Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Love letter from ... Nottingham (Vintage Shopping)

I'm back from a lazy weekend in Nottinghamshire, visiting friends and enjoying some country air and calm.  Despite not technically doing an awful lot whilst up there, I've still come back with lots to report.  But that could possibly say more about me than about anything else.

Anyway, first up, a report on vintage shopping in Nottingham!

First shopping stop was actually non-vintage but rather, new shoes! I spotted some lovely discounted patent red heels at Jones Bootmaker recently but didn't have time enough to try them on there and then. So, fresh off my train, I located the Nottingham branch. Once I found my size, there was not a moment's hesitation. Gorgeous, you must agree!

Here they are, tripping through the daisies on my feet
a few days later...

Next mission was to find my friend who was running her Ladybird and Sage craft stall at the Curiousity Haus market day in Sneinton.  Despite a bit of drizzle, this corner of Nottingham was brightened by some stalls with beautiful handmade products of all sorts.  I grabbed myself a pair of shiny red earrings to go with my new red shoes and perused a stall selling adorable baby shoes, etc, with a mind to buying a gift for some expectant friends.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure if it's a boy or girl yet and there were no unisex booties in the right size for the littlest babies.  Might have to buy online later...

After that pitstop, I tripped off to explore Nottingham's vintage shops.  My friend pointed me in the right kind of direction and I just went where my nose took me from there.  So I may have missed a few good 'uns but, coming out at the end of it all with three "new" items, I think I did fairly well!

First up: Oxfam on Goose Gate.  This is one of the Oxfam shops that has a carefully picked vintage-savvy collection.  Tried on a number of thing - one gorgeous French number, frustratingly just a tad too small.  But was compensated with a lovely green and blue tartan v-neck frock (which may have to wait until autumn) and a long, full skirt in a blue floral pattern on black background.

Wandered in and out of a few other places after this.  One nearby, also on Goose Gate, was lovely but I was going for cheap and cheerful and the items in there were more on the expensive side - especially, it seemed, the ones I particularly liked!  Was still worth a look, but unfortunately I can't remember the name to report back.  A bit rubbish of me!

After poking my head in a few more places, I began to get distracted by taking photos of buildings...

Nice solid 1930s down a quiet street

Dilapidated chic

Pretty wood carving, curves and glass

Curvy, curvy

Mad, rustic hodge-podge

Pretty stencilling and colour scheme

Then I turned around and discovered I was looking at the lovely Augustus on Pelham Street.  This sells a combination of true vintage clothes, vintage-inspired clothes, and fabulous vintage homewares, luggage, etc.  It also had possibly the best change rooms I have ever been in - according to the girl behind the counter, created using an old wardrobe.  I'm not sure of the protocol for photographing inside shops but snuck some pics inside the change room when I was hidden from view.  Sneaky...  But it gives you some idea of how they looked.  Also lets you see the lovely yellow dress I tried on which was unfortunately not at all good for my skin tone.  Was very sad to leave it behind...  I did walk out with the blue dress though, which has a darling fruity pattern.

Sneaking in the change rooms:
light-fitting and pictures

Change room mirror: yellows, blues and patterns

Delicious pattern and button

By this point, my shopping day was wrapping up.  I dropped into Cow on George Street but was a little disappointed.  Too many racks of early 90s floral dresses for my liking!  I did try on a couple of items but none worked for me.  Maybe a good thing considering I'd already managed one pair of new shoes, one pair of earrings, two dresses and one skirt... Hmm, what happened to all that cash I took out that morning?

But admiring buildings is free, so I took a few more snaps before hopping on a bus out to my friend's place in the nearby countryside.

Fabulousness Deco-ness

Creamy glazed tiles and frieze

Slightly scary Victorian heads...

Cozy alleyway

Art noveau glass

Blue and red

Finishing up the day with wine, newspaper... and the company of chickens!

Does anyone else know Nottingham?  Can you recommend any other shops there?  Did I foolishly miss out the best ones?  Would love to know for next time.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Country Walks

The Friendly Road, 1922, courtesy of Art Deco Blog

First year of uni is officially over so I'm heading off for a few days break out in the countryside.  Will report back with photos and thoughts on my return.

Have a great weekend, dearest readers.

Lisa Marie x

Tandem Time

This evening after work, my friend and I went on a ride around Clerkenwell on his newly purchased 1930s tandem bicycle. I don't think I need to say anything more than that.  1930s tandem bicycle.  Amazing.  

We may (or more truthfully, may not) have looked a little bit like this:

We did look rather fabulous though, even if I do say so myself, but rather more '40s or so than this lovely couple - me in my green suit jacket, grey shorts and grey brogues, he is in his plus-fours, knee-high socks and shirt. I think we caught some favourable attention on our cycle around the various back streets, as we passed people enjoying their evening pints outside the area's many pubs.

Our ride ended at the pub as well:

And the evening ended with this sunset:

If only every day were like this.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Madame Yevonde's Goddesses in Ealing

Mrs Charles Sweeny (Margaret, Duchess of Argyll) as Helen of Troy

Currently showing at Pitzhanger Manor in Ealing is an exhibition of works from the innovative and renowned photographer, Madame Yevonde, and the modern photographer, Neeta Madahar.  I must get myself there...

The Hon. Mrs James Beck as Daphne

Madame Yevonde was active as a photographer between 1914 and 1975, specialising in portraiture.  At the beginning of the 1930s, she begun experimenting with colour which, at the time, was considered a bit of a fad.  She is now considered to be one of the pioneers of colour photography.

Mrs Richard Hart-Davis as Andromeda

In 1935, she photographed a number of society ladies dressed as ancient goddesses in her studio in Berkeley Square, London.  The images adorning this post are some of the results.

Miss Susan Bligh as Calypso

Mrs Longdon as Persephone

Lady Dorothy Warrender as Ceres

Mary, Viscountess Ratendone as Euterpe

Lady Milbanke as Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons

Mrs Richard Hart-Davis as Ariel

Mrs Edward Mayer as Medusa

The Hon. Mrs Bryan Guinness (Lady Diana Mosley) as Venus

Are they not just incredibly beautiful?!

Some of this collection is being displayed next to modern interpretations by Neeta Madahar.  There's less than two weeks left now until it closes (how time flies - or should I say "tempus fugit" if we're talking about ancient goddesses?) but hopefully I'll be able to make it and report back in a subsequent post.  

If anyone else in London makes it, let me know!  There's additional incentive in terms of the location too:

Everyone who has no chance of getting to the exhibition can still feast their eyes here, the source of all the photos I've reproduced in this post.  And then come back and tell me what your favourites are!  Which would you pick if given the chance to take an original print of just one to hang on your wall...?

Saturday, 18 June 2011

To Sir, With Love (from London?)

I've been largely absent from blog-land for the last week or so, but I've just handed in a big assignment and have some free time on my hands again.  So I'm back!  My creative energy has yet to fully reappear as I'm still recovering from some late nights to meet the deadline, but I've just been watching one of my favourite movies so thought I would post on that.

Yup, 'To Sir, With Love'.  It's doubly-appropriate for this blog as it's set in the East End of London, and it was made in the 1960s - so it's vintage London.  You could even say it's triplely appropriate, as I guess it's a love letter, isn't it?

I don't know what it is about this movie, but I just think it's wonderful.  It's a well-worn idea now - teacher goes into a rough school and manages to reach the kids by teaching them about life and treating them as adults - but, released in 1967, it was one of the firsts of that kind.  Apparently it's based on a semi-autobiographical book as well, which for some reason I've never gotten around to reading.  One day...?  But the main thing is that it's done really well so is genuinely lovely, and I always get emotional in the farewell scene...

The movie is in my family's collection so I first saw it quite young.  As a result, I developed a fondness for Sidney Poitier in his dignified, handsome gentleness (a fondness also partly inherited from my mum) and a tendency to occasionally spend a day humming the wonderful title song.  For a while as a teenager, I also had a burning desire for a white crochet dress like the one from the dance at the end, but it wasn't quite enough to get me to learn how to crochet myself!

Even though 60s isn't generally my style, and the length is shorter than I usually like to wear, I still think that if I happened across a dress like that now, I would be very tempted to buy it.  If only for the sense of achievement I would feel in having finally fulfilled that teenage dream!

But I'm going to stop writing and let some screen-shots take over now:

The all-important back-combing of a 60s 'do...

Testing whether Sir's comment about 60s hairstyles being 200-years-old is true.

There's that white crochet dress again!