Beyond the Pale

La Petite Salope: Decadent Deluxe
August 27, 2009, 3:10 pm
Filed under: Bawdy Couture, Decadence, Etsy, Fripperies

I had thought about merely stashing La Petite Salope in my links list (nestling under the delightful umbrella of ‘Fripperies’, of course), but on re-visiting their website and, quite frankly, ogling the latest A/W 09 collection, I felt the need to sate my lust by putting pen to paper finger to keyboard and sharing their magnificence with my dear readers.La Petite Salope A/W 09

On encountering them first in one of the glossies – mentioned as ‘one to watch’ – I was first struck by clothes – gloriously decadent, sumptuous fabrics that looked not of this age and with a flattering cut (imagine!) which celebrated the curvaceous female form, rather than seeming to strive to turn all women into the physique of adolescent boys or pre-pubescent girls. This is an unfair, vastly over-stated approximation of the fashion industry at large, of course, but when catwalk after catwalk features garments the average woman could never see herself wearing in actuality, there is something to be said for a designer who unashamedly revels in the love of vintage glamour mixed with a modern aesthetic – and the end result is something you could actually wear without having to visit a surgeon or a therapist.

Having feasted the eye, one cannot fail to notice – and ADORE – the name: La Petite Salope roughly translates as [delicately] “The little strumpet”, or [more robustly] “the little whore”. Either way, it plays both with the adulation of French names for design houses – even if the closest some of them have come to a French influence is having once eaten a croissant – and the fact that some people will be beguiled by the “classy sounding” foreign name, whilst not knowing what it actually means. A triumph in both respects, this is a label that holds its head high among the crowds of dull clones littering many of the glossy fashion magazines – it’s like finding a wonderful boutique tucked away in a cobbled backstreet somewhere, which you would never have found had you not taken a wrong turning or been tempted by the flash of a red velvet dress in a window just on the edge of your periphery vision, but which prompts you to explore further…

La Petite Salope A/W 09 -2Nine seasons on from the first ever collection, designer Nicola Helgesen is taking the label into a more mature, incredibly sophisticated yet still fun direction from the slightly cheeky beginnings. To mark this exciting phase, the name is also undergoing a slight change, and will henceforth be known as La Petite S*****. One imagines this might also open up the label to a wider market, though it will be more difficult to explain at dinner parties when some kindly meaning sole asks where did you get that incredible dress. of course. Does one put voice to the ***** or should we say “La Petite S” ? Of course, we could always go down the route of politely refusing to mention the exact name, lest Other People pitch up at your favourite boutique and get their grubby mitts on items that rightly should belong only to you. But I digress…

They certainly have come a long way since Nicola Helgesen gave up her day job as visual merchandiser and took the incredibly brave (and surely daunting!) step of becoming a fashion designer in her own right. How fairytale it all sounds, but she did actually stuff a knapsack (oh alright, a backpack for the pedants among you!) with samples and literally get on her bike to the iconic Browns – ever stalwarts of the more cutting edge (yet still accessible) side of the fashion retail industry, and known for promoting new and exciting labels. From that initial meeting, Hegelsen pedaled home (one imagines with a certain renewed energy) having secured her first order. To add to the fairytale quality of this story, within the first week, her entire collection had sold out. Now her clothes are fought over by A-list celebrities, including Helena Bonham-Carter, whose unique, eclectic style I have always admired, adored and seethed with jealousy over. Paris Hilton’s name is often bandied around in the list of celebs who wear La Petite S*****, but we shall gloss over that, because often she wears things that are, quite by accident, really nice – they just happen to be worn by someone who is, well, her.

La Petite Salope A/W 09 -5La Petite Salop A/W 09 -6

La Petite S***** has been featured in slick advertising campaigns by such luminaries as Boodles and Harrods, stocked in luxury boutiques around the world and featured in the glossiest of glossy magazines – feast upon the banquet of gorgeousness…

Boodles advert

125 Magazine

125 Magazine -2


Oh HOW gorgeous are these dresses? I mean, really, you just want to put them on and twirl around in flurries of silk & ribbons until you fall over or are sick with giddiness, don’t you? Well, perhaps that’s just me, but it’s my blog so you shall jolly well have to put up with the breathless excitement of it all.

Inspired by such glorious decadence, I set myself the challenge of discovering equally deluxe and beautifully realised designs on my regular source of wonders, Etsy. It’s incredibly easy challenge, really, as I am falling over heaps of talented designers & vintage collections listed under my favourites. Here are a few of my choices that – I hope you will agree – really fit the tone of this post as it wallows in whimsicality… Enjoy your wallowing

Deluxe 1

Direct links to items shown:



Afton River

Desira Pesta


Autumn Russell

Deluxe -2

Further links:


Stephanie Madeish

The Sparkling Cocktail

It’s Ok My Dear

Love Karla K

Burkhalter Couture

Yours, dripping in luxury (and jam, currently),

Miss Nightingale



6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Your Blog is beautiful. I am in love with the style. So deep, rich, sexy and very powerful to look through!

Thank you very much for featuring my piece!

Comment by Austie Eckley

Absolutely beautiful and inspiring! Thank you for including my silk top from my etsy store, The Sparkling Cocktail.

Comment by Karen

Beautiful! I always love your etsy collections but this is my favorite yet. Off to dream about that peacock dress now….

Comment by Trisha

This is a great post, gorgeous pieces, stunning etsy collection!! I have to mention that the peacock dress has a soul mate in a 1940s hat on my website, a hat that is featured this month on page 505 in Vogue magazine on Coco Rocha (they posed her so she’s looking up and you can’t see it, but it has a peacock feather!).

Great blog!


Comment by Ang

Oh thank you so much – and wow, what a wonderful hat that is (how amazing to be featured in Vogue, too!) – so many delights on your website that I hardly know what to look at first. x

Comment by beyondthepaleblog

If you like la petite S have a look at that then:

Comment by francinne

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