My Vintage London - The Broken Hearts
DJs, artists and designers The Broken Hearts reveal where they shop for vintage and share their favourite vintage London hang-outs.
The Vintage Guide to London: Who are you, and what do you do?
The Broken Hearts: We – Amber and Nisha – are the Broken Hearts, predominantly we’re DJs but we get involved in a lot of projects under the Broken Hearts umbrella. We’ve created sound tracks for silent films, recorded songs using a live tap dancer as a beat and made our own music video where we starred as Vaudevillian magicians.
We’ve also designed clothes inspired by sideshows, made films about the history of the circus and concocted Halloween-themed Afternoon Teas. We’ve even been Hula Hoop assistants! You can find out more about us on our website: www.thebrokenhearts.co.uk.
The Vintage Guide to London: Why do you like vintage – or in other words, what does vintage mean to you?
The Broken Hearts: For us, ‘vintage’ as a catch-all term has become a bit watered down. We love things that have a story to them and we’re really interested in history from all eras – not only ‘vintage’ 20th century clothing, but pieces that predate that too. We take visual inspiration from all eras – from Weimar Berlin to the Petit Trianon court circles of Marie Antoinette. And a lot of our references are drawn from the history of performance – everything from pierrot clowns to silent movie stars.
The Vintage Guide to London: What are your favourite London vintage shops?
The Broken Hearts: We both used to work at Beyond Retro, as the Head of Press (Nisha) and Head Buyer (Amber), so that would have to top the list! You can rummage for hours on end at Beyond Retro and not get bored – its for the truly dedicated.
The Vintage Guide to London: Do you ever go to vintage events? If so, which ones would you recommend?
The Broken Hearts: We cut our teeth DJing at the infamous night ‘Rakehell’s Revels’ at Cafe Royal, for a while we went there pretty much every week. We miss it! No other vintage night seems to match the atmosphere of that one, in our opinion the original and best of a generation. We keep trying to persuade David (Piper – the founder) to bring it back, but he’s in Paris now and moved on to pastures new.
However, there are a lot of other interesting nights in London that involved an element of vintage, or history. We love the events that the Last Tuesday Society put on – everything from lectures on the 18th century sex trade to ‘Loss’ which was London’s first ever crying club. It’s a very cathartic experience! And their Little Shop of Horrors on Mare Street is definitely one of our favourite shops in London.
The Vintage Guide to London: What are your favourite vintage places in London?
The Broken Hearts: Our friend Johnny runs Time for Tea on Shoreditch High Street – it’s a beautiful Georgian townhouse that decorated in perfect Forties style, including his collection of vintage vehicles out the back. It’s open for tea and cake at the weekends.
We’re real history geeks at heart, and we find a lot of hidden treasures in London. We love some of the more quirky museums you can find in London – such as the Hunterian at the Royal College of Surgeons, or John Soane’s Museum (pictured right).
The Hunterian was founded by the surgeon John Hunter in the 18th century, it has thousands of anatomical specimens on display including the skeleton of the “Irish giant” Charles Byrne, and a lot of surgical instruments. It’s not for the faint hearted! And John Soane’s (the architect) museum displays his eccentric collections of architecture and interiors. It’s breathtaking. Both museums are on Lincoln’s Inn Fields and visiting them together makes a great day trip!
The Vintage Guide to London: What’s the one thing one has to do in London?
The Broken Hearts: There’s so much history in the streets of London that it’s hard to narrow it down to just one thing. Walking around the streets of Whitechapel alone will tell you countless stories about the different trades and nationalities that have passed down those alley ways. We recently took a friend from out of town to the Tower of London – even the most tourist-y destinations can be fun if you avoid the crowds!
First image: Paul Persky
The Broken Hearts wear their Broken Hearts Nancy playsuit available at Beyond the Valley