Friday, 21 February 2014

Vintage, Retro or Kitsch?!


Have you ever wondered what the difference is between Vintage, Retro and Kitsch?  I thought you had, and even if you haven't, I'm going to chat about it anyway.

Vintage
This is a term I use constantly to describe old things I buy from charity shops and vintage fairs; I even consider myself to be a vintage Gal these days.  The generally accepted definition of vintage seems to be anything that is somewhere between 20 and 100 years old; The criteria for selling something as vintage on Etsy is that the item is a least 20 years old.  I still find it hard to think of clothes and homeware from the 80's as being vintage, especially when I recall all the hideous clothes that I wore back then. So no, the 80's are definitely a curly perm embarrassment rather than vintage as far as I'm concerned.


When I think of vintage, I think of a bygone era when the pace of life was slower and certainly a lot simpler.  I think of the 1930's to 1950's and the delicate pretty china from that period; I think about the wonderful Joan Hickson as Miss Marple having afternoon tea and crumpets on the lawn;  I think of ladies who sewed their own clothes from necessity and took loving care of their table linen and china so that it would be waiting for me to buy in 2014.   I love the 60's and 70's too but my heart belongs to the thirties and forties. The second Nanny McPhee film is full of vintage style from this period and is a delight to look at.   Maggie Gyllenhaal is beautiful in gorgeous floral tea dresses and pretty china fills the ram shackle country farmhouse the family lives in; watch it and swoon. 



Retro
I often find clothing and homeware in charity shops that has been labelled as 'retro' when in fact it is not a reproduction but real deal vintage.   Retro refers to something that is evocative or reminiscent of a bygone era or style but was not actually created during that period.  I think that Orla Keeley designs are pretty retro and remind me of the wallpaper my Grandad had in his living room during the 70's.  



Cath Kidston has a strong  retro feel in her designs; all those lovely florals that bring back memories of chintzy, pastel soft furnishings in old country farmhouses and bright flower-power prints from the 60's that 'pop' with rich colours.  I have a couple of CK salt and pepper shaker sets that are strongly retro in design and make me happy every time I see them.  



Kitsch
The Oxford dictionary defines kitsch as:

'art, objects or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way'
My little collection of Sylvac and Hornsea bunny and Bambi vases would definitely be considered kitsch; it's that 'so-wrong-it's-right' type of thing.   Hey, one girl's kitsch is another girl's piece of 'tut' and so I really don't get my knickers in a twist when it comes to categorising the lovely things I find.  If I like it and it brings me pleasure, then that is all the excuse I need to have it in my life.  

I have not set foot inside a charity shop this week as busy, busy, busy with half term, but I'll sneak out next week to see what little darlings are waiting to come home with me.   I hope you enjoyed the gratuitous photo of Miss Ginny and Miss Hattie Guinea Pig for no particular reason other than they are just plain cute.

TTFN. Galx












13 comments:

  1. GAL, I enjoyed your post! I love vintage, retro and kitsch. It sounds like you have several good charity shops in your area- lucky girl! There aren't many close to me, but I do enjoy the ones we have. I haven't seen the second Nanny McPhee film, but now I want to just to see the decor! #PoCoLo ♥

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    1. I love Nanny McPhee - such a feel good film. Thanks for visiting :)

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  2. Such gorgeous gratuitous guinea pigs!
    Amy @2boys1mum #pocolo

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    1. Thanks for visiting Amy and for admiring my guinea pigs :)

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  3. Really interesting, I like your explanation of each of the terms. I love a bit of vintage vs kitsch myself!

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    1. I confess I even love 'tut' sometimes too!

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  4. Great post - I agree it is hard to think of stuff from the 80's as vintage - vintage makes me think of 30's,40's and 50's I just love that style.

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    1. Ah, I wish I could be transplanted back into the 40's sometimes; just for a day maybe.

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  5. did you crochet the guinea pigs yourself? do you have the pattern?

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    1. Hi Kate, No I didn't crochet the blankets - I wish! I picked them up in charity shops. But, I am going to learn to crochet a blanket of my own someday soon :)

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  6. Hello GAL,

    We have found you quite by accident, rather like falling down a rabbit hole, but here we are and what a delicious selection of goodies we find ourselves delighted by here.

    We too are fond of the antique, the vintage, the retro and, at times, certainly in the minds of others, the kitsch. Indeed, we often think of ourselves as living in another decade entirely. It is so good, we believe, to live as extraordinary a life as one can for, after all, there is no dress rehearsal for life.

    We have never subscribed to a minimalist approach. Stuff accumulates around us and as each and every object has its own story to tell and it's own memories to kindle, what comes in never goes out. To quote someone whose name I have completely forgotten....'More is more and less is a bore'

    We have so enjoyed our visit but must confess that we think of Maggie Gyllenhaal as a rather naughty secretary than a loveable character in Nanny Mc Phee.........

    We have signed as followers to stay in touch.

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    1. Hi Jane and Lance - So lovely to meet you! I love the quote, but I am trying to curb my charity shop buying as I tend to get a bit over excited and buy too much. Thanks for visiting and following too :)

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  7. No need to apologize I can't get enough of guinea pigs!! I don't really know what the differences are only that very few people can pull off a retro look and that doesn't include me. I mean Crochet tops look good on Maggie Gyllenhall but that's about it. Here's more about my guinea pigs http://mommyhasaheadache.blogspot.com/2012/03/if-guinea-pigs-could-tweet.html

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Hi, thanks for taking the time to comment. GAL x

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