Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Pearl Lowe: Peacocks Review

Apologies for this post taking so long. I initially considered a video, then the light was never right and I just feel uncomfortable doing videos, so that was out. I took photos, again the light wasn't great (Scottish winter to blame) and although you can see details, you can't see how the dresses hang etc. So I settled on a combination of the two after much procrastination and here it is. You'll remember I bought all 4 Pearl Lowe pieces online at Peacocks (3 dresses and one jumpsuit) and I had mixed emotions when my order arrived. I'll go through each item separately and at the bottom of the page is my You Tube video, just a quick look at the items hanging on a hanger to give you an idea of length.
First up is the fan print jumpsuit. I bought this with the intention of cutting and sewing it into a dress (still undecided on full length or shorter). I haven't had time to sort that out yet, but I would think it would work well because the legs are so wide. Like so wide. As a jumpsuit, it probably looks like a dress anyway, because of this. I'm saying 'probably' because I've never actually tried it on properly, given that I need it unzipped to get on, but can't do up a centre back zip by myself when wearing it (the dress option will fix this because I never un-do zips to put dresses on). I was happy with this one anyway, it's got a classic PL vibe with the details such as the buttons and piping and great care has been taken over the structure and seaming of the sleeves etc. It's 100% polyester with that crepe like appearance, which although it is polyester, I don't mind, because it's a decent weight and hangs well whilst doing it's 'structural' job in certain places where the design allows. The entire range were marked £10 more expensive on their tags than the retail price online. This could be because it's 'old stock' left over from a collection never released/completed before Peacocks ran into trouble. I think it's well worth it's £35 anyway. My only concern is the colour isn't particularly flattering on me, it's a dusky greyish nude.
Now, I admit to being extremely disappointed with the next two dresses. I could have cried, not from annoyance at a waste of money, but because these dresses could have been so much more and better than they are. The problem lies in the fabric and that alone. It's a poly/elastane mix and feels exactly like the Joy dress from Spring 2011; think slinky, stretchy and bordering on 'swimming costume'. Now I'll start by saying I've decided to keep both dresses and admit they hang very beautifully. HOWEVER, that's where the positivity stops.  These dresses have been constructed exactly the same as the pure poly dresses and these fabrics simply do not work in the same way. The slinky stuff hangs, it's great for draping or stretching, cowl necklines look fabulous in this fabric. A somewhat structured tea-dress does not! Now I've made my own clothes since I was a child, I've studied fashion for 4 years and worked in a fabric shop, so I know all about fabric composition and what they should and shouldn't be used for.
Lets start with the red floral one. There's a panel around the waist (similar to the jumpsuit above without the piping), there's wonderful little gathers above the bust (across from the shoulders) and sleeves, again similar to the jumpsuit, with little darts all around and a quilted section inside to help the sleeves sit properly. ALL of these details are completely lost on this fabric, you can barely see them. Not only that, they in no way add to the structure or purpose of what they are designed to do. Stretchy fabric does not need darts or anything else to shape it.  Had these same design details been included on a crepe like poly dress, they would have added shape and structure, but they do nothing on this dress. It makes me sad and angry that nobody pointed this out at one of the various stages of production.  It's been a complete waste of time for the machinists to even bother sewing these details.
Even the buttons at the back neck are practically useless because the fabric stretches anyway, so you would never need to use them. That aside, I did keep the dress because I decided (touching it aside), it looks alright on, despite these cute details being wasted. It ties at the back, which I really needed to bring it in, because it bordered tent-like on me without that. I also need to wear a camisole or slip underneath because the fabric moulds around the body and to be blunt, wraps itself around each boob, which isn't exactly attractive! A vest underneath just allows it to sit across the chest, without being so revealing and 'seperating'. The colour is extremely bright, so my camera picked it up as orange. I adjusted it to try and avoid the colour bleeding, but the video will show a truer shade.
The floral tea dress again is exactly like the red one. This one even has smocking across the front shoulder and the same quilted insert inside the sleeve. Neither do very much for the dress when it's made in this fabric. The panelling and buttons down the centre front are almost invisible. Disappointing yet again, because I know how fabulous they would've looked in the appropriate fabric. Again it ties around the back and the lengths of these two dresses on me are below the knee, maybe even mid calf. I felt it was a bit unflattering at first, but actually I like that I can wear them bare legged or with tights without fear of bending over and revealing too much! I'd say from afar these dresses pass as looking like cute tea dresses and therefore I'm still relatively happy with them. I hate the fabric to touch and hate that the design details have not only become lost in the fabric, but don't do their purpose. I would hope if there are further collections, that fabric choice would play a bigger part, because it almost completely ruined these two and I don't think they are completely worth their £30.
Now the ballerina print dress is a whole other story, it's beautiful.  It reminds me a little of the bright blue (and white) polka dot dress from many years ago.  It's shorter than the other two dresses; I've only tried it on once, so can't recall if it's too short to wear with tights/bare legs.  It has a full length slip underneath, in the same quality from previous PL collections and has a tie around the back which is stitched in at the centre front.  The positioning may be a little iffy on me (with a large bust) as it wasn't quite sitting comfortable under my boobs, but like I said I'd only tried it once.   The sheer overlay with the beautiful and unusual ballerina print is made in polyester and has smocking details to the front and back shoulder, cuff of the sleeve and both sides of the waist, front and back.  You can see this detail in the fabric and it does it's job (unlike the poly/elastane dresses).  Why they chose the elastane mix on the other two, I'll never know.  Anyway, I originally thought this dress was navy, it arrived and I was convinced it was bold purple.  Judging from my pics it's back to navy and in certain lights, I think it is.  This has been the only reason I haven't worn it yet, because I can't decide whether to pair it with my black or navy cardigans and to be honest don't think either will go!
Finally here is the video.  I totally had shaky hand syndrome filming it and admit I did it very quickly!  I used a 'stabiliser' thing on You Tube which instead compensates for the shaky hand by moving the edges of the video instead which may make you dizzy (no joke)!!  Anyway it just gives you a rough idea and I hope it works because blogger has a new (and much easier way) of uploading videos into posts.  What did you think of the collection, those of you who bought it?

14 comments :

  1. They look really nice, thanks for sharing! I decided not to order any even though I was tempted by the red dress but glad I didn't because if I am spending that much, I want cotton! Look forward to seeing them in your outfit shots!

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  2. Hi I bought the 3 dresses and agree that the ballerina print is by far the nicest-it is definately purple though! I agree about the fabric of the other 2 but they do hang nicely. In fact I have the red one on today and have had quite a few compliments on it. I am glad I ordered with the 20% off though as I dont think the prices are justified otherwise.

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    1. Yeah it's s shame the quality isn't as good. I was perhaps a bit hasty in ordering, I was just worried they would sell out.

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  3. Aw, nice to see Peacocks back. I have some lovely dresses from them from before it all went tits up. By the by, if you haven't seen the film of the peacock outside Peacocks in Dunfermline, you should Google it. It's not even that funny but it's somehow worth seeing nonetheless.

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  4. AAHH these dresses are all now down to £15!!-knew I should have waited until the sales!!

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    1. I know, I was sooooo annoyed when I saw that, that's like £70 I could've saved!!! : (

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  5. You should send Peacocks you review, it is so insightful and well written. Urgh HATE it when stuff goes on sale right after you bought it :( Happy New year darling xx

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  6. I love the idea of the jumpsuit but like you, I think the colour might not be very good for me...besides, I haven't looked online at them for ages so I should think my size is now gone! LOL!

    The odd, almost swimsuit fabric must be cheap, hence why they use it. I wonder if PL would "allow" such a naff fabric to be used??

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    1. I wonder...she does tend to wear the Peacocks stuff actually, so surely at some point she's complained about this?

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  7. So, I've just found your blog after looking for reviews on the ballerina print dress (& am hooked after going through past entries now). You said it was short, but I was wondering what length it is? I really am tempted to buy it (especially as it's reduced!), but don't want to if it's going to be too short . It didn't look that short on the model?

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    1. Aw thank you! Erm...was just knee length on me (5 ft 5) if I recall correctly. The others were more mid-calf, but I'm sure this one was just above or on the knee.

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