Ok vintage aficionado’s, welcome to our fifth instalment of Vintage Inside & Out, showcasing some of the fantastic people on the vintage scene in Manchester. This time we have a real treat, the stunning Bethany Jane Davies of The Vintage Beauty Parlour , come in, sit down, and make yourself at home…
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m a Vintage hair and make up artist, a vintage clothing collector and a fifties enthusiast! I love turning my clients into starlets and making them feel their very best. The act of transforming someone’s look and making them feel happy can be an intimate process, it gives me a chance to meet and really get to know with lots of interesting people, which makes this the perfect job for me.
Being based in Manchester has allowed me work a lot with TV and advertising firms. I’ve worked with magazines, boutiques and with models at fashion events. However I particularly enjoy vintage brides and my private clients.
What changes to your home have you made in order for it to reflect you?
I have converted one of the rooms into a 1950’s style hair salon, with my very own wall of “Hollywood” bulb mirrors! It’s a great space to pamper my clients, discuss their desired styles, and trial that special look before walking down the aisle or catwalk. It’s quite kitsch with mint green walls and baby pink accents. I love my mirrors, a big old slice of Hollywood glamour right here in Whalley Range.
Is their one piece or room which sums up your style?
I have a genuine bamboo Tiki bar in my living room which I think sums up my style. I love a good party, cocktails and entertaining friends. I collect mid-century Tiki homewares and clothing, I love anything to do with the fifties obsession with the “exotic” and mysterious Polynesian culture. My collection includes wooden hand-carved shoes, a small wardrobe of Hawaiian dresses and play suits and a big kitschy pineapple ice bucket which sits on the bar.
What is your favourite era and why?
The 1950s, without a doubt! I think most people are naturally drawn to certain eras which suit them. For me the 1950s dress styles and silhouettes suit my curves and as a result they make me feel good. Also the culture of that era, its music, art and the youth culture in revolt meant it was an exciting time, with bold make up and hair styles, styles which have defined today’s classic looks. I love the cute and quirky style of fifties clothing and prints, such attention to detail lost in modern clothing. Those special details make vintage so covetable and collectible.
Where does your interest come from? Who and what is your inspiration?
It’s difficult to pin down, but a lot of my inspiration has come from old movies and film stars. I love looking back at the old Hollywood film studio photographs. The stylists from the turn of the century were true artists and created iconic starlets with their beautiful sculptures. My background is in sculpture, which has been so helpful for creating complex hair styles.
My love of vintage clothing has grown into a enjoyable obsession over the years, and I like nothing more than hunting for new treasures. I like owning a piece of history, these clothes have soul and a story to tell.
Can you give any tips in collecting, restoring or sourcing vintage items?
-Always ask lots of questions when purchasing online about the condition of the item and check if there are any flaws.
-Get to know your own measurements and don’t pay attention to dress sizes as vintage sizes vary widely to modern sizes.
-Be prepared to resell clothing items if you purchase online and make sure you take good photos as this will make or break a good sale. There are lots of great places to sell such as vintage clothing forums on Facebook and Etsy.
-If you see something, you love it and it fits like a glove …buy it! I still lie awake at night regretting some unpurchased gems including a carriage clock from Vintage Village, it would have looked so perfect on my mantle piece!
Tom Wright is a Manchester based Photographer who runs the Impossible Workshops in the Uk and Europe. He champions Polaroid film through the Workshops and his ethos harks back to the days when we treasured photographs, not thought of them as disposable. “Down with snapshots, Up with memories!” is his motto. He prefers to work with film when possible.
You can find out more about him at Tom Wright Photography or follow him on Twitter @un-frame
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