To humble old me, using vintage furnishings to create a unique event is not about wheeling out nanna’s old couch (though I am sure your nanna’s couch is shit hot) and chucking a doily on it. It’s about taking contemporary and fashion-forward colours, textures and shapes and delivering that look and feel using beautiful vintage pieces.
This approach creates hundreds of ways to use vintage furnishings; giving freshness, style and inspiration to suit any type of celebration – not just vintage themed events.
Why am I telling you this? For three reasons. The rise of ‘Pinterest vintage’ and recreated vintage has changed what some people think of when they talk about ‘vintage’. Plus this is what I think and I like saying things.
If you type ‘vintage’ into Pinterest, you’ll see photos of beautiful enamel typewriters, dresses so special you might marry in them, romantic Vespas, slightly tarnished gramophones, ornate dressing tables and cool black and silver cameras.
But if you type in ‘vintage wedding’, there is a proliferation of a very narrow view of what vintage is, done a million, trillion times. Wine barrels, ladders, reproduction suitcases, mason jars, muchos burlap and lace and baby's breath - so much baby's breath! And most of it is new, not vintage. Mass produced and available in your local chain store.
There is nothing wrong with new vintage-look items from Kmart or eBay or where ever. I actually love those places. And I think everyone should have whatever they damn well want for their wedding because it’s their day and all that jazz. Plus, the affordability and mass production of those places increases accessibility. But, this stuff is part of the current 'vintage' trend, rather than actually being genuine vintage*.
I want everyone to truly know the joy of actual vintage stuff. Stuff with a history, craftsmanship, quality and beauty. Stuff that goes beyond the trend into something with longevity. Because vintage is a style, not a trend.
I don’t come from a family of antique-havers, so I am not sure where I got these misty eyed feelings for old stuff. In fact, my mum often says she “hates all that old stuff”. And this comment that sends a dagger into my heart: "We got rid of all that old stuff as soon as we could". Her and my Dad gleefully burned a lot of mid-century furniture on a giant bonfire sometime in the 80s. The goddamn horror.
I don’t necessarily know the history of the all furniture in our collection, but when I meet a seller, I always ask, cos everyone has a story, and so do pieces of furniture that have been loved and cared for, for generations. For some of my favourite pieces whose histories are a mystery, I concoct one, giving the piece a grand old past, with dignity and glamour, or coolness and a bit of rock 'n roll.
I want to keep discovering new pieces of vintage and antique furniture that complement modern trends and to use those to create the very best celebrations in the universe, or at least in Melbourne and surrounds.
*What is genuine vintage? Depends who you ask, but items that are at least 30 years old, though some say they have to be 50 years old. An antique is 100+ years old. Which makes 'retro' anything that is less than 30 years old but designed to mimic an older style.