Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Irresistible Lure of Vintage

What luck! Right before the holidays, the Annex Market in Chelsea held a holiday antiques show at one of our favorite venues, The Metropolitan Pavilion.  Held less than a week before Christmas and during Chanukah, timing could not have been better for gift-buying or treating oneself.  We covered lots of vintage shows this year, but we couldn't resist just one more, the last of the year.  There were a number of dealers we weren't familiar with, and we saw everything from Asian rugs to Pacific Northwest Indian carvings.  Lots of new old things to pique the imagination and delight the eye.

Vendors at the show ran the gamut from high end antiques to thrift shop. An example of the former is this amazing 1960s Murano glass dresser on display in a beautiful booth by La Majollica, LLC. The clean cut lines and geometric design were a knockout, as were the statues, vases and other items on the top and in the drawers of the chest. We both fell in love with it.

Another item in the same booth just knocked our socks off: a framed hand-painted Kansai Yamamoto scarf. Pictured here is a close up of the main figure.

Valerie was hypnotically drawn to this dress, probably a 1960s hostess gown.

It turned out (or so she thought) that it was made of gold and silver lame fabric from the art deco period.  No surprise that she was not able to zip it up all the way.  (She swears she could have done that "no sweat" thirty years ago.)

Andrea Hall Levy's Lofty Vintage features a highly curated and unique collection of clothing and accessories to die for. This vintage wool hat with a graphic arrow design is a perfect example of her eye for great design.

We just had to show you one of the several vintage pajama sets from Lofty Vintage. The fireworks-like images and colors in this particular pair of pjs were amazing.  Note the arrow hat at the top of the shot.

A flowering cactus and fish bones in a small box are among the bakelite treasures at Sheila Strong's Fool's Gold

Sheila also had this red, black and white Mondrian-like earrings and pin set.

Susan Bergin always has a great selection of evening clutch bags.  This one was made of lightweight carved wood.

For the first time, we met a painter at a Metropolitan Pavillion event.  We LOVED Robin Rife's work.  This was our favorite, probably about 3' x 4'.  Robin showed us the edges and backs of her paintings.  The edges were corrugated, because the backs were recycled printed real estate signs ("This home for sale by So and So…").  Camera-shy Robin was a jeweler for many years, and has only recently taken up painting.  AND had moved to New York only the day before the show!

One of the booths had a wonderful variety of 1950s futuristic items, the most striking of which was this fabulous Atomic Age piggy bank illustrating the solar system.

But our favorite booth had to be that of Samuel ("Sam I am") and Lee.  Visiting with Sam and Lee was a bit like visiting with your learned uncle who lives in Peoria, spends his free time exploring antique shops, and reads everything available about the curiosities he collects.  We both fell in love with this venetian blind lamp.  All of us agreed that it looked like a Devo hat.  Just in front of the lamp, in an inspired juxtaposition, is a cane made of shark vertebrae.  (See?  Wouldn't you want a learned uncle who had a venetian blind lamp and a shark vertebrae cane in the living room?  We would!)

Predictably, Valerie fell in love with this doll aloft in a balloon.  The sleeves weren't positioned for the photograph.  They are designed to look like the wind is lifting them.

There were several pieces of mourning jewelry in the case, and we fell to talking about Mourning Becomes Her, the exhibition of mourning clothes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Samuel hadn't seen the show when we spoke to him, but believes several of the pieces he has sold to collectors are in it.  Samuel (that's him on the left, wearing a bespoke vest he had a friend make for him) has also tried his hand at braiding hair jewelry, using a 19th century book he found on the subject.

We always say that one of the best features of vintage events in New York are the people who shop the shows since many of them incorporate vintage clothing or accessories into their own wardrobes. Case in point: this chic couple we admired on our way in and their way out. She had a great asymmetrical haircut, and wore a very stylish coat that fit beautifully; her husband sported a scarf and hat. She resisted his coaxing to show us the outfit that she'd bought, so we hope to run into them soon to see what treasures she acquired.

Triple threat (writer, collector, fashionista in her own right) Lynn Yaeger couldn't resist checking out the show.

Valerie admired this woman's glasses.  Many women - this lady included, apparently - have difficulty finding the frames they want at the usual places, and have to resort to ingenuity.  These frames ("I think they're Ellen Tracy", she said) were from a thrift shop, and she had her prescriptions put in them.  This can be done with sun glasses, too, by the way, if you're thinking of trying it.

We were astonished and enchanted by this woman's braid which extends to her ankles, and asked to photograph her as an incentive to any of our readers thinking of growing their hair.  You can't see it all, but scout's honor, that's how long it is.  Valerie's fault that her eyes are closed, but she still looks great.

And the men held up their end of the deal, too.  This gent told us his glasses were by Alain Mikli.

Shown here is the impeccably turned out Laurice, who is Chairman of Portals of Wonder, a not-for-profit organization that brings magic into the lives of the ill, the impoverished, the homeless and the frail.

We ran into collector Barbara Flood who was checking out the wares.

After we retrieved our coats and were out in the cold air again, what should we see but a man on a neon-colored bicycle, with his own personal drone attached to his backpack!  Hey, ya never know...


Valerie is wearing: a blue and white polka dot scarf by Zoe, knotted into a head wrap, plastic blue and white polka dot earrings, Perry Ellis polka dot jacket, Comme des Garcons pants, Icon shoes.

Jean is wearing: a boiled wool Amy Downs' turban; black and white wooden gumball necklace by Carol Markel; black with white-stripe fingerless gloves by JoAnn Berman; vintage bakelite, resin and plastic bangle bracelets and flea market 1950s black and white dotted chandelier earrings; crinkly peplum jacket by Brigitte; pants by Ivan Grundhal from If boutique in Soho; customized Dankso clogs.


  1. Valerie looks very regal in her scarf turban! Some very dapper gents in this post, which is so nice to see. I would love to have an uncle like Sam (and that lamp). The Murano glass dresser is a stunning piece - would it have been custom made for someone, I presume?

    WANT: the bakelite fish skeleton and those fab fireworks print PJ's!

  2. Yes, the irresistible lure of vintage! I'm enthralled by your post! And your ensembles. I just spent 20 minutes on the JoAnn Berman site.