Apple crates. I’ll just start there. Apple crates. Once upon a time, these humble rustic containers (also known back in the day as bushel boxes) were knocked up for that most practical of tasks of transporting one’s apples from one’s orchards to one’s local market. They were constructed out of cheap timber and stamped with the name of the farm or business. In the village I grew up in, I remember these scruffy boxes were everywhere; chucked in hedges, discarded in fields and rotting in hay barns. They were also a ready source of fuel for the annual village Guy Fawkes bonfire.
If ONLY our local farmers had known then that those humble crates which could give you all manner of splinters as you chucked them over the hedge, would one day be ‘desirable’ and therefore expensive. They would have laughed their ruddy little cheeks off.Because nowadays, apple crates are in every trendy boho vintage shop and swanky interiors magazine. And if you can’t buy a genuine vintage crate complete with splinters, dead spiders and a smearing of vintage silage, then you can buy genuine repro ones to help you create that rustic ‘oo ar’ look as you park it next to your Hunter wellies on your flagstone floor by your 1920’s side table painted in Farrow and Ball ‘Smoked Trout’.
Don’t get me wrong, I love vintage. I love acquiring items which are individual and unusual. I adore vintage interiors and fashion (particularly the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s) But I occasionally get exasperated at the whole vintage ‘movement’. I don’t want to pay £20 for a crappy old crate which was knocked up in two minutes by Old Harold at the back of the stable while he was pissed on cider. However much I think it would be a lovely container for some off-cuts of chintzy fabric. Hang on to those blue plastic mushroom crates my friends, because one day, they will be all the rage….
Anyway, moving on.
Vintage is a now a contemporary trend isn’t it? It’s current, it’s everywhere. It’s just going to perpetuate. The 90’s are vintage. Everything of a current design has a vintage future to look forward to. Not everyone loves design of the past. My husband, for example. Every time I bring home a ‘new’ vintage tureen, book, set of glasses, piece of furniture, length of fabric or lampshade, he starts using the Ikea catalogue as a self-help manual. One day, that Eriksbnogfyt space saving spatula will be worth a fortune…..
Vintage is a real buzzword isn’t it? I just typed ‘vintage’ into Ebay UK and 4,766,922 listings came up. I scrolled down through the categories and selected the most unlikely connection to ‘vintage’ I could see. It was Pet Supplies. Top of the listing was ‘Ancol Vintage Leather Dog Puppy Padded Collar Chestnut Brown’. It’s a dog collar. It’s brown. It’s leather. Its new. It’s £7.99 + p&p if you’re interested. But even by design, the ‘vintage’ connection is definitely tenuous……
I then chose a category which I felt would have more appropriate vintage credentials which was ‘Collectables’. Now there I found a ‘1970’s Lurpak toast rack’ (dull), a ‘vintage Crosse & Blackwell soup flask’ (squeal!), a ‘vintage Tonka metal tipper dumper truck’ (probably has vintage boy residue on it) and ‘3 Fry’s chocolate cream bar old vintage adverts’ (shriek! they would look great on my walls!).
When it comes to interiors, I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I’ve seen some vintage styled interiors which have been knocked up using pieces of utter tat but which look so beautifully cool and stylish I could cry. It just takes someone who has a brilliant eye for design to assemble it. Sometimes, it can go horribly wrong.
I stayed in a hotel in Lisbon recently (Independente Suites and Hostel) and their bar area actually looks like they’ve found some vintage apple crates, smashed them up and stapled them to the wall. It’s really quite fabulous. I guess Old Harold would have liked that…….