Tuesday, April 22, 2014

From Berlin to Rome - and back. Travelling as a vintage lover

Italy - this is a long lasting love affair and an especially interesting one for a vintage lover. I'm sure you know the Audrey-Hepburn-and-Gregory-Peck-movie 'Roman Holiday' or - as they say in Italy: 'Vacanze Romane'? If you don't - this is a must-see! It is so very typical for the 1950's - fashion and style and all. But there is something special for us Germans in it - Italy was 'our' favourite country for the summer holidays in the 1950's and 60's.
A very short view back in history: WWII was over, the years of hunger and cold were over, and the younger people were starving for input from other countries. No singer without an interesting foreign accent, no moviestar without scandinavian or southern European looks on the Radio or the upcoming TV. Everything and everyone coming from abroad seemed to be so very fascinating in Munich, Hamburg or Berlin! And the 'Wirtschaftswunder' began - means, people could afford to buy a motor scooter or even a little car - and the cars in those years were unbelievable small. I don't want to write an essay about Oldtimers here - but try and have a look on a Goggomobil or a Lloyd and you know what I mean - and it's worth it!
So young couples or families took their cars, a tent - and started travelling. Imagine: there were no Pizzerias in Berlin, no Spaghetti or Lasagne on the dinner table - all this was new and exciting - and Italy had it all. Of course, not everybody could afford to travel. In my own big, big family, I remember an aunt that travelled to Italy each and every summer for years and sent postcards to her unluckier relatives at home. My parents collected those Cards, and here are some - right from the mid century ;) :

So there is something special with Italy and the 50's - and it's still fascinating. If you are a vintage lover, forget Porta Portese (the junk market that is mentioned in each and every guidebook about Rome) and discover vintage Rome on your own - it's still there!

shop front :)
the 'cinquecento' was built from 1957 till 1975 - and he's still going (if he's not parking)
the 'Vespa' was born in 1946 - an all-time-beauty

an antique shop. this one is closed for the night, but at daytime the doors are open, and usually there is a little repair shop beside it, where you can watch how all these antique beauties are restored.

the brass plate beside the door at the ground floor says that there is a tailor on first floor. So look at the window above. Time stood still, didn't it?. And have a look at the pic below: around the Spanish Steps you can find every famous designer you've ever heard of - but this one has a shop front that was absoutely 60's  - right up to the shoes, which you probably can't see clearly enough on the pic:

Yes, I paid a visit to Porta Portese. There was a lot of junk - hundreds of stalls with cheap clothing and other things that have nothing to do with vintage or antiques. But I found one with books. And magazines. And I bought as much as I could carry - vintage craft magazines from the 60's, you know. A lucky hit. But if you are not in the mood to pass by some kilometers of trash - maybe you want to skip it.
There still is enough to see. This is - Rome ....


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Typewriters - secret love

I love vintage things. Especially fashion. Mid century dresses are my favourites. So female, so beautiful - and so far from the Jeans-and-Shirt-style we are wearing on an ordinary working day.
To give you an impression: I chose this one for the day my daughter finished school:

But I'm not only this delicate creature. I have a love for more practical things, too. Typewriters, for example. Vintage mechanical typewriters.
The whole thing started when my daughter wanted a typewriter for her creative work. Writing on a typewriter makes one-of-a-kind things, directly, with pressure and ink and an imprint on a piece of paper. So we started searching for a typewriter. She stopped when she found the one she needed. I didn't stop. I was hooked. The thing is - I learned to type on one of these mechanical typewriters in an era when no one I knew ever thought of things like laptops. And when I say I learned to type I mean exactly that - I learned to use all my ten fingers as fast as possible on the keys, so we spent many, many hours together, the heavy mechanical typewriter my parents owned and I. But - no one told me that there where some outside that weren't boring beige or gruesome grey. But fiery red, blue, green or - imagine this! - two-coloured. How bright my Sunday mornings could have been had I known this! But it wasn't too late - I could still have a pretty coloured typewriter and try to type. So I started to collect them. And found some beauties. And some more. So I have to sell some from time to time. To make room for another one. Do you need an example? More than one? These are my all time favourites:

 And this is my latest find: A wonderful Halda, like new, even if it was made in the 50's. Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway used one of these during his stay in Europe. Not this one. It came to me from the original owner. It's perfect, isn't it?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Vintage everywhere - 80's knitwear 50's style - or 20's

The 80's are back. How is that I know that? Because the very young wear 80's sweaters and fancy about shoulder pads. They were born in a later decade. Most people my age are shivering at this thought. I don't. Well, I always loved the 80's. Imagine: I was young in those days and I still love the 80's. Okay - not necessarily the hairstyle. All this fuzzy hair around the head - no, not for me again. To my defence I have to say that I love most decade's fashion. Maybe that's because I have the historian's view. Fashion always reflects so many cultural and social aspects that every era is interesting enough.
Anyway - some time ago I started collecting 80's magazines. I already owned some, but when I browsed through these knitting magazines I fell in love with the sweaters again. The bold color-and-pattern mixtures and the craftmanship are astonishing. And I did remember that the 80's somehow revived the 50's (vintage is everywhere, always!) - have a look:


But what I didn't remember anymore were the 20's in here. Please be so kind and have a look at this pic - don't you see it, too? The hairstyle, the white, pleated skirt - this is pure Bonnie and Clyde or Great Gatsby or British Garden Party.

Anyway - the Sweaters. I love them. Still. Or again. And I hope to find the time to knit one before springtime is over.