Fat Lava – the hot collecting area in retro/vintage ceramics and the subject of a recent exhibition and book – is the name used to describe the thick, crusty and downright crazy lava glazed pots, more usually from West Germany during the 1960s and 1970s.
If, like me, you’re old enough to remember back that far you’ll recall having seen these vases sitting on shelves and fireplaces in almost every living room looking very… well… brown, but the reality is that they came in a huge range of colours and styles from the sludgy browns that many of us remember to the fabulously bright oranges, reds and blues and in styles that range wildly from honest and earthy to loud and psychedelic. Many are one-offs with no single style, colour, finish or shape – the sky’s the limit and there’s something to suit every taste and interior (they look amazing in contemporary interiors which positively encourage them to scream their individuality out loud).
Brook Brothers certainly aren’t vintage, though many of their items still have a leaning to a past era – like this Brooks Brothers Fitzgerald Solid Two-Button 1818 suit, or for a shorter name, the JFK suit.
It’s got the JFK name because it’s based on suits that were made for John F. Kennedy in the early 60s. This two-button suit has a slimmer fit than the rest of the Brooks range, along with narrow lapels. There’s also a centre vent, full Bemberg lining, corozo buttons, double besom flap pockets and the trousers are both narrow and flat fronted.
Expect to find it in the newly opened Brooks Brothers store in London for around £599 or in the US for $898.
Brooks Brothers website
Yes, we’re going on about mugs again – this time it’s the Urban Alphabet half-pint mugs.
Each mug in the range has a letter (that’s the alphabet bit), with an image of a familiar, classic or everyday object on the other side (the urban bit). Objects include an angle poise lamp, a bike, a shoe, a teapot a heart and our favourite, a dalek.
They’re quality mugs too – hand cast fine English creamware, plenty big enough for your morning cup of tea. Available now, they retail for £11.95 each.
Find out more at the Graham and Green website
If you can’t justify paying out the price of an Artichoke lamp, how about a vintage design inspired by it? That’s what you get with the Norm 69 pendant light.
There is one drawback, it’s actually an early example of flat pack, with a total of 69 pieces. But putting it together is half the fun. The kit-based designed was the work of Simon Karkov, with the lamp going into production (as the name suggests) in 1969, by Danish firm Normann.
The biggest plus is the price. The light is available in white and cream and in four sizes, starting at just £49. Great design from 60s at a price most of us can afford. And an evening’s fun putting it together.
Find out more at the Designer Lights website
White shoes are usually a bit naff, but these Fringe shoes by Cloud Nine have something of a retro mod look, and for that reason I like them.
They have a low heel which makes them great for wearing during the day, or dancing all night. They are also made in Italy, so you know they will be well made, and have that bit of extra style.
Made in white leather, they come in sizes 3-9 and have a heel height of 30mm. They have a strap and buckle detail along the front, with silver fringe detail.
They will set you back £110, and you can find out more details, and order your pair on the Shoe Lagoon website.
Bombus do two great things – firstly, they recycle discarded furniture and secondly, they give it character with some very smart retro designs, in this case, using vintage comic books to bring them back to life.
Amelia at Bombus collects vintage coffee tables and chairs form various sources, in particular, anything in need of customisation – for example, the formica could be peeling or the wood scratched. The furniture is then coupled with a comic or magazine from a similar era, with the two combining to create a unique retro-styled item for your home. Or if there’s something in your home that needs an added spark, they can customise that too.
Obviously, this means every item is unique/bespoke, so an example of price is quite difficult. However, as a guide, this Spiderman table is around £255. Check after the fold for some more examples of items created by Bombus.
Find out more at the Bombus website