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[4 Oct 2015 | No Comment]
Britain’s pleasure piers: Simon Roberts Q&A

The results of Brighton photographer Simon Roberts’ three-year quest to document all of Britain’s remaining pleasure piers will be exhibited together for the first time at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery from October.

Here he explains why the seaside structures are so important to Britian’s economic and social history.

“I’m interested in the fact that the pleasure pier follows the story of Britain’s relationship to the seaside, from the early links with the Romantics, to the engineering feats and technical advancement of the Industrial Revolution.

They bear witness to the growth of the coast as a pleasure destination for a monied elite, as well as the working class’ enthusiasm for the seaside brought on by the development of the railways and the bank holiday ruling. Britain’s piers trace our changing economic fortunes too, from post-war boom to economic downturn, and now a slow re-awakening of our appreciation of these cultural and historic landmarks.

I think we will continue to have a tenuous relationship with these fragile structures. As local councils become more stretched financially it will be left to private companies and individuals to maintain or even rescue our piers. There’s no doubt they can be a costly burden, and making them profitable is a challenge. We need to find new, innovative ways to resurrect those that have been abandoned.”

See how many piers you can name (and hover overs the images for answers)…

Crafty creatives, Decor, Headline, Win »

[7 Jun 2015 | 44 Comments]
Win a pair of craft books by Super+Super

Hot on the heels of their publishing debut with Printmaking and Embroidery, Brighton crafters Super+Super have released another pair of books with original projects on Crochet and Paper Cutting. And we have one of each to give away!

The Super+Super series, created by Claire Culley and Amy Phipps, centres on the idea of crafting with friends, with tutorials to help creatives of all levels inject originality into their wardrobe, home décor and gifting repertoire.

Crochet and Paper Cutting each contain 20 illustrated tutorials showing readers how to create items such as tablet and phone cases, a wine holder, birthday cake toppers, bunting and garlands and much more using widely-available materials.

Our favourites are the colourful crochet necklace, stool cover and vintage fruit bag. And the paper masks are bound to go down a treat at weddings or any event where there’s an opportunity for photobooth fun.

Each project is fully illustrated with step-by-step instructions, a list of all the tools you’ll need and techniques that are described in detail.

Find out how to win now…

Decor, Fashion, Headline »

[1 Nov 2014 | No Comment]
Hope & Harlequin – the new store tour

Bursting at the seams of its previous Sydney Street shop, Hope & Harlequin’s collection of glamorous grown-up vintage has moved, but not too far. Just one door up from the address it had called home since 2007, the new space is lighter, brighter and most importantly – bigger.

Decor, Headline »

[18 Jun 2014 | One Comment]
Ed’s Easy Diner to open in Churchill Square

Churchill Square may not be the vintage-lover’s natural habitat, but Ed’s Easy Diner gives Fifties’ fans good reason to visit when it opens in the centre on 1 July.

Fashion, Headline »

[18 May 2014 | No Comment]
Breton stripes & Petit Bateau’s vintage spirit

If I had to choose just one style to wear every summer, it would be the Breton stripe.

Reading between the lines, it says nonchalantly: “I couldn’t be bothered to think too much about my outfit today”. (Whilst blowing cigarette smoke seductively, if we’re going all out with the anthropomorphism).

Not because the wearer’s attitude to dressing resembles that of a teenage boy, but rather you have better things to do with your time, you know what looks good and don’t have to try hard to get it right.

The question I have more difficulty with is which stripes in particular should accompany me on annual jollies to Cornwall and France.

To choose from are several boat-neck cotton tops from French brands APC, Comptoir de Cotonniers, Crique Privee, Captain Corsaire and Armor Lux – contrasting white with blue, yellow, red and purple – a sailor tunic from J Crew finished with anchor motif, a drop-waist Topshop dress and cute little shorts from Gap.

To make it easier, I usually just take them all. The light three-quarter-length tops to wear with denim cut-offs in the day, weightier cotton pullovers with jeans on chilly evenings and dresses and shorts down to the beach.

Events, Fashion, Headline »

[26 Apr 2014 | No Comment]
Hollywood photographs shown in Brighton

A unique archive of photographs of Hollywood stars from the 1940s to the 1960s will go on show in Brighton in May as part of the Artist Open Houses festival.

The exhibition includes images of Audrey Hepburn, Angela Lansbury, Dirk Bogarde, Peter Sellers and American President Harry Truman, as well images of historical social record showing subjects such as Queen’s rat-catcher and Britain’s first female chimney sweep.

The archive belongs to Brighton-based photographer George Douglas, who was born in Rottingdean and worked for Picture Post and Life magazine.

George died in 2010, leaving his house at 14 Silwood Road to friend and fellow Brighton-based photographer Roger Bamber, who discovered thousands of negatives in a dilapidated filing cabinet.

Now a third Brighton photographer, Nigel Swallow, is setting up studio in the house and will be exploring the archive, reprinting many of its images and exhibiting them to the public for the first time as part of the Brighton Artist Open House festival.

Having started his career in America in the 1940s, George Douglas moved back to England in 1950 to work for the Picture Post, which specialised in 35mm photography and a documentary style.

Fashion, Headline »

[1 Apr 2014 | No Comment]
Daywear for Dames by Frantic About Frances

Pin-up lingerie brand Frantic About Frances has launched its first ever daywear fashion collection, inspired by 1940s to early ‘60s patterns.

The new Daywear for Dames range consists of six pieces, which can be mixed and matched to create four separate outfits.

“The collection is authentic to the post-war era, is wearable and comfortable and uses modern fabrics with an eye to vintage detailing” designer Jenny Mearns explains.

“Each item has been adapted from original vintage patterns and – as there is so much variation in women’s clothing sizes – is made-to-measure to ensure a perfect fit for every individual customer.”

Jenny plans to add capri pants and high-waist shorts to the range for summer and also offers a ‘bring your own’ service, turning customer’s favourite fabrics into dream dresses.

Here she talks us through the new collection…

Fashion, Headline, Win »

[15 Feb 2014 | No Comment]
Cath Kidston launches Brighton collection

Cath Kidston has launched a range of clothes and accessories based on Brighton postcard prints. Inspired by the British summertime, the ‘Brighten up your Day’ collection includes a sundress and skirt, chunky bangle, bags, stationary and more – all featuring sketches of the city’s best-loved landmarks.

Fashion, Headline »

[2 Feb 2014 | 11 Comments]
Brighton bloggers – be a Bésame reviewer

To celebrate becoming the sole European Distributor for Bésame Cosmetics, Vintage Hair Lounge is offering Brighton bloggers the chance to try one the vintage makeup company’s brand new products!

Decor, Elsewhere, Fashion, Headline »

[18 Jan 2014 | 2 Comments]
Shoreham-by-Sea – day trip diary

A 15 minute train ride along the coast and at under £5 for an off-peak adult return, the estuary town of Shoreham-by-Sea is a must-visit for lovers of vintage, stunning scenery and interesting architecture. See what we got up to on our visit in this visual diary…

The new footbridge allows easy access over the River Adur to the coastal side of the town, where mid-century beach-front houses sit streets away from an eclectic collection of houseboats and you can enjoy views over to the imposing Lancing College.

This side of the estuary is also home to Shoreham’s Art Deco Airport, the oldest licensed airfield in the UK.

As well as a 1960s German minesweeper, concrete barge and landing crafts, the community of houseboats includes those transformed by their handy owners, such as this sculptural pair – modified with parts of an old bus, three-wheeler and bath among other salvaged items.

As all good small towns should, Shoreham boasts several charity shops, with three large stores on the central East Street alone. Vintage-lovers should make a beeline for Cancer Research, which has a dedicated section of men’s and women’s vintage, as well as interesting books, crockery and accessories.

Events, Headline, Win »

[17 Nov 2013 | No Comment]
Christmas shop window competition

Because we love the festive season almost as much as second-hand stuff, we’re on the hunt to find Brighton’s best vintage shop Christmas window, with a fantastic promotional package for the winner!

We’re looking for stunning Christmas window displays from vintage, second-hand, repro and charity shops in Brighton & Hove and will be putting all submissions to Vintage Brighton Facebook fans to decide which is the most enticing. The winner will be awarded a promotional post on www.vintagebrighton.com as well as one month’s free side-bar advertising on the site during January to help give business a kick start in 2014.

All entrants will also be featured on the Vintage Brighton Facebook page and the best, as judged by Vintage Brighton editor Jo-ann Fortune, will be featured in a round-up post on the site.

If you want to show off your window display, simply e-mail a photograph to vintagebrighton@gmail.com with ‘Christmas window’ in the subject line by midday Sunday 8 December. Your image must be at least 575 pixels wide and you must own the copyright.

Fashion, Headline »

[13 Nov 2013 | No Comment]
Alma’s Alterations – a dress that fits

While the very allure of the style for many, the one-off nature of vintage can also cause a major source of frustration for fashion-lovers. How often have you come across the perfect dress only to find that it won’t zip up or on conversely that it swamps you?

Fashion, Headline »

[27 Oct 2013 | One Comment]
Paper to Perspex – Lou Taylor brooches

Earlier this month Tatty Devine launched an intricate fine jewellery range in collaboration with papercutter Rob Ryan, for which artistic director Harriet Vine explained that she made tiny paper models of each piece to get the scale right. It’s a way of working that’s familiar to Brighton’s very own papercutter Lou Taylor, who has also added accessories to her artistic offering.

Lou first saw the potential in transforming her paper art into Perspex when working with jewellery designer Jennifer Loiselle over the summer. Having created a limited edition run of lipstick brooches based on Lou’s ‘Lipstick City’ cut, the pair are now expanding the range to include other dressing table essentials.

In direct contrast to the mini make-up pieces and her summery fruit and flamingo prints, Lou’s new ‘Sky Safari’ collection – consisting miniature versions of “everything you need for a night’s star gazing” – has more of a masculine and cold-weather feel.

Lazer-cut by Brighton & Hove Plastics, Lou explains that the paper to Perspex process drew on the similarities between the materials: “Paper and perspex both have their weaknesses – paper is fragile and tears easily and perspex is brittle and snaps easily so it’s important to test out designs to see what works.”

Decor, Headline »

[22 Sep 2013 | 7 Comments]
Brighton’s home-grown Tiki bars

With the summer drawing to a close, there is one type of drinking establishment that aims to keep that holiday vibe alive throughout the colder months – welcome to the Tiki bar.

Themed around South Pacific decoration, with bamboo furniture, wooden Tiki god carvings and serving rum-based tropical cocktails, these hut-style bars became popular in California in the post-war years and have such become associated with the Americana culture celebrated at numerous annual events in the UK as well as the USA.

It was at such meet-ups that Brighton-based Tiki carver Trader Tark first fell in love with the style. “I’ve been going to Hot Rod and American car shows for many years and Tiki culture seems to go hand-in-hand with Kustom Cars and Hot Rods, mainly because of the Southern Californian association”, Tark explains.

With Tiki bars somewhat thin on the ground in Brighton – the city has only the chain Lola Lo, a club that is popular among students and Bali Brasserie’s Tropical Bar, which has changed little since the 1980s – Tark decided to build his own.

Decor, Elsewhere, Headline »

[11 Aug 2013 | No Comment]
Moose’s Kitchen – St. Leonards-on-Sea

There’s nothing quite like chancing upon a little-known gem of a café on a day trip – especially when out-of-town bargain hunting leaves you in desperate need of cake. We were so taken with Mid-Century inspired vegan hotspot Moose’s Kitchen on a recent visit to St. Leonards that we had to track down manager Maresa Bossano, aka Moose, for a chat.

Why did you choose to open a café in St. Leonards?

The property in St. Leonards is cheaper than in Hastings and ours is a great location –right by the train station and lots of good shops and art galleries including our friends at The Kave Gallery, Claremont Studios and 20 Kings Road. As well as interesting quirky second-hand and charity shops, St Leonards also has lots other nice cafes and pubs and music venues, gardens and the beach to attract visitors.

How would you describe the style of the cafe?

I wanted to go for earthy and natural but with splashes of colour, I was eating jerusalem artichoke and mushroom soup one day and decided I wanted the walls the same colour! The style is very reflective of my personal tastes, indeed many of the pieces came from my house, which is a mixture of second-hand, hand-made, Fairtrade items and things I’ve picked up on my travels.