Now based in Dublin, the sisters' store on Wicklow Street has been a haven of all things vintage, since they opened eight years ago. That was a brave move, coming as it did as the recession hit, but they stayed true to their dream and travelled the world in their quest to find genuine vintage pieces.
In a new move, they have combined their years of experience in vintage fashion to create a beautiful capsule collection of wedding dresses called Paper Moon Bride. Their latest business development came about by accident after one of their customers bought a blush prom dress and wore it as a wedding gown.
The reaction was immediate and the girls found themselves inundated with requests to find other 1940s and 1950s bridal dresses from yesteryear, but assets were scarce. Caroline explains how genuine cream and white dresses from that period tend to be too small across the back for the modern bride because the garments were originally made for teenagers. In the 1950s, brides got married in delicate shades of blue and pink and it was teenage debutantes who wore the pale ivory tones.
"We designed the collection to open up the world of vintage to more customers," says Kathy. "A vintage wedding dress is completely unique, which makes it ultra special for the bride who snaps it up, but we wanted to create dresses for those that had missed out.
The most beloved styles of our brides are the tea-length 1950s and 1930s old Hollywood gowns, so we decided to design four short and four full-length dresses. It's still a limited-edition collection because the uniqueness of vintage is our first love and we want to stay as true to this as possible."
The first dress to be designed was Cherry Pie, which was based on the first 1950s blush prom they sold. Taking that concept, they have designed the other seven dresses based on original ones they've bought, and sold, over the years. The dresses were inspired by names the sisters came across when they researched vintage slang and gangster speak. The dresses are available in sizes 8-26 and you can view a behind-the-scenes video of their shoot made by filmmaker Ronan McMeelin on vimeo.com/190539021.
When it comes to saying 'I do', Kathy, who was married before the sisters opened their store, says: "The 1950s prom styles have always been my favourites so I'd have to pick one of the shorter dresses. The Holly Go Lightly has an amazing neckline and fun, full skirt." For her wedding, Caroline wore a 1940s white dress with shoulder pads and a V-neck. Happily married Caroline says: "If I was doing it again, I would definitely wear the Tallulah."
Main photo above: Left to right - 1. The Society Dame, €1,400: Ivory lace wedding gown with long sleeves, detachable tulle train and also available with a removable collar (not shown) 2. The Cherry Pie, €1,150: Blush lace tea-length bridal dress with pleated tulle full skirt worn with Cherry Pie Blush beaded comb, €140, and antique cream lace and tulle veil, €185 3. The Dollface, €850: Ivory lace illusion top tea length wedding dress with Mikado satin skirt and crystal buckle belt, pearl and rhinestone headpiece, €180 4. The Holly Go Lightly, €1,350: Lace and tulle sweetheart tea-length wedding dress with removable tulle shawl and beaded belt crystal chandelier earrings, €95 5. The Tallulah, €1,295: Full-length ivory draped-column gown with slash sleeves ending in deep crystal button cuffs, low V-back with crystal, beaded chain detail and bespoke crystal bridal turban, €240 6. The Sweetie Darling, €1,500: Ivory satin sweetheart gown with train and rose gold beaded collar, bespoke rhinestone comb, €140, 1960s gold and rhinestone drop earrings, €110 7. The Smitten Kitten, €795: Ivory tulle ballet-length bridal dress with shimmering sequinned illusion top, 1950s Aurora Borealis rhinestone earrings, €80 8. Cat's Meow, €1,500: Oyster silk stain full-length gown with draped rhinestone shoulder loops and low back, bespoke crystal swirl headpiece, €180, 1950s silver and rhinestone earrings, €110
Bridal dresses and accessories: Dirty Fabulous, 21 Wicklow Street, Dublin 2. Telephone (01) 611 1842, dirtyfabulous.com
Photography: Táine King, tainekingphotography.com
Wardrobe and Styling: Kathy and Caroline of Dirty Fabulous
Make Up: Lynn McNally, facebook.com/idomakeupireland
Hair Styling: Michelle and Sinead of Serenity Hair and Beauty Monaghan, facebook.com/SerenityHairandBeautySalonLtd
Location: Hilton Park, Co Monaghan, hiltonpark.ie