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But what are the 39 Steps…?

A fortnight ago, I had the honour of attending a very special performance of a rather marvellous play. And, I’m delighted to say that by all accounts the first ever 39 Steps Vintage Gala night was a roaring success!

There was a fantastic turnout of impeccably dressed vintage folks, most of whom I knew, so the afterparty was something akin to a private party held in a beautiful old theatre, and preceded by a wonderfully entertaining play! The whole thing was masterminded by a sterling cove called Will Sudlow (the one who contacted me in the first place about his idea) and my gorgeous friend Naomi of Vintage Secret (whom I put in touch with Will and whose organisational skills put me to absolute shame). I arrived early to help Naomi with her hair, before rushing off to scoff a Bodeans and returned to find the bar area set out with vintage cake stands, hats on antique shop fittings, and a vintage ‘Accessories Bar’, beautifully styled by Naomi and her sister.

The cakes were supplied by the incredible Angel Adoree of Vintage Patisserie, famous across the UK for her personalised cupcakes. For this occasion she pulled out all the stops, so we had moustaches, logos, Harris Tweed, pipes, police badges and film noir style lamp posts; all of which were designed by Mr Sudlow and put onto cakes through Angel’s patented magical processes! Mr Sudlow also rustled up a recipe for some incredibly strong G&Tea drinks, namely Gin and iced tea, which were gamely mixed by the Criterion’s bar staff, and proved a hit with the guests. There were costumes displayed around the bar, so everyone could get a closer look at Annabella Schmidt’s lovely black coat and skirt; and because it all took place the night before the General Election, the place was bedecked by Angel’s custom bunting, in election colours. Splendid.

The play had had a change of cast since my last (and only) viewing, but the new actors did a magnificent job. I was pleased to see the costume department had taken my one and only criticism on board – Hannay now has his bottom waistcoat button undone, which he didn’t before. I am nothing if not a stickler for sartorial traditions! As before, it was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish! I don’t think such a witty and well-directed play could ever get dull! But what about the outfits of the attendees? Well, a special mention must be given to Naomi, who wore two amazing dresses – a 1930s watered silk evening gown, and a peach 1920s silk gown, which still has its original shop tag. Will was replendent in white tie…

And, of course, you can always rely on London’s vintage crowd to look superb, and this occasion was no exception! I wore my Able Grable Countess again, which is both practical for running about in, and suitably glamorous, I hope!

The infamous Johnny Vercoutre of Time for Tea tried on one of Naomi’s menswear items – a dressing gown with matching cravat! Also in evidence above are Various Chaps, including Torquil Arbuthnot in blue waistcoat (with whom I am sharing a birthday party next month), Christopher Ihan Choy, former Hannay actor Callum Coates, and my unbelievably gorgeous boyfriend the Whistling Tailor in his finest Tweed. Keeping the ladies’ sartorial standards as high as ever are my stunning friends Hannah Asprey, who designs Era Magazine, Miss Mink the Pinup Poet, the impeccably turbanned Emma and my kiwi pal, designer and newly fellow blogger (go read if you’re interested in vintage and sewing!) Shona with her husband Twan.

So that was that! All-in-all an amazing evening. I can’t wait for the next one, and I hope any vintage Londoners who missed out this time will come along to a future event. I promise it will be just as splendid.

And as to the title of this blog, well, if you want the answer to that question, you’ll have to go and see it yourself! This production is being staged in dozens of countries all round the world, so you have no excuse at all! ­čśë

Let me know when you’ve found out!

Fleur xx



I would have liked to have seen it although I think To have traveled the distance concerned , I would have felt as if I had walked up 39thousand steps.Nice to see that every one had a good time and your dress looked adorable…


Glorious!! We're going to see a production of this play in November. Can't waiiiiit…although I don't there will be such a fantastic vintage party. Maybe I'll just have to organize one!!

Andi B. Goode

Oh, boy, everyone looks amazing!! And that sounds like such a fun night. I just love the story of The 39 Steps so I'd love to be able to see it.
-Andi x


I have not been lucky enough to see this production in person but I have watched a movie version and really enjoyed it! Everyone looks so wonderful in these pics!

Fleur de Guerre

Thanks all – I really recommend the play, so catch it if you can, vintage or no! Definitely time to start your own vintage trend before November Baroness! ­čśÇ


I'm assuming by the gap between the top picture and the bottom that the young gentleman in the top photo is "Hannay". If so, then a low formal waistcoat, such as the one he has on in the photo, should never be unbuttoned. It's only the regular sort of waistcoat that should have a button unbuttoned, and even then only if it's been tailored that way.

Oh, and the photos are lovely – I wish there were other people who dressed vintage where I live!


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