I like to think I know the vintage shops of London well, and the vintage shops of south east London really well. So I was little disconcerted to see a name I didn't recognise on Refinery29's list of best London vintage stores, and - worst still - it was just down the road from me in East Dulwich. Shamefaced, I made sure I skipped off to ChiChiRaRa on my first free weekend.
Of course I'm glad I visited (when am I not?). ChiChiRaRa is like a crammed cubbyhole of treasures - the kind of shop which enjoys clothes for their own worth, rather than because they fit into a current fashion trend. Perhaps I've been spending too much time in 'fashionable' vintage shops recently, because it seemed like a long time since I'd looked through so many lovely 1940s and 50s clothes, priced at what seemed to be - for this increasingly chichi area of London - reasonable sums. There was a beautiful dusty pink 50s duster coat, a gorgeous 40s lavender day dress and gorgeous mid-century cocktail dresses. Basically, the kind of thing I always sigh over and wish I either had the lifestyle or the wardrobe space to justify. Given the small size of the space, there seemed to be a high quality range of menswear available too, as well as a rail of good quality secondhand high street clothes.
Did I buy anything? Ask a silly question. Given my recent early 1940s obsession, and my ongoing love of most things floral, the odds were pretty stacked in favour of this 1930s/40s taffeta skirt coming home with me.
This little shop is definitely going to be a stop-off on future vintage trails through the area, along with ED warehouse, and the charity shops of Lordship Lane. I always seem to find good things in the East Dulwich charity shops, books especially, as I think it's an area with a wealthy enough population to donate interesting things, but the prices aren't so crazy to stop you buying (as seems to have happened with all the charity shops near my work in South Kensington).
This visit was no exception, as I found a copy of this coffee table book (photographed on a coffee table, naturally) devoted to Nova magazine in the 1960s and 70s. It's full of inspiration, both in terms of design and style and also the intelligent and provocative content of the magazine itself [insert moan about today's women's magazines here].