Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Keen on Hasbeens

If you follow The Vintage Mafia on Twitter or Facebook, (and if not, why not), you will have seen that over the last month, we have teamed up with Swedish Hasbeens to offer discounts on their awesome A/W 13 range. Subtitled Victorian Gypsies, the colder weather collection is full of beautiful boots and shoes in rich autumnal colours. The lookbook is particularly fabulous as well. Just look!

And, if you read this blog, you will know that I love the Hasbeens very much and have worn them throughout the summer. I've spent quite a lot of money on the wooden beuties. So, teaming up with Hasbeens to do some promotion of their new range was entirely a pleasure and never a chore!

This is when I went to the London pop-up store to see it all with my eyes.

The styling inside the shop always looks awesome. Old luggage is always a winner in my book! 

The Grandma Debutant boots were a top 3 favourite... 

The boyfriend likes these the most but I am not sure at all... thoughts?

I tried on a few pairs of shoes to see which would suit me the best. I thought I wanted a pair of the Gypsy Dancing shoes and, indeed, when I tried them on, they were rather fab.

The trouble was, they only had them in silver in my size and I so wanted gold... or the amazing gold and black ones. 

I'm not AS keen on the curvy heel as I am on the straight one, but in this style, it really works. In the end, I went for a sensible(ish) option for the winter months and went for the saucy Singoalla...

And not even in red, but in black. I shall wear them with black tights and become a Victorian Goth for the winter. So there. Can't wait for them to arrive.

If you missed out on the larger discounts that we offered through the VM social medias, then allow me to share this last, smaller but still helpful discount. Use code: VintageMafia and take off 15% in the Swedish Hasbeens online store (full priced items only) from now until the end of September.

Enjoy, clog fans! 

 Fleur xx

PS. I am not sure what's up with the photos in this post... I cannot do anything with them. Sorry, symmetry fans! ;)

Monday, 23 September 2013

A residence fit for a (future) King

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Of course not, are you feeling alright!? It's the latest instalment of my King's Ginger adventures of course, in which I have a tour round the residence of the future King... in which I was sadly not allowed to take photographs! Thank goodness for The Internet, eh? To Marlborough House and the full story!

Marlborough House was Edward VII's home for nearly 40 years, from 1863 until 1901 when Queen Victoria died and he became King. Then, of course, he moved to Buckingham Palace. It's not a place that's open to the public as it is now the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat. But, last weekend, it was thanks to Open House London 2013.  There were so many brilliant places to go and see but this year I chose Marlborough House. Who wouldn't want to poke around a Prince's pad??

Marlborough House was built in 1711 and was, as the name suggests, the London residence for the various Dukes of Marlborough for a whole century. Actually, five Dukes and Duchesses of Marlborough, three dowager queens and three Princes of Wales. When it was first constructed, it had a mere two storeys, thus:

Designed and built by Christopher Wren (he of St Paul's Cathedral fame) in his typical stone-trimmed brick style, the first Duke of Marlborough and his wife used it as their London residence. We can thank his Mrs, Duchess Sarah, for the idea. She was a favourite lady to Queen Anne and Sarah went to the Queen for a lease and permission to build. She even laid the first foundation stone herself, and she later fell out with Wren and supervised the building work herself! Talk about a Lady of action. The Duke was a noted military leader (his main pile was Blenheim Palace, given as a reward for his success at the Battle of Blenheim) and the house was covered in wallpaintings by decorative artist Louis Laguerre celebrating his various victories. Many of these remain in the staircases (named after the battles the Duke fought in) and they are stunning (photos from the panoramic viewer on the site).

The House passed into Royal hands in 1817 and housed a few dowager queens and princes in the proceeding years. But the period we're all interested in (aren't we!) is the one where our hero, Albert, Prince of Wales took up residence in 1863.

Photo from Londir

Marlborough House had some extra storeys put on it to accommodate his future Majesty - first looking like this... and then to its current incarnation with three levels, as below! It was in 1863 that Sir James Pennethorne, chief architect at the Office of Works, knocked together two or three of the principle rooms to make much bigger, grander ones, added a northern extension and added the extra floors too.

This is the back or south side of Marlborough House - if you look carefully, you can see the Prince of Wales emblem on the top storey (next to the flag of the Commonwealth).

For his Highness, some modifications were made to the inside, too. The front lobby that I am standing outside was added, and the Blenheim Saloon, the first room visitors came into from the front was also updated. It's very grand in that completely over the top way the Victorians were so good at. We can only imagine what the original Duchess's waiting room looked like. It was described as being 'of ample proportions, for the accommodation of the crowd... who were certain to assemble there'. But it was not ample enough for Bertie. The resulting saloon was deemed 'one of the handsomest rooms in London'. It's hung with tapestries and on the upper levels, by the balcony, there are Laguerre paintings of the Battle of Blenheim, including the big surrender to the Duke.

Below is the Delegate's Lounge, as it is now known. Back in younger Bertie's day, it was the State Dining Room and his future Majesty would entertain and hold Derby Day dinners for members of the Jockey Club. It's also where Edward VIII dined the evening he later informed his mother he would be abdicate and marry Wallis Simpson... but that is a story for another day. There's a grand portrait of the Prince in there.

Next up it's the State Drawing Room. Now a function and conference room, it used to be where future Queen Alexandra would invite 'budding pianists and singers' to perform for and entertain her. They must have been blown away by its size (it's 65 feet long) and opulence.

The last room of interest to this adventure is the Green Room. Back in Prince Bertie's day, it was known as the India Room and was said to have contained the 'finest collection of Indian arms and rare objects ever brought together'.

When our Bertie was crowned on his mother's death in 1901, he moved with Queen Alexandra to Buckingham Palace and the rest is history. It was home to a few others after but then passed on to the government by our current monarch, Elizabeth II.

From the official blurb:

'In September 1959, the Queen placed Marlborough House at the disposal of the British Government as a Commonwealth centre and it came into use as such in March 1962. In 1964, the idea of an international and independent secretariat to service the growing Commonwealth was proposed, and Marlborough House became its actual headquarters in 1965.'

Posing with the Commonwealth flags.
...and just posing.
It was a delight to take The King's Ginger back to the King's princely residence, a once in a lifetime pleasure. Well... once a year, anyway.

If you fancy something a little more modern to whet your appetite for KGL now that the weather is cooling down, then head to the King's Ginger Facebook page to watch a video of some citrus-y cocktail ideas! 

Fleur xx 

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Good deeds and good dresses

Vintage girls! A call to arms!

My lovely sponsor and friend Miss Bamboo needs your help.

She has reached the finals of the Vintage Manchester Awards and now could do with a final push. Can I ask all my dear readers to take mere seconds out of your day and please vote for Miss Bamboo in said Vintage MCR Awards? You don't need to vote in all the categories so it is really quick.

Just look at all the lovely things she does:

Tiki box bag as modelled by Bernie Dexter... Miss Bamboo's own line! 

Miss Shanghai sarong and bolero... made by Miss Bamboo and modelled by her too! 

Me in the Miss Bamboo La Bonita

There there's the awesome repro lines she carries... she is the main stockist of Trashy Diva in the UK...

Trashy Diva Anchor dress (adore this one)

Then my favourite, of course... the Del Rio

And let's not forget the shoes. Lots including Miss L Fire and now, Miss Bamboo carries Lucky Lou's carved shoes! Which I did not know until I started writing this! Amazing news. I ordered this exact pair from America a month ago! ;) 

I'll stop gushing now but please do vote for Miss Bamboo to win Vintage Manchester in the repro category. She is such a doll and deserves it :)

Fleur xx

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Time of My Life

Last month, I carried a watermelon. Well, I didn't really - I picked one up at one point. Those things are far too heavy to lug all the way from north Surrey to East London! But plenty of people did actually carry watermelons: real ones, papier-maché, bags, hats and entire costumes. It was Future Cinema's Dirty Dancing and, as always, it was immersive cinema on an astonishing scale.

After getting inside, we were in huge part of Hackney Downs park, cordoned off and turned into a recreation of Kellerman's Resort. The Staff Quarters, Johnny's cabin, the grand ballroom, bandstands, pitches for sports and, of course, a large area in front of a giant screen.

Photo by my pal/Jeni's fella Hanson Leatherby

There was so much to see and do. I went with the beauties Jeni and Bethan and we messed about in beach huts, ate tasty food and drank Kellerman's cocktails while the sun slowly went down. It was lovely.

Jeans: American Apparel

We all went as Penny in one of the earlier scenes, where she's wearing a cute gypsy top and some high waisted trousers. We couldn't quite face the 80s does 60s hair though!

In this photo you can marvel at the difference in colour between my arm and my midriff ;)

As with all Future Cinema adventures, there were roaming actors playing all the parts throughout the evening. After we settled in to watch, there were a few more surprises. There was Baby's sister singing Hula Hana and the terrible 'stand-up comedian'.

During the movie, key scenes were also played out in real life....

The arrival

The scene at Johnny's chalet

And of course... the lift! This is a second lift, I didn't manage to capture the first! 

Thank you as ever to Future Cinema for having me, it was truly delightful. Nobody puts The Vintage Mafia in a corner! 

Fleur xx

Friday, 6 September 2013

Pyjamas and Pin Curls!

A couple of weeks ago, I went along to the always-fab What Katie Did shop in West London's Portobello Road for a special evening event. It was, as the title of this post suggests, all about pyjamas, namely WKD's loungewear range; and pincurls. Specifically, a class in how to do the latter!

The class began with vintage hair expert Amy Saunders teaching guests how to do the perfect pincurl. I took photos of the lovely Lisa, who is really already an expert, doing hers.

The secret is all in sectioning off the same amount of hair and ensuring you roll in the same direction for each rown, and not twisting the hair at all. After that, it is simply practice, practice, practice. You need strong arms in the beginning... and a huge amount of kirby grips!

Amy then brushed out one she did earlier, on the very beautiful Sophia who works at WKD. Amy, along with other vintage ladies of my acquaintance, is a huge advocate of the Tangle Teezer brush, one gadget I have never tried but probably should now!

It did look might fab, I must say.

I always enjoy a visit to the What Katie Did boutique as there is so much lovely stuff to browse through and look at. And lovely ladies to look at as well!

The awesome Katie and Aimee looking elegant in their loungewear! 

What Katie Did have literally just launched their A/W '13 collection, the party for which I also attended, last night. Look at the beautiful things! 

Photo by Tigz Rice

I think I might need some new lingerie.... 

Fleur xx

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