Saturday, November 28, 2015

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Aaannnnd, we're back in New York....

In addition to being a showcase of beautiful vintage clothing and accessories, the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show is one of my favourite events because it attracts an eclectic group of folks who have unique personal style, and appreciate others who are not afraid to stand out.   You know you are with "Your People" when you can spend 20 minutes enthusiastically discussing the details of a gorgeous hat or a spectacular coat with a complete stranger, and then compliment each other on what we're wearing.

Valerie and I arrived at the Vintage Show on Friday just in time to run into Dayle (left), whose Instagram account (@artfulcitystyle) I had begun following a few months ago.  I had commented that I would be in New York to attend the show, and that perhaps I would see her there.  She had never been to the show, and at my recommendation she decided to go.

Accompanying Dayle was street photographer Denton Taylor and his wife Teresa.  Denton shoots street style photos for the blog 40PlusStyle, and has taken numerous photos of Dayle.

 On day 2 of the show, Jean (the other half of The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas) and I were wearing our favourite colour.

Valerie was the colourful one in our trio.  She had purchased the feather hat the previous day from Revival VintageI was drooling (not literally, that would have been unpleasant) over her metallic purple Trippen shoes she had purchased while on vacation in Berlin.

The show is a big draw for style bloggers and on Friday, I ran into Lyn, aka The Accidental Icon.  I met her at the show last year when she had just started her blog, and in that short time period she has acquired a large following . We had an interesting chat about our respective blogging experiences.

I had met Patricia Fox at the FIT Symposium the day before, and as luck would have it, we ran into each other again at the Vintage Show.  She has a large collection of fantastical headwear that includes the egret-feather trimmed piece she was wearing that day.  Fox often colours her eyebrows to match her outfit, and her colourful eyeglass frames add to her artful style.

I had just heard Hamish Bowles, European Editor-at-large for American Vogue, speak at the FIT Symposium the previous day, so when I ran into him at the Vintage Show, impeccably dressed as usual, I told him how much I had enjoyed his talk, and he graciously posed for a photo.

A big "SQUEE" moment for me on the second day of the show was running into actress, comic, and jazz singer Lea DeLaria and her fiancee Chelsea Fairless (whose instagram account, @female_trouble, is very entertaining).   I will admit that I went a bit "fan girl" on her.  I had seen Chelsea earlier in the day and had complimented her on the beautiful gold-embroidered coat she was wearing.  Thanks so much to Jean for giving me the head's up that Lea and Chelsea were in the building, and documenting the moment! 

The women at The House of Findings booth were both beautiful, and beautifully dressed.  Mayra Gonzales, on the left, is the owner, and she was such a delight to talk to.  Her assistant, on the right, changed her outfit five times on the first day of the show.  The booth had a nice mix of vintage and ethnic/global items, and I found a lovely vintage wool skirt, (lined, and with pockets!) for a very reasonable price.

Regina, owner of Vintage Le Monde, is always modelling something fabulous from the stock in her booth.  She demonstrated the superhero-style cape that was attached to the funky Rick Owens jacket she was wearing.

Spark Pretty owner Amanda Dolan (right) and her best friend Meagan (left) always wear sassy, coordinating outfits at the show.  They have fun at the show, and make sure their customers do too. 

Stacey, owner of Incogneeto, was modelling a fabulous creation from Hats by Melba

Not to be outdone, Sofia, owner of Tu Vintage, looked adorable in her feather-covered topper.

Lisa, owner of Lisa Victoria Vintage has a great eye for beautiful pieces of clothing that are meant to be admired as much as worn.  The embroidered jacket she's wearing is an example of the type of elaborately embellished pieces you can find in her booth.

Carmen Bury, the woman who made the spectacular coat that I modelled on the first day of the Vintage Show (see my first post on the show), also makes accessories, and on Saturday she was decked out in her own designs, including a neckpiece that she wore as a hat.  She and Mayra of The House of Findings obviously have similar taste in headwear!

Diana, owner of Revival Vintage (right) was also wearing a hat from her stock.  Her assistant (on the left in the gold and black) is an excellent photographer and was nice enough to take several photos of us while we were at the show.  Diana has a great selection of vintage hats,  and The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas have purchased a few hats from her.

The eye-catching and original style was by no means limited to the bloggers and the vendors.  Many of the customers are walking style statements who come to the show for inspiration, or to add to their collection.  The young lady on the left made the coat she's wearing, and the red vintage cape on the right was the perfect layering piece for a cool fall day.

This woman was trying on the vintage Haori from one of the vendors and was going to take it off before I took her photo, but I rather liked all the colours, especially her purple afro!

On the left is Linda Pastorino, a dealer in ethnic jewellery, textiles and art, and her daughter Coral is on the right.  They are a splendid example of "like mother like daughter" as Coral has obviously inherited her mother's appreciation for beautiful and unusual textiles

Roddy Caravella and his wife, Milliner Gretchen Fenston must be the best-dressed couple wherever they go.

This guy caught my eye with his winged sneakers and colourful patterned pants and bag.

These women show two ways of styling a beret with a dress, incorporating items from different eras.

Dan, on the left, gets a number of his suits from one of the vendors at the show (Dan refers to him as "my suit guy"), and he always looks impeccable, right down to the little details like his tie clip.   Gregory, on the right, is also a regular at the show.  Seeing him in his three-piece suit, camel's hair coat and fedora made me think that although there were many terrible things about the 1940's, the way men dressed was not one of them.

Martha is a regular at the Vintage Show, and loves wearing styles of the 1940's.  I'm sure she has found many pieces in her wardrobe at shows like this one.   She is even wearing vintage seamed stockings.

Every year I see at least one little four-legged visitor at the show.  On the left, a dog belonging to one of the vendors is unsure whether the white chihuahua is friend or foe.  I thought it was kind of cute that the owner of the chihuahua is a very tall, strapping guy.   The cutie-pie in the right-hand photo is named Trip, and true to his name, is a very well-travelled little pup.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Close Shave

Let's take a brief intermission while I continue to edit my photos from New York and take a look at a couple of my recent outfits, shall we?

Oh, and by the way, I cut off all my hair......

Not that there was much left to lose, just the coloured chunk at the front, which took all of 5 seconds to shave off.  Why, you may ask?  It was costing me a lot of money to maintain the colour in a little chunk of hair, and I had exhausted my colour options.  Watching Judith transition to her natural colour was rather inspiring, and it seemed like a good time for a change.  I like it, and the reactions so far have been positive.  Which I appreciate, but has also provided some food for thought; the last time I had my hair this short was in my late 20's and the amount of verbal abuse I received was astonishing.  I'm not sure if it's the case that people are now used to seeing more women with shaved hairstyles, or now that I'm in my 50's, most people aren't paying attention to what I look like.  Either way, it's a relief.

As far as the outfit goes, it's all secondhand.  The dress and boots are from Beacon's Closet in New York and I purchased the vest at the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show last spring.   It's wool, and was made in Finland so it's a great layering piece now that the weather is colder.

The dress is cotton and rayon, made in Morocco, and has two layers for extra fullness.  I had to hike it up so you could see my socks - they have roller skates with wings on them.  I found the necklace at a Housing Works Thrift Store during one of my visits to New York.

This photo was taken after I returned from New York in October, and the weather was cool enough that I could start layering pieces.  The thrifted wool pants I'm wearing went to New York with me, and wore them 3 days out of 5.  They're cozy and I like the shape, but I find I need to wear something fitted on top so they don't look sloppy.  This was the first wearing for the Psylo vest I got at From Mars in the late spring.  It's held together at the front by giant safety pins, which is one of the reasons I bought it.

The other reason was the wired collar and hem that lets you bend and twist it into different shapes.  I like clothing pieces that you can play with.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Feast for the Eyes - The Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show, Part One


The last several days have been deeply unsettling, to say the least, and as many people have pointed out, Paris, and the rest of us, must try to move forward and carry on, despite the grief and anger in our hearts.  We need to remember there will always be light, and love, and moments of joy, despite efforts of some people to extinguish them.  And there will always be beauty in the world, and I will continue to celebrate things I find beautiful as long as they exist.  And with that in mind, I'm continuing with my New York stories, because they make me happy, and hopefully you find them entertaining.

I time my visits to New York to coincide with the fall Manhattan Vintage Show. This was my fifth year attending the show, and each year I find new things and people to admire.

Each show (it is held three times a year) features a display dedicated to a particular designer or theme in the lobby of the venue.  This time the display featured the designs of Gianni Versace, and vendors contributed colourful vintage Versace items from their stock.  I've never been a big fan of Versace's designs, but I can appreciate the bold colour mixing.

The photos above shows the range of styles you can find at the show.  The rare sequinned Geoffrey Beene Football jersey dress from 1967 was on display at the Augusta Auctions booth, and the animal print suit was at Amarcord Vintage.  

One of the good things about the fall show is that you get to see a lot of amazing coats (and if you've followed me for a while, you know I have a thing for coats).  The gorgeous Bill Blass fur-trimmed coat on the left is from Olive's Very Vintage.   Jen, the lovely owner of Olive's (who is kindly holding the coat up for a photo), is one of the nicest vendors at the show and I enjoy stopping by her booth for a chat.  The houndstooth print on the right is from Metropolis Vintage.

I was crushing on this duck-embroidered coat at Vintage Martini, even though no one else seemed to share my enthusiasm (come on, yellow and white ducks, on a coat!).  We did reach consensus that the mohair coat on the right, modeled by Mary Ann, owner of Maison Jadis was a fabulous statement piece.

You are guaranteed to see items at the show that will cause you to wonder who wore them, and wherever did they get them.  In the "this is so weird it's kind of cool" category was this dyed persian lamb cape, complete with leather fringe at Lofty Vintage.

Green seemed to be a big colour this year, with a number of vendors featuring items in various shades on display.  The young woman on the left was working at the Maison Jadis booth and was rocking the vibrant maxi she wore on Friday.  The velvet and quilted jacket on the top right is from Vintage Martini (I loved the necklace) and the acid green fur was part of a display at Lofty Vintage.

This little jacket caught my eye at Leon's Vintage.  The pattern, three-quarter sleeves, and the leather peplum made it something I could have happily incorporated into my wardrobe.  However, as my closet seems to be bursting with jackets at the moment, I didn't even ask to try it on.  I was surprised, and rather proud, of my restraint.

One of the things I love about shows like these is that you get an opportunity to see the creme de la creme of vintage, including some spectacular novelty pieces like this sweater at Olive's Very Vintage.   This is the back view of the sweater - the grey-jacketed arms wrap around from the front.  This would be the ideal thing to wear on those days when you really need a hug.

Many of the pieces in the show feature ornate hand-done embellishment, such as on this embroidered blouse from the early 1900's, shown off by Heather Ramey, owner of Noble Savage Vintage, which carries a good selection of clothing and accessories from the first half of the 20th century.

I didn't plan for these photos to fit together like this, it was a lucky accident.  The embroidered navy robe on the left is from SwaneeGRACE and I believe was from the 30's or 40's.  The Norma Kamali coat on the right also features nature-themed all-over embroidery.  The coat, from Lofty Vintage, would keep the wearer extremely warm, and also make them look like a very fancy Michelin Man.

This Prada suede jacket with appliqued leaves was at Daybreak Vintage

The prints on these three skirts were some of my favourites from the weekend.  The "birds and trees" print maxi was at Maison Jadis, the "Cat and fish skeleton" was from The House of Findings, and the candy-coloured jungle-print cotton mini was from E-Collectique.

Lisa D'Angelo always has spectacularly embellished pieces from the 20's and 30's on display in front of her booth, Lisa Victoria Vintage.  This year,  I sighed over the beautiful Art Deco velvet cape/coat on the left and the made-in-Belgium beaded dress from the 20's on the right.  I would love to be able to wear something so dazzling just for one night (and not worry about damaging it).

There were some vendors at this year's show that I did not remember seeing before, including Vintage! which featured some amazing eye-candy from the late 20th century.  The Vivienne Westwood "Prince Charming" outfit on the left was featured in one of her runway shows, and had the accompanying photo to prove it.  There were some fun pieces of 80's jewellery, glittery 70's platform boots and some drool-worthy pieces of rock and roll history.

Gypsy Nation Vintage always has one of the most interesting displays in the show, incorporating colourful ethnic clothing and accessories.


Fool's Gold had a stellar selection of bakelite jewellery.  My friend Jean, half of the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas, has an enviable collection of bakelite and is never without an armload of bracelets.  If I could choose one piece from the tray above, it would be the pin with the red hand wearing the polka dot bracelet.


If metal was more your style, Lofty Vintage had some stunning pieces, including the giant tribal-style necklace in the middle of the above display.


Lulu's Vintage Lovelies had some funky neckpieces like the silver collar above.

If you subscribe to the "Go Big or Go Home" philosphy of accessorizing, then the Vintage Show is
the place for you.  Four of my favourite pieces, clockwise from top left:  giant amber chunk necklace from Metropolis Vintage; spectacular silver and crystal choker from Lulu's Vintage Lovelies; an unusual, and rather dangerous-looking bracelet from Vintage Le Monde, and a fabulous pair of "lipstick tube" earrings from Tu Vintage.

These cute and colourful school satchels were available at Yulia's Bags


One of most entertaining pieces I found this year was this metal "breast plate" at Vintage Le Monde.  I can easily see Vix wearing this with great aplomb!


And of course, it wouldn't be a vintage show without hats.  I didn't see as many extravagant ones as I have in previous years, but there were definitely some statement-making pieces of headwear available.  Clockwise from top left:  a gorgeous three piece set in pink reptile-print leather from the 1940's at Vintage Martini; a dramatic Jack McConnell design at Lulu's Vintage Lovelies; wool felt spiral hat from Vintage with a Twist, and a silk pleated topper at the Town Peddler.

And the Piece de Resistance



The woman on the left is Carmen Bury, and she made the spectacular coat I'm wearing.  I spotted the coat on display and was admiring it, when Carmen introduced herself and explained she had made it, and her friend let her put it on display in his booth, Atellier Montclair, along with some accessories she had made.   I couldn't resist asking if I could try it on, and while she said it had never been worn,  I was welcome to try it.  It weighs about 40 lbs and it took her approximately 6 months to make.
Even the inside of the coat was beautiful
We proceeded to take a stroll around the venue so that the coat would get some exposure, and I will readily admit that I felt like a star swanning about in that coat of many colours.  Lots of people took photos and it definitely got a lot of attention.  Carmen was touched by the compliments people gave her on the coat and thanked me for being her model with a gift of a piece of jewellery she had made.  I assured her that the pleasure was all mine.   Only in New York!

Part two will feature photos of the delightfully stylish people I met at the show