Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Current Affair: Vintage Show in Industry City, Brooklyn

"A Current Affair" is an amalgamation of 80 West Coast and East Coast vintage vendors which returned to Industry City in Brooklyn, NY on May 21 and 22, 2016. Since Valerie was otherwise engaged for the entire weekend writing an esoteric article for an esoteric magazine, Jean was left to her own devices for the weekend. Needless to say, she had lots to look at and to tempt her, so she went to the show on both days. To help you keep things straight, she wore the red African pirnt Amy Downs turban (above) on Saturday and a black Henrik Vibskov bowler on Sunday. Housing Works had strategically placed furniture for sale in curated seating arrangements scattered throughout the space, of which this beautifully shaped art deco chair is a prime example.

This wonderfully shaped yellow hat was in New York vendor Joe Sundlie's Vintedge booth.

New/Found's booth contained this outrageous pair of green suede and gold leather platform lace-ups.

Thriftwares' beach umbrella patterned skirt was eye-catching.

How glam is this red vintage number from Guermantes?

New Yorker Andrea Levy never fails to please. This wire and glass necklace and bracelet set by Issey Miyake in her Lofty Vintage was Jean's favorite item in the entire show.

Screaming Mimi's is an institution in the East Village. This beaded camisole top was outstanding.

The print on Portia and Manny's long stretch knit dress by Cheryl was intriguing.

Here's a closeup of the figures on the fabric.

Liz herself modeled this Plantation by Issey Miyake coat with an interesting neckline in The Goods by Liz Baca booth.

At the other end of the Issey Miyake spectrum is Morphew Concept's sleeveless yellow and green midi-dress with Miyake's signature pleating.

A 1940s ivory and maroon cotton day dress with matching tie belt in Dallas vendor Woodland Farms' booth was extremely well-priced at $145.

Sharing the same space was another Dallas company -- The Lush Life -- which had vintage dice earrings and 2 large square dice cuffs, one in white and one in black. If the bracelets hadn't been made for a small-wristed person, Jean would have scooped them up in a heart beat. (Waaah.)

A special shout out to Algy_b, whom we first met at a Pier Show a few years ago and run into quite often at these events!  She is now designing her own line of jewelry. Her tree of life pin was in Nomad Vintage's booth.

Scout from Los Angeles is one of Jean's favorites and she loved this classic Hiro and Malee coat from I. Magnin. Here is the front view.

And here is what it looks like from the back.

Jane Yoo's hand-painted bag from Vintage Martini was beautiful and functional.

New York's andARCHIVE had this gauzy Comme des Garcons jacket with a woven inset back treatment.

Vintage Le Monde had his wrap coat with a whimsical print.

Here is a close-up of the print.

Vintage Nomad's mannequin had a gauzy pleated embroidered ivory dress, green cape and green bird necklace.


Jean often stops by Joe Sundlie's intriguing shop called Vintedge in the Showplace Antique Center at 40 West 25th Street in NY.

Jean ran into Heidi Rosenau, whom we often feature because no one wears vintage better than she.

Check out this stylish trio enjoying the show.

Lana Turner showed up, looking smashing, as usual.

The ever-dapper Daniel doffed his tuxedo to try on a vintage suit that fit him quite well.

Vintage vendors Amanda Dolan and Megan Colby of Spark Pretty took the proverbial "busman's holiday" and came to the show.

On Sunday, Jean ran into Zondra Foxx who didn't let a little thing like a recent fall and dislocated shoulder prevent her from checking out the show.

Liz Baca and Mike and Boo Boo and friends posed for the camera.

Perhaps the best dressed vendor award goes to these two gents from James Veloria.  (That's James on the left.)

"Talk to the hand."  Jean ran into Tziporah Salamon on Saturday -- and again the next day.  She was having a blast.

A Current Affair will be in Los Angeles on September 24th and 25th. If you're in LA, go to the show!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Jean's Excellent Spanish Adventure

Last week at this time, Jean was hanging out with friends in Barcelona, Spain, after the Formula 1 Grand Prix race.  (More about the race itself in a future posting.)  Here is her story:

Here I am on the roof of Gaudi's Casa Mila listening to the audio-guide and contemplating my next move.  The weather was spectacular: upper 60s during the day and mid- to upper 50s at night, with a mild breeze and low humidity.

Barcelona is in the Catalan region of Spain. Architect Antoni Gaudi's works dominate the city's psyche and its skyline.  I met 3 friends from California for sightseeing and to see the Formula-1 Grand Prix race on May 15th. We stayed at a wonderful 4-star Hotel Murmuri (aka "Whisper") in a beautifully appointed two-bedroom apartment on a side street around the corner from the main hotel with living room, dinning area, outdoor terrace, full kitchen, washer and dryer and dishwasher.

Antoni Gaudi i Cornet was a Spanish Catalan architect from Reus and the best known practitioner of Catalan Modernism. Gaudi's works reflect an individualized and distinctive style. Most are located in Barcelona, including his magnum opus, the Sagrada Familia.

Influenced by architecture, nature and religion, Gaudi integrated crafts into his designs such as ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork forging, carpentry and plasterwork. One of the most iconic Gaudi buildings is Casa Mila at 92 Passeig de Gracia. Although revered today, Gaudi's work was very controversial at the time.

Nicknamed "La Pedrera" or "The Stone Quarry", Casa Mila is an apartment building commissioned by Pere Mila and Roser Segimon. As I toured it, my thought was "This man does not a straight line like."  Everything is curved.  Metalwork surrounds the balconies and the roof features stone and ceramic tile covered towers. His new techniques for treatment of materials included trencadis which used waste ceramic materials. Constructed from 1906 to 1912, the building still houses private apartments.  The museum lobby on the first floor, the rooftop and the Mila family's apartment are open to the public.  This model shows the rooftop towers.

A curved ceramic tile covered tower is in the background, while the towers in the foreground (some of which conceal stove pipes) have been described as topped by warriors' helmets or ladies' veils.

Many of the details in the family apartment like bed frames and furniture are also curved, echoing an art nouveau look.  This curved tea set caught my eye.

Check out the curved plasterwork framing the door and the window and note the pocket doors. The woodwork in the flooring and the gramophone add warmth to the surroundings.

Next stop?  We went to see Gaudi's still-incomplete basilica, Sagrada Familia, which is the most visited monument in Spain. Influenced by neo-Gothic and Oriental styles, Gaudi became part of the Modernista movement which peaked in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  He and his work eventually transcended mainstream Modernisme, creating an individualized and unique organic style influenced by nature.

Estimates are that construction will continue through 2026.  [Valerie interjects: I was there in 1991, and it was replete with cranes even then, so that gives you some idea of the magnitude - or the endlessness - of this undertaking.]  Although numerous parts of the exterior and interior are construction sites, crowds of visitors swarm the exterior and interior.  Advice to travelers: If you are planning to visit Barcelona, book your tickets in advance online.

The interior of the basilica is illuminated by vibrant stained glass windows.

Although the altar area was walled off during our visit, the crucifix was visible overhead. One visitor commented that it looked like the cross was suspended from a giant, golden jelly fish.

Food in Barcelona features lots of ham -- and seafood.  Restaurants are crowded with happy, satisfied, well-dressed diners.  Outdoor cafes are also very popular spots for relaxing and people-watching. Nightlife is thriving.  Lots of bars and nightclubs thrive in downtown Barcelona.

Men in kilts:  Across the street from our apartment was Boca Grande - Boca Chica, which had a jam-packed rooftop bar filled with many race fans, including Fraser.  Our quartet had spotted him earlier in the afternoon on the street. He's hard to miss, with long blond locks, kilt and boots.  Fraser was sweet enough to pose for a photo.

After our rooftop nightcap, my friends and I descended in the elevator with these 3 adorable young ladies who insisted that I had to check out the ladies' room and escorted me there forthwith. The large, brightly lit white tile covered unisex space featured stand up cocktail tables, lots of big mirrors, communal sinks, large stalls and beautiful people.

Teaser for Wednesday night's Formula-1 race coverage: a group of more than a dozen British gents combined their trip to the race with a bachelor party.  They chose a hilariously novel way to celebrate at the racetrack and after: dressing as matadors, flamenco dancers and senoritas.  Tune in Thursday for the full story!

On a related note:  On Sunday evening as we were walking home after dinner at Balthazar, we met this group of 5 ladies celebrating the upcoming nuptials of the lady in purple.  The bridesmaids dressed in red outfits matching the bride's purple one, including net skirt, feather boa, headband and feather, combined with black sweaters and tights.

All good things must come to an end. All too soon, my trip was over. At the airport, waiting for my flight back to JFK, I was recognized and approached by Manuel who lives in Mexico City.  That he would know me from our blog and from the Advanced Style documentary was wonderfully flattering and so much fun.  His sister obliged by taking photos of us with both of our cell phones.  What a sweet ending to a marvelous trip!

Sunday, May 15, 2016


We are always puzzled when we hear our lady friends lament that they can't wear hats.  Many say they don't have the right face or the right hair, when the obvious answer is that they just don't have the right hat.  We were particularly puzzled when none other than Dayle of Artful City Style said this.    Dayle combines so many eclectic accessories with such style that we imagine her adding a hat with equal aplomb.  So we threw down the gauntlet.  Bring over any five outfits of your choice, we said, and we'll find a hat for it.

If you've been looking at our Instagram account (what do you mean, you haven't?!), you know that Jean is away in Barcelona, so Valerie undertook to match up each of Dayle's outfits with an appropriate chapeau on her own.  To keep it simple (that is, to minimize the amount of shlepping), all the photographs would be waist up or higher, so Dayle brought tops only - no pants, skirts, or shoes.

Dayle immediately presented Valerie with a challenge because their thought processes are at odds: Valerie thinks in terms of hats that match the outfit; Dayle wanted hats that contrasted.  For her black and white outfit, she requested a red hat, but...

... the first red hats Valerie brought out did not meet with Dayle's approval.  Then she saw this black saucer hat with the red trim, and asked to try that on.  This worked quite well.  Those of you who know Dayle know that she is closely identified with her wild curly blond hair.  This hat didn't balance well with Dayle's lush head of hair, so Valerie convinced Dayle to pull most of it back.  Most of it.  Dayle wanted to keep a few tendrils (comfort tendrils?  like comfort food?) to remain visible, and that worked quite well too.

Before we started, Dayle said that she envisioned herself in a broad hat with the brim turned up, and one was found for her in black and white, to match her outfit.  In this picture, you get a better view of her wonderful contrasting earrings.

Dayle then brought out a turquoise jacket.  Another challenge, thought Valerie, who doesn't have any turqoise hats.  But Dayle, remember, didn't want a matching hat.  She asked for an orange hat, to play off the small patch of orange on the turqoise.  Valerie brought out a conical orange straw hat, but that turned out to be a challenge for Dayle, who nixed it as soon as she put it on.  This is perfectly okay - you have to be comfortable in your hat.  If you're not, you won't feel confident and you won't wear the hat.  Because the jacket has a modified Chinese neckline, we tried a modified coolie hat, which looked great.

Valerie pulled out a forgotten but much loved small orange fascinator, although fearful that Dayle would find it too dramatic.  But Dayle took to this hat, which allowed her to showcase her beautiful hair.

Then Dayle put on a purple jacket.  Many women share a love of purple, but matching two shades of purple can be a challenge of its own.  The purple of the Dayle's jacket and the purple of the hat don't match, but neither do they conflct, and the hat shape balances the jacket shape.  Keep an eye on Dayle's eyeglasses, which she changes to suit her clothes.  Those are purple frames she's wearing in this photo.  Dayle is very drawn to color, and the big smile across her face is her initial reaction to the kimono in the background.

Another challenge!  Dayle's purple jacket is reversible to green with red polka dots.  Valerie's initial reaction was 'I have a green hat to go with that', but Dayle wanted to bring out the contrasting red.  What to do?  Do both.

First, here's Dayle in a lush green velour hat.  For the photograph, we kept the tilt to a minimum, so it wouldn't shade her face, but it also looked wonderful at a greater angle.

Throughout our hat challenge, we kept using the word 'experiment'. Try this shape, try that color, try a different angle, etc.  And if we didn't like it, out it went.  Sometimes you get lucky on the first try, sometimes you have to do a dozen experiments to get a winner. Valerie has quite a few red hats, but which one would work with this outfit?  This little hat, which can be folded up and put in a pocket, did.  And it looks better with this jacket than Valerie's first choice, the green hat.

Valerie was stumped by Dayle's final challenge.  Dayle put on a yellow top, accessorized it with a green and red scarf, and challenged Valerie to find her a hat that matched the red of the scarf.  We did try two red hats, but neither of them set the outfit off in a way we were happy with.  Giving up on red, we tried three yellow hats - all nice, all inappropriate to the outfit.  Finally Valerie pulled out an old green straw picture hat with a contrasting yellow ribbon from the early 50s, which Dayle loved.

What are the results of The Hat Challenge?  We've proven definitively that not only can Dayle wear hats, she can wear hats in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes.  This is a very personal decision, and she may very well choose not to, but the fact is she could if she cared to. And why shouldn't Dayle show off her hair, rather than a hat?  Just for example, Dayle said no to the three hats in the opening photo. They work for Valerie but not for Dayle, even though the colors go with the outfits.  So if at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again.   Don't blame the hat, or your hair, or your face, or your outfit or your make-up.  Just look for another hat, the way you would look for another dress if you didn't like the first one you tried on.

Not everyone can wear an Isabella Blow hat,

but everyone can wear a hat.  (And that includes our men friend readers, too.)

In closing, we just want to take this opportunity to say - all of you ladies who have been complaining that you can't wear hats - we don't want to hear any more about it.  Case closed!