by Angeliska on December 13, 2010
This flock of blue morpho butterflies seems to be exploring…
Gypsy Honeymoon is one of the special spots on my list of pilgrimages whilst visiting San Francisco.
I met the ravishing owner, Gabrielle Ekedal the first time my grandfather and I dropped in, and we
instantly felt a deep kinship. She is a very magical woman, and her shop is a perfect reflection of her tastes,
(which are very refined indeed.) On our last trip to Gypsy Honeymoon, we trucked up many hills –
me burning off Tartine’s croissants while pushing my grandpa in his portable wheelchair past block
after block of stunning painted ladies. The trek was worth it, happily, and Grampa snoozed in a sunbeam
while I nosed into glass drawers stuffed with frippery and wonder. In the interim between our visits, the
shop has traveled closer in, and now adorns the strip of bohemia on Valencia in a glorious new space.
I liked the old incarnation very much, but it was rather small, which is not a problem in the current shop,
with its spacious expanse and elegant high ceilings. It feels more, airy – calmer. I love it in there.
These hairpins are made from kingfisher feathers. They are beyond words.
The store’s motto is: “Find what has disappeared”, and with Gabrielle’s eye
for exotic treasure, you are sure to find it here – whether it be exquisite alabaster
pendant lamps that once hung in grand ballrooms, or ancient carvings from foreign
lands. There is a strong appreciation here for things well-made, and clearly loved.
Any object designed or created with an love of beauty, and a desire to make things
that would last a long time. Between these solid, comforting pieces flits the ephemeral,
taking the form of a faded love letter, or a shattered-silk parasol. I’ve been to hundreds
of antique shops, and there are certain ones that really just get it. The aesthetics, the
passion, the joy of the hunt, the deep browse – it’s not an easy combination to nail,
and very few actually even try. I love a dusty, ramshackle hodge-podge any day,
(especially when the prices fit the atmosphere) but those are a dying breed, and
sadly few and far-between these days. More often than not, you find the neon-lit,
sterile antique mall filled with aisle after aisle of overpriced depression glass and
arrays of offensive saltshakers. Or, it’s the quaint “shoppe” run by a coterie of biddies
on a straggly small town square. I prefer these to the former, but the aroma of potpourri
and desperation can be overwhelming. When I tell people I deal in antiques, I always
wonder if they flash to places like these. I imagine many picture one of those fancier
places, always very quiet and chill, with never a speck of dust on the perfect Edwardian
sideboards or exquisite carpets. I guess there’s Antiques with a capital A, junk, and um-
“junque” (oh yes – I see it all too often in some “shoppes”) which can be identified by
sponge-painted country geese. Thankfully, a new breed of curio shops has emerged
from the detritus that manage to combine the rare and fine with the imperfectly exquisite.
Natural objects like wasp’s nests might find themselves priced alongside woven gold tapestries
with the same reverence for the genius of both their makers. I’ve been lucky to have worked and
sold in one of the best – Uncommon Objects, where I’ve learned so much about all the beautiful
things humans have loved or used long enough to treasure, and the business of dealing in them.
I want these girls to be my doll-friends. I love picturing them flopped on pillows in elegant boudoirs, clutched to the
feverishly rouged cheeks of sleeping jazz-babies. Stuffed in trunks of rotting satin, awakening here – together.
We ladies: myself, Gabrielle, and Mlle. Dana Sherwood.
Oh, and I can’t resist sharing my favorite picture of Miss Ekedal (age what, 16?)
I’m guessing snatched from a high-school yearbook. What a wild elf! Gorgeousness.
Go and see her:
at Gypsy Honeymoon
1266 Valencia St
(between 23rd St & 24th St)
San Francisco, CA 94110