{favourite five: rachel ashwell}



Rachel Ashwell is the designer who turned shabby into chic, and comfortable into classy, and she did it all with the help of perfectly ruffled pillows, floral printed fabrics, romantic chandeliers, and pastel tufted cushions.

In 1989, Rachel, a former movie set designer and stylist, generated a worldwide phenomenon when she created the Shabby Chic brand, showing that there is an elegance in time-worn objects and that interior spaces can be simple and relaxed, while still beautifully sophisticated and refined.

Since then, Rachel has created a successful brand that has grown into three distinct lines: Shabby Chic, Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture and Simply Shabby Chic, with flagship stores located in three glamorous cities: Santa Monica, New York City and London; Ashwell has also written a series of design books and most recently, launched a new stationery line.



The daughter of a restorer of antique dolls and a rare book dealer, Rachel’s love for flea markets and antique stores began as a young girl. She spent her days learning how to appreciate and recognize the beauty of vintage items. Because of this we could not possibly imagine anyone better to tell us her:


{five favourite flea markets around the world}

1. Round Top in Texas
I love everything about this flea market, so much so that I even bought a ranch/bed & breakfast there. I love the people, love the way the aisles and parking/pickup is organized, and the finishes on the furniture — lots of authentic crackled paint in their palettes, lovely tables and cabinets.

2. Brimfield in Massachusetts
I am always guaranteed to come away with an eclectic mix of large furniture pieces from Brimfield and love the great accessories such as lamps, mirrors and dinnerware; there is also lots of lovely art — many portraits and landscapes.

3. Remnants of the Past in Santa Barbara
Have only been there once, but for sure it will be a annual stop for me — a wonderfully curated collection of fab dealers, and while there isn’t “junk” to wade through, there are still well-priced items displayed in an eye candy way.

4. Kempton Park in London
Often shopping in the rain, so my focus is on wonderful English “tat”. Bits and bobs of textiles, art, dinnerware, glassware, enabling me to embrace the “its all in the details” part of my aesthetic.

5. Alameda in San Francisco
Close enough for a pleasant drive, but far away enough from LA that it attracts vendors from further afield; lots of diversity of products and styles, but a professional group of vendors.

Laily Mesbah
Contributor, New York City

Laily lives in NYC and began contributing to This is Glamorous in 2011 - interviewing designers for a popular series called Favourite Five. Her background ranges from studying documentary photography at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan to founding Project Flora, a company that works with florists, event planners, and socially-conscious brides and grooms to resell flowers after events, donating a part of the proceeds to charity. She currently runs a digital media and marketing company servicing an array of clients, including Flower Girl NYC and Lushlife Nailworks. Her new column, La Fête, explores trends in the world of event design and planning.

31 Notes
  • Darling blog! I am a new fan! Shabby Chic all the way!

  • I am co-founder and co-producer of the Alameda Point Antiques Faire & have been inspired by Rachel Ashwell’s style TV program, books & blog. When we first started the faire, I used to wish she would come & shop our show. Though I have never met her when she has come up, I am honored she picked our market to be in the top five in the world! We do have top professional dealers and try to provide high quality service to our valued customers. We welcome all Shabby Chic lovers to our scenic faire, every month to shop for vintage treasures.

    Thank you Laily & This is Glamorous for this post. I love your blog and I am an advocate for all things glamorous!

  • I one day will attempt to hit the top 5…Well atleast texas, thanks for this great info!

  • too cool! She loves Roundtop too…the best flea market | antique shopping ever. Rachel Ashwell is heavenly.

  • What beautiful shabby chic shops! Love her work!

  • I am a huge fan of Rachel Ashwell. I collect her books. I have pieces from her couture collection, as well as, Simply Shabby Chic at Target. I relate to her love of Texas!

  • Someday I’d love to vacation to Texas to attend Round Top. Rachel’s style is something I don’t think we’ll ever really grow tired of – it’s pretty, comfy and attainable for everyone which makes it so appealing! :)

  • I feel very honored that Rachel was a guest at my last show, Rachel was so warm, friendly and genuine to all the customers and they loved her. I hope that she comes back soon!

    Judy from Remnants

  • Love what Rachel has done with Shabby Chic. The table setting is gorgeous. Have to add visiting those flea markets to my to do list.

  • Oh boy how do I wish i could get to those markets! Alas the markets in Australia pale in comparison, but a girl can dream….

  • This is fabulous! Rachel Ashwell is so amazing. I loved learning more about her and also, some of her favorite spots. Thank you :)

  • Rachel was the special guest at last October’s Remnants of the Past Antique Show, and it was such a pleasure to meet her. We are vendors at this AMAZING bi-annual show, and it’s one of our favorite markets, too!

    Deb Kennedy @ Retreat

  • Rachel was the special guest at last October’s Remnants of the Past Antique Show, and it was such a pleasure to meet her. We’ve been one of the 50+ vendors at the show and it is definitely one of our favorites, too!

    Deb Kennedy @ Retreat

  • Roundtop is so much fun! (Though I’ve never seen so many dogs being pushed in baby strollers). They have a prom night where all the vendors dress up in ridiculous 80’s prom clothing (and drink a ton!) I got some fabulous vintage fashion sketches there.

    I blogged about it what seems like not long ago…

  • #5 on Ms. Ashwell’s list — Alameda Point Antiques Faire — also publishes a blog. Check it out at I’m the blogmaster and have been fortunate enough to attend every month for the last year as photographer of the Featured Dealer column.

  • Yes! Round Top Texas is the best! So happy its number 1! Great list, and great story, I see a cross country road trip in my future to hit all these spots…

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Love Rachel…she is such an inspiration. I sell at the “Alameda Antique Faire” every month. It is a great show. I hope to make to the “Remnants of the Past” show some day as a seller…Judy puts on a great show as well.
    Cathleen alyce

  • This is a great post! I also love this list. Really glad that I found your blog!

  • Oh, I just love chippy paint and ruffles. Remnants of the Past is coming up soon, I can’t wait to go!


  • Thank you L & R, for sharing Rachel’s wonderful list, and for clarifying. However, it is I who must slow down a bit, and read more carefully… upon second read, the credit for your source is quite obvious! I can’t wait to get back to the outdoor markets! ;) xo Michaela

  • I love this!! I just did a post about shabby chic as well :) My friend rhiannon referred me to your blog and I’m glad she did I love it!


  • michaela — just wanted to clarify: the list, compiled by laily, is actually from rachel ashwell herself :)


  • i madly love her and her brand. i remember watching her show years ago longing for her vintage treasures! i can’t wait till i’m getting married and i can register for all of the shabby chic line at target, i was just drooling over them last night!

  • What a great selection of flea markets, Laily. Brimfield is just a short hop from my home here in the southernmost tip of Vermont, and has long been a favorite since my days at UMass, Amherst. And Alameida I know from my time in San Francisco. Given your good taste there, I will have to visit the others… particularly curious about Round Top, TX. Thanks so much for the list. And now, dare I ask, can you share a favorite Parisian market? Visions of faded & dusty delights dance in my head… xo M

  • Oh love you hit me in the heart with this post. I adore all of her stuff and I actually attend the Alameda antique fair often for great finds. I own a vintage rental company and we rent vintage details and furniture for photoshoots,weddings and anything else! Check out the company:

    Ps I adore the couch in the first picture.

  • i love the worn out carpets in the first image..they are incredible..thanks for the lovely check out my runway to room post when you have a moment..xx meenal

  • Love Rachel, and I love three out of five of her flea markets. I feel so lucky to be able to attend Round top and Alameda consistently and this year I will be a vendor at Remnants of the Past! Perhaps I will finally meet her :)
    Great post, thanks!

  • Amazing! I’d love to go to all 5. I love Ashwell’s style so much. Thank you for sharing!

  • A great list of markets to check out on wordly travels. Love shabby chic.

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