Retro / Vintage, Tried & Tested

A date with Vivien of Holloway part 2: The ‘Grace’ circle dress in Fuchsia - (archived)

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We’re on to my second of three Vivien of Holloway dress reviews, and this time it’s the turn of the positively fabulous ‘Grace’ dress, a silk, full-circled version of the Jezebel I tried last time. It’s the most expensive VoH dress at £110, but there’s definitely a reason for that. The fabric is really nice quality, very heavy so it hangs well, and there’s loads of it in the dress – though there are side seams, this is a nice full skirt, not an A-line masquerading as a circle!

I should probably tell you now, before you scroll down, that the unofficial theme for these photos was ‘vintage tea party in my kitchen’ so this post includes not only a retro dress, but also cupcakes and vintage teacups. All this is despite the fact I don’t drink tea (I do eat cakes, though). Be warned, kitsch ahoy!

I’m basically in love with what this dress does to my waist!

It fits like a glove around the mid-section. Looking back at the pictures, I would perhaps opt for a different bra in the future (I wore the Freya Deco half-cup) because around the top seam it’s fighting against underwires and padding a bit which means it sits out away from my body slightly, but nevertheless I can’t fault the fit at all. When I put it on it felt like the dress had been custom-made to my measurements.

The heavy satin items like this one seem to run a bit smaller than others in the Vivien of Holloway range, probably because of the stiffness and lack of give. It’s not a huge difference, but I’d say there’s half an inch in it at least, so it’s worth remembering if you’re between sizes or only just fit into the size you usually wear if you’re a fan of the brand. The Jezebel fit me with a bit of breathing space, the Grace in the same size (vintage 16) fits very tightly, but not uncomfortably. As always with Vivien of Holloway, go by the waist measurement, not the size in the label as their vintage sizing differs from modern sizes by quite a bit.

The length, shape of the skirt and the way it hangs can’t really be faulted as far as I’m concerned. On my 5’7 frame it hits a couple of inches below the knee, and the fabric is heavy enough that it doesn’t crease the moment you put it on. It took a while to get used to the colour – if I’d bought it myself I probably would have gone with the navy or dark green – but once I had it on and I was prancing about the kitchen with cupcakes, I soon grew to love the bold fuchsia and ended up falling in love. I wore it with Marc Jacobs peep toes, my mom’s necklace, H&M earrings and a No.1 Jenny Packham bracelet.

Buy the dress in various colours for £110 at Vivien of Holloway.

[Photos by Natalie]

Disclosure: Vivien of Holloway allowed me to keep one dress – I chose this one! However, all thoughts are my own and I was not paid to publish them.

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  • Reply ManintheHotPinkSuit March 2, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Love it!

  • Reply ManintheHotPinkSuit March 2, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Love it!!

  • Reply Anonymous March 2, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    This dress is dreamy, I think I’d happy splash out for it.

    P.S. you look amazing, I wish my hair could look like this!

    • Reply Gemma March 2, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      It could! You have the length and the rest is all in the set – I’m writing a how to as we speak (I feel like I always say that but it’s actually true this time).

      • Reply Anonymous March 4, 2012 at 8:44 pm

        You are an angel!

  • Reply Kimberley Foster March 3, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Totally floored by how stunning this dress is on you. Perfection!

    • Reply Gemma March 3, 2012 at 10:04 pm

       awww! Thank you! xxx

  • Reply Kahani March 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    You look absolutely gorgeous Gemma! Love this site btw!

  • Reply Roisin March 6, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    I would like one in every colour, please.

  • Reply Ria March 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    You look fab in this dress! I’m looking to wear this to my grandad’s 70th birthday this year but am trying to work out if it’s low on the back as I have a tattoo on my back and was wondering if it would show it of in this style? thank you xx

    • Reply Gemma March 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      Hi Ria, the back is almost identical to the front, going down into a V above the waistband, but it doesn’t cross over so it’s a little more open at the top. It covers a bra completely, if that helps to visualise it. If you want me to snap a pic let me know. x

  • Reply Silk Cocktail Dress March 21, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I love it so much! It’s suits you so well!

  • Reply Sward1959 May 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Hi Gemma
    You look absolutely stunning.  Can you tell me if the fabric is really shiny?  I would like to get the navy one to wear for a……funeral!  It if is dullish sateen it could work.  Can you let me know.  Keep eating the cupcakes.  xxx

    • Reply Gemma May 18, 2012 at 9:12 am

      Hi, it’s a sort of matte shine (a contradiction in terms I know…) rather than a really shiny satin, so it may work, it is quite a showy dress though so it depends on how ‘traditional’ the funeral is. I’m not sure how dark the navy is in real life as I’ve only seen the pictures, but I think it’s probably got a greyish hue.

  • Reply Emma D August 7, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Hi Gemma,

    You look great in this dress!

    I want to wear it to a wedding but I’m concerned that it looks a little restrictive on the boobs, do you mind me asking what size bra you wear? I’m a 32H and I’ve bought the dress in a VOH size 18 (32 waist and 40 bust) My bust actually measures 42inch and my wait 31.. so do you think I should go a size up and have it looser on the waist as compromise?

    Obviously I want my waist to look as small as possible so would rather buy the 18 but is there much give around the bust?

    Thanks for any help!

    Emma x

    • Reply Gemma August 7, 2012 at 11:43 am

       Hi Emma,

      I’m 32E and wearing Freya Deco half-cup (which is quite padded) in the pic. I think the size you ordered should be fine as they cut for a very hourglass figure. Because of the way it sits it looks quite tight around the bust but it actually doesn’t feel it, the only issue you may find is that the waistband comes up above your underwire, flattening you a bit. You can see it did this on me a little bit!

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