Monthly Archives: June 2013

Keeping up with Retro

Stan and Dave are two Sydney blokes who have a passion for fabulous vintage and retro finds. They’ve been collecting for some time, but early last year decided to take their passion up a notch and turn it into a business. And so That Retro Piece was born.


Murano-style hand blown glass vase

Stan Savellis, co-owner with Dave Yates of That Retro Piece recalls, “We launched online in June last year and have just celebrated our first year in business! The year has gone so fast with lots happening. We’ve built a substantial global and repeat business customer base. We’ve shown exclusively at the Love Vintage Show twice (Canterbury in September and Moore Park in March), and we’ve been featured in a number of publications including Peppermint Magazine (Australia) and Mollie Makes ‘Gathered’ (all the way over in the UK!)”.


Amber liqueur glasses


Harlequin Brandy balloons

Into Vintage asked Stan about the boys’ favourite decade(s) and pieces…. 

“I think both of us really admire the period in which we base the business – predominantly the 1950s through to the 1970s. The 1950s were the real catalyst for some fantastic design pieces – particularly in the furniture and home decor arena – a lot of which we have at home.”

He continued. “Having a vintage and retro business has helped expand our knowledge as well as our tastes, so it’s hard to pick just one favourite. I’m a big fan of Aldo Londi’s work with Bitossi in the ’50s. His Rimini Blu design is classic, so naturally I have a few pieces….some might say too many!”  (See our article last month Bitossi-Affordable Collectables.)


Aldo Londi designed Rimini Blu vase for Bitossi, Italian from the 1950s


English Pyrex made by James A Jobling (JAJ) in Sunflower pattern 1978

“Other favourites that come to mind are some of the rarer West German pottery designers like Schlossberg, Iikra and Marei; Tretchikoff’s brilliant series of prints from his travels around South East Asia and vintage Pyrex of course – English Pyrex by JAJ in particular.”

“Dave is a big fan of starburst clocks. We have four different styles at home. He also has a keen eye for furniture. We’ve recently had a pair of original Hans Wegner plank chairs refurbished, as well as one of his bear chairs. They’re so comfortable. I could curl up in the bear chair and read a book any day.”


1960s Seth Thomas starburst wall clock, with German pottery pieces

Stan and Dave

Stan Savellis and Dave Yates, owners of That Retro Piece


Are your customers collectors or do they mostly buy for home decorating?

“It’s interesting actually. We have a real mix of customers. One of the best things about our business is that, more often than not, our customers share with us their stories, their collections, background, families, everything.” Stan said, then smiles. “We have a lovely lady in the US who collects pink and turquoise Pyrex dishes from around the globe so that she can leave them for her daughter. She has a brilliant collection so far and has sent us pictures of it – as well as of her family! And we were able to obtain a rare Crown Pyrex pink casserole dish for her, from here in Australia. She was so happy. Bless her!”

Why do you think retro home wares are so popular now, and what do you think the future trends will be?

“There is certainly a demand for vintage and retro pieces–now more than ever before. I believe it’s driven by a desire for good quality, great design and unique pieces which also showcase one’s own personal taste. Recently we’ve gained copies of interior decorating books from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s which have really opened my eyes to options on design, colour etc – some in a good way and some not so much. But it’s very subjective!”


Enamel dishes in various sizes

Interior Design Books 1

Interior Decorating books from the 1950s to 1970s

“And with regards future trends – well that’s interesting. I’d love to think we’ll continue to ride the wave of mixing colour and signature pieces with existing, contemporary design. I do think that we’ll see more styles from the 1950s ramp up before the trend dies down. Think sleek, sexy lines…”


West German pottery vase by Marei

If you would like to explore the full range of fabulous retro pieces at That Retro Shop, visit their online  store or pop in to the The Sydney Vintage & Retro Fair, September 27-29 at Exhibition Hall, Australian Technology Park, Eveleigh, Sydney.

Or join them on Facebook:

Twitter: or Instagram: @ThatRetroPiece

 And of course, people can contact the boys via email:


The Gangsters’ Ball is on again in September!

If you’ve been searching for a fabulous event where you can get ‘fully frocked up’ in your very best vintage fashion, we have the party for you!


Now in its sixth year, the annual Gangsters’ Ball, held in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in September, is a fully themed night of interactive and non-stop entertainment. The Ball brings to life the fashion, style, humour and classic entertainment of the 1930s and 40s. Modern day mobsters and molls can step back in time to a bygone era where men wore three-piece suits and fedoras, women wore feathers and pill box hats, big bands ruled the airwaves and gangsters ruled the streets.

This year’s headline acts include MC chanteuse Madame Leila Leontine, world renowned New York based broadville troupe the Pretty Things Peepshow, award-winning acrobatic troupe Acrobatica, master of illusion Adam Mada and juggler extraordinaire Jeremy Ansley, with each capital city playing host to a variety of other wild, wicked and amazing entertainers.

Every show also features Australia’s best swing, rockabilly and rock & roll DJs, The Gambling Den – with poker, roulette and black jack tables, swing dancing performances, pin-up models, cocktail bars, a vintage styling parlour and 1930’s themed photo booth. And one lucky attendee will be in the running for a VIP trip for 2 people to enjoy the Gangsters’ Ball in Las Vegas, USA!

Tickets are onsale now and these shows will sell out, so get in quick! Click here for more info.

We thought you would like to see some of the wonderful fun, entertainment and fashion from previous Balls. Check out all the action below… I can’t wait to be there!


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Pastel Palettes and Ethereal Feathers – Couture on the Screen

What were they wearing in the summer of 1922? Let’s learn the fashion of this era through each of The Great Gatsby movie releases, while comparing the authenticity of the most recent two versions.

Chrissy 1Let’s set the fashion scene for the 1920’s… words by Chrissy Keepence

Despite the unsettling effects of the First World War, the 1920s stand out as a bright, youthful period with great enthusiasm for its own time. There was an air of confidence for the future with clichés like ‘new beginnings, ‘new age’ and ‘a brave new world’ being genuinely heartfelt.

Innovations characterised the times. Young men and women in their 20s and 30s set the style of the decade. The Jazz Musician with his haunting saxophone was the new Pied Piper and the social lives of those with time, money and inclination resembled a perpetual New Years Eve party.

Col Porter’s famous song ‘Anything Goes’ aptly captures the frivolity of the fun lovin’ 20’s. The fashion of the time needed to fit into and reflect that frivolity, hence the free flowing and loose fitting garments that were easy to wear and anything but restrictive, which was the case for the previous decades and the decades ahead.

Paul Poiret and, a little later, Coco Chanel seemed to intuitively sense the need for change and they pioneered major alterations that would work with the lifestyle of the day. These designs were based on a less restricted, lithe and youthful body and they used lighter, softer and more fluid fabrics. Feathers and a whimsical life were largely reserved for the rich, but up until the economic crash of 1929 most people would have been able to afford this new and exciting ‘lifting of the skirt’ fashion – as scandalous as it was for the old guard.

Everyone got into it.

Post War fashion ignored the natural curves of the female figure, breasts were flattened and waists by-passed, the dominant hat shape became the pull-on helmet shaped cloche.

Chrissy K

Original 1920s silk velvet cut on the bias frock. Hat is a sequence skull hat with a large flower adornment. These frocks were made for dancing!

Let’s Look at the On-Screen Fashions
Click here to check out a Pinterest board covering both the 1974 and 2013 movie versions

1.    The Great Gatsby – (1926) is a silent film starring Warner Baxter, Lois Wilson, Georgia Hale, and William Powell. Whilst there is a one minute trailer of this version it is not currently available in the public domain due to copyright issues. And unfortunately there is no known copy of the 80 minute film to have survived.

2.    The Great Gatsby – (1949) starred Alan Ladd and Betty Field with costuming by the fabulous and extraordinary Edith Head. Edith is one of my all time favourite designers from the 20’s through to the 70’s with no less than 35 academy award nominations for her work. She has designed for every major star in Hollywood at one time or another. You can buy her book Edith Heads Hollywood to learn more about her here.

3.    The Great Gatsby – (1974) – Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, with costume design by Theoni V. Aldredge. Aldredge received the Oscar and a British Academy Award for her costume designing in this version of The Great Gatsby. Her designs for the film were adapted for a clothing line sold exclusively by Bloomingdale’s in Manhattan.

4.    The Great Gatsby – (2013) – Leonardo DiCaprio & Carey Mulligan. Costume designer is Catherine Martin, also Luhrmann’s partner, collaborator and fashion designer. Catherine has created a breathtaking array of costumes that are both beautiful and rapturous. She is deserving of many awards in my books.

Chrissy 2If we take a look at the two most recent Great Gatsby productions and compare the authenticity of their fashion designs against the original fashion of the period, I thought the 1974 version was influenced a little too much by the ‘70s.

Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 production was breathtakingly rich in colour and texture, both in its costumes and set designs, and was total eye candy for this vintage lovin’ gal, despite the movie being slammed in the media for its story line and various other elements.

I thought that Catherine Martin’s attention to detail was second to none and award worthy. While the story may have been lacking, the razzle dazzle of the set designs and costuming was most certainly not! Silks and sequins, hats and feathers would delight any girl! And not to be outdone, the dapper gents looked a treat with their slicked back hair, small, tidy moustaches and works of art on their bodies!

I love that the cyclical nature of fashion means there’s a possibility we’ll now see a resurgence of this dapper style for men. And although I think it’s easier for chaps to achieve this look without necessarily going over the top or standing out too much, I also think (hope) we’ll find ourselves revisiting the 20’s and 30’s women’s fashion and bring a bit of fun, flirty flapper style back into vogue!

Of course the clothes are only one part of the overall look. The hair and makeup are equally important if you want to achieve the impression you’ve just stepped off the Gatsby set. (See Hair & Makeup of the Era story in this month’s Into Vintage.)

But getting back to the movie – who wore it best? Redford or DiCaprio? They’re both incredibly sexy I must say and although Redford does tip the balance of ‘sexiest’ for me (and for most women I suspect), I have to give my vote to DiCaprio for outfit authenticity. Think tie pin, kerchief opposing colour vest, tie width and colour etc. I can’t recall, but I’m sure Leo would have been wearing spats as well!

And how does Mulligan’s look compare with Farrow’s? Well again my money is on the gorgeous Mulligan. Her styling was both sassy and elegant at the same time. The golds, creams, pastels and pearls, sequences, head bands, cloches and feathers were youthful and breezy, classy yet not overdone. I think Mia looked a little too safe and stuck in the 70’s. The movie Picnic at Hanging Rock springs to mind when I look at her. In any case, her look did not resonate with me as a true representation of the era.

So what are your thoughts? Which movie version do you think got it right?

Pictures from Chrissy’s personal collection



Errol Flynn – The Swashbuckling Hero


Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn was born on June 20, 1909 in Hobart, Tasmania. His daughter, Rory Flynn wants him to be remembered as “the grand-daddy of action heroes who came in with talking pictures, ushering in an era of action-adventure movies, was loved by film buffs throughout the 20th century and who defined the swashbuckling heroic type invented in that era”.

Errol_Flynn1 Wikimedia Commons

But before Rory was a twinkle in her father’s eye, Errol Flynn was attracting all the wrong attention as a rambunctious child who spent relatively short stints in many schools and didn’t last long in any of them. As a teenager, his free-wheeling lifestyle led him from one relatively short-lived job to another and eventually he dashed off to England, some say to escape the wrath of the husbands whose wives he had wooed, or the tax-man and law enforcement officers!

He enjoyed an adventurous, seafaring lifestyle, which almost made his movie characters mild mannered by comparison. There’s a good chance he inherited this lively behaviour from his mother whose family was described as ‘seafaring folk’, and descended from a midshipman on the notorious HMS Bounty! Flynn’s acting career was launched with his role of Fletcher Christian in an Australian documentary, ‘In the Wake of the Bounty’, in 1933. His role in this and his good looks, natural athleticism and devil-may-care charisma attracted the attention of Warner Bros, and he was signed up as a contract actor, moving to the US shortly after.

When English actor Robert Donat bowed out of ‘Captain Blood’ because of illness, the newcomer Flynn was cast in the part of the adventurous Peter Blood. This catapulted Flynn into instant superstardom. He was the envy of his peers in a time when normal practice for actors was to play bit parts and supporting roles for years before hoping to became a star.

Capt Youngblood

Captain Blood (1935)


The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)


Dodge City (1939)

Robyn Hood twm1340 flickr

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Almost overnight he owned the persona of the swashbuckling, Casanovic, man of action from his movie roles in ‘Captain Blood ‘(1935), ‘The Charge of the Lightbrigade’ (1936), ‘The Prince and the Pauper’ (1937), and most particularly in ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ (1938). He then went on to appear in ‘The Dawn Patrol ‘(1938), ‘Dodge City’ (1939), ‘The Sea Hawk’ (1940) and ‘Adventures of Don Juan’ (1948).

During this time he was voted 4th Most Popular Star in the US, according to Variety (1940).

Another title Errol became synonymous with was the tag ‘In Like Flynn’. Far from being identified with his innocuous charm, this term apparently arose out of a statutory rape charge of two minors in 1942, of which he was, however, later acquitted.

Flickr Iberia Airlines via CreativeCommons


Errol Flynn was an entertaining character both in front of and behind the scenes. The following amusing anecdote was regaled by Dean Stockwell as a child-actor playing the lead role in the movie ‘Kim’,  based on Rudyard Kipling’s novel.

“Flynn was a maniac practical joker. I had a horror looming up, one of those crying scenes – a real toughy – with Paul Lukas. He’s a dying lama. The scene is a master shot inside a tent in India and I’m there with the lama and Flynn comes through the tent flaps and gives me food for the lama in a rice bowl, and I’m supposed to be – as the character Kim – on the job and I can’t let the lama eat maggots. So I check the bowl. Flynn has a line and leaves. Then I have this big crying scene with the lama.
So we rehearse and do a take. I’m talking to the lama and in comes Flynn and hands me the bowl, piled high with fresh camel dung, still steaming. Now I’m supposed to look at it and say, “Is this okay for the lama to eat?” And he’s supposed to say, “Yes, of course. I promise it’s good.”
I looked at the mess and said my line and he backed out. I played the rest of the scene and it cost Flynn five hundred dollars. He had bet everyone on the crew that he would break me up.”

Errol_Flynn's_Zaca Donan Ravan

Errol Flynn’s schooner ‘Zaca’

Errol Flynn once said: “I’ve lived twice and I’ve had a marvelous life.”

Indeed you have, Errol.

He died October 14, 1959, age 50.


Images are all public domain and sourced from Wikimedia Commons Creative Commons – flickr twm1340, flickr Iberia Airlines, , Donan Raven author of Schooner image

Like Grandma Used to Make

Share your favourite memory of grandma’s baking (or great grandma, mum, or favourite aunt) and you could win a gorgeous collection of wisdom from a host of grandmothers.

Like Grandma Used to Make

Growing up in rural South Australia in a small farming community, Rebecca Sullivan’s beloved great-grandmother, Lilly, was an award winning cake baker, famous for her Victorian sponge. When Lilly passed away, Rebecca realised the wealth of knowledge that had gone with her and made it her mission to collect and preserve as many recipes and stories as she could, from all the grannies, nonnas and yiayias willing to share their wisdom with her.

Crammed with useful tips and tricks, more than 100 recipes, and practical home crafts, ‘Like Grandma Used to Make’ is a wonderful manual for anyone wanting to reconnect with the simplicity and goodness of days gone by, and is available from all good booksellers now.

To win a copy of this delightful book tell us about your favourite childhood memory of home-baked treats… we want to smell the butter and icing sugar! Please comment below… the winner will be announced in the next Into Vintage newsletter.