Friday, October 28, 2011

Vintage, Shabby Chic, Italy

I know that vintage-theme weddings are already a big hit in the UK and the USA, but here in Italy, the trend has only just started to arrive. All the wedding magazines are talking of “vintage, traditional and princess-like” wedding dresses for next year, 2012, after a good  few years of minimalist fashion, straight lines and no lace for the bride!
I personally ADORE the vintage look, be it clothes, interior design or just bits and pieces. I treasure my grandmother's bone china tea service, embroidered tablecloths, cut glass vases and all the old black and white family photographs, which are all spread around my home in the countryside north of Rome. I am also an avid crafter and vintage themes are a constant in my creations, some of which are now becoming extremely popular among friends and acquaintances as the vintage trend takes hold.
Daniela, my friend and business partner, is also a lover of everything vintage and “shabby chic”. Her house is a true treasure trove of her family heirlooms. I don’t think I have ever seen a house filled with so many fantastic pieces of furniture and finishings, all authentic! How, therefore, could we not envisage weddings with this type of slant to them? The very area where we have based Country Weddings Italy just cries out for ceremonies and receptions with an authentic vintage, bucolic or shabby chic theme. The farmhouse gardens filled with sunflowers, paeonies, hydrangeas and roses, the restaurants and country house hotels with their rustic chic furnishings, the castles and noble country homes filled with antiques and vintage drapes and about cutting costs, half the styling is done for you already in this setting!
I never got the chance to wear my mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress, but as I have got older (alas!), I have often thought that it would have been an amazing opportunity. Many wedding dress collections for next year in Italy have that “vintage” look. Below is a dress from the Errico Maria collections, a company based in the south of Italy that has been creating masterpieces for brides for over 30 years and a dress from Rosa Clarà, the Barcelona-based international wedding dress makers. I have also rummaged around and found some authentic vintage dresses for sale in Italy too, on the Tara Vintage website, (with a bricks and mortar shop in Bra – yes, that’s the name of the town - in the north of Italy), as well as the several vintage dress websites that have sprung up in the UK and US (one of the photos below is from, the California-based online vintage dress shop).
 Alternatively, for anyone who is a dab hand with a sewing machine, my searches have opened up a whole world of authentic vintage sewing patterns to me (unfortunately, I'm not one of the afore-mentioned "dab hands"). I recently spent hours enthralled by all the patterns available on, and have included a couple of their treasures below for you. For example, imagine a real 1930s dress pattern to be made using the wealth of fabrics on offer today, which can so closely resemble the gorgeous handmade silks and laces of yesteryear, but are maybe a little easier to sew, and more resistant to wear and tear.

Photos left to right from:,,, and

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