Monday, 12 May 2014

Birthday Celebrations at Clerkenwell Vintage Fair!

On Sunday I attended the 5th Birthday celebrations at the Clerkenwell Vintage Fair. After seeing the publicity on social media I was really looking forward to indulging in some vintage retail therapy.

Needless to say, I was not disappointed. There was such a fantastic array of merchandise, the stalls were bursting at the seems with beautiful vintage treasures, including homewares and childrenswear. There were even items that would not look out of place on the SS14 catwalk, a paint stripe dress from Richard Shops and a 1950s swimsuit with a Celine inspired print in this season's trend colours (white with primary colours, red, blue and yellow).

I made a full tour of the fair, overwhelmed by the variety of well known labels such as Kitty Copeland, Blanes, and my personal favourite, California Cottons. I managed to find three California dresses with the distinctive horizon aand sombrero label, but only one fitted. I had to refuse a lovely sunflower print California in favour of a stunning novelty print skirt from No 40 Vintage.

I love novelty prints, and I'm used to seeing pretty scenery patterns and silhouettes, but this skirt surpassed them all. In a gorgeous ivory colour with cute lockets and love letters I instantly wanted it. The design seemed to tell a story, of romance and courtship, true elegance in a more innocent world.
I stayed to have tea in the dear little cafe area provided by local caterers and then prepared to leave. Just as I was about to bid my goodbyes, a lady tapped me on the shoulder and told me about a pair of shoes she had found in my size. I followed her back to the stall: "Frocks Afloat" normally situated on a barge travelling the length of the Camden canal and tried on the shoes. Admittedly they did not fit, but I did manage to find a pair that were perfect. Olive green court, made by Bally, inscribed with the words "Champs Elysees".
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the 5th Birthday celebrations and would recommend anyone to visit the fair, even if you don't like vintage.

Just try it for yourself, YOU won't be disappointed!
Clerkenwell Vintage Fair returns on the 22nd June at the old Finsbury Town Hall, Clerkenwell, London! With a chance to win £100 to spend at the fair in the raffle, why wouldn't you?

Miss it, Miss Out!

Holly x

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Vintage Bag.

The Vintage Bag.
It occurred to me recently that I spend most of my money on vintage garments without looking at anything else. There is a whole other world besides the shoes, skirts, blouses and dresses that I covet, and it  was only when I was looking for a particular necklace for an outfit I wanted to wear to the Clerkenwell Vintage Fair that i realised I had never considered accessories to be important. Yet they are. The right bag can make a drab outfit suddenly look stunning.
I was fortunate enough to discover a vintage gem during my holiday to New York in 2012 in a very tacky secondhand shop called Beacon's Closet in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The Beacon's Closet chain are the equivalent of Beyond Retro in the UK. I had walked around the vast warehouse for almost three hours and was all but ready to give up when I spotted a bag hanging up on the wall. It was very striking but was stuck behind a monstrosity of an 80s creation in lurid green vinyl. I looked at the neighbouring bag which was similar and then realised that the catch to close the bag was broken.

Disheartened, I pulled bag the 80s bag and there it was. The beauty that changed my perspective of vintage. Hand embroidered with the most beautiful design of forest animals and a large flower, I fell in love with it instantly. I carefully examined it, finding the original purse and an unused mirror inside, and knew that I had to have it. I had visions of the price being very expensive so imagine my delight when I placed it on the counter and the assistant declared:
"29 dollars, please."

That was it. I was sold.

Since then, the bag has been with me on countless trips to vintage events all around the UK, and although it looks a little worse for wear for all its travelling, it has managed to withstand several spillages and collisions with ticket barriers. (Whoops!)
It also attracts a lot of attention from traders and vintage enthusiasts alike, and whilst this is good, it also means that I have to be very careful not to put it down anywhere as it might be sold off by mistake!
The bag was made by Eric Handbags of New York. Despite attempts to trace this brand I have yet to find any others. I  can only assume that the quality of the bag itself would merit an expensive price tag in the era. If anyone does know anything about it, please do contact me.

However, what I am really coveting, amongst other things are these beautiful 1950s baskets. I already have one, a Christmas gift bought for me from Mela Mela in Teddington.
This gorgeous basket is made by Midas of Miami. Very apt, I feel as the bag exudes sunshine and summer! It is lined in yellow silk and features the label as seen below.
The label is very collectable and these sell on etsy from between £50-£100.

The top of the basket, isn't it pretty?

A Midas label. Reads: "An Original by Midas of Miami, Handcrafts Inc. Miami, 47, Florida.

The full basket. 

These are just two of my favourites.
Holly x