The Women Behind Vintage Undercover

Vintage Undercover is the mother-daughter venture of Tess Snyder and Vivian Lilly. Tess and Vivian have an unusual relationship -- the natural result of single motherhood -- where they are not only mother and daughter, but best friends. These two ladies talk about EVERYTHING, which has created an incredible bond founded in mutual trust and honesty. What could be better than that? 

They have a lot of things in common, and other things they don't agree on, but one thing is sure: they both LOVE vintage. Vintage anything! And, both women love beautiful lingerie, which is how they came to create this site -- it's fun!

Tess is a former opera singer, and so is very familiar with vintage lingerie -- particularly the corset. And bloomers, and the chemise. Did you know that a lot of female opera singers find that wearing a corset is a good thing? You don't feel particularly sexy in it onstage, since you are typically sweating bullets under the stage lights and heavy costumes (not to mention the potential bad breath of your male lead), but excellent posture is absolutely essential to good singing. Some lady opera singers like wearing corsets because it helps keep your breath control in check, with the added bonus of making you stronger and thus able to sing those long phrases. She has also costumed several shows over the years, including many that required historical costumes and undergarments. After all, undergarments have a profound influence on how a lady carries herself.

Vivian is pursuing a career as a professional actress. A woman of many talents, she is also an excellent writer and enjoys history, politics, and fashion. When she was 3 years old, Vivian proved herself to be a budding fashionista when, with tape, paper, and Crayola markers, she made a dress and matching shoes, complete with colorful cut-out flowers on both. Unfortunately, she tore it off and went on to the next project before Tess could snap a photo!

Tess and Vivian are descended from a long line of performing artists and musicians as part of The Lilly Clan.


About the Lilly Clan : A Long History in the Arts

Vivian and Tess come from a long line of writers, musicians, and performers. Tess' mother, Nora Snyder, was a well-known pianist, organist, singer, and arranger in the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia. Tess and her sisters used to sing with Nora at church, and even appeared on stage at the Lilly Reunion -- one of the largest family reunions in the world.

Their family has a long history in entertainment going back to the days of Charlemagne. Their ancestor, a minstrel, travelled with "The Father of Europe" during the 8th century, recording the conqueror's heroic deeds.

Another ancestor, singer, composer, and writer Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle, composed the French national anthem, Le Marseillaise, in 1792. The painting at left by Isidore Pils depicts de Lisle singing the song for the first time at the home of the Mayor of Strasbourg. The soon-to-be tune of this military anthem has appeared in the works of Mozart, Belioz, and Lizst, as well as a few jazz and reggae versions. The tune has also been the basis of many songs of determination and cause, the least of not which is "The Women's Marseillaise", the former official anthem of the suffrage movement organization, the Women's Social and Political Union. The song was sung by suffragists in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

The empowerment of women is even in our ancestral blood!


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