Antique Owl

Beady eyed bird looking for collectables and design stuff

Vintage London: The Chap Olympiad

This time last weekend, in the glorious London sunshine, I attended the vintage event of the summer calendar – The Chap Olympiad.

The Chap magazine has been running since 1999 and is a stalwart of the vintage scene; championing tweed for all men, encouraging the growth of “interesting facial hair” (moustaches not beards), smoking of pipes and courteousness to ladies.

As you can tell from the above, being a Chap is not simply something one dips in and out of, it is a lifestyle in itself.

Every year, numerous Chaps and Chappettes take to Bedford Square for the annual Olympiad, a day of jolly fun activities with a Chap twist. Think of it as a kind of imperial sports day featuring an array of entertaining competitions and events.


Some of my favourite events of the day were Umbrella Jousting, where two contestants joust with each other on bicycles where umberellas make their jousts and suitcases make their shields. Incredibly dangerous and incredibly entertaining, even though it did end up in fisticuffs in the majority of cases.


Similarly the Tea Persuit sees two contestants cycle a track before attempting to transfer a cup of tea from one rider to the next, while Not Playing Tennis sees players seated in deck chairs play a game of tennis “while occupied with more important tasks such as reading a newspaper or filling their pipes”

Almost more fun than the events in general though is the opportunity to spend an afternoon in the company of so many impeccably well turned-out people. The fashion and style was a complete feast for the eyes with people really making an effort to keep the vintage feel alive . As such I spent a good amount of my time at the bar or enjoying the picnic and the view.


A lovely gentleman came over while the majority of us ladies were at the bar (not hugely ladylike perhaps) and commended our menfolk on their ladies “excellent spread” as shown in the above; picnicking in the sunshine is such an elegant way to spend an afternoon, even in 30 degree heat.

As far as fashion goes, for men, the order of the day was generally white shirts and braces, tweed (despite the heat) and moustache wax, with some notable “eccentrics” among the fold.

For ladies, there was a complete cross section, from 1930’s flapper styles all the way through to 40’s, 50’s, and modern rockabilly – a red lipstick pout and a love of dancing seemed to be universal though.


The Mighty Booth vintage photobooth saw a number of guests posing for vintage snaps – myself included!

I even managed to get a relatively nice shot of myself and the good husband in my absolutely gorgeous Lucy in Disguise dress!

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The Speakeasy Three performed during the Tiffin break.

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Tug of Hair – Two teams of contestants pull either end of a 20-foot moustache until one team topples over.

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The pictures above are a mixture of my own and those taken by the very talented Mr Rohan Hegde, many thanks good sir!

You can see many more pictures of the event on Flickr here, or at Nick Mann Photography.


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This entry was posted on July 21, 2013 by in Vintage Events, Vintage Fashion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

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All copy on this blog remains the property of Samantha Villis. Please ask permission copying or re-blogging. I dont bite. Images are my own unless otherwise stated. I try to give credit for images whenever possible.
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