It's all coming back to me now

Vintage revival

By Anthea Gerrie, July 18, 2014
John Lewis Croft Bilbao table, £399, chair, £100.

John Lewis Croft Bilbao table, £399, chair, £100.

It's back to the future this summer. Retro designs abound, many by famous brands which have recreated their original designs or "reimagined" best-selling products from their past as a 150th-anniversary exclusive for John Lewis.

So, naturally, you can expect a Teasmade - though with a vintage model going for £999 on eBay, it's not surprising the Swan reissue for just £59.99 is out of stock on the John Lewis website. They were in stock, however, at John Lewis in Brent Cross, where I met buyer Paul Rutherford.

"This Le Creuset casserole is an original 1950s design," he says, of the Coquelle, whose shape looks angular against the brand's contemporary curves - although Volcanic, that shade of orange-red most associated with the brand, has endured for more than half a century. The newest Le Creuset colours, Marseille - a gorgeous shade of turquoise - and Cotton, a matt white, evoke sunny Mediterranean holidays.

By contrast, Wesco is a fairly recent addition to John Lewis homewares, but there's no denying the retro appeal. Steel breadbins, storage canisters, scales and a great kitchen wall clock are a delight, particularly in cream and fire-engine red - and many are very old designs, which the company, founded in 1867, has produced as sesquicentennial specials for the store.

There are even Wesco items in John Lewis signature purple, not the most obvious colour for a kitchen. But Lewis - this year's purple version of the unmistakeable Henry vacuum cleaner - will cheer up the housework.

Iconic products of their time are also evident in the furniture department, where a limited edition reissue of Ercol's 1945 day bed is a design classic. Cushions can be removed to accommodate an overnight guest. Just 30 pieces are to be available in the Cummersdale black and white archive print and - even at £2,750 - the Studio Couch requires self-assembly.

Other classic mid-century pieces include a bench and chairs by the Danish modernist designer Hans Wegner, while traditionalists will be pleased to see the 1960 Parker Knoll Statesman recliner returning to the market, upholstered in what looks suspiciously like Dralon.

John Lewis Ercol couch, £2,750.

John Lewis Ercol couch, £2,750.

If you don't want to dwell exclusively on (or in) the past, John Lewis points to a new look which recalls the Scandi-dramas that have been gripping audiences for the past year or two. Croft is not Swedish, but captures the clean lines of the furniture, pleasingly textured fabrics and Swedish country colours of coffee, cream, teal, grey and aqua.

As the line runs through many departments, brides to be could register for everything from bath to bed to living-room furniture and kitchenware, to build a perfectly coordinated home in many shades of Croft.

You don't have to be a newlywed to admire Croft outdoor furniture, with its weathered eucalyptus finish, a perfect foil to the brights of John Lewis's al fresco dining ware. Cabo is Mexican in feel, combining two contrasting solid colours, while Rio features stripes.

A cool, minimalist alternative to complement Croft is the Maison enamelware - it looks great in the garden, especially with a Jardin cushion or two in the background.

Last updated: 11:24am, July 18 2014