Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Which Witch is Which?

 I scooped up the fabulous witch hat at a greatly reduced price last year at Shopper's Drug Mart, and it came with a purple cape, which I couldn't find this morning, so I had to go with a mix of black items from my wardrobe.  The fact that I could put together a witch outfit from my closet in a matter of minutes speaks to the undeniable truth that I do *NOT* have what the fashion magazines refer to as the "Working Woman's Capsule Wardrobe". 
Velvet dress - Lovesick
silk blouse - Lovesick
Leather corset - Northbound Leather
Check out my blogger sister Desiree's Halloween outfit over at PullYourSoxUp!  Her outfit even comes with a cool backstory.
Thanks to my colleague Marni for the photo!

Monday, October 29, 2012

David Lynch and George A. Romero Would Approve

After you've been sick for more than a few days, and you start to worry that you'll always look this haggard, your skin will always be this blotchy, and you will never put another outfit together that does not involve pyjamas, it's good to remind yourself of what you looked like before you got sick...

There. See?  Not so bad....a bit pinched around the mouth, but the outfit is good, and I'm standing upright, always a plus.  The fact that I'm wearing the velvet coat I found at The Sentimentalist at the end of September is a large part of the appeal.  It makes me happy just to look at the gorgeous colour, so I've hung it on the outside of my closet door.   I'm also wearing the 1940's gloves with the satin wrist poof I got at the Manhattan Vintage Show, and the doc marten look-a-likes (the brand is No Boundaries, unfamiliar to me) from the Chelsea Housing Works Thrift Store.  The floral tights were thrifted from Talize.

After could be much worse

Bella, of The Citizen Rosebud, inspired me to play around with the online photo editor, picmonkey.  I decided that of the Halloween-themed creatures available, the "Zombie" best suited my current state.   I hope you all have a Ghoulishly Good Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Week That Wasn't

The cold I brought back from New York has been a nasty motherf**cker that has knocked me out for the last week.  In addition to missing three days of work, I have taken no photos.   When I am able to stop coughing for more than 5 minutes, I'll be out in the world again.  In the meantime, here are some photos that I took before my trip...

When I was at the Western Fair Farmers' Market I spotted one of London's Roller Derby Girls, Glamarchist, wearing this awesome bicycle print coat.  She said it was from Smoking Lily in Vancouver

I love coats that have a unique print or colour - such a nice visual vacation from all the black that starts coming out this time of year

 I love her whole look, especially the skulls and hearts leggings.  I took a closer look at her jacket...

her self-made statement for the day....she's got hat-itude AND attitude

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chelsea Girl

 I've been trying to get this post done for three days, in order to complete my New York series, but I brought back a wretched cold from the Big Apple which has been having its way with me for the last week and just when I thought it was gone, it smacked me down again....

When I visited New York last year,  I had been given a recommendation for an inexpensive place to stay, called Leo House.  Leo House is a Catholic Guest House (the website describes it as a "quiet Christian Guesthouse) that has been around since the early 1920's, offering affordable accomodations to travellers of all faiths, (or none, as the case may be).  It's not fancy, in fact, it can be downright shabby, and if you have a strong adversion to crucifixes, pastels and floral prints, you may want to stay elsewhere, but both times I stayed there it was clean, safe, and the staff, which include lay people, and The Sisters of St. Agnes, were polite and efficient.  And they have a great breakfast buffet Mondays - Saturdays for $9.  The best thing about it is the location, which is right in the heart of Chelsea, which is a neighbourhood located on the West side of Manhattan, bordered roughly by 14th Street to the South, 30th Street to the North, the Hudson River to the West and Sixth Avenue to the East. 

Prior to staying at Leo House I didn't really know anything about Chelsea, other than it was the home of the famous Hotel Chelsea, where a great many artists and musicians lived and worked.

As a long-time fan of Leonard Cohen, I was happy to see his 75th birthday commemorative plaque mounted by the front door

Chelsea is mainly a residential neighbourhood, which for me is a major part of its appeal, and it has a large gay population.   It is also home to many art galleries, ethnically diverse restaurants and businesses, and the beautiful High Line Park.

The High Line park, built on no longer use  elevated rail train tracks, provides a quiet, plant-filled oasis from which to view the city streets below.

Artists have contributed installations to add visual interest

and some residents whose windows face onto the Highline have added their own art

I fell in love with Chelsea from the moment I stepped out the front door of Leo House on my first morning in New York last year, and found myself blending right in with the sidewalk traffic of people heading to work and walking their dogs.  It's far enough from Time's Square that you don't have to contend with hordes of tourists, and it has become my home away from home.   The businesses reflect the ethnic diversity of the neighbourhood, and within a block of my hotel I could see a movie, have my palm read, get a fresh-baked brownie, or.....

if I was a guy, I could get my hair cut at 9:00 pm

How could you not want to live in a neighbourhood that has a Nice Laundry?

or a place that has hot food AND groceries

I've discovered that many New Yorkers don't cook at home much, and really, when there is such a variety of great food (some of it very inexpensive) just outside your door, why would you? This is another reason why I think I would make the perfect New Yorker.  Chelsea is home to some great restaurants, and I had time to try four - The Red Cat, The Rocking Horse Cafe, Cafe Champignon (photo below) and Cafeteria.

Cafe Champignon was a little bit of Paris in the heart of Chelsea, where The Style Crone and I had a lovely dinner, to the accompaniment of some classic soul tunes

The uber-cool Cafeteria, open 24 hrs, where the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas and I were treated like royalty by the wonderful staff

I had the most delicious grilled salmon BLT, accompanied by a "Rude Margarita"

Jean, half of the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas, and I entertained ourselves while waiting for our food by duelling with the hot peppers from our Rude Margaritas.  Photo courtesy of The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas

I also discovered on this visit that Chelsea has a Salvation Army Thrift store, where I scored pristine copies of the first two Babar children's books (hardcover, no less) for a fraction of the $23 cover price, and a home made dress, most likely 1940's, for $13, which I promptly wore the next day.  I also investigated the local Housing Works thrift store, part of a chain of thrift stores in New York whose profits go towards providing support and services to people living with AIDS and the homeless.   There was some fabulous stuff, including high end label clothing and handbags, and prices were high for a thrift store, but not when you considered the quality of the items.  I found a pair of doc marten-style boots, in navy blue patent, for $15, and a no label black dress that will very likely become a wardrobe staple, also for $15.

In case you were thinking I must have been commissioned by the Chelsea tourism board (if there was such a thing) to write this, it's not the case.   I really do love the neighbourhood, and if circumstances ever were such that I could move to New York, I would be delighted to become a full-time Chelsea Girl!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Manhattan Vintage Show - The People!

It's taken me much longer to get this post up than I'd hoped - I'd forgotten just how many awesome people I had met at, and photographed at the Manhattan Vintage Show....

Maureen from Daybreak Vintage - I love her entire look, and it was nice to see someone else wearing platform boots besides me!

The young woman in head-to-toe red is Caroline Quinn, proprietor of the vintage boutique Dirty Fabulous, in Dublin Ireland, which is the most awesome name for a vintage boutique ever.

The always debonair Hamish Bowles, International Editor at Large of Vogue, resplendent in plum

I met my adorable hair twin, Kendra Joseph, who is a makeup artist, last year at the Vintage Show, and I had been in this year's show maybe 5 minutes when we spotted each other, which led to many squeals of joy and hugs! After we got caught up and took some photos we went on our separate ways and later that day I ran into her trying on hats at David Owen's booth where she purchased a sassy little black one with a red feather that matched her fab leather and lace outfit perfectly. 

Barbara Kennedy not only was selling the most fabulous hats, but she was wearing this delightful purple one that matched her vibrant striped top.

a pair of tailored vintage fans

I was perusing some of the treasures at the show with Jean, half of The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas when we ran into Tziporah Salamon in one of her gorgeous Asian-inspired outfits.  She would have coordinated perfectly with Hamish Bowles.

The woman on the right is the multi-talented Yardena, the owner/operator of Lulu's Vintage
The man with her was also working at her booth, and I apologize for not getting his name, but he looked great in his monochrome casual-but-stylish oufit.

This delightful woman clearly loves patterns and colours.  I particularly liked her flowered shoes.

Stu Nizny, aka "Disco Stu", owner of Pixel 19 Vintage Clothing, rocks the heavy metal

A closeup of his spectacular silver arm party, and mind-bogglingly large belt buckle - the watch on his left wrist shows five different time zones

Laura (left), at the David Owen's booth in her divine monkey-fur trimmed vintage suit, poses with a fellow vintage connoisseur (with the most perfect eyebrows!)

One of my favourite vendor outfits - I was particularly enamoured with the sock garters and co-ordinating, but not matching, socks.  This nattily-attired gent was working at Noble Savage Vintage.

Heather Ramey, proprietor of Noble Savage Vintage - gorgeous hair cut and colour!

Denyse, of Denyse's Closet, looking very chic in head-to-toe black and a fabulously bold turquoise and silver neckpiece

Both days of the show we stopped to chat with Fillipo Gurrieri, co-owner of Sunset Blvd. Vintage, and a man possessed of a very sharp sartorial flair.  Valerie (of the IF's) purchased her polka-dot coat (you can see it hanging on the rack behind him) from his booth.

I had a wonderful conversation with this young woman with the funky two-level hair.  She was trying on this unique leather and mesh cape and I loved the way it made her look like an exotic bird.

I ran into Martha several times during the course of Day 1 of the show, and each time I noticed a new detail of her marvelous outfit, such as the cheerful yellow bakelite accessories.  Very few people can carry off a head-to-toe vintage ensemble without it straying into the territory of "costume", but Martha wears it so well, and somehow makes it look modern.

As the last day of the show drew to a close, my fellow partners-in-style-crime and I forced ourselves out the door of the Metropolitan Pavilion back out into the world. Judith, The Style Crone, (far right) is wearing a dress and hat she purchased at the show, Valerie (far left) is wearing the marvelous polka dot coat she found at Sunset Blvd. Vintage, and Jean is wearing the architectural Donna Karan hat that was her score of the day.  Judith and I were heading off to have dinner, and I was forced to say goodbye to The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas.  Thanks, and hugs, to all of wonderful people who made my weekend in New York an adventure to remember!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Upcoming Vintage Show & My Outfit from the Art of Fashion Reception

To take a wee break from the marvelous madness of New York,  I wanted to take a moment to put in a plug for a Vintage show that's happening this weekend, closer to home.

If you're a hard-core vintage clothing fan like me, or you're just looking for a great hat or piece of jewellery to set off your fall outfit, you don't have to go all the way to New York to find beautiful vintage clothing and accessories.  This Sunday, October 21st, is the Gadsden's Toronto Vintage Clothing Show at Wychwood Barns.  The show runs from 11 am - 4 pm and features 30 dealers selling everything from bakelite jewellery to 20's cloche hats and 1960's two-tone pumps.  Admission is $8.

I attended the Spring show last April and was impressed with the selection, and the prices, and picked up a couple of hats, an orange angora cardigan, and some barkcloth that was intended for curtains (which still haven't been made).  I'm wearing one of the hats in the photo below.

For more information about the show and the dealers who will be there, check out their website here.

I finally found a photo of what I was wearing to the reception for the Art of Fashion Design Competition.  I wore the Jack McConnell hat that I purchased at the Spring Toronto Vintage Show, and a Joseph Ribkoff jumpsuit from The Sentimentalist.  Photo by MSPG Inc., courtesy of the Art of Fashion Facebook page

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Manhattan Vintage Show - The Stuff!

First of all, I want to direct your attention to the other wonderful bloggers who have included my New York adventure in their recent posts:
The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas
Advanced Style
The Citizen Rosebud
Thanks so much - your photos and text are a lovely reminder of three days of awesomeness!

Now, on to the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show....

The Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show takes place three times a year - October, February and April, at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York.   It brings together 90+ vendors offering the best in vintage clothing, textiles and accessories from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.  Prices are generally high, as is the quality, and this year I found it difficult to find things priced under $100, but for the hard-core vintage fan, there was some amazing eye-candy.  This year's theme was London Swings: Carnaby Street to Kings Road 1964-1974, and there was an exhibit of clothing for sale from such iconic labels as Mary Quant, Biba, and Ossie Clark.  The red vinyl dolman sleeve coat in the photo above, on display at the Daybreak Vintage booth, was part of this collection, and was sold on the first day of the show.  You can see other pieces from the collection on the website here
The booth for Lofty Vintage was one of the most beautiful, in terms of display and organization.   I, along with fellow bloggers The Style Crone and the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas had been graciously given press passes to the show, and when asked politely, many vendors allowed me to photograph their displays.

I  lusted after this swoon-worthy Christian Dior coat, also from Lofty Vintage

The show has a large selection of hats on offer, ranging in price from $30 to over $300.  Vendor Barbara Kennedy, from Pennsylvania, had some of the most beautiful, as seen in the photo above from her booth. 

This is a closeup of the buttons on a fab wool jacket that was priced very reasonably at $100 - unfortunately, it was too small for me.

This jacket, from Pocketbook Vintage, is a runway piece from designer Gianfranco Ferre.  The leather and gold metal embellishment is part of the coat - stunning, but definitely not "Hug-friendly"!

...unlike this coat, also from Pocketbook Vintage, which I had a hard time taking off.
In addition to the amazon warrior fur, I'm wearing my 1940's hat, purchased from The Sentimentalist, and a 40's dress I had found earlier that day at a Salvation Army thrift store.  I completed my outfit with a pair of 1940's gloves with a satin pouf at the wrist from The Vintage show.

a funky metal and crochet 1960's bag

This display of bags from Deco Etc.  showed that there really was something for everyone's taste

My personal favourite was this plastic clutch.  At $175 it was well beyond my budget, but a girl can dream, can't she?

This graphic print dress from Vintagelemonde was another of my favourites

One of the best things about the Vintage show is the opportunity it gives those of us who appreciate the creativity and craftmanship of designs of previous decades to see garments up close that one would otherwise only see in a museum, like this gorgeous 1920's silk velvet embroidered coat, from Lisa Victoria Vintage.

I can't imagine how many man hours (or woman hours) went into this embroidery

It's not all seriously swanky vintage; there are a lot of fun pieces available at the show like this orange fur skirt...

This sassy sequined jacket from Miss Kitty's Litter Box ....

..and, this crazy-cool knicker and cape set from Recursive Chic, which was so incredibly well-priced I was very tempted to bring it home.  I did end up purchasing a black & white 1960's dress from this booth (whose owner was too shy to be photographed) which will show up on my blog sooner or later.

I have tried wherever possible to credit clothing and accessories shown to the appropriate vendor but please feel free to contact me to correct any errors or omissions.

Next post - The people!