GO HUSKIES!

  • Apr 23rd, 2013

23.04.2013

A recent Vintage Showroom find – A 1940s running vest and wool warm-up sweatshirt from the University of Washington.

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RESTOCKED

  • Apr 10th, 2013

10.04.2013

The bad news is we produced such a fantastic book that we completely sold out. BOOOOOOOOOO. Good news is that we have just taken delivery of a fresh consignment.  HUURRRRAAAHHH!
Available in our shop, all good book stores and online HERE.

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REINFORCED SHOULDERS

  • Mar 25th, 2013

25.03.2012

Shining a light on recurring design details. A reinforced shoulder is an obvious functional thing that has uses in work clothing, sports, miltary and motorcycle clothing, either to protect the shoulder or the garment (areas of stress and wear) or simply from the elements, sometimes all of these.

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SALT AND PEPPER’S HERE

  • Mar 25th, 2013

25.03.2013

So the rap goes in Salt N Pepa’s eponymous 1987 hit Push It. What we have here is an altogether different condiment though, salt and pepper fabrics from around the globe. Similar either just in colour, or in their workwear usage. Their global reach is interesting and show it’s International pedigree. For instance we have black flecked chambray from France, grey Italian prison issue, two melange fisherman knits from these shores, and the unique fleecy flecked weave known as Brown’s Beach Cloth* from across the Atlantic.

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THE BAD NEWS BEARS

  • Mar 20th, 2013

20.03.2013

Just unearthed a cache of Little League (literally) team baseball tops. Seems we got the whole team’s jerseys, all chain stitched numbers, woven labels, cat eye buttons etc. The title of course refers to the 1976 comedy film starring Walter Matthau and Tatum O’Neal, about a hapless bunch of teenage reprobates cobbled together to make an unlikely Little League baseball team.

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PiLs NO S

  • Mar 8th, 2013

What is it with this logo? We, and countless others agree it’s a modern classic. What better illustration of the home-made PUNK do-it-yourself aesthetic than a handmade t-shirt, scribbled on in marker pen. The best thing about it… the spelling mistake of Images rather than Image. ‘Doh!’

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Words Simon/photos Nic Shonfeld

DIRTY PRETTY THINGS

  • Mar 7th, 2013

07.03.2013

A consignment of tie-clips. Silver, gold, initialed and bejeweled – all and each perfect for blinging up your kipper. In the Earlham Street shop as of the morning.

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THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE

  • Feb 20th, 2013

A wolf in sheepskin clothing, well almost in the case of the painted A-2’s below, but a sheepskin flight jacket in any other fabric, just wouldn’t be the same. 1940s design and functionality in perfect chrome tanned, veg dyed, leather seamed harmony. Designed to keep high altitude bomber crews warm at near freezing temperatures, this was the best performance pedigree fabric available at the time, until the introduction of lightweight quilted and nylon fabrics in the late forties superseded the days of sheepskin flight clothing, and some of the romance of the early days of flying disappeared forever.

Sometimes the medium IS the message….

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USAAF A-2 leather jackets, ‘El Lobo II’ belonging to B-17 pilot Richard E Fitzhugh of the 457th Bomb Group, and the 1st Glider Provisional Group patch, both featuring Disney-esque wolves.

Words Simon.

TEXTURES

  • Feb 15th, 2013

Blanket wool tassels make an interesting textural landscape, not a million miles away from the Komondor dog on the cover of the 1996 Beck album Odelay. These belong to a stack of Scottish wool tartan blankets currently in the Showroom, we also have a nice selection in the Earlham St. shop (look under the table!).

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NUMERO DEUX

  • Feb 11th, 2013

Before the expression Type II became fashionable, denim afficionado’s and those in the know simply referred to this classic Levi’s 507XX jacket as a Number Two. Number One being the first model and having one pocket, Number Two being the second and having, you guessed it, two pockets.

Simple as that, 1,2, 3, bish bosh.*

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FORM DEFINITELY OVER FUNCTION – A COURSING LEASH

  • Feb 6th, 2013

Not dissimilar looking to a Victorian torture device, we recently stumbled across this leather coursing leash. The device is designed to quick-release sight-hunting canines (as opposed to scent-hunters) to capture and kill ‘game’. It is, oddly, rather intriguing and a perversely attractive form.

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The collars of the leash are held in place by a split-pin attached to a length of cord which runs through the main leash, out the other end and attached to handle. Pulling the handle will pull the split-pin out of the fitting and thus releasing the two dog-collars (photo illustrations below), freeing the dogs to go off and do their worst.

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EVEREST RECONNAISANCE EXPEDITION 1951 SUPPLEMENT + YETIS

  • Jan 31st, 2013

Everest pictures and Yetis, what more could you want from a post! Some two years before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first (confirmed for all you Mallory enthusiasts) climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, a small team including Hillary in the party made a Reconnaisance Expedition to Everest. Captured here in this recent find from a Times Special Supplement in 1951 we thought we should share…

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Autumn 1951, The Himalayan Committee of The Royal Geographical Society and the Alpine Club sent a small party to investigate the south-western aspect of Mount Everest. As a side of the mountains that can only be approached through Nepal, this had meant rare privilege for the team to be granted access by the government.

Whilst the idea of looking for a way to approach to south-western face was not new, how far it had been entertained by the earlier expeditions of the 1920s is unclear but after the discovery in 1921 by Mallory and his companions of what appeared to be a relatively straight forward route to the summit from the East Rongbuk glacier, little serious thought seems to have been recorded in finding another line of approach. Step by step, as the Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition thrust and cut it its way towards the ramparts of the most impregnable fortress on earth, Mr Eric Shipton, the leader, sent back his progress reports for publication in The Times.

It was never the intention of Shipton’s party, of four English climbers and two New Zealanders, to attempt to climb the great peak itself. Everest is the ‘inner keep’, or donjon, of a gigantic system of fortifications, in which each ward beyond ward, has to be successfully overcome. Even the outermost ramparts have to be approached through many miles of rugged and trackless country, so that any attack must be planned with strategic elaboration parallel to a great  military operation – and with the same impossibility of precision since the opponents dispositions are imperfectly unknown. Victory cannot be expected in a single campaign…

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COLOURWAYS

  • Jan 28th, 2013

28.01.2013

Greys, black, indigo, violet, like a good bruise.

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KNOW YOUR MARKS #2 – C.H. MASLAND & CO. / WOOD + STREAM

  • Jan 16th, 2013

16.01.2013

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Established in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 1866 by Civil War veteren Charles Masland – the business was making carpets, including, throughout the 1920s, carpets for the groundbraking Model T Ford cars. Carpeting remained the primary business until 1940, a year before the US joined WWII, when its mills were turned over to the war effort and the production of various canvases and foul weather gear for military use. For this, it even scooped the Board of the Army and Navy’s Excellence Award.

Post-war production eventually returned to carpeting (mid-1950s) but not before Masland successfully turned his looms to the making of outdoorswear, a continuation from the war featuring military touches – the cotton duck fabric is reinforced using leather and suede patches on all the usual ‘heavy-wear’ area’s (cuffs, knees, elbows etc).  The mid-1950s saw the company start to trade outdoors-wear under the name of Wood + Stream.

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BRITISH ANTARCTIC SURVEY

  • Jan 15th, 2013

15.01.2013

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The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is part of the Natural Environment Research Council based in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It has a long and distinguished history, for over 60 years, undertaking the majority of Britain’s scientific research on and around the Antarctic continent.

The UK’s interest in the region goes back some 200 years in which it has been a leader in Antarctic science and exploration since Captain James Cook became the first person to sail around the continent in the 1770’s. The most famous British expeditions to the Antarctic took place during the so-called “heroic age” at the start of the 20th Century.

Primarily remembered for their extraordinary feats of courage and endurance, the expeditions of Scott and Shackleton had important scientific goals. During the southern winter before the fateful push for the pole, Scott’s expedition gathered large amounts of scientific data. Undoubtedly the most hard won were five emperor penguin eggs, which three men travelled for more than a month in the middle of the Antarctic winter to collect, in the hope they would shed light on the evolutionary links between reptiles and birds.

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KNOW YOUR MARKS #1 – HARRIS TWEED

  • Jan 14th, 2013

14.01.2013

Recognise your brands, marques to be reckoned with, some instantly recognisable, some a little more obscure. First up is the Harris Tweed Orb logo.

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CHECK UNDER THE COLLAR

  • Jan 7th, 2013

07.01.2013

Button up against the wind with a concealed throat latch, collar tab, whatever you wanna call it…

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“Isnt there anyone that know’s what christmas is all about?!”

  • Dec 21st, 2012

SNOW MAIDS COME TO LIFE

  • Dec 17th, 2012

WEST END BOYS

  • Dec 14th, 2012

14.12.2012

This recent cache of the complete volumes of The West End System of Cutting offers a fascinating insight into the ins and outs, the do’s and dont’s, and pitfalls of late Victorian tailoring. Informative engravings guide you through the difficulties of cutting for ‘disproportionate figures’, the corpulent body and those of a ‘large seat’!

Some of these late Victorian styles of cutaway jackets are now making a comeback thanks to Mister Freedom and the Victorian Gaucho-cum-street urchin look, riding on the tail coat of Steam Punk.

(Look out for an Oscar Wilde lookalike in Engraving V looking particularly Aesthetic in a double breasted lounge suit type affair).

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BACK FOR A WHILE

  • Dec 7th, 2012

07.12.2012

A few fresh key clips have just arrived at the Earlham St. shop in time for Christmas. Made using vintage leather, antique buttons and assorted curios. Once we’ve unwrapped them they make a good accompaniment to our selection of vintage watches, watch straps and jewellry.

 

THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR MARCHING

  • Nov 27th, 2012

We have just had these leather boots beautifully restored to an exceptional standard by our master craftsman cobbler. WWII military officers boots, dispatch riders, country stouts and walking shoes with upgraded leather soles and polished patinas. Unique, weatherproof and thoroughly wearable boots and shoes available at 14 Earlham Street as of the beginning of December, with more additions widening the selection in the up-coming months.

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INTRODUCING ’14’

  • Nov 23rd, 2012

Albeit already tried by A.P.C. Surplus in the golden heyday of ‘doursoux’ finds. These are things we just like and we think merit a second look and more appreciation, in keeping with the shop’s aesthetic and previous life, sometimes modified, sometimes simply re-discovered, appropriated and brought to the fore.

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RECOMMENDED READING : ‘THE PICKER HOUSE & COLLECTION’

  • Nov 22nd, 2012

21.11.2012

The Picker House & Collection – A Late 1960s Home for Art and Design.
Philip Wilson Publishers, 2012.
Contributors – Jonathon Black, David Falkner, Fiona Fisher, Fran Lloyd, Rebecca Preston, Penny Sparke.

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MOUNTAIN RESEARCH

  • Nov 21st, 2012
21.11.2012
Rockall is an extremely small, uninhabited and remote rocky islet in the North Atlantic Ocean of which we had never heard. Until, that is, a little spot of research into a recently found climbing smock and mountaineering boots led us to this interesting rock known possibly only now to sailors, Scottish Nationalists and fans of the shipping forecast. Though still proudly standing some 240 miles off the Orkneys, this 25 meter, at its widest point, rock was once the inspiration for a sailing cum climbing brand which now appears to be sadly lost.


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ROYAL FLYING CORPS

  • Nov 21st, 2012
19.11.2012
This classic knee length mid tan leather coat with its wrap over style asymmetric front and its distinctive angled map pocket (some 50 years before Belstaff and Barbour et al) is a highly prized new addition to our archive.

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IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR

  • Nov 16th, 2012

Nothing like a white linen suit better evokes images of Graham Greene’s Our Man In Havana, keeping sartorially sharp under a fierce colonial sun, Jay Gatsby and Jake Gittes, or even the multiple cover images from the 1979 Led Zeppelin album, In Through The Out Door.

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ALIEN SPACE INVADERS

  • Nov 9th, 2012

09.11.2012

Or, the funny little patterns that emerge in old Indian blankets if you stare at them long enough. A colourful cornucopia of squares, crosses, zig-zags, and triangles in bold graduated colourways that make these so graphically appealing, and sometimes mesmeric.

Virtually a Ralph trademark for years, others are now latching on to their beauty, and they still provide inspiration for many designers, even Dr Martens have recently collaborated with Pendleton Woolen Mills.

In the right interior setting they seem to evoke a nostalgia for a bygone era of pioneers, settlers, traders and tribes, a Romanticism of the American Old West, of bedroll campfires, cosy log cabins, even the decor of the Overlook Hotel.*

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SEALED PATTERN

  • Nov 1st, 2012

Here’s a nice Sealed Pattern Royal navy jumper, smock, crackerjack top dating from the First World War, or to give it it’s proper name ‘Jumper, Duck’, referring to the heavy linen sail cloth it is made from. This is the garment template, the quality standard from which issued items had to adhere to, and seems to originate from ‘Experimental Establishments, Woolwich and Shoeburyness’. It bears the large linen labels and wax seals of the Clothing Inspection Department and judging by the dates it stayed in War Department stores from 1920 to 1961.

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PEAL BOOTS & TREES (PEAL & CO. BRITISH ARMY OFFICERS BOOTS)

  • Oct 26th, 2012

Founded in 1791 by Samuel Peal, Peal & Co. were shoemakers of great repute with a far reaching global client list that included crowned heads of Europe, Presidents and Hollywood royalty, such as Rudolph Valentino, Fred Astaire, Mr & Mrs Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant and Steve McQueen amongst others.

These Second World War private purchase officers boots have the original Peal’s “S.P.” shoe trees, gold foil blocked logo inside and hobnail soles, and have taken on the patina of polished prize-winning conkers.

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F.W. COLLINS & SONS THEN AND NOW…

  • Oct 23rd, 2012

23.10.2012

We came across this old article about the demise of the High Street, with a young looking Paul Smith standing in front of a “shop that radiates individuality”. Hopefully this is still the case with the same shop as it looks now, ‘My how some things NEVER change!’

We found the article on Paul Gormans blog. You can read more of the original article by clicking here : http://www.paulgormanis.com/?p=1272#more-1272

Photograph taken by Graham Turner for  The Guardian Weekend supplement, Dec 3-4, 1988.

The 14 Earlham Street shop as it is now.

 

HISTORY IN STITCHES

  • Oct 15th, 2012

15.10.2012

In an age of computer trickery and retouching at the click of a mouse, here is a reminder of how it used to be done, by hand, lovingly darned, patched and donkey stitched.

Some are more photogenic than others, the tonal landscape of the pin-prick grid pattern, or the Frankenstein-esque clumsy hospital stitches, both display the patient charm of garments that have been cared for and maintained throughout their life, displaying their history in the repair work.

Words Simon/photos Nic Shonfeld

ROLEX EXPLORER ‘SHAKEN NOT STIRRED’

  • Oct 4th, 2012

The Rolex Explorer is significant in the world of wristwatches. It’s pared down simplicity hides it’s unique design details; the clean readable dial, no date indicator, ‘Mercedes’ style hands, Arabic numerals and markers, the 36mm case, non-hacking* movement and 18,000 beats per hour.

It is known as a ‘tool’ type watch and was specifically developed for explorers, most famously used by Sir Edmund Hillary and other members of the successful 1953 Everest Expedition, in addition to numerous expeditions after 1953.

Left to right :  model 6150 Explorer (1956) with gilt dial, and the model 1016 Explorer (1966)

Another famous patron was Ian Fleming who wore an Explorer whilst writing ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (1963) hence it appears in the novel as Bond’s timepiece cum occasional knuckle-duster. Interestingly, in the film of the novel George Lazenby sported a Submariner rather than an Explorer, pictured below.

Model 5513 Submariner (early 60s) with gilt dial and large indexes on the tracking (1966)

With such a pedigree of heritage, style and performance, it’s hardly surprising the allure of the Explorer continues today with renewed vigour among collectors and fashionistas alike. These days they are not worn so much by explorers on mountains, but rather for strolling along smart Mayfair avenues.

* Hacking/Non-Hacking refers to the feature of a movement whereby the second hand can be stopped for the exact setting of the time. Originally a military term, a hacking movement is one that stops the second hand when you pull the crown to the time setting position. A non-hacking movement doesn’t do this.

Words Roy Luckett / photos Nic Shonfeld

ATP / SEDITIONARIES

  • Oct 3rd, 2012

Jacket’s, Jungle 1945. This British Army womens WWII jungle shirt is eerily reminiscent of the McLaren Westwood ‘Seditionaries‘ parachute shirt, even down to the rubber buttons. The belt looped through the epaulette, the removable sleeves, and the stamped ‘GAS FLAP’ all add to it’s Punk ‘bondage-like’ appearance. The shirt also features wrist buckles, pleated chest pockets, and reinforced shoulders. Completely mint and unissued it’s a great example of the humble origins of some of Punk’s iconic DNA.

* Vintage Seditionaries / Sex Parachute Shirt with iconic silk Karl Marx patch by Malcolm Mclaren and Vivien Westwood &  Only Ararchists Are Pretty – image sources unknown.

Words Simon/ ATP Shirt photos Nic Shonfeld

PHOTOS OF OUR BOOK BY THE PHOTOGRAPHER OF OUR BOOK

  • Oct 3rd, 2012

Here are a few snaps of our limited edition cover edition book by photographer Nic Shonfeld, whom we commissioned to shoot the book for us. Nic has been working closely with us for over a couple of years now and we think the images in the publication are a credit to his understanding of ‘us’ and what we ‘do’ within our industry. You can see more of Nic’s photos on his website here: nicshonfeld.com

You can order a copy of our limited edition collectable cover by clicking the link here:
http://www.thevintageshowroom.com/online-store/

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‘THE ENGINEER’

  • Oct 3rd, 2012

02.10.2012

We have now restocked North Sea Clothing knitwear to our Earlham Street shop. This seasons range features several of the new styles including ‘The Engineer’, seen below with it’s rather attractive collar. You can see more photos of the collection by heading over to our facebook page here:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.391542694248110.84836.256444931091221&type=1

‘VINTAGE MENSWEAR’ LIMITED EDITION COVER

  • Sep 14th, 2012

We have just taken delivery of our special cover edition of our book Vintage Menswear. Limited to 500 now in stock.

NOW IN STOCK – ORDER ONLINE

INTRODUCING SHOWROOM VOL I

  • Sep 10th, 2012

Formally introducing our new publication SHOWROOM Vol.I. on sale now in the Earlham Street shop and other selected bookstores in London (see list below).

ORDER ONLINE

showroom-publication.com
facebook.com/showroompublication

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VOL 1

  • Sep 3rd, 2012

07.09.2012

We had the launch party for the first volume of SHOWROOM, our new publication, at the shop on Monday evening. All the bods, Beats, art folk, family and friends attended, thanks to all for coming and helping to make the magazine what it is.

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CATCH-VINGT DEUX

  • Aug 29th, 2012

29.08.2012

Size label in the back neck of a French army mackintosh.

BUM FREEZERS

  • Aug 24th, 2012

24.08.2012

Worthy of closer inspection are these two Dunn & Co. suits from the early 1960s, which are prime examples of the ‘bum freezer’ style, so called because of their shorter silhouette. These are a very British interpretation of Continental styles, particularly Italian, of the late 50s and early 60s, that helped form the basis of the modernist, or ‘mod’ look.

“Now observe the Dean in the modernist number’s version. College-boy smooth crop hair with burned-in parting, neat white Italian rounded-collared shirt, short Roman jacket very tailored (two little vents, three buttons), no-turn-up narrow trousers with 17-inch bottoms, absolute maximum, pointed-toe shoes, and a white mac…” *

Fastidious detail fetishists, Mods cultivated the aspects of cut that defined these so-called ‘Roman’ jackets, the things to look out for are the slim lapels, covered buttons, and two inch side vents seen here. Just the sort of thing the anti-hero of Absolute Beginners would be seen wearing zipping around Soho on a borrowed Vespa.

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IKAT

  • Aug 14th, 2012

14.08.2012

RECOMMENDED READING…

  • Aug 6th, 2012


VINTAGE MENSWEAR – A Collection from The Vintage Showroom


By Josh Sims, Roy Luckett and Douglas Gunn / Photography: Nic Shonfeld.

We have talked it up (quietly) for a couple of years and now we have our first copy fresh of the press. Out in September, our first book release “VINTAGE MENSWEAR – A Collection From The Vintage Showroom” is available now, to pre-order please CLICK HERE

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KARLHEINZ CLIPDANGLER

  • Jul 28th, 2012

28.07.2012

In the manner of Swiss Biker gang maestro Karlheinz Weinberger here are some more one-off key clips. Available now from the Earlham Street shop.

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ON THE ROAD

  • Jul 25th, 2012

25.07.2012

Cashing in on the topicality of the film release of the seminal Beat book On The Road, here is a ‘Hobo’ Beatnik classic. Based on the wartime Royal Navy short shawl collared duffle coats, this civilian ladies version dates from the 1950s and has a very aptly named label. Often seen sported by Soho Beats, Sorbonne students, poetry reading peaceniks, CND marchers et al…

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IT TAKES ALLSORTS

  • Jul 20th, 2012

20.07.2012

A nice 1930s stripe blazer, hard to find with wide candy coloured stripes. Definitely a touch of Bertie Wooster meets Bertie Bassett liquorice allsorts kind of vibe going on.

BOX OF DELIGHTS

  • Jul 13th, 2012

13.06.2012

New to the Seven Dials shop is this small silver stash of sweetheart jewellry, rings, bracelets and charms. The perfect addition to our vintage watches and reclaimed key clips, we’ve been collecting these for a while. Not as expensive as a Saxon hoard, but shiny and jolly nice all the same.

All pieces shown are available from The Vintage Showroom, 14 Earlham Street, Covent Garden.
For enquiries please contact: sm@thevintageshowroom.com / +44 (0)207-836-3964

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Walk Tall – George Weeden 1948 Olympian and living legend.

  • Jul 11th, 2012

No sponsorship, one kidney, tuberculosis, a broken back…
All set for the London Olympics…1948

Introducing George Weeden who was finally honoured today as Olympic torch bearer…

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MAN BAG/FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION

  • Jul 2nd, 2012

02.07.2012

This just washed up on our shores, a 1943 dated Royal Navy Seaman’s Protective Suit by the Dunlop Rubber Company. Looking as good as the day it was made, we particularly love the ingenious functionality of the carrying bag that reverses into the hood of the jacket.

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PATTERNS EMERGE #2

  • Jun 16th, 2012

Some accidental patterns have emerged again out of the woodwork, so to speak. Unintentional but still beautiful, strange how these patterns seem to attract each other, whether it’s the pinked leather edged heel of a work boot on the spiky pattern of an Indian runner, or 1930s geometric fair-isles, or even Adidas stripes through wire mesh.

Seek and ye shall find…

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A BITTA MORE P.i.L.

  • Jun 14th, 2012

Hard to find but well worth seeking out is this Japanese publication of photographs of John Lydon’s post Pistols incarnation, P.i.L., by Dennis Morris. It documents an interesting period in Punk chronology, when key figures were attempting to shake off earlier incarnations. It also sheds light on their Jamaican influences, early publicity shots from the 1st album and the legendary ‘Metal Box’ 2nd album, their creative London base, and of course Lydon’s distinctive ad hoc dress style.

Words SM

RECOMMENDED VIEWING : CHARLOTTE PERRIAND IN JAPAN

  • Jun 12th, 2012

Not only known for her tubular steel furniture, Charlotte Perriand’s work took a defining Eastern lean when she visited Japan in 1940-42. A trip whose influences permeated the rest of her design career, and one which is concisely curated and illustrated at this retrospective exhibition currently on at the Meguro Museum of Art, Tokyo.

Whilst in Japan she embraced traditional craft techniques, utilising them in her wooden and bamboo furniture, and the Japanese standard size unit of tatami matting, which then determined room size etc., helped to further her, and Le Corbusier’s goal of a standardised system of measurements in construction.

If you get the chance to ‘go see’ you could also check out Jantiques, just down the road in Nakameguro.

Words SM

OMERSA – YES WE CAN!

  • Jun 6th, 2012

Dimitri Omersa and his wife Inge arrived in England in 1955 settling in a sanctuary for refugees in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Dimitri a Yugoslav by birth had been a naval officer and political prisoner, imprisoned by Tito after the Second World War. On arriving in England Dimitri entered the leather trade representing a small leather company in Hitchin, during this time he met a leather goods designer at Liberty’s of London known as ‘Old Bill’.

According to the Omersa website it seems that the first pig came into being almost by accident when ‘Old Bill’, who worked for Liberty’s of London making hand luggage from pigskin, experimented with leather left overs. He came up with the idea of a stuffed leather pig footstool which was sold through Liberty’s in 1927 and became an instant success.

‘Old Bill’ was due to retire and a deal was struck for Dimitri Omersa to take over the business and continue the supply of pigs to Liberty’s. The business was brought to Hitchin in 1958 and before long Omersa began work on other animals. His first new piece was an elephant, followed by a donkey and rhinocerous, and sold exclusively in the UK through Liberty’s up until the mid 1970’s, with a tell tale Liberty’s of London stamp under the ear.

In the 1960’s Dimitri took his menagerie of leather goods to the Unites States, where in 1963 he won a Gold medal at the Californian State Fair for the donkey design shown here. The animals were sold through the original Abercrombie and Fitch during the 1960’s. They developed a significant following in the USA, where of course ones preference for the donkey or elephant had a much greater symbolism than in the UK.

For more information on the the history of Omersa who are still making these leather animals go to:
http://www.omersa.co.uk/

Liberty are still stockists:
http://www.liberty.co.uk/fcp/categorylist/designer/omersa

REFLECTIONS – LONG TO REIGN OVER US

  • May 31st, 2012

HERN THE HUNTER

  • May 28th, 2012

The Seventies weren’t all bad taste. Even Savile Row had to move with the times, grudgingly I’m sure, whilst still employing the techniques of tailoring and cutting, and hand finishing that exemplify this bastion of a bygone age in a small corner of London’s West End.

This Huntsman suit from 1972 is a prime example, still displaying impeccable cut and fine tailoring, whilst also exuding a little of the elegance and panache of the era. One button single breasted jacket with side vents and functioning cuffs, flapless hip pockets, bottle green silk lining, and hand stitched buttonholes of course. The trousers are flat fronted with cavalry pockets, a belt tab, and a slight almost imperceptible flare to the leg.

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ALTERED REGULATION/LIBERTY CUFFS

  • May 25th, 2012

So called because they were bought from tailors shops in the far east whilst on liberty, shore leave, by US Navy personnel. These non-regulation additions are stitched on the inside of the jumpers, in particular the cuffs, hidden except to the wearer. The following phoenix and smiling dragon both look very friendly.

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ON YER BIKE! (KARRIMOR Vs CARRADICE)

  • May 25th, 2012

We have not suddenly harked back to the Thatcher years and a Norman Tebbit-like rallying call for the unemployed. Instead we wanted to show a recent find relating to that famous of Lancashire rivalries, predating Fergie and Mancini by some 70+ years.

Karrimor and Carradice; makers of fine cycle bags from the 1930s and 40s…

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ROLAND PENROSE – CAMOUFLAGE

  • May 16th, 2012

When the ‘Home Guard Manual of Camouflage’ by Roland Penrose, a lecturer to the War Office for Instructors to the Home Guard, was first published in October 1941 the prospect of a German invasion on mainland Britain was seen as a very real and probable threat. As a Quaker and staunch pacifist his influence in the development of camouflage techniques during WWII is fascinating, though in his own words “The author makes no claim to their originality, many of them are as old as warfare itself”.

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WHEN IN ISTANBUL…LOOK HOMEWARD

  • May 11th, 2012

TIED TO YOUR MOTHERS APRON STRINGS

  • Apr 25th, 2012

A nice bundle of selvedge denim aprons from the golden age of American labour. Brass grommets, bar-tacked and pocketed, double stitched etc. With the re-launch of Carter’s we thought we’d show some original examples. Both practical and useful, these shouldn’t just be the preserve of coffee barista’s, and aloof waiters, so let’s try and bring back the humble apron.

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P.i.L.

  • Apr 23rd, 2012

Nearly, but not quite…

EXISTENCILISM

  • Apr 3rd, 2012
Not to be confused with the more famous philosophy movement, and the likes of Camus, Sartre and Kierkegaard. This is a far simpler expression of ‘the Individual’, ie. stencilled letters and names, as a means of identity, commonly found on military clothing. Here is a variety of examples, American, British, French, different fonts, colours, sizes etc.

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MOTHER NATURE’S SON

  • Mar 28th, 2012

What’s not to like about this? Stripes, Fair-Isle, glorious beard, vintage camera…

Paul McCartney getting back to nature, going native on the beautiful island of Mull post Beatles.

VE-E-E-RY INTERESTING

  • Mar 22nd, 2012

A cool 1960s sweatshirt with the catchphrase “Ve-e-e-ry Interesting” made famous by Arte Johnson as ‘Wolfgang’ the German soldier, in the era defining comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. The psychedelic sketch show ran from 1968 to 1973, and featured a host of cooky counter-culture characters, it also introduced a very young Goldie Hawn to television.


This one features a single Vee front neck, woven label, and probably dates to the late 60s. It is available to buy at the Earlham St. store now.

Words SM / photos NS

PLENTY OF IRONS IN THE FIRE / WARHORSE

  • Mar 16th, 2012

A blacksmiths leather apron. A leather tool pouch, interestingly with a broad arrow stamp, made by Wilmot Bennett of Walsall. The makers mark dated 1940.

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GUCCI vs LEVIS / MORE JEAN GENEALOGY

  • Mar 13th, 2012

Original 501s hidden rivets all singing all dancing improvised (allegedly) for the runway back in 90s with GUCCI tags and hardware making them either worthless or priceless depending on your point of view!

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COCKLESHELL HEROES

  • Mar 6th, 2012

As worn by British army commandoes during WWII, like in the film of the title, a ribbed reinforced sweater with shoelace neck drawstring. This one has the broad arrow on the label, and interestingly is dated 1953.

In the same year Ang Nima, a sherpa on the 1953 Everest Expedition is seen sporting one, in this portrait by Expedition photographer Alfred Gregory. Not new territory perhaps but an insight into the longevity of military pieces in a non-military context.

 

words SM / photo Nic Shonfeld.

THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR…

  • Mar 2nd, 2012

Well, marching. Square bashing, drilling, stomping, yomping, yes they are British army officers boots from the 1940s. They bear all the hallmarks of empire building quality leather boots standard issue during the war, increasingly scarce nowadays.

CECI N’EST CE PAS UN BOUTON

  • Feb 28th, 2012

ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN

  • Feb 14th, 2012

As a follow on to the Beethoven sweatshirt craze piece, here is another famous instantly recognisable face worthy of being on a sweatshirt. He happens also to be wearing a very nice V fronted vintage sweat. Perhaps if Ludwig Van was around in the 1950s he too would share Alfred’s taste in American casual clothes, now there’s a thought.

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RECOMMENDED VIEWING : KATSURA | BERLIN

  • Jan 23rd, 2012

When in Berlin we highly recommend this exhibition of photographs by Ishimoto Yasuhiro, currently showing at the Bauhaus-archiv until the 12th of March. The subject, the 17th century Katsura Detached Palace in Kyoto is remarkably contemporary in design and reminiscent of 20th century de Stijl art, in particular the composition of the panelled rooms look like mini Piet Mondrian paintings. This synthesis of East meets West mirrors the photographers own life story, born in the US in 1921, he was interned during WWII, eventually becoming a Japanese citizen in 1969.

Words  SM / Photos Nic Shonfeld

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SPRING FORWARD FALL BACK

  • Jan 23rd, 2012

The title, of course refers to the change of the clocks, British summertime extra daylight and all that. But thinking of Spring, what can be better than a classic Ivy, plaid, trad, preppy windcheater, blouson, golf jacket type affair.

A staple of the Spring wardrobe, perfect with khaki chinos, madras, bucks, university sweats, you get it.

Whether it be a London Fog, McGregor, Campus or Champion, here are some details to look for…

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, THE GREATEST!

  • Jan 17th, 2012

HOW TO TACKLE A GIBSON GIRL

  • Jan 10th, 2012

The USAAF World War II-era survival radio transmitters (SCR-578 and the similar post-war AN/CRT-3)  carried by aircraft on over-water operations were given the nickname “Gibson Girl” because of their “hourglass” shape.

The Gibson Girl’ was the personification of a feminine ideal as portrayed in the satirical pen-and-ink-illustrated stories created by illustrator Charles Dana Gibson during a 20-year period spanning the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in the United States.

 

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THE GLORIOUS NINTH

  • Jan 5th, 2012

Andy was back real skorry, waving the great shiny white sleeve of the Ninth, which had on it, brothers, the frowning beetled like thunderbolted litso of Ludwig van himself.“*

The whole Beethoven sweatshirt craze started in 1962 as an advertising campaign for Rainier Ale, created by Howard Luck Gossage. An original ‘Mad Men’ Ad man, he was known as the ‘Socrates of San Francisco’, an advertising visionary who preached from a converted firehouse, his ‘anti-advertising’ style captured the zeitgeist, and he’s also credited with introducing Marshall McLuhan to the world of Media.

Jane Fonda sporting the look. This one is dated 1977 and is available in the shop now.

*Taken from A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Words by SM.

AUSTERITY GAMES

  • Jan 4th, 2012

2012 sees the return of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to London after a 64 years absence and we are looking forward to it being a Golden Year!

It seems strangely ironic that when the Olympic torch last came here in 1948 for the official opening, the UK was recovering from the ravages of World War II and the games were christened the Austerity Games due to the disastrous economic climate that presided in the country. That time around it had been due to the ravages of WWII as opposed to a bunch of merchant bankers in the City, and if you are wondering that is indeed rhyming slang.

“the important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part. The essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well” Pierre de Coubertin (founder of modern Olympic Games)

With that said we would like to return you to a summer 60 years ago…..

Words by Douglas Gunn

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MERSEY CHRISTMAS

  • Dec 25th, 2011

Taken from With The Beatles, photographs by Dezo Hoffmann (Omnibus Press, 1982)

NO SLEEP TIL CROYDON…

  • Dec 2nd, 2011

Customized 1980’s MA1 Bomber from The Vintage Showroom shop archive.
£POA (Merc not included).

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LOOK! BOOK

  • Nov 25th, 2011

Much in the manner of ‘Here hare here’, here is a stash of our new lookbooks. There is something inherently sharp about the regimented clean lines of freshly printed paper stock. The lines of repetition, all neatly tied in bundles and boxed. Hot off the press.

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HENRY MOORE

  • Nov 21st, 2011

BARBARA HEPWORTH

  • Nov 21st, 2011

STICK TO THE ROADS AND BEWARE THE MOON

  • Nov 17th, 2011

This thing conjures up images from the seminal 1981 John Landis movie An American Werewolf In London, and the tragic, doomed American tourists David and Jack on the bleak Yorkshire moors.

Brands such as Sierra Designs, early North Face and Mountain Equipment typify this 80s nostalgia in outdoors retro. Perfect for this country’s inclement weather at this time of year, get down to down and grab yourself a lighweight but warm, vintage down jacket at our shop in Covent Garden, but remember stick to the roads and beware the moon…

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GOOD THINGS COME IN TWO’S

  • Nov 3rd, 2011

While three’s a crowd, some things are just better in pairs. Strawberries and cream, Lennon and McCartney, Eric and Ernie….

Some details that just work well together such as the double pocket snaps on a paratrooper jump jacket (American or Belgian, take your pick) and the twin zips on the front placket of the US original, not only look good but are there for a reason. The pocket snaps expand to the fullness of the pockets, the twin zips hide the riggers knife, that can be accessed by either right or left hand if the paratrooper’s canopy is fouled.

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A PLETHORA OF POCKETS

  • Oct 10th, 2011

This Japanese lightweight mohair tunic, with a shot silk lining, is full of interesting titbits, most notably the beautiful hand tailoring techniques and its plethora of pockets and flaps.

_

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CLARKE’S ANCHOR TAPESTRY WOOL COLOUR CHART

  • Oct 9th, 2011

AM vs /|\

  • Sep 14th, 2011


We’re not trying to promote inter-governmental rivalries, honestly. We just thought we’d display some Air Ministry and War Department stamps alongside each other for closer inspection, that’s all!

_

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THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL #2

  • Aug 24th, 2011

Introducing the Duxbak Pakbak. Granted it was patented in 1926, so not very new, but we only just found the patent label nestled under the poachers pouch back pocket. A kind of envelope type bellows expandable affair, similar to the later integrated backpack found on the US Army WWII Mountain Jacket.

The rest of the jacket features other innovative details such as the wide split double hip pockets, scalloped fly front, and double ply outer sleeves. Always nice to find the unexpected tucked away, hidden from view, until now…
_

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JEAN GENEALOGY

  • Aug 19th, 2011

LEvis 501XX capital E oxblood red tab, hidden rivets, v stitch, blah blah blah…

Lots has been written about vintage denim in recent years, and for obvious reason. It’s the stuff we live our lives in. These pairs, arguably from the Golden Age of denim design, the 1950s, are the perfect synthesis of belt loops, bar tacks, buttons and rivets. The basic design had undergone several stages of evolution by this point to arrive at the near perfect package; the template for the basic 5 pocket jeans model still in use today, much copied and emulated the world over. Just don’t wear them in Texas, real cowboys wear Wrangler’s!
_

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Ju-Jitsu For Gents

  • Aug 8th, 2011

Two recent finds that juxtapose so well. This was going to be posted last week but we held back due to the recent trouble. Note the repaired stud marks on the truncheon. They don’t make them like that anymore…’coppers‘ that is.
_

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PSYCHEDELIC FAIR-ISLE

  • Jul 29th, 2011


What to say? the colours speak volumes alone. This is more Grateful Dead meets Frank Spencer meets Kaffe Fassett, than the Duke of Windsor, or Brideshead. The bright, modern colour dyes contrasted to the natural tones of an original are more Isle of Wight 1970, than the Shetland Isles. As loud as it is, it’s all relevant, and just shows the longevity of this particular knit style.
_

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THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL #1

  • Jul 22nd, 2011

A plaited neck hanger, an unusual but discreet yet considered design detail. Simple. Beautiful.

WHEN IN VOGUE

  • Jul 12th, 2011

… shout about it!
This is no time for modesty, we are thrilled to have our Earlham Street store chosen for London as one of Vogue’s 20 favourite shops for 20 cities. Thanks to Lynn Yaeger and Vogue for thinking of us!


 

BACK BY DOPE DEMAND

  • Jul 9th, 2011

Some more jingly-jangly dingle dangle key ring clippy hanger things in the shop again.

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PACMAN’S BACK

  • Jul 3rd, 2011

Perfect for this weather is this recently unearthed treasure trove, fresh as the day they were made. A stock of saleman’s sample shirts, all with the distinctive CC41 Utility mark.

These Pucci-esque pastel colour Aertex polo’s and candy stripe Egyptian cotton poplin collarless shirts in smock ‘popover’ style, or fully buttoning, seem incredibly modern.

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HANGING AROUND

  • Jun 6th, 2011

We have just made some more of our vintage key clips, re-using antique belt leather, objets trouvé, and chunky metal hardware. Ideally hung from a belt, you can clip whatever you like on them, keys work particularly well. Available now in the shop, but grab them fast they won’t hang around for long (yawn).

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I LOVE THE SMELL OF MONMOUTH COFFEE IN THE MORNING

  • Jun 1st, 2011

‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’, or so the saying goes. Well, when in Covent Garden we recommend you try Monmouth Coffee, just round the corner from the Earlham St. shop, it’s our preferred brew. They have been roasting coffees from around the globe since 1978, so know a thing or two about your daily cup of java.

Words SM

RECOMMENDED VIEWING : ‘PAPA & CAPA’

  • May 28th, 2011

Highly recommended is this compact exhibition of photographs of Ernest ‘Papa’ Hemingway by Robert Capa.  They first met each other during the Spanish Civil War, and remained close friends until Capa’s untimely death in 1954. ‘Papa & Capa’ is on at the Leica Store Ginza in Tokyo, if you just happen to be passing through…

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THE BEAUTY OF A HANDSTITCHED BUTTONHOLE

  • May 20th, 2011

Hand stitched lovingly with patience, tight, precise threadwork. A real thing of beauty, that graces only the finest bespoke tailoring…

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WHERE’S TEX?

  • May 12th, 2011

BY ROYAL APPOINTMENT

  • May 4th, 2011

Credibility, dependability and loyalty…

From the earliest times of the British monarchy and court, the most skilled and talented trades people in the country were rewarded for their loyal service to the crown. The first rewards for this service were Royal Charters granted to the trade guilds and livery companies. The earliest recorded Royal Charter was granted by Henry II to the Weavers’ Company in 1155. In 1394 Dick Whittington helped obtain a Royal Charter for his own Company, the Mercers, who traded in luxury fabrics. By the 15th century Royal tradesmen were recognised with a Royal Warrant of Appointment. To this day the Royal Appointment is seen as a mark of quality and rightly so. So with the Royal family in the Nations thoughts and hearts…..

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