Perfect party dresses from Silk & Sawdust

Last year I wrote an article for LOOK magazine about women who have carved out successful careers in the fashion industry without any formal fashion training – ladies after my own heart, in other words.

One of those ladies was Claudia Orrell, founder of vintage-inspired label Silk & Sawdust. Claudia set the company up after leaving her job as an account director in publishing and moving to Thailand for two years to work for an NGO in Bangkok.

“Clara” by Silk & Sawdust, £139

Claudia fell in love with Thai culture and couldn’t get enough of the beautiful fabrics; which is why she had the idea of creating a business with the Thai dressmakers she met.

What started life in 2009 as “30 vintage-style dresses made in Thailand” is now a thriving label celebrating its second anniversary. Many of the delicate and embellished fabrics Claudia uses are sourced in the markets of Bangkok – and that’s where each piece is handmade by dressmakers creating designs that use original patterns as reference along with authentic vintage finishes.

“Lori” skirt, Silk & Sawdust, £135

The Winter collection includes 1920s lace, deep jewel colours, luxury feel velvets, 1960s silhouettes, sheer layers and sensuous silks – and, the dedicated vintagistas (?) will be pleased to know, you can shop by era.  I’m in love with the emerald Miranda dress shown up top (£139) but the collection is diverse.

So if you’re after a seriously hot (and beautifully original) party dress, or a vintage-style winter look…

“Erin” skirt, Silk & Sawdust, £139
“Ellen” dress, Silk & Sawdust, £145
“Sasha” blouse, Silk & Sawdust, £95
“Lula” dress, Silk & Sawdust, £149
“Wanda” dress, Silk & Sawdust, £149
“Rita” dress, Silk & Sawdust, £135

Images from Silk & Sawdust.

Written by Johanna Payton