June 19, 2010 1:10 am

Trendspotter: Once-useful items turned into interior decoration

The recent remake of The Prisoner rides on a wave of nostalgia for 1960s television that has seen revivals of favourites such as The Avengers, Bewitched, and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). Avenger Tara King’s apartment, a bibelot-strewn homage to late-60s kitsch and inspiration to the Primrose Hill set, is having its moment too. Her aesthetic of turning once-useful items into interior decoration has struck a new chord. Now, the trend has a trimmer 21st-century focus, eschewing pure kitsch. A pair of giant spectacles in one’s home is probably just too Great Gatsby but aged sewing machines have a certain style.

Clothing retailer All Saints recently kitted out store windows with Singer machines, craftily creating a warm, homespun aura. They might not work but they are beautiful.

Meanwhile others fans of bygones have been furnishing their desks with vintage typewriters while antique painted dressmakers, dummies – ideal for displaying those clothes you love but know you’ll never actually wear – also have quirky vintage charm.

In addition, there’s something decadently Wildean about transforming an item that was once practical into something purely aesthetic – thus creating a practhetic? – while at the same time being a virtuous act of salvage.

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