Vintage prints and retro silhouettes inform Larissa Virdee's designs – and her gorgeously feminine personal style. Jen Barton sneaks a peek at the London creative's treasure trove of retro finds...
Designer Larissa Virdee's boho-luxe aesthetic translates into her covetable range of swimwear and lingerie for her label Lara Ventura - and into her personal obsession with vintage: think beaded dresses, intricate embroidery and lots of lace.
She teams her vintage gems (sourced at markets from London to Paris and local Camden haunts) with designer pieces, and likes to mix flowing dresses with structured tailoring. And let's not forget the accessories...
What got you interested in vintage fashion? Was there a specific person that got you hooked?
I did my degree in fashion design at Central Saint Martins where I studied clothing from different eras, so there was always an interest, but it wasn't until I lived with a French flatmate, Tatiana, who collected designer vintage clothing that I fell in love with it! She always had incredible clothes and I started scouting round vintage shops with her and started putting my own outfits together.
My favourite vintage shopping memory is from when I was 20 and Tatiana took me to Paris for the first time to go vintage shopping and partying. She's collected designer vintage for years so took me to all the best places – the types of places you'd never stumble across unless you were with a true Parisian. I picked up some amazing vintage Fendi sunglasses and a YSL scarf that I still wear today.
Sarah Lucy Brown
Where are your favourite places to source vintage items?
I live near Camden Passage in Angel and go there when the market is on. I've bought some really amazing jewellery and antique furniture there and I love Annie's Vintage - it's like a vintage boudoir and is filled with the most incredible pieces like exquisite lace and beaded dresses, feather boas and corsages. I'm always immediately captivated when I go in there with all the wonderful stuff they have.
What do you need to watch out for when buying vintage? Any top vintage-scouring tips?
Because I live amongst sewing machines it's never been a problem if something is a little damaged due to age, so I'll often pick up things that are a little worn and torn and give them a bit of TLC.
If you're not in a position to restore a garment then it's really important to check the condition of it both inside and out – look out especially for stitching and check how robust it is. If it's loose and coming away, you may want to think twice.
Three top tips for styling vintage outfits?
1. Style up vintage items with a modern twist, mixing them with contemporary pieces.
2. I'll often take up hemlines on vintage dresses as a way to add my own twist to them.
3. Keep hair and make-up simple so not to overpower the vintage look itself.
Check out all the gorgeous swimwear and lingerie designs from Larissa's line, Lara Ventura, at laraventura.co.uk.
LOVE THIS WRITER? Follow her on Twitter @JenBNYC.
See inside the best vintage wardrobes here.
Find the best vintage shops, salons, bars and diners in your area with our shopping guide Find Me Vintage.