Friday, 26 September 2014

Dealer in the Spotlight: Attic London

Attic London have a knack for sourcing beautiful objects from all over the world such as Victorian and Edwardian furniture, French and English brass work, ornate home accessories - picture frames, lighting, chandeliers, lamps and ceramic statues. Their collection of antiques encompasses an aristocratic air and sophisticated charm.

Step inside their stand and it feels as though you have been transported to a plush drawing room from a bygone era. You will find Victorian tub chairs with gorgeous inlay and elegant carved wood frames, The Plays of William Shakespeare collection - a series of engravings from original designs of Henry Fuseli (Esq.R.A. Professor of Paintings), a selection of Explanatory and Historical Notes from the most eminent Commentators; A history of the stage, a Life of Shakespeare By Alexander Chalmers...

Attic London have always had a passion for furniture, specifically chairs, and they feel there's nothing better than coming home after a long working day and relaxing in a sumptuous chair by the fireplace with a cup of tea and a good book. They are particularly fond of a pair of Antique Victorian balloon back armchairs, with bespoke floral upholstery.

One of a pair of Antique Victorian balloon back armchairs

Attic London
First floor, Stand F050/51
Tel: 07542 602 777

Thursday, 18 September 2014

All Things Scottish

Today is a historic day for Scotland and the UK. And while in Scotland, they are voting in the referendum, in London, we want to express our love for all things Scottish. Scottish products and their enduring and worldwide popularity have grabbed our imagination at Alfies.

When Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Scotland for the first time in 1842, and, subsequently Prince Albert bought Balmoral, a passion for everything Scottish was inspired and became widespread across the UK. Lifestyles changed dramatically during the Victorian period, characterised by a great industrialisation and urbanisation, the development of railway was making travel more affordable, while goods from abroad entered everyday life, and yet, a desire for authenticity and local myths and history took root and left a mark in all aspects of creative work. Folk art and ancient custom were elevated to a noble status. All things Scottish became the archetypal example of true origins.

Craighall, Scotland. Hand coloured, c1820, offered by Moe Heidarieh

Harris Tweed is widely acknowledged as the champagne of fabrics.  The cloth is woven only on the Western Isles, is widely sold in the UK and exported to over 50 countries including Japan and Germany. Scottish tartan is consistently popular with discerning customers and leading fashion and interior designers. Scottish cashmere is another guarantee of quality, and for many, the last word in luxury.  Only one mill in Britain carries out the entire cashmere weaving process from raw fibre to finished garment and that mill is located in the Scottish Highlands.

1960s velvet and tartan evening dress, offered by June Victor
Vintage ladies kilt, offered by June Victor

Mens tartan kilt made by Kinlock Anderson est. 1868, offered by June Victor

Scotland’s textile industry boasts an enviable client list which includes Chanel, Hermès, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karen, YSL and more. Excellent vintage examples can be found at Alfies Antique Market.

Scottish inspired: Burberry (coat lining)

Scottish jewellery made from local agate, a banded and variegated form of chalcedony usually cut en cabochon, reached the height of popularity during the Victorian era. Agates such as Montrose Agate and Rare Jaspers in Russets and Green were set in Silver and sometimes gold. Antique Scottish Jewellery has a timeless appeal with its rich palette of colours and the ancient Celtic Designs from other parts of Scotland and Ireland inspired by the relics of our ancestors. Designs are drawn from Scandinavian mythology, local wildlife it represents a connection of the legacy of the past.

Scottish Miracle necklace, 1950s, offered by Paola & Iaia

Scottish Miracle jewellery, 1950s, offered by Paola & Iaia

Scottish Miracle jewellery, 1950s, offered by Paola & Iaia

Many models of Miracle jewellery were originally created by W. Johnson & Sons and Ward Brothers Ltd, both of whom were established in the 19th Century.
Written by Titika Malkogeorgou

Friday, 12 September 2014

London Design Festival 2014: A spotlight on MidCentury Dutch Design

In celebration of the 2014 London Design Festival, from tomorrow Saturday 13th September until Friday 10th October, Design SECT at Alfies will be dedicating their gallery space to the works of Friso Kramer and Wim Rietveld, two of the most important names in Dutch industrial design from the post-war era. With this in mind we thought it would be interesting to explore Dutch MidCentury design further.

Twentieth Century industrial design has firmly established its place in our Twenty-First Century choice of interiors, both at home and in our workspace. However, with iconic pieces by the likes of Prouvé and Perriand far beyond the reach of all but the most serious collector, awareness and appreciation is growing for these Dutch stars. The influence of the De Stijl movement and their observation of the Geod Wonen movement – the Dutch foundation set up in 1948 to promote well-designed domestic goods - make their designs as appealing and relevant today as they were over fifty years ago.

The De Stijl movement began in 1917 in the Netherlands and was led by painters Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian, who also created a journal of the same name; ‘De Stijl’ literally meaning ‘the style’ in Dutch. The movement was partly a reaction to the decorative excess of Art Nouveau  and partly a way of rebuilding society after the horrors of World War I; the creators seeing the style as a stripped back aesthetic which would speak to everyone the world over and be appropriate for a new, and largely rebuilt, modern society. With a simplistic approach and heavy focus on geometric and abstract patterns, straight lines and primary colours, their work was designed to be a perfect marriage between form and function.  De Stijl's influence was perhaps felt most noticeably in the realm of architecture, but also covered fine art, typography and literature.

The architect Gerrit Rietveld was another Dutch luminary who was a member of the movement; father of Wim Rietveld, Gerrit’s designs included the famous Red and Blue chair and the Schröder House, Utrecht.

Red Blue Chair (c1923) by Gerrit Rietveld

Later on, in the post-war years, and inspired by the De Stijl approach, the Goed Wonen (Good Living) Foundation promoted the benefits of well-designed domestic goods. This time a reaction to the Second World War the foundation wanted to improve on the lack of good materials available and gave lectures, exhibited their work widely, offered tips for and articles about modern living and the growing modern style.  The simple, functional approach is evident in the designs of both Kramer and Rietveld.

Background on the Designers

Friso Kramer (Netherlands 1922) is a highly influential designer. He produced numerous pieces for Ahrend De Cirkel in the period 1948-63 including, in 1953, the Revolt chair. In 1963 he founded the Total Design bureau with Wim Crouwel, Benno Wissing, Paul and Dick Schwartz. His designs are increasingly sought after, and a plastic version of his Revolt chair has been reissued by Ahrend in recent years. Archives now held by Netherlands Institute for Art History in The Hague.

Wim Rietveld
Wim Rietveld (1924-1985) was a designer whose work spanned furniture, lighting and also boats, trains and household appliances.
In 1949, Wim Rietveld joined Gispen as designer. There he introduced ‘furniture for simple interiors’, in line with the thoughts of Goed Wonen (or “Good Living”). Later at Ahrend he worked with Friso Kramer, where the two designed the Result chair and Reply drawing table. Rietveld also designed the Pyramid table, with its clear Prouvé influence.

Both Kramer and Rietveld won the Signe d’Or for numerous pieces throughout their careers.

Design SECT will be showcasing a range of original pieces from both designers, dating from 1950s to the 1960s. Also on show will be Ahrend’s reissued Revolt chair, available by special order from the gallery.

Revolt chair designed by Friso Kramer

Stools and chair designed by Friso Kramer

Friday, 5 September 2014

Vintage Fashion at Alfies

Every September, London reinstates itself as the style capital when the fashion industry touches down for London Fashion Week. This year it will run from Friday 12th September - Tuesday 16th September.

Fashion is always being reinterpreted, each year we see a creative new take on a classic piece. Contemporary fashion will always be at the forefront, high street shops curate key trends hot off the catwalk making couture wear more affordable to the masses. Whenever it gets a bit too overwhelming it's always nice to go for something original and unique- vintage fashion!

Original 1920s long lame dress, offered by Velvet Atelier

Vintage fashion will always be around and will never go out of style. We love the innovative style of the past, such as cloche hats and drop waist flappers of the 1920s, the long flowing gowns and pill box hats of the 1930s, elegant tea dresses and rolled up blue jeans of the 1940s, the pedal pushers and poodle skirts of the 1950s, bell bottoms and mini skirts of the 1960s, platforms and palazzo pants of the 1970s, spandex and 'power dressing' in the 1980s, and grunge and neon colours of the nineties.

Elegant vintage blue suit by BIBA, offered by Tin Tin Collectables

The 'Noughties' revisited and re-invented a number of different trends from past decades. Up until now we are still seeing the rejuvenation of fashion from a bygone era. To wear an original piece that was created in it's heyday makes it somewhat more special, the fact that these items have stood the test of time proves the superior quality and workmanship of the garment. 

Beautifully detailed 1940s beaded cream cardigan, lined. Offered by June Victor
A 1950s Kigu compact, cigarette case, lipstick holder & bag in one.Offered by Carole Collier

At Alfies we have expert vintage fashion dealers who stock a wide range of vintage fashion and accessories:

On the ground floor visit Tin Tin CollectablesVintage (especially 1900s) Clothing, and Ladies' & Gentlemen's Accessories including Costume Jewellery, Handbags and Cufflinks.

First floor, Velvet Atelier -  Vintage pre 1950s clothing plus designer stock, including Ceil Chapman, Dior, Armani, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Biba, Louis Vuitton and more. 

Be sure to visit June Victor & Carole Collier on the second floor -  Textiles, Fabrics & Vintage Clothing, Vintage Clothing & Accessories, Scent Bottles, Fashion Clothing & Accessories, Embroidery.

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