Thursday, July 13, 2006


Well, today I just popped round the corner to buy a magazine and decided to take a peek in the crusty looking second hand 'dress agency' next to the fish and chip shop. I'd never been in there but I was in the mood for some kind of cheap, cheerful novelty item. I'd already spent a fair bit of time browsing in the local hardware store - hmm, sink plug chains, could be fashioned into interesting jewellery? That kind of mood.

The dress agency looks from the outside like a kind of house clearance place for clothes. Where relatives take granny's old drip dry polyester housecoats. Hanging from the metal grilles on the windows are shapeless unidentifiable garments, the same ones that are always there flapping in the breeze.

I went inside. I immediately understood WHY there are security grilles on the windows. I could not have been more surprised if I'd gone into the chippie next door to find Rick Stein behind the counter stirring a fish stew in a Le Creuset casserole dish. Hello vintage Chanel, hello vintage Valentino, Jean Muir, Gucci, even newer pieces by Prada, Alexander McQueen and Marni. But really hello how much vintage Chanel can there be here? The owner explained that the shop has been there for ninety years. Some of the shoes were (still in shock) perfect condition 50's Salvatore Ferragamo, my god and those big Gucci vanity cases. And just like Didier Ludot in Paris, a whole shelf of crocodile bags - no Kelly's though.

Unfortunately, as with the Rick Stein scenario where a portion of his fish stew would set you back about twenty two quid, even if it was served on a polystyrene plate in the chippie, I got the feeling I wasn't in for a bargain. There were no prices on anything. Shit. I thought I could get away with feigning ignorance as I was inadvertently sporting a 'disguise' - namely tracky bottoms and flip flops. I was just popping round the corner, ok?! But it must have been my manner of rifling, the hungry gleam in my eye and the amount of times I exclaimed 'but I've lived here for four years, I never knew it was here!' because a bag I picked up was suddenly priced at two hundred pounds. It was a beautiful, very old crocodile leather bag in perfect condition by an unknown label. (Obviously I would never buy new croc leather or fur.)

Even the shoes were pretty expensive for vintage. Yeah, I kind of just wanted a cheap fix. There cannot possibly be any passing trade here, they more than likely sell to other vintage dealers, and they know exactly what they're selling. You probably need to go in and say 'show me all your 1955 Chanel bags' (maybe I'm dreaming just a bit here) quite authoritatively and they'll scurry away into the back. I got a tantalising glimpse of 'the back' and I'm sure that's where all the best stuff is. My evil yet cunning plan is to befriend the owner, always wearing scuzzy clothes and giving nothing away as I rummage. Then one day the Chanel will be mine.

And I'm very sorry but I'm afraid if I told you where it is I'd have to kill you all.


Anonymous said...

ha ha ha disguised in "tracky bottoms"

Tracky bottoms-- sounds slightly racy-- or wait, a porn name that's Miss Tracky Bottoms to you.

LOVED this discovery-- even if you can't buy anything right now-- isn't is sheer bliss to know it exists?

cosmicopia said...

I think you are relaying a dream or good though I almost want to get the train back to london and stalk you to find out where this lil gem is...without my wallet or I'd be evern poorer

eurobrat said...

Ooooooo. I'm going to be dreaming about this secret shop tonight...