Shopping for old clothes. That doesn’t sound right, but it feels right. I love vintage fairs. There’s something so satisfying about finding a diamond in the rough. I get the same feeling in TK Maxx! My romantic view is thus – that special dress will find me, if only I’m in the right place at the right time. And this time I was at the Davenport Hotel on Merrion Square, a stone’s throw from I Love Saturday HQ.
It was a boiling hot day in the city but still there was time for a mooch. There always is! First I browsed Vintage Belle, who had a lovely collection of old skool summer dresses. Just the ticket for floating around Dublin Town. Great accessories too – leather satchels, satin clutches and some cool sandals. Then a scan of the jewellery merchants, who’d laid out their stalls like bling sweet shops. Magpie love…
My hit list included a Great Gatsby style black velvet feathered headband with jet detail, emerald set silver earrings and a cream silk chiffon 1950s gown (yes, I know what you’re thinking…). But I struck gold, literally, with a stunning pair of Rupert Sanderson heels. Gold t-bars with bottle green velvet detail – Cinderella shall go to the ball. Super stylist Maria Fusco was delighted to re-home these beauties.
Fashion glamour puss Maria and I happily chatted away about clothes and creative style. Her ethos is to have fun with fashion. And always look fabulous, even when buying a pint of milk. Maria’s eclectic array of designer threads and objets d’art captured my imagination. VintageIreland is all about fantasy and I often daydream the history of a garment. Perhaps it was worn to a Royal wedding or Studio 54…
vintageireland.eu / mariafuscofashion.blogspot.com
Rare on Dawson Street has been a local haunt of mine for some time now. Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of bargain threads. A girl can live without BTs when there’s so much great clobber to be found around town these days. Rare Clothing Company trades in pre-loved clothes, with lots of worn once, labels on and ex fashion shoot. This savvy shop showcases designer, high street and vintage.
Main men Paddy and Martin run a smart ship, offering menswear and children’s clothes alongside women’s styles. The deal is that they’ll swap your stuff, dry cleaned by them, for Rare shop credit, online purchases or from other shops or straight cash. I’ve made some great wardrobe upgrades, without even leaving Rare’s door! And now, to keep me hooked, they’ve brought vintage into the mix.
Rare Vintage comes to us courtesy of the fabulous Rebecca Boon. Sourcing her one-of-a-kind pieces from all over the globe, there are gems from London, Paris and New York. Rebecca’s collections span the decades, with 50s, 60s and 70s outfits being my faves. She has some stunning dresses, including babydolls, maxis, minis and chic fitted numbers. Whether you like colour or love an LBD, it’s all here.
I got chatting to Rebecca, she’s at Rare every Sunday, and found out all about her retro style. Always something of a magpie, Rebecca started out as a buyer for a friend’s shop and developed her eye for the eclectic. She told me that there’s something about the history of a piece that gets her imagination ticking. Was it bought on Carnaby Street, or worn to a Beatles concert? Every frock has a story to tell.
The beauty of vintage, says Rebecca, is that you can style it with designer pieces or go head to toe for a more daring look. The appeal, we agree, is the uniqueness of each garment. Nobody else will be wearing it. And in a sea of samey high street fashion, there’s something to be said for owning a special one-off. Rebecca rocks the vintage vibe effortlessy and is happy to offer her stylist service to customers.
A fellow fashionista was delighted to find a Biba original and, as Rebecca hand picks her stock, she filled us in on the origin. Some items are even like new, as they came from shop stockrooms or unworn from wardrobes in Italy, the Netherlands and Germany. My must-haves included a Dollyrockers fuschia maxi, a Diolen 60s scooter dress and an Audrey Hepburn-esque black satin dress. What to choose…
Rare Clothing Company, 53 Dawson Street, Dublin 2
There’s hot chocolate. And there’s Cocoa Atelier hot chocolate. The Bloke had nipped into Cocoa Atelier on Drury Street to buy me some lovely chocolates. No reason, that’s just how he rolls. Lucky me! And while he was at it, a nice assistant pointed him in the direction of what is quickly becoming known as Dublin’s best hot chocolate. A bottle of the stuff, to take away, which he duly snapped up.
Cocoa Atelier began when Marc Armand, a French chef and founder of La Rousse Foods, wanted to bring a little slice of Paris to Dublin. A proper chocolaterie, that offers something to the connoisseur, within a sleek boutique setting. High cocoa content is the key when it comes to top quality chocolate. Cocoa Atelier combine theirs with continental flavours, like lime, earl grey, whiskey, mango and vanilla.
The shop is a joy for sweet tooths (hands up!) with beautifully crafted goodies on display. French patisserie include traditional chocolate creme eclairs and macaroons in every colour of the rainbow. Treats are packaged in chic black boxes, perfect gifts, and bars are available in squares of varying darkness. Jars of chocolate and caramel sauce are perfect for desserts. Mmmn… Now, where was I?
Cocoa Atelier, 30 Drury Street, Dublin 2
Powerscourt Townhouse is one the hidden gems of Dublin. Tucked away between South William Street and Clarendon Street, it’s a great showcase for alternative Irish retailers. I’ve always been a boutique shopper and with Grafton Street becoming ever more commercial, I find Powerscourt the perfect refuge from the ubiquitous faceless multinationals. And it’s the home of my fave treasure trove The Loft Market.
Last week the Madre and me were enjoying a loaf about town. First off a Tom Collins in Brooks Hotel on Drury Street, then to The Loft Market to see what we could see. Jean Cronin Vintage had got in some old skool wedding dresses – don’t get any ideas! – that Mama simply had to see. We had lots of fun picking from a cute 60s silk maxi, an 80s lace Madonna number and a 70s boho broderie Anglaise.
Frolics aside, Jean Cronin Vintage always serves my sweet shopping tooth. I picked up a buff silk 40s style dress, an electric blue embroidered number and a gorgeous little beaded sequin cardi. Those, like me, who don’t do high street fashion – get here! Mama is mad for anything Irish and handmade and her eclectic taste was met with a pink Heather Finn scarf. The girls working here give great style advice too.
The layout of The Loft Market allows customers to mix and match clothes, jewellery and accessories. It’s easy to while away an hour, acting the magpie at Chupi, Perk Up Vintage, Aliquo, B Fashion Design and Lark Vintage amongst others. Large dressing rooms with multiple mirrors add to the “dressing up box” feel of the place. For a girl who loves her shopping, The Loft Market is chic, fun and stress-free.
The Loft Market, Powerscourt Centre, 59 South William Street, Dublin 2 / www.powerscourtcentre.com
Once I got word of Siopaella’s Kilo Sale in aid of animal charity A Dog’s Life, well I just had to do my bit for the furry ‘lil fellas! Conveniently around the corner from the Bloke’s place – Siopaella has two shops, one on Crow Street, the other on Temple Lane South – I’m oft to be found flicking through the rails. Owner Ella De Guzman’s two adorable mutts love to sit in the corner, watching us bargainistas swoon.
Siopaella first popped up in the corner of its Crow Street location last year and I was hooked straight away. Ella takes in top quality designer and high street fashions, with a little vintage in the mix too. Clothes sellers take home 40% of the sale price, while shoppers get gorgeous gear at a fraction of the retail price. Everyone’s a winner! And Siopaella’s boutique service is a lot more glam than trawling Ebay.
Previous finds of mine include a boxfresh leather Chesneau bag, a silk Monsoon dress and a pair of suede Dune heels. The Temple Lane South store is home to high end designer labels – perfect for a little Christmas Chanel to self… Last Wednesday I picked up a St Martins dress, two silk LBDs, a cute jacket, cord skirt and a pair of Levi’s. Just 20 euro! And over a thousand raised for A Dog’s Life. Woof…
Siopaella, 8A Crow Street & 25A Temple Lane South, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 / www.adogslife.ie
Last Thursday afternoon was spent mooching about Temple Bar – a fave pastime of your whimsical reporter. First stop was Siopaella, my current top fashion hunting ground. Watch out for their charity sale on Sunday 4th November in aid of A Dog’s Life. Next up was a book launch at Connolly Books on East Essex Street, Seamus Bradley’s debut tome “Nothing To Prove”. Welcome refuge from the cold.
Connolly Books is best known as a peddler of radical literature, a treasure trove for lefty readers. It’s also the lobby for the totally alternative New Theatre and I’ve always found it a very creative space to be in. Vino, salty snacks and oatmeal cookies were on hand to celebrate Seamus Bradley’s opus on capitalist culture. In “Nothing To Prove” he explores our wants and needs in a world dominated by profit.
Questioning society’s obsession with material wealth, Bradley goes back to basics by looking at our simple needs – food and shelter, as the bedrock of happiness. Already examining his own relationship with status and career, it was an overheard conversation in the pub that inspired Bradley. “Nothing To Prove” was born of the frustration that many of us feel in the wake of the global economic meltdown.
A sort of “what’s it all about?” Bradley breaks down societal norms, like giant supermarket chains and food exporting. How did such changes in attitude grow from our traditional ideals? He explained how consumer competition has damaged community and on a worldwide level how it has divided nations. Bradley says this has led to an unbalanced world where the natural order of living is consistently defied.
The new order encourages a lack of independence and the adoption of a herd mentality. This was evident in the Celtic Tiger property bubble that brought Ireland to dire financial crisis. Common sense and a responsibility for ourselves was forgotten about in the trample to be upwardly mobile. Now in the aftermath, Bradley says we have an opportunity to redress the situation and explore new possibilities.
I’ve only begun reading “Nothing To Prove” and I’m struck by Bradley’s positivity. He is minus the scaremongering and lamenting of high profile tomes by well known pundits, as he’s not just talking money. But spirit, pride and the freedom to enjoy life. One of the biggest modern killers is stress so it really is in our personal interest to reject lifestyle aspirations, and the mad rush to the so called top.
As far as my own two pence in concerned, I think we’re on the brink of the Age of Aquarius. Upcoming generations are not buying into marketing hype as we did, and the implosion of organised religion in the western world has seen people looking to their inner strengths for sustenance. Bradley joked that he might be preaching to the converted in Connolly’s but “Nothing To Prove” has something to say to all.
Nothing To Prove – Seamus Bradley. Connolly Books, 43 East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 1
A market in a pub, you say? Well yes! That is the unique beauty of the Ha’penny Flea. Recently re-opened after a Summer holiday, the market features plenty of vintage clothes and accessories, old records, handcrafts and of course a bar. So you can have a pint while you shop. But I must admit I’ve seen more than one bargainista deposit her fella at the bar, while she gets down to serious business!
The Ha’penny Flea has a huge offering of stuff, with regulars and newbies setting up every Saturday. The vibe is a bit San Francisco, a lot artsy nouveau Dublin. The Grand Social is one of those places that captures the capital’s post tiger spirit and runs with it to great success. Shabby chic is the name of game, the perfect afternoon hangout, with gigs on upstairs afterwards if you’re out for the long haul.
As a girl I always dreamed of being a shopkeeper (boutique owner?) and now I have my own little corner of the Ha’penny Flea. Selling my wares is super fun – dresses, handbags, shoes and jewellery at “Love” – as I can chat to people all day long. Bliss! The social aspect is what makes this market stand out from the crowd, as the intimate setting of the pub puts punters at ease and open to a good old mingle.
Charming stalls are dotted all around, not just mine! There’s Junk Orr Gems for vintage clothes and accessories, Lily Loves for quirky cake stands made with antique plates. Hegarty Hats for beautifully feminine handmade head wear, Magpie’s Nest for antique, vintage and modern jewellery. There’s lots of Sixties and Seventies fashion, which I love! The Ha’penny Flea is an antidote to blah high street shops.
Music from DJ Wild Child Will fits in with the carefree feeling – Motown classics and underground Disco. Bazaar life is rewarding too, as I get to recycle and pass my lovely pieces onto happy new owners. As a second hand style maven myself, I appreciate that flutter one gets on discovering a diamond. A silk blouse or a sparkly hat. A Bowie record or a Kafka book. There’s something about the Ha’penny Flea!
Ha’penny Flea – Saturday 12 to 6pm. The Grand Social, 35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1
Last week I joined the Bruv and his mate for a pre-Stone Roses pint and feed. Against the Grain was the venue with the lads looking for some of the best craft beers in town, and pub grub to boot. We each downed a pint of tasty Howling Gale Ale before ordering falafel, beef and chicken burgers, all with lovely big fat chips. It’s proper man food at Against the Grain with a good veggie selection on offer too.
The boys jumped in a joe maxi and made for the Pheonix Park. I mooched back into the belly of town for some culture action. PhotoIreland 2012 is running throughout July so I decided to check out Uproar V Paul Tierney at Designist. Uproar is a summer-long event at Designist featuing a number of cutting edge Pop Up shops. Photographer Paul Tierney’s “Reflected City” project is their latest exhibition.
The series, shot in various shops throughout the city, documents the ordinary shop, its merchandise and its owners. Displayed in the retail setting at Designist, the collection is cleverly juxtaposed within its subject matter. The pictures themselves are charming, with Tierney using his architectural eye to capture the symmetry of the spaces as well as the personality and purpose of the shops.
Tierney talked me through some of the places he had visited. A cosmetic dentist practice featured an all white decor, while its owner was decked out in a white uniform – Tierney noted that the idea was to convey a clinical feel and the pristine colour of well kept teeth. He also pointed to detail, such as the celebrity magazines on display – an aspirational nudge to clients. The retail environment disected.
Another picture featured a shopkeeper behind the counter of his plumbing shop, proudly at the helm of a highly organised treasure trove of hardware. “Reflected City” highlights the place of individual stores in a neighbourhood, each serving its own purpose. The concept of the shops within a shop works well at Designist, given its own quirky stock of home decor and gadgets. Bite sized prints are for sale.
Designist, 68 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2 / www.photoireland.org / www.paultierney.ie
Hopping from one party to another last Saturday night I must say I was mighty impressed with little ol’ me! Considering I’d been in bed all day battling Friday night’s gin ‘n’ juice, I had plenty of ammunition for Oscar Verne’s Masque at the Ferocious Mingle Market. I pulled a mask down over my cheeky chops and made my way to Thomas Street for a late night speakeasy – this girl was back in the game!
Shimmying under the shutter – this was an invite only do – me and my Cuz knew we were in for some serious fun. The Ferocious Mingle Market does what it says on the tin in daylight hours, selling fab vintage threads, exquisite hand crafts and home baked goodies. Being a stone’s throw from NCAD the place simply buzzes with creativity. We entered the twilight zone that it transformed into after dark.
I found one of my friends among a sea of masked creatures and he brought us into the belly of the beast where the gang were sipping BYOB. We picked up drinkies at the bar and joined in. My thirst wasn’t up to much but in a place like this, a lady doesn’t have to be a lush to have a good time! There were boys dressed as girls, dames spilling out of corsets and pretty faces half hiden with tinsel and glitter.
Part of the charm was wandering around the market chalets, which were like glamour camps containing their own mini gatherings. I swapped style tips with a lovely stall owner who produced a darling handbag that fell in love with me at first sight. Sigh… Meanwhile the stage came alive, with a hot mama singer belting out 80s pop and disco faves in her deliciously wild voice, howling, whistling and all.
Next we shook our tail feathers to alt rock gods Saint John the Gambler, who brought their own brand of class to the party. The dance floor was filled with exotic beautiful people sweating out an amazing Saturday night. We were busting some crazy moves and it was a well earned wind down when a gorgeous young thing floated on stage to serenade us to sweet oblivion. He was just divine…
A finale of Adele’s “Someone Like You” brought a tear to the eye and a promise from my pals to see this guy again. Oscar Verne’s Masque was still in full swing, with groups tucked into corners and cool kids lounging in the theatre seats. We took on the dance floor ’til the death with a killer Bollywood soundtrack and by the time I hit the streets I gotta say I’d got my groove back! Oh what a night!
www.thejosiebaggleycompany.com / Ferocious Mingle Market, 72 Thomas Street, Dublin 8
Ireland’s latest online boutique Forever Fabulous celebrated their official website launch in style last week. The venue was smart Blackrock bar Suite 54, suitably glamorous with it’s contrasting chandelier lit black and white rooms. I was handed a nice cool vino on arrival – let the fun begin! First stop the VIP area where an array of delicious Forever Fabulous goodies were on display. Heaven on earth…
There were gorgeous crystal studded clutch bags, sparkling shamballa bracelets and seriously bling bangles, in a variety of colours. I also checked out the crystal phone covers, cute flower hairbands and beautiful diamante earrings. Oooh – what to choose? While I had my larks trying on the jewellery, a couple of girlfriends went for makeovers with stunning results. One even discovered red lipstick!
Forever Fabulous really is the go to place to sort out your whole look. Owner Rachel O’Riordan, who is a professional make up artist, told me that her bespoke make up service is ideal for bridal parties and girly get togethers. She does a range of beauty treatments perfect for a big event or a luxury pick me up. And you can book yourself a handbag and jewellery party to accessorise your look!
Rachel had arranged a glamorous photo shoot with top model Michelle McGrath earlier in the day but there were also some famous faces at the launch party. Well known beauty blogger Joanne Larby, The Make Up Fairy and model Jessica Gallagher, face of Forever Fabulous, rubbed shoulders with uber cool Cars Love Girls singer, Orla Breslin. We talked make up and fashion all night, natch!
The star of the night though was Rachel herself. She really is something else! Rachel came up with her business concept, creating a unique online boutique and is steadily building up her brand name. And she’s a beauty columnist too! Rachel’s elegant style is the hallmark of Forever Fabulous, as she personally buys her exclusive lines and produces dazzling looks. Watch this space Darlings!