retail concepts

Idea Books – I die

Idea Books Saint martin's Lane pop-up

Wow wee. I finally made it to the Idea Books pop-up shop at St Martins Lane Hotel. If you know Dover Street Market, you’ll know Idea Books. It’s the vintage book/magazine bit on the ground floor that’s always heaving with vintage mag porn of the Interview/Ritz/Vogue variety, alongside lots of lovely rare fash-art book finds. So the pop-up shop in St Martins Lane is like a bigger, sexier, even more enviable version of that. Put it this way: I’d happily live there.

As an added bonus, the pop-up shop has been installed in collaboration with Vitsoe shelving. If you’re a shelving snob like me, that will mean something to you, if not you can get a close-up of the shelves (and some books) here.

Shopkeeper-on-duty and co-owner David, kindly indulged me in letting me take a few snaps for the blog, despite my rather clumsy attempt at small talk (sample quote: “your books are very expensive, do you have anything cheap?” Cringe.) Anyhoo, the shop is open until the end of the month – go check it out.

Idea Books pop Up 2009

"Recessions get rid of the shit…"

This oh-so-true choice quote came from my 90 minute long browse at the Vintage Academe Pop-Up Salon in Jermyn Street yesterday, where I chatted, fashion, history, politics and of-course, economics with co-owner Clare Nicholls (above). Not only did I get a fantastic fashion history lesson, I also managed to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over a number of amazing couture and ready-to-wear vintage finds. The Pop-Up Salon is in situ until Sunday and thereafter you can visit by appointment. Not a Londoner? You can also shop online [link redacted] or learn more about vintage from the regularly-updated Journal [link redacted].

The Vintage Academe Pop-Up Salon is at Suite 201, 22 Jermyn Street Hotel, London SW1 (0207 734 2353). It’s open from 12-6pm Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th March and thereafter by appointment.

Cassie Mercantile

Cassie Mercantile vintage showroom

While some vintage stores are bailing out, others are doing perfectly fine, thank you very much.

The sublime but secretive Cassie Mercantile is a vintage clothing dealership with a showroom in genteel Holland Park. Owner Graham Cassie is a shy Scot who spends his days sourcing post-war Americana, love-worn army surplus and the odd spool of vintage haberdashery trim on his travels around the globe. He sells to upper-end designers on the lookout for inspiration as well as scooping up the perfect beat-up suitcases and just-threadbare-enough old flags to fashion into Japanese shop window displays.

On my recent visit he wouldn’t let me get too snap-happy (frankly, he doesn’t need the publicity) but allowed these gems. Clearly, there’s some mileage in vintage threads yet.