Friday, 11 August 2017

Festival Fashion

The festival season is still upon us, and if you're attending one  this summer we think it's a good excuse to dress up - it's all about escapism from the rat race and your usual attire. Festival fashion in the 1960s-70s was the most creative, especially with the come-as-you-are ethos of the era. 

Woodstock set the trend for festival fashion. On 15 August, 1969, Woodstock began in a field near Yasgur's Farm at Bethel, New York. The three-day concert featured 24 rock bands and drew a crowd of more than 300,000 young people. The event came to symbolise the counter-culture movement of the 1960s.

The fashion of those times continues to influence modern culture and the Woodstock style beat goes on!

A Woodstock reveller

The fashionable crowd at Woodstock

Alfies is the ideal place to buy your statement outfit, here's just a small selection of vintage fashion reminiscent of Woodstock...

1960s Bohemian shirt, handmade in Lebanon, from June Victor at Alfies

Gordon Clarke Simpson dress, from June Victor at Alfies

Radley of London dress, from June Victor at Alfies

1970s dress, from June Victor at Alfies

Seventies linen dress with beaded belt, from June Victor at Alfies 
1960s gold statement earrings from Dream Retro

Thursday, 3 August 2017

A Few Of My Favourite Things: Horner Antiques

This week we spoke with Michael Horner of Horner Antiques to gain an insight into some of his most valued items of stock. Michael chose five pieces from his collection within Alfies that either have a story behind them, or are of particular historical interest. Horner Antiques can be found at stand G012-13, on the ground floor beside reception.

From left to right: Japanese Imari plate (one of a pair), Japanese Heisen bowl, Ku-Tani vase (one of a pair), Chinese brush pot, Ku-Tani vase (one of a pair), Chinese teapot, Japanese Imari plate (one of a pair)

A pair of Imari plates – Imari is actually made in the Japanese town of Arita but is named as such because traditionally when wares were being exported to Europe, the crates in which items were stored were stenciled with 'Imari' relating to the port it was departing from. During this time, in Japan only nobles and certain ranks of soldier were permitted to ride horses and so the items would have been transported to the port of Imari by bullock drawn cart. Richly decorated with trees in blossom and butterflies, these plates would have been made around 1880/1890 and made purely for export to the West. Due to a lack of knife marks, it is also believed that these items have never actually been eaten from and are purely decorative.

A Haisen bowl - This piece would have been made in Arita around 1860-1880. Traditionally used by a Geisha for rinsing sake or tea bowls and decorated in traditional blue and white with stylised dragons and a Greek key pattern which was popular in the ancient world and travelled through the old trade routes.

A pair of Ku-Tani vases -  Ku – tani was an area in Japan, similar to that of England pottery areas which were originally known as the five towns and now Stoke-On-Trent. Ku-tani is a mix of two worlds which translate as 'nine valleys' and is where the white clays, feldspar and pigments were found to create the colour that is now known as Ku-Tani. These vases are from around 1890 in the Meiji period and decorated with classical figures in n a country scene.

A Chinese brush pot – Bearing a mark of the emperor Kangqhi, this piece was actually made during the late Victorian period under the emperor Juangxhu. As with a lot of Chinese pieces, the mark and period don’t always match. A traditional custom in China was to put an older mark on a piece as a sign of respect to one's ancestors. The decoration to the pot is Confucian, and in reference to the teachings of Confucius is depicting a fish holding up the world. The Chinese believed that there was heaven and middle earth (China) and then everything else. The potter responsible for making this piece gave the brush pot one final go on the pottery wheel and has lightly raked with a comb to create slight ridging, making it easier to lift. Fish at this time were used as entertainment in the form of ponds and fish bowls and people would have bred and sold their own fish.

A Chinese teapot - This piece was made around 1770 during reign of emperor Qianglong, who reigned from 1735 to 1796. The teapot would have been made for export to European trade and would have gone to a very wealthy family. At some point during the reign of Queen Victoria the porcelain handle was damaged and restored with a replacement handle. This was a rare occurrence at this time because people took care of their possessions - items were expensive and difficult to replace. Hand painted with figures fishing and the knop is in the shape of a peach, which in eastern folklore is a sign of longevity.

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