Japanese celluloid bangles, the timeless elegance of 1920s Art Deco jewellery and finding rare gems like a 1950s ruby red Christian Dior necklace or Trifari Fruit Salad bracelet - that's the stuff Natalie Leon's vintage dreams are made of. That, and lots of cheerful floral prints...
The jeweller and owner of Passionate About Vintage, an online vintage jewellery boutique (which recently opened a shop in West Hampstead), has been a vintage obsessive since her early days, spending her pocket money at antiques shops and vintage fairs.
When it comes to her personal style, it's all about the repro and original vintage silhouettes in feminine shapes and floral prints (at 5'11", it's tricky to find authentic vintage pieces in her size but she often stumbles upon a gem that was made for someone with a similar build).
Don't miss Natalie's top vintage tips and sneak a peek at her flower-festooned vintage wardrobe below. Everything's coming up roses...
Describe your style in three words.
Feminine, fifties, floral.
What are the best vintage-sourcing spots?
I love visiting fairs and markets and wandering through the stalls, chatting to the dealers. You never know what you might find or who you will meet. Whenever I travel I always research the local market scene.
Any top tips for styling vintage wares?
Don't be afraid to mix antiques with vintage and mix vintage with new pieces. I wear vintage jewellery everyday but wear a lot of high street and repro clothing as well as original vintage; it's all about how you style something.
Equally, you don't have to wear vintage or repro fashions to wear vintage jewellery. All my customers style their looks differently and I get such a buzz when they find something in the shop that suits their style perfectly, whether that's an Art Deco bracelet for a bride, a pair of 1960s clip earrings or a faux pearl necklace they can wear to the office.
What's your favourite vintage piece?
My favourite piece of jewellery has to be something from my collection of 1920s and 1930s Japanese celluloid bangles.
I wear at least one bangle everyday, often more, and feel naked without them on my wrist. I am addicted to them and always on the lookout for a colour or design I don't already have.
How does vintage inspire your designs?
I am very inspired by the beautiful colour palette of the past as well as the incredible beads and rhinestones that were used. I make a range of jewellery using these original vintage beads and pearls that I have collected over the last 10+ years.
Those designs are influenced by motifs from Victorian and Georgian jewellery as well as designers like Stanley Hagler and Miriam Haskell. I sell my own pieces in the shop to complement the original vintage items and the earrings start at £35 so they make great presents and bridesmaids' gifts.
Passionate About Vintage has been chosen as part of Small Business Saturday's Small Business 100, taking place on 6 December, 2014
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