Sunday, 24 May 2015

Folksy Finland

There must have been something in the water up in Finland in the 1960's and early 70's. While fashion everywhere else was going psychedelic, the Finns were getting folksier with several labels producing some fabulous pieces which are always a pleasure to have in store.
Scandinavian style in general could be very folksy at this time, the very collectable designs by Figgio Flint for example are practically dancing around a maypole 

But it seems to be Finland where the style was most adapted to clothing

Marrimeko were the first and best known, really finding their style from the late 50's on, especially when Jackie Kennedy wore them whilst on the campaign trail with her husband. There's a nice page HERE on Marrimeko, though I'd like to mention a few other smaller labels which followed hot on their heels.

 This gorgeous white linen dress is by Arola (an province in Eastern Finland) It has lovely embroidery to the front and hem and a wraparound belt.

A simple style that looks amazing when worn

There's little information on Arola available, aside from a handful of dresses, although there is a store called Arola in Finland which sells, inevitably, Marrimeko

More info HERE

Here's another sleeveless dress, by Marketta this time, another label with little info apart from the occasional item turning up.
This is more Marrimeko in style with it's bold flower print, but look at that collar and lapel! The way it sweeps from the neckline is a style I've not seen before

More info on this dress HERE

Another stylish Finnish label from this period that we see is Fenno-Sport. Another company that perhaps lived in Marrimekos shadow a little, certainly this red skirt has the look. Currently on Etsy

 Having said that Fenno-sport also produced gems like this extraordinary op-art dress. Are there any other labels out there that I've missed?

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Christian Dior Black Velvet - If you please

Is there a more luxurious fabric than thick, soft black velvet and was there ever a designer more associated with creating luxurious garments than Christian Dior?
Here's a few examples of what happened when the two combined

This amazing dress is known as the Cygne Noir (Black Swan)
The black velvet and silk was supplied by specialists
Bianchini-Ferier (info here) and was made around 1949/1950.
Just look at the outsize bow and the contrast in the charcoal gray silk and the light absorbing velvet.
It currently lives behind the scenes in the V&A, with more info here

In Space, our store in Harrogate UK, we're lucky enough to have two examples, this stunning Dior London dress is made from an astonishing heavy lace cut velvet, possibly also by Bianchini-Ferier, which I imagine would be incredibly difficult and expensive to produce even today, who knows how it was achieved in the 1950's.
There's a link here

 Another example in complete contrast is this 1960's 'Diorling' black velvet dress with silk embroidery.        The high neck, long sleeves and full skirt will cover any flesh but the cling of the velvet and the split in the leg will still look super sexy.  
We've paired it here with a Versace gold chain belt, pretty snazzy, don't you think?
More info here

And along with the vampiric image of the goths (itself soon assimilated into late 80's fashion), here's what the 1980's did to Black Velvet, 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Guzzini and me

An iconic name for any lovers of quality retro, Guzzini lighting is a classic combination of style and substance, proof that you don't need to sacrifice form over function

As the most accessible form of design, we have a bit of an obsession with lighting here in Space.
You may not be able to stretch to a big money designer or vintage sofa, or not be sure if you're quite ready for that huge statement artwork but every room in your house will need lighting and a great retro lamp is an effective, affordable way to create a great mood for a room.

I personally have a Vico Magistretti Mezza chimera floor lamp and a pair of Guzzini plastic mushroom ceiling shades, well Guzzini style!  These particular shades were widely copied through the 1970's so I thought I'd look into the companys history a little. With a little digging (HERE for example), it turns out that a lot of what I thought I knew was wrong! 

Did you know that the company was named after a giant invisible rabbit? Any quick search on the internet will bring up the name Harvey Guzzini, surely I can't be the only person who laboured under the illusion that this was a real actual person? One of the brothers, presumably? Seems not, in fact the older brothers-  Raimondo, Virgilio and Giovanni - on founding the business in 1959, named the company after James Stewarts giant invisible furry companion from the 1950 film 'Harvey'. 

They initially specialised in smaller homewares, copper trays and bowls but with the addition of younger brothers Adolpho, Giuseppe and Giannunzio to the team and the employment of designer and architect Luigi Massoni as art director by 1965 Guzzini were starting to produce the classics so sought after today.

Massoni encouraged the use of designers who were exploring the fast developing technologies of the sixties, particularly in plastics, Here's a fabulous example from 1970.
The Quadrifoglio table lamp designed by Gae Aulenti. Named after the four leaved clover that inspired it's organic shape, the futuristic, fluid shape is classic retro. 
This particular light is currently available on the Space website HERE

A much sought after Guzzini light that we've had in recently is the gigantic 'Clan' floor lamp. Much rarer, this was the first I'd seen of these outside of a design book.
There was a smaller table top version but this bigger one was an absolute gem.
Even writing this I'm wondering whether this one should have been gracing a corner of my own living room but it sold so quickly it didn't even make it onto the website.
Still, there's a very happy customer out there.
Here's a link to more info on the Clan on Object<>Plastic a great site specialising in classic plastic design

By the late 1970's Harvey Guzzini had morphed into iGuzzini (pre-empting the iPhone by a good 30 years!) and were specialising in industrial and architectural lighting rather than designing for the home. A shame of course, who knows where they would have taken design but by then stores such as Habitat and even BHS were selling many Guzzini style shades and lights. You can see the design influnces even today in IKEA. and the like, but for retro hunters the originals will always be the best.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Malcolm Hall - Glam Style

 We love a little bit of Glam here in Space. The 40's and 50's are lovely of course but, personally, the colour, vibrancy and new materials of the 60's and 70's do it for me, especially when you can associate those styles with the music of the time. 
You'll know the names Ossie Clark and Tommy Roberts but, if you're a fan of 1970's rock, you'll certainly have seen the work of Malcolm Hall. How about this for starters
White Malcolm Hall suit worn by Led Zeppelins Jimmy Page, made around 1975 and now in the V&A

Paul McCartney, Brian Eno, David Bowie, ABBA and were among the many stars to wear Malcolms threads, there's a tasty selection in the retro section on his website. Indeed, happily, he is still trading and his style hasn't changed too much
An image from Malcolm Halls current range with appropriately stylish old rocker model

What's inspired me to write this piece is that we've been lucky enough to find a vintage Malcolm Hall suit from the early 1970's. We can even trace it's provenance to Boodle-am, a small independent shop in Leeds, one of a few places to stock him outside of London.
Son of Space, Gabriel Elvidge, modelling our Malcolm Hall suit

What a beauty. Olive brown satin, with velvet panels front and back, a huge lapel and gently flared trousers. We'd love to sell this to the equivalent of Jimmy Page etc but who's around nowadays with enough flamboyance, Coldplay? More HERE

While I had my captive model I took a few shots of him in another of our 1970's Pop/Rock culture suits, this time a 3-piece Teddy Boy style number tailored by John W. Mills of Bexleyheath. I can't find a single mention of him on the net so presumably he didn't go on to dress the stars although they'd have looked pretty dapper in this..
Find it HERE

Sunday, 18 May 2014

National Vintage Awards

We're delighted to have been shortlisted for the Northern 'Best Regional Shop' in this years Nva's
If you have a moment please click the pic to go to the voting page, put a tick next to us and enter your email and send. 
It means a lot to us to get some recognition for all the hard work (no really!) we've put in over the last 5 years. Winning would really be a boost!  Many Thanks.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

When buying Vintage.......

Some great advice here for those 'on a mission' to buy some quality pieces!  How to buy Vintage

The only quote that doesn't apply to us is "Have you noticed how dark vintage shops can be?"

Friday, 11 April 2014

Oh, What a lovely blog.

Here's a great post about a visit to the shop by the good folks at Wish Vintage, Kent.  
Many thanks.

Read it HERE

and here's a link to their Facebook

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Gorgeous Yorkshire at our opening

We had a private launch for our both floors of 'The Ginnel' last week and the lovely ladies from the 'Gorgeous Yorkshire' blog came along, took some excellent photos and gave us a very nice write up.

Here's the link Gorgeous

Sunday, 12 January 2014


Come and see our beautiful new shop.  Its a wonder to behold. Upstairs and Major Toms Cafe/Bar open in 2 weeks. Immense.