Friday, February 4, 2011

RETROPOLITAN...Your Heart's Delight

With Valentine's Day, 2011, coming up, I decided to explore Cindi Ryland's offerings at RETROPOLITAN on upper Main Street, close to Yate's Market, and almost across the street from the Church Road intersection with the Historic Firehouse Museum on that corner. Now, can you get your bearings? She has both a sign and a flag, so you can't miss it her shop.

An important aside: Cindi, a French teacher for many years, retired recently and said she has never been happier--her shop, RETROPOLITAN, demonstrates this joy on every wall and every display.

In fact, RETROPOLITAN reminds me of an art gallery, but much more alive and compelling than many, with all of its clothes, jewelry and objects from the recent past that are displayed and sold. You can touch them, try them on, discuss, be given clear information about their origin and history, then take them home. Right: Familiar hanging sign with ubiquitous Ellicott City wires.

"Yes, they are high end," she said with a smile when I asked for prices and winced a little, "but I have always offered lay-away, with no time frame." She pointed out that one customer had seemingly disappeared, then returned after two months to finalize the purchase.

So, back on the street for a moment... while I gather my February thoughts! How can you not be lured in, especially with the models in the window, one with rose, hat, tie with open blouse, and lingerie of the 40s, now looking like a contemporary Madonna spoof. I laughed out loud at the pointy brasierre and garter belt, even though that style was vogue in the 50s and girls in my high school ironed their bras to effect that same kind of...point. Me included. Photo left: Display window, by Cindi Ryland. Right: Detail, photographed from inside the shop by the Blogger.

Stepping inside, I am transported to the look of the 1930s and 40s that I recall from magazines, and to the 50s, where some of my own heart is lodged because life seemed more open and breezily romantic--big decisions had not been made in earnest, and my parents were still part of it.

We walked around a little on the first floor, then I
asked Cindi Ryland to choose three items that represented Valentine's Day--or that she is currently featuring.
She also talked in an animated way about some difficulties in hanging a chandelier, missing the step stool on the way down, and falling...such is the life of a specialty shop owner in Historic Ellicott City. This one, anyway, and she recovers, returns, and laughs!

Down to business. The first item she showed me was this beautiful, delicate ca. 1925 14K white gold, crystal and diamond set /ring and necklace - in original velvet box with stand: $775.

Next, Cindi retrieved this ca. 1930's multi-color cut steel and black silk box purse with red satin lining from its display area, and pointed out its matching red satin wallet and mirror tucked inside interior: $225. I would like to have taken it home, but...

Above, left: Note the red satin lining, which Cindi was quick to point out. Its softness and sheen takes my breath away. So elegant...

Following the purse showing and explanation, she led the way to the upstairs show room and pointed to this amazing 1950s Moderne sofa (9') with solid walnut frame, all original, designed by Adrian Pearsall: $3495. I asked a lot of questions, finding the fabric unusual for that time, or at least in my own mind.

BRIEF BIO: Adrian Pearsall was born in 1926 - Founded Craft Associates, which became the second largest employer in Northeastern Pennsylvania. - After he and his brother sold Craft to the Lane Company, Pearsall became a partner at Comfort Designs, from which he retired in 1991.
Known for his innovative designs, including the popular beanbag chair. - Recently authorized the use of his name for Craft Classics, Inspired by Adrian Pearsall, which debuted in 2006. He is nearly 100 and lives in New York (at least from my online research). Photo right: Detail of green fabric and wood structure.

About now, I was going to pack up and leave, when Cindi Ryland produced this wonderful ca. late 1950s multi-color plexiglass plates (removable/interchangeable) on a white metal frame; interior large white globe: $550. It looks much like a child's toy and we were both so charmed by it that we just looked and looked. Then, I did leave; a real customer had walked in, asking questions. One thing is for sure, however: I will return!

Kay Weeks
Blog content & photos,
except where noted.

Be sure to visit Jeremy Kipp Clark's

2.4.11 and revised 2.12.11
RETROPOLITAN information from the web:

Hours of Operation
Monday and Tuesday ... closed, or by chance
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday ... 11am - 6pm
Saturday and Sunday ... 10am - 6pm
... or by appointment

(410) 461-0701

Toll Free (888) 712-6483
Fax (410) 461-0702

8227 Main Street
Ellicott City, Maryland 21043

Says owner Cindi Ryland: Retropolitan has moved "uptown!" We now have three wonderful floors for your browsing pleasure. We are located at 8227 Main Street, just two doors north of Old Columbia Pike next to what was once the town movie theater (now Precious Gifts) and across the street from the Historic Fire House Museum.

There is free 2-hour parking along Main Street. There is both free and metered parking lots in the Historic District: lots A & F are entirely free; lots B , C & E are all fully metered and lot D is metered in the front of the lot & free at the rear of the lot.

Meters are in force from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM



Kaye said...

We ironed our hair, too. :-)

Anonymous said...

Very well done blog Kay. Fun reading and great pictures...Harve

Stephanie said...

Hi Kay, I just loved your look at this shop. I live in Columbia and am signed up to come to the Rams Head party on the 16th and saw you were signed up. I had to check out the fellow bloggers' sites. Nice to meet and hope to introduce myself to you next week. Stephanie

Anonymous said...

looks neat kaydi.

seattle, wa

Anonymous said...

What a lovely and unusual take on Valentine's Day! I can see why you will be going back...