Anya Ziourova, the Fashion Director of Russian Tatler and darling of the fashion blogs did not own a single piece of vintage clothing until a month ago. She said she simply does not have a knack for it, and regretfully so. “You have to have some kind of talent to find good vintage. I wouldn’t know where to start. I need someone to teach me.” And so she came knocking on the right door. Tales of Endearment gave her the royal shopping treatment on a sunny day in London and not only did Anya walk away with a fresh and insightful appreciation for vintage but also with two gorgeous pieces that will stay in her wardrobe longer than any of the designer outfits she so gracefully wears. Or so I hope.
I took Anya to Merchant Archive on Kilburne Lane in St. Johns Wood, my old neighborhood. Sophie, the owner offered to open to store for us on this special occasion. It’s a charming place with an antique tiled floor and a mossy backyard. The merchandise is an interesting mix of contemporary clothing such as denim and t-shirts and a small but very special selection of vintage, mostly beginning to mid-20th century. They also have an e-shop. Anya tried on a few unique pieces (a Genny tuxedo dress, a Victorian hand printed top) before setting her heart on a cream crepe 1940’s asymmetric top and a sea foam 1930’s velvet gown. “I can wear the top during fashion week or for work,” she beamed. “And the gown is perfect for a wedding or garden parties!” I was very proud of my pupil.
Contrary to what the name might suggest Shikasuki has nothing to do with Japan. Except maybe for the many tourists that cross the door step. Shikasuki is a colorful vintage store on two floors situated on a quiet, residential road in Primrose Hill. The owner, Rachel Sheridan Ducker, prides herself for being the first in London to create an interior that’s white, bright and modern, rather than stuffy, dusty and smelling like moth balls. She stocks mostly clothes, accessories, jewelry and shoes from the 1950’s an up but also vintage-inspired toys, bags and post cards. Downstairs Anya and I found a pink and black 80’s dress and paired it with a fish necklace. Near the cash register we also found a rather large collection of Ossie Clarke pieces. Anya tried a white two-piece suit and paired it with a cupcake!