Thursday, 26 April 2018

Last chance: ABBA | Super Troupers

ABBA: Super Troupers at Southbank Centre (until 29 April), charts the rise and legacy of the iconic Swedish pop group, whose upbeat music offered much needed escape and optimism during the strikes and financial turmoil of 1970s Britain.

The exhibition, narrated by Jarvis Cocker, takes a close look at some of ABBA’s original costumes, personal photographs and sketches, handwritten notes, album artworks and musical instruments.

ABBA were well known for their garish stage outfits, however they were not just influenced by the sequined needs of being a dancing queen; it recently came to light that the design of their clothes was also a form of tax evasion.

According to a new book by Björn Ulvaeus, "the band's style was influenced in part by laws that allowed the cost of outfits to be deducted against tax - so long as the costumes were so outrageous they could not possibly be worn on the street."

ABBA: Bright colours, prints and metallics

ABBA: Sequins

ABBA: Black glam

At Alfies we discovered lots of eye-catching pieces that would not look out of place on Agnetha & Anni-Frid at an ABBA concert...

Metallic silver platforms, available from Tin Tin Collectables
Silver crochest dress, available from Tin Tin Collectables

Celia Birtwell for Ossie Clark blouse, available from Tin Tin Collectables

Star and Moon vintage clip-on earrings, available from Gloria Sinclair

Jean Muir metallic gold jacket, paired with a gold crochet camisole, available from June Victor

1970s designer red dress, available from June Victor

Sequin Moschino blazer, available from June Victor

Embellished corset, available from June Victor
Abba: Super Troupers at the Southbank Centre, London SE1, will until 29 April 2018.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

The Queen's Birthday

Happy birthday to Queen Elizabeth II who will turn 92 on April 21st! Whilst this is her date of birth, the Queen's official birthday takes place in June. All British sovereign are given the option of choosing an 'official' birthday to celebrate. This tradition dates back to 1748 when King George II decided to celebrate his birthday twice - once on his date of birth in November and again in the Summer, having decided that Autumn wouldn't be an ideal time for public celebration because of the weather.

On her birthday in April, the Queen will celebrate privately but the occasion will be marked by gun salutes in London at midday - a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London. For her official birthday in June, a parade will take place in central London.

Here are a few fun facts about a hugely interesting figure in British history, Queen Elizabeth II -
  • She is the only person in the UK who is allowed to drive without a licence
  • She is the longest reigning monarch ever in Britain, beating Queen Victoria
  • The Queen first sent an email in 1976
  • She has seen 12 Prime Ministers come to power
  • Her favourite dog breed is the Corgi
  • She is a trained mechanic after having joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II
  • She has sent around 50,000 Christmas cards to date, and counting..

In celebration of Her Royal Majesty, we took a look around Alfies for a few objects dedicated to her:

A Royal Worcester 'Queen's 8th Birthday' figurine. Available from W & L Antiques

A selection of memorabilia mugs, c1950s. Available from W & L Antiques

A Silver Jubilee swim costume by Speedo, 1977. Available from Tin Tin Collectables

A selection of memorabilia mugs, c1950s. Available from W & L Antiques

A set of tea forks with the royal insignia, 1937. Available from Goldsmith & Perris

A Silver Jubilee stationary set, 1977. Available from W & L Antiques

A Silver Jubilee scrapbook, 1977. Available from W & L Antiques

Friday, 13 April 2018

Antiques for Animals!

It's National Pet Month, 1 April - 7 May 2018, which gives us a wonderful excuse to share our favourite animal themed items at Alfies! National Pet Month raises awareness of responsible pet ownership through educational campaigns, it also celebrates the benefits of our pets and encourages fundraising for the nation’s needy pets. It's a great thing to get involved with!

If you are a fan of both vintage jewellery, and our furry friends, you'll love these top animal picks currently in-store at Alfies:

Art Deco brooch, available from Gloria Sinclair

Butler & Wilson diamanté dog and bone brooch, available from Gloria Sinclair

Vintage cat and dog figurines, available from Gloria Sinclair

Limoges rabbit trinket box, offered by Hayman & Hayman 

1960s cat brooch, set on 18ct gold, available from Zeeba Jewels

1960s cat brooch, set on 18ct gold, available from Zeeba Jewels

1960s dog brooch, set on 18ct gold, available from Zeeba Jewels

1950s Cat on shells "Personal Ashtray", available from Dream Retro

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Diamonds are Forever

The birthstone for April is the show stopping diamond, said to be a girl's best friend, we have plenty on display around Alfies.

Almost every civilisation has had some form of lore surrounding diamonds. In Ancient Greece warriors wore diamonds because the stones were thought to strengthen the muscles and bring invincibility. They have also been considered the adornment of winners and were worn as a talisman by many leaders including Julius Caesar, Louis IV and Napoleon.

Throughout history the diamond has also represented eternal love, possibly symbolic of one of the diamond's key features - strength. Diamonds have the hardest structure of any gemstone, are believed to be the hardest substance known to man and can only be cut with another diamond. For all of these reasons, the diamond has become the traditional gem used for engagement rings. However we believe that diamonds look good on everyone!

A 1960s platinum and diamond leaf brooch. Available from Kieron Reilly

An onyx and diamond ring, c1930s. Available from Kieron Reilly

A Victorian silver and diamond brooch. Available from Pars Jewellery

An onyx and diamond ring, c1930s. Available from Kieron Reilly

A pair of Art Deco diamond earrings. Available from Kieron Reilly

An Edwardian platinum and diamond brooch. Available from Pars Jewellery

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