Vintage style: puttin’ on my Top Hat – and a fabulous 30’s dress

For anyone that doesn’t know, Top Hat is a classic Fred and Ginger film from 1935 featuring such memorable songs as Top Hat, White Tie and Tails and Cheek to Cheek.  It’s also now a West End musical and a couple of days ago my friend and I tottered over to the Aldwych Theatre in London for their special ‘tails and tiaras’ night for which members of the dress circle were asked to wear full evening attire.

How could I resist!

The musical was brilliant – it’s worth seeing especially if you’re a fan of Fred Astaire because Tom Chambers has clearly done his homework; not quite like watching the real thing, but probably as close as you’re ever going to find in 2012!  My friend and I also decided that he also looks like Orlando Bloom and Danny from The Scripts’ love-child, so if that floats your boat…  I wasn’t as much of a fan of Summer Strallen’s Ginger – she doesn’t quite have her elegance and the Dale in the musical seems much more bad-tempered and hormonal.  It’s also worth noting that the musical is actually much funnier than the film; the crazy Beddini steals the show in the second act.  They’ve clearly had a think about the differences in humour between the 1935 and 2012 audiences and as such some of part two was unique to the musical – but completely worked.

But I especially loved the musical because the costumes were absolutely stunning.  They covered so many bases of 1930s looks – from swimwear, to ladies trouser suits, to showgirl outfits.  I will share two of my favourite evening dresses – and you’ll have to bear with me here as I use my new fashion sketchpad for the first time and draw largely from memory (with only black ink)…


The left dress is one that Dale wears in the scene where she is trying to seduce Jerry (with a matching bolero that isn’t in the photo).  It’s all black apart from gold trims.  And on the right is a pale green silk number which was by far the best costume that any of the extras wore.  I love the cut out sides and the back had criss-cross straps holding the small sleeves in place off the shoulder.


And here’s a waist-up shot of the dress I wore (the full-length photos were shocking), which was this Sirens and Starlets purple satin halterneck I mentioned in my beautiful dress post before – a steal at £29.99 (the label said £69.99, so perhaps this is an error and you should all run to buy one!) On my 5ft2″ frame the dress finished a good few inches below the knee so looks quite classic.


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