Kiss me Deadly film poster.
Deadly is the Female is an iconic boutique, specialising in vintage 1940s and 50s Hollywood style dresses and accessories for Vamps, Pin Ups and Wow Factor Women. Based in Frome, UK they stock retro brands such as Vixen by Michelline Pitt, House of Foxy and Freddies of Pinewood.
I have adored Deadly is the Female in Frome for many, many years. I just love what Claudia and her amazing team does with their vintage style, va va voom collections and how amazing they make their customers feel.
The Old Hollywood / Film Noir / B Movie brilliance to the pieces they stock really empower the women they serve to look and feel incredible whatever size age, colour or gender, is why I really wanted to work with them.
Deadly is the Female Boutique Frome
I love designing and making the one of a kind and bespoke dresses that I do but wanted to see if I could make a more affordable ready to wear collection that I too would be able to enjoy along with a mix of people. I've long admired the other designers they work with, especially Michelline Pitt (who couldn't be inspired by this woman) and really wanted to produce a collection that would sit alongside and compliment.
Pricing, fabric sourcing and cut are pretty easy when it comes to one of a kind dresses. I'm free to add as many buttons as my design desires.
But making it affordable (under £200) with fabrics that are wearable time and time again and a great design is a real challenge.
I didn't want to do anything Deadly already had, I hate competing or standing on other designers I respect toes! Claudia and her team Sarah and Kat really, really know their customers and are experts on what they would like. They were so helpful guiding me to what would work and what wouldn't.
Simone Simon in Cat People. Adore this look and the illusion neckline.
I started right at what Deadly is about. Film noir femme fatales and gorgeous pin ups, Scarlett Luxe is a total inspiration. The phrase Femme Fatal means Deadly Woman.
Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity. The draped 1940s dress, similar seen again in La Confidential. Full bishop sleeves and plunging neckline.
I love old Hollywood anyway but concentrated this down to films like Nightmare Alley, Phantom Woman, Cat People, Double Indemnity, Leave her to Heaven, The Big Sleep, Kiss me Deadly and etc. Along with my favourite Gothic Hollywood tales, Sunset Boulevard and Gilda.
Then there's some added punch with B movies like Faster Pussy Cat Kill Kill and Spider Baby to add to the mood.
The ultimate Pin Up Jayne Mansfield, love this neckline
The same looks kept coming up. The tight little black wiggle dress (that black draped wiggle dress Velda wears in Kiss me Deadly!) sheer illusions, Bishop sleeve robes, cinched and sexy with the occasional full skirt. These were all strong powerful women.
Vampira, all the silhouette
Dorothy Dandridge, love the draping and those noiry shutters
Rita Moreno, great sexy square neckline
Velda in Kiss Me Deadly in another ruched little black dress.
Dresses were designed by costume designers such a Vera West (Bride of Frankenstein, Phantom Lady) Norma Koch (Baby Jane and maybe Kiss me Deadly) and of course Edith Head (Double Indemnity) and Kay Nelson (Leave her to Heaven) and Jean Louis (Gilda)
And others appear to be low budget deals where the actors would have dressed themselves according to character with the help of the production designer like William Glasgow in Kiss me Deadly.
Marilyn Monroe in that Ceil Chapman ruched dress.
Elizabeth Taylor, love this sheer draping and ruching
Film Noir, love this black and red.
Elvira, love this plunge such a Vamp.
These were the inital sketches, I had so many ideas!
I would love to make all of these but for starters we're going with three killers which will be exclusive to Deadly is the Female. Watch this space!