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In This Issue
- Collectamaniacs ~ Three fascinating collections coming up for auction in Bristol this November
- Country Chic ~ This season's vintage country classics. By Samaya Ling
- Living The Vintage Life ~ Blogger Charly Surry meets photographer Mat Keller to discuss his 'Southern Retro Project'
- Barbara Hulanicki ~ From Brighton to Biba and back again. By Jo-ann Fortune
- VE does Brussels ~ Join Karyn Sparks on a trip to Belguim and the Brussels Design Market
- Cadovius ~ Danish designer Poul Cadovius. By Colin Pill
- In Pole Position - Brooklands ~ Britain's first motor racing track. By Karyn Sparks
- The Savvy Six ~ VE has selected six 'must have' items of clothing for today's gent from the fabulous new book Vintage Menswear
- VE News ~ A round-up of what's happening in the vintage world
- Your Nationwide Guide to Vintage Events
- Calling Cards
This month... I'm... Laughing at the way our page 14 article reminds me of a 'Guess Who?' game; amused at how vintage Biba achieved their soft-focus model shoots (Vaseline on the lens apparently!); thrilled about imminent trip to Brooklands escorted by an even madder vintage enthusiast than me - their Marketing Manager.
And... still dream of owning a Karmann Ghia, but making up with my new La Perle pushbike purchase from Belgium in the meantime (see page 24). Loving European travel and still surprised how painless the Eurotunnel is; perplexed at the lack of passport control and how pastries just don't taste the same at home; enjoyed Brussels, but not their sprouts; extra excited about train travel to southern Germany this month, and already dreading the workload on my return. Still loving... not just writing about vintage, but living it; a past master at making it up as I go along and work best under pressure but, Lordy, don't I hate those dreams when your teeth fall out! (Stressed? Moi?)
Also... looking forward to selling some stock at the mid-century show at Lord's - house and office still bulging at the seams with interesting stuff others have discarded; intrigued as to what the office looked like through the film crew's lens (but that's another story).
Then... cheesed off with choosing inappropriate clothing for the weather. Happiest when it's warm and sunny but adore a good pair of worn-in leather boots and a winter coat; inspired by autumnal colours (loving burnt orange and moss green). No dedicated follower of fashion, I am, it seems, 'right on it' with this season's country look. Live in the country, check. Own a herringbone newsboy cap, check. Ride horses (rarely). Got a wool hacking jacket but you won't find me hitting the town in a pair of jodhpurs this winter - tweedy plus-fours great idea, but not with my hips! Want, want, want a Fair Isle knit tank top; need more boots; don't need any more vintage hats, bags and coats (honest); still prefer cats to dogs, even though a country walk isn't quite the same with a cat that walks by itself !
So... if you, like me, have a passion for vintage but can't be pigeonholed into just one style, then this Vintagexplorer is designed just for you! Have I said that before?
A Collectors' Sale is always something of a wonderful rummage in somebody else's treasure chest, with each item yielding stories galore to investigate and speculate about. But when a sale includes one or more single-owner collections, there's an even greater level of interest, with the personalities of the collectors themselves becoming part of the fascinating story behind the pieces. The upcoming Collectors' Sale at Dreweatts in Bristol on 6th November brings together three important single-owner collections which are bound to tickle the antennae of their respective coterie of specialist bidders. Is there something in there for you too?
First is a collection of period costume, lovingly worn, altered and adapted by five generations of the Rowell Family between the 1890s and 1990s. The Rowells obviously gave great care to the preservation of the garments, lace and textiles and their practical stewardship is typified by a lace dress altered, of necessity, in the 'Make Do and Mend' world of the Second World War. Most of the costume dates from the late Victorian period and includes heavily beaded dresses, capes and jackets, but there's also an eminently wearable bright lamé tunic from the 1920s.Article continues in the magazine...
This season’s collections make me proud to be British. All the country classics of ages past were there on the catwalk: corduroy jackets and jodhpurs, tweedy plus-fours, Fair Isle knits and sturdy leather boots, buffed to a conker shine. Just take a peek at the latest ad campaigns from long-time Ye Olde England-lover Ralph Lauren. The familiar country dress codes of plaid, corduroy and traditional tailoring are back – and vintage dressers are well ahead of the game!
Britain has produced the finest wools and tweeds over the years – our once-declining wool industry is happily fighting back and, though we are still only eighth on the export list currently, performance is firmly on the up. And there is nothing in the world quite like Harris tweed – still
woven by hand as it has been since the 18th century – just the thing for keeping warm and dry on a grouse-shooting country weekend! After some ups and down over the years, Harris tweed has never been more ‘in’ than now.
Living the Vintage Life.
Let me introduce you to Mat Keller, the man behind the Southern Retro project. An incredibly tall, charming, impeccably dressed gentleman, he has arrived at my home to take some photos of me, vintage-blogger LandGirl1980, to add to his online portrait collection.
“The Southern Retro project is all about people who live a complete retro/vintage lifestyle,” he explains, “Who fill their houses with vintage objects and dress everyday from head-to-toe in the clothing and styles of the past.” He’s come to the right place – that’s me all right.
Mat doesn’t arrive laden down with an intimidating amount of photographic equipment. “What makes a shoot memorable is the time I'm not taking pictures,” he says. “I love it when I get the chance to just sit and chat with someone I find really interesting.” He finds that, once the subject is comfortable, the photoshoots themselves tend to be very similar – but everyone is as individual as their style, and that’s just what he’s after.Article continues in the magazine...
“What will she be wearing?” the lighting technician asks as we set up to interview fashion visionary Barbara Hulanicki, legendary founder of Biba. “Black,” chorused the room, “She never wears anything else.”
I’m in black too – a vintage A-line shift and suede block heel boots – having planned my outfit weeks in advance. After all, for a fashion journalist, especially one obsessed with the 1960s, this meeting is the stuff of dreams.
And she doesn’t disappoint. Barbara Hulanicki enters Brighton’s Metropole hotel in an edgy, all black ensemble – a statement shoulder leather jacket, tight jeans and over-the-knee boots combo that defies her 70-odd years. Behind the signature dark glasses, her eyes are made up in smoky shadow, with just a leopard print tote breaking the unspoken monochrome rule.
You know what they say about meeting your heroes – and heroines – but any concerns I may have about the potential for diva-like behaviour (which is not unheard-of in the fashion world) are quickly dispersed.
Five minutes into our interview and Barbara’s listening intently as I tell her about the restoration of a local Art Deco building and enquiring as to which stars the film crew fancy: “Yes, Rihanna has got something
VE does Brussels
Travel: We (that’s me, with loyal husband in tow) hired a van, drove to Dover, paid just over £100 to Eurotunnel and caught Le Shuttle to France. Three and a half hours later, we were in the centre of Brussels.
We had a couple of missions in mind for this trip: to deliver the enormous ‘pimp’ sofa we’d sold to a Belgium dealer, and then to visit the Brussels Design Market before heading home again. The Brussels Design Market is one of the oldest design events in Brussels – a flea market devoted entirely to design.
Our visit coincided with ‘Design September’ too, where for a whole month the city becomes the place to be for those who are passionate about design, with more than 100 cultural and commercial events taking place across the city.Article continues in the magazine...
What would modern British interior design be without the Scandinavians? Is there a homeowner in Britain, for instance, who hasn’t at some time had to rely on Ivar or Expedit, or Billy to bring some semblance of order to their chaos?
But long before Swedish IKEA took over the world, a Danish integrated storage solution promised to rationalise midcentury British homes and project them into a bright, clutter-free future. And 60 years on from its original conception, it is still delivering on its promises: the wall-hung modular storage ‘systems’ devised by architect-turned-designer Poul Cadovius have stood the test of time, with some vintage combinations changing hands for thousands of pounds.
Cadovius, who died last year aged 99, was a legend of the Danish industry, designing and producing many classic pieces such as the ubiquitous ‘Pia’ chair (not to be confused with Tore Ahlsén’s earlier garden chair of the same name). But it is as a pioneer of væg møbler – modular floating wall unit systems – just after the end of the Second World War that he is perhaps best known in Britain.Article continues in the magazine...
In Pole Position
For petrolheads, there are some names that send a shiver down the spine. Brands Hatch. Goodwood. Silverstone. Le Mans. Nürburgring.
And then there’s Brooklands. Ah, Brooklands... (to be breathed in a wistful whisper akin to “Ah, Bisto”); there’s really nothing to touch it so far as British racing collectors are concerned. What puts the Surrey track in pole position, and why it still attracts thousands of visitors today, more than 70 years after its last race, is that it is the birthplace of modern motor racing. There had been a few adapted horse race tracks in the USA, and Continental road races had been held as far back as the 1890s. But until the day that Brooklands opened in 1907, there had never been a purpose-built motor racing track anywhere in the world.Article continues in the magazine...
The Savvy Six
The Vintage Showroom is one of the world’s leading dealers in vintage menswear and The Menswear Sourcebook is a collection of some 150 of their pieces. The Lon- don-based company was established in 2007 but has already built a prestigious archive, el- ements of which it hires out and sometimes sells to the design teams behind some of the biggest names in fashion. These brands find inspiration in the design details – the way a collar is shaped here, the way a buckle is set there – in the fabrications, even simply in the ‘mood’ of a garment. Many are highly evocative of bygone times – historic artifacts as much as pieces of clothing. Increasingly, The Vintage Showroom is asked to help brands organise their own archives – the vintage garments of the future.Article continues in the magazine...