Last Thursday Alfie’s Antiques Market in Church St, Marylebone, London hit a major anniversary when it turned 40. It’s almost as old as me!
A day of festivities, including a lecture on 20thC Glass given by me, culminated in an intimate party, held as part of the London Design Festival. Exhibiting in a pop-up shop was London’s glass legend, Peter Layton, who was also celebrating 40 years of business by selling some of his newest designs in stunning black and white, as well as much-loved favourites including jewellery and his gorgeous Aeriel range of stone-forms and dropper bottles. The Antiques Young Guns also created a pop-up shop just 2 minutes walk away, with a varied stock that showcased the future of antiques, from posters to taxidermy to 18th & 19thC furniture and decorative accessories.
For those into antiques, fashion, jewellery, mid-century modern design, and collectables with a leaning towards the 20th century, I can’t emhasise how wonderful and unique Alfie’s is – especially in this day and age of identical high streets across the world. I’ve been going there for nearly 20 years and I’ve seen it grown and develop into what it is is now – and it’s surely entering a golden age.
Founded by the pioneering Bennie Gray in 1976, over 70 dealers offering tens of thousands of objects are housed in an Art Deco department store, making it London’s largest indoor market for antiques, vintage fashion and 20th century design. It’s been featured in Vogue, TimeOut, Vanity Fair and more, and is frequented by celebrities including Keira Knightley, Kate Moss and Jamie Oliver.
It has acted as the launch pad for scores of careers over the past four decades, and many are still there, successfully dealing after three decades or more. It’s quite unique. And that also goes for the dealers themselves, and the stock they sell. I’ve never walked out of this place empty-handed and I’m lucky to call many of these dealers good friends as much as colleagues.
If you’re looking for an informal but highly informative introduction to 20thC design, Alfie’s, and the surrounding shops on Church St, you can find out more about booking me for an exclusive, personal tour via SideStory.co, by clicking here. I’d emphasise that this isn’t a shopping trip – there’s no obligation to buy. Just to enjoy, ask questions, meet the dealers, learn, and get an invaluable insight into what’s hot in 20thC design in the 21st century. But, from personal experience, I’d challenge you not to come out with at least one beautiful object of wonder for your home!