16 March 2010

APRIL - Vintage Fashion & Textile Issue

Find out more about the forthcoming 'Vintage Fashion & Textiles' issue on my 'Vintage Rags' blog by clicking here:

12 March 2010

The forthcoming April issue features 'Vintage Fashion & Textiles'

A preview of one of the subjects included within the forthcoming April issue of antiquexplorer. See last month's issue online at: www.antiquexplorer.com


Those old enough to remember the 1950s might look at the textile designs which were then being created and think, “Well, it wasn’t like that in our house!” In the 1950s Britain was a country still recovering from WW2; institutions such as the National Health Service were in their infancy; most people considered themselves fortunate if they had a roof over their heads.

But change was in the air. A festival was to take place on London’s South Bank – the Festival of Britain – not only to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Great Exhibition of 1851 but also to promote Britain’s
achievements in design, science and technology. “After dull and drab wartime furnishings,” says Madeleine Marsh, a writer specializing in fine and decorative arts, “lust for colour and pattern expressed itself in every media, from mix-and-match tableware to curtains emulating abstract paintings. Designers experimented with the latest technology to create innovative forms: chairs floated on spidery metal legs, table tops were shaped like amoebae, and lights looked like flying saucers.”

Furthermore, according to Marsh, “The home owner who would never have hung an abstract painting on the wall was nevertheless happy to invest in colourful, contemporary curtains.” Indeed, ‘contemporary’ was the buzz word. “Probably everyone’s boredom with wartime dreariness and lack of variety helped the establishment of this new and gayer trend,” explained textile designer Lucienne Day (b.1917) in 1957. And it was into this new, ‘anything goes’ atmosphere that Tristram Hull pitched himself.
“The origins of Hull Traders are as curious as its name,” says Lesley Jackson in her book, Shirley Craven and Hull TradersArticle continues....
Thanks Karyn. Editor

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10 March 2010

What we call ‘retro’ today was referred to as ‘contemporary’ in the 1950s.

Utility furniture was made during the war years to help those in desperate need for furniture, such as newly weds and families whose homes had been destroyed by the bombing. Some of the pieces looked plain and institutional, but the majority of it was simple and elegant. Utility was also significantly better than furniture most people could have bought before the war! 
  In 1951, public appreciation of modern design had a huge boost when the Festival of Britain opened. When King George VI officially opened the proceedings on 3rd May, it was a bright beacon of light, which promised a much better future. 
The Festival of Britain was a great marketing exercise for modern design and ‘contemporary’ emerged as the buzzword to describe modern furniture of the time. 
  Utility was modern and functional, where as contemporary was utility with attitude! Characterised by a lively use of colour, new materials, humour and lightness of structure, it appeared a dramatic contrast to wartime drabness. 
  Within this issue, we’ve touched on both; the common denominator being the effects that war had on materials, design and functionality. We look at the Anglepoise – the ‘ideal blackout lamp’, the attraction of the factory and engineers work lights in today’s home; the trend setting, bent steel furniture of Ernest Race, to the fine British engineering used to make the iconic English Rose kitchen.
Next month we bring you ‘Fashion & Textiles’, to coincide with numerous forthcoming events across the region. Once again we take a look at stylish icons such as Audrey Hepburn, mover and shaker Shirley Craven and the Hull Traders, Elegance at its best and the vintage fashion movement; along with a host of recommended specialist textile dealers.
If we don’t already know about you, please do get in touch!

 To find out more about the current issue visit: www.antiquexplorer.com