Wednesday, 28 July 2010

A Fine Vintage

There is just something about vintage. Anyone can buy something new, but to own something steeped in history and nostalgia is something else. From old books faded by time and the fingers of decades of readers, to fabrics that hark back to bygone eras and conjur images of fifties balls or sixties bops, it is in vintage finds that you can fall upon something truly special.

If you love vintage, then there is no better place to visit than 'Nostalgia', Niki Fretwell's vintage emporium in Shepton Mallet. It may be a small shop, but an emporium it is nonetheless. Every surface of the shop is brimming with vintage delights, everything carefully sourced and selected at vintage fairs and shows. Niki helped me with the 'Vintage Pink' section of Love Pink, contributing beautiful photographs of the prettiest and pinkest amongst her extensive collection. Last week I paid her new shop a visit, glad to thank her for her help but also to spend some time rummaging through her wares.
In one corner of the shop stood an old wardrobe bursting with colour; vintage dresses, coats, skirts and shirts cried out to be worn. However it was the hat shelf that really stole my heart. From small pill box hats to flamboyant straw numbers adorned with flowers, these were hats for making a statement, and of course they had to be tried on. My favourite was the hot pink headband I tried that was covered in flowers. I felt quite the flower fairy and was close to buying before I realised that in reality the occasions for wearing such a headband would be limited.

Because that is the problem - we don't wear hats nearly enough in my opinion. A good hat is to me the epitome of style and confidence. Perhaps in fact I should have bought the headband and started a revival. Oh well, it just means another visit to the shop. What a shame.
The shop was an eclectic mix of goodies, such as these knitted cupcake pin cushions that look good enough to eat.
I loved this beautifully upholstered raspberry pink armchair and could imagine myself reclining happily in it with a cup of tea sipped from a chipped vintage cup.
Not only does Niki source the items she sells in her shops, but she makes her own creations using vintage ingredients. Beautifully embroidered cushions, bags made with black and white photographs and scraps of old fabrics, and my favourite - cloth dolls dressed in vintage.
I couldn't, of course, leave Nostalgia empty-handed. As soon as I walked in I spotted a fifties dress hanging up - turquoise with a black rose pattern, and, luckily - a size 10. I tried it on and never wanted to take it off. Fifties style dresses have to be my favourite - all that waist and femininity - and this one was in such a fabulous colour and pattern that it really was love. The dress is now hanging up in my room and makes me smile every time I look at it. And then I just couldn't resist a faded old book called 'The Kingdom of Love', poems about love that a helpless romantic like me can't help but fall for.

When I visited the shop it was pouring down with rain, puddles ran down the street and I was soaked through and cold. But Niki's Aladdin's cave brightened my day.

Or visit the shop yourself



  1. Hi Libby,
    Thank you for your kind post and the beautiful photographs that you have included. It was lovely to finally meet you in person and once again I congratulate you on 'Love Pink' and for your being accepted at uni. With your creative flare you are sure to go far!

    The turquoise dress was a dream on you and will always contrast well with all the pink accessories that I'm sure you must own!
    The BBC filming that is taking place on the Market Place in Shepton Mallet continues - the next era will be the 1950's...I'm so looking forward to seeing the fashions...and all the colour after the rather (understandably) drab 1940's wartime. You never know, maybe that will help with the vintage hat revival too!

    Wishing you all the best with your uni career,
    Niki x

  2. You look great in the headband! Might we see the dress too? Niki's shop is lovely, a real treasure.
    Hen x

  3. Thanks Hen... and my latest post is just for you :) x