Sunday, March 29, 2015

Treasure Hunting at the Pier Antique Show

On Saturday, we headed to the Upper West Side to the Pier Antique Show.  While the winter vintage shows are heavy on furs and woolens, the Spring shows feature lots of clothing in lighter fabrics, which somehow also lighten one's mood. Exhibitors had a great selection of dresses, like this gorgeous flapper era dress from Lisa Victoria Vintage Clothing. Couldn't you just picture it on one of the women from Downton Abbey?

This more modern sequin number is from Marilyn Hitchcock Vintage.

When we stopped by Lulu's Vintage Lovelies, this young woman was trying on this black and white checked dress with yellow trim.

Among the extensive collection of jewelry on display at Marcy Drexler's Little Shiny Objects is this sample of her colorful bakelite earrings and rings.

When we stopped in to visit Michal Feinmesser at What Once Was, she showed us this terrific bakelite vegetable necklace, complete with miniature cookbook.

We met this lady when we stopped to admire her terrific  amber necklace, which she'd acquired at the fabled Tucson Mineral Show.

Of course, we had to check in on our favorite Floridian -- Kevin -- at D. Brett Benson.  He is always in such good spirits and indulged our request to pose under the Coco sign in the booth. Behind him, you can glimpse some of the wide selection of terrific jewelry and handbags.

When we stopped by to visit Lee and Vichai Chinalai at Chinalai Tribal Arts, we had the added treat of meeting their grandson Augie.  And they're thrilled to be expecting another grandchild soon.

We met our friend Morleen Rouse -- who was in town from Cincinnati -- at the show and then again later at Sea Fire Grill for dinner.

It's always a treat to run into the ever-fabulous Lynn Yaeger, whom we met at Karen Murphy and David Dew Bruner's booth. Since we haven't decided exactly what we're wearing to the Easter Parade next Sunday (hint, hint), we can't yet reveal a purchase made here.

We had a drive-by with Tim John who had to run off to retrieve his walking stick, left behind in a booth in another section.

And it was fun to run into Elisa Goodkind of StyleLikeU who was also checking out the vendors and the wonderful vintage clothing in Fashion Alley.

It's not like we need more THINGS.  We're not necessarily going in search of things, per se.  When we go to the Pier Show we're searching for some extraordinary something that catches our eye.  It's more like a treasure hunt.  Maybe it perfectly matches something we never dreamed we'd find the perfect match for.  Maybe it looks exactly like something we saw in a movie, that we never thought we'd see in person.  Maybe it dazzles because it doesn't fit into any category we're familiar with.  It's like going to a museum, and each time we get to be the curators, and decide for ourselves what's wonderful.  Here are some more of the things we found this time.

We hadn't been in for two minutes when we saw a woman in a stunning hand embroidered coat.  She was leaving, so we ran after her.  As flattered as she was (and as fabulous as she was), she would not be photographed from the front.  So we snapped this.  Wish we'd asked her to put her bag down, but you can still see it's a marvelous coat.

We both fell in love with these art deco marquetry pedestals from the well named Atomic Flat.  They do a great job of evoking the skyscrapers of the period.  We couldn't fit these into our cramped New York apartments, but we appreciate their style and workmanship.

Here's a little detail.  At least three different shades of wood were used, and applied in very narrow strips.

There are a few vendors we always have to stop at because they invariably have great hats.  (A vintage-loving friend of ours recently asked why we buy so many hats.  The answer is it's so much easier to buy hats than clothing because your hat size never changes.)  At Uniquities we ran into Heidi Rosenau.  Dedicated readers will recognize Heidi, who is always dressed in letter-perfect vintage.   She was mulling over this multicolored jersey hat with braided coil and black centerpiece when we ran into her, and both urged her to buy it.  One thing you should never ever do is ask to try on something that someone else is holding.  We periodically hear stories of tussles between competitive shoppers, and they never end well.  Valerie's curiosity got the better of her, though, so she did - ever so respectfully - ask to see what the hat would look like on her, with assurances that she would give it right back.  You won't see any photos of this hat on Valerie.  It was absolutely made for Heidi.

Auerbach and Maffia always has an intriguing collection of mid-century jewelry.  This time a small group of dancing silver figures on a loop and chain caught Valerie's eye.  They're each about an inch tall.

At the same booth was this pair of balancing Calder-like earrings, maybe four inches from top to bottom.  We showed another pair of balancing earrings the last time we reviewed the Pier Show.  Seems to be a trend developing here...

We ran into two women enjoying the show.  We have recently found ourselves discussing the question of fashion now versus fashion thirty years ago with several different people.  The theme we return to most often is the lack of variety in most pret a porter.  Today's buyer would be hard pressed to find anything like the skirt at the left with multicolored stars.  Too many colors, they would say.   Too small a production.  Not enough profit.  It might be produced in black and white, or in color by an expensive design house, but these are not good times for novelty designs.  The same can be said for the dress on the right, or the needlepoint bag.  Sigh...

We had a great time at Lofty Vintage.  Here is an earring and brooch set of brassy propellers.  All three propellers are articulated, and yes, they all spin!  They might look small in the photograph, but they're campy and high impact in person.

Examining everything in Andrea Levy's booth as intently as we were was this gentleman.  We loved his three Japanese pins, and his haircut.  And don't you think he looks like Antonio Banderas?

The main attraction at Lofty Vintage, hung front and center, was this wonderfully textured Issey Miyake jacket from the '80s.  (Draped over the neck is a vintage Issey belt finished at one end with a resin design.)  The unusual choice of contrasting colors you see in the jacket is another example of what very few clothing manufacturers would do today.  If anyone wonders why we love vintage, the love of experimentation is one of the reasons.)

Issey fans might be saying wait a minute - haven't I seen that somewhere before?  Yes, you may very well have, in this iconic Irving Penn photograph.  This woman was one of Issey's two favorite models at the time.

How's that for a successful treasure hunt?


  1. The treasures! And the people you know and love -- the true treasures. Thanks for bringing us along, xo.

  2. I am in awe once again. The hats, the people, and you.

  3. I liked your explanation of why you enjoy shows like this - that's my feeling as well. I hope Heidi bought the hat - very cool shape and colour mix. I like the propeller jewellery from Lofty Vintage. As usual, these kinds of events are great for people watching - thanks letting us experience it via your blog!

  4. lovely post :) Happy Easter, have a nice day :)