This week's THE INTERVIEW slot is devoted to the woman behind online treasure-trove of vintage jewels, Passionate About Vintage. Vintage connoisseur and boutique owner, Natalie Leon specialises in fabulous vintage designer costume jewellery that draws in accessory magpies from all over the country. With a glorious boutique in Hampstead (and some SERIOUS vintage personal style to suit), it was great to catch up with her on what makes vintage so FABULOUS in 2015...
Read my interview with her below!
Have you always been interested in Vintage pieces? Where did your love of vintage stem from?
'I used to love watching my Mum get dressed for a night out and helping her pick out her jewellery. She also has a love of vintage and antiques and shared her passion with me. I was definitely influenced by my parent’s love of beautiful old things from all over the world, which they collected, and the antiques fairs that they took me along to from a very young age. I developed a love of beauty, craftsmanship and design from early on thanks to them.'
Do you have any particular vintage style icons that you adore the style of?
'Now, Dita Von Teese, for her modern spin up style. Then, Grace Kelly for her exquisite ladylike elegance and beauty.'
Did you know when you were studying for your degree, that after you would set up your own vintage jewellery boutique?
'No, I have always been attracted to vintage/antique jewellery and although I dreamt of having a shop I didn’t know it would one day be a reality.'
What advice would you have for other people looking to do this?
'Start by going to markets/fairs and speaking to the dealers, collect what you’re drawn to, handle the pieces, you will learn so much from hands on experience of what they look and feel like. Read everything you can get your hands on about the designers and periods that interest you.'
What kind of vintage pieces do you often fall in love with?
'I love too many different designers and styles. I have a weakness for floral designs but also love Art Deco, Czech jewellery, rare Venetian glass beads, Japanese Celluloid bangles, Miriam Haskell. I have a particular weakness for design of the 1920’s and the hyper femininity of the 1950’s silhouette.'
What brands do you stock?
'Passionate about Vintage stocks trinkets spanning the 1920s to current day with designers including Dior, Kenneth Jay Lane, Swarovski and Trifari.'
Where do you discover and source your pieces from?
'I’ve been sourcing pieces from markets, fairs and auctions all over the world since I was a teenager.'
Do you have any fabulous stories of when you stumbled upon certain pieces?
'I have found some beautiful pieces in some remote and unexpected places…but that would be telling!'
What's your own most prized vintage possession?
'How do I pick?! Probably a wide Ivory coloured 1930's Japanese celluloid bangle the design is of unfurling chrysanthemums. I have been collecting them for many years and am rarely without one.'
What's your own personal style like?
'I’ve always been drawn to the 1950’s hyper feminine silhouette so I wear a lot of full skirts and fitted tops, I also love a pencil skirt. I always wear vintage/antique jewellery but with modern or repro vintage clothes. In the Summer I do like a more bohemian 1970’s feel too, so floaty maxi dresses and tooled leather bags.'
What celebrity would you love to dress with your pieces?
'Scarlett Johansson, she has a touch of old school glamour about her.'
FINAL QUESTION: Your wardrobe is burning down – and you have 5 seconds to decide what three pieces you save – what do you grab?
'1. My mothers beautiful 80’s does 50’s full floral skirt that my father bought for her on a trip to the South of France, its covered in flowers in shades of cerise, turquoise, teal, gold and purple. I wear it every Summer with great joy.
2. My cornflower Blue 1950’s vintage dress, it’s a sheer full skirted dress, gathered at the bust complete with a matching belt and slip. I bought it when I lived in Canterbury. I saw it sitting in the shop window one day as I was walking past and couldn’t resist going in to ask about it. Being tall and curvy it can be hard to find original vintage that fits. The previous owner must have been almost exactly my measurements, it fits me like a glove.
3. My lipstick Red Mappin & Webb Lizard Handbag, it’s the ultimate elegant vintage accessory.'
Check out Passionate About Vintage HERE
Thank you to Natalie for answering my HAUL of questions!
All images are sourced from Passionate About Vintage/Bright Light PR
Like this post? Click on last week's INTERVIEW below: