#02

Spring2015

INPerson

Natalie Ross

Singing señorita talks Spanish style

Natalie Ross is a vintage singer and recently turned dressmaker with the launch of ‘Just Wiggle’ her own 1940s inspired wiggle dress brand. Having been an active member in the UK’s vintage scene for many years she moved to Barcelona at the beginning of August 2014 and has taken her obsession with the late 40s and early 50s style with her. Who better to ask about vintage life and fashions abroad than Natalie Ross? After all, I’ve always been envious of her style.

How has Barcelona been so far?
I love the change in pace, the climate and the people are very friendly. I am learning Spanish, which I’m really enjoying. Also I have a residency, performing every Sunday in a bar in Gracia, an area known for its art, fashion and music so I’m very happy with the move so far.
You’ve kept your vintage style despite moving abroad, can you describe what appeals most about your favoured decades?

Mainly the wiggle dress, although I fell in love with the 40s suit jackets and skirts first. The shape of the wiggle dress is one of the most flattering designs I have come across and I absolutely love wearing it.  It makes me feel confident and sexy.  I am very petite and curvy and I find the length of the wiggle dress and the figure-hugging design highlights my curves in a positive way, giving me the classic hourglass silhouette. I make most of my own clothes so I love to experiment.

Are there any style icons you base your look on?

I love all the glamorous actresses from the Hollywood movies, especially Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe, but I also admire Dita Von Tease and Gwen Stefani.

 
 
Do you find that you have to dress differently whilst in Spain?

Not at all, in fact I’ve embraced my style and I’ve been trying new combinations of modern and vintage clothes. The sunny weather means I can wear my sunglasses more and my favourite cute summer tops with my three-quarter length jeans and peep toe heels without tights!

What is a staple outfit for you in Spain?

In the daytime I wear high-waisted shorts, skirt or jeans with a sweetheart neckline top and little comfortable sandals or my boat shoes. In the evening I wear a wiggle dress and small cardigan with my gold and cork wedges or my pin-up style stilettos.

So you haven’t had to make any style sacrifices due to the weather?

Not really, I have found it better in some ways because I’ve been able to wear strapless and thin strappy tops that I wouldn’t have worn in the UK because I get cold so easily. I love the hotter climate and make sure I have face wipes and my compact mirror and lipstick wherever I go!

Do you have any tips for staying cool?

Try to choose the fabric you’re buying wisely, the dress may look good but what is it made out of? When I’m making my own wiggle dresses and I’m looking for a fabric to keep me cool, I try to choose cotton fabrics with a bit of stretch in them.

What do the Spanish make of your vintage look?

They love it! Many people have commented on my style as “You’re so British vintage!” which makes me laugh.

Does that mean Spanish and British vintage has a different feel?

I have seen vintage in all its glory here at the vintage fairs, markets and boutiques, but on the street I see people mostly wearing 50s, rockabilly and punk.

 

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Is there much of a vintage scene in Barcelona?

I still have so much to discover but you can find vintage shops, boutiques, handmade showrooms, homeware, markets, fairs and numerous Lindy Hop dance clubs here. My favourite place to go is Gracia, which has it all, but there’s also Glories market that is very popular too.

For anyone holidaying in Barcelona do you have any other vintage treats you could tell us about?

Vintage in Barcelona, a vintage lifestyle festival (vintageinbarcelona.com/en). Each year there is a massive vintage market and celebration over two days, this year it’s in June 2015.

Do you have any style advice or tips for anyone who is thinking about moving to a warmer climate?

Be you and wear what makes you feel confident and comfortable. If you’re wearing vintage you may need to tweak things a little, but fashion is fun and all about feeling good inside.

Feeling settled in Barcelona after going on the “biggest adventure” of her life, Natalie easily inspires confidence that vintage abroad is not only fun, but can be practical if you are fabric smart. With future sights set on Italy and possibly Japan my only hope is that Natalie Ross will return to play the odd gig in the chilly UK as I always enjoy her performances. Keep up to date with her at natalieross.co.uk or view her designs at justwiggle.co.uk.

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Blaire Rowland is a media graduate who loves to write, particularly about vintage delights and burlesque. Why not catch up on her blog oldisnowvintage.com or on twitter at @oldisnow