'A ball gown is your dream, and it must make you a dream... I think it is just as necessary in a woman's wardrobe as a suit. And it is wonderful for morale...' Christian Dior

Monday, 9 November 2009

The power of Fraubraun

Tucked away in a tiny street off Brick Lane an unpretentious paper sign led the way to an unpretentious vintage clothing sale. And despite being held in The Rag Factory there was not a rag in sight at Fraubraun's first selling event - just a selection of beautifully restored, one-of-a-kind pieces from the unbeatably elegant 1930s right up to the offbeat 1980s.

Stefanie Braun who launched her online store in July (and hopes to hold more events here in London and in Germany) knows a whole lot more than just her fabrics and eras. As a photographer, it was a no brainer to have a photo shoot at the sale. You try on the pieces you like, then step into a photo shoot where you take your own picture. She emails a copy to you,www.fraubraun.com and keeps a copy for her website. Happy customer – who doesn't love dressing up and fooling around in front of the camera like a big kid? Sound business acumen – naturally the majority of people would want to buy the clothes after seeing how fabulous they look, and well, it worked on me. 

I came away with a 1930s pale green silk and lace blouse, so voluminous, it borders on theatrical. So I might not have bought it had I seen it in any other vintage shop, but there was something magical about an afternoon spent in an adult-size dressing up box, that I wanted to cut and out keep the whole experience. Perusing the rails of 1960s wool and felt coats and 1950s cocktail dresses, I was reminded of the power of clothes for escapism. It was only when Stefanie came over to introduce herself and tell me that she had the perfect purple wool flared culottes to go with the blouse for the photo that my daydream was interrupted.

Of course I didn't mind. The culottes had my friend Liz and I in stitches (purely because I'm such a dress girl and they weren't really me) but Stefanie was so lovely and enthusiastic, we just ran with it. In fact, I'm surprised I didn't end up buying the culottes. I very nearly did. Can't wait to see her photos...

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