Sunday, November 6, 2011

Old Loot & New LOOT (Metropolitan Vintage Show & MAD)

and 11/11/11

We've been busy! Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we wanted to catch you up on some of our recent adventures: First, at the Metropolitan Vintage Clothing Show and a pre-party; and second, at the Museum of Art and Design's LOOT exhibition and sale!

A week ago Thursday, as a prelude to the Metropolitan Pavilion's Vintage Clothing Show, we went to Marmalade, an amazing Soho vintage clothing store on Mott Street which housed a temporary pop-up shop for LA-based vintage vendor Liz Baca. As you can see from the colorful clothing surrounding us (above), this is a far cry from the usual, practically exclusively black NYC attire! Reconnecting with Hannah, the proprietress of Marmalade, her daughter Vita, and with Liz Baca and Boo Boo (her famous one-eyed rescue dog) was great fun.

Liz and Boo Boo.

Hannah and Vita.

The ladies in black. You can barely tell from the photo, but Liz is wearing a FABULOUS chest-high 'bag' thing. We can't describe it adequately, but if either of us could possibly have pulled it off the way she has, we both would have wanted it. 'Bag' is hardly a flattering word to describe it, but it's a wonderfully flattering creation on Liz, who's paired it with all sorts of great accessories.

As we were leaving the Marmalade party, we encountered this trio of young fashionistas outside on the street. Don't they look terrific? We've run into at least one of them since that evening. The woman on the left is wearing pants made by Lizwear, a Liz Claiborne label. Again, this photo doesn't do it justice. The pattern is far more wonderful than you can make out here.

If Hannah & Liz's party was the appetizer, the Metropolitan Pavilion's Vintage Clothing Show was the main course! Here we are on Saturday, loaded for bear, so to speak.

For Saturday's show, Hannah and Liz dressed for the occasion. They are the best walking advertisements for vintage that we know. They are always fabulously put together and make it appear effortless. Liz accessorized her outfit with a terribly inventive necklace made of the tops of spray paint cans strung along a chain.

One of our stops in every show is the booth for One Man's Treasure, a Jersey-City vintage clothing store, which never fails to have intriguing hats and clothing. Valerie posed with the British half of the adorable couple who run the shop.

Another regular stop on our circuit is Jae Jarrell's booth. She carries both men's and women's vintage clothing and accessories, and invariably there is some very dapper gentleman trying on a gorgeous sport coat and hat when we show up. Jae's booth features a large glass vitrine which always contains some hidden treasure. Several shows ago. The last time, Valerie found a fabulous pair of ecru-colored elbow length gauntlets with drawstrings to create a rusched effect. Very cool. This time, Jae had two really fun vintage handbags. The first was a clutch made of black and white plastic squares sewn together with twine. This is an iconic bag popular in the late forties and early fifties. Jean's mother carried a similar version to this one.

The second purse was a silk pocketbook graced with a dotted palm tree and umbrella design that appears on both sides of the bag. We sincerely hoped that some astute shoppers scooped them up and gave them a good home.

Valerie says: Imagine Jean's chagrin when the Metropolitan Vintage Show came to town, and she had already committed to something else! So we went very briefly on Friday night, (met Shelley, the Forest City Fashionista, out front at closing time for a rendezvous at Apotheke), and went back to the show again on Saturday. Jean had to leave much too quickly, but managed to do some champion shopping in the narrow window allotted to her. I had far more time, but managed to make only two purchases. An unruly body shape rules out many possibilities. A blessing or a curse depending on your point of view. (Fortunately, heads only get fat in the figurative sense, not the literal.)

Jean and I play a game in which we ask what the ONE thing is that we'd buy if we could. Below is my one thing. To my untrained eye, it looks like it was painted by Diego Rivera. I'm ecstatic to report that it was beyond my budget AND it was too small for me. I don't know who made the ensemble or painted the skirt, but if I could have afforded it, I would have loved to buy it, if only to cut the skirt at its seam and put it reverently on my wall.

After Jean had gone, and I was left to my own devices, I stopped to photograph Amy van Doran, who was paying homage - or so I imagine - to Schiaparelli by wearing a lobster hat of her own making. In her other incarnation, Amy is a personal matchmaker (as opposed to one of those computerized matchmakers). Click here to avail yourself of her services.

Readers of Advanced Style might recognize Maryann, who has shown up on Ari Seth Cohen's blog and videos. Maryann said she's mostly retired now, but I love the name of her company: Intelligent Chic.

I ran into Stephanie trying on a fedora, and stupidly did not take a photograph, so I've purloined the one below from her blog, Vivid Voltage. She bought the fabulous pink coat at the show. Stephanie had only arrived here from Texas the day before I ran into her. She floored me when she said she recognized me. We get so few comments on the blog that we're not always sure who we're talking to, out there in the ether. You folks our age, remember Nixon's and Agnew's Silent Majority? (Say OY if you do.) Today the Silent Majority is our readership.

Late in the day I ran into Tziporah Salamon, who was showing off her newly purchased Manhattan Vintage Show find. (Actually, she'd snagged it on the first day, and wore it the next.) FABULOUS hat. Sorry you can't see the whole outfit, but you wouldn't have seen the hat details then, and we must keep our priorities straight.

I also bought a hat, below. I think I must now own four vintage hats in purple, enough for anybody. (This looks a bit blue, so my apologies. All the colors are lush, including the purple. I really must learn the ins and outs of Photoshop. Or else the camera needs to learn to show colors more accurately.) This hat pushes the limits, even for me, but I'll manage. It must have pushed the previous owner's limits as well, as it's in near perfect condition. As luck would have it, Liz Baca (mentioned above) walked by as I was modeling it for myself, trying to decide whether it pushed to or past the limit. She helped by putting it on her own head. The colors of the hat matched so well with the colors of her necklace, and suited her face so perfectly that I reached my tipping point. (Logical people will argue that I should not buy a hat because it suits someone else. They are right. I should say that Liz helped me see the hat more objectively.) The hat will reside in my freezer for the next month, in case it harbors any current or incubating six-legged stowaways, and then will make its debut. The dealer told me she bought the hat with me in mind. How well she knows her clientele! (I bought yet another hat, but have not picked it up yet and can't show it to you.)

As I mentioned earlier, Jean made a couple of purchases. To my mild puzzlement, Jean does not want to show off her fabulous swag. Why not? Why shouldn't women of a certain age have their own version of booty call???? In any case, she allowed me to show this absolutely marvelous hint at her favorite find, knowing fully well that no one would be able to figure out what it is. (Well, Shelley, the Forest City Fashionista, will know.) Jean wore it recently on one of our outings, so it will appear, unmasked (so to speak), in a not-too-distant blog post.


On October 13, we traveled for the second year in a row to the Museum of Arts and Design to see Loot 2011: MAD about Jewelry: A Juried Selling Exhibiition of Art and Studio Jewelry. Now in its 11th year, it attracts artists and collectors alike.

Here we are with exhibitor Suzanne Golden and New Zealander / fellow blogger Anne Thompson.

This show is a magnet for our demographic, since it includes the type of unusual jewelry and ornamentation that appeals to women of a certain age. Adding to the fun is the fact that several of the exhibitors are friends. It is what the Scots and Celts would describe as a "convening of the clans" -- if the clans were all women of a certain age with finely honed artistic antennae.

Case in point: Here are just a few of the stylish ladies we ran into in the museum lobby, before we even ascended the stairs to the exhibition: Jean met this sharp lady just outside the museum store, looking casually chic in cropped hair, oxfords and checks.

Christina Viera made an appearance, sporting the shiny grey version of a fabulous black polyvinyl tam that we'd lusted over in the Hats Anthology show at Bard Graduate School (curated by Stephen Jones and Oriole Cullen). Leave it to Christina to knock our socks off with her outfit.

Right after Christina headed up to the exhibition, Mary Lou Campanella arrived in her puffy Comme des Garcons jacket. She's a friend of ours through mutual friends Suzanne Golden and Christina. (More about the five of us and our adventure at FIT's Daphne Guinness show in a future posting. Stay tuned. We're still trying to catch up.)

This vivacious redhead periodically flies to NYC from the Midwest to cat-sit for loyal clients. She was absolutely thrilled that her trip coincided with LOOT. She must be "the cat's pajamas" at her job if people jet her in to care for their beloved felines in their absence.

Jean fell in love with these silver clogs and everything that came with them. Moji was sweet enough to pose for a picture after Jean accosted her exiting the gift shop. Jean says: in my defense, I was very nervous awaiting the arrival of Valerie and of Anne Thompson, a kindred spirit from New Zealand. We featured Anne in last week's "Out of Towners" posting.

We met these two ladies looking swell as we entered the exhibit on the second floor.

The three musketeers (Jean, Valerie and Anne) combined forces, entered the show, and ran right into Suzanne Golden, who was exhibiting her beaded jewelry.

As luck would have it, our friends Sara Basch and Suzanne Golden had spaces side by side.

Sara posed with Anne and Jean. Sara's wonderful neck ruff is made from, among other things, rubber bands. She makes everything look wonderfully elegant.

Halfway through the evening, we ran into our pals Katherine Knauer and Robin Schwalb.

When Jean met Kevin, sparks flew! Not just stylish and dapper, Kevin has the most wonderful demeanor and mellow personality -- 180 degrees from Jean's rapid-fire, blast furnace approach to life. They bonded instantly.

Danielle Gori-Montanelli, wearing one of her creations, is among our favorite exhibitors - at LOOT and at the Philadelphia Craft Show. She trained as a metalsmith, but works exclusively in felt for the shows.

Can't wait till next year!

And for the numerically obsessed, don't forget that this Friday is 11/11/11. Be sure to celebrate somehow. Next year you'll have 12/12/12, but after that you're out of luck, 'cause there is no 13/13/13. There IS 1/3/13 - January 3, or March 1 if you live in Europe, but 11/11/11 is like getting three cherries on the one armed bandit. Savor it!


  1. I have been reading your blog for awhile but never commented. But I feel a kindred spirit to you both AND I live in NYC. I have come across and chatted with some of the others on your blog, but never you two. But I felt compelled to comment because I recognized Jean's Amy Downs red hat that I have in both black and camel! Did you get it at Yu on Ludlow St? Or did you get it when Amy had her own shop? Anyway, I am finding that as I get older, I am emboldened to dress how I feel inside and your blog is validation for me. Maybe we will run into each other soon! I will be the one in the Junya Watanabe sequin oxfords, just so you know.

  2. So many great outfits in this post--I love Stephanie's hot pink coat, and the purple hat that Valerie purchased. I've been waiting to see a photo of Jean in the fabulous "thing" she purchased at the show, can't believe she hasn't shown it off by now! I'm sorry I missed the LOOT show, but it's probably good I did, or I would have had to declare bankruptcy when I got home.

  3. Thanks for the blog shout! I also feel as though I am speaking to my self most of the time on my blog, I am surprised to hear you two famous gals have the same feeling! Style blogging is most certainly a labor of love.

  4. Hi Jean, it's me, the cat sitter from Minneapolis. Such fun meeting you at the Loot. As soon as I post this, I'm looking for a shot of you in your fabulous new 'tunnel' (Your cats must love it). Thanks for the heads-up on the Bard's hat show. I'll be making another cat-care commute in Jan. Hope to run into you and your peeps.