We have been incredibly busy at Dames & Divas headquarters the past few months!
Here is a little summary of what we have been up to!
· The lovely Storia in Guildford (WA) has become our exclusive Perth stockist.
· Completed a number of custom bridal shoes for some lovely brides to be.
· Worked with our stockists to create ranges especially for them.
We have also been working on a fabulous new website and have lots of plans in motion including a special surprise to celebrate our 3rd birthday!
Phew! Lots more to report so please stay tuned!!
Dames & Divas Kimono selection is based on condition, colour, size, supply & demand, interest and mystery.
Dames & Divas products’ are handcrafted from vintage silk kimonos; all of which are at least 20 years old. The older the kimono the more likely that some areas may have been damaged over time. Slight markings add to the character and personality of the piece; however severe damage will not translate well to final pieces.
Childrens’ kimonos (in particular girls) are often the most colourful. Gorgeous hues, busy patterns and interesting subjects are the Dames & Divas trademark which are at their best in these fabulous kimonos. However, childrens’ kimonos are also the smallest, which means only 2+ metres of 17-30cm width silk can be obtained per kimono. Every pair of Dames & Divas Wedges uses 1 metre of fabric, so the smaller the kimono the more limited the range.
Adult kimonos tend to be more subdued however Furisodes (traditionally worn by unmarried women) are often bright and beautiful. Adult kimonos produce anywhere from 4-9 metres of silk depending on their size.
It is always exciting unpicking a kimono as you never know what you are going to find hiding beneath the intrinsic layers. Sometimes a section is un-picked to discover it was mended with a brilliant piece of kimono much more beautiful than the kimono itself. These pieces are never wasted, instead used in the creation of Dames & Divas accessories such as rings and hair accessories.
Selection is driven by supply and demand. Orange and red kimonos are the most sought after. Turquoise and aqua are also very difficult to find in good condition. Here is a picture of our favourite kimono ever! We have never been able to find a kimono this brilliant turquoise again.
Interesting patterns and subjects are important. Tsuru (crane) motifs are a personal favourite as the species are endangered and symbolise longevity and immortality. Floral motifs, Autumn scenes, shibori (tie-dye), embroidery and silver/gold embellishments also are high on the list.
Last but not least, mystery and allure come into play. Some kimonos just ‘speak’ to you. There’s so much history associated with every kimono, it creates mystery and intrigue about who may have worn it before.
When we started Dames & Divas three years ago, our designs consisted of a Wedge and a Bangle Bag. We were already making jewellery in Australia so we set out quite naively expecting to find a multitude of willing and eager Australian manufactures to help us develop our vintage silk kimono shoes and bags right here on home soil.
Boy were we wrong! So many meetings, phone calls, emails and internet searches in to find Australian made shoe and bag manufacturers. All of our leads were unsuccessful.
Our business is niche, finicky and complex. We don’t mass produce and the delicate kimono silks we use require special attention and expertise.
Dames & Divas accessories are not only unique in the fact that no two items are the same (it is impossible to even create a matching pair of shoes) but the technique itself is unique. The art of covering shoes is a dying one. It is a difficult process and requires trained and skilled shoe makers to work with the often delicate fabrics.
Shoes are priority and once the patterns are cut, all remnants are kept and made into bags, jewellery and hair accessories.
Not one item is made without a long thought process. There is no cookie cutter approach to what we do and we are always learning and adapting new ways of working.
Dames & Divas products are complex and thoughtful. There is the design element itself; every shoe and bag is designed in Melbourne and then prototyped. Sometimes the prototypes don’t make the cut as they cannot tolerate being covered in delicate silk. Then once we are happy with the prototype we need to work out which kimono will work best on each design taking into consideration the seasons and meterage.
Kimonos are unstitched in Melbourne and damaged parts are removed. The resulting silk is measured and then the process of working out which shoe design will represent the kimono best begins.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on how we select our kimonos.
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Dames and Divas is a boutique Australian shoe and accessory label specialising in creating beautiful limited edition designer accessories with a conscience.
The present collection - Veisha by Dames & Divas is handmade from vintage silk kimonos.
No two items are the same & limited numbers can be made per kimono making every piece truly unique & special.
Once the shoes are made, the remnants are kept and made into bags, jewellery and hair accessories. Every piece of kimono is used to create a little piece of wearable art, even down to .8cm as can be seen in these Kimono Studs in Sterling Silver.
Dames & Divas believes in creating beautiful designer accessories with a conscience and will be exploring a number of new eco friendly mediums in 2012 including recycled resin, recycled sterling silver, organic denim, recycled denim and vintage fabrics.
These gorgeous silk coin purses are handcrafted from vintage silk kimono.
Every Dames and Divas Coin Purse is truly unique, beautiful and one of a kind. No two Kimono Coin Purses are the same and once sold out can never be repeated.
Dames and Divas is a boutique Australian shoe and accessory label specialising in creating beautiful limited edition silk accessories.
Veisha by Dames and Divas is a gorgeous collection of women’s’ Bags, bags, jewellery & hair accessories handcrafted from vintage silk kimonos from Japan. Kimonos are unstitched and transformed into beautiful pieces of wearable art. No two items are the same and limited numbers can be made per kimono making every piece truly unique & special.
Outer: Vintage silk kimono
Dames & Divas is a boutique Australian accessory label specialising in creating beautiful limited edition silk accessories.
Veisha by Dames & Divas is a gorgeous collection of womens’ shoes, bags, jewellery & hair accessories handcrafted from vintage silk kimonos from Japan. Kimonos are unstitched & transformed into beautiful pieces of wearable art. No two items are the same & limited numbers can be made per kimono making every piece truly unique & special.
My Boudoir by Dames & Divas is a stunning collection of ladies & gents coordinating accessories handcrafted from Dames & Divas limited edition silk. Designed by Dames & Divas the signature silk takes inspiration from yesteryear & is transformed into a beautiful range of ladies’ shoes, bags, jewellery, scarves & accessories together with gents’ ties, cravats, bow ties & cufflinks.