Corina Corina, Warwick
PUBLISHED: 13:24 18 March 2011 | UPDATED: 16:39 20 February 2013
Vintage has been the big fashion story of recent years. A new boutique in Warwick is a haven for vintage and designer labels.
When Ella Myles found herself facing redundancy after 14 years working in the fast-paced marketing environment of the worlds largest steel manufacturer, she chose to follow her passion for vintage and designer fashion.
From her intimate and attractive boutique on Warwicks historic Smith Street, the 37-year-old is making a business of selling and hiring out the type of finds she has collected and sought for years. Corina Corina, a dress agency for vintage and designer ladieswear as well as the best pickings from the High Street, opened in July. And already Im full and need a bigger shop, says Ella.
Ive always collected vintage items and shopped in dress agencies. Ive got cupboards at home filled with fabric as I love the quality of how things used to be made. I think the fact these vintage pieces are still around now is part of the appeal I like the antique feel and the fact someone has loved it before and there is a story that goes with it.
Ive always wanted to do this or something close to what I want to end up with but because my job was so fast-paced and there was a lot of travelling, I never had the time and mental capacity to step out of it and play with some ideas. So when I took redundancy I came up with a business plan and it just snowballed.
Alongside the consignment pieces, Ella sources vintage and retro items and one-off designer samples from various contacts in the fashion industry. Everyday contemporary wear sits alongside sparkling and elegant evening dresses from the Fifties, Forties two-pieces, vibrant coats and bags of the Seventies, shoes, jewellery and other accessories with prices ranging from 40 to 400. There will also be designer dresses to hire for the party season.
Vintage fashion has certainly been experiencing a revival in recent years and across many age ranges. This is in part fuelled by our celebrityobsessed culture if they are spotted in vintage its suddenly sought after but also down to a desire to break free of the homogenised fast fashion of the High Street and instead invest in pieces with individuality and longevity.
Its almost contrary to think people are going to spend a bit more now in the current economic climate but I think, in fact, especially women in their thirties and above are willing to invest in quality items they can keep for many years. When youre younger youre more adventurous and can buy throwaway fashion that is very of the moment and on-trend, whereas when you get a bit older its more important to think carefully about how you dress and its not as
easy to find something thats unique but is stylish, Thats where I think vintage will have a bit of a revival, says Ella.
With many labels adorning the hangers on the clothes rails, she explains that this isnt necessarily her principle reason for picking a piece for the shop. Its about the quality, ultimately. Sometimes you find a piece with no labels but with great quality fabric, cut or prints. That said, I am guilty of falling in love with things just because of a certain label.
For those wishing to invest in a good vintage label, Ella advises: I love Lanvin as its still so wearable and finding something can be like finding treasure too as theres not so much of it around for sale. Yves Saint Laurent is always classic and great quality worth investing in; while Diane Von Furstenburg dresses are always cut beautifully her classic wrap dress says it all really. Vivienne Westwood is just amazing; her designs are so iconic and quirky and she is such a role model for British fashion. I think Louboutin and Alexander Mcqueen have that mantle for shoes though Id happily just frame them and look at them.
Ella aims to increase the vintage offering and expand the environmental aspect of re-using preloved fashion through a made-to-measure vintage range pieces made using vintage patterns and fabrics as well as reworked items: adapting vintage pieces slightly so they are wearable for today, be that by lowering a hem, softening boxy shoulders or adding a unique embellishment.
Its all still in the early stages at the moment and Im working with a local dressmaker on samples but thats the direction I want to go in, says Ella. If you go further north and south in the country there is an abundance of this type of shop. It makes sense for this market to grow because look at the amount of clothes we waste. There will always be a market for people buying something that is a lot cheaper second time round.
Corina Corina, 37 Smith Street, Warwick CV34 4JA
Tel: 01926 400087