As she launches her new studio and prepares for the Harrogate Vintage Fair, Vintage-Beau founder and stylist Trudy Fielding goes back to the 1980s with a modern twist. Victoria Benn reports. Pictures by Stevieroy.
After more than 20 years in sales management roles for high end brands, Trudy Fielding decided it was time to hang up her company car keys and pursue her dreams.
Branding herself Vintage-Beau, Trudy now runs a successful business sourcing and selling hand-picked vintage clothing and accessories from her new studio premises in Little Germany, Bradford, along with a concession at Retro Boutique, Hyde Park, Leeds.
“My philosophy about fashion is similar to my philosophy about life,” says Trudy. “As I’ve matured I’ve come to appreciate what’s most relevant to me, and I’ve realised that it’s okay to be who you are or want to be.
“We’re not here to be told who to be, we’re here to be ourselves.
“This change in thinking means I’m now more confident about indulging and enjoying my own unique style, and it also spurred the decision to leave the corporate world and pursue my long time passion for sourcing, selling and styling vintage.”
A chance re-acquaintance with an old friend, who also just happens to be one of the region’s foremost fashion photographers, Steve Roy Cockram – otherwise known as Stevieroy – of the Brussels Street Studio, Leeds, has enabled Trudy to further develop her natural flair for styling.
“My first assignment with Stevieroy was assisting on a summer fashion shoot for an international jewellery and fashion brand at Portmeirion in Wales,” says Trudy. “It was freezing, pouring with rain and blowing a sideways gale, so as well as assisting with the shoot I was holding umbrellas, filling hot water bottles and making hot drinks for the team. Despite the chaotic weather Stevieroy got the pictures he needed, and we realised there and then that we made a great creative team, and as a result have worked together many times since.”
This 1980s edit was borne out of a collaboration between Trudy and Stevieroy, the original vision being ‘dressing down evening wear’, which they coined #gowntime. With the ongoing diffusion of ‘80s detailing, such as pussy bows, reaching the high street over recent years, Trudy was keen to use vintage ‘80s pieces which still looked dated.
“The aim of this shoot was to team ‘80s clothing with hair, make-up and accessories which are bang up to date. Fusing vintage with contemporary is a great way to transform seemingly outdated clothes into theatrical idiosyncratic statement pieces.”
Evident from the shoot is Trudy’s versatility as a stylist, deconstructing a typical ‘80s wedding dress into understated shabby chic. “The Dr Martin boots tone down the notion that this is a wedding dress. This look would work equally well with a waspie belt or a velvet waistcoat.”
The pastel coloured polyester cocktail dress is dramatically updated. “Dresses like this are readily available from most vintage stockists at affordable prices, and can look stunning complemented by modern styling. The 1930s fur coat adds a little old school glamour to the look too, although it would also work well dressed down with a denim jacket,” says Trudy.
Another ‘80s classic, the RaRa dress, is accessorised with a stylish vintage La Perla choker. The unexpected addition of the oversized bat winged leather jacket is a twist, yet the model’s modern quiff elevates the jacket from its Rita, Sue and Bob Too style origins to that of understated chic.
To conclude the shoot, Trudy and Stevieroy up-styled several items of ‘80s leisure wear. The base layer of both outfits is a high street sports bandeau and capri leggings. With the addition of slouchy layers and accessories, such as the military cap and belt, a contemporary ‘gym to gin’ transition was achieved in moments.
“One of the highlights of selecting vintage pieces to form the core of an outfit or look is that it is affordable and sustainable,” says Trudy. “Wearing vintage doesn’t have be a full on thing; for me it is the mixing and matching of the classic and the contemporary.”
■ Vintage Beau will be hosting a stall at the Harrogate Vintage Fair at the Wesley Centre, Oxford Street, Harrogate, on November 18, 10am – 4.30pm. www.yorkshirevintagefairs.com