Even if you didn't know the address of the Manhattan Vintage Show, all you'd have to do would be to follow the fashionable people going there. Valerie spotted this woman saucily floating down the street in her Norma Kamali sleeping bag coat.
She turned out to be Liz Friedman. You've seen her on our blog before. She never looks less than stunning. She also designs and makes her own line of jewelry. Here, she and Valerie play dueling cameras.
Imagine our joy to enter the show and run smack dab into artists and jewelry designers Carol Markel (far left, just arriving) and Sue Kreitzman (second from left, an early bird, just leaving)!
Unusually for us, we went on opening day, taking a little time off work, and were treated to a number of diehard vintage fans we don't get to see when we go on Saturday. It was a cold day, bleak and gray, but a number of people brightened up the Metropolitan Pavilion with robust color. We met a woman (Elizabeth, or Sweetheart) dressed head to toe in vibrant green - including her hair and eyeglass frames,
a woman with bright orange hair, a bright orange kerchief, and orange temples on her glasses (be sure not to miss her gold shoes),
and Karen Resta, with sunburst yellow hair.
We ran into Sandy Long, looking terrific in a great red hat and colorful print jacket.
Black is still king in New York, but there are so many wonderful ways to do it.
We found Lulu doing a completely different version of black and white. The dress and hat are by an Israeli designer. At her collarbone (clavicle to Latinophiles) the designer placed what looks like a light splash of India ink, with a splashier splash at the hem. (When Lulu's tired of it, we want it.)
Bruce Mihalski from Hollywood and Vine was working his 1980's black and white vibe.
Collin and Brandon, who run James Veloria, covered both bases. Collin's transparent shirt has a wonderful sheen you can't see in this photo, and from a distance looks like a fascinating new plastic. The abstract designs are printed on.
Donatella, also from Hollywood and Vine, wore a sweater from the 70s, with the characteristic ribbing of the period. The great flavor in her sweater comes from the large red and black polka dots that have been embroidered on with large chain stitches. What a great idea!
Was Zondra Foxx meditating about vintage dresses and bouffant wigs?
We hadn't been at the show for an hour before we were each able to find a new hat. (Surprise!) If you need to be convinced of the virtues of hats, let us point out that even if your weight fluctuates, your hat size stays the same. Other clothes may get relegated to the back of the closet, forgotten, but your hats are always there for you. We bumped into Carol Markel, and it turned out she had also bought a hat. That seemed like as good a reason as any to take a photograph. So here we are, below, commemorating our new purchases, proof once again that great minds think alike, even though they don't wear the same hats. (Valerie's hat from Columbia U Consignment; Jean's hat from What Was Is Vintage.)
As an aside, we would like to remind you, should you buy a second hand hat, that it might be a good idea to wrap it in heavy plastic and put it in the freezer for a month. Invisible critters sometimes make homes in hats, and from hats they can migrate to new homes. It may never happen, but better safe than sorry. Below is Valerie's newly purchased green hat in its brand new home in the freezer. The brim is so wide, it couldn't be placed flat. (The things we fail to think about!) Instead it was placed diagonally on a hat block so it would keep its shape. Sharp eyes might spot a red hat on the shelf below it (and chai ice cream on a shelf above it). In a belt and suspenders approach, even when you take your hat out of the freezer, it's not a bad idea to keep it in a light plastic covering (think dry cleaning bags). That keeps the dust off, but allows you to see inside. And keep your hats out of the sunlight. When exposed to light over long periods of time, hats can fade, and worse, they can fade unevenly if partially covered by something else.
What else was there? There was this wonderfully graphic dress in polyester knit from BuisandWhistles,
and a colorful bag with prints of antique Persian miniatures at Patina.
At Andrea Hall Levy's Lofty Vintage booth, Valerie couldn't resist trying on these terrific yellow bamboo sunglasses and red and yellow bakelite earrings. (The latter had a smashing matching necklace.)
Jean found this wonderful print skirt at Lulu's Vintage Lovelies,
and The Retro Shop had a fabulous Einstein print two piece dress by Nicole Miller.
This time the House of Findings had hilarious and challenging hats created by their friend Fernando. Valerie wears his hand hat, and in the mirror you can see House of Findings' Mayra wearing an antler fascinator.
Check out this graphic print dress suspended above Amarcord's booth.
Valerie fell in love with this vest from Marilyn Hitchcock. The spring-like color combination, the peplum shape at the hem, the shaping darts, and the careful way the pattern is matched across the center opening are eye catching right off the bat.
But the best part was the print itself. Here's a close-up. There are dragonflies and crickets (those are crickets, right?), but there seem to also be two varieties of flies, a little army of red ants, and those beetles could be potato bugs or stink bugs or boll weevils. (Readers with an entomological background are encouraged to write in and set us straight.) This fabric designer definitely had a sense of humor!
Another marvelous vintage piece was this beautifully designed and sewn felt circle skirt from Barbara Johnson. Valerie figures (no pun intended) this would have fit her not too long ago. You can't see, but it's not quite zipped all the way up and not quite buttoned at all. As with so many things, that was then, this is now. But some 50-60 years after it was made, the skirt remains as great now as it was then. Valerie would like to thank photographer Denton Taylor for kindly taking the photo. Oh, and the black jacket? That doesn't really exist. Valerie "magic marker-ed" it onto the photo with the wonders of Sketchbook Express.
And now for the piece de resistance. How much fun is it that Carmen Bury of Atelier Montclair made these dolls of us and of Mieka from Another Man's Treasure and of Hamish Bowles? She'd also made dolls of Lynn Yaeger and another of Michael Musto, but they'd already been picked up by Lynn.
Imagine the delicious scenarios one could choreograph!
Mieka: Mr. Bowles, I thought you'd like to see this gorgeous little beaded bolero. Look - it has a Balenciaga label.
Hamish Bowles: Hmmm. This might be an original...
Jean and Valerie (in unison): I SAW IT FIRST!!!!