The king of vintage: William Banks-Blaney picks his award-season favourites
Banks-Blaney is the man Hollywood turns to for truly unique pieces. On the eve of the Baftas, the vintage expert selects – and styles – a few of his favourite red-carpet outfits
William Banks-Blaney looks a bit like a 1930s matinee idol. Maybe that's because of the impeccably knotted tie and perfectly-tailored three-piece suit. After all, they say the clothes make the man. They make the woman, too. Which is something Banks-Blaney knows all about.
A former interior designer, Banks-Blaney founded his company, WilliamVintage, in 2009, pursuing his personal passion for vintage fashion. Five years later, his business is booming. His bijoux London boutique, elegantly crammed with exceptional pieces, does brisk trade, as does the website – Banks-Blaney's vintage Diors and Chanels offering an alternative to fresh-off-the-catwalk designer glamour. And this month he was named style ambassador for American Express, a position that marries his intimate knowledge of styles past with his love of contemporary fashion.
Women trust that eye – that knack for pinpointing a moment from the past that feels relevant for today. Banks-Blaney maintains it has nothing to do with labels. "One of the things with our approach to vintage – you don't necessarily have to know where it's from," he says. "It's about a great dress that's right for the occasion." Hence the fact that, when approached to create a selection of red-carpet looks using key pieces from his store, Banks-Blaney included everything from an anonymous bustled Victorian dress to the grandest Balmain ball gown.
It's an unconventional selection of looks. But that's precisely what super-stylists such as Rachel Zoe and a devoted cadre of celebrity clients come to WilliamVintage for. They want to look like a million dollars – but not like everyone else's million dollars.
"Every woman who walks the red carpet has spent weeks in training and dieting, has spent hours in hair and make-up," reasons Banks-Blaney. "However effortless she looks, everyone knows the effort that goes into it. So having a dress that doesn't just make people think, 'Wow, she looks a knock-out', but actually does spark the imagination... the red carpet is the only place you can do that"
All vintage clothing available from WilliamVintage, 2 Marylebone Street, London W1, 020-7487 4322, WilliamVintage.com.
All fine jewellery, price on application, by Adler, 13 New Bond Street, London W1, 020-7409 2237.
Photographed at Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, London WC1, rosewoodhotels.com
Photography: Jackie Dixon
Styling: William Banks-Blaney
Model: Hannah Cassidy at Storm
Hair: Soichi at Saint Luke Artists
Make-up: Clare Read at Caren using Chanel Le Lift and Spring 2014
Retouching: Jam Imaging
Digital operator: Kelly Mitchel
Photographic assistance: Joseph Seresin
Thanks to Tim Beaumont, Amy Elizabeth Hill, Brenda Laguna, Anna Nash and all at Rosewood London
Life & Style blogs
What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
Why you should never make assumptions about people with autism
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Kate Moss: Previously unpublished nude photo revealed by Mert and Marcus
Holi: Festival of colours honoured with Google Doodle – here's what you need to know about the celebration
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 2 Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Bad Jews poster 'censored' on London Tube
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...
£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...
£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...