Queen Of Vintage Pearl Lowe Tells Us The Secret To A Perfect Flea Market Find

By Tessa Dunthorne

10 months ago

Pearl Lowe, rockstar turned fashion and textile designer, is known for her bohemian and vintage-inspired aesthetic. Her vintage home pieces are the kind of nick-nacks and one-off finds you’d normally have to scour East London flea markets for – or venture into Margate in search of. We ask her the secret to a vintage find, and the pieces that are brightening up her own home. 

Interview: Pearl Lowe Spills The Secrets To A Vintage Homeware Find

Pearl Lowe

Pearl Lowe

Hey Pearl. I wondered if you could tell us what brought you to vintage in the first place? 

When I was 11 years old, I used to get on the tube on a Saturday with my friends and we’d head straight to Covent Garden to buy second-hand clothes in a shop called Flip. My mum was appalled and would often throw some of the grubbier things I bought away. When my husband Danny and I purchased our first house in Camden Town, we would trail through Camden Market on a Sunday and Portobello Market on a Friday looking for vintage and antique furniture to decorate the house with. I love pieces that have history, that tell a story – that are imperfect. I love furniture that has cracks or holes, and fabrics that are faded or frayed. It gives them character. I cannot stand perfection.

Why would you encourage people to get more into vintage?

Firstly you’ll have a unique piece that no-one can emulate. Secondly, it’s good for the planet. It’s vital that we think about our carbon footprint these days. Recycling and reusing pre-loved pieces reduce carbon emissions and preserve water energy, and other resources. Plus it prevents more garments or furniture pieces from winding up in landfills. I refuse to buy anything new anymore and I won’t let my kids either.

Tell me about a few pieces in your own home? 

My whole house is full of vintage, as I have been a collector for many years. I have vintage oil paintings and framed pictures; old French beds; sofas; chandeliers; fringe lamps; and hundreds of cushions, throws, quilts, lace curtains and bedspreads. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people think that vintage brings moths, dust and dirt. But I love the look and always will. It brings me so much joy.

Tell me about your most exciting vintage find ever?

I’m always finding treasures wherever I go. But like everything in my life, I do get tired of certain pieces, which means they will often end up for sale on my website. There are a couple of pieces that I will never part with, though.

Pearl Lowe's butterfly mirror

Pearl Lowe’s butterfly mirror

First, my massive antique butterfly mirror, which I purchased at The Shepton Mallet Flea a few years ago and ended up on the cover of my book Faded Glamour. The other was a French metal beaded fringe lamp, which I purchased from a flea market in Paris. My poor husband had to bring it home out of a window of a French taxi and on the Eurostar through the X-ray and customs – pretending it belonged to his recently deceased Aunt. It’s been in our front room for 13 years.

Where do you look for vintage? 

I look for vintage on Instagram, Hoarde, The Old Cinema, Etsy, eBay, 1stdibs, and then, of course, flea markets.

Pearl’s Three Tips For Incorporating Vintage Into Your Home

Pearl Lowe's vintage lace curtains

Lace curtains are a lovely touch

  1. Take all your modern frames out of their pictures and replace them with vintage ones. These can be found in local antique shops, charity shops or flea markets. I love the gold ones. They work so beautifully on a gallery wall.
  2. Place vintage Persian or Moroccan rugs in every room. I sometimes layer them, especially if I’m not keen on the carpet underneath.
  3. Antique lace or crochet curtains, throws and bedspreads give any room a proper vintage look. I love them in kids rooms too. They make small rooms have that vintage cottage-y look.

Five Vintage Pieces Pearl Loves

1. ‘I recently bought a pink floral French superking bed from The French depot in St Leonards.’


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2. ‘I’m a fan of a red velvet fringed Danish sofa I purchased from Soho Home Vintage.’

Similar: Vintage Danish red velvet Knole sofa, 1950s, £1,490.97, design-market.co

3. ‘I love this antique large floral oil painting purchased from Muirshin Durkin on Goldborne Road.’

Floral antique painting

Buy similar: Floral still life c.1890, £762, 1stdibs.com; oil painting by E. Vanderman, £280, thehoarde.com; antique french floral painting, £175, vinterior.co

4. ‘There are a pair of hand-painted floral mirrors that are currently on sale on my website. I’m finding them quite hard to part with.’

Pearl Lowe floral mirror

One of the pair of hand-painted mirrors

Buy: Antique floral mirror with gold birds, £160, pearllowe.co.uk

5. ‘I have a pair of rare pair of Edwardian rattan picnic chairs – that are also on my website. A similar pair recently sold on Soame for £1200.’

Pearl Lowe's picnic chairs

These rare chairs only come as a pair

Buy: Antique Edwardian pair of picnic chairs, £595, pearllowe.co.uk