>>>A trip down memory lane
Photo: Carlos Luján

A trip down memory lane

Street markets, vintage shops and restaurants – recreations of times gone by where Time Machine orphans can feel at home again.
L
ngland’s young people are thronging to Portobello Road to buy military uniforms and handmade delicate Edwardian dresses, and, what’s more, they wear them in public”, an editorial in The New York Times announced in 1967. For the consumer society following the Second World War, second-hand was a synonym for poverty. But for London’s young Mods and San Francisco’s hippies, second-hand was a way of creating an individual identity. The music and social movements of the 60s and 70s made second-hand clothes stylish.
The Laura Gonzalez decor for the Marguerita pizzeria is not the typical style of an Italian restaurant.
Photo: Carlos Luján

Street markets for vintage lovers

For the past 15 years, Frock Me! Vintage Fair, held in Chelsea Old Town Hall, has specialised in fashionable dresses from the 20s to the 50s. Cabbages&Frocks Market in St. Marylebone Church on Saturdays, and Brick Lane on Sundays are two more markets for vintage seekers.

Since then, the young and the not so young visit the London markets of Portobello, Spitalfields or Camden in search of second-hand goods from earlier decades. Actors and singers are seen shopping in New York Vintage, Le Gioie de Bortolo in Venice – specialised in Italian jewellery -, and Absolute Vintage or Retromania in London. The popularity and prestige of vintage clothes, accessories and decorative elements have made them scarce and expensive. So much so that vintage style has transformed into retro or repro, that is, new products imitating styles from the past.
For those wanting to emulate the holiday style of the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts, a reservation at The Breakers Palm Springs takes some beating. Built in 1896, it was reconstructed in the 1930s in the style of the Renaissance Medici Palace in Florence. It preserves the original ceilings painted by Italian artists and the gardens and fountains. Swimming pools have been added with views to the ocean and a bar in the style of St. Tropez. Vintage on top of vintage!
But if a hotel from the past isn’t available, it’s always possible to invent one. New hotels – the Hotel Paradis in Paris or The Siam Hotel in Bangkok – are recreating the feel of earlier decades to differentiate themselves from the uniform functionality of so many others. For those with nostalgia for the video games of yesteryear, there is a hotel specially designed for them in Amsterdam. Arcade Hotel has installed video games and game consoles from the last three decades, from Atari to Gameboy, and ,in the hall, racing car simulators and Donkey Kong and Pacman arcade machines.
The second-hand street markets in London, Rome, Paris or Madrid are among the most popular leisure activities on offer.
Photo: Carlos Luján
The vintage chic look also dominates in restaurants and cafés around the world. Retro cracked walls, leather Chesterfield sofas, rustic wood tables and vintage industrial lamps are to be seen from Copenhagen to Buenos Aires. The style suits well recent trends in organic food and market produce. Indeed, Il Tavolo Verde in Madrid sells as much organic coffee as it does furniture.
The Raleigh Hotel in Miami retains the glamour of the 50s.
Marguerita St. Germain is not a typical Italian restaurant. It is a combination of pub and meat store for pizza lovers in Paris. And among Moscow’s best known venues, Restaurant Fahrenheit is one of the favourites. There’s nostalgia for the slower-paced times of the past, when possessions were cared for and passed onto the next generation, in contrast to the ever-faster built-in obselescence of today’s world.

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