As a swimwear and beachwear retailer, our first collections were heavily influenced by 1950s fashion and silhouettes. In fact, our very first sale was a purple and white high waist polka dot bikini. Our brand name was inspired by a vintage postcard about a rather popular girl called Mary who caused a stir in a daring red bathing suit! Over the seasons we've embraced further eras, including the golden glamour of 1930-1940s Hollywood and the classic, chic aesthetic of the French Riviera. As retro designs are in our DNA, we're taking a look at how retro design has spilled over into our everyday lives and gives joy in home design and travel.
Who doesn’t love the fashion and décor in Mad Men? The demand for mid-century furniture is so strong that most mainstream furniture designers and manufacturers have embraced it and made it their own. The beauty of this trend is that you only need to add one or two pieces to your home to make an impact. Consider a marble top coffee table, or a walnut media unit in retro style to add some mid-century sophistication to your living room. Check out retro TV furniture for statement pieces that are both functional and designer led.
Above left: Fabric 'Retro Spring' by Jo Headington, online at Spoonflower.com
Above right: Sliding brass inlay media unit, crafted by hand in chestnut and mango wood, online at Pricecrashfurniture.co.uk
So you already have furniture and are on a low budget? Or you are renting and don't want to invest too much, but can't live with the bland rental furniture a moment longer. The answer is to create a mood board in the colour palette that lifts your mood and makes you smile, whilst pulling from the decade that most appeals to you. Your mood board should contain swatches of fabric, images of metals, textures, patterns, paint colours and artwork. Go wild and take your time to really create a mood board that reflects your taste. Once you are completely satisfied, start hunting down soft furnishings in your budget range. Ideally, visit flea markets and vintage stores. Search Ebay and Freecycle. Take a visit to your local art gallery and check out their shops for posters. If your room isn't neutral and you can paint it, then consider painting all walls white so that you're starting with a blank canvas. Lamps, scatter cushions and throws in the palette and decade of your choice will create the eclectic look you are aiming for with a modest budget.
Above: Scatter cushions by Heals
Retro Wall Art
To create height in a room and draw the eye upwards, simply add a medium to large poster. Ideally in a frame that complements the artwork, but if on a low budget, try using non-reside 3M strips that don't leave a mark or tear your poster when removed. One way to create texture in a space is to use artwork with texture or depth. Consider the palm print below. It has 3D properties which make you believe (sub-consciously) that you could touch the leaves and run your hands through them. Images with blocks on blocks have a similar effect of depth.
Posters left to right: 1. Green Home 01 by Kantinkoski, Vento & Forsman, online at Heals 2. Mikado by Tracie Andrews, online at various stockists 3. Untitled 1968 by Mark Rothko, online at Heals
Plants with a Retro Vibe
Have you ever wondered why some plants were particularly popular in your youth? Depending which decade you were born, you might remember spider plants and ferns perhaps? Cheese plants and peace lilies? To give your space a retro feel with plants, choose plants with dark green waxy leaves such as palms and ficus benjamina, or plants with two-tone leaves (variegated foliage) such as snake plants or spider plants. For a 70s vibe, fill the space with ferns.
So, that's our quick guide to upgrading your space to an era that brings you joy. Happy shopping!