Thursday, 29 October 2009

Halloween at Alfies Antique Market

Halloween has filled the shops with giant pumpkins, crazy costumes, chocolate eye-balls and flashing devil forks. While here at Alfies we've fallen in love with some things that you might fancy for Halloween, but that you will definitely want to use for more than just the one day of ghouls and ghosties...

Art Deco Evening Bag (with antelope and black silk, a solid silver and onyx clasp), £250
Sheila Cameron

Contemporary Black Diamond Skeleton Ring
Pari's Jewellery

1950s Black Sequin Backless Showgown (with long train)
The Girl Can't Help It

1930s Decorative Table Lamp ( incorporating a black cat sitting on a book), £60

'Coro' Gilded Metal and Marcasite Spider Brooch
Tony Durante

Happy Halloween from everyone at Alfies Antique Market (cue evil laughter...)

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Winter Weddings

Having a wedding in the winter might be considered by some a bit risky, especially in the UK where the weather can be unpredictable and wet enough to dampen even the happiest of moods. But just think of the positives: rosy cheeks, roaring fires and furs to wrap up in, winter weddings are just so romantic and much more exciting to dress up for!

One of the main problems is keeping warm, especially if the service takes place in a blustery church. Find a beautiful winter coat to keep out the cold.

This deep red cotton velvet evening coat with it's silk satin collar and matching buttons c.1910 is perfect for brides who wish to make a bold statement. Find this one from Tin Tin Collectables. While for a strictly white wedding wrap up in a fur cape such as this 1950s mink cape below from Linetta Greco.

For dresses and accessories there is so much to choose from at Alfies. Find beautiful clutches, jewellery and hats such as this amazing 1970s Yves Saint Laurent felt hat with fox trim from The Girl Can't Help It. This would look stunning in outdoor photographs!

Tin Tin Collectables is a great place to start for dresses. With it's recent refurbishment it has a fantastic new dressing room for you to try on stunning vintage and antique dresses fit for brides and bridesmaids alike. Why not go wild with feathers and really glam up your winter wedding!

Wearing lace is such a great way to soften any winter look and add elegance to a simple dress. June Victor has a huge range of beautiful antique lace such as this antique lace collar, shown below. She also has a huge range of antique and vintage table linen that would be perfect for a white wedding.

For something special why not invest in some pretty lingerie. The Girl Can't Help It has a range of beautiful unworn pieces such as this Rosy vintage lace pantie girdle.

With minimalist dresses you can afford to make a statement with your jewellery. Below is an exquisite 18ct gold and seed pearl brooch from Gareth Brooks that could be worn as a long pendant or a beautiful hair adornment.

This French Limoges porcelain box from Hayman & Hayman below is for the wedding rings, to keep them together and safe. It has two compartments one for each ring.

Alfies is the perfect place to visit for inspiration and plan your wedding at anytime of the year.

Don't forget to make full use of our services too. Alfies has everything from vintage hair and make up sessions for your big day, courtesy of Nina's Hair Parlour and Isadora's Powder Room as mentioned in our previous post. Julie Elgar of Empire Vintage specialises in vintage clothing alterations if you find the perfect dress just isn't your size.

If you are looking to break away from tradition why not have your wedding list at Alfies. It's easy to set up and guests can feel they are contributing to something to be treasured for years to come!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

First Floor in Alfies - Part Three

We have now almost reached the conclusion of our First Floor exploration. And last but by no means least is the area of Alfies perfect for vintage loving ladies. It includes Empire Vintage, Deborah Woolf Vintage and Nina's Hair Parlour!

Nina's Hair Parlour
was the
first British vintage hair and beauty salon re-creating amazing vintage looks and old fashioned service with a smile. 1920s waves,1930s curls, 1940s rolls, 1950s chignon or back-combed 1960s bouffant are all available here. Below are some fantastic examples of what you can expect with a visit to Nina's.

As well as a vintage hairdressers is Issidora's Boudoir which offers a classic beauty service, recreating timeless looks including vintage make up, manicures and eyebrow shaping. Issidora also offers master classes to perfect that vintage look.

Surround yourself with a bygone atmosphere and re-live nostalgia! This is a real treat for anyone who loves getting pampered and a perfect idea for a stylish hen party!

Empire Vintage is London's first vintage shop with an on site specialist repair and alterations service in their shop and studio. Located opposite Nina's, it's the perfect stop-off either before or after getting your hair done!

In-store is a wealth of divine vintage fashionable classics and accessories for men and women, including an eclectic mix of affordable vintage clothes and accessories from the Victorian period to the modern day, with a focus on the styles of the 40s and 50s. Everything in the shop is also available for hire at reasonable rates for parties, events and productions.

Deborah Woolf Vintage is a relatively new addition to Alfies but is a well established dealer on Church Street with an amazing shop just across the road from Alfies. From antique folk costume to avant-garde clothing and fabulous signed and unsigned jewellery of the 60s and 70s. Deborah also has small furniture, stuffed toys, tin toys, vintage dolls, trunks, mannequins, original photographs and fashion prints. Deborah can be found beside Empire Vintage.

I'm sure you'll agree that this corner of Alfies is truely a retro paradise to behold!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Art Deco – the modern stream

The art and design of the Art Deco era (1920-1939) is characterised by geometric shapes, bright colours and decorative motifs deriving from a wide range of styles of the 20th Century such as Neo-classical, Constructivism, Cubism, Modernism, Art Noveau and Futurism. In Europe, its popularity peaked in the 1920s and in the USA it continued strongly through the 1930s. Differing from other art and design movements which have political or philosophical intentions, Art Deco was purely decorative. The term Art Deco, also known as moderne or modernistic, is an abbreviation of the French words art and décoratif, from the 1925 Paris Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels, which showcased new and exciting forms of French design that sparked the Art Deco style.

Poster for the influential exposition

The stylistic label Art Deco was introduced later in the mid 1960s when the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris organised an exhibition named Les Années 25: Art Déco/ Bauhaus/ Stijl/ L'Esprit Nouveau. And the term became more familiarized by the publication of the book Art Deco of the 20s and 30s by Bevis Hillier in 1968.

Art Deco design is based on mathematical geometric shapes in trapezoidal, zigzagged and jumbled designs, seen in the motifs of abstracted garlands of flowers, flowing fountains, running deer, chevrons, lightning flashes, and sunbursts. These shapes were influenced by the crystalline and faceted forms of decorative Cubism and Futurism, as well as ethnographic arts of Africa, Aztec Mexico and especially Egypt after the opening of Tutankhamun's Tomb in 1922.

A selection of Art Deco shapes

The collecting of ‘primitive’ artefacts at the beginning of the 20th Century inspired designers to use exotic woods, ivory, snake, shark and zebra skin. Art Deco design was also influenced by Machine Age or streamline technology, such as modern aviation, electric lighting, the radio, the ocean liner and the skyscraper. New materials such as Bakelite, Vitrolite, and chromium plating were important to the Art Deco style, as well as aluminium, stainless steel, lacquer and inlaid wood. In architecture, Art Deco was applied in sleek columns and radiating shapes such as in the Chrysler Building, and the colourfulness of Art Deco is best seen in Miami Beach.

Miami Beach Art Deco houses

Art Deco lost its fame in the West after reaching mass production in the late 1930s and began to be thought of as gaudy and an unecessary luxury, and its presence was cut short by the austerities of The Second World War. Many later artistic movements were influenced by Art Deco such as Memphis and Pop Art, and in the 1960s, and again in the 1980s graphic design used Art Deco imagery, and its association with film noir and 1930s glamour were used to advertise fashion, jewellery and perfume.

The symmetry and repetition of Art Deco design spanned across jewellery, kitchen ware and decorative objects, seen in a selection of items from Alfies:

Colourful deco crystal necklaces and a dog brooch in celluloid. Prices from £ 35.00, from The Originals – Paola & Iaia

A pair of rare Art Deco salt and pepper shakers with radiating designs, c.1925 offered by W & L Antiques

Two tier silver plated cake stand designed by Mappin and Webb, offered by Goldsmith & Perris

Five mirror Deco vases. One pair of clear mirror, one pair of yellow mirror and one tall bronze mirror, all from Thirteen.

Two vases with stepped pyramid bases, offered by Renato

Lighting from the Art Deco era shows the gradual symmetry, such as these examples:

Orange phenolic and stepped chrome base original art deco table lamp, 1930's offered by Thirteen

Art Deco brown bakelite table lamp offered by Thirteen

A 1930's Art Deco crystal chandelier, width 80cm, offered by Lorna Lee Leslie

In interior design, the symmetry of Art Deco was combined with the beautiful use of wood, leather, metal and glass:

Elegant pair of 1930s consoles with drawers, in burr wood and leather, 90cm wide x 45 cm deep x 75 cm high, offered by Bent Ply

Round green glass Art Deco mirror offered by Louise Verber

A French Deco hall stand, from Stephen Lazarus

Ebonised and chrome sideboard made by P.E.L., measuring 152cm x 57cm x 92cm high, offered by Travers Antiques

Walnut and mirror shelves. 40cm x 40cm x 80cm high, also from Travers Antiques

More Art deco to be found in Alfies, over three floors of wonders!

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