Jean says: Zen, I am not. As most of you know, Valerie broke her wrist a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately, through some cruel twist of fate, it is not healing correctly and she has to have surgery on Monday to insert pins. This means she has to re-start her recovery process, losing credit for the recent weeks of healing. Consequently, yours truly has been largely left to her own devices. Hence, the title of this week's posting. With one half of the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas down for the count, the pressure is on for me to carry on in style. Never fear -- I've got my trusty 99-cent store Deluxe Doctor kit (and ever-present camera) ready, so whenever Valerie gets discharged from the hospital, help will be on the way!
Unfortunately, in the meantime, without the other half of the dynamic duo, I feel like Oliver Hardy without Stan Laurel.
Or like Mr. John Steed of The Avengers without his Mrs. Emma Peel.
Or like Odd Job without Mr. Goldfinger.
Or like Alex DeLarge without his fellow droogs.
When you're part of a team, it's hard and sometimes dangerous to fly solo. Yesterday, however, I sucked it up and carried on. Not wanting to miss the Metropolitan Pavilion's Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show, I attended with two friends, Jodi Head and Joana Avillez.
Jodi, shown here with her Yorkie, RJ Cash, is a rock star guitar strap designer who is branching out into dog accessories (straps and leashes) - a logical progression. Check out her website for more info about her and about RJ (www.jodihead.com).
Joana is a talented cartoonist and illustrator, a fellow blogger (http://mynameisjoana.blogspot.com) and one of the Index magazine's hilarious Delusional Downtown Divas (www.delusionaldowntowndivas.com). Valerie and I were thrilled to receive copies of "Rooms", a collection of her distinctive and often humorous drawings of interior spaces where each room is its own tiny quirky world and its inhabitants even quirkier.
OMG! Imagine my shock and surprise to run into two of NYC's most stylish ladies on Day Two of the show -- Tziporah Salamon and Lynn Yeager!! I can rarely ever get to Day One of the 2-day show, which always falls on a Friday, when all the best stuff goes on sale. Of course, vintage mavens such as Tziporah and Lynn are there practically when the doors open. That they both came back on the second day for a second look (and appeared to be shopping up a storm) was my good fortune. As always, Tziporah was dressed to the nines. She NEVER disappoints. It is always a treat to see what she's wearing. I caught her before she headed off to the dressing room.
I absolutely love Lynn's crimson flapper bob and bee stung lips! She's the only person I know who can wear this retro look and yet appear thoroughly modern. Her journalistic skills are as finely honed as her fashion sense, Her writing style is as witty and entertaining as she is.
I caught a glimpse of Lynn shortly after I first arrived at the show, when she came flying past me down one of the aisles with an entire entourage of gentlemen in her wake. I caught up to her later in a calmer, solo moment. I confessed to buying a terrific hat for only $39 at Jill Schwartz Vintage (firstname.lastname@example.org) which I promptly pulled out to model and she 'fessed up to buying a scalloped fur collar to wear on one of her coats. As New York's Fashion Week fast approaches, I can imagine that collar making its debut at the tents at Lincoln Center or some fab party or other.
Shortly after my collision with those stellar personalities, I ran into Chloe who was trying on this killer evening gown. Uninvited, I went right up to her and told her how great I thought it looked on her and how it set off her fabulous skin. I think I scared her with such direct, unbidden opinions but we both had a good laugh later when we discovered we're both friends of Joana's!
I was delighted to run into Carole, whom I hadn't seen since Easter and our after-parade cocktails at The Modern. She was sporting two potential purchases: a navy fitted suit with great round red buttons that showed off her figure and a black cocktail hat with a netted see-through brim. I thought both were terrific, but she had several other dresses she hadn't yet tried on, so I'm dying to know what her final selection(s) turned out to be.
Carole tipped me off to where I could find Daniel, her dapper better half (as the old saw goes). Tall and handsome in his fedora and double breasted jacket, he looked like he stepped out of a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musical. (What is it with me and references to famous duos today? The only ones who haven't been mentioned are Lucy & Ethel...)
Elisa Goodkind from StyleLikeU was also at the show. We first ran into each other in Lulu's booth and again later in the main aisle. I loved her pairing of denim shorts and high boots. Check out her website (www.StyleLikeU.com) for some wonderful vignettes and videos of stylish and culturally diverse individuals of all ages talking about their fashion choices.
Who goes to the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show? I mean, of course, besides Valerie (when she's up & about), Tziporah Salamon, Lynn Yeager and myself? Here's a little rogue's gallery to give you an idea of the range of customers and clientele at the show. Many are dapper collectors who wear vintage fashion exclusively, while others collect vintage and incorporate it into their wardrobes and mix it up with their new and old favorites, ethnic items, craft and wearable art pieces. Others are neophytes just starting their collections and others are students, learning the tricks of the trade from the savviest vendors.
I ran into Ken and his friend early Saturday afternoon. I thought he had a great look. He obliged my request to let me take his photo. I think one of the differences between now and a few years ago is that more men attend the vintage shows and more vendors cater to them as customers. Can't tell if it is cause and effect, but whatever the impetus, it's working.
Here's the same Ken, joined this time by his friend. As you can see, he has totally changed up his look and assumed an entirely different personna in this fabulous studded motorcycle jacket. That's the beauty of this type of show. The range of wares and eras and looks is amazing. One can totally transform or can acquire and build on a signature look.
This handsome young man was trying on scarves and other vintage goodies at Jae Jarrell Gents and Fem Chic Vintage's booth. He looked so dapper in his fedora and overcoat that I just had to throw in my two cents of encouragement. He had the perfect mixture of good looks and charm to carry it off.
This lovely pair was taking it all in. I had noticed them at various points throughout the day and finally accosted them to allow me to take their picture. They were very accommodating and sweet.
I love the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show because it not only features a great collection of 18th, 19th and 20th century clothing and antique textiles but also the friendliest, most knowledgeable group of vendors - and educated consumers. They are my best teachers, often willing to share information and experience. I learn interesting tidbits about some of my favorite designers, about what was fashionable and/or valuable at a certain point in the past and what they themselves find interesting -- what I call "fun facts". Karen McWharter is one such experienced and extremely well informed vendor (email@example.com) who deals in everything (jewelry, handbags, clothing and hats). Likewise, Sheila Strong of Fool's Gold is my go-to person on all things bakelite.
Chuba, whose signature look involves cargo pants, boots and headgear of some sort, is always fun to chat with. He was wearing a belt buckle from the hood ornament of a Dodge car and among the numerous pins on his wool cap was an aluminum pin engraved with flowers. He told me that at one time, due to supply and demand, aluminum was scarce and good aluminum jewelry pieces could be as expensive as gold.
Lulu is also wonderful to visit. it is as much fun to check out what she's wearing as what she's showing in her booth, Lulu's Vintage Lovelies, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here's Daniel again, with two of his favorite vendors -- Barbara Kennedy from her eponymous company and Gene Elm from Matinee Idol. Barbara, who carries women's wear and always has an interesting selection of hats that conjure up visions of Roz Russell, was wearing a terrific Norma Kamali leather cap from the 1970s with one side that rolls up. She and Norma go way back. Gene, who carries wonderful men's vintage suits and shoes, was concealing his right arm which was in a large plaster cast! (email@example.com)
Here are the gentlemen from Scout LA. At the previous Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show, I purchased from them a spectacular red Betsey Johnson cropped sweater with black laughing skulls. (www.scoutla.net) Guys, I know I took another shot but when I try to retrieve the jpg to upload it, I get a weird error message.
Speaking of scouts ... ever the matchmaker, I'm always scouting out potential girlfriends for Jodi's RJ Cash. We came upon Mona, a vision in pink at the Vintage show. I had to get shots of her from both angles - to show the outfit and to show her face.
The next show at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 W. 18th St.) is on Friday & Saturday, April 29th & 30th (1:00 PM-8:00 PM Friday and 11 AM-6:00 PM Saturday). (www.manhattanvintage.com) Tziporah and I made plans to meet at Valerie's in the near future with a bottle of champagne to cheer her up and to celebrate!
For those impatient collectors and vintage addicts who just can't wait that long, rejoice! The next Stella Management Fashion Alley @ the Pier Show is on Saturday & Sunday March 12 & 13 at Pier 94 (12th Ave & W. 55th St.) with many of the same and with additional vendors. In addition to its huge special section devoted to vintage fashions for men & women, the Pier Show features furniture, art, ceramics, industrial and art deco pieces. Hopefully, Valerie will be back in the saddle again by then. (www.stellashows.com)
Truth be told, Mr. Steed had a trio of partners portraying Mrs. Peel. (Valerie sniffs: but those of us who refer to her are invariably conjuring images of Diana Rigg.)
Jean is wearing a vintage Stetson bowler (or coke); hand carved wooden pin on hat band from Juanita Girardin @ the Philadelphia Crafts Show (www.juanitagirardin.com); Comme des Garcons wool jacket; Revue vintage sunglasses from Fabulous Fanny's; brass and black coral earrings by Kirsten Hawthorne and drop-crotch pants from H&M. (In honor of the Super Bowl, I wore a jacket with linebacker shoulder pads!)
Valerie is wearing a cast and a sling.
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VALERIE'S TWO CENTS
Jean was kind enough to leave a copy of the Fall 2010 issue of V magazine at my home recently. (Why don't they ever have these at the doctor's office? One guy had 200 copies of Web MD. Geez. Another has Golf Bleedin' Digest. Who READS those? Reading those must be more painful for most patients than what's actually ailing them. ANYWAY, I hadn't gotten very far when I saw this stunning lady. In uber-sized V, you can see her wonderful high cheekbones, the shadows they make on her face, and the LOVELY (yes, really) gentle wrinkles that define her face and give it marvelous character. I want her turban, and I want to be able to wear it with the same panache she has. And I want her feline eyes. Don't know who she is, but here is the ad I cropped her from. (Jean says: I love this campaign featuring Madonna in a number of different domestic scenes and situations.)
THE WHINE BAR
I was just musing about this the other day, and thought I'd share. Several years ago, ALL the commercial yogurt makers - Dannon, Breyer, Stonyfield, Brown Cow, etc., decided in lock-step to cut the size of a cup of yogurt from eight ounces to six. For me, eight ounces was a healthy snack; six ounces was a pointless tease. So I buy it a few times a year now, only in desperation. I miss it, but six ounces won't cut it for me, so I've learned to substitute.
In July 2009, in the midst of a stunning epidemic of obesity, you-know-who unveiled the third pounder. So now you can get a burger, a double burger, a quarter pounder, a third pounder and who knows what else.
You can get 8.5 ounces or 12 ounces or 16 ounces or 20 ounces or 2 liters of soda in a bottle.
But you can only get six ounces or thirty-two ounces of yogurt. Does that make any sense to you? Just askin'.