I’m flying to New York to speak at Greenwich District Design Day of Design June 5: Mixing it Up:
The Art of Combining Antiques in Contemporary Spaces – and during my flight, I’ll be watching myself on United’s Inflight C-Suite Insights! My interview with journalist Nicole Sawyer premiered on United June 1 and will broadcast throughout June.
I’d love to see you in Greenwich! Tori Mellott, style editor of Traditional Home, along with designer Robert Passal and me – The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines – delve into the topic of #MakingAntiquesModern through mixing pieces from the past with contemporary spaces. It’s all about the mix!
The Antiques Diva Reveals Secrets to Buy Timeless Treasures on Exotic Travel Tours
If you’re not flying on United in June, watch my interview here, or read the transcript below.
Journalist Nicole Sawyer interviews Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva for C-Suite Insights:
Nicole: She’s one of the most powerful women in the antiques industry. Toma Clark Haines, the founder of The Antiques Diva, the world’s largest antiques touring company, makes collecting cool modern and sexy.
Toma: This is a classic Hermes bag. Nothing says style more than Hermes
Nicole: She takes travelers looking for unique statement pieces to exotic places like Bangkok and Bali.
Toma: What’s trending when it comes to jewelry believe it or not is brooches. In the past, you know grandma wore them up here on her lapel. Now we are shaking it up – for example, the dress I’m wearing. I may wear one right here on the waistband of my wrap dress. And you know what, brooches are not just for women. Men are wearing them.
Nicole: I met up with her at the Eden Roc hotel to find out how this girl from a small town in Oklahoma built an international empire and.
Toma: I’m going to take you antiquing and it is going to be antiquing like you have never seen.
Nicole: Hi, we’re here at the U.S. Antique Show in Miami and we’re going to show you how to mix timeless treasures with modern trends.
Nicole: Why do you think the average person hears the word antique and it’s so intimidating?
Toma: I think you’ve been taught with antiques that you go into your grandmother’s house and you’re not allowed to touch things. And people have become afraid. They think of antiques as stuffy, as old-fashioned, as breakable. The reality is if an 18th-century chair has survived 200 years, don’t you think that they can survive you too? When you have antiques, they have patina. If it has a little scratch on it the fact is it’s not going to affect the value. It’s adding to the character of the piece.
Nicole: Walk me through what it’s like taking a tour with The Antiques Diva.
Toma: We meet up with the client and then we assess what is it that you’re looking for and then we’re going to custom plan the route, saving you the most amount of time and also saving you money
Nicole: I wanted to get a vintage purse. What’s in style right now?
Toma: You want handbags that are bold statement pieces and vintage handbags from the 1950s often have that great shape, the oversized skill and fabulous patina on their leathers. On our tours, we translate, we negotiate and then we help you ship the items home sweet home. Shipping large things can be a challenge.
Nicole: So what’s your advice for shipping antiques?
Toma: Shipping often is one of the most expensive parts when you’re buying antiques internationally. However, if you’re an American buying in France you can expect that the price in France is three to five times lower than you would ever find it here in the States. if you’re buying at the right price point, suddenly the cost of shipping isn’t as expensive because you’re still saving money.
Nicole: What is the most requested exotic place that you take people?
Toma: The most popular place is probably France. When you think antiques, you think French antiques. Belgium has incredible prices. At the moment what’s hip, what every interior designer in America is asking me for, is Swedish antiques. And actually, all the antique warehouses in Sweden are located down in southern Sweden. Knowing where to go is probably the most important thing we do.
Nicole: Is there are good times of year that you should be searching for antiques and when you should not go?
Toma: You need to look at when the public holidays are and the week surrounding it and avoid those periods. Otherwise, you’re going to show up and be disappointed. There’s nothing worse than getting to a destination and discovering everything’s closed.
Nicole: A lot of people think of Europe as the place to go to find fine antiques but you say that’s not the case.
Toma: I love antiquing in Europe but if you want to know what’s hot, what’s next – Southeast Asia has the two best destinations I think for what’s next in antiques are Chiang Mai in Thailand and believe it or not Bali! There is an entire strip in Seminyak, probably four miles long. You really find the Paris Flea Market of Asia.
Nicole: What do you think it’s the most challenging part about taking your clients on antique tours?
Toma: Clients don’t always know what they want. The first thing we do is say, show me photos. Pictures say a thousand words. If the client can show me what they’re looking for we can help them find it. But words alone often are not enough.
Nicole: So many people buy antiques as an investment. How do you know if it’s a good investment for the future?
Toma: Okay, the first thing I tell someone is buy it because you love it. If you love it, you’re never going to make a bad investment. Second thing is your research. If you’re buying antiques, it’s determining what price level you’re comfortable with and what’s your purpose.
Nicole: Many people have things in their home, maybe they inherit it from their grandparents or they found something really cool at a garage sale. if you’re one of those people – you’re not sure what it is or what it’s worth how can you find out more information about it.
Toma: When you’re trying to determine the value of an antique, the reality is you want to ask someone who knows more than you know. One option: you go to an auction house and you have them do an evaluation. But not everyone has time for that and often you have to pay for that. So there’s this great new app, it’s called Chattic. And all you have to do is take a picture, upload it to the app and a community of like-minded people will give you their advice on the piece that you’re looking for information on.
Nicole: Who are some of your clients?
Toma: Antique dealers, interior designers, architects, developers, hoteliers – I will tell you some of our best clients are those mere shopping mortals.
Nicole: Some of your core buyers are female baby boomers, an interior designer. But what about the younger generation – are you seeing that they have an interest in antiques?
Toma: Absolutely. Antiques are ideal for Millennials because they want their homes to represent who they are, where they’ve been and where they’re going. Some of the younger generation – they hear the word ‘antique’ and they’re like oh, that’s outdated.
Nicole: But isn’t it true that right now one of the hottest design trends is to actually take treasures that are old and mix them with modern design?
Toma: Exactly. What I like is when you take a Renaissance piece and then mix it in a room. So throw in a nice chair, throw in a grandmaster painting simultaneously – that’s what works with AMT I would agree and that’s what you’re seeing in a lot of the designer magazines these days. And maybe an 18th-century commode with a more contemporary painting. With antiques – it’s all about the mix.
Nicole: You also work with the Antique Young Guns – those are all dealers under the age of 40.
Toma: They’re preserving the future of antiques and they’re looking at antiques in different ways. They’re going to put an antique chest of drawers in a bathroom. They’re going to mix it up and take an industrial cabinet and add it into their kitchen. And so if you want to know what’s going to be hot in antiques you need to look at the young buyers. If you think about art communities – artists will live in a neighborhood, making the neighborhood cool and then the yuppies move in and the prices raise. If you look at this exact same mentality when it comes to antiques, you have the young antique buyers who are buying what’s inexpensive. They’re using it new and innovative ways. They’re making it hip, they’re making it cool and now older people want to be buying what it is they bought in the first place.
This is my favorite find of the fair by the way – if I were to pick my top item at the Original Miami Beach Show, voila! it’s your pink flamingo!
Nicole: You’re running a business. Everyone knows you could have the greatest idea but getting your business brand out there – it’s a challenge. What is the key to creating a recognizable brand?
Toma: When you have a company it’s easy to feel like you want to give up, and even on those down days saying I’m going to get up and continue working. And the thing that happens is over time you realize I have built something awesome, and it wasn’t one single step along the way did it, it was a series of steps towards my destination.
Nicole: You’re now launching your own furniture line as well.
Toma: The Antiques Diva Collection for Aidan Gray Home. So Louis 16th furniture is my favorite style of furniture. It’s neoclassical design. King Louis – he went to Pompeii, he saw what was happening in the ruins of Pompeii. He was so inspired by the them that he had his team of craftsmen build neoclassical antiques in France for Versailles. For the last 10 years I’ve been scouring the world buying antiques, seeking design inspiration and now for the first time I get to take that inspiration and turn it into creation.
Nicole: You also just launched your own jewelry line?
Toma: Yes, I have just launched my jewelry collection and our tagline is Lush Decadence. The goal is to create jewelry that is just a little bit beyond reality.
Nicole: So where does your inspiration come from?
Toma: Vintage fashion, also my travels. I’ve done a lot of pieces that are antique botanical pieces and they actually come from Art Nouveau architecture.
Nicole: Well thank you so much. Toma. I really appreciate it.
Toma: Thank you!
Thank you so much Nicole!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
I don’t often share items for sale on The Antiques Diva blog, but this scarf by Christian Dior is so special I knew you would want to know – and maybe bid on it! My dear friend Mark Hill alerted me to this Saturday’s online auction at Dawson’s featuring this unique silk scarf.
I love incorporating vintage clothing into my wardrobe – it’s wearable art! While I often drape a boldly colored scarf around my neck or bag to add a punch of color, I also decorate with silk scarves! In my own home, I tied brightly colored Hermes scarves around pillows on my white leather couch. I’ve been shopping for a special vintage scarf to frame and hang in my boudoir – one I can easily take down and wear when the mood strikes! #DivaTip: Hermes scarf display kit attaches your precious scarf using magnets, so the material is never damaged!
Mark Hill told me the silk Christian Dior silk scarf:
was a personal gift c1955 from Christian Dior himself to concert pianist Marion Stein when she was the Countess of Harewood – it seems he gave such scarves to his favoured clients at the time, with each one personalised with the name of the recipient. Stein’s husband, the Earl of Harewood, was 6th in line to the British throne at the time, so he had to ask permission to marry her! They drifted apart when the Earl fell in love with another woman and, after her divorce, she married Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal party. Yes – this is the same Jeremy Thorpe who is currently being played by Hugh Grant in the BBC’s ‘A Very English Scandal.’
The only other examples of this scarf (given to and named for other clients of Dior’s) that I can find are in the Henry Ford Museum and the Musee de la Mode in Paris.
A unique mid-1950s Christian Dior cream silk scarf, screenprinted in black, brown, orange, blue, and yellow with a design inspired by Prehistoric cave paintings, and the wording “ce carré de soie a été réalisé pour Christian Dior d’après les peintures des Grottes de la Dordogne et spécialement imprimé pour Madame le Comtesse de Harewood.” (This square of silk was made for Christian Dior after the paintings of the caves of the Dordogne eand specially printed for Madame the Countess of Harewood), also screenprinted ‘Charin – Paris’, 83cm by 86cm.
As it is unlikely that the descendents of the other recipients will sell such a piece, this is a rare opportunity to own a very personal gift from Christian Dior, who was at the height of his career, to a lady with a fascinating life.
Lot 322: A UNIQUE MID-1950S CHRISTIAN DIOR CREAM SILK SCARF, SCREENPRINTED IN BLACK
With my job as CEO of The Antiques Diva® & Co travel is my job- organizing and leading antique buying tours in 15 countries in Europe, Asia and America – I’m sometimes on the road for 3 months at a stretch and regularly buy round-the-world airline tickets -they save me money and time, and often help me score upgrades to 1st class. I literally live out of my suitcases!!! I bounce from hotel to AirBnB to friends’ guestrooms, taking clients on With my job as CEO of The Antiques Diva® & Co travel is my job- organizing and leading antique buying tours in 15 countries in Europe, Asia and America – I’m sometimes on the road for 3 months at a stretch and regularly buy round-the-world airline tickets -they save me money and time, and often help me score upgrades to 1st class, like my recent flight above to Argentina. I literally live out of my suitcases!!! I bounce from hotel to AirBnB to friends’ guestrooms, researching new tours and making new antique vendor contacts, taking clients on tour and meeting with the press, speaking at conferences, and sourcing the world’s best antique vendors. All this travel means I’ve become a whiz at packing. In fact my suitcase (er, make that “suitcases” depending upon the number of shoes I pack) practically packs itself. Previously I’ve shared with you some of my packing tips learned from my experience on the road the past 20 years. Today Rome Antiques Diva Guide Désirée shares some of her travel advice. (Désirée is our one of our vintage fashion experts: she has amazing fashion style and knowledge and secret resources in vintage fashion with her background as a costume designer and makeup artist. You must must book a Rome vintage fashion tour!)
10 Pieces of Travel Advice from a Diva Guide
#1 Enrich your in-between moments.
Travel can be hard- you are away from everything familiar to you. Flying can be overwhelming and long periods of sitting can be unbearable. Travel with the things that make you happy. Wear your favorite wrap or shawl and bring cozy socks on the plane. Download movies, or research the in-flight movie list and make a plan (you don’t want to end up watching a talking animal movie because you were sick of flipping through your choices). Pick up amazing treats and eats at the airport. I love to buy macaroons in the Paris airport and eat them on the plane. I also bring stationary and catch up on correspondence on the flight. Plan for all of these details and it gives me little things to look forward to throughout the journey.
#2 Get your ZZZZZ’s under control!
Toma Clark Haines says it’s the secret to her high energy! Learn to sleep with earplugs and a sleep mask and you can sleep anywhere in the world. Develop a plan for jet lag, so that you can make the most of your time on holiday.
#3 Carry an empty water bottle on airplanes.
Fill your bottle once you get through security and keep it with you. Staying hydrated may seem like unoriginal advice- but it is an essential part of traveling well.
#4 Bring something to read.
I love using my Kindle because it is so light, but even if you have to carry your belongings on your back, a book is always worth it.
#5 Keep a piece of citrus fruit in your carry-on luggage.
When I have reached ‘that point’ in the flight where the space and the food and the people are getting to me, the smell and flavor of an orange is a huge boost to my mood and my immune system.
#6 Disaster-proof your trip.
Bring extra passport photos and clearly mark your luggage. Passport photos are so easy to pick up in any big city, don’t wait until you need them, to buy them. Mark your bags with fun luggage tags and easily identifiable details. And finally… take a photo on your phone of your luggage at the airport. If something doesn’t arrive, it will be much easier to describe your bag to the customer service representative.
#7 Know the culture of tipping at your destination.
For example, in Italy leave yellow change (small copper) for a cup of coffee and a couple of euros for a meal. This is an easy detail to research before you leave home and will keep you from insulting the customer service at your destination.
#8 Learn a few words of the native language.
It helps open up the dialogue with the locals. Make interacting with you as painless as possible. I have found that most people are very receptive to my efforts. There are always exceptions.
#9 Know yourself.
Understand what you CANNOT live without and bring it with you. I always bring my own chapstick and shampoo because I am picky. However I am easy going about food and am willing to try almost anything twice (once for adventure, twice to be sure). If you are really picky about food, bring some rations with you so that you won’t be miserable.
#10 Book a tour with a DIVA!
Chances are a guide from The Antiques Diva® & Co knows just the best nooks and crannies of a city you are visiting and can give you an insiders view. This will save you TIME which is our most precious resource – especially while traveling.
DREAMING OF A TRIP TO ITALY?
BOOK AN ANTIQUES, DESIGN INSPIRATION OR VINTAGE FASHION TRIP
Ciao, Bella! Today Antiques Diva Guide Désirée is taking us antiques shopping in Rome! Whether you’re shopping for vintage fashion, antiques or seeking design inspiration, Italian design is guaranteed to deliver! From dodging Vespa’s in the hustle and bustle of Roman and Renaissance cities to cruising the softly undulating hills of the Tuscan countryside, Italy is brimming treasures just waiting to be uncovered. This is the perfect country to plan a multi-day, bespoke Italy antique tour, going from Rome to Milan to Florence to Venice to Siena or a hilltop village in between; finding the best prices on mid-century pieces, contemporary ceramics and glass and a gorgeous selection of rustic farmhouse and more traditional antiques. Our Italy Antiques Diva Guide will take the guesswork out of where to go, creating well-researched itineraries for you, as she picks you up from your hotel and escorts you through this enchanting nation, translating and negotiating on your behalf the entire time. Because our guides are locals, they have relationships with vendors and know exactly where to take you based on your style and budget, maximizing your time and money while on tour. Today, Rome Antiques Diva Guide Désirée is taking us behind-the-scenes on a recent tour.
Toma, The Antiques Diva
Today is the 1st day of my TCH Collection – Lush Decadence Couture Jewelry pop-up shop at Galerie Vauclair in Paris January 17 – March 18. This evening at 7pm is the press launch, tomorrow I’m hosting champagne and tea, and Friday evening is the Vernissage. I’m thrilled to see my creations come to life and available for sale, and I’m honored to present a unique collection of vintage jewelry by a Venetian artist that has been hidden away from the public for many years… I invite you for a preview of the pop-up shop; stay tuned for more behind the scenes details on the gorgeous wallpaper from Fromental.
The TCH Collection – Lush Decadence Couture Jewelry offers one-of-a-kind, bespoke semi-precious and precious couture jewelry. Envisioned and designed by me, Toma Clark Haines, the collection features rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. The original concept for the collection was only to sell my own unique designs, but I soon realized that as one of leading experts in global sourcing she had access to jewelry inventory often unseen for generations if not centuries. I decided to offer a limited and exclusive line of vintage, estate and antique jewelry collections.
Ara Vintage Jewelry for the TCH Collection
With the launch of the TCH Collection in January 2018, TCH is offering their first vintage jewelry collection, of one of a kind pieces created by a Venetian designer in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. The designer wishes to remain anonymous – her jewelry is simply known as Ara. The distinguishing characteristic of each piece their uniqueness. Every single piece of the collection is imagined as a work of art: inspired by the artistic intention, by the shape and cut of the precious and semiprecious stones, and the insertion of antique elements. Each piece of jewelry is made by the artist from beginning to end with the antique Venetian technique of lacework in filigree, obtained interweaving small beads of precious and semiprecious stones over a base of work netting. Over this stained pave, she obtains a three-dimensional effect setting precious or semiprecious stones, cut or carved to compose her shining interpretation.
The pieces of the Ara collection are being presented for the first time to the world of fashion and jewelry during Paris Design Week at the TCH Collection Pop-Up Show at Galerie Vauclair. Each piece is distinguished by a word that in our day tends to disappear; unique.
Every single piece of the collection is imagined as a work of art: inspired by the artistic intention, by the shape and cut of the precious and semiprecious stones, the insertion of antique elements, exotic or European, in any case absolutely unique.
The pieces are the work of an artist who chooses to present the collection with only the Ara logo, keeping her name private.
Each jewel was made by the artist from beginning to end with the antique Venetian technique of lacework in filigree, obtained interweaving small beads of precious and semiprecious stones over a base of work netting. Over this stained pave, she obtains a three-dimensional effect setting precious or semiprecious stones, cut or carved to compose a shining interpretation of flowers, rocailles, animals, waves, etc.
Each piece in the Ara collection has attached a small bronze small seal carved with the logo and the number of the jewel.
Visit the TCH Collection Pop-Up Shop featuring Ara Vintage Jewelry
January 17 – March 18, 2018
24 rue de Beaune
75007 Paris France
Galleries carrying the TCH Collection include:
- London at Scarab Antiques
- Amsterdam at Mariska Meijers
- Dubai at Siimoodi Jewellery
- Bangkok at Paul’s Antiques
- High Point, NC – HPADC – at Donnie Grissom Collection
View a selection of the TCH Collection featuring Ara online at TCHcollection.com
I know you appreciate this unique jewelry collection as much as I do. For more information or to become a distributor for the TCH Collection contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toma – The Antiques Diva
I’m excited to introduce our new Rome Antiques Diva Guide, Désirée Marie Townley, vintage fashion, couture and costume design and makeup artistry expert, and author of the popular blog THE CUT AND THE CLOTH. In addition to leading Rome antiques and vintage shopping tours, Désirée will be a regular contributor here on The Antiques Diva® & Co blog. With her trained eye for detail and world travels, she brings an artistic perspective to sourcing antiques and vintage fashion. If you’re attending our 5th Annual Paris Flea Market Champagne Brunch on Jan 21 (and I hope you are!) You can meet Désirée and some of our other Diva Guides in person. If not, book an Italy antiques buying, vintage fashion or design inspiration tour! Today Désirée is sharing a few tips she learned 1st hand for chic and stylish touring in Paris.
Chic Packing for Paris
Paris is its own cliche… full of things you have seen in movies and read about in books. There is a reason that descriptions and images of these streets are so widely used- this is one of the most incredible cities in the world. The more familiar the city becomes to me, the more I love her. It is impossible for me to be bored or hungry here.
To increase your pleasure of traveling to any city, I recommend engulfing yourself in cinematic and literary references to the culture. For Paris, I recommend:
• Watch: Paris Was a Woman to fall in love with the history of Paris in the 1920’s
• Watch: Midnight in Paris directed by Woody Allen, for fun
• Read: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway because it is a classic
My sister had recently turned 30, and as a gift, my parents decided to bring her to Paris to meet me. I had to give her something memorable for such an important birthday so I sent a box containing a Chanel handbag with a note that said, “The French respect Chanel. Meet me in Paris with this bag on your arm”. So she did. My whole family did.
DREAMING OF A TRIP TO ITALY?
BOOK AN ANTIQUES, DESIGN INSPIRATION or VINTAGE FASHION TRIP
The Arbor International Antiques & Interior Design Show in Round Top, Texas, is one of the biggest antique shows in the South! Last year I attended The Arbors Show at Round Top for the first time and was simply gob-smacked by the quality of the antiques offered for sale; the warmth, friendliness and plain old southern hospitality of the vendors (from 13 countries!); and the scenic hills and beautiful countryside. My #NoPassportRequired Champagne Tours at Round Top were just plain fun, and I was simply blown away by the quality of antiques, vintage and accessories being offered!
#WatchThisSpace: The Antiques Diva® is launching special Round Top Antiques Show group tours in 2018!
Toma, The Antiques Diva® is leading our Round Top Antiques Show tour with local experts and Diva Guide Doni from Girls’ Guide to Paris (a French antique dealer who exhibits here) from April 2-7 2018: 4 days and 5 nights of finger-licking bbq, antiques and vintage as far as the eye can see and further; country music, Texas blue bells and seriously good wine. At the biggest antique show in the world you’ll discover gems from Belgium, France and Holland as well as mamma’s attic down the road. There is something for all price points plus we’ll help you negotiate and ship it all home. And the location in Texas Hill Country is gorgeous. Every dealer and shop owner who is serious shops here, Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper shops here – so why haven’t you been yet? More details coming soon…
Round Top offers more than antiques – everything is bigger in Texas! In addition to the impressive display of European and American antiques – many museum-quality – The Arbors offers:
- custom furniture
- fine artworks
- handcrafted jewelry
- vintage fashion
- live music
- food trucks with everything from beer to champagne
- special events
Note: Be sure to scroll down for details on Round Top’s fundraiser Designer Dream Spree & Dwell with Dignity Event to benefit Hurricane Harvey Victims on Sept 28
Be sure to visit two of our favorite vendors at Round Top this week: Pandora de Balthazár, featuring fine linens and European textiles and Pandora’s fabulous European Sleep System (I confess: I’m working from bed right now!); Lolo French Antiques et More, direct importers of French antique furniture and accessories – plus their scene-stealing French bulldog, Louis (don’t miss Mimi’s monthly column on The Antiques Diva blog!).
Round Top Arbor Antique Show
Located in Texas Hill Country, historic Round Top is a town tiny in size, mighty in charm, and as peaceful in spirit as the gentle hills in which it nestles. Here, amidst looming oaks and verdant ranch land, picturesque vistas can be captured…land meets sky in soft, mist-laden light… a 12-acre antique festival!
- American Legion Post #338, 1503 N. State Hwy. 237, Round Top, Texas 78954. (One Mile North of Round Top Square and Six Miles South of Hwy 290.)
- September 20th opening at 9am through September 30th at 4pm
- Special Events:
Fri. 22nd – Karaoke
Sat, 23rd – Live Music
Mon. 25th – Live music in corridor for late night shopping
Tues. 26th – Live music in corridor for late night shopping
Thurs. 28th – Designer Dream Spree & Dwell with Dignity Event to benefit Hurricane Harvey Victims – Tickets $100
Fri. 29th – Karaoke
- Special Events:
- Website: www.arborantiques.com
Texas Champagne BBQ:
Live Music, BBQ and Drinks to Benefit Those Impacted by Hurrican Harvey – September 28, 2017
Trade in seeing fashion on the runway for showing up in your own fashion for a true Texas night.
Due to the devastation that Hurricane Harvey has caused, Round Top made the decision to cancel the Texas Boho Chic Fashion Show & Champagne BBQ. Curtis Ann and Julie Dodson of the Designer Dream Spree want this event to benefit those that have lost so much in the last few weeks! Both show promoters wanted the event to be one that is all about Texas! You can’t get any more Texan than listening to country music, drinking beer (& champagne) while eating BBQ from one of the top 50 best BBQ places in the state of Texas, Truth Barbeque out of Brenham, Texas. Carson Kressley will still be rockin’ it Texas Style with us too!
Julie Dodson has teamed up with Dwell with Dignity to help turn houses into homes again for people that have lost so much. All proceeds from the evening will go to helping those in need in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Purchase tickets and details -> http://bit.ly/2rYORGn
Come on down, y,all!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Today’s post is by Sara Morel, who recently left her corporate fashion job to establish Reclaimed Woman. A blog and business, for those in search of a more conscious life. Fashion and home fashions that are equally style-savvy as they are ethical. Like a secret diary, she previously blogged under the name Style Salvo, recording her journey into antiques, salvage and a more sustainable existence (shoe collection excluded), as head of PR for a shoe brand at the time! She vowed to do-up her new home in London with as many old, reused and reclaimed things as possible. One bedroom, one bathroom, one garden, one kitchen… now her walk-in wardrobe.
SALVO Fair: Life is not a Rehearsal – Green Living Fest
A boulder engraved with the words of the estate owner, Sir William McAlpine reads ‘Life is not a Rehearsal.’ I love this phrase, and find it can be applied to all sorts of scenarios life throws at one. In light of the bright green antique theme, SALVO 2017 is not only about appreciating antiques for their connection with history, but for their relationship with the future and the environmental benefits of reuse. Shop vintage fashion and hats including unique designs by Dior from Mary Jones Vintage, whose rare finds for gents and ladies are stocked in Liberty of London as well as her shop in Liverpool.
Whatever your motivation, here are some shopping tips you can apply to architectural antiques and vintage fashion:
- Shopping in a meaningful way starts with knowing what your personal style is and what your needs are. Fashions move in cycles, so don’t let current trends dictate your taste. If you buy something you love, it will hold your interest.
- That’s all very well… but if you’re not yet sure what your style is, antique and vintage fairs are a great place to learn and discover what you like.
- Try to buy architectural antiques first, then make design decisions based on what is available – this will make your hunt much easier. The same goes for rare vintage fashion. It makes sense to start with your statement-makers, then you can build the rest of your look around them.
- Ask about provenance (the earliest known history about the piece). This not only adds value to the item, but to your dinner party conversation. For example, the extractor pipe on the cooker hood in my kitchen is a Victorian organ pipe reclaimed from a church in East London, the overhead cabinets were converted from a 1940s staff noticeboard reclaimed from London’s St Pancras Station. And you’ll have to come for dinner to hear the rest…
- Find designers, builders and tailors that are antique and vintage fashion friendly, as alterations and allowances may be required.
- You may be in a field (at Salvo Fair for example) but you are also surrounded by some rare and incredibly valuable period pieces. Dealers are rarely offended if you negotiate reasonably and there are definitely deals to be found at the fair.
- If you insist on wearing heels like Toma, take her Salvo Fair field lead and opt for a wedge.
- Any finally, it’s easy to get intimidated; whether you’re overwhelmed by the sheer size of an architectural antique or the price of a collectible vintage handbag, I recommend starting with an experienced Antiques Diva guide tailored to you and your budget.
Dear Diva Readers,
hen a client who is a fashion designer in India booked an Italian Vintage Fashion Tour he asked our advice on some extra things – post tour – to do while traveling in Florence. Naturally my locally-based Diva Guide Susan had a plethora of fashion shopping tips in Florence for both a designer seeking inspiration as well as for mere shopping mortals simply wanting to drop some dough!
Take a step back in Fashion History by visiting some of Florence’s famous fashion museums! The Gucci Museum is worth a visit as well as the Ferragamo Museum. For something different visit the costume gallery in the Palazzo Pitti which houses fashion from the 17th to 20th century. The Palazzo itself is beautiful immersed in the Boboli gardens on the Oltrarno which is the south side (or “other side”) of the river.
Naturally you’’ll want to stroll along Via Tornibuona as this is where the well-known fashion designers such as Prada, Loro Piano, Pucci, and Cavalli have their shops. And if you’re a bargain hunter like I am, plan a trip to the Designer Outlet Mall in Val di Chiana. Your hotel in Florence could organize transport – it’s only 40 minutes outside of Florence and for serious shoppers it’s worth the trip! Note to readers – it’s where I’ve personally bought a slew of my Italian purchases over the years from a fantastic pair of Tod’s for 35 Euro to Gucci sandals for less than 50E… Hmmm, if I keep writing this list of shoe purchases this will be a long, long list! Suffice to say, if you’re looking for Italian fashion and a bargain then this is the THE place to go.
For women’s fashion you must visit Luisa via Roma, Via Roma 19-21r, in Florence. This is on the same street as Eredi Chiarini at n° 16 which is a fabulous men’s fashion store. Playground, Via Don Giovanni Minzoni, 31/A should also be on the must shop list list.
Perhaps my favorite ambiance for shopping in Florence is at the Farmacia Santa Maria Novella. This beautiful old chapel is the original store and it still belongs to the nuns who create these wonderful perfumes, potions and lotions. Nearby is Frasi, a great men’s shop in Via Dei Federighi 7/R, above all for ties and accessories.
Leather shops abound all over Florence – watch this space, we’re helping a purse designer shop Florence soon so we will have a slew of tips to share with you from that trip – but if you’re looking for leather shops it is pretty much guaranteed wherever you are in the city you will find them. It’s hard to mention one leather shop above the others.
Nothing says Diva like a fabulous hat… and Borsalino in Via Porta Rossa at 40 r has a sensational selection. Another historic desitination is Casa dei Tessuti in Via dei Pecori, 20-22-24r. This shop is very old fashioned from the outside but they have a huge variety of high quality clothing textiles, and custom made suits, shirts, etc. They embody a total respect of the tradition of hand-made goods, and for fashionistas handy with a needle and thread they also offer basic courses on tailoring and costume history.
Paolo Romagnoli is located on the narrow street of via Parione at 54/r, A little tailors shop that makes suits and jackets, pants and skirts, shirts and even belts and ties. Prices range from 120E to infinity.
Last but not least… why yes, we at The Antiques Diva & Co tend to be fashionistas… let’s not forget our CORE BUSINESS is Antique and Vintage Shopping Tours so I would be positively remiss if I neglected to mention a few of the designer vintage stores in Florence! Ceri Vintage in via dei Serragli, 26r; just west of the Santo Spirito area is one of my favourite streets for finding antiques and midcentury! Last but not least – consider Pitti Vintage at Borgo Degli Albizi, 72r and Nadine, Lungarno Acciaiuoli 22r must shop destinations for the vintage fashion shopper.
Now before I love you and leave you… I would never leave you hungry. I’m certain if you’re like me you have folders bulging with a slew of restaurants marked for your trip to Florence but knowing of a few more places to nosh is always nice when traveling abroad. You can combine fashion and a bite to eat when visiting the department store Mercato Centrale – go to the top floor for a fabulous view and taste of everything Italian. Trattoria ZaZa in the market square outside is also great. La Menagerie http://www.lamenagere.it in via Ginori is perfect for lunch, brunch or supper but does get busy – you may need to call ahead to book a table. On the other side in San Ambrogio is Il Cibreo offers both a bistro and restaurant. South of the Arno are some smaller fun restaurants in the antiques district … Go out and explore… It’s really hard to eat badly in Florence. And when the day is done remember there are also a bunch of roof bars to sit enjoying cocktails and the view while reflecting on your purchases! One of my favorites is along the Arno river at the Hotel Continentale vicolo dell’Oro 6r.
The Antiques Diva & Co (with help from Tuscan Antiques Tour Guide Susan)
Dear Diva Readers,
Les Merveilles de Babellou. And if you should happen to feel generous, you can send any of these lovely pieces to my flat! And by the way, Les Merveilles de Babellou has so much more than just Chanel pieces—peruse their website for some seriously drool-worthy vintage goodies!ome people may think that I’m difficult to buy for, but the truth is, all I want for Christmas (or any time of year!) is vintage Chanel! Check out some fabulous pieces offered by one of our favorite vintage fashion source in Paris,
Now let’s talk prices! What’s it cost to buy vintage Chanel?
A timeless Chanel bright red quilted patent leather bag decorated with a CC clasp and a silver metal shoulder strap chain interlaced with red leather. Simply perfect! 3800 Euro
These Chanel clip earrings made of gilt metal and adorned with blue, red, and green glass paste cabochons would be perfect for the holiday season! 530 Euro
Chanel by Gripoix atelier, a necklace made of several rows of faux pearls with an arabesque element in blackened gold metal with multicolored cabochons and four chains of red glass beads. A true stunner! 3800 Euro
Chanel by Gripoix atelier, a demi-parure consisting of a pearl necklace with a centered brooch and a pair of clip earrings both in golden metal and blue and green glass paste. 3500 Euro
A Chanel transparent resin bracelet encrusted with black and green tweed, small CC logo and a silver metal chain interlaced with black tweed. 850 Euro
Merry Christmas, and as Coco might have said “May All Your Christmases be Stylish and Chic!”
The Antiques Diva®