Vintage Festival 2011

Apologies if you’ve been looking on here and there’s been nothing new for ages, I had to take a little break from blogging as we had no internet in the flat in London and we were just so busy! However, this also means lots of exciting things to blog about which I look forward to sharing with you now that I’m back in Scotland and have access to the internet.

The last weekend of July saw the Vintage Festival take over London’s Southbank Centre, with all six floors of the Royal Festival Hall transformed into a celebration of all things vintage, retro and British. In a time where summer is now synonymous with music festivals, The Vintage Festival is a refreshing concept, which joins fashion and music in a truly unique event.

Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway first imagined the concept in 2007 and along with the Hemingway Design Team and experts from Wolverhampton University worked to create an authentic celebration of all things creative, especially British fashion, music and art, which first ran in August 2010 as ‘Vintage at Goodwood’.

Tickets for students were only £30 (50% off) and as ticket holders we gained earlier access to the vintage marketplace. The marketplace and vintage high street were both free, which we didn’t know beforehand – a tip if you’re on a budget next year, as this gave a flavour of the festival. Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair (which I discovered earlier this year when they came to St Andrews) curated the 150 traders who brought fashion, collectables, furniture and homeware to the Southbank. The eclectic offerings, high quality and reasonable pricing were testament to the success of Judy’s ethos. The vintage high street had some adorable pop-up shops such as Cath Kidston and a Batiste hair salon (a great idea which meant half the festival were sporting beehives and Marcel waves!)

Vintage Marketplace

Loving the Vintage Marketplace with my bargains (details to follow...)

Gorgeous vintage Fendi sunglasses

Vintage tea room

Vintage Funfair

Cath Kidston shop on the vintage high street

Old stamps decorated one wall

Al and I enjoying a stroll around the sunny vintage marketplace

More fabulous vintage inside the Royal Festival Hall (there were some real gems in here!)

…such as this amazing Dior jacket
…and this Chanel dress (£85!)

There was this stunning Chanel tweet suit too.

The Royal Festival Hall was dressed up to evoke the spirit of eras past in a stunning series of themed venues in homage to decades from the 1920s to the 1980s. The Studio 1970s bar and balcony DJ (complete with disco balls) seemed to have the greatest allure, packed with people from midday sun to well past midnight. Seventies classics (with just the right amount of cheese) kept us dancing, and the sunshine and stunning views were an added bonus. Another highlight was the Warehouse rave, set up in the loading bay of the BFI. They managed to make it feel like it was the early hours of the morning during the late afternoon and the atmosphere was electric.

Throughout the day, creative workshops and decade appropriate entertainment kept festivalgoers amused with themed bars and restaurants, craft classes, and the vintage funfair. Vintage favourites such as The Chap Olympiad and best in show parades joined Southbank regulars such as the food market, given a special vintage twist for the weekend.

If you enjoy people-watching then there was ample opportunity at Vintage 2011. The effort that so many Vintage attendees had gone to was just fantastic, donning their vintage Sunday best in homage to their chosen decades. Street style snappers were prolific and in the surrounding areas you could quickly spot who was on the way to the festival.

1950s Rock 'n' Roll Diner

Crafts area

The Bonneville Barons (amazing!!!)

The 70s balcony bar was a definite highlight

Retro midori and gin cocktail (and Al's Laphroaig)

Pretty much the perfect day

The Torch Club was brilliant - The Clore Ballroom was transformed into a stunning venue for vintage dance

The Warehouse

There was also a vintage fashion show organised on the Saturday by Jo Wood, boasting the best of her personal vintage collection. I knew there would be some impressive pieces in there as I’ve read about her vintage habit before. Just the right amount of sparkle, simple styling and a sense of fun made for the perfect addition to the day. There were a few organisational issues that the Vintage Festival could iron out before next year, but I appreciate that people management in such a setting can be a challenge.

There was so much to do and see, and the authenticity of every detail made for a truly memorable day. As regular readers will know, I am a big fan of all things retro, so I am incredibly lucky to have been able to attend the Vintage Festival. It was tricky trying to decide which decade to use for my outfit but I eventually plumped for the 1970s. I wore a vintage 70s C&A floral dress I picked up at the Vintage Kilo Sale (more on that soon) with a floppy 70s style hat from New Look and leopard belt and patent loafers from Topshop.

floppy hat! (note the beautiful turquoise Ossie Clark dress to the right)

Peter Pan collar detail and close-up of pattern


  1. […] unearthed this gem of a vintage Laura Ashley dress at the Vintage Festival at the Southbank a few months ago; the flattering retro shape, perfect ladylike length and delicate floral print make it an ideal […]

  2. […] to Edinburgh. I blogged about their visit to St Andrews back in March and the amazing Kilo Sale and Vintage Festival I went to in London this June and July. When I heard the talented folks at Judy’s were coming […]

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