Thursday, 28 January 2010

Mad Men Returns

Mad Men returns to our screens this year with Series 3! What better way to spend those cold dark evenings than watching a programme oozing fantastic 1960s style. From the ultra feminine ladies and slick suited men right through the the gorgeous set and interiors we will definitely be coveting everything Mad Men related!

Here is a little inspiration from Alfies if you are as obsessed with the glamour of Mad Men as us!

For the ultimate 1960s power office..

A sleek 1950s/60s rosewood Giancarlo Frattini desk. From Francesca Martire.

A black and gilt metal 1960s German desk lamp, £225. From Lorna Lee Leslie.

A beautiful 1960s rosewood Italian sideboard by F. Albini. From Modo Italia.

Let's face it, the big draw to Mad Men is the amazing outfits worn by the women in the show. They look so beautiful and well groomed, it puts us modern ladies to shame! But fear not, this look is very obtainable when you shop vintage!

The three main female characters in the show have their own unique style, Betty Draper (wife of the lead Don Draper) is a former model turned perfect housewife. Her style is very elegant - think full skirts, petticoats, silk scarves and beautiful cocktail dresses.

1950s Dark and pale pink tafetta cocktail dress with net underskirt from Deborah Woof Vintage

Second of these powerful ladies is Joan Holloway. Joan is the office manager of advertising agency Sterling Cooper and looks after all the secretaries in the office. Joan is a bold, strong character and is considered a "Queen Bee" in the office.

Joan has a classic hourglass figure and dresses to suit her shape. So her staples are figure hugging dresses, blouses and pencil skirts to suit her office job.

Kelly green bubble bottom cocktail dress from The Girl Can't Help It.

Lastly is Peggy Olsen, the youngest of the three. Peggy's style is more about growing up and maturing as she develops her place in Sterling Cooper. In the show we see her start as a secretary and work her way up to a copywriter, working in a male dominated industry.

She wears lots of plaid and textured fabrics also a longer length on skirts and dresses. She dresses to suit her character, she wants to be taken seriously!

Two piece belted grey circle skirt & blouse with black velvet trim from The Girl Can't Help It

These looks can be finished off with a period hairstyle from Nina's Hair Parlour. Whether is Betty's loose curls or Don's sleeked back look its all possible at Nina's, London's first vintage and retro hair parlour.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Burns Night and Scottish Pebble Jewellery

The 25th of January sees in Burns Night, the celebration of the life and poetry of Robert Burns. And so at Alfies, as our thoughts turned to all things Scottish, we stumbled across some beautiful examples of pebble jewellery and began to look into the history of these distinctive pieces.

Scottish Hat Pin with a Banded Agate Heart

Peter & Naneen Brooks

Queen Victoria was a great trend-setter in her day and her influence extended into jewellery, notably with jet but also with Scottish pebble jewellery. One of the Queen’s favourite places was Balmoral, her royal residence in Scotland. Her great support of Scottish culture and heritage encouraged visitors to the country and local jewellers responded to the resulting increase in tourist trade by producing mosaic souvenir jewellery, made from precious metal and native stones.

1880 Scottish "Dirk" pin, £300

Marie Antiques

Scottish Pebble Jewellery was produced from around 1850 until the demand for these trinkets went into decline at the beginning of the First World War. The earlier examples of Victorian pebble jewellery tend to be of superior quality and craftsmanship as well as the most collectable and Alfies dealers have some lovely examples on offer.

Scottish Pebble Pendant, c.1850 set in sterling silver

Gareth Brooks

Victorian Pebble jewellery took inspiration from historic Celtic and Scottish folk law with emblems such as the cross of St Andrew, shields, knots, crests and clan symbols. The engraving on the mounts of the jewellery was done by hand and very intricate, while stones used included Sardonyx, Montrose Agate, Mocha Agate, Carnelian, Malachite, Chalcedony, Bloodstone, Granite, Jaspers and Quartz.

1870 round silver brooch inlayed with agates and citrines, £550

Marie Antiques

Pebble jewellery comes in all shapes and sizes including traditional plaid brooches, miniature dirk kilt pins, bracelets, earrings, pendants, belt buckles, cufflinks, stamp boxes, matchsafes, and sovereign holders. Necklaces were also made but are much rarer to find. We selected a few of our favourites, but do pop down to Alfies and have a look at what else our brilliant dealers have in.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Why you should buy vintage at Alfies

Apart from the obvious reason that most of us like to have an individual style and make our look and home an expression of who we are, we have compiled a list of reasons that should convert anyone to a real vintage lover.

Getting Started

Buying vintage clothing is probably the easiest and safest way of avoiding bumping into someone wearing (gasp!) the same item. You can easily add an individual touch to your outfit by adding vintage accessories, think colourful silk scarves, unusual handbags, period jewellery and interesting head wear.

Connie Speight, Persiflage and The Originals to name but a few have plenty of affordable accessories on offer. That should get you started and you will soon be back to buy something more 'daring', like a bold statement piece to really make you stand out.

Art Deco Evening bag from Connie Speight, Jewellery from The Originals

Or perhaps a whole outfit? You can find plenty to choose from at Deborah Woolf Vintage here at Alfies as well as at The Girl Can't Help It and Empire Vintage. Take your time browsing and find the piece you really love while learning more about it from our incredibly knowledgeable dealers.

Inside Deborah Woolf's shop

Empire Vintage

Eco Friendly

Buying vintage and antique items from Alfies is also a 'green' way of shopping, hop on the bus or tube and that way you keep your carbon footprint low. You can see and check everything here so no need to have items shipped to you (and running the risk of not liking them in the end). We are within easy access of public transport and you can spend your whole day here, taking a break from shopping in The Rooftop Restaurant.


Of course you also avoid mass production and possible support of sweatshops and generally being a member of this - at times - 'disposable' society; not to mention the impact of fabric production. Our vintage items are real finds that will be treasured in the family over generations, most of them bear a story and they all have plenty of character.

Pay a visit to Manic Attic to find something stylish to give your interior an authentic vintage touch. Then move to East West Antique and Books to have a rummage through their great collection of books, toys and small artefact's.

One of the many glass sets available at Manic Attic


And should you wish to invest in some beautiful art or perhaps an original timepiece you must stop at N&S Watches on the ground floor. They will also be happy to repair your watch at a very reasonable rate.

1940's Movado watch

Again, to avoid disposing of beautiful items why not check out our expert services, apart from the framers and upholsterer featured in our last blog, you can also find a silversmith in Michelle Payne's unit, as well as Victor Caplin on the ground floor who sells a wide array of objects and also creates and re-strings wonderful antique beaded necklaces and pearls.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Services in Alfies

Here at Alfies it's not just wonderful decorative objects, fashion, furniture and antiques we sell. There are a number of fantastic servcies within the market including a vintage hair parlour, clothing alterations, upholstery and specialist picture framers.

Nina's Hair Parlour - The UK's first vintage hair and make up specialists.

"We help men and women indulge in the glamour and decadence of years gone by
in an authentic and one of a kind salon"

Nina's Hair Parlour is truly a unique addition to Alfies, it offers period styling as well as cuts and colours inspired by past eras. Have a look at their website where you can see the full range of services, from cut and finish to finger weaving lessons to perfect that vintage style. There is also an impressive gallery of happy customers with their finished hairstyles.

Issidora's Powder Room.

Complimenting Nina's Hair Parlour is Issidora's Powder Room, here you can get period/retro make up done as well as a full manicure and eyebrow shaping. It's a real treat and the perfect way to finish off your vintage hairstyle from Nina!

Make up by Issidora

Special Offer

Nina's Hair Parlour is celebrating the birthday of the icon that is Elizabeth Taylor on the 27th February, and that eyebrow shaping and hairstyle she had is 15% off.

Empire Vintage
is London's first vintage shop with an on site specialist repair and alterations service in their shop and studio here at Alfie's. They are also on hand to give advice if you are tackling a repair yourself ans are happy to work with you in re-styling items and other projects.

William Campbell

William Campbell is an artisan with an infectious passion for frames and framing, an uncompromising eye for detail and a comprehensive knowledge of the subject. He supplies antique frames from the 17th century to the 20th century and a bespoke framing service. William has been at Alfies since 1992.

Carved Louis XVI frame, circa 1780. English Arts and Crafts oak & zinc frame, circa 1880

Having worked for numerous international clients artists and galleries, William has built a consistent reputation in the industry. He produces quality bespoke frames and mirrors, offers gilding service, frame restoration as well as a wide range of decorative and conservation mounts.

The Upholstery Workshop

The Upholstery Workshop has been established at Alfies for over 4 years but has been in the business for more than 15 years with a wide range of happy clients. Specific designs with particular period considerations are frequently undertaken.

Examples of recent projects from The Upholstery Workshop

The Upholstery Workshop deals with materials from silk to leather on an unlimited range of furniture and other items.
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