Babette Clothing on Church Street in Cape Town looks exactly like it should. The owner Barbara Lötter has extracted the essence of her reworked vintage clothing and artfully sprinkled it around the store. While the shop front has a European air about it, with its deep red walls and quaint flower boxes, the set up inside exhibits the universal aesthetic of kitsch but cool charm.This ain’t no thrift store, and although some of the wares Barbara is peddling may have once been found there, the cheeky checkerboard floors, Robin’s egg blue wall colour and patchwork wall of framed art pieces create a backdrop that is simultaneously cute and chic.
This model and Elizabeth Galloway Fashion Academy graduate has put as much delightful detail into her shop as she does into her reworked vintage dresses, shirts, slacks and accessories. The bric-a-brac pieces (which are also on sale) scattered about the store add a sense of idiosyncrasy, while the wardrobe style shelving helps fabricate the feeling that you’re walking into the covet-worthy closet of a super stylish friend.
We sat down with Barbara to find out more about her store.
VISI: How long have you been in business?
Barbara: I started off with the Babette label in September 2010, and opened the store in first week of December 2011.
Did you design the space yourself?
Was the shop's interior inspired by anything in particular?
It was inspired by my travels, mostly Australia where the vintage markets and boutiques are just to die for. I must say in Australia my love for vintage grew to another extent! I also get a lot of inspiration from Frankie magazine (Australian) and from blogs.
In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for a retail space?
A good first impression is important. The store must be inviting and have a definite character. Obviously the use of space is important and I know there is some kind of formula to calculate the cost per item to square metres of floor space used, but to me it is more important to give the store that certain character where one can have a pleasant shopping experience. The place should not be too cluttered, but still have lots of treasures for the eye. Lots of packing and hanging space is important, but it should be laid out in such a way that everything is in sight.
And for a home space?
I don’t plan design and the use of space in my home. I have my own style. I like retro furniture, vintage decor and all sorts of retro finds. If I come across something I like, I will find a place for it in my home. Also a true home is a place that welcomes you when you open the door. It should carry your signature and should be an extension of your personality.
Where did you source the decor and furniture items in your shop/space?
I must admit I'm bit of a hoarder, so before I opened the store, I already had little treasures that I had found all over, in a way it felt like I have been preparing for this all my life.
Most of the paintings and furniture pieces I found in the Eastern Cape. The vintage scene is not so big there and you can still find amazing stuff at very reasonable prices.
How does this environment encapsulate or enhance the wares you sell?
It complements my clothes so well. The wall filled with reindeer horns, flying ducks, framed embroidery and other portraits grab people’s attention. It gives a timeless feel to the space and sets the scene for people to wander a little longer in the store. The shop’s decor is an indication of what you are about to find on the rails.
A lot of people love the vintage kitsch look, but don't know how to put the look together. In my store I help them visualise it.
And lastly, what do you think Cape Town's title of World Design Capital 2014 will bring to the city?
I think this will bring many advantages for Cape Town. Getting global exposure and attention will benefit tourism, which will in turn bring feet into my store. It is a great opportunity for creative people to show their talent and bring awareness of our city to the globe.
Tank you Visi !
for the lovely feature of Babette clothing .
for more photos visit VISI