Monday, 27 February 2012

Tea at Vien Vintage

I have had some technological problems, my little Mac and BT broadband wireless does not get on which means it is impossible to upload my photographs. But I have decided to press on regardless.  Recently I have found myself spending more time in Crystal Palace.  A bout of flu, tiredness and a certain sense of ennui have taken over. I couldn’t even get myself to Soho last weekend which shows how bad things have been. Even the V&A Cecil Beaton late event couldn’t get me South of the River!
Steadily the Palace continues to get better from a vintage point of view and I like to pop up for lunch, mooch about the markets and vintage shops then grab a glass of wine at one of the many pubs. Recently I have bought a brand new Royal Worcester egg cobbler in a charity shop, a lovely pair of vintage earrings in Haynes Lane and a Stratton compact case with a design of top hat and gloves in Vien. Yesterday I saw a fantastic 50’s occasional table with a design of cocktail shakers and martini glasses; if only I had a home to put it in! If I get my own house I could decorate the whole place from the Palace’s pavements and yards.

Vien vintage interior (photography copyright design for life blog)
The Palace is not, mercifully, the East End it; is so much nicer and has a communal bohemian feel that has been eradicated in many other areas. As a result many businesses seem to have a social purpose as well as a commercial one. Bambino’s the bric a brac and collectable shop now spews people drinking coffee and nestling amongst the second hand items spread over the street.  Vien has opened a small, chic tearoom into the back of its store on the same road offering a more refined but equally welcome chance to refuel.

Tea room Vien Vintage
I popped into Vien yesterday, it can always be relied on to have some good vintage stock and I am keeping my eyes open for a fifties day dress, something that on my last few visits they have  had in stock. Unfortunately pulling the dresses aside I managed to demolish an entire rack of frocks! Still they were very nice about it, and I took the opportunity to sit down, catch my breath and have a nice cup of Earl Grey.  Sadly they didn’t have a dress for me, there was a lovely mint never worn and still labelled fifties German day dress which I liked but my cheese eating habits meant the waist was a tiny bit too tiny.  As ever with the vintage market it is a case of repeatedly popping in to see what turns up. It was nice to have a chat with Vivien Bartholomew the proprietor and dealer who runs the place. I have been known to be unkind about vintage clothing dealers but Vien charges the right price for the clothes (many around the £50) which are clean, carefully chosen (no kilo sale raids here) and honestly presented. I’m also appreciative of  a lack of preciousness because whilst there are plenty of authentic collectable vintage pieces (including a beautiful 30s/40s patterned navy day dress) there are also a few gothabilly fifties style new items. In addition, for about £80.00 there are some twenties inspired dresses made from antique lace and vintage fabrics which I was impressed by and that are made under Vien’s own label. I have never seen any reason why new, reworked and vintage should not be side by side as long as the provenance is clear; I think it works.

Vivien, Vien proprietor in her shop.
On Sunday I will be in the Palace yet again, having my marmalade hair set for a wedding fair (the closest I expect I will ever get to matrimony!) and I am hoping the sun will be shining again. Yesterday the view across London was lovely (the second highest vantage point in London) and the place was full of locals enjoying their drinks in the sun. 

Vintage Vien online shop: here
Vintage Vien Samadhi tea shop: here


LollyWillowes said...

I would love to visit it, if I could shut my eyes and wish I'd be there in a heartbeat!

Charmaine said...

I really love your blog! All your vintage London insider posts make me really miss living in Jolly Olde, and have provided me with new things to check out when I am back in London next. Definitely will check out tea here!


Walking In May said...

Glad to have found your brilliant! I like how candid you are, how your writing seems to flow effortlessly, your love for London and the mass of knowledge you have on vintage as well as past times! Definitely a blog to go on my blogroll and I will start following you on google connect, so I look forward to your new posts! Have a fabulous day!
May x

RedlegsinSoho said...

Many thanks for your kind comments ladies. x

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