Vintage Inspired Wedding Dresses at Fairytale London

Our attention was drawn to some beautiful vintage-inspired wedding dresses and so of course we had to pop by Fairytale London in Fulham to find more:

Vintage inspired Clarisa, a beautiful crepe stain ivory wedding dress with its dropped waist and beadwork reminiscent of 1920s style

The vintage inspired wedding dress Clarisa, at Fairytale London

As you probably already know, we just love 20′s fashion here at Decades of Elegance – and actually have a whole post coming up about the era – so no wonder that this beautiful vintage-inspired dress immediately caught our attention.

Clarisa is a crepe stain ivory dream of a dress with a dropped waist – one of the most prominent features of 1920′s style.  During the Roaring Twenties high fashion became attainable for all classes of society, having previously only been available to the richer ladies.  Flapper Dresses with their dropped waists became the height of fashion and women made them at home by sowing two pieces of fabric together on the sides.  This was a beautifully feminine style so different from the earlier fashion with all kinds of corsets and crinolines!  The 20′s style is so clearly reflected in the Clarisa design, and together with the exquisite beadwork this dress radiates just the right kind of understated elegance.

Fairytale Wedding Dresses 1950s Malta wedding dress Rosa Clará Two collection, beaded and made from stunning lace.

The Malta wedding dress from the Rosa Clará Two collection, at Fairytale London

I suspect that some of you fabulous vintage lovers will simply be in awe of this 1950′s inspired dress, Malta, from the Rosa Clará Two collection.  It gives prominences to the time-typical full skirt, marked waist and of course the ever so popular tea-length, also known as “ballerina” or “cocktail”.

It also features some beautiful lace – another typical 50′s feature, as lace manufacturing had been halted during World War II and once it became available again the demand for it was of course enormous.  This dress is also beautifully beaded and I can see it being worn to a lovely spring or summer wedding.  Which one is your favourite dear?

You will find Fairytale London on 6 Fulham High Street, London, SW6 3LQ.

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Easter Sweetness

Hello my lovely, I am off to Dubai for a long weekend and wanted to wish you a wonderful Easter!

Yellow rose south africa

Happy Easter!

If you find yourself with a lot of spare time on your hands I have a few suggestions of what to do:

1.  Help me figure out what old movie the photo below is from – I took the photo at Fiffi’s at the Stockholm Vintage Fair but forgot to check where it is from.

2. Rummage through your jewellery collection and organise it beautifully!  Silver in one place, gold in another and  pearls kept away from the rest so that they don’t get scratched.  Also keep you party jewellery separate from your every day jewellery, to help you find the right pieces easily.

3. Have a look through this blog for birthday present ideas / hairstyle inspiration or just the beauty of escaping the every day world for diamonds, fine art and glorious tips on where to go shopping for antiques and vintage.

Happy Easter and I promise to bring you some Dubai sparkle very soon!

Cinema Lobby Pictures, Fiffi's Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

Cinema Lobby Pictures at Fiffi’s Vintage & Kuriosa - Vintagemässan i Stockholm

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Fiffi’s Vintage & Kuriosa at Vintagemässan in Stockholm

Today’s post is another treat especially for you Sweden-based readers, as we are visiting the stall of Fiffi’s Vintage & Kuriosa at Vintagemässan in Stockholm:

Fiffi's Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

Fiffi’s Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

Their collection contained everything from old cinema posters to accessories and dresses…  It was all so beautifully presented as well, which could be why people kept flocking around their stall at all times during the vintage fair.  I had to be very quick with my camera to get photos of all the lovely pieces in between all these gorgeous ladies – all dressed up in vintage attire – browsing through the collection:

Fiffi's Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

We love this lady’s 1940′s inspired hairdo 

Fiffi's Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

Fiffi’s Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

Fiffi's Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

Fiffi’s Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

I love how their costume jewellery collection was displayed, with the draped pearls making you feel as if you had just stumbled into the dressing rooms of classic Hollywood movie stars like Vivien Leigh or Ava Gardner!

Ava Gardner, by the way, came out with the following famous quote in the 80′s:

“I either write the books or sell the jewels , and I’m kinda sentimental about the jewels.” 

She was speaking with a journalist about potentially writing an autobiography since she was in need of cash, and it was obviously a choice between writing a book about her life or selling her treasured jewellery.  She never ended up writing the autobiography – some people say that Frank Sinatra, her ex-husband, offered her financial support so that she wouldn’t reveal things about their life together.  A book was however written after her passing away, based on the conversations that she had with this journalist.  In case you are curious to read it, it is called  Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations, and it had the blessing of the Gardner estate, so you can read it with a good conscience!

Cinema Lobby Pictures, Fiffi's Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

Cinema Lobby Pictures at Fiffi’s Vintage & Kuriosa

Cinema Lobby Pictures, Fiffi's Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

Cinema Lobby Pictures, Fiffi’s Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

My dear sister was looking through an amazing collection of old cinema lobby posters – for a mere 150kr/each (ca. £15).  I would love to have a couple of these in my house one day, maybe in the hallway as the first thing you see when you enter.  The ones that I choose would obviously have to feature some old glamorous actresses all dressed up in jewellery:

Cinema Lobby Pictures, Fiffi's Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

Cinema Lobby Pictures, Fiffi’s Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

Fiffi’s also featured some gorgeous vintage frocks, and I happen to know that they have quite a few up for sale on their website: Fiffi’s Vintage & Kuriosa - for a very reasonable penny.

Fiffi's Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

Fiffi’s Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

Fiffi's Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

Fiffi’s Vintage & Kuriosa, Vintagemässan i Stockholm

At Fiffi’s I also found out about this very interesting Vintage Fair which is coming up the last weekend on May, so keep an eye on this space.  The fair might in fact end up featuring one of the rare Decades of Elegance appearances, so I will let you know as soon as I know more!

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A Fabergé Easter treat!

Happy Friday my dear!

As you may have noticed, the blog posts this week have been such a whirlwind and not posted on the right days at all – we had Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (and now Friday) posts, instead of the usual Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg at Wartski in Mayfair

From one of our most exciting posts to date: Found! The Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg

Well, today’s post is really just to remind you once again of this extraordinary exhibition next week, where the newly found Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg will be in display for four days.  As you might remember from yesterday’s post (Found! The Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg) it was last seen in public 112 years ago.  After Thursday next week, it will go into a private collection of someone very lucky, and who knows when it will be seen in public next time.

You can see the Fabergé exhibition – which so perfectly coincides with Easter! – at Wartski, 14 Grafton Street, London W1S 4DE on 14th-17th April from 9:30am to 5pm.  

Entrance is free but queues are expected.   

Wartski, 14 Grafton Street, London, W1S 4DE

Wartski, 14 Grafton Street, London, W1S 4DE

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Found! The Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg

The Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg at Wartski in Mayfair

The Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg at Wartski in Mayfair

We are embarking on such an exciting journey today, as we are getting an exclusive preview of the Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg at Court Jewellers Wartski in Mayfair.  Let’s start out by travelling back in time, to St Petersburg in March 1902 and the Von Dervis Mansion exhibition of the Russian Imperial Family’s Fabergé collection.  This is the last time that the Third Imperial Egg will be seen in public for 112 years:

The Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg when last exhibited, St Petersburg, March 1902

To the far left you can see the Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg when last exhibited in St Petersburg, March 1902

Easter is the most important of all Russian Orthodox festivals and exchanging Easter eggs is a long-established tradition.  In 1887 Alexander III Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russians, decided to give this Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg to his wife Empress Maria Feodorovna as a token of love.  We can only imagine how excited she must have been to receive such an exquisite and beautifully crafted piece, also containing a Vacheron Constantin watch:  

The Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg at Wartski's in Mayfair

The Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg at Wartski’s in Mayfair

Carl Fabergé was the goldsmith of the Tsars and he created fifty of these elaborate Easter eggs for Alexander III and Nicholas II, from 1885 to 1916.  Later, when the Imperial Fabergé eggs had become icons, its creator produced a number of lesser eggs in homage to those made for the Tsars – known as non-Imperial eggs.

Empress Maria Feodorovna

The walls at Wartski are beautifully draped with old photos of the protagonists in this fascinating tale.  Above: Empress Maria Feodorovna

As you can probably imagine, there was quite some turmoil during the Russian revolution and the Bolsheviks managed to confiscate the Egg from the Empress.  The last record that the world had of the Egg was in Moscow in 1922, when the Soviets decided to sell it as part of their policy of turning ‘Treasures into Tractors’.  No one knew where it had gone to after this and it is was feared that it had been melted for its gold – and lost forever.

Parke Bernet Catalogue featuring the Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg

Parke-Bernet Catalogue featuring the Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg

However, in 2011 Fabergé researchers discovered that the Third Imperial Egg survived the revolution, when it was discovered in an old Parke-Bernet catalogue:

Parke Bernet Catalogue featuring the Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg

Parke Bernet Catalogue featuring the Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg

It had gone unrecognised at an auction on Madison Avenue, New York on 7th March 1964, and sold as a ‘Gold watch in egg form case’ for $2,450 (£875 at the time).  Across the world this discovery started a race to discover the whereabouts of the egg, which was now worth tens of millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, in the Mid-West of America, the Egg was bought at a bric-a-brac market by a gentleman living a modest life and trying to make extra money by buying gold and selling it for its scrap metal value.  When he spotted the egg, he thought he could make an easy $500, although they had to pay $14,000 for its scrap metal value. But what had worked on many occasions, did not work this time. He had overestimated its worth and couldn’t sell it. No one spotted its potential and luckily no one offered more than the owner had paid for it, hence it was saved from the melting pot. The egg has several scratches on it where the metal was tested for its gold content.

The Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg at Wartski in Mayfair

The Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg at Wartski in Mayfair

What happened then is best described by Kieran McCarthy, Director of Wartski - the London based Royal Warrant holding experts on the work of Carl Fabergé:

The egg became a financial burden to its unknowing owner.  One evening in despair the owner tapped ‘Egg’ and ‘Vacheron Constantin’ into Google and a Telegraph article regarding the egg’s survival appeared quoting Kieran McCarthy.  Recognising his egg in the article the owner was unable to sleep for days.  He got on a plane to London to find Kieran and to show him images of the egg.  Kieran was left speechless by the images and was almost certain the lost egg had been found, but to confirm its identity and ensure it was not a very clever fake, he travelled to the US.  When he arrived in a small town in the Mid-West, he was shown into the kitchen of the owner’s home and presented with the egg, which was slightly smaller than the large cupcake positioned next to it.  After an examination he confirmed that it was indeed the lost Imperial treasure.  It had travelled from the hands of an Empress in the grandeur of Imperial St. Petersburg to a scrap metal dealer in modern day America.  Wartski acquired the egg for a private collector, making the finder an art historical lottery winner, receiving multiple millions of dollars per centimetre of egg.

The Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg at Wartski in Mayfair

Kieran McCarthy, director of Wartski, demonstrating the Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg Tripod

During the viewing yesterday Kieran McCarthy told us all about the extraordinary details of the jewelled and and ridged yellow gold Egg.  Although it has the most beautiful reddish tint to it, it has been determined that it is made out of 14 karat yellow gold.  We also had a close look at the original tripod with its intricate lion paw feet, coloured gold garlands, cabochon blue sapphires and rose diamond set bows:

The Tripod of the Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg with its lion paws at Wartski in Mayfair

I just adore these little lion paws on the tripod of the Third Easter Egg!

The lady’s watch inside the Egg by Vacheron Constantin has the most beautiful white enamel dial and the gold hands are diamond set.  And may I just proudly add that it was made by August Holmström, Fabergé’s Finnish and Russian Chief-Jeweller!

The Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg at Wartski in Mayfair

The Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg exhibition – 14-17 April at Wartski on 14 Grafton Street, Mayfair

So now my dear ladies and gentlemen, you have the opportunity to see this extraordinary piece of history, since the new owner has so kindly agreed to let the public view it for four days next week.  The exhibition venue has been draped in the most fascinating old photos of all the protagonists in this tale, so visiting is just such a treat!

The exhibition so perfectly coincides with Easter and you can see it at Wartski, 14 Grafton Street, London W1S 4DE on 14th-17th April from 9:30am to 5pm.  Entrance is free but queues are expected.   

See the Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg from the 14th to 17th April 2014 at Wartski, 14 Grafton Street, London W1S 4DE

See the Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg from the 14th to 17th April 2014 at Wartski, 14 Grafton Street, London W1S 4DE

… and the exhibition takes place right next to Fabergé, so why not pop by there to see some more of these extraordinary designs:

Fabergé Shop on Grafton Street - See the Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg from the 14th to 17th April 2014 at Wartski, 14 Grafton Street, London W1S 4DE

The Fabergé Shop on Grafton Street, right next doors to the exhibition of the Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg

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Tidningen Swing / The Magazine Swing

Today’s post is mostly aimed at our Swedish speaking readers, since this lovely magazine Swing is written in Swedish.  If you English speaking ladies and gents find it interesting maybe we can convince them to create an English version as well!

At Vintagemässan, the Vintage Fair in Stockholm on Sunday, I met a lovely lady in full vintage gear who presented this exciting new vintage inspired magazine to me: Swing.

Tidningen Swing, 1920tals håruppsättning, 1920s hairdo

Vintage hairstyle inspiration in Swing

I started reading it on the flight home and couldn’t put it down!  It is aimed at swing dancers as well as the culture around it, and you will get to read about the history of dance, interviews with people involved in the swing world etc. etc.

Frankie Manning and his son Chazz Young during a performance

Frankie Manning and his son Chazz Young during a performance – from an interview with Chazz Young

In issue nr 4 which I managed to get my hands on there is a fascinating interview with Chazz Young, the son of legendary Frankie Manning who was by many seen as one of the founding fathers of the Lindy Hop.  If you are just as clueless as I was when it comes to lindy hop, I would recommend that you do a quick search on Youtube; it is a style of dancing that I am sure you will recognise, and the moves are just incredible!

All you Swedish speaking sweethearts, do pop by Tidningen Swing’s website to find out a bit more!

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Our second interview in Tribe Magazine

Hello my dear, I am back from a glorious Sweden and have tons of fabulous blog posts coming up!  I wasn’t able to update the blog yesterday because of some IT problems, but I think that quite a few of you saw our Facebook-notification about the second instalment of Tribe Magazine’s interview with Decades of Elegance!  The interview can be found here:

While back in Sweden I also met up with another blogger, Nadja Helminen Mamamini, who writes for Cover Kids.  On the blog she invites into her world of gorgeous Scandinavian style, with a focus on children’s’ wear.  She so kindly looked after a couple of my vintage jewellery pieces and even featured the citrine cocktail ring on her blog, which was very exciting!  I will see if I can find a link to that post – and I am now very pleased to have the pieces back in our collection:

Vintage Citrine Cocktail Ring ca 1950s

Vintage Citrine Cocktail Ring – kept in an Iittala Vitriini which I know that you can find here in London at our favourite Skandium

Vintage Citrine Cocktail Ring ca 1950s

Vintage Citrine Cocktail Ring ca 1950s

Vintage Silver Rings

Vintage Silver Rings – you might remember the post Knitted Gloves and Silver Rings where they first appeared?

So we have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to the Vintage Fair in Stockholm this weekend, so do expect a few posts on that shortly!  They also have an amazing fair coming up in a castle at the beginning of June, which we are so excited about, and I promise to keep you posted on that one!

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Vintagemässan i Stockholm 6 April 2014 / Stockholm Vintage Fair 6 April 2014

A wonderful invitation has come through to us – this time in the beautiful city of Stockholm:

As you can probably guess, I will be popping over to Sweden for the weekend and I just can’t wait for Sunday to come around!  I am bringing my camera, my sister, my mum and a friend to this fabulous vintage fair, and they will all get to model some of the pieces that these amazing traders will be showcasing.

I was initially put in touch with the people organising the fair when my sister bought this stunning vintage maxi dress from the shop 59 Vintage Store in Stockholm:

Yellow vintage maxi dress from 59 Vintage Store in Stockholm

Yellow vintage maxi dress from 59 Vintage Store in Stockholm

Yellow vintage maxi dress

Yellow vintage maxi dress from 59 Vintage Store, Stockholm - especially love love love the back!

The fair is organised by Bakåt:Framåt, who also run Retromässan and Skivmässan in central Stockholm.  Since 2012 they have also been organising flea-markets at the weekends, and it is wonderful to see that Sommarloppisen at Trädgården in Skanstull, Strandloppisen in Hornstull and Cityloppisen on Drottninggatan attract 1000-2000 visitors every weekend!  For a good six months they have also been running Bruno Vintage Market on Götgatan (one of my favourite streets in Stockholm – an absolute must next time that you visit this beautiful city!)

So do pop over to their websites as they are advertising so many fabulous fairs – just to mention another one:

Keep an eye on this space my dear, as I will be reporting back from this exciting event next week, and to all of you lovely ones who happen to be in Stockholm this weekend: hope to see you at the fair on Sunday!

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April Diamond Dreaming

“She who from April dates her years,
Diamonds shall wear, lest bitter tears
For vain repentance flow; this stone,
Emblem of innocence, is known.”

Antique chandelier diamond earrings at Westleigh Antiques, Grays Antiques Market

Antique chandelier diamond earrings at Westleigh Antiques, Grays Antiques Market

The traditional birthstone for April is the Diamond, which is known to bring all you lovely April children balance, clarity and abundance in life.  It is of course a symbol of eternal love, and the word Diamond comes from the Greek work “adamas” meaning “hardest metal (1).  It is after all one of the hardest substances on the globe, dating back billions of years in time!

Rough diamonds are found in nature and skilled diamond cutters cut them into various forms, creating reflecting facets that lead to the incredible brilliancy that we know so well (2).  Diamonds are also though to increase a person’s energy, whether positive or negative, as well as the healing properties of other crystals.  In other words, if you wear a diamond with an amethyst, it will increase that crystal’s soothing and calming properties.

April Birthstone the Diamond, Antique Diamond Engagement Rings at Grays Antique Market

Diamonds are believed to increase the powers of other gemstones when worn together.  Antique diamond rings at John Joseph, Grays Antique Market

As always, we must look into the legends that surround this birthstone, and the Diamond doesn’t disappoint: ancient Hindus believed that diamonds were create by lightning bolts and they would attribute so much power to diamonds that they placed them in the eyes of statues of deities.  The Greeks believed that diamonds were tears of the Gods, splinters of stars and crystallised lightning (oh I do love that!).

So enjoy your birthday month all you lucky April born ones, and here is to hoping that a diamond crosses your path on your day!

Sources:

1. American Gem Society

2. Birthday Gems

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Russian Art Nouveau at Shapiro & Co

One of the first stands that I visited at the Chelsea Antiques Fair was Shapiro & Co – who usually resides at our favourite Grays Antique Market in Mayfair.  They showed me the most exquisite pieces of antique jewellery:

Shapiro & Co, Russian Gold, amethyst and Green Garnet Pendant 1908 - 17, £3750

Shapiro & Co, Russian Gold, Amethyst and Green Garnet Pendant 1908 – 17, £3750

Shapiro & Co, Russian Gold, amethyst and Green Garnet Pendant 1908 - 17, £3750

Shapiro & Co, Russian Gold, Amethyst and Green Garnet Pendant 1908 – 17, £3750

We have previously found out that the finest amethysts were historically found in Russia: February Amethyst Allure.  This pendant comes from Russia’s  and was made sometime in between 1908-17, during the exciting Art Nouveau (“New Art”) period.  In Russia designers took inspiration from folk tales and history during the Art Nouveau era, and Moscow and St. Petersburg were the two centres for this “Stil’ Modern”.  The appearance of St. Petersburg today was very much shaped by the Art Nouveau movement and you will find whole suburbs built in the distinctive style (1).

Antique Citrine Cocktail Ring, Shapiro & Co, Grays Antiques Market

Antique Citrine Cocktail Ring, Shapiro & Co

We also adore large cocktail rings here on the blog, so this stunning citrine ring simply had to be featured in the blog.  Ladies, how would you wear it?  As you know we have a similar ring in the Decades of Elegance collection and one of our models wore it with a blouse and pencil skirt when we took this photo a couple of summers ago:

Citrine cocktail ring, Decades of Elegance

Styling ideas for a citrine cocktail ring: a dressy blouse and a pencil skirt – and those perfectly painted nails!

You can visit Shapiro & Co at Grays Antique Market where they specialise in jewellery, silver, objects d’art, British arts and crafts and imperial Russian works of art, including Faberge pieces.  Shapiro & Co Stand 380, Gray’s Antiques Market, 58 Davies Street, London, W1K 5LP.

Sources:

(1) Art Nouveau Around the World

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