Saturday, 26 September 2009

Shopping Stateside

Overdoing it for the last 6 weeks has finally taken its toll, so I write this from bed, with a sod of a cold which has robbed me off both my voice and the ability to eat anything solid. As a result I am hungry, grumpy and unable even to whinge about it as I can't talk.So instead I thought I'd let you know about my recent shopping experiences in the US.
I was super excited about doing some vintage shopping in San Francisco, but to be honest I found it a bit of a let down.Maybe I was just in the wrong place, or maybe I was in the right place but so many people have now heard about the right place that its now just a bit pricey and crap and well, wrong.The best vintage shopping I did was in a tiny store in Tahoe City where they had a basket of gorgeous vintage embroidered tableclothes, napkins, cushion covers etc for as little as 50 cents.Find!Sadly my luggage allowance got in the way of any serious stocking up. (View from the back porch of the shop over Lake Tahoe pictured above).
Whilst I was underwhelmed by the shops in San Fran, I did go a bit gooey over a number of vintage event flyers I picked up in the Haight-Ashbury district; here is the inside print for the one above:

Don't know how clearly that scan will come out, but basically it promises art deco, Gatsby style party in glorious grounds, bring your vintage automobile, jazz orchestra, wine-tasting, vintage picnic display and workshop (???), hair and make-up lectures and so on..lush. Here was another one I wished I could have stayed for:

One shop I found that did have some gorgeous vintage clothes and amazing accessories, home decor and random bits and bobs is Neda's Flowers and Gifts. From vintage shoes, to old birdcages, Virgin Mary artwork, old pharmaceutical instruments, fossils, antique books and Victorian photographs, Neda's takes quirky to a whole new level. Her shop also stocks jewellery and artwork by Lovedtodeath; taxidermy memento mori and antique curiosities.Fancy a fascinator made from a real bird's wing? Or a traditional Victorian necklace complete with child's tooth?Definitely not for the squeamish, the pieces are certainly unique, and even if they lack subtlety, I still found them fragile and beautiful in their own way.
Now for one modern shop that I fell in love with in San Francisco- and those of you who visit the States regularly are probably way ahead of me on this one- Anthropologie!The clothes!The homeware!The fantastic shop decor that included a 1930s bird house!The awesome array of art books!Even the website is gorgeous, do check it out- and start saving as Anthropologie is set to hit British shores at the end of next month- the Regent street store opens 28th October- woohoo!Actually I am not really happy about this at all, the stuff in Anth. isn't ridiculously expensive but its not cheap either, and generally I like to keep beautiful things I can't afford as far away from me as possible. But I can at least go in and browse their selection of books then try to find them for less on Amazon. I have already lost track of the number of times I have typed 'Anthropologie' into my ebay search engine since I returned....

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Burning Man, Goodwood, LFW...I'm back!

You can all breathe a sigh of relief, as I have returned from Burning Man in one piece, relatively unscathed, if a little more in need of a holiday than when I left. BM is not a holiday, it turns out; its a survival exercise, an experience of self-reliance and an experiment in adopting an entirely different way of life- different geographically, economically, socially; running around naked in the desert, surviving without running water, dispensing with the use of money- it can make you see things very differently. Anyway, I'm not going to get all preachy, and I'll write a longer account of the trip for Run Riot, but needless to say, returning to the real world after such an experience can be a bit of a shock to the system. My man and I headed to Lake Tahoe for a few days chilling by the lake and taking two, sometimes three baths a day in our motel room, before heading back to San Francisco for some vintage shopping and er.. jello wrestling.Like I said, more on this later.

To see all my pics, click here.All this, fairly easy on the brain, but 24 hours later, back in the UK, I found myself heading down to Goodwood for the Revival, where I had promised to help Naomi run the Vintage Emporium which Vintage Secret was commissioned to run as a taster for next year's Vintage at Goodwood event. For more Goodwood pics, click here.Unfortunately, going from BM to Goodwood is possibly the most dramatic festival culture shock you could orchestrate- we're talking going from a community where money has no value, where it doesn't matter who you are or where you're from, to a festival for people who drive vintage cars.And fly planes.

I'm obviously making the sort of sweeping generalization here that normally drives me crazy, and I know there were lots of vintage fans at the event who are just lovely, down to earth people, but sadly those I spent most of the time being yelled at by, were the kind for whom who you are,where you're from and how much money you have are all that matters. They literally brought me and a number of my colleagues both to tears and to boiling point at various stages over the weekend, which was a serious shock for us as we are so used to dealing with truly lovely people here in London. Anyway, I really can't be anymore specific, as I was already threatened face to face by someone if I didn't drop it; if you want to read my honey and milky version of events, click here.If you want the truth, email me.
After working three fifteen hour days, on some serious jetlag, I got back to London in time to face the last couple of days of London Fashion Week. I checked out a jewellery collection by Audrey Ang at Kabiri for Amelia's, and on the way home bumped into Susie Bubble, my editor at Dazed. She was just leaving Luella's having interviewed the lovely lady- anyway, we stopped and had a chat mid pavement before Susie's phone rang and she had to dash off. I glanced at the doormen, feet away, who'd heard me being all pally with Susie, and decided to chance it. I walked on in, right past them, no questions asked-woohoo!Apple martinis away!And some swanky iced biscuits!Zine artist Owen Plummer is responsible for the artwork in Luella's store window, as well as for her t-shirt designs. Luella's own creations with the cut-out hearts were undoubtedly my favourite catwalk item this LFW- and I managed to nab a pic of the star herself!(You can tell I really took it cos she has a bit of red eye!)
Speaking of Zine artists, this weekend is Publish and be Damned- the event for non-mainstream publications like the zine,journal, periodical or diary. Also worth checking out is the London Art Book Fair- lots of massive discounts for coffee table eye candy. Since I've been back, I've listed lots of great new events on Run Riot, and vintage themed events on Vintage Secret, so see what takes your fancy. Glad to be home. x
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