Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Introducing: Retropolitan

Hello, it's Abi posting today. In case you don't know it, I want to tell you all about Retropolitan, a very fabulous online vintage store my stylish friend Scarlett pointed out to me the other day. 

And I'm very glad she did – it's a feast of unusual vintage pieces with a slant towards glass and vases (but it's by no means only glass and vases). Like these...

Above left, Riihimaki vase by Tamara Aladin, £50. Right, Czech glass by Pavel Hlava, £48

The shop is well stocked with beauties like these totally cute American pressed glass Scottie dog salt dishes, £13.95, above, that I didn't even know I needed, but now have
to have.

It's also got random treats like this gorgeous French botanical poster, above,£150...


...a cool telephone pad, £40 (I am absolutely certain Joan Holloway from Mad Men has one of these) and a slightly sinister ceramic bunny, £29, both above, and this 1950s plastic wine basket, £28, below.

Again, didn't know I needed this, but now can't imagine my life, or kitchen, without it.

But I think my favourite thing is this 1960s neon Emanuelle sign, £150. It's too fabulous for words and would bring a frisson of naughtiness to whichever room it landed in. If you miss buying this one, you can also get new illuminated signs made to order, spelling out whatever you like in a rather lovely font (and not as pricey as you might imagine). Find out more here. Or you could even make your own illuminated letters instead.

But back to Retropolitan. The website was launched six years ago by Lesley McNamee and she reckons her upbringing with antiques dealer mum and step-mum must have given her a taste for it as she says: “I'd work for them from time to time; I had Saturday stalls at Camden Market and Portobello in the early 90s selling vintage when it was called bric-a-brac!”

After working in the media for years Lesley took the plunge and started the site: “It was a big step for me to give up my nice salaried job, but I felt passionate that more people should be buying affordable, stylish and collectable pieces to add to their home. It's been a journey – and now I sell to Selfridges, Paul Smith and plenty of interior designers, but it gives me the most pleasure when someone falls in love with a piece I've chosen.”

So what are Lesley about her favourite finds? “I particularly love mid 20th century glass and European ceramics," she says. "West German ceramics in particular make great decorative statements and have wonderful glazes and bold shapes and colours – now's the time to buy them while they're still affordable.


"There's a great 1960s piece from Duemler & Breiden in at the moment [see left] that shows off the iconic drip lava glaze in a gorgeous yellow set against navy.”

The site has a lovely eclectic feel to it – I like mixing up styles and so does Lesley who's currently doing up her entire house. “I love Midcentury Modern – but I also love Arts & Crafts, and a little bit of Art Deco," she says. "So the clean modernist lines can get a little blurred at the edges. I'm a believer that it's OK to mix styles and periods as long as you have good taste – I'm calling my new kitchen's look vintage butcher shop chic!” 

Time to get collecting those German ceramics...

Visit the Retropolitan website

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