330-332 Creek Road
There are actually two different kinds of vintage shop from both ends of the spectrum which fill me with joy. The chaotic, full-to-the-brim junk store with piles of unsorted stuff where it’s up to the buyer to sift through the rubbish to find a gem at a (sometimes, but not always) bargain price, and the more upmarket, beautifully arranged boutique where every piece is top quality – with prices to match. Emporium is defintely the second of the two.
It is one of those vintage clothing shops that make my heart sing and reminds me of the fabulous boutiques I used to frequent in Paris in the 90s (and which largely don’t exist any more.) It also puts to shame practically every other clothing shop, vintage or otherwise, in Greenwich. This is clearly run by someone who cares.
Its exquisite vintage glass display cases house sparkling diamante and paste jewelery, dinky handbags, glorious gloves and fabulous compacts, lain out in mouth-watering treasure-trove style. High on shelves classic hat boxes with exotic names jostle with feather fans and old advertising paraphenalia, from old 1950s adverts for face creams and lipsticks, to the top of a Shell petrol pump.
High on shelves, old showroom-dummy heads wear trilbys, flat caps and homburgs. Even the pillars are covered in vintage wallpaper and age-spotted mirrors. Particularly worth noting are the fab chandeliers – of which there are several.
In the main body of the shop, the clothes, dating mainly from the 40s to the 70s, are beautifully displayed on easy-to-peruse racks of similar items – no rummaging to be done here. Not everything is stuff I’d buy – I found the selection of evening gowns disappointing and the vintage ties are frankly not much cop, but good examples seem to be very hard to get hold of nowadays. Where the emporium excels is in 70s jackets and trendy tops – I’d say there’s more in the way of clothing for guys than gals, though the accessories are very good.
Don’t expect to find a bargain here. What you’re paying for is the rummaging someone else has done for you – but as opposed to Camden Market (one of the few places left where you can really rummage among unsorted stuff) you are far less likely to find an item ruined by moths, ripped fabric or – the real problem with the vintage lifestyle – heaviy stained with sweat or stunk-out with vintage B.O, perfume or must.
Placed on the 1950s cocktail bar are the usual clubbing flyers found in all trendy stores in the centre of town. There’s a vintage cigarette holder/ashtray by the door, which often holds a lit fag – presumably the owner enjoys the odd drag when the shop empties for a moment. It creates an interesting aroma as you enter.