When Retro was new

I was at a Retro Market recently, where I saw a Glomesh purse. I stopped in my tracks and gazed at it for a while – I had had one when they were last made, back in the (gulp) eighties. It immediately took me back in time to spinning about, completely carefree, with a sparkly bag at – wait for it – the disco. After a quick trip down memory lane, I came back to reality, still standing in the market, in front of something from my lifetime which is now labelled retro.

What is the definition of retro? It’s anything that was moderately indicative of its original time and place, and is now so old that its come back around and is now a collectible. You also know things are retro when they are of interest to bright young things who weren’t even born when the objects were new.

Retro is also anything that might sell from the attic or any old dusty storage box, the Global Financial Crisis having made the need to try and raise a bit of extra cash rather more urgent than it used to be. There are probably people with homes in foreclosure who are desperately rummaging around in cupboards under the stairs for anything they could sell which might be called retro. Or vintage. Or antique. Or any other old piece of tat that someone else might buy. FYI, the maxim that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” isn’t always true, people.

If things I knew and loved when I was young are now retro, does that mean that I’m on my way to being vintage? To be followed too damn soon by being antique..? Damn it all.  Wouldn’t it be good if we valued retro, vintage and antique persons as much as things? I feel a campaign coming on…

However, back to the shiny purse at the market. Glomesh is a lovely example of real retro – it was THE thing to have, and be seen with, and everyone aspired to it. It was also best in gold – remember that eighties fashion in which everyone wore all of their gold jewelry, all at once? That of course was before today’s debate about the value of the Gold Standard…and when people had the money to buy gold jewelry, thank you Goldman Sachs.

Anyway, I bought a gold Glomesh wallet, and was given the matching bag and keyring for the following Christmas – my Glomesh goodies out-tinselled Santa that year. I felt absolutely up-to-the-minute, something I rarely, if ever, experience today.

I googled Glomesh to find some photos for this blog, and to my surprise found that Glomesh Australia has launched a new version of their bag in 2012, after a break since the 1980’s. Tempting, tempting, although at nearly $900.00, I might think instead about getting my genuine 80’s Glomesh gear out of storage. They’re in storage because I could never bring myself to get rid of my Glomesh bags when the shiny eighties were over, so I put them away with their fond memories.

Which means I now have three options – call them Retro and sell them, get them out and wear them with pride, or put them away again until they graduate from Retro to Vintage. If you happen to see a retro woman walking around town with a very shiny, eighties gold, slightly incongruous retro bag, give her a smile.


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