• MimiElisa

Red Karen Millen Vintage Dress

I found this dress and couldn't believe my luck. Vintage Karen Millen!! And it is just the colour which I love to wear. The elegance is sublime, and it's one of the first tea length dresses I first dared to wear. Being very small, I tend to stay away from tea length, but it is something which is hard to avoid in vintage, and I couldn't leave this behind simply for fear of the length. It turns out it was perfectly flattering, and I wasn't feeling self conscious about the fit at all.

Astoundingly, I then found myself facing a red vintage Karen Millen jacket, that looked just like it had been made to pair up with the dress I had already bought a couple of months before... I'm not convinced it was truly made as a set, but I like to picture them having been worn together anyway- on the runway, or on a magazine cover- because they just seem so meant to be.

The velvet is so unbelievably soft and feels almost silky, and inside there is red lining which feels like silk against the skin. The jacket is actually surprisingly weighty, and carrying it around really does feel like a bag or two of flour.

There's also a surprising amount of structure to it. Instead of just falling flat like a men's blazer, it actually has a chinked in waist and a bit of flare for the hips. Buttoned up it looks like a 1950s woman's blazer, where they made them incredibly and distinctly fitted, with emphasis on the waist to hip ratio. Ruth and I didn't actually take any photos of it buttoned up, funnily enough it simply didn't even occur to either of us, but I love the waist, and the fit in general.

Fit and tailoring aside, as mentioned before, I just love the colour of these two garments. Nothing could be so deep but vibrant at the same time, and admittedly, there's something pretty unique about the way wearing this colour makes me feel. It's a magnificent shade, opulent and sublime.

It's the same colour as my red ball gown which by now you will all know very well. I feel like that dress is a part of me haha, and I never tire of the way it makes me feel. In the same way, this dress has the same power in the red, and I guess you could say it's like a subtler version of my ball gown. After all, this could easily be evening wear...

In fact, I wonder what sort of occasion this dress was originally made and designed for. In my head, for some reason, I simply don't believe it to be for evening wear, since it's not quite floor length. But watch any of the reproduction of Agatha Christie's novels, and you'll see evening wear does not, at all, have to be floor length. The evening dresses seen in those films (in the era of coming out of the second world war), are in fact (almost all) tea length.

I think the colour of this is too potent to be aimed at wedding guest attire, so I suppose we're left with it being originally made for either evening wear, or as a general special occasion dress.

I actually only posted one photo of this dress on instagram, and didn't draw too much attention to it. But something in me felt I hadn't done the dress justice (especially as the photo only really showed the jacket, and the caption never mentioned anything about the dress). Therefore, this post felt like a little obligation to do this dress justice, and give it a little bit of the love and attention it deserves...

//Photos are all unedited and untouched, by Ruth- you can find her at @photog_ruthie


Mimi x

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