FOCUS chats to Port Macquarie’s Pin up Diva, Miss Dale Velvet-Rose about her love of the pin up culture and her vintage studio pop up shop …
Hello Miss Dale. Thank you for your creative input and styling on our front cover last month; it turned out AMAZING! What do you love about working on projects like this?
I was honoured to be asked to collaborate on the front cover for last month – it was a wonderful experience to style the gorgeous Miss Jorja. It was a joy to do her hair vintage style and dress her in one of my circle skirts that I designed. I had never been involved in something like that before; it was a pleasure to work with such a professional team at FOCUS and to have such a wonderful prop as the beautifully restored Vespa.
Tell us about your pin up shop, “Velvet Rose’s Pin Up Dressing Room”; what inspired you initially, and how did you get it off the ground?
Velvet-Rose’s Pin Up Dressing Room initially started as a website with a variety of different merchants within it – like a vintage department store where different designers had shops within the department store. I wanted to create something where the pin ups could shop for an entire outfit in one place, right from lingerie, hosiery, dress, shoes, jewellery, hair products, hats or flowers and cosmetics, all in one transaction. My website currently has 10 different merchants on it – four of them are my products, but the others are merchants who mainly have stalls at markets and may not be able to create their own website.
My website was also created to solve another of the problems with purchasing clothing online – namely instead of selecting your items by size, you search items based on your actual body measurements i.e. bust, waist and hip measurements. If you enter those three figures into my website search, it will only show you the items that will suit those measurements within 10 cm.
This was important for me to create, because being someone whose measurements are a bit larger than the ladies in the 1940s and 1950s, I struggle to find true vintage clothing in traditional online shops such as Etsy, and it can sometimes become a downer searching for hours finding a dress you like, and then click on it to find it doesn’t suit your measurements. I wanted to create a search that speeds up the process and doesn’t put you through a roller coaster of emotions – when you find your dream dress, and then realise it won’t fit you. This is where my tag line comes from – A Vintage Department Store Tailored to You!
What does Velvet Rose’s Pin Up Dressing Room offer its clientele?
My services and products have expanded from the initial merchants on an online platform to now offering workshops for vintage styling, which includes vintage hair styling, vintage make up, vintage styling, posing, deportment and etiquette.
My stock has also expanded over the four years since I opened the business, to include the biggest range of What Katie Did lingerie in Australia (vintage inspired lingerie fully imported from England), Erstwilder (a collectible range of Australian Designed brooches and jewellery), vintage inspired clothing from various brands and true vintage clothing.
Also as part of my business I enjoy mentoring pin ups and running and MCing pin up competitions in Port Macquarie, Taree and Maitland. I love to see the pin ups grow in confidence as they travel on this wonderful journey that is pin up. A couple of years ago the entrants of Miss Retrofest and Miss Dolly awarded me a trophy that had inscribed on it “Pin Up Mum”! I was sooo honoured to receive this – and this is now how I am known in the pin up community. I also have my own pin up model troupe that does fashion parades in the area for various venues.
Not only do you offer an amazing range of vintage pin up inspired apparel; you also offer a custom made service …
Yes, I can make an outfit right from the sketch of the design, creating the toile and making the final outfit for my beautiful customer. I am so proud when I see them in their outfit and how they sparkle – when they see their dream outfit come to life.
And, you have a pop up shop here in Port Macquarie …
Yes, about 18 months ago I decided that it was time to create a space that Velvet-Rose’s Pin Up Dressing Room could call its own – and I was lucky enough that at the same time an opportunity came up to lease a unit which had the perfect feel to be able to create a vintage studio with vintage items from the 1950s and 1960s, as well as some vintage inspired items. Many people say it is like stepping back in time – which is a huge compliment.
I run my workshops in the beautiful studio, make my sewing creations and run my pop up shops on Saturdays in there. I hope in the future to also be able to offer vintage themed photo shoots. At my vintage studio you can drop in just for a cuppa and a chat, old skool style shopping or just to relax and read some of the old magazines or pin up magazines.
What do you love most about the vintage pin up era?
I have always loved the glamour and elegance of the ladies of this era. When I was younger, I used to watch the classic movies of the era with glamourous stars such as Miss Marilyn Monroe (one of my favourites – I even dress as her sometimes), Miss Lucille Ball, Miss Esther Williams, Miss Betty Grable, Miss Rita Hayworth and Miss Jane Russell. I enjoyed seeing their gorgeous outfits with their figure enhancing dresses, hats, stockings, shoes, gloves and handbags all coordinated to a T.
Of course, their beautiful hair styles always intrigued me, how they were able to create them – and I am pleased that now I can create some of these gorgeous styles and love learning new ones.
Do you think the culture has been embraced now, more than ever?
Yes, the vintage pin up culture is now being embraced more than ever, because it has now morphed into different guises or versions – such as Rockabilly, Psychobilly, Geekabilly, Burlesque, as well as the Traditional Vintage Pin Up. The Pin Up Family (culture) as we like to call it is all embracing – we welcome anyone who would like to embark on this wonderful journey of self confidence and discovery. It doesn’t matter how old you are, whether you have piercings or not, whether you have tattoos or not – or even the size of your curves – we encourage everyone to be the person they are and shine from the inside to bring out their inner beauty and confidence.
Women are being drawn to the pin up way of life, as it gives them the ability to be able to spend time on themselves, gain confidence and do things they would never have done before they had done pin up – such as just being themselves, healing from difficult times and accepting that it is OK to be different. I enjoy the ritual of dressing pin up – from setting my hair, doing my makeup, creating my hairstyle and selecting and coordinating my outfit – it gives me a chance to have some time out from the normal rush of life and to spend some time on myself and escape from my usual accountant mode.
As a pin up model yourself, what is or has been your favourite outfit?
My favourite outfit is my first true vintage dress that I ever purchased – I think I fell in love with the story and then the dress. It is a beautiful blue/green/teal shantung dress with a fitted bodice, flared skirt and bolero. This dress was purchased from a lady in the US, who had obtained it from a 90 year old lady who used to sing in a piano bar in the 1950s and had it custom made for her.
When I wear this dress, I think about the lady who had it made for her and how proud she must have been wearing it. I first purchased this outfit in 2013 and it is only recently that I have been able to fit into it again, which is delightful. I also have a couple of beautiful vintage hats that go with this outfit – they are entirely made from feathers – just stunning!
Lastly, where can our readers go to find you and purchase from you?
The readers can purchase from my website www.velvetrosespinup.com.au or follow me on Facebook or Instagram. They can pop into my pop up shop at my vintage studio, 4/40 Lake Road, Port Macquarie between 11am to 3pm Saturdays (we are open most Saturdays, unless we are at an event) or by appointment. I have special vintage items that are only available for purchase at my pop up shop. I look forward to welcoming everyone.
Thanks Miss Dale.