Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Best Vintage Shops in London

Here is my second article for glam

London is a great place for vintage shopping. The amount of boutiques dedicated to this topic is almost intimidating. Follow me on a tour through the centuries from East to West, South to North and discover some amazing stores and hidden gems.

Vintage Chanel bag at Atelier-Mayer


Blondie must be the cutest vintage boutique I know.  It is like entering a girly closet with shoes, handbags, pretty dresses and belts. Everything is lovingly arranged on opulent tables, shelves and in golden cabinets with magnificent mirrors to admire yourself. Only problem could be that there is just too much choice for fast decisions

Shoe sizes range from 1-7 with only a few pairs in larger sizes. If you’re not lucky in the shoe department don’t worry, just focus on the enormous handbags selection offering animals leathers in every form and shape from ostrich to snake and from crocodile to lizard. Prices start at £25 for shoes and go up to £250 for a designer handbag.

For store details click here 

On Brick Lane, only a short walk away from Blondie, you’ll find Rokit. Not just one but two Rokit boutiques cater for vintage lovers in the East. No 101 offers a mix of men and women and 107 is just for us. Both stores have an inviting boutique atmosphere and are a far cry from the usual smelly and crammed second hand parlors you’ll often find.

Don’t expect designer treasures here but a good selection of frocks from the 60s, 80s and some 90s brands. Also on offer are Highstreet labels and a huge denim collection; think of cute little Levis shorts, Lee and Wrangler jeans. My clear favourite was the custom Rokit Range that uses vintage fabrics and gives them a contemporary makeover. Whether it’s leather bags made of super soft leather with vintage fabric lining, to carry your books to Uni, or collars edgy with studs, girly in crochet or sophisticated in suede, you are spoilt for choice.

Don’t miss the jewellery. The massive selection outshines many Highstreet retailers the way it’s presented and allows you to pile on the bling for just a friction of the price.

 For store details click here  


The Merchant Pop-up boutique
The Merchant is one hell of a boutique. Imagine you would walk into a Net-a-porter wardrobe and everything is on sale for 70% less. This is what you’re looking at at the Merchant on Kings Road. The boutique classifies as consignment store selling pre-owned high-end designer labels. Most of the designer gear is less than 3 years old, hardly or not worn at all, in mint condition and some still at full price in other stores.

Vanessa, the owner, a former stylist and well connected in fashion circles won’t reveal her sources. Only as much is said, they are from industry insiders, celebrities and wealthy private individuals.

Brands include designers such as Hermes, Chanel, Marni, Isabel Marent including high-end boutique labels like Maje, The Kooples and Malene Birger. Piece-de-résistance was a show-stopping Matthew Williamson dress with lavish beading for £700. But really, there was so much to get excited about that you better stay far away from this shop if you’re prone to a heart attack.

The Merchant is open until August, 12th and with new luxury fashion labels arriving daily this is one shop not to be missed.

For store details click here   


One of A Kind
This jewel in Notting Hill is a real treasure trove. The tiny windows show photos of celebrities posing with Jeff, the owner and lure you in with Chanel bags on display. Once you’re in you forget the outside world and the buzz on Portobello Road.  High-end avant-garde vintage pieces ranging from Victorian through to the '80s are presented 360 degrees with half of the stock hanging from the ceiling.  Not sure if it’s the fact that there’s so much to admire (fur coats, evening gowns, boots, bags, hats, shoes) or simply the fact that the best stuff is above your head but most of the time I found myself gazing up amazed with my mouth half open.

And here comes the best part. The shop doesn’t end in the shoe department or the area with menswear, no, there is in fact a secret room. This is where Jeff stores his real treasures.  Hidden behind an innocent looking mirror are Chanel bags, Ossi Clark gowns, YSL jewellery – dream it and you’ll find it here.  Apparently the who is who of the showbiz goes in & out (usually after dark) to pick a dress that is unique and -  “One-of-a kind”.

For store details click here  


Atelier Meyer
What The Merchant is for contemporary fashion is Atelier Mayer for vintage. Hidden in a side street just off Edgeware Road you’ll find this grand dame of vintage. A store made for collectors and connoissoirs of fashion with heritage, craftsmanship, good design and style.

The store presents itself with understated elegance and only on second look reveals the quality of its stock and labels. The upstairs wets your appetite while the plush downstairs serves course after course of breathtakingly beautiful gowns that wrote fashion history.  I spotted a bright yellow Jean Pataou swimsuit complete with dramatic Turban (perfect for your next trip to Saint Tropez), a most amazing sequined sailor top by Oscar de la Renta (ideal for looking pretty and simply waving to your admirers) and 3 Chanel bags, one even with embossed logo (very hard to get).

Rumor says that Madame Meyer owns a whole warehouse full of vintage fashion. Apparently it took 4 months to catalogue alone the jewellery collection. Oh, how much I wish to be trapped in that warehouse. Only for one night.

For store details click here   

Lucy in Disguise
Easy to spot from far away with its sparkling golden shopfront Lucy in Disguise is a Vintage Wonderland for the girl who likes dressing up. The boutique has an inviting atmosphere with helpful staff and an amazing collection of dresses from the 20s through to the 80s. All frocks for over £170 are available for hire so if you fall in love with the original 20s flapper dress or the stunning handbeaded partydress you can take it home for 3 nights for just 30% of the retail price.

It is worth, though, to rummage through the rails properly. Lots of pieces are around £50, specifically LID’s own collection of vintage inspired dresses.  I left the shop totally pleased with myself after I angled a super cute vintage dress with floral print out of the bargain box for just £20. Despite the low price tag it was carefully wrapped in tissue paper and packed into a beautiful paper bag. You can’t beat that.

For store details click here    

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