Tag Archives: 1920s fashion

As slick as Brillantine

As fans of Poppy Denby know I spend lots of time researching fashion trends of the 1920s. Usually this is women’s fashion. But today I’m looking at men’s hairstyles and products. In Poppy Denby 3 one of the characters has a handsome new admirer (you’ll have to wait until the book comes out to find out who!) and he has beautiful auburn hair which he slicks down with Brillantine.

Hands up those of you whose mothers, aunts or grandmothers used to (or still do!) have crocheted doillies draped along the back of their sofas and armchairs? These were first introduced to stop the Brillantine and other hair oils staining the upholstery.

Here is screen heartthrob Rudolf Valentino (who makes a cameo appearance in Poppy Denby 3) and a vintage bottle of Brillantine that would have given him that slick look.

1920s-mens-hairstyle-rudolph-valentino brilliantine-bottle-1920s-art-deco-154x300

Anyone for tennis?

My final corrections are done and dusted on Poppy Denby Investigates, book 2, The Kill Fee. So today I am back with Poppy and Delilah on the cruise ship heading to New York in book 3. They’ve been swimming and now they’ve been invited for a spot of deck tennis by a pair of dashing Long Island fellows. Delilah has just dug this little number out of her trunk (now housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, fashion collection). Pimms anyone?

tennisThe Kill Fee

The bathing suit competition

There has been a great deal of light-hearted debate on my Fiona Veitch Smith – author FB page. In book 3, Poppy and Delilah are on a cruise, travelling to New York, on the RMS Olympic. They are about to try out the on-board swimming pool and need to choose outfits. As fans of the series know, I like to dress my characters (whenever possible) in original 1920s outfits that I source from fashion museums, books and archives. So I gave people the choice between eight outfits, as seen in this original photograph, and asked them to choose an outfit for both the girls. See which ones you would put them in then scroll down to see the results! If you agree or disagree I would love to hear from you in the comments below :)

bathing suit parade

And now for the results: These are the top three popular choices for each of our leading ladies in descending order:

Poppy: 6, 1, 2
Delilah: 7, 2, 6

So that’s decided! Poppy will be in horizontal stripes and Delilah the floral pattern. For colours I’m going with dark green and gold for Delilah (gold flowers) and nautical blue and white stripes for Poppy. I’ll make Poppy’s slightly longer though.
Now you’ll have to wait until 2017 to see your choice in print!!!!!

The bathing suit police

I know Book 2 in the Poppy Denby Investigates series is only coming out next year, and Book 3, if the publisher likes it, the year after that, but we authors need to work in advance. In my research for book 3 which may very well be set in New York, I have found this spiffing photograph of a policeman measuring the length of women’s bathing suits in Washington DC in 1922. If Poppy and Delilah go to the beach on their Stateside jaunt this may very well happen to them :) http://ghostsofdc.org/…/bathing-suit-police-a…/1172/view.jpg

bathing suits

Fiona gets into character

Fiona had a flapulous time (to quote a friend) at a publicity shoot. With only three weeks to go until publication, she thought she’d get into costume and into character. She made the dress (from an original 1920s pattern designed by a Mrs Depew) and borrowed the car, a beautiful 1928 Ford Pheaton owned by the very generous Alan and Christine Simpson of Crawcrook.