Drop me off at the Fashion Collection at the Victoria & Albert in London or the Museum of Clothing in Madrid and I will be content. I think it all started when I began watching old Audrey Hepburn movies as a child. I was mesmerized by the elegance with which she wore Givenchy’s beautiful dresses. Obviously, with this kind of sophisticated taste in fashion, by the time I got to high school, I wasn’t going to wear some frilly gown to the prom. Come on, it was the 80s…you know exactly what I mean — ruffles, puff sleeves, and A-lines!! To counter the hideousness that was prom dresses of the 80s, I went round to the local vintage shop, La Di Da, and bought a gorgeous 1950s silver moiré taffeta tea-length dress. It wasn’t Givenchy, but it was his style and it looked fab. It even had the original price tag from Furchgott’s on it — $14.95!
So with this in mind, it should come as no surprise that I was quite excited when I happened upon the Museum of Design and Fashion in Lisbon. Housed in an industrial warehouse with cement floors & walls, this museum is a design lovers delight. Quirky, funky, & mod, this collection runs the gamut from furniture to shoes to lip-shaped sofas to bookshelves. Definitely check it out to get your kitsch on!
I’m a born & bred Floridian, so mostly when I talk about shoes, it’s flip-flops. But when it comes to anything vintage, I’m down with it. That’s why I love Calypso Vintage Shoes in Berlin. Head shoe curator, Rosemarie, has put together a collection of vintage shoes that dates back to the 1930s. From 60s mod to 70s glam to the seriously cheesy, lovers of vintage shoes will find something here that will strike their fancy.
Oderbergerstr.14, 10435 Berlin, Germany +49 30 2816165
If you find yourself in the Coach & Horses, one of London’s most famous pubs, forgo a pint and instead ask the barkeep to allow you behind the bar to climb the secret staircase. As you ascend the rickety stairs to Soho’s Secret Tea Room, the sound of jazz being played on a Gramophone begins to fill your ears. Upon entering this delightful little tea room, you are instantly transported to a bygone era of England. Edwardian in style and 1940s in ambiance, the Secret Tea Room offers a retro version of the English High Tea. To the soundtrack of a Benny Goodman concert, charming waiters and waitresses serve traditional egg & cress sammies, scones with huge dollops of fresh clotted cream, and an assortment of fairy cakes on vintage, mismatched crockery. Sixteen varieties of tea are on offer at this little speakeasy of a tea room in the heart of Soho, but word on the street is that the hot chocolate is superb as well.
Funky, vintage tees? Absolutely! I love discovering clothing that jives with my personality, and Hip Tee is the perfect example. Created by Spanish designers, Claudia Hernández & Claudia Fabra, these tees rock a retro 70s look. Hip & eco-friendly, they reflect an urban, yet feminine, street style that makes you want to listen to a little Black Sabbath when you put one on. Trust me on this one…
I love Paris for many, many reasons, not the least of which is artisanal umbrella repair. Being a native Floridian, I am practically a connoisseur of umbrellas, and as with most people, when one breaks, I simply buy another. But that need not be the case if you are in Paris, where Thierry Millet is skilled in the lost art of umbrella repair. Ribs, springs, and handles dot his repair studio, which lies upstairs from his shop selling exquisite French-made umbrellas. So, next time you are in Paris, stop by Pep’s Maison on the Passage de l’Ancre. Even if your umbrella is not broken, Pep’s is worth a visit to experience a world before the “disposable everything”…
Photo: Floating Umbrellas