Monday, April 18, 2016

The Rites of Spring - the Vintage Edition

On Sunday, April 10th, I took the Greyhound to Toronto for Gadsden's Toronto Vintage Clothing Show, which has become a rite of Spring for me.  The show, which features approximately 30 vendors, is held in the light-filled space of Artscape Wychwood Barns, and can be covered in a couple of hours, which makes it perfect for a day trip.  This would be the fourth year in a row that I have attended this show, and I am very grateful to Wendy Gadsden for her support of my blog and always making me feel so welcome when I come to the show.

 photo by Yank Azman
Let's get the important things out of the way first, ie. what did I wear?  When you're spending 2 hours each way on a bus, and doing lots of walking in between, comfort is equally as important as style.   It was also really cold, which called for layers. 
Vintage faux fur leopard print jacket - Mesh Boutique
Calvin Klein jeans - thrifted
Boots - Beacon's Closet 
1940's hat - The Sentimentalist

I found this vintage handbag at a neighbourhood thrift store for $1, and thought it deserved a day out as it coordinated beautifully with my grey-green persian lamb coat.  I was a little concerned that perhaps the whole package was a bit too "old lady", but I was reassured by a number of the vendors that was not the case.  I haven't carried a purse for years (I wear a cross-body bag all the time) so it was strange having to hold it all the time, and I worried I would set it down and forget it somewhere.

One of the first people I saw at the show was Erica Peck, owner of WILDTHING VINTAGE.  I loved her 60's Mod outfit.  WILDTHING has lots of fun, colourful, and well-priced clothing and accessories.

This fab matador vest is a spectacular statement piece -  a steal at $28, from WILDTHING VINTAGE

At the Spring show, the venue is full of colour - blues and greens, pinks and oranges, and lots of sunny yellow.  Clockwise from left:  Royal Hawaiian dress, beaded cardigan, and embroidered jacket all from WILDTHING VINTAGE; multi-coloured pleated dress from Breathless Vintage

There were lots of pretty spring and summer dresses available, such as the flower print one on the left from Treasure Chicks Vintage.  I was drawn to the grey dress with the subtle contrast stitch detail on the right from Joie de Vintage for its chic simplicity.

This lovely mother and daughter had dressed up for the show

Most of the clothing at the show I like is often too small for me so I tend to focus on the accessories.  I loved the large red and black plastic cuffs on display at Renee Piche's booth (left).  All but the bottom two on the stand were designed by Jean Marie Poinot.  The fabulous copper belt in the upper right photo was at the Dear Hazel May booth, and the colourful hat in the bottom right is from Factory Girl Vintage.

This one-of-kind sculptural necklace from The Bead Goes On was made by a German sculptor in the late 1960's.

There were some cool accessories for the guys too, like this Renzo Romagnoli "Hemingway" Bar Set covered in Ostrich printed leather from Andrew Zegers Design.

The majority of the items at the show are from the periods between the 1950's - 1980's, but there are some vendors who have pieces from earlier decades, like this stunning embroidered cape from the late 1800's at Gadabout Vintage.

Gadabout also had the 1920's hats (with doll in the top left photo) and multi-buttoned boots (bottom left) that look to be from the late 1800's or early 1900's.  Mother/daughter team Judith Mureika & Julia Wright from Hamilton had hosiery from the 1920's and a package of beautiful beaded appliques from the 1950's.

I so enjoy catching up with the very charming and entertaining Yank Azman, who has a booth with his wife Pulver at the show.

Yank and Pulver had a marvelous collection of handmade leather novelty brooches from the 1930's - 1940's for sale, and even though it's not the style of jewellery I usually wear, I fell in love with this little blue glove holding the leash of two Scottie dogs, and the extremely reasonable price meant it was coming home with me.

While I was chatting with Yank, we spied this woman trying on the orange and green spring coat and orange hat from Gadabout Vintage, expressing delight at finding the perfect orange gloves at a different booth.

Each of the items at Breathless Vintage had been given a name, which added a note of whimsy.

I was so glad to have an opportunity to visit with Samantha Howard (that's her son next to her) at her booth.  She carries swoon-worthy pieces of Scandinavian and Canadian Modernist jewellery and it was really nice to find out she was so friendly.  I felt like I had discovered another kindred spirit, which has become a large part of why I go to vintage shows like these.  I love spending time with other people who are knowledgeable, and passionate, about clothing and accessories from previous decades.

I admired (more like lusted after) this breathtaking Canadian Modernist necklace from brutalist jewellery designer Guy Vidal at Samantha Howard Vintage.

I manage to run into this young woman every time I attend this show and it's always a treat to see what she's wearing. 

How could I not get a closeup shot of her adorable vintage shoes?

You can find dates and locations for upcoming vintage and antique shows run by Gadsden Promotions on their website.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Swanning Around in Stratford

I mentioned in a post back in the fall that my mother had moved to a senior's apartment complex in Stratford, Ontario, which meant it was possible for me to visit her more often as there is a train that runs from London to Stratford .  It was her birthday this weekend so at the unreasonable hour of 7:30 am, I was on a train headed to the home of the Stratford Festival, and the annual Swan Parade.

Stratford's City Hall, built in 1898, and designated a National Heritage Site in 1976.   It was threatened with demolition in the 60's and again in the 70's but was saved by a local citizen's group. 

The swan has been the symbol of Stratford since 1918 when the city received a pair of them as a gift, (there is even a book called The Swans of Stratford, written by Robert Millar) and each year in the April, Stratford hosts a Swan Weekend, the highlight of which is the Swan Parade, where the city's swans make the journey from their winter headquarters down to the Avon River, accompanied by the Stratford Police Pipes and Drums Band.  Above is BJ the Swan, who was greeting people and giving out swan hugs (of course I got one, as the opportunity to hug a swan does not present itself often).  It was below 0 degrees and snowing, his "Keep Calm and Freeze On" sign was very appropriate.  The light snow fall turned into a blizzard about an hour after I took these photos.

Part of the weekend celebration included free horse and carriage rides
The downtown merchants hold a "Swan Quest" in which you could win a shopping spree by voting for your favourite decorated topiary swan.  Optical Design's creation, Elton Swan, complete with hat, cool specs and a keyboard, was my favourite.  The glamorous pearls and curls swan was also very well done.  Just look at those eyelashes!

The actual parade took place Sunday afternoon, and unfortunately, I wasn't able to see it, but here is a professionally shot video of the Swan Parade from last year, when it was obviously much warmer.  It's 6 minutes long, but if you have the time to watch, it shows off part of Stratford's charming downtown, and is a great capture of the parade.

The swans weren't the only critters out on the weekend.  Watson's Chelsea Bazaar had some wonderful metal goats and chickens in their window.  I also liked the jointed wood fox seated by the smaller goat.  Watson's has beautiful housewares and gifts, and they also have two store cats, which makes it one of my favourite places to browse.

Another one of my favourite places to visit is Martingale Vintage, owned by the lovely Kelly, whom I enjoy catching up with when I'm in town.   I picked up this heavy cotton jacket from her sale rack for $15.

I also took home this made-in-Bucharest fur hat, and will readily admit that my decision to purchase this was heavily influenced by the fact that it was cold with blowing snow, and I had not dressed appropriately for the weather.  I wore the hat all day, and it kept my head cozy without being too warm.  Kelly and I debated about what kind of fur it was, and rabbit was suggested, and also, because of the colours, we thought it could even be skunk (no smell though).

If those of you who live in other parts of Canada, or other countries are wondering if Spring has arrived in my neck of the woods yet, this photo of the view outside my front door, taken a few minutes ago, should answer your question.