September 29, 2014

Old is the New...New?

Given enough time, everything comes back around. Style, fashion, food trends. Almost everything we see now has had its time once, sometimes even twice, before. This is sometimes a great thing but sometimes there are certain remnants of the past you'd prefer stayed in the past. I don't particularly wish to see the return of Hypercolor fabric or dark brown matte lipstick. I was a child when Hypercolor was all the rage and I recall walking through Kmart with my mother and rubbing my hands and body all over the clothing, probably much to her horror. As for the matte brown lipstick, my first lippy as a twelve year old girl was Australis Smooth Suede. How very suede it was. A very deep brown shade in a super matte formulation, I felt like Drew Barrymore sans the daisies in my not quite blonde hair.

Then there are the things I would warmly welcome should they ever return. Nestle once made a family size chocolate block which contained cherries and coconut. It was called Cherry Slice. I know this because I emailed Nestle in 2011 describing this chocolate to them and asking if it would ever be reintroduced to the market. In their response they advised it was their Cherry Slice variety but it was no longer produced. I think we all need to send an email to Nestle and urge them to rethink their stance on this.

I think the reason why we have a fondness for things of a time past is due to the nostalgic memories that they often bring with them, and we all know you never really miss things until they are well and truly gone. For myself, it's a combination of this and also the history attached to a particular item. Whether it's a vintage piece of clothing or a tattered old book with handwritten notes in the margins, it makes me wonder who used to own this and what could it tell me if it could speak? I've always had an attraction to older character homes and I love them because I imagine the people and families who have lived there throughout the many years and all the life experiences that occurred within those walls. They may not all be of a positive nature, but life is a journey that has its peaks and its valleys. Additionally, I find so many older products to be extremely well made and produced in a fashion that you just do not see anymore whether it be because that skill is no longer taught and learnt or because modern manufacturing processes have seen it discarded due to being too time consuming or costly.

One person who I know understands where I am coming from is Claire Bissett, owner of In Retrospect. Having opened in July 2014, In Retrospect occupies the old Crystal Waters Irrigation building on 239 Albany Highway in Victoria Park and offers a large range of antique, retro and vintage homewares and decor along with the odd piece of memorabilia and quirky knick knacks.

All the pieces sold here are hand selected by Claire, so it is fitting that she refers to herself as a hunter and gatherer. Claire is personally responsible for seeking out all the unique pieces sold in her store and given the nature of her business all her stock is either one-off or very limited in quantity. Claire devotes two days each week to source new stock and as such the store is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

A special feature of Claire's business is that she can custom make cushions and wall art from the reams of vintage and retro fabric she has on hand, however I have to stress again that the quantities of each fabric type are limited so when it's gone, it's gone. The cushions are locally made while the wall art is produced by Claire herself.

This wall art is made by Claire and is her favourite item in the store.
I came to know In Retrospect after receiving a birthday present from a friend which she had purchased for me from the store. It was a gorgeous china tea set and I came to learn from Claire that tea sets are one of the items she is specializing in. Offering packaged and wrapped three piece sets of a tea cup, saucer and bread plate, these are the perfect ready-to-go gift idea. Although I have a full china tea set I also have a number of different pieces as I find that serving high tea with mismatched pieces to be just that little bit more interesting and fun. For the high tea lovers, Claire can definitely cater to you as she not only stocks many different tea sets but also cake stands, serving dishes and tea pots.

Being situated right at the end of Albany Highway just prior to crossing over onto the Causeway, this little store is a conveniently located treasure cave. If you love your antiques and all things vintage and retro, you must visit. Just be warned that you very likely will not leave empty handed.

The units that the glasses and pitcher is displayed on were repurposed by Claire from a set of drawers she found during verge collection!


  1. I love the photos in this post!

    Thank you for sharing a corner of Perth I've never seen before.

    SSG xxx

    1. Happy to bring a little bit of Perth to you in Sydney! xo