Isabella Ferretti

Hello, my name is Bella Ferretti, I live in London and am a part-time seamstress specialising in vintage alterations and mends for vintage sellers at Portobello Market, and a carer for my mum. I am also a wardrobe mistress at the MTV Europe Music Awards and until recently worked on a stall selling vintage haberdashery and cloth at Portobello Market (@waywardco on Instagram). I studied fashion design at Barnfield College in the 70s, which is where I learnt to sew.

WHEN DID THE VINTAGE REVIVAL IN WOMENSWEAR BEGIN? WAS IT PART OF A BIGGER MOVEMENT, OR WAS IS SEPARATE FROM THE MENSWEAR MOVEMENT?

I believe the revival in vintage clothing began in the mid 1960s with labels such at Biba & Ossie Clark. Also, textile designers such as Celia Birtwell produced designs inspired by the 1930s. Though for men it started even earlier with the Teddy Boy and Girl movement of the 50s.

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN VINTAGE FASHION/CLASSIC STYLES? WAS IT A PARTICULAR MOMENT?

From childhood I was interested in the clothes I saw in 1940s/50s films and musicals on telly, and riveted by any historically costumed film. I remember clearly a series of 1960s working class black & white films shown on Sunday evenings, such  as Room At The Top and Saturday Night Sunday Morning, their style and grittiness was very influential to me. Also, when I went to college aged 16, I suddenly had access to a library of fashion books which really opened my eyes to what had to come before. 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?

I would love to say I look like Nancy Cunard in her tuxedo suit every day, but the reality is a mix of modern simple favourites with vintage bits and always a hat, usually a beret for daily wear. I lean towards the 1920s when I can, but find that difficult for every day as the shoes and cloche hats are not practical for me.

WHO HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST STYLE INFLUENCE? WHY?

In recent years it has been my friend Cinzia (@lafilledeberlin on Instagram ), as after meeting her I realised I could actually wear the 1920s, not just admire it from afar. I would also have to say the same for Olga (@berolinensis) and my gentle beginnings into exploring Edwardian clothing.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE LOOKS?

My favourite look is a skirt suit, whatever the year, whatever the season, a tailored jacket and matching skirt, with a shirt and tie, dark stockings and 2” heels, and appropriate hat, would make me happy.

WHAT ARE YOUR MOST TREASURED PIECES?

I have to choose between my treasured babies?! Oh, all right then! I have 3 hats I absolutely treasure, a black straw tricorn and a red velvet hat, both circa 1918, and a black velvet tricorn circa 1924. Also three 1920s dresses that I have yet to wear.

HOW DID YOU DISCOVER SJC?

I think it must have been on Instagram that I first saw Simon's clothing, then started to notice and recognise it being worn by gents at different events. Finally, I got to meet Simon at The Chap Olympiad, a very personable gentleman with great style.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SJC GARMENT?

I am partial to the Derwent suit, love the fabric and contrast trim. Would love a female version with a mid-calf length skirt!

SJC IS PLANNING TO LAUNCH A WOMENSWEAR COLLECTION, WHAT PIECES WOULD YOU LOVE TO SEE SJC DO?

I would love a relaxed fit, unlined summer skirt suit with matching waistcoat in a linen mix, and simple long sleeved dresses 20s to 40s in style, please!