Sparkling market finds from travels in London, Paris and accross Europe! Hints & tips on where to browse for unique vintage, retro and antique fashion, accessories, art, crafts, furniture, homewares, collectables & jewellery, & where to visit inbetween.
Brick Lane Market, East London Shining a Lamp on Retro Home Accessories
London in the 1960's wow. The decade where skirts shrunk, rock and roll took over and furniture rose from the floor on 'Twiggy' little legs. It remains the only correct answer to the inevitable dinner party question 'if you could go back in time......'.
You see a lot of modern design, atomic legs, and space shaped tables and chairs whilst scouring the streets of Europe, you see good value reproduction items too. I have a retro style Scandinavian living room and only one of the sofa's is Ikea (before you jump to conclusions!). This is made up of a solid, genuine teak dresser originally for your canteen of cutlery and special occasion Derby dishes (as if!) but now makes a fantastic TV unit (and filled with all manner of junk). An atomic legged, brocade footstool (also filled with junk), combined with a bucketfuls of block colour, clashing graphic print and heavy weight textures, 1970's style suedo oil paintings of Gypsy Senioritas, and girl avec dog. What's more I seem to get away with it.
Retro Lamp Found at Brick Lane Sunday Market
Almost all of the items mentioned, bar the fabulous inherited Swedish sofa (sore point - the perfect Eames wooden framed version is yet to be found) were sourced from my market trawls in Brick Lane (E1 Shoreditch, London) and are solid, heavy and whats more CHEAP! I love to recycle, mostly clothes, accessories and furniture (I don't get as excited about milk cartons, but do my bit) as the effort that went into making these pieces, and making them to last, should be respected and embraced. The originals can still be picked up for a song (as this one was). They were made as inheritence pieces - not in the monetary sense, but as furniture that your children would cobble together in their first home (those were the days!) and hence the style was born. A 1920's drinks cabinate, with a tiled 70's coffee table, mid-century tripod standard lamps with a 30's armoire, it all works, and it's all part of that retro feel the new furniture stores emulate and charge through the roof for.
I always feel that if you love it, you will find a way to make it work. Orange (yellow + red, not EE) has had a place in every home I've had. It was dubbed 'the colour of the glorious future': Alfonse Mucha, zinggy and uplifting, quite frankly if its good enough for Mucha to wax lyrical about its good enough for me. Always appearing as accessories (I haven't gone so far as to do Tangerine walls - yet), my West German Candlestick (from a Berlin Market), the aforementioned Footstool and the odd piece of Whitefriars Glass, lift a neutral Magnolia rented flat, and along with table runners, cushions (sorry boys), throws and rugs make a place feel like a home.
German Vintage Candlestick
The Lamp above was a laid unloved and unshaded on a blanket in Brick Lane, on a Sunday in summer. It is 1960's romany painted black laquer in forest green, gold and orange and has a fab burgandy weaved cord lead with a switch halfway down (why did we stop doing this, wires are so ugly these days). I asked if it was working, and a shrug caused an assesment of the risk. What if it didn't? I shrugged in return and handed over coins. I bought it. It worked, and it is now one of my favourite things. The shade I am searching for is tasseled, curved and black, but that will come, whenever it does, and for the time being I quite enjoy the solar system style sparkle of the one pictured.
Brick Lane and its' crowds, beigel shops , new proximity to a BrewDog (Craft Brewery) and Rough Trade East, is a big draw. Shoreditch High Street being on the East London Line (Overground) helps for me, hence it is somewhere I spend at least two Sundays a month when I'm in London. There is a large, crowded, quality fast food market for Churros, Cupcakes or Smoothies - all the sweet stuff, as savory is taken care of in the beigel shop (155, Brick Lane) in the form of salt beef, English mustard and gherkin (plus a dozen plain to take home for the week). Call in at some fab vintage and cool alternative designer shops for clothes, shoes, furniture and jewellery on the way up to the markets at Truman Brewery.
Here you can nip into Sunday UP Market for acrylic cut out necklaces, re-worked watches and screen printed Tee's. Backyard Market at the Truman Brwery exhibits some fantastic and local arts and crafts, and The Tea Rooms next door is an indoor haven full of seperate traders, great for records, picture frames, furniture and china. Finally for all you fashionistas there is the Vintage Market, packet to the rafters full of sheepskin coats, knee high riding boots, 8o's knits and more sparkly brooches than you can carry. Along the street if you pause, you will find people selling their own wears, clothes, acccessories, shoes, vinyal, pictures and if you are very, very lucky, a beautiful little lamp! fiat lux .