Monday, 28 June 2010

Swell exhibitionist

Good news, everyone - the Swell Vintage window display is now up at the wonderful Oxfam in Dalston!

Drum roll, please...

That's the window view. And now for the details...let me break it down:

Trench coat - Christian Dior
Suit - Yves Saint Laurent
Tie - Zara
Shirt - Reiss
(All sourced from Oxfam Dalston)

Dress - Natasha Bailie Vintage
Necklace - Swell Vintage
Hat - Oxfam Dalston

Fur hat - Oxfam Dalston
Necklace - Swell Vintage
Dress - Retro Chick
Cape - Oxfam Dalston
Bracelet - Swell Vintage

Hat - Natasha Bailie Vintage
Dress - Vintage, donated by me!
Handbag - Oxfam Dalston
Beads - Oxfam Dalston

What do you think? I've never done a window display before, but it was a lot of fun and hard work in equal measures! I'd really like your feedback, so please let me know.

All I really know for sure is that I couldn't have done it without the help of my dear friend and blogger extraordinaire, Fiona of Save Our Shoes. Thank you so much, Fiona. You are my ROCK. I'd also like to thank the amazing people of Oxfam Dalston, especially Kevin and Steve, for letting me into their window and for being so supportive! They work insanely hard for a brilliant cause, so you should probably follow them on Twitter.

So if you happen to be in the area and you like what you see, why not pop into Oxfam in Dalston from Monday 5th July and see if you can bag a bargain? I'll fight you for the Dior!

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Monday, 21 June 2010

Swell Vintage loves Oxfam

As any vintage lover will tell you, one of the best places to bag an old school bargain is a charity shop. London is home of some of the UK's very best, and I am extremely fortunate to live just around the corner from the increasingly popular and highly praised Oxfam in Dalston.

One of the things I love about Oxfam Dalston is that it has a unique identity despite being part of a "chain", which embraces and celebrates the surrounding Hackney community and its residents. So when they kindly offered me the opportunity to put together an exhibition for their coveted front window space, needless to say I hopped, skipped and jumped at the chance. I'll be putting up my exhibition bright and early on Monday 28th June.

Oxfam Dalston has had some awesome window displays as of late, including an absolutely cracking one from the visual merchandising girls of Harrods:

Photo courtesy of Dalson Oxfam's blog

The pressure is on, so for the theme I've decided to stick to what I know - vintage. To give the window a sexier, more stylish feel, I'm going with a Mad Men inspired look (no Joan-shaped mannequins I'm afraid though. Sigh...).

Not only will the exhibition feature a couple of official one-of-a-kind Swell Vintage jewellery pieces, but it will also include some very kind donations from some of my favourite vintage sellers - the love of my life, Natasha Bailie, the ever so wonderful Retro Chick and the very brilliant Love Miss Daisy. If you're in the market for some high quality vintage, check out their shops right now! You won't be disappointed.

Today Kevin, one of the brains behind the Dalston Oxfam operation, kindly let me into the basement of the shop to have a rummage through the stock to pick out any extra items I'd like to use. It was absolutely incredible down there! A veritable Aladdin's cave of treasures and wonderment, filled with every possible time of donation you could ever imagine. I don't want to ruin the surprise of what my exhibition will look like, but here are a few photos from behind the scenes to give you a sneaky peek:

Some of the lovely donations from Natasha Bailie and Retro Chick.

Found in the basement - a mint condition men's Christian Dior trench coat

Bargainous brogue beauties

A gorgeous Yves Saint Laurent suit!

A little something I'm putting together...

That's all you're getting for now, folks! Like a drug pusher, the first taste is free, but you'll have to wait till the big day to see more! If you live in London, I highly recommend you pop into Dalston Oxfam. There are so many more gems in there at insanely low prices! Not only that, but the staff are lovely too. What more could you ask?

In other news, you know that Motorola competition I mentioned in my last post? Well, in a moment of pure insanity I decided to enter! If you have a spare couple of seconds, I'd be extremely grateful if you could vote for my geeky face. I doubt I'll win, but it's worth a go!

Thank you for reading, and hopefully I'll see you on 28th June!

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Saturday, 12 June 2010

Jewellery loving

As a "jewellery maker", it's always nice to observe the work of other people who are far more talented than myself! Earlier this week I was lucky enough to attend an event at EC One, a gorgeous jewellery boutique on Exmouth Market, to celebrate the fine work of Nicholas King and Fiona Paxton.

Apologies for my terrible photos! In my defence, I don't think I could capture the true beauty of their pieces on film anyway...and yes, I'm a terrible suck up. Both Nicholas King and Fiona Paxton have such bold styles, but each brings a totally different flavour to their work.

King's chunky cuffs have been published all over the place, and it's easy to see why! This Diamante Knot Cuff is absolutely huge, and is totally worth the extra weight.

Image courtesy of

My dear friend Fiona of Save Our Shoes even treated herself to these rave-tastic bangles. The lovely lady from EC One assured us they also glow under black light - what more could you want for your wrists?

Fiona Paxton's jewellery evoke a strong glamazon-warrior feel that would make any outfit a show-stopper. Needless to say I was ever so jealous of Dolly, the shop's mannequin for getting to wear one!

Not only was the jewellery gorgeous, but I also had the pleasure to meet long-time Twitter buddy Alex of Alex Loves in the three-dimensional flesh! Meeting Twitter friends can be somewhat daunting at times, but Alex is just as charming and lovely in real life as she is online. If you haven't read her brilliant blog yet, I highly recommend that you do. You will fall in love with the things she loves!

The lovely Alex

In other news, my dear friends at Motorola are currently running a fantastic competition to find the new face for their super cool new phone, the Motorola FLIPOUT™ with MOTOBLUR™ technology! The theme is "Hip to be Square", so if you think you've got the perfect geek-chic style to front their campain, head over to and upload your photo right now! The public will judge the hippest, squarest and best photographs, and the selected winners will become one of the faces of the very hip and square Motorola FLIPOUT. The photoshoot will be styled by some pretty amazing bloggers (names to be revealed soooon), so it should be a lot of fun.

That's all for now, folks! I have something VERY exciting to tell you soon, so watch this space.

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Sunday, 6 June 2010

Fashion confusion and other animals

One sunny day last week, I walked into my office wearing my brand new cream lace jacket. I like my lace jacket. It's light, dreamy and romantic, not to mention very practical considering England's infamous skitzophrenic weather. As an old lady trapped in the body of a young girl, the very idea of wearing lace sends me to a softly-lit ethereal dreamland, filled with hazy pinks and elegant muted tones.

My lace jacket (from River Island, in case you're wondering)

As soon as I near my desk, my colleague Luke approaches.

"Frankie, my Nan called." He said.
"Oh yeah?" I reply, feigning interest.
"Yeah...she wants her curtains back."

I couldn't believe it! I'd just arrived at work. I'd been there a grand total of three seconds, and already I was being faced with outfit jibes.

I don't know about you, but I have been the victim of what I like to call "fashion confusion" on a number of occasions. There have been several instances where I have met up with friends, colleagues and even members of my own family, and they simply haven't understood what I'm wearing and why I am wearing it. "What's to understand?" I frequently respond. "I just wear things that I like."

I'm sure I'm not alone in this, so I'm opening up my blogger's heart to you, dear reader. Have you been the victim of "fashion confusion"? Are you regularly met with grimaces of horror at your outfit choices? I want to hear about it. As the dashingly handsome Pharrell said on the last episode of Frock Me, "Worry about the comments later. And by the way, if they're commenting on you, they are watching you". Wise words indeed.

Together we can rise up and fight for fashion open mindedness!

Who's with me?

Much love,

Swell Vintage