticated, grown up make up on, she looked utterly beautiful. She wore a sleeveless Violet figure hugging shift, an amazing black feathered hat by Victoria Grant and leather gloves.
By the end of the three days the team was thoroughly exhausted, but also elated. It had gone so well and our models all looked so fabulous – our make up artist Kaz Fernanado www.kazfernando.co.uk is a genius, but she did have some great material to work with! It was like spending three days immersed in one of those TV makeover programmes, really exciting. We can’t wait to see the results on our website when it goes live in January.
Next came Joanne, our restaurateur. This shot had posed some problems for us in terms of locating a suitable prop for her to pose with. Eventually we came up with the idea of using a lobster; our lovely photographer, Julia Boggio – www.juliaboggiostudios.com – suggested it may be simpler and easier to source a ‘fake’ lobster. Great idea we thought so we duly located one (it’s amazing what you can find on the ‘web these days isn’t it?) and waited for it to arrive. Only, it didn’t, the snow did. The result was that the suppliers of said lobster, said ‘we can’t guarantee delivery’. So we had to cancel the order and re order a real, cooked one. We had to collect it three days before the shoot so it was despatched to the freezer for the duration only coming out on the day of the shoot packed in ice. Jane’s husband was determined we shouldn’t waste a good lobster and was keen to have it for supper that night so we were instructed in no uncertain terms to make sure it stayed thoroughly cold all day, no mean feet in a hot studio! The shoot went beautifully with Joanne looking amazing in a fitted, collared dress, long leather gloves and a gorgeous hat by Victoria Grant – www.victoriagrant.co.uk. The lobster behaved impeccably and was apparently very tasty indeed when Jane’s husband ate it for supper!
Our final model of the day was Jane. A data solutions manager with a passion for statistics, she made good use of her own in a cotton print dress with full circle skirt and a scooped back neckline. Our milliner friend Jane Taylor made us a beautiful, large straw ‘saucer’ style hat trimmed with feathers which complemented the dress perfectly; the perfect look for a garden party, summer wedding or, perhaps, Henley regatta.
So the stage was set for our glamorous photo shoot. The props had all been sourced, the schedule drawn up and the beautiful hats supplied by our lovely milliners. The shoot had been planned with military precision – it had to be with so many models and such a tight timeframe. Everything was ready and then just a few days before we were due to start the shoot the snow came. We had sleepless nights until it thawed and the 5 day forecast predicted an end to the arctic weather, at least for the duration of our shoot.
The big day arrived and so, bright and early did our first ‘model’ the gorgeous Cathy, a professional violinist. Day one was to be our busiest with four models to shoot.
The amazing Kaz Fernando our make up artist worked her magic and Cathy was transformed, she really looked like an old style Hollywood movie star, very Ava Gardener we felt. She posed with her violin, looking stunning in our rich green ‘Peacock’ dress, contrasted with long blue gloves. She wore an amazing hat of peacock feathers, courtesy of Jane Taylor Millinery – www.janetaylormillinery.com – which worked perfectly with the green of the dress, the colours really suited her.
Our next model was Elsie Diamond our burlesque artist. She posed with an ostrich feather fan – she was a natural with it and looked every bit the vintage queen in our vampy black dress with its square neckline and fluted skirt. She wore it with long black leather gloves and a charming little black cocktail hat with eye veil. Just too glamorous for words.
Our third model was the cool, blonde Suzanne, a chartered surveyor. She wore our grey, classically elegant day dress with three quarter sleeves, teamed with long black leather gloves and a grey straw and feather concoction of a hat by Jane Taylor Millinery; she had a real Grace Kelly look about her, groomed and sophisticated.
Lyndsey, a keen golfer, was our final model of the day. She looked effortlessly sophisticated and ready for cocktails in our heavy black cotton sleeveless dress, with long bronze leather gloves and leather and veiled cocktail hat by Jane Taylor Millinery.
The day seemed to rush past in a haze of make up and hairspray. Each woman was transformed into the epitome of grown up glamour. Everyone played their part perfectly; we even managed to keep to schedule. In a flash the first day was over, bring on day two …
So, the pattern grading has been done and the dresses for our photo shoot are in production.
Since we’re all about grown up glamour for real women, we have always planned to use non professional models in our photo shoot. We know that other labels have started using real women in their campaigns too, and that’s a positive and encouraging development. It’s good to see brands recognising the need to connect with their customers in this way and it’s exciting for us to be part of this movement too.
But ours won’t be just another ‘real women’ shoot. We’ve got something very glamorous planned.
We have retained a whole team of talented people to bring our look to life: A top flight photographer and her team; hair and make up artists; two milliners who are kindly letting us use some of their achingly glamorous hats and a young shoe designer who is designing some shoes especially for our models. We’re also currently sourcing interesting props too to create a real story around each picture.
We’ve been casting from a group of lovely ladies – some mums, some career women, some both. We have artists, musicians and business women of all ages – and sizes.
The shoot will take place in early December and we can’t wait to see the results!
Last week we had our first chance to see our designs made up in the fabrics we had selected. We were so excited, they looked wonderful – grown up glamour in all its glory!
The fabrics look gorgeous; striking jewel colours, some more neutral and plenty of black – naturally! We are now in the process of fitting them on our sample models and making final adjustments before we have our patterns graded to the size range we’re going to offer (8 to 16). Our next step will be to have the dresses made in the various sizes we’ll need for our photo shoot…
Over the past two years we’ve planned, researched, raised our start up funding – and of course we’ve designed our first collection.
Once we started putting the designs on paper the ideas came thick and fast, and the real challenge was deciding what to include in the first collection and what to leave out. Having decided on our designs we researched fabric suppliers and manufacturers. We are passionate about supporting British industry and were delighted to discover superb quality wool, silk and cotton in the most gorgeous colours, being produced in the UK. We also identified English manufacturers to make our dresses.
We found an excellent pattern cutter to interpret our designs and produce the patterns, from which we made our Toiles [where the dresses are made up in calico].
At the first fitting of the Toiles on our sample model we got an impression of how the dresses would look – and they looked great. Calico is an unforgiving fabric; it doesn’t drape, pleat or hang like a good quality silk or wool would, but as our pattern cutter said ‘if they look good in calico they’ll look good in anything! We could see some minor adjustments were needed and the pattern cutter took her marker pen and scissors to our Toiles, adjusting an armhole here and a hemline there, we looked on as our precious Toiles were marked up, chopped and pinned.
After a final check of the revised Toiles it was off to the manufacturer with the patterns and all our beautiful fabrics for a full set of pre production samples. We should see the dresses in the actual fabrics at then end of next week. We are beyond excited!
Our communications team is building our website and our holding page has just gone live (www.janeandmarilyn.co.uk). We are currently planning our (very glamorous) photo shoot – but more on this to follow soon…
A special friendship:
We met when we were just 8 years old, [Jane was at the local Convent school in Exmouth Devon and Marilyn’s family had just moved there so she was the ‘new girl’]. We hit it off immediately the main catalyst being an insanely silly sense of humour that even all these years later still has the power to reduce two now very grown up women to giggling schoolgirls. We have been as close as sisters from the beginning, through all the trials and tribulations of growing up and unsuitable boyfriends to marriage, motherhood and the necessary moving around the country for career and relationships. We’ve always remained in contact and the friendship is as close today as it’s ever been.
Even in the early days we adored glamour, in particular the polished glamour of Hollywood’s glory days. We were avid fans of the old movies they used to show on Saturday afternoons and we just loved the clothes of the 30s, 40s and 50s [Jane loves to draw and even then would sketch the costumes she saw on screen].
In our late teens and early twenties we, and a group of girlfriends, would design and make our own clothes. There was great local fabric shop selling silk and cotton jersey in gorgeous colours and on a Saturday we would all buy our fabric and spend the afternoons at our sewing machines furiously running up our creations (usually complete with sequins) to wear to our local pub that night. All of us had something of a Marilyn Monroe fixation [Marilyn was actually named after her]; we’d all get glammed up in full make up, big hair, lots of red lippy and even diamante jewellery and our new frocks and meet in our local to compare and admire our efforts. Looking back this must have been quite a spectacle for the rest of the locals, but for us it was normal.
We’ve always had a love of fashion, but the thought of having a career in it just seemed like a lovely fantasy – real life, and work, gets in the way.
Over the years, trips to ‘season’ events like Royal Ascot, Henley and Glyndebourne along with the usual round of weddings and parties proved challenging as far as finding stylish, flattering clothes which met the required dress codes – not too strappy for Ascot, not too short for Henley – while allowing for the unpredictability of our British summer.
So our desire to create our own label grew, driven not just by a love of clothes but also of necessity, and the frustration of trying to find the right thing to wear. We wanted to produce wearable, versatile clothes that could satisfy the needs of real women. Flattering clothes that look, and feel, great.
Jane & Marilyn is born
Then one night a couple of years ago, we were at a spa hotel and after dinner, and a bottle of wine, we started one of those ‘who would you have at your fantasy dinner party’ conversations. Marilyn Monroe was an obvious guest and we then started chatting about how brilliant her partnership with Jane Russell was – and the inspiration hit like a flash bulb – we’d name our brand after our glamorous namesakes. It was a perfect fit – we knew we wanted to create ‘grown up glamour for real women’ and we’ve always loved those gorgeous designs from the fifties with their flattering cuts.
In addition, we wanted to base our designs on the most versatile item of clothing in a women’s wardrobe and to many a ‘best friend’ – the dress.
So we had our brand, a brand that’s all about two of our favourite things – friendship and glamour.