Tuesday, June 15, 2010

SO NEAR, YET SO FAR...

We went to the crazy vintage shop near my house over the weekend. I can't tell you the name of it or where it is, but not because it's full of amazing secret treasures like '70s YSL, Valentino and Chanel (which it is) but because I want to say bad/fun things about it and I'm scared they'll track me down and kill me if they find out.

I first posted about this place a few years ago, when I stumbled through its door, curious about what this shabby looking dress agency might hold. By sheer dumb luck I was wearing crappy clothes, having just popped out to buy a Kitkat or something, which is imperative if you ever visit this place (wearing crappy clothes that is; it's up to you whether you buy a Kitkat in the nearby newsagents or not). The owner will appraise you with her well trained hawk eye and price anything you pick up based on her observations. Oh yes, they don't put prices on anything and they tend to inflate them to about double what the item would cost to buy new.

I haven't been there for a year or so because I got into a, shall we say, muddle with the owner about her coming to look at some clothes I was selling. She first pretended she wasn't interested, but I could see her eyes glimmering with greed. I was then instructed to show said garments to NO OTHER DEALERS OR CROOKS and if she found out I had shown them to anyone else the deal was OFF and she would find out because she knew everyone in the trade. She was to arrive at my house, appraise the garments, make her offer IN CASH and I had to accept it there and then - or the deal was OFF. She was extremely aggressive and exhibited what seemed like classic con artist traits, so I went away and thought about it and decided I didn't really want her in my house. I left her a pathetic little note breaking our appointment and was too scared to go in the shop again.

I have known people who have attempted to purchase hats or coats there and they have been foiled every time. I have never heard of anyone successfully purchasing something. It's quite frustrating because it hides some of the best wares of any designer vintage shop I've ever seen. At the weekend I went there with a friend and saw the same Missoni dress I had shown interest in three years ago and been told was £400. I didn't bother asking about it because the price would have roughly quadrupled in the intervening time due to inflation, overheads and me wearing Chloe sandals on my return visit. This dress is in the back room, where all the really good stuff is. We're talking couture, we're talking Valentino, we're talking LV trunks that are 80 years old, all tantalisingly just out of reach: i.e. they are displayed in a shop but you have no chance of buying them, ever.

Now we just go there for sport, like the other shop in the hood which is almost exactly like the Local Shop in Royston Vasey. I might tell you about that one. It sells such a random assortment of things such as porcelain British Bulldog figurines, tomato plants, birthday cards...it's hard to explain, it sells everything. My friend was saying if you asked them if they had any nuclear warheads they'd probably just pop out the back and get one. Actually if there's some totally arbitrary item you can't find anywhere or that they stopped making in 1953, this shop probably has it in stock, so it's actually very useful. Although it is VERY ODD in there, I truly hope the influx of yummy mummies to the hood doesn't force it out of business with their insatiable demands that every local business provide fairtrade cappuccinos. I think this is why I suddenly want to write little odes to the hood - if it does attain complete gentrification, and the ratio of investment bankers and weekend only hipsters becomes higher than the ratio of actual working artists living here (thanks, East London Line!) then it may be time for Lola and I to pack our suitcases (Lola's has polka dots) and wave goodbye....

7 comments:

Rose said...

does this woman not need to make money though or does she just collect these things for sport and to tease people with?

think you were very right not to have her in your house- sounds down right scary to me- scary with taste though

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Rose - I think she's just crazed with greed! Whatever you buy she'll probably think she could have got more so she'd rather not let you have it. The shop has been there for nearly 100 years in the same family so I expect she doesn't need the dosh anymore. But it is so fun to go in there (unless you see something you really like!)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I see my dumb question "how does this woman earn her living then?" has already been answered. What can I say then? Well done, I'd never let a person like that enter my house either. For me, style is also about kindness, but maybe I'm very naive.
xxx
Mia

July Stars said...

Great story, I smiled a lot while reading it!!!!!

If Jane said...

you are a marvelous raconteuse!
this was like a seinfeld episode...he is like the soup nazi's cousin...for clothes...

anyway...yeah dealing with rats with gold teeth can be quite bothersome...although...geez i would love to challenge her! ;)

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Mia - Also, I suppose once in a while someone weak or stupid/rich enough must allow themselves to be bullied into paying £900 for a D&G T shirt or something from her!

No, not naive - kind, which proves your theory!

JS - thanks, I'm glad it made you smile...

If Jane - yeah, she's the couture Nazi!

Vanessa Moore said...

Hahaha!!! Love it!! You have such a way of telling stories!! What a WEIRDO this one!! If she had ended up coming to your house, Lola probably would of hissed her. Next time I'm around I want to have a peek :-)