Friday, October 23, 2015

Inspiration LA Comes to Brooklyn Expo Center

While Valerie was be-bopping around Berlin, Jean made a bee-line for Brooklyn and Inspiration LA's New York installation.

First stop was Liz Baca and White Mike's booth. Since Liz and Boo-Boo (their famous one-eyed Pomeranian) were running a separate booth at A Current Affair, another LA vintage show going on at the same time in another part of Brooklyn, Mike was holding down the fort in Green Point.

Initially feeling like a fish out of water, I gradually got into it and embraced the outdoorsy gestalt. Case in point, Mike rocks a casual urban rocker look, rather than the vintage dandy style of the traditional East Coast shows.  Below, he shows a down-filled balaclava.

Inspiration LA, dubbed "Let FreeDamn Ring", began as an annual gathering in Southern California for vintage enthusiasts from around the globe and had been held on the Queen Mary. Curator Rin Tanaka brought the two-day California show to Brooklyn Expo in Green Point. The goal was to bring together international vintage exhibitors offering rare, unique and one-of-a-kind merchandise on exhibit and for sale. The focus was on American vintage apparel manufactured from the 1900s-1980s, vintage-inspired contemporary fashions & accessories from local boutiques, major corporate American and international companies, artists and artisans, hot-rods, motorcycles, antiques, records and audio equipment, as well as soul music.

This Times Square shirt was hanging in the back of Snappy Gabs' booth.

Nearby was this long sleeved version with a skyscraper inspired print.

According to Inspiration LA's website, the vintage event concept is to “buy and sell inspiration.” Many street apparel products, mainly vintage American fashions manufactured from the 1910s to the 1980s, were displayed throughout the expo center. opportunities to view so many hard-to-find vintage items. Most items will be “for sale,” except for special exhibition decorations.

Andrew Nguyen and his friend Tony had the scoop on the LA version and on the East Coast vintage auto and motorcycle scene,

The Archives, a vendor with whom we were familiar from its women's dresses and hats at the Metropolitan Pavilion's vintage shows, had a both filled with men's an women's sportswear, unlike its usual dresses and hats

The Archives' men's size 13 canvas and rubber Converse athletic shoes were in pristine condition.

Whiskey Grade from Cleveland, OH featured an eclectic combination of Harley Davidson cycle gear, vintage helmets and lunch boxes, contemporary gloves, tee shirts and extremely well-priced women's clothing ($40 grey cotton dresses).

It is the place to go for custom motor cycle gas tanks like this one.

And, with a name like Whiskey Grade, how could it not feature bourbon, in this case, the artisanal Widow Jane, Wapsie Valley, pot brewed in Brooklyn, NY from ingredients (non-GMO grains of rye and barley) grown in New York State.

Finally, a familiar face in a dapper outfit!  Regular readers will recognize Gregory from our prior years' Easter Parade posts. (You know, the handsome gentleman in top hat and tails and a walking stick with a carved white rabbit handle.)  Needless to say, his look was perfectly put together, right down to his gloves.

One of the most interesting and most unusual booth's was that of Nicholas Gamarello, posing here with his partner. A Squadron Artist, his booth was a treasure trove of fine art, rock and roll, jacket art, flying relics, squadron heraldry, aircraft nose art.  He hand painted the luggage behind him with "Over Under Sideways Down - Yard Birds Tour".

The top painting behind us shows David Bowie with a dog's body.

My favorite is this Rolling Stones piece of luggage. The central image is from their "Exile on Main Street" album cover.

Sugar Shack, specializing in vintage clothes and music gear, had this amazing clown costume. Just in time for Halloween.

And these graphic hammer and scythe red, black an yellow men's shoes.

When I ran into the only other traditionally vintage attired gent I'd glimpsed that day, it turns out he knows Gregory.  Figures these birds of a feather would stick together.  Blake Canham-Bennett is a self-professed "hatter" (Blakesby Hats) and "dandy" hails from Australia.

Long after I'd arrived home, I was surprised to discover that Louise Doktor was at the show.  I'd never seen her, but later noticed her in the background of this shot, taken in Juniper Vintage 860's booth.

In the same booth, the owner described how she had acquired the entire collection of hand-tooled craft work from a husband and wife from Vermont.  These beautiful bags were well-priced at $38.  Although there were a few exceptions, the prices at this show were much lower than the Pier Show and Manhattan Pavilion's vintage show.

Metropolis Vintage had the flapper-era dandy's uniform:  raccoon coat and boater!

It also had that 1950's staple, the poodle skirt!

Vintage Martini ( from Dallas, TX had a lovely three-piece pink snakeskin set of hat, handbag and gloves.

And the hat had the original receipt from T.H. Williams and Co., Austin, Tex. purchased by Mrs. John L. Russell of Bertram, Texas dated 1-8-49!

Shanana Mil & Co from Torrence, CA had military wear.  This WWII leather embroidered and painted jacket was one example.

Another item from its Experimental Garment collection was this navy blue cotton Marine Nationale long coat.

In the opening shot, I was standing in this booth, Megamiori Denimes, which is one of the "concept" brands featuring 100% made i Japan thick cotton denim which has been "aged" to soften the fabric.  The striped pair at the left reminded me of prison garb from "Brother, Where Art Thou?".

It also featured unisex jewelry crafted from cotton denim fabric with brass fasteners.

The next West Coast installation is scheduled for February 12-13, 2016 at The Reef in Los Angeles.  When I exited the Expo center, heading back to the R train at 36th Street, I discovered La Gamin, a French creperie just across the street, which had delicious crepes, mushroom risotto and pomme frites.

I had fully intended to go the next day, Sunday, to A Current Affair, the other LA-curated vintage show underway in another part of Brooklyn until life intervened and I had to attend a wake in New Jersey instead. I missed 10 mannequin styled by Elisa Goodkind from StyleLikeU, Liz Baca and many other friends and familiar vendors. Sigh. Perhaps next time.  Ciao!

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