vintage inspired clothing from British Retro, including: vintage glam, retro dresses, bodycon fit, vintage dressesI’ve known some rather louche musicians in my time, the worst of whom have always been the brass players. Heavy drinking, hard living beasts with the loudest, rudest instruments in the band – please don’t write and complain if you are an upstanding member of the boys’ brigade marching band – if you are you what on earth are you doing here with us reprobates? One particular trumpet player impressed me when he told me that his warm-up technique before gigs involved saying the name Gina Lollobrigida Gina Lollobrigidaagain and again. That wonderful Italian tongue-twisting name got his lips moving ready for a raucous night of hot jazz. Sadly, the errant muso had no idea who the wondrous Gina was, it was merely a technique his music teacher taught him. Had he seen any of the films of La Lollo (as she is known in Italy), he may have cleaned up his act, packed up his trumpet and hot-footed it to the beautiful lady’s Italian home. It may not have done him any good, however, La Lollo was pursued for years by both Howard Hughes and Prince Rainier of Monaco, to no avail. This is one lady who knows her own mind!

She chose films that fed her desire to create art as opposed to lining the pockets of the Hollywood Studio moguls. She played Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dameand Sheba in the Biblical epic Solomon and Sheba. Historical roles, yet she managed to bring a timeless glamour and carnal quality to the screen; indeed, Humphrey Bogart maintained that she made “Marilyn Monroe look like Shirley Temple.” So why am I telling you this? Well, earlier this year Gina finally received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a whole 65 years after her first major motion picture. That’s 65 years of smouldering, simmering sex appeal finally recognised with an iconic paving slab! What took them so long? Who knows? What I do know is that those 65 years were filled with so much more than just waiting around for recognition. She’s had a second career as a photojournalist, she sold her impressive jewellery collection to fund stem cell research, and enjoyed the attentions of a myriad suitors. Clearly, one very busy lady.

Gina was blessed with the perfect 50s pinup figure, curvaceous with a tiny waist, full bust and hips. It’s a dramatic look, a silhouette that screams classic vintage glam. Pinup curves like La Lollo’s turn heads, particularly these days when so much fashion is designed for those not blessed with curves. But if you are lucky enough to have that shape, then flaunt it with one of our retro dresses, perfect bodycon fit, supportive with stretch where it’s needed. Slimmer types can wear the same dress and find that the clever cut and fit give the impression of curves – everyone wins in a well-made vintage dress. Check out some recent images of Gina, even now, at 91 years old, she looks amazing. Always in gorgeous dresses that emphasise her figure, adorned with rhinestones and lace that flirt with the camera. I look at her photograph and I don’t see a woman in her 90s, I see a starlet! I think we can learn a lot from La Lollo. Live your own life, do your own thing and do it well – know your own mind and don’t be swayed by the Prince Rainiers and Howard Hughes of this world. You are worth so much more! It’s not easy, nothing worthwhile ever is, but you can give yourself a helping hand by dressing the part. Go on, channel your inner Gina Lollobrigida today!