Sunday, March 29, 2015

Treasure Hunting at the Pier Antique Show

On Saturday, we headed to the Upper West Side to the Pier Antique Show.  While the winter vintage shows are heavy on furs and woolens, the Spring shows feature lots of clothing in lighter fabrics, which somehow also lighten one's mood. Exhibitors had a great selection of dresses, like this gorgeous flapper era dress from Lisa Victoria Vintage Clothing. Couldn't you just picture it on one of the women from Downton Abbey?

This more modern sequin number is from Marilyn Hitchcock Vintage.

When we stopped by Lulu's Vintage Lovelies, this young woman was trying on this black and white checked dress with yellow trim.

Among the extensive collection of jewelry on display at Marcy Drexler's Little Shiny Objects is this sample of her colorful bakelite earrings and rings.

When we stopped in to visit Michal Feinmesser at What Once Was, she showed us this terrific bakelite vegetable necklace, complete with miniature cookbook.

We met this lady when we stopped to admire her terrific  amber necklace, which she'd acquired at the fabled Tucson Mineral Show.

Of course, we had to check in on our favorite Floridian -- Kevin -- at D. Brett Benson.  He is always in such good spirits and indulged our request to pose under the Coco sign in the booth. Behind him, you can glimpse some of the wide selection of terrific jewelry and handbags.

When we stopped by to visit Lee and Vichai Chinalai at Chinalai Tribal Arts, we had the added treat of meeting their grandson Augie.  And they're thrilled to be expecting another grandchild soon.

We met our friend Morleen Rouse -- who was in town from Cincinnati -- at the show and then again later at Sea Fire Grill for dinner.

It's always a treat to run into the ever-fabulous Lynn Yaeger, whom we met at Karen Murphy and David Dew Bruner's booth. Since we haven't decided exactly what we're wearing to the Easter Parade next Sunday (hint, hint), we can't yet reveal a purchase made here.

We had a drive-by with Tim John who had to run off to retrieve his walking stick, left behind in a booth in another section.

And it was fun to run into Elisa Goodkind of StyleLikeU who was also checking out the vendors and the wonderful vintage clothing in Fashion Alley.

It's not like we need more THINGS.  We're not necessarily going in search of things, per se.  When we go to the Pier Show we're searching for some extraordinary something that catches our eye.  It's more like a treasure hunt.  Maybe it perfectly matches something we never dreamed we'd find the perfect match for.  Maybe it looks exactly like something we saw in a movie, that we never thought we'd see in person.  Maybe it dazzles because it doesn't fit into any category we're familiar with.  It's like going to a museum, and each time we get to be the curators, and decide for ourselves what's wonderful.  Here are some more of the things we found this time.

We hadn't been in for two minutes when we saw a woman in a stunning hand embroidered coat.  She was leaving, so we ran after her.  As flattered as she was (and as fabulous as she was), she would not be photographed from the front.  So we snapped this.  Wish we'd asked her to put her bag down, but you can still see it's a marvelous coat.

We both fell in love with these art deco marquetry pedestals from the well named Atomic Flat.  They do a great job of evoking the skyscrapers of the period.  We couldn't fit these into our cramped New York apartments, but we appreciate their style and workmanship.

Here's a little detail.  At least three different shades of wood were used, and applied in very narrow strips.

There are a few vendors we always have to stop at because they invariably have great hats.  (A vintage-loving friend of ours recently asked why we buy so many hats.  The answer is it's so much easier to buy hats than clothing because your hat size never changes.)  At Uniquities we ran into Heidi Rosenau.  Dedicated readers will recognize Heidi, who is always dressed in letter-perfect vintage.   She was mulling over this multicolored jersey hat with braided coil and black centerpiece when we ran into her, and both urged her to buy it.  One thing you should never ever do is ask to try on something that someone else is holding.  We periodically hear stories of tussles between competitive shoppers, and they never end well.  Valerie's curiosity got the better of her, though, so she did - ever so respectfully - ask to see what the hat would look like on her, with assurances that she would give it right back.  You won't see any photos of this hat on Valerie.  It was absolutely made for Heidi.

Auerbach and Maffia always has an intriguing collection of mid-century jewelry.  This time a small group of dancing silver figures on a loop and chain caught Valerie's eye.  They're each about an inch tall.

At the same booth was this pair of balancing Calder-like earrings, maybe four inches from top to bottom.  We showed another pair of balancing earrings the last time we reviewed the Pier Show.  Seems to be a trend developing here...

We ran into two women enjoying the show.  We have recently found ourselves discussing the question of fashion now versus fashion thirty years ago with several different people.  The theme we return to most often is the lack of variety in most pret a porter.  Today's buyer would be hard pressed to find anything like the skirt at the left with multicolored stars.  Too many colors, they would say.   Too small a production.  Not enough profit.  It might be produced in black and white, or in color by an expensive design house, but these are not good times for novelty designs.  The same can be said for the dress on the right, or the needlepoint bag.  Sigh...

We had a great time at Lofty Vintage.  Here is an earring and brooch set of brassy propellers.  All three propellers are articulated, and yes, they all spin!  They might look small in the photograph, but they're campy and high impact in person.

Examining everything in Andrea Levy's booth as intently as we were was this gentleman.  We loved his three Japanese pins, and his haircut.  And don't you think he looks like Antonio Banderas?

The main attraction at Lofty Vintage, hung front and center, was this wonderfully textured Issey Miyake jacket from the '80s.  (Draped over the neck is a vintage Issey belt finished at one end with a resin design.)  The unusual choice of contrasting colors you see in the jacket is another example of what very few clothing manufacturers would do today.  If anyone wonders why we love vintage, the love of experimentation is one of the reasons.)

Issey fans might be saying wait a minute - haven't I seen that somewhere before?  Yes, you may very well have, in this iconic Irving Penn photograph.  This woman was one of Issey's two favorite models at the time.

How's that for a successful treasure hunt?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dos and Don'ts - Some Behind the Scenes Stuff

In which necessity is sometimes the mother of invention, and sometimes the mother of mayhem

What we didn't tell you when we posted this photo a few weeks ago is that while Jean is holding her champagne (the real thing!), Valerie is wearing hers.  If you have an eagle eye, you can see a few spots on the dress, just behind Jean's shoulder.  They might look like uneven lighting, but they're not.  Who knew that champagne, even when dabbed immediately, and even when treated delicately with a moist sponge just an hour later, could do that?   (At the time of the spill, Valerie also dropped her camera and dented the retractable lens beyond retracting anymore, but that's another story.)

Below is what the spots look like close up.  (This photo taken with a brand new camera.)  You can see that the fabric has a luster to it, so it could be that the champagne reacted with the special finish.  The last time Valerie took a shirt with a special finish to a much touted and very costly specialty dry cleaner - carefully pointing out the finish as well as the unique buttons (sorry, no photo), the dry cleaner not only destroyed the finish, he also managed to lose one of the unique buttons.  So Valerie's first thought was NOT to take this dress to the dry cleaner.  This calls for an old trick some of you may have used from time to time.

Enter the magic marker!  Above, you see spots near the upper left and right, and the lower left.  Here, Valerie works on the spots in the upper left.  Be careful to stipple the spot.  Don't drag the marker. For one thing, you might damage the finish.  For another, you might leave lines that show where you've worked the material.  Just dot it.  A lot.

Here are the results.  For comparison purposes, only the spot in the upper left has been stippled.  We don't know Photoshop, so what what you see is what Valerie got.  Not bad!

Some of you will remember this photo from our coverage of the Chromat show during Fashion Week.  Copying Schiaparelli, who designed knitted black gloves with knitted red fingernails, Valerie (who can't knit) pressed adhesive red fingernails onto her black leather gloves.

No macaroons in Valerie's refrigerator, or cookies in the cupboard, so an egg will have to do, to demonstrate not only that nails can come off - quickly - but if the gloves are polished leather, the nails also take the polish off, as shown here.  Not to worry, you may say - just go out and buy another package of nails.  Easier said than done!  Valerie has now been to more than seven different chain stores looking for this maker's shade of red, and Jean has even been scouting in her neighborhood.  Lots of pinks and sparkles and fire engine reds are ours for the asking, but this particular blood red is gone.  Twenty four nails came in the package, but none of the remaining nails were big enough for gloves, so they were all thrown away.  They can be ordered on line, but how can one be sure that the on line red is the same as this red?  Some of you might say just get the other red.  But Valerie is reluctant to do that. It is, after all, the middle finger.  The middle finger carries enough messages without adding emphasis to it with an unmatched color.  Dilemmas, dilemmas, dilemmas!  And no solution yet.

Some of you will remember these black lace gloves from our post on the last Manhattan Vintage Show.  Valerie took them home along with a pair of yellow cotton gauntlets.  The yellow gloves were a little dirty, so Valerie hand washed them.  They came out so well that Valerie decided to wash the lace gloves too.  (After all, you never know where people's hands, or their gloves, have been.)

Big mistake!   Below is the result of that misadventure.

Can you see where the fingers end in the middle of the gloves?  That's because they shrank!  How can this be, wondered Valerie, having noted the foolproof stretchy nylon on the palm.   It was only then that she went looking for a tag inside, and this is what she found:

That demon rayon, which is well known to shrink!  So she was right about the nylon underside, but it never occurred to her that the lace might be a different material.  Du-uh!  She might have gotten better results if she'd washed the gloves while wearing them.  Or if she'd put them on a hand mannequin immediately after washing them.  But wouldn't you know it, there are no hand mannequins in the house.  Knives and forks there are; hand mannequins were inexplicably overlooked when it came to furnishing the place.

Okay, last story.

Valerie bought a pair of purple United Nude bandage shoes, and wore them to work for the first time two weeks ago, during a lull between snow storms.

Longtime readers with absolutely extraordinary memories will recall that Valerie had neuroma surgery on both feet.  One thing neuroma'd feet hate is anything binding that might apply the slightest pressure to the front of the foot, and that includes most socks and stockings.  So unlike most civilized people, Valerie hardly ever wears socks, and often cuts the bottoms off her stockings (so they look like leggings - and by the way, they don't unravel).  But before Valerie had even arrived at work, one shoe had rubbed one toe raw.  (That toe was broken many years ago.  The joint fused, so the toe doesn't bend.)  The purple X marks the affected spot.

She hadn't brought any bandaids, and she didn't have any socks.  Scotch tape has sometimes works in a pinch, but you have to pull your foot up to rest on your thigh, and painstakingly wrap the toe.  This sort of thing is not well accepted in most offices, unless you can absolutely count on privacy.  The only other thing she had was a plastic bag for her lunch.

What to do?

Well, she cut a corner off the plastic bag (takes a second), pulled off the shoe (another second) and put that over the whole foot (third second) and slipped the shoe back on (four seconds total).  What's neat about the bag is that unlike a sock, it doesn't apply any pressure, but it totally protects the injury until you can take care of it properly.

You'll note we didn't actually tell you which are the dos and which are the don'ts, so you'll have to guess.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Staley-Wise Gallery's Fete for Rose Hartman

On Thursday evening, we attended an event for Rose Hartman at Staley-Wise Gallery in Soho.  James Smith took amazing photographs that evening, including the one above (because once again we thought we had pictures of ourselves but we didn't). To view SmithImage photos from Staley-Wise Gallery's event, click here.  For the scoop on another of Rose's book-signing event later this week in NYC, scroll down for further information.

Below is a photo of the guest of honor standing next to philanthropist Jean Shafiroff, who appears in the book wearing a gorgeous crimson evening gown -- with her pit bull.

Rose's good friend designer Adrienne Landau attended, and brought her public relations coordinator, Kate Floberg, with her.

Now, readers, are you looking at Kate's cowboy boots?  They're manta ray, and Kate said Adrienne picked them up for her at Beacon's Closet.  Who wouldn't want a boss like that?!  Here is a close-up of the boots.

We met Rose's journalist friend, Lothar Troeller, talking with a woman doing a fabulous job of making a neck brace look chic.

With Jean is Linda Troeller, who had fabulous red hair, a fabulous dress, and a droll story to tell about her mother of pearl pendant. (We'd tell you, but then we'd have to kill you.) Linda is one of three women thanked in the Acknowledgement section who viewed and critiqued images for the book.

Not one but two dashing young photographers covered the event. Marsin Mogielski (who took Rose's photo for the book and the photo of Rose and Manuel below) and James Smith whom we previously mentioned.

Rose's long-time friend Manuel Santelices got special recognition in the opening page of her book. He holds a very special place in her heart and her whole face lights up whenever she talks about him.

Gallery co-owner Ethelene Staley posed with a dapper guest.  (Check out his boutonniere.)

Alexandra Reiher is bookended by two gentlemen, including her husband, photographer David Glackin on the right and Gregg LeFebvre, artist, sculptor and photographer. Visible in the background are photographs by the late Deborah Turbeville.

We met Aline Ghazarian who works in fashion and had some insightful comments about the book, the crowd and the gallery. Loved her hair. Turns out she works for and was wearing (what else?) Lanvin.

This extremely well-accessorized gent is Edward Nashen who is the art gallerist for ABC Home.  ABC is a treasure trove for people hunting for something they won't find anywhere else.  An hour spent in ABC renews one's faith in the retailing industry.

Brazilian artist Marcia Grostein made the glass bubble necklace she's wearing in this shot.

Danielle Cheng posed with Rose, who was schmoozing with guests and signing copies of her book.

Rose is having another book signing at Kinokuniya at 1073 Avenue of the Americas (between 40th & 41st Streets across from Bryant Park) on Tuesday evening March 24 from 5:30 - 7:30 PM. So, if you're interested in meeting the author and getting your own signed copy of "Incomparable Couples", run (don't walk)!  Here's the announcement below. (Click to enlarge.) Don't say we didn't tell you!

This gentleman had photographed us at the Alexander McQueen show at the Brooklyn Museum a couple years ago. His tall, blond Dutch companion is wearing a fabulous pair of Comme des Gargons leggings that resembled tattered fishnets.

Writer Michael Luongo posed for a shot with us before he went to the main gallery to view the exhibit of Deborah Turbeville's ghostly1980 photographs from Unseen Versailles.  Click here to view the slideshow & Architectural Digest's 1/15/15 article on Staley-Wise's Turbeville show.

What we're wearing:

Jean is wearing a vintage Stetson bowler with a black and white felt pin by Danielle Gori-Montanelli; Issey Miyake jacket and skirt; Under Armor t-neck; Gudrun Sjoden cross-body bag; vintage black and white bracelets, bangles, necklace and rings of bakelite, dominoes and plastic; vintage B&W polka dot chandelier earrings; B&W fingerless gloves from Sock Man; and unseen Trippen boots.

Valerie is wearing a vintage Italian curly lamb hat from the late lamented 26th Street flea market, plastic target earrings from the same, Ralph Lauren suit from a thrift shop (dry cleaner swears it's cashmere, but it's lost its content label), black and white matching spiral lapel pins from someplacerother, faceted horn ring from Task in Brooklyn, and unseen second hand DVF shearling boots.