our vintage Playboy magazine collection

we always carry a large collection of vintage playboy magazines, mainly 1970’s -80’s USA, never any 1950’s, way too rare in Australia, sometimes a smaller collection of 1960’s, also quite rare in australia. we also have a small collection of Australian Playboy first published in 1979.

email retroactive1@optusnet.com.au or give us a call 9484 4697 to see if we have a particular issue in stock !

women & men enjoy playboy magazines on many levels. Hefner had not only the best photographers, also the best writers of the time, hence the saying ‘i’m only buying it for the articles’, there’s often interviews with musicians, movie stars & other famous celebrities.  Advertising was hand illustrated, articles about mid-century furniture designers, the series ‘mad men’ was definitely influenced by sophisticated playboy bachelor pad interior design.

the birthday gift for the person with everything ?…contact us to see if we have the month & year you’re looking for …. and please enjoy reading these articles & see the influences right in style right now 2017 !





1950’s Doubé sofa bed daybed

1950’s Doubé sofa bed daybed

the fabulous australian midcentury modern design classic ‘lounge sleeper’ by gerard doubé .

Gerard Doubé 1918 – 2001 ” In 1953 he designed a multipurpose settee that could be transformed into a double bed or separated into two single beds using a unique hinge of his own design, which was quickly copied, necessitating a 1956 court injunction.” excerpt from ‘Midcentury Modern Australian Furniture Design’ exhibition book at Melbourne’s NGV 2015

Beautiful mountain Ash frame, the original sprung cushions have  just been reupholstered in stunning tangent ‘garnet’ by warwick fabrics, a fantastic weave of red, orange & charcoal !


vintage tessa lounge furniture

Born from the inspiration of the sixties hit song “Puppet on a string”, renowned designer Fred Lowen decided to be the master of his own destiny and in the late 1960’s opened his own manufacturing company “Twen” with his brother, Howard Lindsey.

In 1970, the business was renamed Tessa after the daughter of a close friend. Since then Tessa has continued to be a leader in design and quality manufacture in Australia. As a Winner of the Dunhill design award in 1970 for the classic T1 model, Fred Lowen Design and Tessa were fast becoming a household name in Australia and during that time Tessa Furniture was also sold in many countries across Europe.

His innovative and stunning T4 hammock design wowed them at the Cologne fair in 1971 and it is still made today at the Tessa Melbourne factory to the same exacting standards and meets with the same acclaim.

more about tessa lounges

Retro Active now @ Preston 3072

Retro Active now @ Preston 3072

That’s 172 High St Preston, corner of Garnet St, near the High and Bell Sts intersection, south east side.

Loving the light & space, large windows to show off our beautiful 20th Century, Mid-Century, Vintage collection of furniture & home decor !

We still maintain the passion to seek & sell midcentury vintage, furniture, prints, original paintings, glassware, pottery, jewellery, vintage vinyl, vintage playboy magazines plus all the other quirky things we love to find, also contemporary Orla Kiely home decor & Inaluxe greeting cards featuring Australian birds & fauna

so if you know us from our Westgarth & Northcote days or live locally & don’t know us yet…do pop in for a browse, we love to chat too !

Parking’s easy, tram, train & bus close access too.

Version 2


Mid-Century pottery collection 2015

Version 2 We’ve been most fortunate over the past 3 years to have bought a collection of mid 20th century pottery from a very special friend. Mostly Italian, West German, Scandinavian, also Australian, French, English with a sprinkling of Hungarian, Polish etc….we’ve bought over 200 amazing pieces with examples of many colourful textured glazes, hand painted, inscribed, impressed, illustrated & firing techniques used during this exciting design post war era of the 1950’s, 60’s & 70’s.

All these items are listed in the homewares & decor category with details. We’re always happy to discuss & answer your queries 🙂

We’re celebrating 19 years as Retro Active today !!

On 1st December 1996 we opened at our first location at 83 high St westgarth…rob & helen had started alphabet city cafe, nola @ flashback opened a year after us, also brett & dave opened kelvin bar & the westgarth cinema was still a single screen cinema…we moved to 307 high street in 2004…seen high sreet northcote & surrounding streets change completely over this time…it’s been a fantastic time for us, we call our work treasure hunting 🙂 and still love passionately what we do….thank you to all our wonderful customers !! Cheers…Wendy & Tonyslide_scan_Feb5002resize

New website 2015

Retro Active Welcome to our new website 2015 !

Hope you enjoy the fresh look & easy navigation for relaxed browsing, larger images with enquire buttons.

We always love to keep you up to date so you’ll usually find new arrivals being uploaded almost daily.

When we introduce new ranges or special items we’ll be able to give extended information & stories here for your interest.

Wendy & Tony