Wednesday, 15 August 2012

and more from the Rogano

On the same day as we shot the last pictures I showed you we also covered this corset. I'm incredibly proud of this one, I think it's my best, and most distinctly 'my' work to date. Much as I appreciate a lot of decoration and embellishment on a corset, my own tastes swing more to clean lines, great shaping and lots of texture and contrast in the fabric choices. And the fabrics here are key to the design.

The texture is created by layers of metallic silk and fine luxury Ayrshire madras which is woven with areas of metallic copper. There are peacock feathers buried and stitched into the centre panel to peek through subtly. The corset is then bound in pale gold silk to match the accompanying silk skirt.

I would love someone to commission something like this from me. I'd also love to make a version of it in greys and purples or blues.

The model is Kasumi Noir and the image is by and copyright to Louise Cantwell Photography.

Saturday, 11 August 2012


This week I teamed up with my favourite talented ladies for a wonderful little shoot at the Rogano in Glasgow. The Rogano is a wonderful place and rather a Glasgow institution. Opened in the 1930s, it was decorated in a similar style to the Queen Mary which was launched from the Glasgow shipyards around the same time. The interior is largely unchanged and elegant in way that evokes classic movies of the 1930s, but also with a European flair. I recommend the experience, and as a seafood lover I'll be popping back soon for a bar meal I think.

I had two outfits I wanted to show off and this is the first of them. A cotton sateen circle skirt and corset with and overskirt and trim of Ayrshire lace. The corset has a built in belt.

The photography was by the super-talented and super-lovely Louise Cantwell and the wonderful model was Kasumi Noir

Twinkle Twinkle Tiaras Shoot

Recently I was asked to loan a corset for a photoshoot for Twinkle Twinkle Tiaras. A local company who have a stunning array of gorgeous bridal tiaras and hair accessories who also offer a custom service to provide brides with just what they want for the perfect match to their gown. I supplied my Hera bridal longline and silk tie-side knickers along with a pair of vintage stockings.

The stunning photography was by Clare Coulter and the model was Adriana Bacur. Hair was by Laura Scarff and make-up by Lynsey Findlay. The venue was the rather impressive Ingliston Equestrian Centre.

I have to say I was gobsmacked by the results. I wasn't able to be there for the shoot (I normally prefer to be) the results were rather a surprise, and a rather wonderful one.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

White and Silver

I've been a busy girl. A few days later I had a shoot with Louise Cantwell  and Francesca Dunn. I'd spotted Francesca on Louise's portfolio and just had to work with her. It's incredibly difficult to find models who can show off curvier corsets but who haven't gone down a glamour route which just does not reflect my brand.

It was a nice relaxed shoot as both are lovely ladies. Well, not so relaxed in that I was finishing off binding on one corset while they were shooting the other! There are too many shots to choose from so I'll just show you a selection for now.

First we shot a longline deluxe Hera corset in white spot broche and white silk charmeuse. This is aimed at brides really, but it could be made up in other colours of course.

Next, a silver silk corset embellished with antique lace that really show's off Francesca's curves. Look out for this corset in future as it will be getting more lace added to it and will be shot again at a later date.

Images all copyright Louise Cantwell Photography 2012

Armadillo in Ayr

My first update is a shoot I did in May with the very lovely Kasumi Noir and the very talented CSD Images. The corset shot is the magenta metallic Armadillo corset - an interpretation of an 1880s corset featuring fine cording and metallic flossing inspired by the neon lit Armadillo building, or Clyde Auditorium to give it it's proper name.

We started off attempting some shots on the windswept beach, but it was a bit too windswept and wet so we abandoned that and headed back to complete the session in the warm. A dose of tasty hot soup and a cuppa and we were all warmed through and we got some fabulous results. Well, the other two did. The designer's duties consist of bringing the stuff, lacing it up, keeping an eye on anything going astray or askew and being available to hold or move anything required. But then, after burning midnight oil getting things finished for shoots that's about all we're fit for usually.

It was a very good day all round, with lovely people and lots of laughs. Here are the results:

Images © Celtic Shadows Design, 2012. All Rights Reserved


Having been shamefully negligent of this blog for the last few months I'm going to do a rapid catch up with some recent shoots and events. Then, I'll start blogging about the new work! And try and be a bit more regular with my posts.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Lilli Ann suit close-up

A few years ago I nabbed this vintage Lilli Ann suit on ebay. It was only a little too small at the time, now it's a lot more but I hold on to the belief I'll wear it some day. I could sell it on for a good price, but it's too gorgeous to part with, and who knows if I'd ever find another at a good price and in a decent size (a lot of mid-century vintage is tiny). So anyway, I thought I share some pics and details with you. If you're interested let me know as I have a couple of dresses I could do posts on too, albeit not quite as special as this.

So first, a bit of background on Lilli Ann. The company have become a byword for particularly stylish, tailored suits. This one is quite a typical style. Adolph Schuman started the company in 1933 in San Francisco, naming the company after his wife Lillian. 

This particular suit appears to have been licensed through a department store going by the Addis Company, Syracuse NY label. I googled it and found a picture of a rather swish building which had housed the, now closed down, store. It seemingly was quite an upmarket department store. I assume it would be a similar set-up to a modern day 'Designers at Debenhams' type arrangement. If anyone has any further information I'd be fascinated to hear it.

Note the fabric label? Well after the war Schuman travelled to France, opened a showroom in Paris and bought up fabric, often from small companies on the verge of post war bankruptcy saving them from going under. At this time he started adding Paris to the labels and there are similar labels showing Italy and England. 

The company produced similar, fitted suits into the 50s then changed tack to a knits line and so on. Schuman himself died in the 80s but the label carried on until the end of the 90s.

The suit itself... well it's a fine wool, grey with a subtle blue weave then flecked with white. Very lovely fabric and in remarkable condition apart from some splitting at the cuff (any conservators out there with any suggestions on how to stabilise this without compromising the garment?). 

The peplum is corded and stitched with contrast thread then pleated so it has lots of volume and shape. The buttons are white hard plastic and fasten through loops. I noticed one of the buttons has been re-stitched on with different coloured thread, so it's had a little more wear than I initially thought it had. It's lined with what feels to me like a silk crepe in wine. The skirt is lined in blue which I thought a bit strange.

The lining stitched to the jacket hem.

One particularly nice touch is that the fabric is aligned at the back collar seam.

I particularly love the tapered overlap at the front of the peplum.

The skirt is a straightforward straight skirt with tiny pleats rather than totally stitched down darts and a rear kick pleat. 

Metal zipper of course and the button is mounted on a shirt weight blue checked cotton tab. The seams are all pinked, as is the lining. The lining hem is pinked also rather than being hemmed. The deep hem is pinked then finished with blue hem tape. The seams have a folded interfacing on each side of the seam between the seam allowance and the skirt.

Interesting, we obsess about seam finishes and tend to see pinking as a bit home-made now yet here a decent quality item is pinked as are many vintage garments. I tend to pink seams quite a lot myself, either leaving them or catching them down to an underlining by hand. I don't like overcast edges and like the lack of extra bulk from pinked seams. It depends on the garment and the fabric of course. But if something is holding up perfectly well after 60 odd years then it's probably fine! You'll see the right hand side seam has a significantly larger seam allowance than the other seams.

So I hope you've enjoyed this close up look at a nice piece of vintage and haven't minded the digression from corsets too much.

(information on Lilli Ann from various sources online including Pintuck StyleVintage Fashion Guild and another history here )