Monday, 13 May 2013

A slice of vintage heaven

It’s so dull to exclaim “I can’t believe it’s May already!” but the fact is I can’t believe it’s May already. Mexico, the epic January snow, the epic Easter snow, Easter – the year hasn’t been dull and it’s about to get that much more exciting when the parentals arrive on Saturday.

I haven’t really allowed myself to think much about their visit, mostly because for the last month I wasn’t sure they’d even make it, thanks to a lil’ family cancer scare that wasn’t fun for anyone. But everyone now in the cancer-clear they’re t-minus 5 days until London and I cannot wait.

They are going to freeze their Australian “24 degrees and we call this autumn” arses off, mind you. But I have to confess I don’t have much sympathy because they only have to put up with it for five days before we all head to Provence for a week. And then Nice and then Mantava and then Venice for the biennale. It’s going to be tough, I know. But after their five days of London sprinter (that would be spring, dressed up as winter) and our seven eight months of this bollocks I think we’ll all have earned a little continental respite.

I cannot say it more plainly: the weather is not improving.

And when the weather is this shit, getting Lovely Boy out of the house is like trying to motivate molasses. It just doesn’t happen. So I was rather surprised when he decided to join me this afternoon.

I had the Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair in my sights, in search of je ne sais quoi and a vintage, half moon manicure. Lovely Boy had Exmouth Market and a pub showing football in his. The perfect complement really.

My love of all things vintage is fairly well-established and I rather lament the high street obsession with knocking it off because the thing I love most about vintage is its originality, quality and capacity for storytelling. Made in China TopShop tributes just aren’t the same and call me a purist but hell will freeze before I buy a flapper dress from French Connection, fcuk that.  

I’m an unashamed bowerbird (some might say hoarder) who had the very good luck to land her first job in an auction house where, years ago, you could buy shoeboxes of 1940s Czech cut crystal necklaces for 10 bucks. I’d be lucky to pay for 200 bucks for it now. But nevertheless my love persists and if anything, hunting bargains and quirky pieces has almost become as big a joy as the jewellery itself. I flirt with the fashion but unless you’re whip thin and/or a dab hand with the curling iron, you’re never really going to be able to pull off the whole look. So I stick mostly to the jewellery.

But anyway, the fair.

First stop was Minnie Moons for my manicure. I’m a bit shit when it comes to my nails most of the time but I couldn’t help myself when I saw the photographs of the 1920s designs and thought it would be a fun thing to do. And it was. And they are really rather fabulous. And beyond the vampy glamour, the manicure also meant I had half an hour waiting for them to dry where I couldn’t rifle through rails or try anything on and so couldn’t impulse purchase ANYTHING. How inadvertently clever…

Which is not to say I left empty handed. If only.

My treasure trawling turned up a delicate 1920s necklace decorated with tiny seed pearls and marcasite stones and a black patent leather toiletries case of indeterminate era. I couldn’t not take it home with me after the vendor told me it was a mere £15. I mean, what kind of crazy treasure hunting hoarding person walks away from a bargain like that?

I could have dropped a small fortune on silk kimonos and 1950s folding handbags and beaded purses but what with my purchase of a pair of shorts yesterday (sales lady: Going on holidays or optimistic about the weather? Me: both) I really do need to reel it in in anticipation of our impending two week sojourn to the continent darlings.

Anyway, by the time I left Finsbury Old Town Hall the sunshine had packed up and left and sprinter had brought back the rain and wind. Which would have been unpleasant even if I hadn’t been wearing stupid rain-reluctant ballet slippers with a hole in the sole.  Finding LB holed up in a bar across the road, we squelched (I squelched, LB walked) towards Chinatown for dumplings before heading home to watch bad Sunday night TV.

A fairly well-rounded Sunday really, much like my mini-moon manicure.

Please dear god let Provence be sunny.

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