Time Travellers

16th April 2024
Natalie Hughes

We meet three modern women whose style is inspired by bygone eras, from the 1940s to the 1960s

If you’ve ever spent a day at Goodwood Revival, you’ll know our favourite decades for vintage style are the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s – it’s our way of honouring the original lifespan of the Goodwood Motor Circuit, which ran from 1948 to 1966.

Here, we speak to three modern-day, vintage style icons about their favourite eras for fashion, their most prized possessions, and their top tips for shopping – and caring for – vintage clothes.


The Forties: Mars Dilbert

Mars Dilbert has lived in the British countryside for nearly three decades, but it is the women she grew up around, in Jamaica, that she credits with igniting her love of style. ‘I lived in a village where almost every woman was a seamstress,’ she tells us. ‘They would make a new outfit by looking at magazines from the States, the UK and France.’

The East Sussex-based content creator has amassed a following of nearly 35,000 followers (and counting), who clamour to Mars’ Instagram page to admire her impeccably styled outfits. ‘Originally I began wearing 1950s clothes, but have now amassed a large collection of 1940s,’ says Mars, citing black and white films as a key source of inspiration. ‘That era has always suited my figure best. I love the feminine cuts and high glamour.’


Mars tracks down her vintage finds at a variety of places – vintage festivals, markets and Etsy, as well as fellow collectors. But some of Mars’ most treasured pieces are those that have been gifted to her; such items include a long, red evening coat with gold soutache Russian braiding and a lilac, two-piece, crepe de chine set.

‘[The set] was given to me by a complete stranger, in a carrier bag, rusted and covered in mould,’ she says. ‘It was her mother’s and came from old Saigon, across oceans and time. it took me months to painstakingly repair it back to life.’

In addition to spending time repairing precious vintage, Mars extols the virtues of caring for one’s pieces. ‘I have a temperature-controlled room where I keep the majority of my clothes, with a constant dehumidifier running to deter mould, and move them around frequently,’ she says. ‘I rotate my things into my freezer to kill off any moths and wear armpit pads in my suits to keep them sweat and stain free.’


Mars beside her suit and hat loving style icon Marlene Dietrich

‘Marlene Dietrich will always be my number one,’ Mars replies when we ask her about her favourite 1940s style icons. ‘And Carmen Miranda, for her playfulness.’ You can really see both women’s influence on Mars’ style, from the Dietrich-worthy suits to her impressive collection of headwear, as well as her knack for styling bold colours – including the perfect shade of red lipstick, with which she is rarely pictured without. At the top of Mars’ vintage wish list: ‘An original pair of Carmen Miranda’s mega heel shoes with a matching turban.

The Fifties: Shauna Marissa Marshall

Shauna Marissa Marshall, aka @midcentury_girl, enjoys researching vintage clothes as much as she loves wearing them. ‘I love looking at photos from the 1950s, whether it is candid Kodachrome home photos or photo shoots in fashion magazines of that time,’ she says. ‘Nina Leen is my favourite photographer from the 1940s and 1950s, and I love looking at the fashion photography she did, primarily for Life magazine.’

The Southampton-based content creator shares her love of 1950s style on Instagram. ‘I love researching the clothes and labels, and finding the original adverts for my clothes,’ she says, showing us a photo of her outfit for Goodwood Revival 2021 – a Mr Mort dress, circa 1956 – alongside the original magazine ad.


It was a university friend who inspired Shauna to start wearing vintage clothes. ‘Initially I would buy 1980s-does-1950s clothing before discovering I could buy original 1950s items from eBay and then Etsy,’ she says. ‘I love the silhouettes of that time – most of my vintage dresses will have a nipped waist and a full skirt or a pencil skirt style. My wardrobe has become more refined as my knowledge of the era has increased.’

Shauna’s ultimate style icon is Dita Von Teese. ‘I love how she brings the glamour of the past into a modern day world,’ she says. Shauna wore one of her favourite dresses the last time she saw Dita perform – a 1950s, Elinor Gay, strapless, blue and white dress, that she bought on her honeymoon. ‘Although it’s hard to pick one dress, this would be my absolute favourite.’

Other special pieces include a ‘50s Renoir copper belt (an eBay find), a Lou-Ette sundress, and a set of Valentine’s lucite jewellery. Shauna is also partial to leopard print. ‘I recently wore a 1950s wool dress with a leopard-print collar and cuffs, with an Ingber purse and leopard-print half hat, to visit an exhibition in London.’


The blue vintage dress Shauna wore to see her style icon, Dita Von Teese (R) perform

By day, Shauna works as a Research Manager. ‘When I go to work, I wear a mix of vintage and repro,’ she says. ‘It’s great to have repro pieces you can mix in with your vintage items – it can be a bit easier to care for newer items that are being worn more regularly.’ Her go-to brands for reproduction 1950s clothing are Freddies of Pinewood, Vivien of Holloway and Rocket Originals. ‘I also like to buy What Katie Did lingerie,’ she says. ‘That is an essential part of my look, even if you can’t see it underneath the clothes!’

The Sixties: Emma Rosa Katharina

‘It all started with the music,’ says ‘60s style lover Emma Rosa Katharina. ‘I fell in love with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Who, and all these amazing ‘60s bands. As I got into the music, I started researching the band members and quickly found their wives and girlfriends. It was the wives and girlfriends of the Beatles that particularly sparked my love for 1960s fashion. These girls had the best style, so I made it a mission to look like them.’

From her ‘60s-styled home in the countryside of southern Germany, Emma shares her love of vintage fashion on her popular Instagram account and YouTube channel, from thrifting treasures in local charity shops to creating outfits inspired by her favourite 1960s style icons.


Emma takes style inspiration from model and Revival Best Dressed judge Pattie Boyd (R)

‘I take great inspiration from Marianne Faithfull, Pattie Boyd, Sharon Tate, Jane Birkin and Anita Pallenberg,’ Emma says. ‘I love to look at their outfits, analyse their style and not only take inspiration for things to buy but more so how to style pieces.’ Meanwhile, her essential Instagram follows include @samstimecapsule (‘She makes these dreamy, vintage-inspired short films bringing old magazines and advertising to life’) and  @60swonderland, an account dedicated to ‘60s and ‘70s nostalgia.

Emma’s favourite finds? ‘I’d say my true ‘60s, brown suede gogo boots because they’re so versatile and I wear them almost every other day,’ she says. ‘And my sunglasses with interchangeable lenses. They have the iconic round frames and an array of rainbow lenses. You can pop out the lenses and change them for different colours – yellow, blue, brown and grey. I had them pinned on my Pinterest after seeing an ad for them and when I randomly found them on Vinted one day, I couldn’t believe my luck.’

‘The third thing has to be my wedding dress. I haven’t yet shown it because I’m getting married this summer but I found the dreamiest, vintage 1960s wedding dress and it is already one of my all-time favourite pieces.’


Emma also loves the style of 1960s actress Jane Birkin (R)

What Emma loves most about the decade’s fashion is the variety. ‘I love that the ‘60s had so many different styles,’ she explains. ‘Some loved the Beatnik style and wore pants and turtlenecks, while for others space-age styles were all the rage, and lots of people loved bohemian looks with lots of crocheting, velvet and silk. I love how I can go from hippie dresses to A-line mini dresses and flared pants, all without leaving this decade of fashion.’ She pegs her own style as ‘somewhere between mod, bohemian and Beatnik.’


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