>> It's redesign this, relaunch that at the moment and one of my favourite vintage spots in London Merchant Archive, just got a website uplift, making it even more tempting to go on and oops, drop a wad on a 1920s feathered cape that serves no purpose other than for me to wear it, whilst swanning around in my living room, doing terrible Marlene Dietrich impressions.
Sophie Merchant has been slowly been evolving her vintage store, which started out nestled in a Lipton General store in Kensal Green, and then made its move to Notting Hill, where it's been doing brisk trade of beautiful vintage as well as new label finds. Now Merchant Archive's rebranding alongside the new website will take this vintage spot to cast a wider net. The web isn't lacking in high end vintage online stores (for instance looking forward to seeing how Shrimpton Couture revamps there site...) but nonetheless, Sophie never seems to let me down when it comes to picking out pieces that I zoom in on immediately and subsequently wear over and over again because in some ways, they're even more special than brand new designer pieces. I'm reluctant to even post images of what they have in at the moment just because I'm itching to get to the store in-person for a renewed Merchant Archive fix. To be specific, whoever gets their mits on this Hermès feather print blouse or this 1970s Miss Feraud knit dress, I will have to beg them pathetically to sell on to me. Oh no, is someone going to buy them just to spite me now? I guess I couldn't blame them.
Merchant Archive is hardly a secret anymore given their loyal starry clientale such as Florence Welch so I'm glad that they finally have a website to truly spread the word out.
Sophie has also been using her knowledge of collecting vintage to dip her toes into design with a small capsule collection of pieces that fit into her own personal ethos of finding dramatic vintage pieces a new 21st century home. A plain double breasted coat can be dramatic with Victorian-inspired cape detailing. Likewise, the styling of her vintage pieces reflects Sophie's high-low gut instinct of taking historic pieces out of their context by placing say an ornate Japanese kimono or a theatrical tulle skirt with blue jeans or a pair of mannish flat shoes. New labels such as sturdy shoes by Robert Clegerie, modern and graphic jewellery by Uncommon Matters and timeless hats by Le Cerise sur le Chapeau complement and balance out Merchant's more feathered/floral/flouncy (delete as appropriate) offerings.