IF YOU coveted Kate Middleton’s wedding dress with its strong hint of the 1950s about it you might want to attend the St Barnabas Hospice Shop fashion show in Spalding next Friday.
The volunteers at the shop in New Road, Spalding, have had a 1950s dress donated to them that everyone agrees is very like the one worn by the Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day and it will take centre stage at the show at the Vista (7pm).
The dress may feature in the wedding section of the shop’s third fashion show, or it may appear among the vintage/retro clothing that will be worn on the catwalk by shop volunteers and possibly a patient from the day hospice in Spalding.
St Barnabas has 24 charity shops throughout the county and one of the biggest, in Lincoln, has a floor dedicated to retro and vintage clothing, called The Attic, which has inspired Spalding shop manager Lisa Thomas to try something similar.
She has devoted a small corner of the Spalding shop to not just vintage and retro clothing, but accessories such as handbags, gloves and hats, as well as toys, bric-a-brac, books and games from the 1930s to the 1970s, all of which has either come in as donations or been sourced by shop staff.
Lisa believes the vintage and retro clothing is something that will create a lot of attention as she sees it as an area that is growing in interest with collectors as well as fans of fancy dress parties.
She said: “This year, we just started to get bits and pieces in and we had people coming in to ask for fancy dress so I thought I would try a small area of the shop to see if it goes and it is taking off. People are beginning to realise we are doing that kind of thing and that we have a fair bit of stock, some genuine and some replica.”
Staff have been quietly putting clothing and household items from those eras to one side in preparation for the show – all clothing modelled as well as other items on display will be for sale, including little jewellery pouches and boxes made by patients at the day hospice in Wygate Park.
Lisa – who says the hospice shop contributed £39,000 to the St Barnabas charity last year – hopes they can at least match the marvellous £1,000 made at the first fashion show.
Those who attend the event can probably expect to see some gems in the various categories: evening and day wear, wedding, ‘bonfire’ – or warm winter hats, boots and accessories, and the retro/vintage clothing.
There is one slight problem with this last category as Lisa points out: genuine vintage clothing tends to be in small sizes – the wedding dress is estimated to be a size 8.
Lisa says: “You don’t generally get anything above a size 16, but most of it is good quality. We get a lot of real fur jackets but we are not allowed to sell them. The wedding dress hasn’t got a mark on it. It’s absolutely beautiful.
“Of the vintage household items, some of it is badly worn, but often things such as tray cloths tend to have been inherited and not used.”
If it turns out the vintage clothing is too small there is an alternative: Lisa and the staff at the shop have created a craft corner upstairs, with fabric and wool remnants, haberdashery, sewing equipment such as a 40s sewing machine and other useful items. The section also contains some vintage sewing patterns, so if the genuine item won’t fit, you could always try making your own.
nTickets for the fashion show on September 21 cost £5, including cheese and wine, and are available from the shop or by contacting Vikki on 07435 753098.