The Vintage Guide to London – Best of 2011 Awards, and the winners are...
After weeks of voting and thousands of votes casts across ten categories, we’re finally ready to accounce the winners of the inaugural Best of Vintag Awards. And here they are…
- Best vintage bar/cafe
Winner: Cafe Vintage
Finsbury Park’s Cafe Vintage has fast become a neighbourhood hot spot for local residents and passers-by alike. Sisters Aysha and Nadia, who set up shop in November 2010, run the place with oodles of charm and passion. It shows, you really do feel looked after and welcome here, and the food is delicious. Best of all, there is a small vintage boutique in the back room choc-a-bloc full of carefully selected vintage clothing from the Forties to the Eighties.
Runner-up: The Vintage Emporium
Thank heavens for places like this! The Victorian-style tea rooms serve period delicacies and a huge selection of teas and herbal drinks so you can recover from your shopping spree at the vintage boutique downstairs, which houses some of the finest in vintage Edwardian to Fifties clothing you will find in London.
- Best vintage club night
Winner: Hula Boogie
Run by Miss Aloha, this monthly club night features some of the best sounds of the Thirties, Forties and Fifties. Held at Kennington’s South London Pacific Bar, and with its original Hawaiian Hukilau Hula dance class opener, there’s a definite Tiki feel that has been keeping Hula Boogie one of London’s top vintage jive dancing nights for years.
Runner-up: Black Cotton
Hosted by legendary DJs El Nino and Lady Kamikaze, The Black Cotton Club is Londons leading jazz swing club and the place to go for authentic vintage roots music all played on rare 78’s. The swing dancing there is pretty amazing too, especially after midnight when the hen parties have left and the real Swing and Charleston enthusiasts take to the floor.
- Best London-based repro brand
Winner: Vivien of Holloway
Known for her Fifties and Forties-inspired clothes, Vivien of Holloway has become the go-to brand for re-creating a period look. Everyone from Imelda May to Paloma Faith has been seen wearing her Forties sarong dresses or Fifties full-circle gowns. With a shop on Holloway Road and stockists around the world, this London brand is only going to go from strength to strength.
Runner-up: What Katie Did
If you want to recreate the perfect vintage shape, head to What Katie Did. There is quite simply no other London vintage lingerie shop to match their fantastic assortment of beautifully cut, high-quality and affordable undergarments, corsetry and hosiery inspired by the Forties and Fifties. All designs are based on vintage patterns, adapted only slightly for modern figures, using authentic fabrics and even old-fashioned production methods wherever possible. Whether you are after a bullet bra, corset, girdle, seamed stockings or even vintage-inspired swimwear, the small shop – furnished like a luxurious boudoir – on Portobello Road is the place to go.
- Best vintage hair or make-up
Winner: Nina’s Hair Parlour
Nina and her team of hair stylists, barbers and make-up artists are experts when it comes to vintage cuts and styling. Whether you want Marcel waves, Victory rolls, a pin-up up-do or a beehive, this is the place to go. The salon itself is beautifully furnished and decorated with vintage furniture and hairstyling memorabilia such as Fifties colour charts and Sixties hair dryers. Don’t be fooled though, this is a modern salon using the latest technologies when it comes to hair dying and make-up. Once you’ve been here Tony and Guy just won’t do any more.
Runner-up: Lipstick & Curls
Specialising in hair and make-up from the Twenties to the Sixties, the girls from Lipstick & Curls can transform you into a jazz era flapper girl, a starlet from Hollywood’s golden age, a rock n roll pin-up or a Mad Men sex kitten. Friendly and approachable, they are available for one-to-one sessions, parties, weddings or corporate events.Their vintage masterclasses, which are held regularly around London, are a fun girls night in and include live demonstrations, hints and tips as well as expert help – a great introduction if you’re completely new to vintage styling.
- Best new vintage shop 2011
Winner: Rock Candy
The little shop on Holloway Road is tiny with not much more than a couple of rails stocked with vintage mens and womenswear from the Forties to the Eighties, but there are some real gems to be found at prices that are positively non-London. Art deco vanity set for under £15? Hand-printed silk ties for under a tenner? Seventies maxi for £35. Oh yes. Shop owner Emma is lovely too and clearly adores vintage – no snooty shop assistants here. With its excellent prices, Rock Candy – and its outlet at Chaps and Dames hair dressers around the corner – is well worth a visit despite the lack of retail space.
Runner-up: Victory Vintage
Set up by sisters Zoë and Rebecca Plummer, vintage womens and menswear boutique Victory Vintage is a fantastic new addition to Bayswater’s bland Whiteley’s Shopping Centre and a much needed alternative to the centre’s plethora of same-old fashion chains. The sisters’ mission to redefine vintage fashion on the high street has truly been a success with their shop stocking a wide range of carefully selected pieces from the Twenties to the Sixties. The menswear is excellent too!
- Best vintage fair/jumble sale
Winner: The Vintage Furniture Flea
The Vintage Furniture Flea showcases affordable vintage furniture, homewares and fabrics. A celebration of midcentury homewares and furnishings, expect a little bit of everything – Ercol and G-Plan, retro kitchenalia, textiles, posters and cameras as well as crockery and glassware are all up for grabs – for anyone decorating their home the vintage way this is an absolute must. The prices are extremely reasonable, no wonder the queues to get in go around the block.
Runner-up: Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair
A relative newcomer, The Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair has fast become one of London’s favourite fairs. With its excellent selection of sellers, beautiful Art Nouveau location and additional features such as tea room and alterations booth, this really is one fair you shouldn’t miss.
- Best vintage shop (home deco/furniture)
Winner: Pelicans and Parrots
Dalston’s Pelicans and Parrots is a brilliant vintage lifestyle shop – vintage clothes, shoes, handbags, jewellery, furniture, ornaments, books, artefacts and taxidermy are all on sale here. It’s a bit like American highstreet giant Anthropology but vintage, cheaper and obviously much better. Whether you are after some wall-mounted antlers, an Eighties Ralph Lauren dress, a teak sofa or a simple tea cup, here’s where you’ll find it.
Runner-up: Little Paris Vintage Store
North London’s Crouch End is home to a bit of Paris in the middle of London. The Little Paris Vintage Store offers a fantastic selection of vintage home deco items and interiors all sourced in France for that bit of je ne sais quoi. While the shop also stocks some contemporary French designers, the main focus is on vintage interiors. Both shop rooms are filled to the brink with an eclectic mix of Gallic wares from crockery to tables, chairs and French Nouvelle Vague film posters. Tres bon!
- Best vintage shop (designer)
Primrose Hill vintage boutique Shikasuki’s careful selection of vintage womenswear and accessories is second to none, and the shop – which stretches over two floors – stocks both no name and designers. Each item is carefully labelled with more information on its era of origin and condition – most clothes are in excellent shape. One of London’s best shops if you are looking for a killer handbag, a special piece of jewellery or that Ossie Clark dress.
Runner-up: The Merchant Archive
Housed in an old Lipton general store, The Merchant Archive stocks a wide range of exclusive vintage – from beautiful Dioresque New Look dresses to mint condition Thirties silk gowns – as well as selected contemporary designers. In the early days Merchant Archive sold solely to designers for inspiration from a small personal collection in a boudoir by private appointment. Today, the shop remains the go-to place for stylists and designers and those in the know.
- Best vintage shop (menswear)
Winner: Hunky Dory
Specialising in womens and menswear from the Forties to the Eighties, Hunky Dory is undoubtedly one of Brick Lane’s vintage highlights. What sets the shop apart is its excellent selection of mid-century European designs, especially when it comes to menswear. The hand-picked Fifties jackets, sharply-tailored French mod suits and Seventies shirts are much thought-after by many, including a certain Jarvis Cocker.
Runner-up: Victory Vintage
It’s a double whammy for Victory Vintage who are also runners-up in the Best New Shop category. For their menswear Victory Vintage focuses on quality and interesting items made in the UK such as contemporary suiting as well as real vintage suits from all eras. In addition to the classic side of men’s attire, there are also rails of vintage leathers dating from the Twenties to the Eighties, formal attire fashion history oddments, military apparel and some period casual items. Well worth a look!
- Best vintage shop (womenswear)
Winner: The Girl Can’t Help It
The Girl Can’t Help It in Alfies Antique Market is treasure trove of mid-century style selling vintage womens and menswear as well as home deco items from the Thirties, Forties, Fifties and early Sixties. Owners Sparkle Moore and Cad van Swankster hand select their stock and it shows: each item is of exceptional quality, often in mint condition and always labelled in detail. Expect to pay for such high standards but every penny here is well worth the investment. It’s the kind of shop you walk into and don’t know where to start looking so overwhelming is the choice of amazing wiggle dresses, full-circle skirts, wedge shoes, Bakelite bags and swing suits.
Runner-up: Hunky Dory
Menswear category winner Hunky Dory also scored many votes for its womenswear. With its handpicked Fifties to Seventies dresses, skirts and outerwear, the shop is a haven for anyone after a late Fifties and Sixties look. The excellent hats, gloves and handbags are worth checking out alone, and the owners have such a brilliant eye for detail they’ll help you put together a whole outfit in no time.