Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show

Every Year a Vintage Year

The Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show was in town this week, as was our friend Shelley, aka Canada's Forest City Fashionista, who made what seems to be shaping up as an annual pilgrimage.

Before taking her to that smorgasbord of vintage, we eased her into the spirit of things at one of our favorite shopping venues: Beacon's Closet (where the goods are anywhere from vintage March 2014 to vintage 1940).  She came away with an armful of great buys, including this Goth-flavored dress, complete with printed designs in Gothic font and a dramatic pentangle.

As always, there were more than enough tasty tidbits for every whim, every budget, every body and every style.  Here are just a few that caught our eye.

We'd barely gotten in when nostalgia overcame Valerie at Nomad Vintage.  This Bis skirt with the leather inset, lace-up closure and printed cartoon repeats of white, gray and olive llamas revived memories of the period.  This would have been Valerie's go-to item of the season - of several seasons - had she been able to afford it back when it was new.  And paired with boots to match the leather panel. Further reason to love it: it has pockets!

It's hard to miss Lyn, left, who has a very distinctive look, and must have one of the most enviable closets we've never seen.  We've run into her in all sorts of places, including Lincoln Center and the Issey Miyake sample sample sale, and now, not surprisingly, the vintage show.  Here she tries on a graphic black and white pony skin coat from our friend Lulu from Lulu's Vintage Lovelies.  Lyn has also recently joined the ranks of fashion bloggers of a certain age with her very own Accidental Icon.

Noble Savage Vintage had its usual assortment of fascinating things, including mother of pearl opera binoculars and a tiny Victorian red velvet hat decorated with black jet spikes in the crown (proving there really is nothing new under the sun), but at the entry to their booth was this marvelous knit blue dress decorated with knitted angels.  We've left the photo at high res so you can click on it to see the embroidered hair and facial features, the knit faces and wings, and the rhinestone halos.  We plead technical igorance.  If anyone knows how this was knitted, please write in.  (And please make it simple enough for us to understand.)

Lofty Vintage had just received a treasure trove of fabulous castoffs from a woman who was renewing her closet.  Below, a Lofty client tries on an Issey Miyake from that trove.  About one third of it is black pleated polyester; the other two thirds are coated with what might be a polyurethane finish, for a slightly rubbery feel and a fascinating mottled color.

Icon Style had this wonderful men's jacket with a vibrant print of vintage planes.  "Who wore this?", one might ask, until one sees the label - Flight Apparel Industries.

Meika of Another Man's Treasure is always her own best advertiser, and now she has Ally, an equally adept assistant (formerly her summer intern).  Both are wearing circle skirts, one in leather, one in powder blue wool with an applique cat (so, no, it's not a poodle skirt!).  Also check out Meika's amazing blouse with its intricate maze of a design.

Zoey from Revival Vintage Boutique in Hoboken, NJ, a new vendor to the show, had a treasure trove of vintage bow ties, hats, dresses and this amazing mask which incorporates an entire taxidermied bird of paradise.


Okay, this wasn't supposed to be all about shoes, but we saw so many we had to share some with you.  First, these cheeky shoes by Bennis Edwards at Patina.

Next, these jungle green feather boa shoes by Moschino - can't you picture Carrie Bradshaw lusting over them in Sex and the City?  And don't you want to know who came up with the idea, and how they were able get the feathers on while keeping them frothy and floaty?

Vintage Martini, which showed the feather shoes, also had these stunning gold leather shoes, in what seemed to be a size 4.  (Who wore them??!!)  The most stunning thing about them, as you can probably see, is that they lack a heel, and come from a period way before most of us imagine the heel-less shoes that technology made possible on a large commercial scale in the 21st century.  They look handmade.

Ken at Vintage Martini couldn't believe that we hadn't been to the huge Vivienne Westwood sale, and was still more incredulous that we didn't even know about it.  In from Dallas, he and his associates had gone out to play during their stay here, and had bags full of Westwood merch with them at their feet.  But Ken's greatest prize was a pair of red rubber-covered black leather Prada shoes in his size that he'd scoured New York for and wound up scoring at a New York resale shop.  Not for sale, and not vintage, but we loved Ken's show and tell, and had to pass along the story.  Everyone loves a great find.  (Check out the decorative fin-like angle on the sole of the shoe.)

Hollywood & Vine featured this pair of plexiglass sandals with cubes as heels and as toe anchors.

Nomad had these hilarious open toed canvas boots.


Maya stopped each of us to admire our hats, which was great because we also wanted to stop and admire hers.  Maya designs clothing and accessories (including this hat), which she sells on Etsy under the name Indiez.

The Blogosphere in the flesh!  We had the very special pleasure of meeting Patti, founder of the very well named Not Dead Yet Style blog!  She flew in that afternoon from Florida, so our meeting was brief, but we'll meet again later this week for a nice long chat and, perchance, for cocktails.  If only we could have gotten Carol Markel, whose blog is called Femme et Fleur, in the shot with us, we would have had a Lollapalooza.

Here is Carol, looking quite spiffy in red jacket and contrasting made-to-order hat by Lola.

Speaking of bloggers, Elisa Goodkind from StyleLikeU, stopped to say hi before running off to check out some fabulous Marni number.

It is always a treat to see designer Anna Sui up close and personal. She is as gracious as she is stylish. Since her collections often have references to vintage that resonate with both of us, we're dying to know what's in those shopping bags!

Vogue writer Lynn Yaeger doesn't just cover of-the-minute runway events. She is also an extremely knowledgeable vintage expert and frequently attends New York City vintage shows. She is a woman who knows exactly how she wants to look.

Actress and comedienne Marilyn Sokol and her friend were also shopping the show. Marilyn was wearing a pair of red resin earrings with long black tassels from Off Broadway Boutique designed by one of our favorites -- Angela Caputi.  The buzz went around that Bette Midler was in our midst, dressed down in jeans and avoiding eye contact.  We didn't get a photo of her, but Shelley did.  There's a story that goes with the photo.  Go to Forest City Fashionista in a day or two to see if Shelley tells it.  One dealer also spotted Jaden Smith (escorted by two body guards).

We can always count on Daniel to show up in beautifully curated vintage menswear, and he did not disappoint.  Daniel mentioned that the movie 42nd Street has a line in which one actor points out another's "light green hat", and noted that since all movies of the period were in black and white we have no way of truly knowing what great colors the actors and actresses might have been wearing.

His wife Carol wore some great vintage two-tone peep-toe shoes.

Jean ran into Varla Velour, The Voluptuous Vixen of Burlesque. Turns out they had rescued a cat together with a mutual friend and they live on the same block. Small world!

We were so happy to see the ladies from The Style Vault in Washington, DC.

Lori Lewin, a true vintage glamor puss, was wearing a pair of pince nez glasses on a retractable cord attached to a pin on her jacket. Amazing attention to detail.

Another newcomer, Spark Pretty, had an interesting booth staffed with wonderfully friendly and witty women.  An added bonus was the fact that the ladies color coordinated their outfits.

No one will be surprised to read that we closed down the joint.  We had promised Shelley cocktails at our new favorite cocktail destination, and when it became clear no taxis were going to come our way, we gave up and took the bus.

The woman sitting across from us pegged us immediately as having come from the Manhattan Vintage Show (as had she, just the day before), and kindly offered to photograph us, since we were so clearly enjoying one anothers' company.   Just before our stop, two young women got on, and gasped and giggled when they saw us.  They sat down a few seats in front of us, and turned around periodically to get another look, making us feel as if we were The Beatles starring in A Hard Day's Night, discovered hiding on the train in the luggage compartment by Pattie Boyd and her fellow school girls.  Even a cocktail can't beat that!

Pattie abashed.

Schoolgirls agog.

Didn't see the movie? Oh, dear. You are young, aren't you? Here's the scene we mean. You really should see the whole thing sometime. We weren't old enough to hold down jobs that year, so we didn't quite have the budget for Carnaby Street fashions, but some of our older friends did.  Sigh.

Beatles - I Should Have Know Better from A Hard... by Dunekoff


  1. I had such fun with you two, as always, and thank you for sharing your marvelous city with me. The Vintage Show was the highlight of my trip. I love my Evil Dress from Beacon's Closet, and the photo you took of me wearing it!

  2. A great post by a great duo. You sure know how to cover the vintage show. Loved being there with you and Shelley.

  3. Wonderful photos and I have such a warm spot in my heart from meeting your that day. Looking forward to a get-together and long chat! xox

  4. What a wonderful post. Thanks for was *almost* as good as being there.


  5. Thanks for the mention Valerie and Jean, glad to be in such esteemed blogging company!
    Lyn AKA Accidental Icon