Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Vintage Show and Sunshine = The Perfect Sunday Afternoon

I made a last minute decision to attend Gadsden's Toronto Vintage Clothing Show on Sunday, March 30th.  This was the third year in a row that I had attended the Spring show - there is a Fall show as well, but I'm usually away when it's scheduled.  The show has an average of 25 - 30 vendors which means you can easily cover everyone in 2  - 3 hours, depending on whether you're the type of person who looks at everything, or are only searching for specific items.  There is a very good range of prices so if you're looking to spend big bucks on a gorgeous bakelite necklace, you can, or if you have a budget of $20, you can also find something fun to take home.

It was a gorgeous, Spring-like day and as I was headed to the show, I spied this woman a half a block away in her brilliant colours.  When we got closer, I said how much I liked her outfit, and she said she was about to say the same thing to me.  She asked if I was a blogger, and when I said yes, she said, "So am I!!"  Of course, this revelation led us to spend the next few minutes shooting photos of each other, because that's what bloggers do.    Her name is Erica Chapman, and you can find her blog here.  The coincidences continued to add up, as she had just been to the Vintage Show!   Alas, I did not get anyone else to take a photo of me that day, so I am hoping Erica can send me one.

The Show is held at Wychwood Barns, a Community Centre and park off St. Clair West in Toronto.  The main building was built in 1913 as a streetcar maintenance facility and on a sunny day the end-to-end glass skylight allows light to pour into the venue.   This is a photo I took of the venue last year.

After being greeted by Jeff and Wendy Gadsden at the door, the next person I saw whom I recognized was Emma Paige, in her lovely lemon-coloured hat.  Emma has a booth for her business, Forget Me Not by Emma Paige, at the show each year.

I found a chunky orange necklace for $10 at the Scandimania booth, where the focus was on the Scandinavian design between the period 1960-1990.  They had beautiful modernist jewellery and bold and bright Marimekko clothing, like the purple flowered kimono jacket in the upper left of the photo.  I asked Katya, one of the owners, if she would hold the leg of the fab gold patterned jumpsuit to show it was not a dress.

I spent quite a while chatting with Eric Rados, owner of LuckyPantina Vintage.  Eric has been an avid thrifter his entire life, and he used to live in St. Thomas, which is very close to London, so he is familiar with the conservative burg I call home.  In addition to having very dapper style (bow tie AND stickpin), he has a good eye for a cool jewellery and his booth featured some great bakelite, lucite and metal pieces. 

Spring was happening inside as well as outside with lots of bright colours everywhere, as in this display at Norma's Vintage Styling and Costuming.

There were lots of cheerful patterns everywhere you looked.  The two piece culotte outfit and orange and white dress and coat set were from Retrouver.

Also at the Retrouver booth were these fab shoes

Even though it's still too cold for flowers to be blooming outside, you could have a whole garden on your head with this hat from Judith Mureika and Julia Wright Antiques.

 Maidene Besson, one of the vendors, and also a stylist and personal shopper, was rocking an 80's dress and leather belt.

I found myself next to this woman while checking out some vintage buttons, and I loved her hair and brightly coloured dress.  The conversations I have with other vintage fans is part of the draw for shows like these - there are few other places where you can bond with someone while oohing and aahhing over a bakelite button.

I ran into this woman a few times over the course of a couple of hours - she was hard to miss with her porcelain skin, red lips and raven hair.  She's a hard core vintage fan with a weakness for shoes and boots and showed me one of her scores of the day - a pair of rubber-soled, fur-trimmed ankle boots from the 1940's.

The majority of people attending the show are women, as there are few vendors that carry men's vintage, aside from accessories such as ties and cuff links.

Clockwise from left:  the strapless tiered dress would be perfect for a spring/summer wedding; these patchwork boots at Gadabout had quite a few admirers, and there was lots of sparkle and shine to be had.

I was mesmerized by Renee Piche's aluminum neckpiece and when I asked to take her photo, she commented that she had her photo taken at the Pier Antiques Show in New York back in November, wearing the same necklace.  Turns out it was my friends, The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas, that took her photo for their blog (small world, is it not?).  Renee is from Montreal and specializes in jewellery and accessories, particularly bakelite and plastic pieces.

Some of the amazing pieces at Renee Piche's booth - clockwise from top left:  plastic and frosted lucite necklace, 1980's geometric cuff in frosted lucite and plastic by Isaky Paris; a statement-making set in tropical hues; an unsigned Pierre Cardin plastic choker necklace.  I would have loved to take home either of the plastic necklaces, but they were priced beyond my day's budget.  

I was just about to leave the show when I ran into these two stylish women in their sharp chapeaux and cool coats.

I had a great time at the show browsing and chatting, and took home a couple of things, including the Perry Ellis hot pink jacket seen in my previous post here.  I also found a cute summer blouse that will make an appearance when the weather warms up.   Wendy and Jeff Gadsden are always so welcoming when I come to the show, and I love sharing my enthusiasm for fashion of decades past with other vintage fans.  The next show will be on October 26th, so put it on your calendar!


  1. OMG! So much cool stuff!!! Want the sleeveless striped dress and the multicolored handbag and the multicolored boots - oh wait, we can't wear heels…. - and Renee's necklace and the pointed bracelet and the spiral earrings, and - and - and - oh, sensory overload!!!!!

  2. So much amazing stuff to admire! I'm a massive fan of 1960s and 1970s Scandanavian design, both the fabrics and the glassware. Some of those prints and perspex jewellery are so fantastic, Renee's necklace especially. xxx

  3. So much great stuff ! And lovely ladies . Wanna go there myself!

  4. all this gorgeousness!!!
    i wish i could visit. vintage wonderland :-)

  5. What a brilliant fair, the sellers obviously have some really classy, high end merchandise, although it's good to know that lesser budgets are catered for too. The black and yellow jumpsuit is amazing, I am loving all the vibrant prints, I can see Vix wearing those stack heeled patchwork boots, and both she and you would rock the perspex jewellery. Some really cool people around too, both buyers and sellers.
    Yes, as much as the goods themselves, it's the chat, shared enthusiasm and knowledge that makes vintage fairs such fun, isn't it? xxxx

  6. Wowwwww! I love everything and everybody in this post!

  7. Beautiful show! Beautiful people! I'm in love with the spring garden hat. Vintage shows are a great way to treasure our senses.

  8. Ooh, I am going to that fair one day! I stalk LuckyPatina on Etsy - he has amazing Rafael jewellery from the 70s (like his pin). And what a great place to meet and admire the style of other vintage lovers!

  9. How sad I was to miss this show but delighted with your photos, especially the ones of the people. I would have LOVED that jumpsuit!


  10. Thank you for sharing your insights and the wonderful photos. I would love to go to a place like that - just to look and dream.

  11. WOW soo AMAZING outfit :) you have such good taste

    Check out my new post....How to decorate your home with cute fabrics :)

    I wish you a great week dear

    LOVE Maria at inredningsvis - inredning it's, Swedish for decor :)

  12. Dear, I like all your post. Everything looks so sweet, I admire this kind of life and the best wishes for you. Hope that we can communicate with each other. By the way, anybody try this android pt forum ? I lost my data and I don’t know how to recover.