new-picture3The Vivien of Holloway Forties and Fifties reproduction clothing store above a Kentish Town motorcycle garage has long been an institution for vintage enthusiasts across the country and beyond. Having just opened a long awaited second store on Holloway Road, Rebecca Hoh-Hale catches up with Vivien on her film and musical muses, dressing Led Zeppelin and plans for the future.

Rebecca Hoh-Hale: What is you favourite era, in terms of how you like to dress and the clothes you like to sell? And why?

Vivien of Holloway: I really love the Forties and Fifties, the style and glamour of the time was amazing.

RHH: Is there a woman you think had great style or attitude from the era?

Vivien of Holloway (pictured right): The movies are my biggest influence. Oh gosh, everyone was dressed amazingly in the movies in those days. Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner. I used to watch a lot of old films with my Mum and I think I just believed this was how people should dress.viv


RHH: What age were you when you started to incorporate the style of the Forties and Fifties into your life?

Vivien of Holloway:When I was about 10 I started making Fifties-style clothes and by the time I was 13 I was sneaking off to see bands. I started selling clothes with a stall in Kensington market when I was 18 and then set up Vivien of Holloway 10 years ago.

Back in the early days, my friends and I all lived like it was the Fifties, we drove Fifties cars, decorated our flats with Fifties furniture and spent all our time listening to Rock’n’Roll and practising dance moves. We thought we were the coolest thing since sliced bread.

RHH: So the music of this era had an influence in getting you into the vintage scene? What are your favourite bands/musicians of then and now? 

Vivien of Holloway:I have always loved dancing so I was very much into the music. My favourite is Chuck Berry, but I also love Bill Haley as a classic dance sound. I like Sixties Garage, Dick Dale, The Masonics and Soul, Irma Thomas, Brenda Holloway. Out there today I like Boss Hoss, Amy Winehouse and Paloma Faith, but also like to go and see young, up-coming bands like The Vinyl Stitches and The Spivs
new-picture2RHH: Do you continue to incorporate vintage eras into your home and lifestyle?

Vivien of Holloway: My home is still quite Fifties. I drive a Nissan Figaro now as I need the reliability but it still looks retro! I also still go to a lot of clubs and love to find new ones. It’s fun going to restaurants and bars with old décor, like Madame Jojo’s or having supper at the Ritz. I want to enjoy all the old London before it disappears like Cafe Royal and The Atlantic already have, what a crime!

RHH: What is the ethos behind Vivien of Holloway?

Vivien of Holloway: I think there is a lot of companies out there making retro clothing but the clothes are usually stretchy and limited with sizes. We enjoy the fact that our clothes improve your shape by holding everything in place, it compliments the bigger girl. Lets face it, small girls can buy clothes anywhere but us bigger girls are made to feel even bigger by the fact that we can’t get a thing to fit and if we do, it’s not flattering. Our clothing celebrates the curves of a woman’s body.

RHH: Where do you source your patterns and fabrics from?

Vivien of Holloway: I do use a lot of old patterns I have collected over the years then change them to suit my purpose, as we are a reproduction company not retro. This means we try to make garments that look like the real thing not a retro version, since I don’t think you can better the real thing. We have started getting our own fabrics printed at last so if I can find the time, we will have a lot of interesting prints coming in the next year!

Read on to find out who Vivien has styled!

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2 Responses

  1. Madame Gres Jr.

    I adore Vivien of Holloway. Love wearing her stuff x

  2. Lilac

    Nice interview. Love the clothes. Can’t wait to visit the new Holloway Road shop : )