Everything, from the moment you step through the doors, is colourful and happy – the pinball counter, the super-friendly staff, the swishy petticoats, kick-out skirts, the bubblegum colours… you get the idea. Retrospective caught my eye on Facebook, first with their “Popcorn” shoes, and then a dress I will sell my brother for. (Yes, I know there have been times I’ve offered him for sale in order to get a good cup of coffee, but he’s older and wiser and should fetch a decent price now. But I digress.)
The best part of my experience? You’re encouraged to try on everything and obliged to buy nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I’d happily buy everything too, if not for my frugality (and sequestration).
Owner Mondi describes the shop and what she hopes to capture with it as follows:
Retrospective celebrates a time when dressing up impeccably was a way of life, when fashion reflected a complicated mix of conservatism and glamour, a girl-next-door freshness as well as alluring femininity. We source and recreate fashion inspired by the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, inspiring women to feel feminine, sensuous and elegant the way only vintage and retro dresses can. We want to remind people of a different era of glamour, of a unique and timeless look, and we want to break the rules of following fashion trends.
Retrospective’s mission is to make women feel beautiful no matter their shape or size. The beauty of fashion from this era is the way it enhances any woman’s figure. We want woman to feel glamorous wearing styles that are timeless and memorable. We want to create an experience where women can get all dressed up in our store and feel unstoppable and beautiful. We want you to explore the best part about being a unique and glamorous woman, giving you confidence to stand out from the crowd.
Our clothing is imported from the UK and the USA. We stock Lindy Bop, Hell Bunny, Spin Doctor, Voodoo Vixen, and Pinup Girl Clothing. We believe in high quality fabrics and in flattering styling. Most of our garments have a slight or medium stretch to them to hug your body in just the right way. We are also very excited about stocking Taylor Says and Pin Up Couture shoes from the USA.
We also believe in collaboration and empowering women in South Africa. We stock local accessories designers such as Jewels & Lace, Ratrod Rockabilly, and Lolla. We are excited to announce that we will be stocking Kington Kustom Kulture, who provide us with gorgeous dresses, skirts, and retro bathing suits as well as fun Rockabilly style accessories. We are also looking forward to stocking another well-known brand from Cape Town, stay tuned. We are always on the lookout for local or international brands and designs that believe in what we do. In addition our Retro Team is currently working on a project to restore original vintage, retro, and antique handbags and purses.
At Retrospective we don’t want to define ourselves as antique, vintage, pin up, or rockabilly. We want to embrace all of these elements to create a brand where clothing, accessories, décor, and good times are built upon the desire to be feminine and beautiful. Our company is about showcasing the age of classic styles with a modern flare and celebrating individuality and the desire to create your own style. So come and experience the best of the past and look fabulous in your future whilst having some good old fashioned fun. Come and get dressed up at Retrospective.
I was tempted to, at the very least, buy a set of wrench earrings. Or the pretty birdcages, or the… well, you see what I mean? Dresses, skirts, shoes, accessories – so much of choices! And you know what else makes me love this fabulous little shop more than is probably decent to admit? They don’t only cater for Skinny Minnies; they stock dress sizes from 8 to 18! And they have shoes in my size (when they’re not sold out in record time).
I could gush on about Retrospective forever, but the best thing I could tell you is to head over there yourself and play dress up. That’s what I plan to do at least once more while I’m on holiday.