Pin Up's Guide To London
A Pin Up Girl's Guide To Visiting London.
With the diversity a large city brings and the recent resurgence of the late 1940s-1950s era in fashion, London now has a thriving and vibrant pin up, burlesque and rockabilly scene, with plenty of establishments for those who like to think its 1958, not 2008. So here's a round up of the hottest spots for a modern day pin up girl to shop, eat, pamper, see and be seen!
Broadwick Street, Soho (Nearest tube stop: Oxford Circus)
This is THE place to go for sensual and seductive lingerie. A full range of sexy stockings and beautiful underwear sets are available, plus perfumes and creams, shoes, and a range of coordinating jewellery. You won't get much for less than £50, but its well worth the money-AP has attained a cult status due to its wonderful attention to detail.
B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful
Covent Garden (Nearest tube: Covent Garden)
Entering this beauty haven has been likened to entering an Aladdin's cave. From vintage perfume bottles and raven black kohl to jewelled make up brushes and carved pots full of glitter, B has everything a modern day pin up needs to complete her maquillage. The staff are friendly and helpful, and the products are beautifully displayed on mirrored dressing tables surrounded by flowers-truly amazing.
Camden Markets, Camden
Nearest tube stop: Camden Town
There are a wide range of stalls in the various Camden markets selling everything from gothic fetish wear to cutesy Hello Kitty merchandise. However there is a strong leaning towards the pin up look-this is the stomping ground of '50s aficionado Amy Winehouse, after all. Look out for an abundance of reasonably priced pencil and prom dresses, and vintage style accessories. There are many stalls selling original vintage clothing, accessories and jewellery, alongside more specialist vendors offering delicious corsets, shoes and sunglasses. Plus gather some style inspiration from the glamorous guys and gals who parade the streets of Camden in full post-war style.
Fairy Goth Mother
Lamb Street, Old Spitalfields (Nearest tube stop: Liverpool Street)
This fabulous emporium has everything a good pin up girl needs, from decadent silk underwear, corsets and swimwear to custom made dresses, separates and accessories. Fairy Goth Mother provides most of the costumes for the 1940s influenced Puppini Sisters, and was recently responsible for the corsets and knickers for their memorable entrance onto the stage at Koko. The staff here are corsetry experts so can help you find the perfect fit.
The Girl Can't Help It
This vintage shop, named after a classic Jayne Mansfield movie, is specifically aimed towards a retro pin up girl look. The shop is overflowing with gorgeous garments displayed on quirky mannequins, and decadent jewellery draped over heart shaped shelves. Most pieces stocked are designer, and all are specially hand picked, so although they may be pricier than other vintage stores, they will also be of excellent quality. Handbags and hats are also sold to complete your look.
Oxford Circus (Nearest tube stop: Oxford Circus)
Although trusty Topshop is definitely not of the pin up era, their shoe lounge is legendary, and what pinup worth her salt can resist a seductive pair of stilettos? Also check out the vintage section, the accessories and the great range of underwear, including limited edition pieces by Fifi Chachnil, a former designer for Agent Provocateur. The basement has brilliant pieces by independent designers in small quantities, to give you that air of exclusivity.
Vivienne of Holloway, Camden Lock
Nearest tube stop: Camden Town
Vivienne creates pretty prom style dresses, hot halter tops and saucy pencil skirts, all in a range of retro-tastic fabrics. Her suits-all-sizes frocks have been seen on the likes of Kate Nash, Lilly Allen and Charlotte Church. She also stocks a range of accessories such as belts and corsages.
What Katie Did, Portobello Green
Nearest tube station: Ladbroke Grove
A gem of a shop, tucked away in a dinky shopping centre a few minutes from Ladbroke Grove tube station. WKD specialises in reproduction vintage lingerie and hosiery. You can drool over their delectable range of satin corsets and lingerie sets and squeal with delight at the wide selection of reasonably priced stockings, before having a brief lie down on the shop's chaise longue to regain your composure. Vintage style accessories including parasols and perfume bottles are available to add the perfect finishing touches to your look, and a small range of lust-worthy swimwear and clothing has recently been introduced.
The Savoy Hotel, The Strand
Famous pin ups and divas have stayed here over the years, including Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor, as did the swoon-worthy Frank Sinatra. Unfortunately the hotel is closed until early 2009, but you can still catch a glimpse of the glamorous facade and imagine you see Marilyn glancing from between the curtains.
Selfridge's Wonder Room-Marilyn Monroe's Slip
Selfridge's & Co., Oxford Street. (Nearest tube stop: Oxford Circus)
Marvel at a little piece of popular history preserved between glass. Marilyn's bespoke underwear still looks as good today as it did in the 50s, and it is interesting to see how tiny she was at her slimmest-she yoyo-ed between a size 8 and 16 during the course of her career. Afterwards you can coo over the Cartier and Tiffany jewels on display-but remember, even Marilyn wore rhinestones!
Camden (Nearest tube stop: Mornington Crescent)
This historic building used to be a theatre, but has now been turned into a decadent club reminiscent of the Moulin Rouge-chandeliers and crimson velvet are in abundance. The music may be a little modern and guitar-heavy for more delicate pinup girls, but the surroundings will be suitably luxurious for getting a little tipsy on champagne...
South London Pacific
Kennington Road (Nearest tube stop: Kennington or Oval)
This is a truly fabulous cocktail bar, decorated in the Tiki (1950s Hawaiian) style. The cocktails and nibbles follow the theme, with names such as Blue Hawaiian and Pacific Peach. Tiki events are also held here on a regular basis, including Hula Boogie, where you can get dance lessons in various retro dance styles.
Branches in Old Compton Street and Trocadero (Nearest tube stop: Leicester Sq. or Piccadilly Circus)
Walking into this diner is like stepping back in time to 1950s America. The furniture is red and shiny, the menu is laminated (seriously retro) and the music is rock and roll. The service is excellent, the food is delicious and the milkshakes are heavenly-I recommend the butterscotch flavour! Any pin up girl will feel perfectly at home here, but it may be hard to tear your self from such a perfect little slice of nostalgia and get back to the modern world!
Branches in South Kensington and Portobello Road
This American style bakery sells the most delicious cupcakes known to woman-kind; the red velvet (chocolate and vanilla flavour with cream cheese frosting) is particularly divine! And just to make things even better, you can eat your cake in a brown and pink mosaic covered cafe, and even buy a postcard with artwork of the cupcakes to remember your trip. Indulge yourself, though you made need to invest in a girdle after a few of these babies!
Nina's Hair Parlour, Alfie's Antiques Market
Nearest tube stop: Baker Street or Marylebone
This hair dressing genius has been creating gorgeous glamour gal 'dos for a number of years, and advises on period hair styles for the Young Vic Theatre productions. Whether you want Marilyn's platinum waves, Betty Grable's curly bangs, or Jane Russell's sleek dark locks, this lady can create your ideal look. She even has original equipment such as gas heated curling tongs and '50s domed dryers. Nina also sells a range of vintage hats and hair accessories.
-Bethnal Greens Working Mens Club: Bethnal Green
-Last days of decadence: Shoreditch
-The Bath House: Liverpool Street
-Dirty Dicks: Liverpool Street
...to name just a few......