Back in September I spent a wonderful three days at London Edge, a gloriously busy event, talking all things vintage with The Seamstress of Bloomsbury, Rock n Romance and their numerous stockists visiting from all over the UK and abroad. London Edge is an alternative clothing show which takes place twice a year in London: once in the Spring at Kensington Olympia and again in the Autumn at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Vintage clothing shop owners, website stockists and other fashion enthusiasts flock from all over the world to the event to see the varied brands showcasing their latest pieces. As for the Seamstress of Bloomsbury, if you haven't already come across this brand then stop reading, click here to view their lookbook and lose hours squealing delightedly at their range of exquisite authentic looking pieces! The brand is named after the original 'Seamstress of Bloomsbury', a lady called Lillian Wells who became known for making dresses for the Bloomsbury Set in the Forties. The owner of today's brand, Mike, bases all of his designs on Lillian's original patterns and V&A prints to create pieces that are truly 'of the time'. The garments are also largely made from rayon crepe de chine which, aside from looking and feeling incredibly elegant, has the added benefit of being machine washable at 30 degrees; vintage reproduction at it's finest! My love for Seamstress began when I came across the brand at the London Edge show at Kensington Olympia in February 2015. I put on my first Peggy (the best-selling wrap dress) and the rest is history. I've since fallen for Lilian, Barbara, Thelma...I could go on...Don't worry, the boy is fully aware of the love affair - our flat is full to the Seams 😉 Not only is the brand gloriously delectable but the lovely owners are incredibly generous and have sponsored The Victory Sisters since our very early days as a group. Below are just a few of the beautiful looks we have been lucky enough to wear at a variety of gigs. The pieces are light and easy to wear, and so perfect for dancing! Thank you Seamstress, we are very lucky Sisters!
Getting booked to perform at Cahoots for the first time can be likened to ordering one of their exquisitely unusual cocktails: an unknown quantity, both exhilarating and nerve-wracking in equal measure. What if I don't like it? What if it doesn't like me? Do they REALLY use an Oxo cube as an ingredient? In the land of vocal harmonising, nothing really compares to being booked by an 'It' venue, and that's what Cahoots is. Imagine, if you will, that the coolest kid in school is throwing a party. And you're not just invited, but you've been especially asked to come, and maybe there's a stage where you can throw all manner of shapes...and the crowd goes wild for it. Or something like that. In other words, it's REALLY awesome. Ok, as far as metaphors go these are pretty tenuous, but you get the idea. We three Sisters were asked to perform on Thursday 21st May, with 2 half-hour sets covering a range of our material. Only a third of the group had actually visited the venue before the day - the path to Victory is pretty busy at the moment. Liz, our flame-haired siren, had popped down with Marc, our resident Victory Mister (when we have a 'Bing'-a-long, he leads the crooning) to celebrate Cahoots' opening back in April, and had barely stopped raving about their time there since. On the day of our performance we trotted into town to have a sound check, left all manner of spangly and khaki outfits in the coat-check, and duly trotted back home to pin-curl and eyeliner our way to readiness. Beyoncé may have 'woken up like this', but we'll let you into a little Sister secret - it takes a fair old while to create our show-ready selves! Luckily one of us is always on hand to make copious cups of tea - Lady Grey for Marcia, Green for Karen and, of course, Yorkshire for Liz (her hometown is, after all, Huddersfield). Primped and preened, at last we were ready to perform. Now just to head back into town, and shimmy into our be-sequinned gowns for our first set. Our first 30-minutes of sultry jazz numbers flew past in a blur of doo-wops, and soon we were slipping into something a little more comfortable...our uniforms. Created by Liz, our uniforms are our iconic 'Andrews Sisters' look, and as such we performed another 30-minutes full of up-tempo favourites, such as 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy' and 'Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree'. As our set drew to a close, with the classic 'Sing Sing Sing', we beamed with joy to see the audience up out of their seats and dancing along to our harmonies. Shouts of 'More! MORE!' followed, and, assuming they were in response to our music, and not the delicious cocktails (although it quite easily could have been either), we gave them another round of 'Bugle Boy' to end our set. What happened next remains a bit of a blur, thanks to the enormous amount of adrenaline coursing through our veins, which was then muddled with Cahoots' home brew, and a sampling of their aforementioned delightful cocktails. We remember smiling. We remember drinking. We remember shouting jubilantly to each other "We just played at Cahoots!!". In short, we remember having a ruddy good time, and fortunately, due to modern technology, we can keep the evidence of this wonderful evening forever close to our hearts.
Thank you, Cahoots, for having us, listening to us, and making us feel like the cool kids.
We sure hope to see you again soon.
Yours truly, The Victory Sisters
Watch our highlights video from this night here.
It was when we arrived at our gig at Cellar Door, with the wonderful Topsie Redfern, that we saw our friend Duncan and he mentioned that he was organising entertainment for a fundraiser with the Albert Kennedy Trust. After asking whether we'd be available to perform, he revealed that the event was to take place at.....The Ivy! This restaurant and club is an iconic venue of London, a West End institution popular amongst celebrities. It's exactly the kind of venue I imagine Agatha Christie would have visited, or at least her characters would, with its Art Deco inspired decor. Of course, we accepted the gig. WOW! All three of us were reeling at being given the chance to perform there. The next few weeks were spent rehearsing and making sure we had all the details for our performance. When the day arrived, we spent the morning getting our hair ready in the obligatory curlers and head scarves and made our way to The Ivy. We didn't half get some funny looks on the bus! On arrival, we ascended the beautiful stairway up to the Club entrance, through a rose-strewn archway, and into the sophisticated wood-panelling beyond. We were made to feel so welcome as soon as we set foot in the building. There were various members of staff from the Ivy rushing about to make sure all was ready for the evening, lots of crew members setting up different stages and sound equipment and even a photo booth (which we had fun in later)! We had our quick soundcheck then were whisked off to the changing rooms for us to get into our costumes and finish our hair! Now, I have to mention here that Marcia is our hair guru! She has a knack for period style hair so she is always called upon to do ours, and quite frankly, you just have to see our photos to see how awesome her work is! While we were getting ready, we met the other performers of the night who ranged from spangly leotard wearing contortionists and fire breathers to bejewelled burlesque dancers and opera singers. It was a very entertaining night. Once all the guests had arrived it was time to perform our first set of the evening. We made our way to the Piano bar where there were a few guests (most were up in The Loft getting ready to eat) but we went on nonetheless and unfortunately a bit of a disaster struck - one mic stopped working!!! Fear not, Karen and I shared a mic for the next song and all was fine. We cut that set short as sharing a mic was not ideal, but as we were walking offstage, we still received many compliments! Time to rest perhaps ....NO WAIT.....we're on again but upstairs in The Loft! We made our way up the stairs to the top floor and went onstage to sing our songs. We had three songs to sing - In The Mood, Don't sit Under the Apple Tree and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy - and this time it went without a hitch, and the room was buzzing! We retired to the changing room to celebrate with a cheeky vino, before we were called on later to do another two songs before the charity auction. We knew the room would be filled so the adrenalin was racing! We took to the stage to perform Sing, Sing, Sing and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy once more (it is a classic trio song after all, and fast becoming a firm Sisters favourite). Both were upbeat and jolly songs and we were thoroughly enjoying ourselves as was the audience! We left the stage to shouts of "MORE!" which was a fantastic feeling, and could then enjoy the rest of the night, watch the hilarious Alan Carr host the auction and have some very silly fun in the photo booth! It truly was a brilliant night, certainly one we'll never forget, and all whilst supporting a wonderful charity - what more could three Sisters wish for? You can see more photos from our performance at The Ivy on our gallery page and watch some videos of our performance on the Listen & Watch page!
Take a look around, we'll be adding more content including pictures and sound clips very soon!