Paul Martin and experts offer tips on antiques and collectibles. Vintage style is at the heart of this episode.
Browse content similar to Looking Good. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
We've got over ten years of Flog It! behind us.
That's hundreds of programmes
and many thousands of your objects valued and sold.
You've brought in something rather special, really, haven't you?
150. At 140...
This is where we let you into some of our trade secrets.
On today's show, it's all about looking good
and we'll be giving you the lowdown on what to buy for fashionable
ladies and gentlemen, and some tips on what names to look out for
when you're buying vintage fashion.
Got to be the right designers - Chanel, Dior, Vivienne Westwood.
We've got a show that's bursting at the seams with old-style glamour.
-Looks awful, doesn't it?
-Then you do the Mata Hari bit...
And we've lined up a fabulous collection of tips
for the fashion-conscious.
Look always for pieces which are identifiable as designed by somebody
in particular or is associated with a fashion house or a label.
Fine clothes and jewellery have always been the mark of wealth
and sophistication for men as well as women.
Recently there's been a real boom in the market for vintage.
The whole vintage market has really expanded over recent years.
I mean, you've got people like Paloma Faith that have been
tweeting pictures of her at a retro fair recently
and that's really good for business, you know, it gets the young people
interested into an emerging market
and they might expand out of it into other areas.
Perhaps you have something in your wardrobe or jewellery box
that could be worth a small fortune?
The current look is to mix and match old and new quite legitimately.
I think there's a trick in this business.
What you do is you go and find a whole load of plastic jewellery
and kitsch stuff and then you call it retro or vintage
and put some extra prices on it, and then it sells.
I can remember as a child walking to many a local jumble sale with
my mother and having lots of fun buying things for next to nothing.
But they do seem to be a thing of the past nowadays,
and that's partly due to online auction sites
and the rise in interest in vintage and retro fashions.
If you know what to look out for, there's some serious money
to be made out of old clothes, and that's where our experts come in.
I was at an auction sale the other day
and I bought a pair of patent leather shoes.
Fit me perfectly - size 8 1/2 -
and I looked pretty good wearing
those in my DJ and they cost me £4.50.
As David's shoes show, this is an emerging market and prices are low,
so it's a great time to collect and invest for the future.
Here are some of our most interesting items from over
the years on "Flog It!" and what we've learned from them.
First, here's Christina,
who fell for some iconic accessories from the '60s and '70s.
Oh, yes, Margaret and her lovely handbags, her collection
that she brought in that I think held quite a few memories for her.
She used them, which is so important with vintage textiles as well,
it's so important to use them.
But not abuse them, because obviously they're only worth
something if they're in good condition.
You've got the most wonderful collection of handbags.
Where's it all come from?
Most of them I acquired in a trunk from my late husband.
-It was given to him to dispose of.
-Right. Have you ever used them?
Erm, this one I have, yes. This one I have and I used it at...
-..quite a grand ball in Brighton.
I think I was drawn to them mainly because they were
so wonderfully representative of their era.
I mean, that wonderful black and white check, that was just so...
Inspired the swinging '60s and...
Oh, it's just fabulous, loved it, and the '70s Perspex and...
Oh, just lovely. Really loved it.
This has got the most wonderful label inside it.
It says, "Saks Fifth Avenue", which is one of the most luxurious
stores in New York and it's fantastic, I love it.
And to have come from such a luxury place...
It's the most wonderful product you can imagine, somebody going to
New York, picking this up as a souvenir of their wonderfully
glamorous trip to New York and tripping back down Fifth Avenue.
And this one here, this one's Italian.
I think this is quite 1960s, 1970s.
These very clean lines here, this use of this new material -
this is quite Perspexy and... It's just really glam, isn't it?
It oozes glamour. With a nice original strap to it, as well.
I think we don't get as many vintage textiles
and clothes as I'd like to see because by their very nature,
clothes go in and out of fashion and you tend to bin them
or get rid of them or charity shop or whatever,
and you don't really think of them as being of particular value,
whereas that's obviously why they are of value, their scarcity.
It's great that they are in really, really good condition
because to a costume collector, that's really very important.
And handbags are a wonderful thing to collect,
they don't take up too much space.
So, Margaret, why are you selling your collection?
Where I store them in the box room,
my chimney is rather giving trouble and it's getting damp,
so the condition might deteriorate,
and that is the reason.
They are getting back in vogue,
but they're not really going to be hugely valuable
because I think people who are collecting
handbags are collecting them because they're still relatively affordable.
But I think at auction... If we were to put these forward to auction,
we'd be looking at putting them probably as one lot.
I think it'd be best to sell them all together
and I think we're probably looking somewhere in the region
of maybe £30-£50 for the group, something like that.
-How do you feel about that?
-I would like...
-I would like 30 in my pocket, shall we say.
'I think it's very difficult to put a value on things like that,
'especially when only one or two of them'
had particularly good names and labels attached to them.
Because the thing with vintage textiles,
collectors will tell you that they can't collect
everything from that particular maker,
so you have to choose the very best of what you find.
Good advice. A collector should be picky and go for quality.
With a few names amongst them,
how did this ready-made collection fare at auction?
-Assorted handbags and evening bags.
-Handbags and glad rags. Here we go.
-At £40 I'm bid...
-40, here to be sold. 40.
May I say 50 on the bags there? At 40. With me, 50, a lady's bid.
-I have 60 on the book. 70, do you want?
At £60. On the book at £60.
Five if it helps you, it goes at 60, will be sold.
Five, you want? £60...
-Margaret, that's fabulous. £60!
That was a tough call, really. Hard thing to put a price on.
So, what is a good starting point for a budding
collector of vintage style?
I think handbags would be a sensible item to collect because often,
as a smart handbag, it wouldn't have been used as much,
so it would show slightly less signs of wear or damage.
And they were brought out for special occasions
and things like that, so look for good condition pieces.
Personally for me, it would be handbags, shoes, hats, coats...
Pretty much everything!
One of "Flog It!"'s most glamorous contributors was Millie Rich -
such a vibrant character. She appeared on the show twice.
In 2003, she wowed Mark with her stylish items
shown off with great flair and elegance.
How can you forget Millie Rich?
Of course I remember her, she was wonderful.
-I've brought a Dior hat...
-I love it.
..which looks absolutely nothing in the hand, this should be worn,
plus a parasol.
This is from Paris.
It was given to me as a present by a long-forgotten admirer.
-Don't have my eye out!
-But now I've reached my...
..reached my early plenties, I think it's a bit too flirty for me.
It is very flirty, isn't it?
'You have to picture who would use a parasol.'
You have to think of a petite Edwardian, Victorian lady
who was promenading down the seafront on a hot summer's day.
And equally, a wonderful thing from the 1950s,
this wonderful travel hat in classic black design.
-May I show you the hat?
-Don't stop, I love it! Hold that.
Are you getting all this?
-Looks awful, doesn't it?
-Then you do the Mata Hari bit...
The key thing to the hat is it was by Christian Dior
and it was a scruncher -
you scrunched it up and then it popped back into life.
'The fashion house of Dior has become worldwide
'renowned for its quality, classic design.'
I think the key thing to fashion collecting is name.
It's got to be the right designers - Chanel, Dior, Vivienne Westwood.
We must look at this wonderful parasol you brought in.
And if we look at it now and open it up...
-This is very gaily decorated, isn't it?
-It is, isn't it?
Erm, with these wonderful flowers and things
and this lovely sort of velvet edge into the...
-It's very Folies Bergere.
-It is very Parisienne.
-And all hand-stitched on the inside.
-You never see handwork now.
Tell me, why are you wanting to sell these lovely possessions?
As I say, now I've reached such advanced years, I thought perhaps
somebody younger could reap the benefit of its flattery.
What do you think we should do, sell them as one lot in a sale?
Well, I'll take your advice, you're an expert.
I think we should and we'll try them...
I bow to your superior wisdom.
-Oh, Millie, you're such a flatterer.
-And it'll get you everywhere, you know?
-It has. I'm here, aren't I?
-Exactly. On a second run.
-Thank you so much.
-Now, what if we put £70-100 on the two of them?
-That sounds wonderful.
-And give them a go, and see what happens.
-I'll tell you what I'll do with the money.
I'll put it in my running away box and join the raggle-taggle gypsies.
Fantastic, and I didn't even have to ask you the question.
-I know, and I knew you were going to.
So, the stylish Millie Rich's items go under the hammer.
But will the Dior label entice the buyers?
How have you been since the first series?
-Well, people have been stopping me, it's amazing.
I didn't know that I was so noticeable but apparently I am.
-But you look so fantastic.
-Don't stop, don't stop.
-And you look so much younger.
Well, naturally, I shall be 86 on my next birthday.
-This is your lot, your hat and parasol.
-Two items, lot 202.
£20 for the two. The Dior hat and the parasol, 20, I'm bid.
I'll take five on the lot. At £20, maiden bid, 25.
Bidding, 30. 35. 40.
45. 50. 55.
65. 70. No?
-Lady's bid in the seating at 70.
-At least we've done it.
Round at the back of the room.
I'm selling it. Done, then, at 70.
-Oh, I'm so thrilled we've done that.
-It's quite respectable, isn't it?
-And your number, madam, is 7340. Thank you.
-I've got a bit of a surprise for you, Millie.
-You know I like to shock.
-Do you? In public?
-Your hat was bought by your daughter.
Yes, and she's here right now.
-Oh, Shula, why did you do that?
-Cos you look so lovely.
-I just thought you looked so beautiful
that you shouldn't sell it.
-Oh, you're making me feel like crying.
-That's so sweet of you.
-That's really sweet of you. Thank you.
It just goes to show you're never too old to look good.
And remember Mark's advice.
Name. It's got to be the right designers.
They may know the top tips for collecting vintage clothes
but not all our dashing male experts are going to win any awards
when it comes to their own wardrobes.
As you can tell, looking at me, I'm no expert in fashion.
What am I wearing? A suit and a tie?
It doesn't come much more boring than that.
But some of us do like to look our best.
But on a more serious note, looking good isn't just for the ladies.
Chic accessories for men can be highly collectable too,
as Anita will reveal.
I had a wonderful swagger stick that was brought in by Janet.
Swagger sticks are marvellous, they're a fashion statement.
They're all about showing off.
And to have something that brings a smile to your face,
is just really what the collectors want.
-Where did you get this wee monkey?
Well, he actually belonged to my great auntie
and Great Aunt lived with Grandma and Grandad.
She was my grandfather's sister and she was bedridden.
So the thing I remember about it is, when she needed attention,
sort of, a cup of tea or anything, she knocked on the floor
and everybody went running.
She was quite a formidable lady, yeah.
Well, you have sticks which are used to help you in walking
-and you have other sticks which are fashion statements.
-And this is a fashion statement.
-It's what I would call a swagger stick.
A swagger stick would have been used,
or worn, by a gentleman of fashion.
Someone who liked his clothes, someone who liked to cut and dash.
And he would walk along and enjoy the admiration of all
the young ladies around.
-It's made of, it's lacquered, ebonised stalk here.
-But the most interesting thing about it is the handle here.
-Where we have this brass monkey.
He's finely moulded, so the quality is there.
At the turn of the century, people were interested in exotica.
Exotic animals from the... from distant lands.
So this would have been something which would have been telling
people they were up with all the modern trends, that they
knew about the exotic travels that were
being done by a gentleman of leisure at that point.
So it was making a statement about himself,
about what he knew.
Perhaps even the places that he had gone to.
Now, there are collectors for this type of thing, Janet,
-but it's not enormously valuable.
-But it is collectable.
Did you have it on display, or...?
No, well, as I say, it came from Mum's,
and then literally went into my loft.
Because, I mean, I'm not planning on being bedridden for a few years yet.
-He wasn't needed.
-So you won't be doing...
-I hope not.
-So it's time, really, to pass it on. Let it go to a collector.
The value I would put on it would be between 30 and 50.
-Would you be happy to sell it at that price?
if it gives somebody else some pleasure
because he isn't going to sort of - he doesn't do anything for me,
-so he might as well move on.
-Oh, right. Yeah. Well, let's put
-a reserve price of, say, £25 on it.
-Right, that's fine.
As I say, you're not going to be able to fly to the Bahamas with
-that money but it will go on to a collector.
The early 20th-century swagger stick.
With the ebonied cane handle,
and I'm bid - 50, to start it at 50.
At £25, the commission bid.
30 in the room.
At £30, it's against the book.
55, down at the front at £55.
Better - that was better!
-That's not bad, is it?
-That's not bad at all.
OK, I know there's a bit of commission,
but it's not a great deal of money. It's not our most expensive item.
What a wonderful starting point for a collection.
For £50, it's nothing, really.
And you're getting something which has age,
a little bit of quality and lots of fun.
So let's take a closer look at some of those trade secrets.
Buy vintage now, while it's still relatively affordable.
Condition and name are all-important.
And check in the back of your wardrobe - what you think
is jumble may be priceless.
Look, always, for the pieces which are identifiable
as designed by somebody in particular,
or is associated with a fashion house or a label.
You've got Gucci and that sort of thing. You've got Dior.
Those are the names that people are after.
If you've got something, by Vivienne Westwood,
don't just discard it because, in years to come, I think it's
going to be worth a huge amount of money.
And the same is true of Stella McCartney.
But it's not just about names.
Iconic style moments are key
when it comes to collecting vintage fashion.
You've got the tweed suits from Chanel, for example.
You've got the New Look pieces from the 1950s,
as well as Vivienne Westwood,
the punk pieces that she designed.
Again, iconic pieces that really stand out
in the whole history of fashion. That's what people are after.
And there's nothing more distinctive than the look of the swinging '60s.
The '60s were a time of great vibrancy in London.
It was a youth-orientated cultural revolution,
that emphasised the new and the modern.
'London has burst into bloom.
'It swings. It is switched on.
'Everything new, uninhibited and kinky
'is blooming at the top of London life.'
Fashion was a symbol of the confident youth culture.
Young men as well as women were expressing themselves
through their clothes. In the early '60s,
men were strutting their stuff in the stylish mod look.
And later in the decade showing their hippie flair with
bell-bottoms and tie-dye.
I think there's a tremendous search for individuality.
Carnaby Street started it off,
and so you can walk anywhere now,
and wear anything you like.
Areas of London, such as Carnaby Street and the Kings Road,
came alive selling the cutting edge clothes of the era,
from Mary Quant's geometric miniskirts
to Ossie Clark's daring prints and fluid cuts.
Biba was one of the big names in fashion during the '60s,
founded by Barbara Hulanicki.
Biba tasted its first success in the guise of a gingham dress,
which featured in the Daily Mirror.
Biba's individual and fresh approach to fashion
soon became synonymous with the coolest fashionistas.
And if you have clothes from that era, you could be in the money.
In Hartlepool, in 2005,
I valued a stunning Biba ddress owned by Liz.
-You're modelling it for us!
-I am, indeed.
-I lived just around the corner from the Biba shop.
There are a lot of vintage clothes collectors, and I think the sort of,
the vintage and retro clothing is a strong textiles market.
Anything from things that you can wear from the Victorian era,
right through to the 1970s.
-There's a market there. People still look for it.
The designer pieces are still affordable,
as the Biba dress proved, as it went under the hammer.
£80 for the last time. £80.
Come on, a bit more, please. He sold it. That was quick.
Hammer went down really quickly.
-We're happy with that.
-I'm happy, yeah.
-We said 80, didn't we?
But when it comes to the big sellers of vintage fashion,
it's all about the person who once wore it.
A diamond-encrusted 1960s Dior evening gown,
owned by Elizabeth Taylor,
reached over half a million dollars when it went under the hammer.
And a pair of Queen Victoria's bloomers made a staggering £4,500,
and everyone would love to get their hands on a classic James Bond suit.
A snip at £46,850.
But not all of us can afford this,
so if you want to collect '60s fashion, my top tips are,
look for designer names, such as Biba and Mary Quant.
Iconic pieces should always be desirable.
Miniskirts, kinky boots and kipper ties.
And condition is a must.
If it's moth-eaten, leave it well alone.
And, last but not least, it should be seen.
Don't hide it away in your wardrobe.
If you're going to buy vintage clothes,
buy clothes that will fit.
And that you can wear.
I mean, it's all very well spending lots of money
on a very nice Coco Chanel cocktail dress,
but if you're size 16 and the dress is size 10,
you've wasted your money, really!
Buy what you like and wear it with pride,
and show off your individual style.
So if you want to collect vintage clothing,
there are lots of places to find it.
Auction houses and specialist dealers are increasingly selling.
But your best bet for a bargain is to look out at charity shops.
But, remember, textiles decay,
so check the condition of anything you want to buy.
Look at things through a magnifying glass.
And, also, if it's dark, shine a torch on them,
or, better still, take them outside to the daylight,
because all the imperfections will obviate themselves.
You can still find iconic pieces very cheaply.
It's worth bearing in mind, you're not just buying an item
of clothing, you could be buying a part of British social history.
In 2009, I learned the story of one of Britain's style icons,
who herself had a love of all things vintage.
Without a doubt, her 1970s Victorian-inspired dresses
are truly iconic,
and look set to be collectable.
Laura Ashley and her business-minded husband, Bernard,
hit the high streets of London with their Welsh-made
ladies' fashions in the 1970s.
How would a capital still swinging from the '60s react
to clothes inspired by a rose-tinted view of country life?
The look was wholesome.
Harking back to am Edwardian and Victorian period.
High collars, lace, ribbon,
floral prints and long hems created clothes that were pretty,
conservative and definitely feminine.
Amazingly, young ladies all over the country packed away
their kinky boots and miniskirts,
and covered themselves up in Laura Ashley designs.
By the 1970s, the Laura Ashley empire
had firmly established a place in the world of fashion.
I've come to this country retreat to meet a lady who can give me
an insight into the life of Laura Ashley.
Biographer Anne Sebba.
So why was country life in Wales so influential in Laura's life?
Laura was born in Wales.
Now, of course, that didn't remain in Laura's mind,
because she went back to live in London,
but she continued to come for holidays to Wales.
She was put on the train with her sister
and a guard looked after them, and it was these holidays in Wales
that made a really deep impression on Laura.
Laura met and fell for Bernard Ashley, and after a long courtship,
they were married and set up home in London.
Laura was determined to be a devoted housewife.
This meant that any job she undertook could not
interrupt her domestic chores.
Laura went off, in one of her lunch breaks,
to the Victoria and Albert Museum,
saw a patchwork exhibition,
with all these wonderful little tiny Victorian prints,
made into a brilliant patchwork quilt, and thought,
"Well, I want to do this. This is something I can do at home."
Went off to try and buy the prints, couldn't find them anywhere.
So said to Bernard, "why don't we print them ourselves?"
And they were restricted to tiny little squares,
because that was all they had room on the kitchen table for.
So the first products they made were table mats,
which Laura would hem herself,
or little square napkins.
And Laura herself took them off to John Lewis,
was terribly nervous waiting to see the buyer,
and their first order was almost as much as they could cope with.
She waited up all night, hemming the squares,
in order to complete a repeat order for the buyer a John Lewis.
And that's how they got going.
As production started to grow, so did the Ashley family.
And, with young children in tow, they moved to a bigger premises.
The countryside was calling, so after a period in Kent,
the family and the business headed to Wales,
settling in the town of Carno,
and opening a factory in the town's disused railway station.
One of the main reasons that Laura really felt a family atmosphere
in the factory was so important is because she didn't really believe
that women who were mothers should have a full-time job.
So she got round that in a number of ways.
She would insist that Friday afternoons was free time
for all the mothers and they went home.
Friday afternoon was definitely a time to be with your children.
As far as she herself was concerned,
and by this time she had four children,
so Laura got round it by saying that,
actually, the factory was Laura Ashley.
That is, herself. It was an extension of the family.
-So it was a way of her being able to have a full-time job...
..without contravening this very deep-seated philosophy
that mothers should not work away from the home.
She believed that domesticity was absolutely crucial.
By the mid-'60s, Laura was ready to expand fully
into the area of fashion design.
With strong views on how she thought women wanted to be dressed,
Laura launched her range of ladies' fashions,
and her first high-street shop in South Kensington, London.
The floral dresses carrying the label, made in Wales,
flew off the racks.
So why were her dresses such a big success?
All sorts of reasons. Don't forget, we're in the '60s.
Laura absolutely hated hot pants and miniskirts.
She thought they were ghastly.
So she reacted against that, to an extent,
and she genuinely believed that for a woman to wear high necks
and conceal was actually much sexier,
and that, you know, men liked to imagine
-what was underneath...
-..rather than revealing all.
So it was a time when no country wedding in England
was complete without a smattering and a sprinkling of Laura Ashley dresses.
They were very countrified,
but also very theatrical and romantic.
The '70s was a time of change.
Greater sexual and political freedom meant women's roles
were being redefined and, yet, in contrast,
Laura was still attracted to a rose-tinted view
of the Victorian and Edwardian periods.
Did Laura lead the traditional life she wanted to promote?
Very interesting. She worked very hard to try
and lead a much more rural life than, in fact, was possible,
since she was the head of a multi-million empire by the end.
She was always good at making the man feel that he was the one
doing the important things,
and so, for example, when she went on a plane,
she would take her needlework with her,
and pretend to do her needlework so that Bernard
could feel that he was the one doing all the man's stuff.
Because she believed that women wanted domesticity,
and that's reflected in her dresses.
And not to go into an office and look smart.
That was the antithesis of what Laura cared about
in her design philosophy.
So, keep your eyes peeled for early Laura Ashley items.
Her fabrics and designs are unique,
and could be the next big thing in the world of vintage fashion.
Clothes and jewellery go in and out of fashion all the time,
but spotting a bargain never goes out of style.
I hope you've enjoyed today's show.
Join me again soon for more Flog It! Trade Secrets.