Thursday, 24 September 2009

The Beginning of Autumn

The 22nd of September hearalded the beginning of Autumn, the sunny days now seem a bit crisper and the leaves are starting to turn. Those beautiful autumnal colours were a bit of a source of inspiration for a browse round Alfies. So many hues of red, orange and gold jump out as you look...

A 1940s yellow chiffon dress with red ribbon. Size 10-12. £40

Armchair designed by Osvaldo Borsani for Tecno, Italy 1955. Price on request.
Francesca Matire

1940's Red floral print pake muu, price on request.
The Girl Can't Help It

Mazzega red glass light, Italy. Price on request
Vincenzo Caffarella

A finely detailed small Czechoslovakian Art Deco brooch with red crystal in the centre, £38
The Originals - Paola & Iaia

These are just a few of the pieces I found and all of those brilliant colours certainly left me with a smile on my face despite the change of season!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Fashion & Design Week

With both the London Design Festival and Fashion Week looming just around the corner, get ready for a huge blast of culture and shopping starting from the 19th September!

The Design Festival takes place around this time each year and calls upon all of London's designers, both up and coming and well-established as well as galleries, museums, and design shops to pull out all the stops and show off what they've got to the rest of the world.

This year is no exception and with many thanks Alfies has been included in a new annual design publication and guide by Max Fraser. This superb guide covers the whole of London and helps navigate through the vast and diverse amount of design London has to offer.

Alfies is unique in that it houses so many dealers in one place creating an eclectic mix of design, decoratives and lots of surprises! Here are a couple of views from the outstanding furniture, lighting and interiors shops at Alfies.

C R Design - The Quad, Ground Floor

Lorna Lee Leslie - The Quad, Ground Floor

Francesca Martire, 1st Floor Mezzanine

The next giant event to hit London at around the same time is of course Fashion Week, this time it's Spring/Summer 2010. Still celebrating its 25th year, this autumn is set to be a good one.
It's so strange looking at the Spring/Summer collection for next year when I have only just got my head around the fact that this year's summer has sadly disappeared.

Back to Autumn/Winter this year, what is exciting is the thought of woollen jumpers, warm boots and time to treat yourself to a new coat! Here are some statement autumnal pieces that are right on trend but are investments that will last you a lifetime:

French Art Deco Handbag - Tony Durante

1940s Faux Leopard Jacket, Reversable - The Girl Can't Help It

Vintage Floral Dress - Empire Vintage

So whether it's fashion or design that floats your boat, this week London (and Alfies) has got a lot to offer!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Edwardian Epoque

During the Edwardian period wealth fluorished, the movie and motor industries excelled and it was a time of new ideas, refinement and elegance. The era lasted from 1901 to 1915 and is often referred to as La Belle Epoque and/or The Gilded Age. Queen Victoria died in 1901 and her son was crowned King Edward VII and his bride Alexandra, Princess of Wales, became a trendsetter and influenced fashion with her wearing of lace, silks and diamonds.

Edwardian jewellery was feminine, delicate and light, and less ornate than in Victorian times. Platinum became the most popular metal during this time and Cartier pioneered its' use by designing delicate fragile looking jewellery. Baguette cut stones, in the millegrain settings, were popular as they reflected maximum light and colour. This flash of colour and brightness suited the fashion of low necklines in evening dresses. Pendants became popular with diamonds and pearls set in platinum for their white on white colour scheme. Another typical design of the Edwardian era was the simple circular brooch, often stone set. It could represent a garland of flowers or a wreath of laurel or ivy leaves, and sometimes it would have a central flower design or an offset diamond or coloured stone.

A pair of platinum Edwardian diamond drop earrings offered by Pari’s Jewellery

"Plique a Jour Pendant" - this beautiful silver & moonstone pendant is attributed to Liberty and is a fine example of the quality craftsmanship at the beginning of the 20th Century, offered by Gareth Brooks

An Edwardian paste bracelet offered by Peter and Naneen Brooks

A selection of various Edwardian and Victorian pieces of paste jewellery by Peter and Naneen Brooks

Rings were popular during this era and women tended to wear several on each hand, such as this Edwardian diamond ring in 18ct gold, offered by Pari’s Jewellery.

Pearls became very fashionable during the Edwardian era, and were sourced from the Persian Gulf, Australia, Ceylon, the Mississippi Valley and even Scotland. Pearls were arranged to enhance the edges of brooches such as in these two lovely designs:

Victorian/Edwardian memorial brooch with enamel and pearls offered by Connie Speight

Natural pearl brooch with agate in the centre, 1915, offered by Sheila Cameron

Edwardian homes were furnished and decorated with refined pattering and designs and home utensils were beautifully made to fit the tastes of this era, such as this Royal Worchester enamelled plate, dated 1913 offered by W & L Antiques and Minton cup and saucer, also offered by W & L Antiques.

The Edwardian era also birthed writers, artists and composers that we consider modern. Pablo Picasso ignited Cubism with his move to Paris and in London The Bloomsbury Group, which included E.M. Forster were founded. Authors such as Galsworthy and playwrights like Shaw, Ibsen and Pinero, introduced new themes of fallen women and class differences to challenge the Victorian ideals of society.

Theatre programme from London Coliseum, Sarah Bernhardt season including Le Proces de Jeanne D'Arc, dated 08.09.1913. Offered by Castaside.

Many more Edwardian objects of style are to be found in Alfies!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Alfies Treasure Hunt

Alfies first Treasure Hunt was a fun event! We had many returning customers as well as new faces participating in the hunt. The prizes went out like hot cakes towards lunch time, with the first prize of a £50 Alfies Gift Certificate tempting the winners to return to Alfies to spend their winnings! There was a real buzz about the place as everyone searched for clues and discovered parts of Alfies they never knew existed.

The Treasure Hunt was a great way to help raise money for St. John's Hospice and it was fun to see employees from the hospice taking part too. Thanks goes out to The Girl Can't Help It of the ground floor, who very kindly donated 10% of their profits for the day - bumping up the total money raised. Thanks also to Wesley & Lynda Payne, another of our dealers at Alfies, who donated second, third and fourth prizes of an unusual ceramic teapot and two trios.

Last but not least a BIG thank you to everyone who came down, took part and helped raise money for a very good cause. We hope you had lots of fun!

Click here to see some more photos from the Treasure Hunt!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

First Floor in Alfies: Part Two

Continuing our exploration of the first floor, we are moving onto some more very interesting dealers. Firstly is Bent Ply (F040-45), Bruna buys and sells avant garde furniture from the 20th Century by architects and designers such as Alvar Aalto, Gerald Summers, Marcel Breuer, Betty Joel, Gio Ponti and Hans Wegner.

Beside Bent Ply is Dimech (F046-49) with a vast range of collectables and a big emphasis on fine art, there are some great paintings here. There is also a range of other items from sets of Babycham glasses to a Mickey Mouse alarm clock.

Then we come along to the horse-shoe section of the floor that houses four dealers, the first being Louise Verber Antiques(F070). Louise has a very attractive stand with an amazing collection of Art Deco picture frames (see picture below).

Next is Travers Antiques (F080-82). Paula and Ken started their business in nearby Bell Street the same year that Alfies opened. In 1989 they opened Travers Antiques here at Alfies. Their stock includes mainly 19th and 20th Century decorative furniture, mirrors and lighting including Art Deco and industrial metal pieces.

Dodo,(F071-72) is one of the most unique and interesting stalls in Alfies is a visual delight. Liz Farrow deals in posters, advertising signs, labels, tins and show cards. Her stock includes mainly British, French, Italian and Spanish posters from 1920s to 1930s on food and drink, travel, sport, entertainment, smoking products, cigar, crate and cracker bolt labels, tins and some packaging.

Lastly is Christopher Hall (F077-78), who sells furniture and decorative objects, mostly French, from the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Silver and carrera marble Portuguese lawyers inkwell

Keep following Alfies Blog for Part Three of the in-depth look at the first floor!
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