Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tutti Takes Manhattan!

Debra Rapoport and Stan Satlin hosted a soiree in honor of Tutti Bennett's visit from Australia, so Shelley joined us and we headed to Stan's after the vintage show.

Shelley, the Forest City Fashionista, who accompanied us on this jaunt, was kind enough to forward a blog posting by Tutti's daughter in which Tutti is featured, in a series of photographs spanning decades, in an amazing collection of eyewear.  That should give you some idea about Tutti.  Click here to see the yummy eyewear.  You might want to take a look at the posting in which Tutti smokes a cigar.  And our readers can take courage from an article on Tutti's successful journey through breast cancer.

Tutti and her husband Paul with Sonya and Antonia, enjoying the festivities.

Chad, Antonia' boss, with Debra and Diana Gabriel, a jewelry designer. Chad edits Beautiful Savage magazine.

Carla, Antonia's friend, rocked a black and white look.

More Canadians!  John and Ruth from Vancouver were visiting Stan and joined the party.

Jean was thrilled when one of her icons, Bethanne Hardison, arrived.  We had seen her at FIT at the screening of the documentary about French vs. American designers at Versailles, in which she and several other black models broke the color barrier.  She was instrumental in facilitating the Museum of the City of New York's exhibit on the fashion designer whose clothes she modeled at Versailles - Stephen Burrows: When Fashion Danced!

Regina, a jewelry designer, wore one of her own designs.

When the beautifully irrepressible Ilona Royce Smithkin meets Tutti, joy breaks loose!

Mary wore a stylish black outfit, a terrific necklace and killer black and white spectator lace-ups.

Paul Bennett & Teresa Taylor, Denton's wife.  Teresa was wearing a graphic black and white circle dress she'd purchased at the Manhattan Vintage Show the day before.

Debra wearing a hat and necklace of her own design.

We had met Italian shoe designer: Gioia Maini at Debra and Stan's last party. Click and view her colorfully creative designs.

Francesco Diaz-Cabez (center), who painted Tziporah Salamon's and Lynn Dell's portraits, and his two friends stopped by the party.

Elke, holding court with Marsha, Antonia and Nonnie.

Jean just had to include this shot of Valerie and Shelley as we were on our way to the party from the vintage show.  They met this dapper American professor who teaches in Florence.  She wanted you to see their fab coats. Stay tuned for more Forest City Fashionista hijinks in the Big Apple.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Manhattan Vintage Fall/Winter 2015

So much to see and so much fun to be had at The Manhattan Vintage Show this weekend that we had to go twice, and still didn't get to see it all! (We were too busy talking most of the time).  Shelley (aka Forest City Fashionista) was in town for her annual visit, which gave us an excuse (as if we needed one) to go on Friday and return on Saturday.

Even walking down West 18th Street to the Metropolitan Pavilion, we could tell who was going to the show. This woman, wearing a red coat and long multicolored gloves, sitting on a yellow bench, was a sign that we were headed in the right direction.

No sooner had we entered than we were bowled over by this Stephen Sprouse coat at Augusta Auctions.  Our photo doesn't do it justice (it was hung high for effect), but you can get a better view on Augusta's website, here.  It could be yours if you bid!  We also saw an amazing Alexander McQueen gown.  Red, with lots of lacing up the back!

Still having traveled no further than the entrance, we saw this woman sailing around in a vintage wool Gaultier coat with a shawl collar big enough to encircle her head.  From L.A.-based Catwalk Designer Vintage.

Down the first aisle was this wonderful amalgam of poodle skirt ('cause it was felt) and Mexican circle skirt (lively designs all around).  Double click on the photo to get a better look at the vibrant stenciled musicians.  From Town Peddlers/Vintage Daughter.

We ran into Linda Pastorino, dealer in ethnographic art, and her daughter Coral.  Here, Coral and Shelley pose with finds.  Coral, who has a taste for stately elegance and wants to study costume design, found a deep red Oscar de la Renta gown which one can almost imagine on a figure in a Renaissance painting. Shelley found a vintage knit skirt (from the 30s?) with carefully aligned stripes that the maker cleverly managed to insert nearly invisible pockets.   Shelley calls her saucy little blue velvet hat her "brain hat" because the velvet has been bunched up and sewn down in hills and valleys that do rather resemble fancifully dyed brains. Before one has had a chance to look, though, hearing about a brain hat conjures up all sorts of ideas that completely miss the mark (and aren't nearly as elegant).

A study in black and white.  Lyn Slater (Accidental Icon) stands with a woman who works with Bruce Mihalski of Hollywood & Vine, who said she had made her hat herself.

In the course of our wanderings on Friday, it came to our attention that both Jean and Shelley were wearing insect earrings, and we took a picture to commemorate the odd coincidence.  At the time, we were at What Once Was, Michal Feinmesser's booth, and since she was displaying insect earrings in one of her jewelry cases, she put them on to make a threesome.  Double click to enlarge/confirm.  (And check out Shelley's brain hat.)

This woman had such wonderful long red hair, it didn't matter what she wore.

More beautiful "hair", in the form of green feathers.  And while you're at it, look at all the embroidery on the dress.

Someone nearby gasped at her shoes, and she obligingly lifted the skirt of her dress enough to show what the gasp was all about.  Is this a great shoe, or what?!  Neither of us would be able to wear it, but we can admire from afar.

We never fail to run into Dan, one of the dapper-est men to set foot in the Manhattan Vintage Show.  We ran into him on both days.  The first day, he was wearing a vintage tie pin shaped like a propeller. Today, the idea seems quaint, but because Dan dresses almost exclusively in vintage clothes, the propeller tie pin probably dates back to the days of Howard Hughes and the Spruce Goose.  (Click here if you're young and have no idea what we're talking about.)

If you're up to date on our Instagram account (what do you mean, you didn't know we had one?) you know Valerie bought the hat above on the first day, so she had to wear it on the second day.

Jean bought this polka dot turban from the same vendor, Diana of Revival Vintage Boutique.

And here's Diana herself, and her assistant, both dressed in marvelous vintage (and, fittingly, head gear).

This lady embodied the spirit of the occasion.

Valerie fell in love with this Donna Karan salmon colored skirt from What Was Is Vintage.  That's a big strip of metallic shibori down the center.  The dress, the dress, my kingdom for the DRESS (or at least the top), 'cause I don't have anything to match the skirt.

Lea Delaria (of Orange is the New Black) and her fiancee Chelsea Fairless stopped by on Saturday afternoon.

While Lea graciously accommodated a fan's request for a photo, it gave us the opportunity to admire her hilarious gorilla backpack.

When Lea went to the dressing room to try on overalls (wouldn't you want to be the fly on the wall for that one?), Chelsea showed Jean and Shelley her purchase of a colorful chiffon cape.

You can count on Gregory to look quite debonair. On Saturday, he did not disappoint. In his three piece suit, top coat and fedora, he looked like he just stepped out of a Raymond Chandler novel.  Jean coaxed him into showing her his purchase -- a beautiful pair of butter yellow leather gloves.

Valerie couldn't resist trying on this colorful coat in Andrea Hall Levy's Lofty Vintage booth.

Shelley also found a coat that caught her eye, and had the opportunity to talk to Carmen Bury, who made it.  Not only is the coat hand made, with each piece made and attached separately, it also has an elaborate lining.

Amanda Dolan of Spark Pretty wears and sells 1970s and 1980s era clothing.

Martha favors 1940s-era clothing.  Her stockings had dark seams up the back. She looked like a red-haired version of one of the Andrews Sisters.

Roddy Caravella and Gretchen Fenston are the best-dressed vintage couple. Their attention to detail is nothing short of amazing and yet looks totally effortless.

Hannah Schiff's feather hat with veil was the perfect topper to her vintage outfit -- dress, shoes and bag.

Another vintage fan is Lori Lewin who puts together such beautifully coordinated outfits, with shoes, hats, jewelry and handbags to complement her dresses and suits.

Andrea Hall Levy's assistant and Zondra Foxx got the memo to dress in red and black.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, while Valerie sported her green hat and purple outfit and shoes, Jean and Shelley opted for basic black.

Stay tuned for additional installments of Shelley's New York Adventure.  FYI:  The next 2 Manhattan Vintage Shows are set for Friday, February 5 and Saturday, February 6, 2016, and on Friday April 15 and Saturday, April 16, 2016.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Inspiration LA Comes to Brooklyn Expo Center

While Valerie was be-bopping around Berlin, Jean made a bee-line for Brooklyn and Inspiration LA's New York installation.

First stop was Liz Baca and White Mike's booth. Since Liz and Boo-Boo (their famous one-eyed Pomeranian) were running a separate booth at A Current Affair, another LA vintage show going on at the same time in another part of Brooklyn, Mike was holding down the fort in Green Point.

Initially feeling like a fish out of water, I gradually got into it and embraced the outdoorsy gestalt. Case in point, Mike rocks a casual urban rocker look, rather than the vintage dandy style of the traditional East Coast shows.  Below, he shows a down-filled balaclava.

Inspiration LA, dubbed "Let FreeDamn Ring", began as an annual gathering in Southern California for vintage enthusiasts from around the globe and had been held on the Queen Mary. Curator Rin Tanaka brought the two-day California show to Brooklyn Expo in Green Point. The goal was to bring together international vintage exhibitors offering rare, unique and one-of-a-kind merchandise on exhibit and for sale. The focus was on American vintage apparel manufactured from the 1900s-1980s, vintage-inspired contemporary fashions & accessories from local boutiques, major corporate American and international companies, artists and artisans, hot-rods, motorcycles, antiques, records and audio equipment, as well as soul music.

This Times Square shirt was hanging in the back of Snappy Gabs' booth.

Nearby was this long sleeved version with a skyscraper inspired print.

According to Inspiration LA's website, the vintage event concept is to “buy and sell inspiration.” Many street apparel products, mainly vintage American fashions manufactured from the 1910s to the 1980s, were displayed throughout the expo center. opportunities to view so many hard-to-find vintage items. Most items will be “for sale,” except for special exhibition decorations.

Andrew Nguyen and his friend Tony had the scoop on the LA version and on the East Coast vintage auto and motorcycle scene,

The Archives, a vendor with whom we were familiar from its women's dresses and hats at the Metropolitan Pavilion's vintage shows, had a both filled with men's an women's sportswear, unlike its usual dresses and hats

The Archives' men's size 13 canvas and rubber Converse athletic shoes were in pristine condition.

Whiskey Grade from Cleveland, OH featured an eclectic combination of Harley Davidson cycle gear, vintage helmets and lunch boxes, contemporary gloves, tee shirts and extremely well-priced women's clothing ($40 grey cotton dresses).

It is the place to go for custom motor cycle gas tanks like this one.

And, with a name like Whiskey Grade, how could it not feature bourbon, in this case, the artisanal Widow Jane, Wapsie Valley, pot brewed in Brooklyn, NY from ingredients (non-GMO grains of rye and barley) grown in New York State.

Finally, a familiar face in a dapper outfit!  Regular readers will recognize Gregory from our prior years' Easter Parade posts. (You know, the handsome gentleman in top hat and tails and a walking stick with a carved white rabbit handle.)  Needless to say, his look was perfectly put together, right down to his gloves.

One of the most interesting and most unusual booth's was that of Nicholas Gamarello, posing here with his partner. A Squadron Artist, his booth was a treasure trove of fine art, rock and roll, jacket art, flying relics, squadron heraldry, aircraft nose art.  He hand painted the luggage behind him with "Over Under Sideways Down - Yard Birds Tour".

The top painting behind us shows David Bowie with a dog's body.

My favorite is this Rolling Stones piece of luggage. The central image is from their "Exile on Main Street" album cover.

Sugar Shack, specializing in vintage clothes and music gear, had this amazing clown costume. Just in time for Halloween.

And these graphic hammer and scythe red, black an yellow men's shoes.

When I ran into the only other traditionally vintage attired gent I'd glimpsed that day, it turns out he knows Gregory.  Figures these birds of a feather would stick together.  Blake Canham-Bennett is a self-professed "hatter" (Blakesby Hats) and "dandy" hails from Australia.

Long after I'd arrived home, I was surprised to discover that Louise Doktor was at the show.  I'd never seen her, but later noticed her in the background of this shot, taken in Juniper Vintage 860's booth.

In the same booth, the owner described how she had acquired the entire collection of hand-tooled craft work from a husband and wife from Vermont.  These beautiful bags were well-priced at $38.  Although there were a few exceptions, the prices at this show were much lower than the Pier Show and Manhattan Pavilion's vintage show.

Metropolis Vintage had the flapper-era dandy's uniform:  raccoon coat and boater!

It also had that 1950's staple, the poodle skirt!

Vintage Martini ( from Dallas, TX had a lovely three-piece pink snakeskin set of hat, handbag and gloves.

And the hat had the original receipt from T.H. Williams and Co., Austin, Tex. purchased by Mrs. John L. Russell of Bertram, Texas dated 1-8-49!

Shanana Mil & Co from Torrence, CA had military wear.  This WWII leather embroidered and painted jacket was one example.

Another item from its Experimental Garment collection was this navy blue cotton Marine Nationale long coat.

In the opening shot, I was standing in this booth, Megamiori Denimes, which is one of the "concept" brands featuring 100% made i Japan thick cotton denim which has been "aged" to soften the fabric.  The striped pair at the left reminded me of prison garb from "Brother, Where Art Thou?".

It also featured unisex jewelry crafted from cotton denim fabric with brass fasteners.

The next West Coast installation is scheduled for February 12-13, 2016 at The Reef in Los Angeles.  When I exited the Expo center, heading back to the R train at 36th Street, I discovered La Gamin, a French creperie just across the street, which had delicious crepes, mushroom risotto and pomme frites.

I had fully intended to go the next day, Sunday, to A Current Affair, the other LA-curated vintage show underway in another part of Brooklyn until life intervened and I had to attend a wake in New Jersey instead. I missed 10 mannequin styled by Elisa Goodkind from StyleLikeU, Liz Baca and many other friends and familiar vendors. Sigh. Perhaps next time.  Ciao!