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INTRODUCING THE LITTLE VINTAGE BEAUTY PARLOUR – The passionate parlour; vintage lifestyle & dreams come true

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The Little Vintage Beauty Parlour is the only authentically designed mid-century Beauty Parlour in the East Midlands, specializing in Hair & Make Up styling from the 1920s through to the 1980s as well as corporate tutorials, pop up parlours at festivals & fairs, fashion styling and theatre consultation. Miss Whitley Belle tells us more...

What do you enjoy most about running your business?

Firstly although at times it can be hard work, my work isn't like a job, it's a's a lifestyle. It is such a pleasure to be able to instill confidence in women, creating a sense of empowerment through beauty and makeovers and being able to educate them about the role of women and the beauty industry in days gone by. There is an inner vintage glamour puss in all women: Ages, races, shapes and sizes unlike 'everyday fashion' the hardest decision is often if you are a Marilyn Monroe or an Audrey Hepburn.

Professionally it is a privilege to work within an niche industry, no two days are the same. One day i'll be styling an Art Deco Bride for her dream big day and the next day styling a Twiggy inspired 1960s Photoshoot not many people can get up in the morning and have that variety and get paid to do it. I love being able to create something unique, whilst keeping our national history alive.

What drew you to "vintage" over other hair &/or makeup styles?

I originally trained as a modern hairdresser (specialising in Afro-Caribbean hair) and then make up artist approximately 8 years ago. I loved the structure, precision and attention to detail that had to be used in vintage styling and even more so the ultra sophisticated and feminine finished style. My college tutor started to teach me the basics of setting and pin curls (that no one else wanted to learn). I got into the habit of setting my Nana and her friend's hair on a weekly basis and listening to the stories about the beauty parlour's they used to attend in the 1950s and 1960s as an escape from their everyday routine. Inspired, I then started to watch old Pathe videos and reading old magazines to retrain myself. I was lucky enough to attend and win an National Peter Jones (Of Dragon's Den fame) Entrepreneur Course that allowed me to start marketing my skills. Although most hairdressers thought I was mad brides started booking me to style their hair and make up "vintage". I styled classic and vintage photo shoots and started to work with amateur dramatic and burlesque groups.

Which is your favourite era/look and why?

Growing up I had a variety of vintage influences that each had their own specific fashion, look and style. My Grandad was a sharply dressed Swing and Big Band fan and my Nana would tap her toes to Elvis but it was my parents that taught me about the importance and impression that looking a certain way created, the impact on their youth movement and the role of modern ladies, My Dad was a MOD with his precise dressing and signature haircut, where as my mum represented Northern Soul with her long flowing skirts and feminine tastes. I was taught that what we listen too, how we present ourselves and what we do creates an important impression on the world – i think that's why I work in this industry. Professionally, I like the sophistication and Old School Hollywood Glamour of the 1920s and 1930s, I especially love what those periods represent in terms of women's rights and independent. It is very fashionable to say im a vintage stylist so I like the 1940s and 1950s (which i do) BUT secretly (shhhh) I am in LOVE with the late 1960s/early 1970s: Va Va Voom Volume, big eyelashes and even bigger hair, Soul & Mowtown Music, Stylish Decor and my own personal signature style include gold statement jewellery, Elizabeth Taylor style animal prints lots of iconic "Cleopatra" inspired eyeliner reminiscent of Hollywood film classics such as: Casino and Goodfellas.

What is the most popular service(s) from those you offer?

The most popular service we offer at The Little Vintage Beauty Parlour is our 2.5hr "Tea, Cake & Pamper" Package. This unique vintage pamp-tastic experience starts with a consultation in our mid century inspired beauty parlour, complete with traditional hood dryers, red Steepletone record player and black & white tiled floor. Each package includes a flick through our vintage look books, original retro hair and lifestyle magazines washed down with a glass of pink lemonade or bubbly served in our original Babycham glasses. Once you've decided on your perfect hair & make up style (from the 1920s through to the 1960s) it's time for the fun to start:

Ladies choose a professional make up loom from the subtle daytime look think the iconic Audrey Hepburm with a sophisticated pallette or Dramatic old school Hollywood Glamour, iconic eyes and perfect put for evening look to help you paint the town red. Here at The Little Vintage Beauty Parlour we use top quality products taht are professionally applied by one of our Make Up Artists, we also talk you through the historical techniques used 'back in the day' and leave you with some top tips so that you can help to recreate the look again yourself. I find that the most popular vintage make up look chosen is an iconic pin up inspired 1950s style: Porcelain palette, natural groomed eyes, iconic cats eye eyeliner and a strong bright red lip VOILA Drab to Fab in 20 minutes.

Then it's time to move onto vintage hair. The hairstyle that is the most popular choice at The Little Vintage Beauty Parlour is my signature, Finger or Marcel wave. This Dita Von Tease inspired look is ultra feminine and suits short hair (1920s style) or long (1940 style). It's our most popular bridal style and is so different from what ladies choose to wear in fashion today, styled correctly it lasts until your next wash and is so glamorous. But our clients can choose from a variety of vintage styles using both traditional and modern styling techniques: Simple finger waves, French plait, French Roll, Victory rolls, Up do, Beehive, Quiffs, Curls...The possibilities are endless and the results will always be a fabulous professional vintage hair style.

The Glam-Tastic Tea, Cake and Pamper package is followed by a Cream Tea. Because quite frankly we all know after all that glamourising, just how exhausting work being beautiful) it's time to relax with a vintage inspired Cream Tea. This isn't any ordinary beauty parlour, so of course this isn't any ordinary "Tea and Cake" it's an vintage inspired Cream Tea all served on our vintage crockery. The Little Vintage Beauty Parlour Cream Tea includes luxury fruit scones, clotted cream, jam, bite sized chocolate brownies, coconut macaroons and lemon drizzle bites served on our original vintage crockery.

If you could style anyone past or present who would it be?

That's easy peasey, Id love to travel back in time and style my Nana in the 1950s she is my inspiration, id love to know if i was good enough. She was typical of most women of that era, super hardworking, house was pristine, struggling with the aftermath of the war and never a hair out of place or a nail broken.

How would you like to see your business grow & the Vintage Industry develop over the coming year(s)?

In terms of the business, I have great plans for both myself and working alongside my business partner for The Little Vintage Beauty Parlour over the next 3 – 5 years. This year I launched Miss Whitley Belle's Hair accessories and The Little Vintage Beauty Parlour rockabilly inspired clothing collection called "Lulu Bs" We are in the planning stages of launching our own The Little Vintage Beauty Parlour book and our very own cosmetic range. The immediate plan is to open the male version of what we already do, the ultimate vintage and grooming experience for men as well as women "The Little Vintage Barber Shop".

There is lots of potential in the industry itself. I would love to see "vintage, alternative and pin up" to be introduced more and more into mainstream fashion – to encourage young women to be more confident and not just to adhere to the size zero norm and what terms as "fashionable" or "beautiful".

Professionally, there is a need to educate the industry and clients that the term "vintage stylist" is a specialist skill set, to see these modules introduced at hair and beauty colleges. There are decades worth of techniques, equipment and styles that a vintage hair or make up artist needs to be trained on to be regarded as a professional. It shouldn't be a case of just placing the word vintage in front of a name. To be a "vintage" specialist is a privilege and to be a vintage specialist in the hair and beauty industry means we have an insight into our social history, the role of beauty in men and women, the growth of the youth movement, the manufacture of product and their role on the British economy

A little more about Miss Whitley Belle..

Im a long way from the shy teenage at school whom was bullied for being a little bit chubby or "different" or laughed at for wanting to be a "hairdresser" now I do something creative that i love, instill confidence in women, get to spend my time learning about our own rich social history of women through music, fashion, films and style since the 1920s and hopefully be a role model to my little 5 year old girl, just like my Nana and Mum were to me.

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