Sunday, December 18, 2011

"Life Dressing" at the Pier Show

Way back when we had our book signing at Primetime Gallery, we invited Jeanne Stella, who runs The Pier Antiques Show, to be one of our guests. When she wasn't able to make it, we were disappointed, but imagine our surprise and delight when Jeanne suggested we have an additional signing as her guests at the Pier Antiques Show! After excitedly conferring with our author / illustrator Joana Avillez, we gave Jeanne with a hearty YES. It was agreed that we would sign from 1 - 3 PM on Saturday, November 19. Just like in Goldilocks and the Three Bears: not too long, not too short, but just right. Enough time to meet and greet everyone who wanted to come by, but also enough time to see all the booths and try on all the great STUFF!

Doing the book signing with Jeanne Stella and the Stella Pier Antiques Show came with all kinds of perks. One was that we were included in the full page ad in the New York Times. It's a great ad - made along the lines (pun intended) of a Mondrian grid painting. In the leftmost column you can see the Life Dressing book cover, and note that - in newspaper parlance - we are ABOVE THE FOLD. OK, not entirely, but the faces are the most important part anyway. And remember we made a two hour appearance. So half way above the fold is really cool. (Jean says: I was in Atlanta on business. Imagine my surprise when I bought a copy of Thursday's Times and saw our picture in the front section of the paper. I shamelessly pointed it out to any and all who would listen.)


Having your mug on the cover of a book is really fun, as is seeing your mug in the New York Times. But as you can see above, we also got to have our mugs on a life-sized poster, which is truly a trip. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

We had a prominent space just inside the right side entrance to the show for our table. In addition to the poster with life-sized illustrations of us from the cover of the book were two 4 feet by 8 feet posters (about half of the width of the large poster). Thank goodness there was one for each of NOUS, avoiding any fisticuffs. We decided the largest poster should go to Joana and each of us could take our very own half-sheets home with us. (Jean took hers to work, prompting her boss's joke comparing her to Kim Jong Il, the Korean strongman who plastered his image all over Korea. [Valerie's, which will be hung at home, has yet to see the light of day, as it is awaiting the apartment's Big Clean-Up. The Big Clean-Up is a larger-than-life legend, which is expected to occur only slightly sooner than the Apocalypse. Or may actually BE the Apocalypse...])

Jeanne Stella and her mother Irene are responsible for staging the entire Pier Show event.

Jeanne was one of our best customers! She has a LOT of family members (many of whom work the show) and, lucky for us, she stopped by to purchase copies of the book for several of her relatives. Case in point - her chicly outfitted niece.

A video crew captured the event for posterity. Jean hangs back as Joana is interviewed. Sam, the cameraman, and Raquel, the producer, survey the set.

Joana wore a unique Issey Miyake pleated skirt with a roulette wheel print. It unfurled beautifully when she twirled.

One of Joana's friends stopped by. We loved her Bart Simpson-imprinted jacket. (See details in small photo.)


The Pier Show is one of our favorite haunts - for great people watching, for catching up with friends and for primo vintage hunting!

Speaking of people watching, we were thrilled to run into one of our favorite people -- fashion writer and celebrity in her own right, Lynn Yeager, who wears vintage like no other human on the planet. Her creative dressing is the perfect counterpoint for her instantly recognizable red bob, rouged cheeks and bee stung lips. She's a flapper for the new millenium!

As we mentioned in last week's posting, we have suddenly discovered that we revolve in many of the same circles as Sandy Long and have started running into her. She has an extensive vintage collection and everything we've seen is intriguing. Her friend wore fabulous two-toned vintage shoes.

Valerie with Stacy LoAlbo, from whom she purchased a vintage sequined hat that looked decidedly like a crumpled old Japanese hat from an ancient scroll. Or like the hat of Manet's The Fife Player. Or like the Phrygian cap worn by the Sans Culottes during the French Revolution. (Sequined hat not shown. We'll point it out when we upload it sometime in the future.)

Artist Katherine Crone, wearing her signature Miyake, stopped by the show and our booth. (She'd already bought a copy of the book at our first event at the Primetime Gallery in Brooklyn.)

Daniel and his wife Carole never disappoint. They have mastered the fine art of vintage dressing and incorporate it into their everyday wardrobes. Here is a shot of them on Sunday afternoon. Both said they wear their vintage to work. Dan said he would wear this bright blue suit, but would change into a white shirt. Did you notice how wonderfully his green shirt works with his blue suit? Who'd a thunk it? Proof that it pays to experiment.

Here's another shot of Daniel in what he wore on Saturday afternoon along with Sandy Long and her friend, who is modeling one of his purchases. (Yes, Daniel was there both days, as were we, Iris Apfel, and several other die-hards.)

One of the ladies who stopped by the booth showed off great black spiked bracelets that she had made.

Jean encountered this impeccably dressed gent on the floor of the show who insisted on getting her photo. She invoked our even exchange rule ("If you take my picture with your camera, will you take our picture with mine?") and got this great shot of both of them.

Our friend, vintage clothing maven Helen Uffner, also came to see us at our booth.

When we inquired "What did YOU buy?", this dapper gentleman proudly showed off his purchase: an antique photograph in a sensuously polished and shaped wooden frame.

We always stop by vendor Carol Weiss' booth to see what amazing antique items (toys, housewares, ephemera) she has on display. Carol herself is always a treat.


As we all know, women of a certain age are always in search of the holy grails of eyewear that allow you to see what you're doing/reading -- and look good doing it --- and footwear that allows you to romp around and still look terribly chic. Here are a few examples culled from the Pier Show:

Julie Allinson, right, president of Eyebobs, the fabulous reading glasses company, is one of her own best advertisers! As you can see, she's the perfect model-spokesperson for one of our favorite products.

Carol Weiss was sporting this chic but hilariously comfortable pair of Comme des GarconS boots which take the deconstructed look to an extreme. As someone who spends a lot of time on her feet at these shows, Carol knows whereof she speaks.

Raquel Livia's John Fluevog boots sported a beautifully curved and mercifully low heel.

After some cajoling, Valerie convinced this lady to let her take her picture. We really liked her Comme des Garcons dress. It has a wonderful hem that the photo doesn't do justice to. We also loved her United Nude shoes!

Designer Kirsten Hawthorne had both eyewear and footwear that caught our eye. She paired her cool vintage glasses with equally interesting vintage black lace up boots, which she paired with a great knit skirt and lots of black textured accessories. She maintains that slim figure by biking everywhere. She just puts her fab handbag in the basket on the front of the bike & takes off.


We also featured this gorgeous dame last year when she was wearing a different but equally stunning necklace. She has the hair and the style to carry it off beautfully.

Raquel Livia (also sporting great eyewear) was wearing a necklace and earrings of her own design. She paired them with a great black zip-front Ivan Grundhal jacket with a peplum bottom.


This lady made her Flintstone-style purse. Way cool, don't you think?


We stopped this woman to admire her fabulous two-toned hat, and were thrilled when she told us she bought it based on our influence. What greater compliment could we have received?! We thought she looked terrific in it -- and loved her great glasses.

The lady on the left wore a modified turban that she'd purchased many years ago from one of Jean's favorite milliners: Amy Downs. A great Amy Downs conversation ensued, and we found out that both Kirsten Hawthorne and Raquel Livia knew Amy Downs when she lived in New York City. Raquel also said that Amy did the hats for the film version of Tama Janowitz's "Slaves of New York", which chronicled the denizens of the city in the mid-1980's.

Isabel purchased a great vintage hat with an attached scarf, to wrap tightly around the ears and neck in colder weather, or toss over the shoulders when indoors. She does it proud!

The piece de resistence: Valerie purchased a white hat with black grapes that looks spectacular. Can't wait until it appears atop her noggin at a future event. (Valerie says: it really doesn't belong on top of a purple outfit, so hold your hand over that while you're looking. The tiny crown is vinyl, the white brim is silk organza, and the black grapes are plastic. Can't imagine what posessed the designer to combine these disparate elements, but somehow they work. This was also from Stacy LoAlbo. She has a sharp eye!)


Ari Seth Cohen of Advanced Style posed with Joana. He and Lina stopped by to shoot some video of us at the book signing --and of the other great ladies who frequent the Pier Shows -- like Iris Apfel, who didn't let being in a wheelchair slow her down one iota.

He took some great outdoor shots of us.

Needless to say, we had a blast. You can barely see them in this shot, but Lina is wearing wonderfully graphic spiral striped hose.

Here's a better shot of Lina and her green and blue striped pantyhose that looked like the stockings worn by medieval heralds. They were fab!

We're hoping that being videotaped by two separate photographers will up our street cred. And it really was lots of fun!

Although we were exhausted at the end of the day on Saturday, we almost hated to leave. We barely made the last bus.

What we're wearing:

Jean is wearing a leopard cocktail hat by Ignatius (from the Philadelphia Museum Craft Show); vintage Norma Kamali leopard jacket (from Another man's Treasure); turtleneck from Uniqlo; harem pants from Brigitte; platform boots from Trippen; glasses by Illesteva; vintage bakelite necklace and rings. Black and white bakelite ring from Sheila Strong of Fool's Gold.

Valerie is wearing a vintage B. Altman hat with black persian lamb topped by purple velvet, vintage plastic fruit earrings from Germany, a vintage sweater jacket "hand knitted in Chile", unseen black shirt and pants, unlabeled spiky green combat boots from 8th Street.

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And since we've been talking about Christmas for the last couple of weeks, we can't let this week go without some nod to the season. Thought you might be interested to see this oooooooooold video of the Kinks, singing Father Christmas. With the economy being what it is, we thought it might be appropriate. The song dates back to 1977, which raises pretty interesting questions, and perhaps a few eyebrows. Ray Davies always tells it like it is.

Lyrics | Kinks lyrics - Father Christmas lyrics


  1. I believe Valerie's sweater is a vintage Kaffe Fassett design. He is a textile designer who has written many pattern books.

  2. First a blog, then TV, a book, posters, AND above the fold in the NY Times - what next? I think you two should run for Mayor(s) of NYC - can you imagine how much more fun and stylish it would be!
    The Pier Antiques Show looks like it would be just as much fun as the Manhattan Vintage show (where I met Lynn Yeager). Lots of eye-candy - love the Fluevog boots, the hats and the outfit on the woman with the "Flintstone" purse. Perhaps I'm going to have to figure out a way to get to NY in October and November....perhaps a second job?

  3. In love with every photo! Wishing you a happy holiday season filled with merriment and headwear.

  4. I love the crazy Comme boots