Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The Allure of the Lagoon of Venice

The Venetian art of glassblowing is one of the world’s longest standing traditions. At over 1000 years old this highly valued art form has intrigued and inspired many and has become renowned for colourful, elaborate glass objects of extreme high quality.

The name Murano comes from the island where the glass is produced. Situated in the lagoon of Venice artisans started moving to the island as early as 1204. Over the years many of the finest artisans gathered here and when the foundries within the city of were closed down to protect Venice from fire Murano became the epicentre of Venetian Glass.

With all the many artisans centred at Murano techniques evolved significantly to make Murano glass what it is today. Some of the most loved designers from Murano include Barovier & Toso, Venini, Pauly, and Seguso. Many say the most desirable Murano glass comes from the 1930s-1950s. Looking around Alfies it is hard not to notice the many variations of designs of Murano glass from different periods and designers.

Here are some beautiful Venetian glass wedding beads from Victor Caplin (above). In the stand next to Victor on the ground floor Geoffrey Robinson also has a large range of stunning Murano glass including a magnificant opalescent 1950s wave bowl by Ercole Barovier. The lemon yellow dish (below) is another brilliant example of the innovative design that makes Murano so desirable.

Another example to show the diversity of the artisans of Murano is this incredible chandelier offered by Stephen Hall (below). I think it represents one of the four seasons and there are another three designs to show the others (don't quote me on this though!)

To view a selection of the many beautiful Murano glass items available at Alfies click here.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Mad Men 4 Alfies: Part 2

By guest writer, Katie Lipton

Mad Men’s Grace Kelly-inspired evening wear, swing skirts and neck scarves are all complimented by fabulous jewellery. Button pearl earrings, signature pendants, costume jewellery and the classic office brooch are as much a part of the must-see programme as the fashion, hair styles and story lines. And of course every aspiring 50’s and 60’s fashionista must-have is the ubiquitous pearl strand.

Just like all of the props and extras in the show, jewellery has a role of its own… and it plays rather well! The first thing that comes to mind is Betty’s pearls. Those pearls are not simply decorative. Like everything on the show the pearls represent something, they represent Betty as a whole…or at least that’s what we are lead to believe.

The costume jewellery is truthfully fantastic. Those clip-ons make me wonder why I ever bothered getting my ears pierced, and those necklaces…don’t get me started!

Check out some of the jewellery here at Alfies to emulate that Mad Men style!

Opal and Sapphire Ring from Pari's Jewellery at Alfies

A vintage 1950's green paste necklace by Vendome from Tony Durante at Alfies

Fifites lucite glitter and shell bracelet with matching clip-on earrings from The Girl Can't Help It at Alfies

Monday, 16 March 2009

Mothers Day

I love my mum. She has been a great support in my adventures throughout life so I dedicate this blog to all lovely, supportive and beautiful mothers out there. At Alfies we have a wide selection of items for funky mums. Let mum have a night out, with our without dad, in this 1950s Kelly green bubble bottom cocktail dress from The Girl Can’t help It

The glamorous mum would love this stylish Victorian set containing a 15ct gold brooch and a pair of earrings garnished with seed pearls and garnet,

presented in their original fitted box, c.1860 from Marie Antiques.

For the more ethnic conscious mum, Victor Caplin offers matching bracelet and earrings

containing Mediterranean precious red coral, or mum may like to be gifted with impressive African textiles from Duncan Clarke such as this Yoruba women's wrapper cloth, early 20th century, woven from hand-spun indigo-dyed thread and magenta trans-Saharan silk with cotton.

For mums who like to sew and make clothes themselves, June Victor offers textiles, lace and these gorgeous Victorian cape fasteners, which mum can utilize to make a trendy cape.

Mums who want to have a cosy time, can enjoy this cute 19th Century Terracotta Victorian Ridgway & Abingdon cup & saucer and the Samuel Alcock jug to make a brew to soothe the stresses of daily life from W & L Antiques

Or if mum really feels she wants to splash out on a fabulous dinner, she can serve her sumptuous cooking with this blue and white 'Aster' patterned Minton Dinner Service

from Gloria Sinclair.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009


Alfies Antique Market has been nominated for the Smooth Radio Love London Awards 2009 with The Independent and ITV Tonight!!

We are currently in the top ten of the best independent shops in London. To win our category we must get as many of you lovely people to vote for us.

Every vote counts! Please support us and help us win this award!!!

You can vote by clicking here.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Mad Men 4 Alfies: Part 1

By guest writer, Katie Lipton

Since Mad Men hit our screens, I have to confess I've been completely hooked. I love the show's aesthetic, the structured, beautiful colour, perfect lines and shapely cuts. It makes me think that perhaps we’ve all got a little bit sloppy and I personally would like to get back to the creativity and experimental attitude from the mad men era.

In a five part series of posts, I'll be exploring the details that keep me addicted to watching Mad Men; the fashion, the jewellery, the hair styles, the interior design and of course the advertising. With the dealers at Alfies that specialize in the 1950s & 60s eras, it’s easy to be transformed into Betty or Joan, and get rid of our lazy naughties ways…oooh exciting!

The Fashion

It’s not just the dynamic characters and snappy, quick dialogue that make the life of the turbo-powered advertising agency Sterling Cooper so intriguing. It’s the clothes!

With style to die for, the characters in Mad Men look both charismatic and stylish. Don Draper looks impeccable, as does the entire male cast. The men are in plaid suits with all the sleek trimmings — tie pins, Jaeger-LeCoultre watches, fedoras, monogrammed dress shirts, and elegant slim ties — with their hair perfectly Brylcreemed into place.

Roger Sterling rocks the three piece suit in a way that makes him sexy, suave, and sophisticated while Pete Campbell’s blue plaid suits are a thing of pure beauty. What’s great about the male cast’s wardrobe is the way it reflects their character and personality in a way I just don’t feel a mans’ outfit does these days...has Mad Men stylist Janie Bryant turned Don Draper, Pete Campbell and Roger Sterling into the most fanciable men on television?

Whether it's Betty's cashmere casual or Joan's form-fitting office wear, the women always look simply gorgeous and utterly feminine. I also love how the outfits are juxtaposed against each other to further distinguish character. From Joan, the sexy secretary with the sumptuous hour glass figure (wouldn’t you kill for that waist!) who wears skirts and blouses that really make the most of her assets, to Betty, the picture perfect wife and suburban princess, who is always playing the part in her belted crinoline dresses and pearls, cigarette pants and perfect sweater or cardigan.

Their outfits all reflect a mischievous primness that designers today are increasingly trying to recreate. I say…why recreate when you can have the original vintage 50’s and 60’s clothing from Alfies?

From the top: the leading ladies of Mad Men looking stunning. A 1960s pink crystal embroidered chiffon dress from Persiflage at Alfies. 1950s Hawaiian Cotton green fish print circle dress with fish appliques and a 1950's Pink dropwaist soft folded dress, both from The Girl Can't Help It at Alfies.

From top left: 1950's felt hat with red parrot detail with green bakelite beak from Tin Tin Collectables. A pair of black patent and three different shades of blue stilettos and dark blue patent leather handbag both from June Victor. A set 1960's Gucci suitcases from Paolo Bonino. All from Alfies Antique Market.
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