I’ve just received royal honour – the queen bee of vintage has complimented my choice of footwear.
‘Your boots are lovely,’ she interjects as we chat in general about fashion and style. And I try not to look smug.
You see, Lena is no ordinary fashionista. She is a dedicated vintage pioneer, editor of a fabulous website and constantly turning heads around London with her fantastic outfits from years gone by. As editor of QueensofVintage.com, she is always on the look-out for vintage treasure finds like a little blonde magpie.
What makes vintage things so special?
‘I love the stories attached to them. Everything has a history. The nicest things are family heirlooms – knowing that your dress was bought with your mum’s first ever pay cheque just makes it so much more special. And it’s unique – you can guarantee that no one will be wearing the same thing as you.’
What would be your dream vintage find?
‘A Chanel 2.55 bag, hopefully an undiscovered one! That’s the dream, finding something truly special that’s a bit of a bargain too. If I found one with a £5 price tag or something, I’m not sure I would tell the shopkeeper!’
What’s been your best find so far?
‘It was in a vintage fair in London. It was an original 1930s dress and it was beautiful. I was expecting it to cost a fortune but because it had a tiny tear in it, but they sold it to me for only £20! That’s certainly been my best bargain yet – even compared to Ebay!’
Where are your favourite places to go vintage shopping in London?
‘Hammersmith Vintage Fair is great (www.pa-antiques.co.uk). Sometimes it’s in Battersea . Kingly Court off Carnaby Street has two or three really nice little shops. And 21st Century Retro on Holloway Road is great, that’s where I got this 1940s dress I’m wearing.’
What styles are you into at the moment?
‘I really like the 1940s right now, especially Dior-inspired pieces. It’s just so glamourous! Bright red lipstick, structured silhouettes, tiny waists…you look amazing!’
How do Londoners react to you?
‘Most people don’t bat an eye to be honest, but if people are interested they’ll come up to me and ask me where things are from. I end up talking to people about fashion all the time – which is great! I get to meet some really nice people.’
Do you always wear vintage head-to-toe?
‘Maybe not always head-to-toe. A lot of my friends do wear vintage slips and bras. I buy new corsets to help me into my 1940s trousers and skirts – women were so tiny during the war! Corsets bring the whole outfit together. They make you stand taller and with confidence. There is a fantastic shop on Portobello Road called What Katie Did (www.whatkatiedid.com) that sells really nice corsets. And no, I’m not wearing one right now!’