JANUARY 20TH, 2010
By Daniel Rose
I remember the first time I visited Eclectic, a second-hand store specialising in Art
Deco and other vintage goods. It wasn’t long after I’d returned from Auckland, and I
was in the process of reacquainting myself with Nelson’s CBD. On my return from a
falafel purchase, it started to drizzle. Luckily, I was wearing my black World rain
jacket (circa-1920s-New-York inspired). ‘Capitalism Coat’ they branded it.
I realised I wasn’t in the sunny, technicoloured,grey-haired-hippy populated Nelson I
once knew. This new Nelson was more sophisticated. And entering Eclectic was an
emotive experience. Apparently some people (is it un-PC to say women?) have been
so overcome with emotion that they are brought to tears upon entry. I wasn’t quite
this weakened, but I do recall forgetting about my hunger… and the falafel.
I bought a chess set. I don’t know its origin – Bali,perhaps – or how old it is, but
being intricately handcrafted out of wood, it is more sculpture than board game. I
have yet to play a game on it.
Eclectic is another world. It is vast, yet well organised into pockets of itemised
aesthetic pleasure. Each object has been arranged in a life-sized diorama and is part
of a larger interweaving narrative. The Hardy Street window display could match
those of Madison Avenue in New York City.
Owner Maria Henare clearly has a superior eye for styling.
“It just happens,” she tells me.
“It’s in me. I’ve not been trained,it just works. I’ve had a woman fly down from
Auckland who wanted me to dress her for the Art Deco weekend in Napier.”While
I’m photographing Maria, an Auckland couple –speak of the Devil(s) – are
tentatively purchasing and arranging the transport of a 1960s Formica dining suite.
I can’t help but mention how much more expensive a similar suite would be in