One balmy evening two years ago, driving a back-route from Jeremy’s parents through North London, I had one of those rare stop the car please (!!!) moments, as we chanced on Mishka Vintage’s closed potential. My only other equally memorable stop the car moment, being somewhere in the Transylvanian mountains of Rumania in 1995, when I saw the multi-coloured fantasia-incarnate of a hand embroidered 100 year old traditional folkloric waistcoat. I live in a world of clothes: literally surrounded with treasures sourced over the past 20 (eek!) + years, plus the weekly supply of designer options prepped in, edited, shot and returned for editorials. Ergo, I am not easily impressed: I knew this had that rare alchemic frisson where magic realism meets vintage treasure trove. The window was filled to brimming with stories: Victorian lace, deco lingerie, 50′s dresses, 70′s clutches; layer upon layer of beautiful things.
History was my route into fashion: a childhood geeky addiction to history reference books fed into my frequent flyer time traveller daydreams, leading me to start my own vintage collection aged 7, as I felt entranced (and still do) by the stories and skills used to create such pieces. I would imagine people’s lives when these clothes were made; how their world felt and looked. Never for me just tired old rags: a Flemish lace collar, a beaded deco bag, or a velvet Victorian jacket, has always felt just as fantastic as the this season’s must-haves I work with on a weekly basis for the fashion styling day-job and with the added bonus of running their own storyline: one filled with gilt-edged glamour, music hall melodrama, or Hollywood dialogue.
While organising my wedding 2 summers ago, I took the drive out past Crouch End one Saturday, between bouts of buying most of North London’s charity shops stock of vintage china for the wedding, to see what lay inside the promise of this newly found delight. In my head the owner would be old, eccentric and prone to hoarding. Imagine my surprise therefore, when I met the smiling glamour that is Lizzie Greene: a woman who manages to combine motherhood, high heels, a predilection for bold lipsticks and an encyclopedic knowledge of British 20th Century fashion design. ie my kind of woman: someone for whom too much is just enough, while geeking out on quirky sartorial trivia; albeit yes indeed known to hoard, or as I like to term it to my husband: archiving.
Lizzie has become a dear friend: someone who has lent me the most precious pieces for my editorial shoots, as well as a first port of call for music or advertising jobs, as her clothes often add a necessarily unique flourish. The skirt I used for Charlotte Church’s recent single cover, was a Mishka purchase.
This afternoon I was there returning pieces lent for 2 of my 3 shoots this week: one for Six Magazine, one with Lily Cole for Corduroy. However, if you were my styling client and looking for that one-off party dress, wow factor wedding gown, or retro-referenced Annie Hall meets Celine this season piece, Mishka Vintage would be on our list of must-dos. When you do get there, take the time: this is not a 5 minute Primark collision course. Chat to Lizzie, allow yourself to relax into remembering/experiencing what boutique-style one on one smiling service feels like; then see what magic you walk away with.
Mishka Vintage Clothing
- 212a, Middle Lane
- N8 7LA
- London (London)
- Main phone:
- 020 8341 3853