Thursday, 5 April 2018

Is the vintage trend over?

As we're hoping to get a loft conversion, I've been paying more attention than usual to homewares, and it looks like the trend for shabby chic, 'twee' vintage interiors may finally be coming to an end. (Can you believe that the phrase 'shabby chic' was coined over 20 years ago?) I can't say I'm sorry to see the back of it; I nailed my colours to the mast back in 2012 when I ranted about why I hate upcycling. In case you're wondering, I don't hate recycling – taking broken stuff and salvaging the useful bits – I just can't bear people who split up perfectly good teasets to make naff candles, or cut up old books for papercraft projects, or paint and 'distress' perfectly good early 20th century wardrobes. Distress the wardrobes? It distresses me.

I do see people who do shabby chic really well, and I don't dislike the style. But they're people for whom its their natural style, it's their taste. They're not the sort of bandwagon-jumpers who got into it simply because everyone else was doing it, slapping Farrow and Ball paint on everything and filling their shelves with useless cake stands 'upcycled' from perfectly usable vintage plates to fit in with the crowd.

Anyway, I'm seeing far fewer blousy florals now, and far less pastel-coloured furniture too. It's been happening for a few years; even Cath Kidston is doing far more novelty prints nowadays. Stuff that my local chazzas used to hive off to the specialist vintage charity shops seems to be staying on the shelves in my local branches. I'm not sure if it's entirely good news; the trends seem to be heading, in part, towards midcentury modern, especially on the furniture front, where actual wood and slim legs are very much in. But it's a bland sort of midcentury modern, with the bold, experimental fabrics replaced with beiges and other muted, nearly-neutral shades, and without the exuberant paintings and vases and other accents you see from the 1950s and 1960s. I suppose that's good news for people who love the flamboyant stuff.

Weirdly, a lot of places also seem to be pushing a world traveller sort of style, which is annoying as Casa Robot seems to have a Victorian traveller vibe on its own, and I don't want people thinking we are following the flock, like sheep. Baaaa! It's as bad as the way we struggled to find bathroom tiles we liked, finally got something, got the bathroom done, and were clearly 12 months ahead of fashion because a year later the sort of thing we'd been looking for was everywhere. But at least all our global knicknacks have been acquired on our travels and have stories to go with them. And, I suppose, it will make it easier to find a bed we like when we do finally get the loft conversion done.

21 comments :

  1. currently struggling with the whole decorating concept , i know what i like but its not very mainstream, more cath kidston meets edgar alan poe

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  2. Oh I HATE shabby chic. I don't like painted wood at all, but saying that, our mismatched dining chairs, all bar my CC41 chair are going to be painted. One is currently Cadillac pink and to my horror as it took three years to finish (yes really) it got a bit knocked about and looked incredibly shabby and not unlike something you'd see in one of those upcycling shops. Andy finally put two more coats on and it now just looks painted properly and not purposely shabbied up. I would have left it, but the varnish went orange and it wasn't a look I was prepared to give houseroom to. Of course now the other chairs look wrong and we can't agree on the colours for the others!

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    1. Could you do each a different colour and have a rainbow set?

      I thought of you as I was looking at the homewares press sites; lots of shops seem to have tropical-themed outdoor stuff coming this summer, with flamingoes everywhere.

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    2. We were going for the rainbow look, all those delicious ice cream colours. Andy wants a buttercream yellow and I wanted lilac, but the pink is bordering on lilac so he isn't keen ... he also dislikes aqua and neither of us want green as we have a green sofa and differing green tones can often clash.

      Ooh, more flamingoes, eh? I’m seeing less round this way, booooo! But my flock here is looking fabulous, as Andy also painted the chest they live on pink, which has made them even pinker and it's starting to look rather kitsch!

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  3. I abhor pastels.
    Just no.
    I do not like pastel colored ANYTHING.
    Give me rich saturated colors- anything from Barbie pink to avocado green!
    That being said my California house was all blacks and beiges with metallic, granite, & marble accents and a lot of dark, heavily carved faux antique wooden pieces (There aren't alot of real antiques in California). Sort of that trashed Tuscan villa thing that was popular.

    The new Midcentury trend you're talking about looks very Scandinavian to me. Much too clean & sleek for my cluttered lifestyle.

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    1. I like certain pastels - an art deco eau de nil, for example. But most of the colours round my house are strong ones, and where I can't use strong colours (eg the dining room, which never gets much natural light), the walls are cream.

      I hear you on the 'too clean and sleek'; I'd love a deco home but I'm simply too eclectic.

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  4. I've never been a fan of shabby chic either. From time to time, the charity shops have upcycling events, showing how to transform gorgeous old cupboards by distressing them. I prefer to steer clear! Our furniture is distressed by time, not paint. But you're right, suddenly all this mid century inspired stuff is appearing in the shops. They've even re-issued some iconic shelving which was very popular here in the late 1950s (called Tomado) and even Aldi had some 1950s kidney shaped tables a while ago ... xxx

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    1. Aldi? We never get anything like that in ours!

      I always think of the Netherlands and Belgium as very midcentury modern, though that's probably because we lived in the Netherlands in the 1970s (Dad in the British air force) and so my memories of the low countries are of them full of that sort of thing.

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  5. Honestly, if you stick to things you like it will always have a personal touch no matter what's in fashion. Most homes are filled with items that span the decades anyway. That said, our decor screams 70s, and not the stylish end of the era ;)
    Remind me to post a photo of my desk-it is pure 70's awfulness.

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    1. I saw your desk on IG; very impressive.

      I always think big bad taste is better than timid bad taste. Embrace the awfulness! It's why Las Vegas is so iconic.

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  6. I have only shabby chiced 1 thing (a small French looking side table I found in the street) and did get a little excitable in a shop selling Annie Sloan paint, but fortunately the moment passed. A little bit here and there is fine, it's when everything is shabby chic with fridge magnet philosophy slogans everywhere it becomes a problem! We're probably a little guilty of bland mid century madness, but in my head it's the juxtaposition of old and new in a Victorian terrace...or maybe lack of imagination 😁

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    1. Augh, the slogans. The end of giant letters spelling 'LOVE' or things emblazoned 'Live love laugh' can't come soon enough for me!

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  7. I have filled the house that I am renting with stuff that is just shabby and not very chic. I keep buying things that are so distressed (by wear & tear) that they need euthanised - it would be a mercy killing. I am guilty of buying things to paint them but that is because they are too knackered not to. Still not got round to it though. I hate all that twee stuff and as for anything "Keep Calm...."! That is why bonfires were invented. :)
    I really liked your post on up-cycling and have actually bought some mid century pieces recently (2 chests of drawers, one Schrieber and one with very funky handles but badly chipped veneer). They were really cheap and I skip-dived for some light fittings that are going to be recycled into lights for the garden. I like doing creative stuff with junk. Heaven forbid it ever strayed into "yummy mummy" territory though. This is a "twee"-free zone. Xx

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    1. I don't have a problem with people salvaging stuff. It's when they knacker perfectly good stuff that I get grumpy. Teacup and Book Abuse are my particular bugbears. Books are great, why do people feel the need to cut them up or pull the covers off to make tacky notebooks?!

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  8. Oh I hate it when people ruin furniture with paint, wire wool and wax! I think that's why I love The Repair Shop so much. I guess the plus point of renting is you can't really do much so we don't have to try and decide how we would decorate I fear we would differ violently...

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    1. Decorating does come down to being a lot of compromise, though after all these years Pete and I seem to have ended up liking very similar things. (Finding the right look for the bathroom was pretty traumatic though; I got really narky because it was very hard to find anything I liked.) One of my big priorities is: is it easy to clean? Because no matter how nice something looks, I don't want to spend hours cleaning it. Hence our flat-fronted kitchen cupboards, wipe and go!

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  9. I think the vintage trend as a whole is definitely on the decline. As for shabby chic, it can go into Room 101 along with tea cup candles! As a recycler/upcycler I only ever salvage from already broken/damaged items but purposefully destroying things for a trend is just so annoying. Also whatever our tastes are, at some point we will always be part of trend.

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    1. That is true. I keep joking to Pete that when we die and my nephew inherits everything - hopefully in another 50 years or so! - he'll be horrified by how 2010s it all is, because what we liked became trendy, but we never stopped liking it.

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  10. The term vintage is misused so much they ought to starting prosecuting people under the Trades Descriptions Act! Chalk paint, candles in tea cups and don't get me started on those terrible wall plaques saying crap stuff like "Wine O'Clock" and "Shoe-o-holic".
    I grew up with painted Victorian furniture, I don't have a problem with it at all. It gives rooms a coherent look for a pittance but Shabby Chic or, as it's known in this house, Shabby Shit needs to be set fire to.
    I agree with goody, if you buy stuff you love it won't ever matter if it goes out of fashion.
    I love your bathroom. xxx

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    1. I'm not so worried about my stuff going out of fashion, it's the prospect of it being IN fashion that mortifies me :-D

      The bathroom is one of my favourite rooms in the house. The floor varnish need retouching; that'll be a project for my days off in May.

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