Thursday 21 November 2013

Fast Fashion Interviews Laura Firby (Soup du Jour)

Laura Firby (Soup du Jour), a burlesque dancer who works in Belfast’s vintage shop The Rusty Zip, has organized the burlesque evening ‘Belfast Tease -O- Rama’ on the 30th of November in The Black Box. 
How did you become interested in burlesque and how did you start?
I started at Leeds University when I was 19. I had never even seen or heard of burlesque before. A friend who knew I was into vintage fashion asked myself and some other girls to perform in a presentation at one of her lectures. All five of us had lots of fun and after the performance we wanted to pursue burlesque dancing properly so we formed a troupe. This meant that we could perform as a group but also do solo acts. After university everyone went their separate ways but I decided to carry on doing it.
The burlesque scene is quite small in Belfast, do you think it is continuing to grow in popularity?
Yes, I do think it is growing; it’s just about forming a community and getting people interested. I’ve lived in Belfast for over a year now. When I go out at night with victory rolls in my hair some women approach me and ask me about my hairstyle. When I say that I do burlesque they often reply ‘I’d love to do that’, but there isn’t a regular evening or established community here yet. There are 20s/40s themed cabaret evenings like Pigeon and Plums and also BelleHoppers that sample a taste of burlesque so it’s definitely getting there! People have this idea that burlesque is very competitive but it’s not. Other performers like to share, give critiques and grow together. I stay in touch with a group in Dublin who are organizing the Dublin Burlesque Festival and have arranged for a few dancers to perform in Belfast at the Tease -O-Rama.
Your performance style contains a surprise element of comedy, how do audiences react to this?
When I started I looked up what the word ‘burlesque’ meant. It began in the Victorian times and the word means satire. Women at the time used this form of art to make fun of the things that were going on. That’s what I got from it; when my clothes come off that should be the punch line.  Even though I’m naked, it’s funny. It’s sometimes difficult but that’s the challenge. People always say humour is sexy. For me it’s just like a defense mechanism. When I get on the stage and I’m nervous the first thing I think of is ‘how can I make them laugh?’ I think it tricks the audience a little bit. People who haven’t been to a burlesque show before are going to expect something beautiful and glamorous. When you come out and do something hilarious it takes them a while because they don’t know you can laugh. I think it makes for a good atmosphere.

When composing your routines, where or who do you look for inspiration?
It usually comes from music. The songs are mostly modern and I like the idea that burlesque should be satire of the times. I’ll be at home listening to a song then an idea will pop into my head.  I’d then research it, look up costumes (referring back to vintage from all eras and even artists). Occasionally I’d find a hat in work and that would spark a whole routine. From just one article of clothing you can create a ton of ideas.
What would be your dream costume, what’s on your wish list?
My weakness is anything girly like sequins and feathers. I’ve been collecting a lot of ostrich feathers and they’re waiting at home ready to be made into a costume. They’re bright pink and remind me of vintage follies costumes. I think I would die if I saw one in real life. I also love the creepy cabaret side of burlesque. The possibilities are endless, if I wanted to dress like a strawberry I could make a costume and perform it. I think that’s why burlesque is still going strong and that’s what inspires me: never-ending ideas.
What can we expect on the evening?
There will be three performers on the night offering a wide spectrum of burlesque, from cheesecake, comedy and some sexy/almost fetish styles. I wanted to show people a mixture and for future shows I hope to include specific themes alongside crazier performers. This is just the start….
Belfast Tease-O-Rama takes place on Sat 30th November at the Black Box. Information and tickets at their website. Illustration by Stephen Maurice Graham.

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Warehouse Launch Party at Victoria Square

Last Thursday saw the official launch of the brand spanking new Warehouse store in Victoria Square so I skipped down after work to take some snaps! The Talent Spot competition concluded with two winners - Shauna McGowan a Newtownards-based artist who showcased unique leather work and quirky screen prints on the evening, alongside the beautiful vocals of  County Derry singer Clodagh Quinn who wowed the judges with her song 'Bare My Soul.' Delicious drinks and cocktail flavoured cupcakes from Lily Pink Bakery were a hit amongst customers whilst they browsed the lovely new Autumn/Winter collection. 

Sunday 15 September 2013

Full Steam Ahead For Victoria Square's A/W 2013 Fashion Show

Catwalk models Carys Magill and Richard Skinner get ready to board Victoria Square’s ‘Autumn Winter Express’ as they help showcase the first glimpse of the iconic shopping centre’s new season trends.

This exclusive fashion reveal is all part of the countdown to Northern Ireland’s premier retail, residential and leisure complex’s first ever Autumn/Winter Fashion & Beauty Spectacular taking place on Saturday, 28th September 2013.

The Fashion Spectacular event will offer style enthusiasts everything they need to know for their Autumn/Winter trend fix – with no need to search high and low for this season’s must haves as Victoria Square have it all under one roof.   From catwalk shows and styling tips to beauty demonstrations and much more, this one stop fashion event will also give style conscious shoppers an exclusive opportunity to take advantage of in-store offers and activities. 

Victoria Square’s Personal Stylist, Rebecca McKinney who’ll be on hand at the event to lend her fashion expertise and advice, comments ahead of the fashion extravaganza:

“We’re really excited for our first ever A/W fashion event hosted here at Victoria Square and as this season is our most stylish yet, we’re looking forward to revealing a range of Wow-worthy outfits to fall in love with - only available at Victoria Square - ensuring our customers are a step ahead of the fashion pack this Fall.

“Without giving too much away, our themed fashion platform will showcase items for every occasion, from the September chill right through to the Christmas sparkle. Expect ladylike daywear, this season’s must-have oversized coats, along with statement winter prints and minimal tailoring for both men and women - showing that ‘There’s More to Wear’ at Victoria Square.

“Come down to see what picks to invest in over the coming weeks (most are already in-store in Victoria Square) and you’ll have a capsule wardrobe that will see you through the winter months.”

There will be 500 fabulous goodie bag bursting with seasonal treats for people who attend Victoria Square’s Autumn/Winter Fashion & Beauty Spectacular.  Shoppers also have the opportunity to win incredible prizes such as a winter wardrobe worth £1000, just in time for the new season. You can enter now by visiting

Saturday 24 August 2013

Asos Giveaway!

Asos Autumn 2013 - 'Ladylike Chic'

Very thrilled to team up with to offer my very first giveaway - a £40 voucher to spend on! You can enter here and on the 7th of September a winner will be selected at random. Every entrant can gain up to 10 entries each so good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I would also love to hear from you what is it you are most looking forward to this Autumn, whether it is simply wearing your favourite coat again or an upcoming gig! I can't wait to layer up vintage dresses and meet friends for hot chocolate ;) x

Thursday 22 August 2013

The Rusty Zip's 15 Year Anniversary Party

Flyer designed by Don Miller

Hope you can make it, see you there x 

Saturday 10 August 2013

Purple Paisley Haze

Modern-Day Inspiration 
This Silk Dress by Isabel Marant for SS13

Vintage Inspiration
This 1970s Cotton Paisley Maxi-Dress - Available at The Rusty Zip size S £20

Peony Lim wearing Isabel Marant
Create her look by adding these Pearl Hair Pins from Asos - £10
If you want to add just a touch of print try this Paisley Vintage Scarf  from The Rusty Zip - £3

My own Paisley Top from Sparkle & Fade

Paisley Summer Dress by Chelsea Girl - Available at The Rusty Zip size 14 £15

Close-ups of two Vintage Blouses - Available at The Rusty Zip £10 each

Break away from your inner wallflower with this swinging 60s Psychedelic Mini-Dress - 
Soon to be available at The Rusty Zip

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Frankie's Idea - 23rd July 1971

 Frankie says 'Heeeeyyyyy'

Thanks to my friend Kayleigh for finding this fun gem in work today, it oozes retro style! The article is about a suave young fashion designer who worked at the infamous nightclub Tiffany's. It's taken from the Daily Express 23rd of July 1971 and is written by Pam Harley-

Women's fashions featuring all that's frilly and feminine, and men's fashions featuring flamboyant, but not feminine clothes is the new trend a 21 year old Wakefield fashion designer would like to see followed in the near future.

The young designer is Frankie Johnson, a Nigerian, who lives at 90 Pinderfields Road. He is employed as a photographer, display artist and disc-jockey at Tiffany's, Southgate, Wakefield. 

As a former pupil at Wakefield Technical and Art College, where he did a three-year course in designing, Frankie feels that English fashions for men and women are at a virtual standstill.

For Himself 

Nevertheless, he isn't too worried about this state of affairs because in his spare time he designs clothes for himself and his friends. Pictured here is one of his recent designs for himself. It is a black and white small check suit in lightweight wool to be worn as everyday gear. The jacket has two large patch pockets and a top pocket, fish-mouth cuffs and Spanish braiding around the collar and down to the front. The trousers are in the French style, with narrow hips and wide, unflared bottoms.

£45 Suit

The suit was made to Frankie's specifications by a firm of Southgate tailors. The suit cost him around £45, but he told me that it could have been a lot cheaper had he not been so choosy about materials. The shirt he is wearing with the suit is also one of his designs. Made up by a Wakefield girl, it is in white and mauve spotted cotton. It is round-collared and has long, tight cuffs, giving a slight puff to the sleeves.

Bridal Outfit

Frankie's latest creations are two bridal outfits for two friends. For the bride, he has designed a full-length gown in white crepe cut on Tudor lines with a hood. His sketches show a delicately embroidered bodice and leg-o-mutton sleeves. For the bridegroom, he has designed a brown-grey suit in lightweight wool with braiding around the collar, wide lapels and imitation belts on the front of the jacket. The trousers are in the French style. 

With a careful eye for detail, he has drawn dozens of sketches for men's and women's fashions. If we adopted some of his colourful and stylish creations there would certainly be a lot of snappy dressers brightening up our cities and towns. 

Sunday 7 July 2013

Exciting News - Warehouse Talent Spot Comes To Belfast

Leeds Winner of Warehouse Talent Spot 2013 - 


Wednesday 20 March 2013

Zig A Zig Ah


This fab zigzag sequined Louise Gray for Topshop dress arrived into The Rusty Zip this week! It's around size 10-12 and brand new with the label still attached. Priced at only £60 it has a small hole on the front that can easily be mended. Original price £200 so this is a fantastic bargain!

I am also loving this silk pale pink embellished vintage frock. Perfect for Spring parties the detailing is incredible with pearl seed beads and shimmering sequins. It is also currently in The Rusty Zip priced at £45 and is also size 10-12.

Monday 18 March 2013

Envoy of Belfast Loft Sale


On Thursday 21st of March Envoy of Belfast will be having their first annual loft sale from 9.30am - 9pm coinciding with Belfast Fashion week! This fabulous unique boutique situated on 4 Wellington Street will present a one day opportunity to budding shoppers looking for those special designer pieces at greatly reduced prices. Envoy is home to exclusive brands such as Celine, Marni, Lanvin, Dries Van Noten and Paul Harnden that you won't find anywhere else in the whole of Northern Ireland. All of their pieces are carefully chosen for their excellent and distinctive quality of design, fabric, craftsmanship and coherent narrative. For some new season inspiration take a look at their website - and pep up your Spring wardrobe!