Monday, 7 December 2015

How to Wear Vintage Brooches ...

Vintage Mask Face Brooch by Gontie

Be inspired to wear a beautiful vintage brooch this Christmas! Back in February our favourite blogger Decades of Elegance ran a brooch wearing challenge. There are plenty of lovely modern ways to wear a vintage brooch! 

Looking back at our February Brooch Wearing Challenge
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Opal and Diamond Brooch from Richard Ogden in the Burlington Arcade
Opal and Diamond Brooch from Richard Ogden in the Burlington Arcade – we adore! What a lovely month February has been!  I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into when I started the Brooch Wearing Challenge a month ago, but it turned out to be such a wonderful little jewellery journey, with so much positive feedback – and so many fabulous brooches!

Vintage Silver and Marcasite Brooch, Decades of Elegance
Vintage Silver and Marcasite Brooch, Decades of Elegance
A friend of mine who is a beautiful opera singer was really excited to hear about it, and said that she always struggles to find brooches that will go with her performance outfits.  “A brooch is perfect to fasten a scarf with over an evening gown, but you just don’t see them around these days!”  Fortunately I was able to direct her to the vintage fairs and antique shops for some stunning brooches that are just waiting to start a new life with a new owner!

Vintage Cameo Brooch from Decades of Elegance
One of our lovely readers shared her vintage cameo brooch with us

Vintage Cameo Brooch worn with a Blouse
Another way to wear a cameo brooch 
It has also been lovely to talk to vintage and antique dealers who sell brooches, as they often have an abundance of brooches and know so much about them – and can give you great tips as to how they could be worn!

And this little experiment has also reinvented a bunch of my own outfits, as they go through such a transformation when a brooch is added!

Scottish Vintage Brooch with a Green Stone, Decades of Elegance

My woollen dress got a whole new life when I added this Scottish vintage brooch
from the Decades of Elegance collection

Gold Coloured Vintage Brooch with a Pearl  
A Romantic Gold Coloured Vintage Brooch with a Pearl

Vintage Chanel Brooch, Red Lips, Marilyn Monroe style

From the blog post Day 2 of the Brooch Wearing Challenge – Vintage Chanel Brooch 
And what better way to revive some old Hollywood glamour, than wearing a vintage 
Chanel brooch and red lipstick – as shown here by another one of our lovely readers?
So thank you all for taking part in this lovely challenge in so many different ways.  And it doesn’t of course stop here – feel free to send over your photos of you wearing a brooch whenever you like so that we can all enjoy a bit of beautiful jewellery and get some new style ideas!

So my dear, take out those old brooches that have been sitting at the back of your jewellery box, and reinvent them!  On Wednesday we will take a look at all the different styles that we have seen here on the blog throughout February, and hopefully you will get buckets of inspiration on how to wear your own in the most fabulous way!

Arabella Bianco joins our Vintage Brooch Wearing Challenge
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Arabella Bianco Vintage Gold Plated Bird of Paradise Brooch
 Vintage Gold Plated Bird of Paradise Brooch
And so the Vintage Brooch adventure continues, and today we are joined by Arabella Bianco, who is sending us some vintage brooch-inspiration from the golden days of Hollywood:

Hedy Lamarr wearing a brooch
Hedy Lamarr wearing a beautiful brooch just below the collar of her blouse
Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr’s Hollywood-career spanned the 1930s, 40s and 50s.  She was discovered by Louis B. Mayer – film producer and co-founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios (MGM) – and Louis and the studio cast her as “the world’s most beautiful woman”.  In the photo above she is wearing a spray brooch, which sits beautifully just below the collar of her blouse.  This is a lovely way of wearing a brooch, as it adds a sweet little detail to a blouse that might not be so exciting to start with!
I wore a cameo brooch in a similar way the other day in the antique shop:

How to Wear a Brooch - vintage cameo brooch worn on the collar of a blouse
Vintage cameo brooch worn on the collar of a blouse

Joan Crawford wearing a brooch
Joan Crawford wearing a brooch
Above we can see another imaginative way of accessorising an outfit with a brooch; in this instance an LBG worn by Joan Crawford.  She signed a motion picture contract, also with MGM, in 1925, and starred in many successful movies during the Great Depression – often portraying hardworking women who eventually found success and love.  Her career took a few hits after a strong start, but recovered an reached an all time high in 1945, when she won an Academy Award for Best Actress in Mildred Pierce.
We simply love the way the brooch becomes a part of her outfit.  Brooches with a prominent centre stone set in an beautifully designed mount just have such a classic look to them.
Vintage brooches from Arabella Bianco, Grays Antique Center, London
Vintage brooches from Arabella Bianco, Grays Antique Centre
… and here is a selection of Arabella Bianco‘s beautiful brooches, so that you can recreate your favourite iconic styles of these Hollywood starlets!

Monday, 30 November 2015

Where to shop for vintage costume jewellery this Christmas ...

Adorable vintage Christmas tree brooch
 on our stand at Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair yesterday.

Our special one of a kind vintage costume jewellery is sent worldwide from the website

Or if you are in London, why not drop by our shop in the famous Grays Antiques!

Have a lovely week.  Arabella x

Monday, 23 November 2015

Clerkenwell Christmas Vintage Fashion Fair, 2015

Our last fair for 2015 will be Clerkenwell Christmas Vintage Fashion Fair on Sunday 29th November. It's going to be a fabulous fair with special one of a kind gifts from independent sellers! We hope to see you there.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Arabella Bianco is in December's Homes & Antiques Magazine!

We are really pleased to have a selection of our gold vintage costume brooches in the December Christmas edition of Homes & Antiques magazine, 'The Gold Rush' by Ellie Tennant. We love it! Photographs Katya de Grunwald, styling Anna Malhomme de la Roche.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Monday, 5 October 2015

Where are London's best car boot sales?

Yesterday I became a boot fair seller at Hayes Farm Boot Sale, selling the remains of Tibetan and new costume jewellery stock from my market days.

It's the first time I've been to a boot sale and I really enjoyed it. There were literally hundreds of buyers and sellers. We had a successful day, and the sun was shining too! The only thing that was a bit grim was the 6am start, it was still dark when we arrived and we were asked if we had any records, electrical goods, or precious jewellery by enthusiastic buyers before we had even opened the car boot. Here's to the next one!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Vintage: Back to the 70s ...

From our vintage jewellery collection: vintage articulated fish pendant, vintage Avon 1973 'Ovalesque' pendant, vintage Avon 1975 'Juliet Cross' pendant and a selection of vintage plastic beads.

Vintage music: On Friday I watched 'Hot Chocolate at the BBC' which was a tribute to the band, whose charismatic frontman Errol Brown died in May. My favourite is from 1979 'Every 1's a Winner' .

Monday, 21 September 2015

Arabella Bianco is in October's British Vogue Magazine!

We are delighted to have a pair of vintage earrings and a vintage bracelet in October's British Vogue modelled by Sienna Miller!!! We only found out on Monday when a customer arrived to buy the earrings!
Really love the styling of this shoot. Styling by Lucinda Chambers, and photographer Mario Testino. Please see our Facebook page for all the images.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Video from the Vintage Modes fashion show!


Video from last Thursday's vintage fashion show at Vintage Modes in Grays Antiques! The show was masterminded and styled by Geeta Handa of C-Atomic, with jewellery from Arabella Bianco and Gillian Horsup, and clothes by Geeta Handa and June Victor. Enjoy!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Read the latest news from Arabella Bianco!

The latest news from Arabella Bianco, September 2015 - including details of the vintage fashion show coming up at Vintage Modes in Grays Antiques this Thursday!

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Off to San Francisco for my son's wedding and vintage shopping!

Luxurious vintage tiara with shimmering white faux pearls and faceted glass beads accents
Dear Readers,

We are taking a short break from our blog until Monday 7th September.

I will be flying over to the States to San Francisco for my son's wedding. I will also be visiting some vintage shops whilst I am there, you might like to follow my adventures on Instagram!

Meanwhile, I hope you have a great summer, and thank you so much for reading our blog.

Best Wishes, Lesley (Arabella Bianco founder) 

Monday, 3 August 2015

Introducing Geeta Handa of C-ATOMIC!

We are pleased to announce a new addition to the team at Vintage Modes! British designer Geeta Handa of C-ATOMIC has created a beautiful display of individually designed vintage inspired dresses and accessories. Her influence for this collection mainly comes from the 1970s but does add a touch of the retro 50s and stylish 60s. The designs feature timeless silhouettes with an added ethnic touch to create the perfect balance between bohemian fashion and effortless chic.

Geeta also offers a bespoke couture dress making service to make you stand out from the crowd. Additionally, clients receive a fashion portrait sketched out by Geeta herself, which makes a perfect gift along with any purchase.

Personal favourites from the collection are the white chiffon dresses with floaty sleeves. These can be worn dressed up or down, and when paired with gladiator sandals and a fringe bag, would be perfect to wear to this season's festivals.

We asked Geeta a few questions...

What first interested you in vintage fashion?
The idea of a timeless classic piece that never goes out of style was the reason I first started designing.

Do you have a favourite fashion icon? 
1970s icon, Brigitte Bardot, influences my designs, with a piece in my collection even being named after her. 

How do you gather inspiration for your beautiful designs?
I like to travel in order to gain inspiration and have just come back from a trip to Paris. Indian Textiles and the British Raj Era also inspire this collection.

Below are a few designs from her current collection:

Geeta modelling one of her own designs

Gigi Galore off shoulder, raw silk top with gold and black printed pleat skirt
Stunning White Chiffon Dress

Bohemian Vintage Inspired Dress
Classic Vintage Style Dress
Bohemian Style with an Ethnic twist
Follow on instagram @c_atomicgeeta
Mobile: +44 7061506777

Sunday, 19 July 2015

What style of Vintage Dress should I wear for a wedding?

My son is getting married in August, and I'm on the hunt for a vintage dress to wear! 

This is a beautiful pink 1970s dress from eBay by Mike Benet Formals with cream iridescent sequins. I've had comments from 'nice' to 'hideous''girly' 'it's a nightdress' and 'you're not wearing that are you?'

I'm not sure what shoes I'd wear. I've got two more dresses on their way. What's your opinion of this dress?

Monday, 29 June 2015

My Impressions of Arabella Bianco

This post was created by Gerald, our work experience student.

I have been working for Arabella Bianco for the past week for my work experience! When I first arrived I was skeptical as to what I would find and what I would be required to do. The fears faded away as I met new people who were friendly and people who I would not normally talk to. It definitely took me out of my comfort zone and gave me a chance to grow my social skills.

I learnt how to do blog posts such as this and how to post instagram and facebook posts that looked professional. I think I achieved this with the posts that I created. The owner of Arabella Bianco helped me when I was unsure and was supportive throughout. Everyone was friendly when I needed help and encouraged me to go further. This helped me to transition myself to a growth mindset.

My first phone call that I had to answer was extremely nerve wracking. For some people picking up the phone to strangers is second nature but for me it was a very new experience. I stuttered and paused on my first phone call but as I began to repeat the process it became natural. This was also my first time in a work environment outside of school. It opened my eyes to what running a business entails and how a work day normally functions.

To conclude, my week at Arabella Bianco was an experience I will not forget. It truly gave me an insight into a work environment, and how a work day functions. Taking me out of my comfort zone brought new challenges and helped me to gain further social skills. Thanks to Arabella Bianco for letting me pursue my work experience at her shop!

Monday, 22 June 2015

Vintage Costume Jewellery - Avon, Christian Dior and Monet

Dear readers,

When you purchase an item, you wear it, enjoy it and love it! However, has anyone ever wondered what the history of the piece is? Perhaps there is something you never knew. Perhaps it has a history of well influenced owners or perhaps you can find out more about your favourite jewellery. Well we are here to help give you some history of some of the items that we offer.

Avon  - Best known for cosmetics, Avon began designing costume jewellery in 1963 as free gifts to go with their perfumes.  Avon started selling jewellery separately in 1965. However Avon was not widely collected and Kenneth J.Lane designed some pieces for AVON from 1986 to 1995. These pieces were marked with K.J.L.

Christian Dior - Traditionally known for their haute couture, Dior was founded in 1946 by the designer Christian Dior.  It was not until 1950 however that Dior began to make costume jewellery to match his clothing collections. Always well made, Dior has been one of the most successful couture companies to this day.
Monet -  Monet was founded in 1929 by Michael and Jay Chernow. By the 1980's Monet was producing jewellery for Yves Saint Laurent. The key to collecting Monet is to buy the older pieces that were made in the last 2 decades. These are the most valued and sought after.

This post was composed by Gerald, our work experience student.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Vintage Fashion Fairs, London

The Amorelles at Pop Up Vintage Fairs, Hampstead
Hi dear Readers,

We hope you had a good weekend. We were busy selling our vintage jewellery at the Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair on Sunday, and have two more vintage fairs over the next two weeks. If you are in the London area why not pop in for a great day out, details are in our latest newsletter. If you'd like to receive further news, please subscribe here.

Whilst we are doing the vintage fairs so close together we will be taking a break from our blog, we'll be back on 22nd June.

In the meantime, here's more from The Amorelles, enjoy!

Monday, 25 May 2015

Elvis Presley, our Number 1 idol! - If I Can Dream ...

Dear readers,
Sadly this video is no longer available. I am sure it is all steeped in legality, but it would be a very sad day if there were no Elvis Youtube videos left because of copyright issues. It is important for the next generations to know about Elvis and his music. What do you think?

It's Bank Holiday Monday here in the UK, time to celebrate Elvis!

If you ever get the opportunity to visit Graceland, do go even if you're not an Elvis fan, it is truly moving.

Have a great day wherever you are! x

Monday, 18 May 2015

How to Plant a Mini Bluebell Wood!

I love wild flowers, and one of the most stunning sights at this time of year is the bluebell wood!

From Wikipedia - 'Bluebell woods may be found in all parts of Great Britain and Ireland, as well as elsewhere in Europe. Bluebells are a common indicator species for ancient woodlands, so bluebell woods are likely to date back to at least 1600'


Buy your British bluebell bulbs!  I ordered 100 from Shipton bulbs, which is a wonderful company that sells bulbs and plants suitable for the nature garden,

Choose your location, bluebells thrive in the open or shade, in any well-drained soil.

Roughly clear the area of  'weeds' (unwanted plants!).

Scatter your bulbs randomly to create a natural effect, and plant about 5cm deep and 15cm apart. I planted mine in October.

Enjoy soon!

Why not start a wild flower garden and help our wildlife!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Where to go for Afternoon Tea in London ...

Have you ever fancied having a delicious afternoon cream tea surrounded by the opulence and grandeur of a secret London hotel?

How about starting your own vintage hotel silver collection?

Have a lovely week x

Monday, 4 May 2015

Jayne Mansfield does 'The Monkeybird' in Cannes, 1964

                                             It's Bank Holiday Monday!

Monday, 27 April 2015

TimeOut Paris - Where to find Second Hand Shops in Paris

Are you off to Paris this summer? I usually go every year, but this year I am lucky enough to be visiting California!

TimeOut Paris has put together this very handy guide to second hand shops in Paris. I would love to know what they are like!   Have a great week!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Arabella Bianco is in British Vogue Magazine!

We were very, very excited last week to have had our first fashion shoot jewellery pieces published, and they're in May's British Vogue magazine!!! Modelled by Chloe Sevigny, shown here wearing the Christian Dior necklace Fashion editor Bay Garnett, and photographer Tyrone Lebon. For all the photos, see the Vintage Modes Blog.
We're taking a short break, and will be back on 27th April.

Monday, 9 March 2015

25% Shop Discount, exclusive to Newsletter Subscribers ... Dear Readers,

Spring is here! We have a 25% discount in the shop this week exclusive to newsletter subscribers! Details here

Monday, 16 February 2015

Where is the most wonderful vintage wedding shop in London?

This was a very popular post from 2013, so with wedding season approaching we thought you'd enjoy reading it again! ...

One of our favourite blogs is by Decades of Elegance.

Last week Decades of Elegance visited the vintage wedding shop of Jane Bourvis in Portobello Road.

Read all about the their stunning discoveries at 'Vintage Bridal Couture by Jane Bourvis'

Vintage Photo: A fabulous vintage wedding dress with a large veil and beautiful bead work. Circa 1960s.

Monday, 9 February 2015

What should I buy her for Valentine's Day? Have a Heart!

Vintage gold tone heart brooch with a beautiful red frosted glass centre, by Balenciaga, Paris.

This lovely designer statement brooch has it's own black Balenciaga pouch.

£50 from Arabella Bianco

Monday, 26 January 2015

Vintage Shops in the not-so-secret North of London ...

Following on from last week's South London vintage shops, we visit the far better known vintage in North London!
"North London is home to more vintage shops than any other part of the city, including the considered vintage parlours of Stoke Newington and the chaotic retro jumble of Camden" TimeOut London

Monday, 19 January 2015

Vintage Shops in the Secret South of London ...

Here's an interesting post from Vintage Fashion London. If you decide to visit any of these lovely shops you may want to check they are still there, the post is dated 2012. I keep my fingers crossed they are all still in business, what great vintage shops there are in South London! Have you got any recommendations?

Monday, 5 January 2015

The New Year in Paris ...

Happy New Year readers! I hope you had a relaxing xmas break.

I was in Paris for the New Year, the fireworks and Christmas lights were spectacular.

These amazing palms are real trees painted white. Aren't they beautiful!

If you are in Paris, visit the flea markets, always worth going to for unearthing new treasures!