ThE Polka Dots Dolls are hard to miss at public events – dressed rather differently than everyone else in their floral-print vintage dresses and Mary Jane shoes.
Their make up is bold and bright, with strong red lipstick, and their hair is styled into the trademark glossy curls and waves of the 1940s.
Scarlet, who lives in Harrow, formed the three-piece band two years ago along with Dixie and Tallulah, and they have performed at a wide range of events ever since, including a special day at 10 Downing Street.
Scarlet says: “People feel connected to the music of the vintage era and it generated a sense of community spirit. It’s this community spirit and ‘uplifting escapism’ that we aim to share with our audiences both young and old.”
The ladies met in their early 20s and immediately bonded over their love for music from the wartime period, which was played by their parents as they grew up. It was meant to be, they said.
They decided to form the Polka Dot Dolls so they could perform the music they love and get in character to make audiences smile.
The girls say they ‘love to perform anything that gets toes-a-tapping and fingers clicking’ and they certainly look the part.
They unanimously agree their best moment was meeting Dame Vera Lynn at The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Party at 10 Downing Street in June last year.
The event was held for the Armed Forces to celebrate The Royal British Legion’s 90th anniversary and hosted some of the UK’s outstanding Armed Forces heroes.
Not only did The Polka Dots Dolls get to meet the Prime Minister and servicemen and women, but Dame Vera Lynn was one of the guests of honour they performed for.
Scarlet says: “It was a very inspiring and humbling experience.”
The group say their worst moment while touring was arriving at a rained-out event when they had to spend time sitting in their vintage camper van, drinking tea and waiting for the clouds to clear.
Scarlet says: “We’re very lucky that we haven’t really had a lot of ‘worst moments’. It’s hard not to have fun when you’re performing with your best friends.”
The band not only draw the attention of older residents but also people who are not familiar with the era they pay tribute to. With a recent revival of vintage fashion and music they seem to have caught the zeitgeist of the time.
Dixie says: “The vintage style entices people.
“Fans often ask us for tips on how to style their hair like ours, or ask us eagerly about the make and shade of lipstick we have on.
“We are very dedicated to creating that authentic vintage feel to everything we do but we also like to throw in a little ‘Polka Dot Dolls’ twist from time to time – a bit of glitter here, a splash of sparkle there, not the things a ration book would have allowed.”
Tallulah says: “There are always inquisitive members in our audiences, interested in why we have adopted the vintage sound as our performance style, asking ‘Why that era?’.
“For us, the answers to these questions run further than skin deep. The music of the 1930s and 1940s had great class and intellect to it. The harmonies of female groups like the Boswell Sisters are breathtaking, their sound could make you stop whatever you were doing, just to appreciate the musicality and talent that had gone into the arrangements.”
As well as performing across the country, The Polka Dot Dolls particularly enjoy doing local gigs, and Scarlet is returning to her home borough on February 16 to perform at Harrow Arts Centre in Hatch End.
The event listing promises ‘delightfully rich harmonies, which capture the romance and emotion of the war era’.
Scarlet says: “It’s lovely to have the opportunity to perform at the Harrow Arts Centre as I get to share my love of vintage music with my local community.”
l The Polka Dot Dolls are performing in Elliott Hall at Harrow Arts Centre in Uxbridge Road, Hatch End, on Thursday, February 16, at 2pm. Tickets cost £5. See www.harrowarts.com or, to find out more about The Polka Dots Dolls, visit http://thepolkadotdolls.webs.com/.