Tag Archives: big band

Lindy Focus 2017 Vendor Report

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Lindy Shopper and Porg wish you a Happy New Year from Lindy Focus!

2017 was a great year at Lindy Focus – the swing dance community has been growing, learning, becoming better versions of ourselves, working toward becoming a more inclusive community, and Lindy Focus embraced that and gave us resources to explore and grow. ¬†Needless to say, I had an amazing week, I’m filled with hope and joy, and hope that our 2018 continues to see new strides in making us an even better community of people being excellent to each other.

Part of this community is our micro-economy here at Lindy Focus, where vendors set up in the two lobby areas of the Crowne Plaza Resort Asheville and dancers can browse and partake in services and products that are either personal in nature or tailored to swing dancers.

Of course there is the Lindy Focus merchandise table, which is always heavily picked-over by the time I arrive on December 27 – the gear is good, I don’t necessarily know what it was, but I got a green sweatshirt with the LF logo on it and that’s about all this green-loving gal needs. ūüėČ

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Add some Savoy Shop sparkle!

Next to the merchandise/check-in is the Savoy Shop, a consignment shop and shoe repair boutique that has become an essential part of the event to people who not only are looking to buy fun apparel for dancing or offload said apparel to make room in their closets, but also a fantastic on-site backup plan for several kinds of catastrophes that can occur when traveling to dance weekends over holidays – lost luggage, broken shoes, forgotten items, forgotten outfits, upgrades to outfits, and I’m sure there are other ways the Savoy Shop has saved people’s sanity over the course of the week. ¬†Men’s and women’s clothing and shoes available, lots of good selections, tailored to our dancing needs!

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Lush blooms by ChatterBlossom

The main lobby is the main vendor area and the first person I laid eyes on when I got to the hotel was Jamie Sturdevant of ChatterBlossom, an Etsy shop specializing in hair flowers and headpieces made from vintage millinery flowers. ¬†Jamie lives near me, so I am spoiled by being able to collaborate with her on a regular basis, but I am excited that people get to see Jamie’s pieces in person because I can not overstate the fact that vintage millinery flowers are superior in both detail of floral design and in color matching to vintage clothing. ¬†Even if you don’t wear vintage, there are an array of blooms to match your modern attire and add a bit of vintage flair.

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For heads, necks, and lapels…

If Jamie didn’t have something for your head, Forties Forward perhaps had just the piece, offering their lovely blooms, as well as feathered and jeweled headpieces, which were great options for people seeking to add a bit of flair and sparkle to their New Year’s Eve attire. ¬†In addition to hair accessories, Forties Forward also had a nice selection of menswear accessories – ties, hats, and some silky boutonniere flowers just in time for that New Year’s Eve lapel!

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Wear the Woopie rainbow…

A Woopie Bow was a new vendor to Lindy Focus, although I have seen these ties at ILHC in a previous year and I was happy to see them back again, as there are often fewer vendors offering menswear items and I’m sure we all like to have options. ¬†Helena Verheyen, a dancer and theater costume designer based in Ghent, Belgium, is the designer and creator of said bow ties and she selects fantastic fabrics from second-hand clothing and sometimes repurposes neckties to make her bows (which is a great idea if you have a damaged necktie, to get some more wear out of it). ¬†Her website offers custom work, as well!

 

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GET IN MY CLOSET

It took a couple of tries to even get close to the Saint Savoy table and I felt bad for Austrian dancer Maren Merian, who was being pulled in a thousand directions – I’ll start this off by suggesting that we all proceed like civilized humans, take a minute to be patient when there is clearly a line and a demand and one person working the booth, and be mindful of personal space and allowing people to have time to make a decision about footwear. ¬†Once I did make it near the table, of course the shoes were glorious and, after waiting my turn, Maren was gracious and helpful and I purchased a pair of Saint Savoy’s brand new multicolored blues/greens Grace shoe, a perfect 1930’s style shoe in a shape I haven’t seen anyone else making and I certainly hadn’t seen in person until Lindy Focus. ¬†It was love at first sight, a shoe that you don’t even care if you own anything to go with it, it must be owned, worn, and loved! ¬†They also came in solid dark red and taupe, and I spotted Jo Hoffberg in the brown colourway. ¬†The Edens and the Rivieras were also selling like hot cakes and I’m excited to see what Saint Savoy has up their sleeves next!

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I don’t know that we’ve had a makeup vendor in the past, outside of someone applying makeup, but dancer Iris Tarou brought us many shades of lip color with LipSense, a product she discovered last year before Lindy Focus and loved it so much she decided to start a business selling it. ¬†There’s nothing better than believing in and loving what you are selling! ¬†Per Iris’ post, LipSense is dance-proof, sweat-proof, kiss-proof, waterproof, and burrito-proof, which is basically what every dancer needs and what sounds like it would be an awesome New Year’s Eve to get your kiss at midnight after a long night of dancing and then go get burritos. ¬†For more information, join the Indelible Look by Iris Facebook group.

We also had massage therapists on-site, which is undoubtedly an essential part of a week-long dance event – Bennie Vo and Erin Hennessy had the perfect setup, a table and chair next to the fireplace for warmth, with the awesome swing music from the music jam in the alcove just a few feet away.

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Charleston kicks for your walls!

Ryan Calloway returned to Lindy Focus with his fantastic jazz music and jazz dancing prints, with a book of samples you could flip through, and then a link to a new service he is using called Redbubble, which streamlined the ordering process a bit, because Ryan didn’t have to be present to take your order and you can see all the options on the website. ¬†In addition to prints, you can also order tee shirts and hoodies with Ryan’s artwork!

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Mary Kay Williams was back offering caricature drawings on-site, on-demand, while you wait. ¬†She had some great samples up, like a dancer/musician/world-famous doctor Dorry Segev in Superman scrubs and Admiral Holdo with her enviable purple fingerwaves. ¬†If you’ve never had a portrait drawn of yourself, Lindy Focus is a great time to add one to your collection!

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Fats Walrus!

Our new visual artist this year is dance instructor Laura Glaess, who had been gradually revealing her line of anthropomorphic jazz musicians on her Facebook artist’s page in the months leading up to Lindy Focus, drawn with a bit of pun and a lot of whimsy. ¬†It was so great to see these in person and see the full lineup of jazz musicians! ¬†She also did the artwork for Brooks Prumo Orchestra‘s debut album which is the perfect segue into the next topic…

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This isn’t even all of it, just what was there when I dropped off the Mint Julep Jazz Band stuff – see how they were adding a second table in front – BANANAS!

…since our local artists also lend their talents to our swing musicians (Ryan Calloway did the artwork for Keenan McKenzie’s new album “Forged in Rhythm“). ¬†The sheer volume of music available for purchase, recorded by musicians in attendance at Lindy Focus, was so large that they had to keep adding tables to hold all the music and merchandise for sale. ¬†It made my heart sing to know that our community can support this much music, much of it recorded and/or composed specifically for dancers and dancing. ¬†I challenge you to learn about these musicians, there’s a list of them here. ¬†Google them, check out their websites, buy their music!

If any of this is incorrect or I have missed something/someone, please let me know and I will edit/add to this post! ¬†It’s hard to keep track of everything going on at Lindy Focus, I’m sure you can agree! ¬†Until next year, love and progress in 2018…

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Woopie Bows in warm tones

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Your Woopie Bow also comes with a how-to diagram

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Edens and Rivieras at your service, from Saint Savoy

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Saint Savoy for men, also with great color options

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The lilies from ChatterBlossom are the size of your face and they are wonderful

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These ChatterBlossom pansies are adorable and sweet (and not the size of your face)

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Lots of real vintage this year at the Savoy Shop, including this wonderful 40’s dress with soutache detailing

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One of several phases of women’s shoes at the Savoy Shop

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Solid men’s shoe offerings at the Savoy Shop

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Anyone know the story on this jacket? ¬†Very interesting…

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Savoy Shop ties to brighten your day

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Just the tip of the iceberg on the Savoy Shop tie clips

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Ryan Calloway’s fabulous prints

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Laura Glaess gives us Lionel Hamster (and Lindy Focus will give us Lionel Hampton as the new bandleader for the 2018 transcription project!)

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Django Rhinohardt is as cool as they come, thanks to Laura Glaess

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Sample the LipSense!

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All the luscious LipSense colors

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Forties Forward gives us flights of fancy!

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Lots of fun blooms at the Forties Forward table, love the polka dots!

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Because because because because because!!!

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ILHC 2016: Trend and Vendor Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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My seat for the weekend’s evening festivities.

It was another banner year for the International Lindy Hop Championships, now in its 9th year, and full of life, energy, and joy that only swing dancing with people who love these dances with every fiber of their being can bring.

This year’s ILHC was very different for me than in previous years, primarily because I was only singing with Jonathan Stout‘s bands on Friday and Saturday night, whereas in previous years I had competed, DJ’ed, participated in the Yehoodi broadcast, and also sang, usually 2-3 of these at various times over the course of the weekend.¬† Consequently, I cannot say that I was in the ballroom as much as I had been in the past, but I received a request for a trend report, so I will tell you what I was able to see while I was there:

Trashy Diva: TD has been around for a while and there would always be a token dancer in a TD dress (usually Mia Halloran (as in the video below) or Valerie Salstrom), but this year the TD was out en masse.¬† As my gaze scanned the dancing crowd each night, there were numerous ladies sporting TD’s signature printed rayon dresses and it made my heart sing!¬† You all looked amazing – at one point, I happened upon a cluster of three women in TD chatting in the hallway and there’s nothing that makes me happier than fashion bringing people together.

Cropped tops: This trend was a pleasant surprise, seeing adorable cropped tops paired with everything from floaty skirts to high waisted trousers, and always impeccably assembled with the rest of the outfit.¬† Everything from right at the top of the waistband to about three inches above the waistband, so some were just a peek when you lifted your arm to turn and others were more intentionally part of the ensemble’s silhouette.

High waisted tapered leg pleated front pants:  Ubiquitous, for a second year in a row.  My distaste for this trend remains, but at least they all fit you well, no one looked uncomfortable.

Women in ties: Neckties, bow ties, and I think I even spotted a Continental – ladies, won’t you join me during OcTieBer?

Men: I’ve got nothing, it looked rather more of the same, except that well-dressed men are always in style.¬† Nevermind, keep looking amazing, don’t change. ūüėČ

If you attended, I’d love to hear what other trends did you noticed while you were there – feel free to leave a note in the comments.

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May 15, 2016 Lake Buena Vista, FL Ashley Eckstein / Her Universe Photo credit: Preston Mack

I’m also going to give honorable mention to Diana Smith, who wore my favorite clothing item of the weekend, a black floral romper that, at a distance looks like it’s made from a a nice vintage floral, but upon closer inspection has Captain America’s shield nestled in the beds of flowers!¬† Click on the photo to make it larger so you can see the detail –¬† brilliant nod to the Captain America back story and the victory prints of the 1940’s.¬† Did I think to get a photo of Diana in this romper?¬† No, because I’m a terrible reporter and I think I got her in trouble during sound check because we were both working when I started geeking out about her romper…so you’ll have to settle for the Kohl’s model at right.¬† Unfortunately, this romper is no longer available at Kohl’s! *sigh*

There were not as many vendors at ILHC as in the past, and I particularly missed seeing Chloe Hong, but there were 4 vendors offering goods and services to the masses in the hallway of the event and they should be noted because they are noteworthy!

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Holding down the largest vendor space was Laurie Gilkenson (aka Nina’s mom) with both Dancestore’s line of dance shoes for men and women, as well as vintage shoes and clothing. ¬†I noticed that Dancestore has a new colorway in their Aris Allen men’s wingtip, a nice brown and cream. ¬†I also died when I saw that Laurie had several pairs of 1920’s shoes, just the loveliest things in satin that my feet will never fit into! ¬†Also, vintage¬†velvet…so many lovely things…

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Junebug Shop’s original designs

Across from Laurie was the Junebug Shop, the custom clothing endeavor of Anna Yergat, who had her designs on display, as well as a line of geometric beaded jewelry in just about every color – so you could order an entire accessorized ensemble at her table. ¬†The Junebug Shop Etsy page carries Anna’s custom designs as well as some vintage clothing items. ¬†Anna’s designs look romantic and dance-worthy, vintage nods with modern twists.

Finally,¬†the Vinspire Salon at ILHC was staffed by Destinee Cushing (hair) and Lani Barry (makeup), offering full services faces and quoifs all weekend, if you could even get one – they were so popular there was a wait list! ¬†One could say that having hair and makeup done, either professionally by these two or by other means (self, friend) was also a trend this past weekend and rightly so – this is quite possibly Lindy Hop’s biggest and most broadcast performance opportunity of the year and it’s a time to shine, look vibrant under all those bright lights, and look and dance your best.

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Lani preparing for a new client and Destinee working on some curls.

And that’s a wrap! ¬†I love coming to ILHC for the energy and the inspiring dances I see all weekend, there’s a little something here for everyone, even if you aren’t competing. ¬†Sometimes it’s good just to take it all in.

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Geometric jewelry at the Junebug Shop.

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Vintage velvet must be the greatest snuggle fabric ever…sorry for the blurry photo, I was probably mid-swoon.

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1920’s shoes AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH

Heyday! Revisited

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It’s been a while since I checked on Heyday!, my favorite UK retailer of heavenly high waisted trousers, but I see that they have been busy. They have expanded their line of women’s and men’s clothing and have some pretty impressive and hard-to-find pieces at not unreasonable prices. Men can pick up some more casual style jackets, like the gab jacket or the Hollywood jacket, or some elegant 1940’s trousers. Women who are looking for separates will find several styles of adorable reproduction blouses, 1940’s style suits, dresses that are great for dances and work, as well as those famous trousers that make everyone’s bum look like a million bucks.

Here are my favorites from the website:

How sharp are these! Get your Gene Kelly on in the Anzac trousers, available in 9 colors

You just can't go wrong with these swing trousers - available in 14 colors

Fleur wrap dress, available in 6 prints

Hollywood jacket, an alternative to the traditional blazer

Olivia blouse - stinkin' adorable, in 11 colors

Want this suit!

Sequin Appliques

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

June Christy in a sequin appliqued dress

I am a big fan of 1940’s dresses with sequin appliques, but re-creating this look has been almost impossible due to lack of resources for good, ready-made appliques. Most of the appliques I have seen in modern fabric stores tend to be either matronly or childish. It’s hard to place sequin appliques in context during my lifetime (Dallas? Golden Girls?), but people in the 1940’s did some beautiful things with appliques and used them liberally to create embellishment on beautiful dresses, which otherwise might appear plain.

In searching for silver stars for a headpiece, I came across Sequin Appliques, a website devoted to selling…well, sequin appliques. There are so many things here – styles, shapes, sizes, colors – my mind is racing as to what I might do with some of these appliques. The obvious thing would be to buy a plain dress from somewhere and gussy it up by tacking on an applique, on the lapel, bodice, or skirt. I could also see some interesting fascinators made from some of these pieces, or simply pin one in your hair. Maybe shoe clips…or sew them on to your sueded Keds. ūüôā

Here are some of my favorites from the Sequin Appliques web site:

I WILL find a dress for this applique

Large butterfly applique

Classic bow applique

An elaborate monochromatic floral beaded applique

Silver beaded star with crystals

Playing card set

Beaded anchor - ahoy!

Floral motif