If you head down to Dalston any time soon and you look very hard, you may be lucky enough to find that amongst the chicken shops and hipster hangouts is a very special treasure trove of avant garde vintage clothing and rare artifacts. This place is called the House of Liza and inside is the labour of love of owner Gonçalo Velosa, who has spent the best part of his life collecting beautiful pieces of couture and eclectic clothing that have defined what it has meant to be stylish throughout the years.
“It is impossible to understand the present without looking at the past,” Velosa explains of the appeal of vintage clothing. “For me it helps understand what is happening now. Also with the current economical climate people are looking to vintage fashion for reassurance and a sense of heritage, a sort of a cultural reference that oozes sophistication and an educated choice, almost like a sense of pedigree.”
Born in Portugal Velosa originally studied furniture and costume design but during his teenage years, spent clubbing in Paris And Oporto, he realised his true love was for fashion and how it came to define and represent a moment in time. “I was part of a generation that developed a revolutionary taste for experimentation,” he says. “I have used fashion as a way to explore and define my personality.”
This realisation led to the opening of several guerrilla stores in Portugal, where Velosa would display the fruits of his sartorial explorations from around the world. “I am fascinated by different cultures and how each uses fashion to express their cultural and moral values, he explains. “If anything it has made my taste more eclectic. I also helped me to appreciate difference and realise what might be considered good taste in one culture might be bad taste in another.” In fact, his style was so popular with customers that he ended up selling his entire wardrobe as people were constantly asking him where he got his clothes.
Eventually he decided to move to London, where he studied fashion design at the London College of Fashion before opening the House of Liza on Kingsland road, which he dedicated to vintage pieces from the 80s and 90s. “Dalston, Shoreditch or Hoxton is one of the most vibrant and culturally diverse areas of London which is a very attractive proposition for me,” he says of his choice of location. “It is also populated by young creative types – from fashion designers, musicians, artists to product and interaction designers which adds a sense of cultural relevance. Also my audience is mainly made up of creative people with a strong individual style, which matches the cultural ethos of the area.”
The store is a wonderland of fabulous pieces from designers such as Kansai Yamamoto, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler, all designers who Velosa feels have changed the stakes with their ground-breaking vision. You can find anything from 80s neon lycra to 70s boho dresses. “Right now there are two pieces that I am totally in love with: a hand-painted silk dress by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and a hand knitted dress by BodyMap that currently is on loan at the “UNRAVEL: Knitwear in Fashion” exhibition taking place at the Mode Museum Antwerp,”says Velosa.
House of Liza is at 199 Kingland Road. Go now before everyone else finds out!
Image Credits (colour images)
Photography: Gabriela Antunes
Hair and Make Up: Bea Sweet
Styling John William
Image credits (black and white)
Photography: Chloe Orefice
Styling: Kate Nelischer + Eshe Nelson
Make Up: Tereza Bila