Goodness...I am surprised that I didn't already review Vivien's! I have had a yelp profile picture of me spinning around in my dress from here for more than a year!!
- LOOK AT THE DRESSES!! Oh my goodness, if you have any excuse to wear a 1950s style dress, they are a dream.
- They have plenty of variety and pretty materials
- How could anyone not love their puffy pettycoats that make the dress puff-out and give you the gorgeous spinny twirly effect *see my profile picture for how fun this is*
- The accessories are also amaaazing!
- The tote bag they give you to take your pretty dress home in is really pretty and sturdy! I've been using it for shopping for over a year now!
The bad bits:
- Dresses are based on vintage sizes so get ready to be several sizes larger than you are used to!! I am normally a size 10, but I have to remove my bra to squeeze into a size 14 here!! Eep!
- I have visited several times, and most of the staff are lovely...however one lady is seriously mean and bitchy. Be prepared to ignore bitch-face if she says something mean or rude to you.
I came here with my bridesmaids a couple of weeks ago, and to be honest, it wasn't a particularly nice experience (mostly due to the one, mean member of staff who kept insulting my mates) BUT I can't really give them less than 4 stars because all the other times I've popped it has been simply lovely.
If you're like me and feel as though you might have been born 3 decades too late, then you're in luck. Step into Vivien of Holloway, located minutes from the Holloway Road tube station, and you'll realise it's still possible to live the 50's fashion dream.
Every item found in this store, right down to the petty coats and undies, are straight from the 1950s. Even the sales women and music look and sound as though you've taken a step back by about 60 years or so. While the styles themselves are limited, Vivien's offers a wide variety of colours and patterns (all flattering to a variety of body types). A side note to those of you who, also like me, are a bit conscience of their 'dress size': Vivien's uses sizes directly out of the 1950s, which means they start at a size 10 and go up from there. This took a little while to get use to, but as the kind sales woman informed me, today's sizes are notably known as 'vanity sizes'; I certainly can see why! Needless to say, I ended up with a beautiful blue and white poke-a-dotted play suit accessorised with a cute red belt.
Prices range from 10 GBP to 90 GBP depending on the items. While this might seem like a lot, it is important to keep in mind that the quality is higher than what one might find in a high street chain store. Your purchase will last you years rather than months.
What's that? I have a waist? And my hips are a GOOD THING? Are you sure? I knew I was living in the wrong era!
1950s clothes celebrate the female form in all its glory so those with hips and a decent rack should definitely be having a look into it.
Vivien's of Holloway is brilliant and by far the best shop on Holloway Road. They only have a selection of about 5 or 6 different styles but will then have that style of dress/top in loads of different colours and designs.
I LOVE the rockabilly look and absolutely adored the halter-tops. Unfortunately the dresses are a little too long for my little legs and at £80-100 per dress plus another £60 for a petticoat I think it'd be pushing it to then have to go and pay for alterations (they do not do these in-store).
Get measured before you try things on and don't worry if you come up bigger - they're working on 1950s sizes when curves were king so you might be a dress size or two bigger than you are in other shops.
They also have a small selection of accessories - jewellery, snoods (I LOVE them), belts, flowers etc. The ladies will only be too happy to help you to perfect your look. They even play 1950s music in here, I'm telling you, you'll desperately wish you could leave the shop and find yourself in 1950s America rather than dreary old Holloway Road in the 2010s...boooooo...
Fabulous little dress shop! I've spotted some Vivien of Holloway dresses in Camden Market before (without knowing the brand) and really liked them so it was such a treat to find their store. It's about a 3 minute walk from Holloway Road tube station.
The staff are very helpful and sweet, and not pushy at all. I saw a few styles that I liked on their website and wanted to try them out. One of the girls measured me and helped me pick out a few accessories to complete the look. (Note: their sizing is different from regular shop sizing. They have a measurement chart online). They don't have a lot of styles - rather they have a handful of very flattering dresses in many sizes and colours.
I ended up leaving with a beautiful 1950's style swing dress, a bolero and a petticoat. Their petticoats are wonderfully made (no wonder they are Sam's brand, from the US)! They are made entirely of chiffon instead of netting so they are super soft but still beautifully fluffy and bouncy. Their dresses are very reasonably priced starting at £59.00 ($90 US) considering that they are all handmade in London and not some sweatshop in Asia. Everything is fully lined, with boning for support.
As the measurements given at the size chart on their website appeared to be a little bit strange to me, I took the opportunity to vistit the shop when I was staying in London for a few days.
A lovely shop with awesome 40's & 50's repro clothing and very friendly and helpfull stuff.
Unfortunately the sizes were so proportionated that nothing was suitable for me. In particular the trousers and skirts were too small at the waist and much too big at the hips and the bum. The clothes are obviously made for girls who are broad in the beam and have a very slim waist at the same time. So I left very dissapointed.
I cannot imagine, that I am the only one who had problems with the sizes (and NO... I am not fat!). I mean we are not living in the 40s or 50s anymore. The people today are bigger/taller than 60 years ago. So why is it not possible to suit measurements to the proportions of todays population????
Great Vintage influenced Clothing, well made and woo are the ladies so nice! Please Check out this shop if your ever in London I just loved the sweetness of all the ladies working. and you will walk out looking and feeling fabulous.
Excellent shop, fantastic location in keeping with the whole 1950's feel. The dresses are super Rockabilly, circle swing style in a variety of floral prints, polka dots, and satins. The sizing's needs to be spot on for those great bullet bra/hour glass curves which the boned bodices give. I recommend splashing out on the underskirt and belt to finish off your outfit (along with some great heels and seamed stockings). Excellent for Goodwood Revival, Burlesque nights, jive/jazz any kind of dancing. Also do a line of menswear too. Helpful staff.
Great modern tailoring with vintage patterns, I have several of the dresses in my wardrobe. As the pattern is vintage you may need to go up a dress size or two. If you love vintage glamour, you couldn't go wrong getting a V.o.H dress, they also do straight dresses now- so if you're not a fan of the pouffy underskirt look and want something to hug them curves- this is a good place to start looking! The showroom is above victory motorcycles and they sometimes have one off's for sale. I have been told that you can't return the dresses from the web-site, I bought mine from Rockers in Manchester -where you can try them on!
My experience with Vivien of Holloway was very negative. I strongly
recommend against anyone purchasing clothing from this label. In a world of very caring and considerate
vintage reproduction vendors who have built their business up literally from scratch this
was my first bad experience. It appears as if VOH is getting some
other very well reasoned criticisms by other customers but people are
still shopping there. Please consider that service and products
generally improve when customers go elsewhere.
Repro sellers sell older merchandise, sale items or returns to move
stock on other websites than their main one. I'm often looking for bargains and auctions in this regard.
Yet only FOUR days after I purchased a dress at FULL price from Vivien
of Holloway (£89 plus £15 for shipping to California where I was on
holiday for a total of £104) the EXACT same style and size dress
appeared for a £18 including international shipping on another website being sold officially by Vivien of Holloway. Please note that this was not an older stock
dress or damaged nor was it an item that she was in excess off, but instead a
limited edition dress that had been selling at FULL price that same WEEK. I was shocked and politely asked for some kind partial refund or
even a discount on a future purchase (anything) but no, Vivien spouted
off this bizarre policy of how that has
nothing to do with us and that's a different department altogether.
Of course one only has to look at the other place online she alternately sells her stock and see that she is 100% responsible for the content. I was offered to return it but as I
was still on holiday and to meet the 14 day return period I'd have needed
to spend close to 30£ for recorded international delivery (shipping from
the US is astronomical), leaving me almost 45£ in the hole for
shipping which is unacceptable. As a customer I was offered nothing-not even an apology.
Had you not seen the item elsewhere you would of been perfectly happy
like hundreds of other customers. I was told. I find this arrogant
and most telling. VOH seems to have forgotten that many of us who shop for vintage reproduction and vintage clothing are on online every day
trying to save money in a tight economy. Off of her main site, I've seen her sell
nothing but dead stock, older items and junky sale clothing -never anything
that was selling full price on the floor earlier that same WEEK. The shipping
fee was a blatant rip off. I was told that the whopping £15 for
shipping was due to a mandatory signed confirmation policy which was
actually marked no and NEVER signed for as I found the package crammed
in our tiny post box. As for the product itself, the swing dress is very poorly made with a non-adjustable halter neck which I found painful even simply trying on. It is also not a true vintage reproduction and closer to a fancy dress
costume. I found much of the other clothing like the trousers, day dresses and jeans to be very cut matronly as well with fabrics ranging from nice to very low quality. This is
evidenced by the tall pretty brunette model with the Jane Russell vibe
that VOH uses on her website. The VOH swing dress does nothing for her
Amazonian figure and shoulders apart from putting two stone and two
decades on visually. Do give Vivien of
Holloway a miss if you're on the fence and look elsewhere. If you buy VOH clothing off their main site, you may want to go over the stock on her website beforehand and vice versa to
make sure you're getting a fair deal and don't hesitate to speak up if
the same thing happens to you. It is nice to see that she has so many loyal fans though. Clothing that fits well is hard to find right off the rack but I found her work and customer service approach extremely low quality compared to nearly all other UK and US made vintage reproduction lines out there.
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