Vintage style is for me, a source of continual discovery and learning. As soon as you think you have cornered a certain area of interest, something elegant and enticing comes along to peak my curiosity. Whenever any high end designer has a particularly popular piece or look, what is the first thing that tends to happen? An influx of cheaper versions to hit the high street so that ordinary people who cannot pay thousands for haute couture. Can have a piece of classic style at an affordable price. Seems entirely fair, who says that only the wealthy should have access to beautiful clothes. Sure the cheaper reproductions won’t have the finer details, most exquisite fabrics nor will they be made to measure. But as long as you have an outfit that suits you and you can afford, the lose of minute luxury is not so terrible. So when Dior’s New Look launched and wowed the chic elite, one label decided that a quality reproduction was needed for the more regular folk. Enter Suzy Perette.
Sadly Suzy is not a chic sophisticate who brought haute couture to the masses. She never existed. Perette was actually a New York based company with a consortium of designers. Founded by Max Blauner in 1946 (his family retained an influence for years to come), with a collection of different lables under their purvue (Jeunesse and Designed by Blauner). The Blauner family clearly understood the business of fashion and what their customers wanted. Using designers that the Blauners felt were best able to utilise the best of the New Look but make it more accessible; Enter Evelyn Dawson who had worked on Designed by Blauner. There was a sister company Gigi Young Fashions, which was an even more affordable version to Perette.
Perette even managed to acquire the rights to incorporate Dior’s method of underpinning, no doubt helped to stay true to the New Look motif. Nipped in waists and flared skirts creating an enticing, classic silhouette. For approximately $35 one could look like one was wearing the toast of Parisian style. In today’s money, this would cost about $300 (or just over £100). Allot of money sure, but still cheaper than the original New Look which one could save up for decades and still never afford. I have to say that these outfits do not look like a ‘cheap imitation’ and have withstood the test of time.