When it comes to vintage fashion experts, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone quite as knowledgeable – or highly-regarded – as Gerardine Hemingway (MBE!). From clothing (she co-founded cult label Red or Dead with husband Wayne in the Eighties) to architecture and interiors, Hemingway's passion for vintage has poured into every facet of her career and in 2010, she and Wayne launched The Vintage Festival, a celebration of all things retro.
We were lucky enough to meet this special lady and peek into her absolutely phenomenal - think museum-quality - treasure trove of vintage...
Describe your style ethos.
I think I have my own eclectic style. I don't necessarily follow the fashion trends as a good proportion of my wardrobe is vintage (and some of the Japanese designer clothes and my own Red or Dead pieces from the late Eighties and early Nineties are now vintage!). I also don't dress in one era. I prefer to mix styles and style elements together to come up with an individual, modern aesthetic.
Three top tips for styling vintage wares?
Don't worry about mixing the eras.
Only buy items that add to your wardrobe.
Experiment with your wardrobe ahead of wearing your outfits.
What are your top vintage styling tricks?
I think you have got to feel confident in what you are wearing and experiment with your wardrobe.
How can you tell if a vintage piece is worth investing in?
If it adds to my wardrobe, then it is. It's not about a single piece - it's about my collection as a whole. I never think about its value in the future. It will all get passed to my daughters anyway... well the ones that they haven't squirreled away already!
What are your vintage wardrobe/beauty must-haves?
A no-no is moth holes – moth control in my wardrobes is a must-have.
What's been the biggest vintage bargain you've ever scored? And the most you've spent on a gem from the past?
The biggest vintage bargains I ever scored was when we started selling vintage clothes (then "secondhand!") back in the Eighties. We would get beautiful Fifties dresses and shoes for as little as 50p and we were spoilt for choice back then. The most I've ever spent on a single vintage piece is about £250, but I am happiest when something is under £50. Vintage is also about thrift and sustainability for me.