Episode 50: American Duchess


(Photo: Chris Stowell Photography)

“I feel like a princess when I’m wearing pink taffeta with organza puffs all over it. But at the same time I feel like myself.”

No matter what your vintage passion is, most of us tend to prefer certain eras.

This week on the podcast we’re going back to the 18th century.

Think pre Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

You’re about to meet a woman who dresses in vintage attire ranging from the 18th century to 1950.

She’s a blogger and founder of American Duchess and Royal Vintage Shoes .

Meet Lauren Stowell.

vintage shoe archive 2

Royal Vintage Shoe antique shoe archive

The trigger for a modern vintage love is different for everyone.

It was music that started Lauren’s journey. She may have been about five when she’d rock out to her mother’s 1958 Billboard cassettes but the music pulled her in.

When she hit high school swing was big, but it took a little while longer for her to develop the confidence to embrace a vintage look every day.
rosie boots air raid W-31

“You can kind of get a sense of what your grandmother or great grandmother felt as she went about her day. The underpinnings, the dresses, the feel of the fabric”

While her daily attire might be 40’s and 50’s her other vintage passion is the 18th century.

It was a Renaissance fair that first sparked the interest. Lauren remembers being “bowled over” by the noble women’s dress and nearly straight away she started making her first 18th century inspired outfit. lauren first costume

And Lauren might cringe when she sees this photo, but for a first attempt we think it’s amazing!

She wore the red, corset inspired top for Haloween and it started her sewing and vintage journey.

As she learnt to sew, Lauren wanted to share the journey and so her blog was born.

Initially it was focused on just one outfit, a barn yard owl inspired piece she was working on in 2008 but it quickly grew and it was just a few years later that Lauren was able to launch her shoe country, Royal Vintage Shoes, just 3 years later.

It was her search for the perfect costume dress shoe that inspired Royal Vintage Shoes to be born.

So Lauren made a prototype, needed 63 pairs pre-ordered to be able to place an order and was overwhelmed when on the first night there were over 200 orders place.

She knew she was on to a good thing! vintage shoe archive 1

“We no longer live in a little bubble where you are the only person who loves historic dress. There are hundreds of thousands of people in the historic dress community all over the world.”

The team at Royal Vintage Shoes has an archive of antique shoes and that’s what they study to make their designs.

And Lauren and her vice president Abby Cox are now part of a community creating incredible historic and vintage accessories.

Some of Lauren’s favourites are:
Dames A La Mode and K. Walters at the Sign of the gray horse for jewelry.

Jenny La Fleur for wigs and hairpieces. And Little Bits for historical apothecary.

Oh – and we can’t forget that some of Lauren’s shoes have ended up in amazing locations!

Like the stage, in ballet and theatre productions and in shows like Outlander and Smash!

Find out more about Lauren and everything she does by subscribing to our podcast or clicking here to listen to this latest episode.





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