Fashion: Fancy dress fashion for grown-ups who like dressing up
Oct 21 2010 by Hilarie Stelfox, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
With one of the biggest fancy dress occasions of the year just around the corner – Halloween – Hilarie Stelfox takes a look at the favourite themes for grown-ups
MY DAUGHTER went to a fancy dress party recently dressed as 1920s and 1930s screen icon Marlene Dietrich.
The theme for the evening was Hollywood and she was joined by everyone from Captain Jack Sparrow and James Bond to Star Wars character Queen Amidala and Sherlock Holmes. The hostess, celebrating her 18th birthday, was fetchingly attired as Olivia Newton-John in a stretch Lycra outfit from the musical Grease.
Themed parties – even themed weddings – are becoming increasingly popular. The new Channel 4 series, Wedding House, which allows couple to have a fantasy ceremony in elaborate costumes with even more elaborate sets, is simply mirroring a national trend.
No-one understands this desire to dress up more than Voirrey McDonald, owner of the Huddersfield area’s largest collection of original period and themed costumes.
In the three years since she acquired the collection she’s kitted out a number of wedding parties as well as countless individuals eager to cast off their everyday look and be someone else for a few hours.
“It’s surprising,” says Voirrey, who runs B Authentic in Milnsbridge, “how people get into character and start enjoying themselves once they put an outfit on.
“Some of the men come in and are reluctant to try a costume but when they’ve got it on they go right into character and don’t want to take it off,” she added.
Voirrey and her partner John Whitworth are 1940s enthusiasts and attend regular period re-enactments and events. It’s how they came to buy the business, which now allows them to have their pick of the collection’s many original costumes – everything from military uniforms to fox furs.
And it is the 1940s that Voirrey says is the number one most popular theme for fancy dress hire.
“Blokes like to wear the uniforms and the women like the style,” she explained.
“There have been a lot of World War Two anniversaries of late and it has brought the period to the fore for younger people.
“It’s particularly popular with people who were born in the forties. John was born in 1945 so when it was his 60th birthday we had a 1940s party.”
“Quite often people will choose a military uniform that has some family connection for them, perhaps a grandfather or parent who was in the RAF,” added Voirrey. “We kit people out who are having 1940s parties to raise money for the Help for Heroes charity. They go to a lot of trouble to get it just right.”