A few weeks ago I attended the third annual Art Deco Society of Virginia Gatsby Afternoon Picnic in Richmond, Virginia. I have seen this event grow from “let’s all meet in a park at the same time” to an organized event at the historic Wilton House Museum, with live music, vintage vendors, an on-site barber, food trucks, photo booth, contests, media coverage, shuttles, parking attendants, an MC, and even an alcohol sponsor. I was happy to see some familiar faces amongst the vendors and pleasantly surprised to find vintage vendors that were new to me.
Let’s start on one end of the line and move to the other – first in the lineup was Chatterblossom, who has become my own personal vintage millinery Philip Treacy. The gorgeous millinery was on display, as well as lovely jewels, flapper headbands, and a nice selection of menswear accessories. If only women’s dress shirts didn’t button from the opposite side, a tie clip with vintage microphone would have certainly left with me!
Another standby for me, Raleigh Vintage, was present with a drool-worthy display of Art Deco era goods and jewels. This display was on the heels of another festival in Raleigh the previous day, but the busy bees at Raleigh Vintage persevered and were present in force. I am seriously in love with all of the jewelry in their display, can I just take the silver tray full of necklaces home with me? Also, lots of event-appropriate cotton frocks in lovely prints, embroidery, and all things just-so.
Machine Dance Vintage and Brooksy shared a lovely space together, complimenting a rack of MDV vintage dresses and goods with Brooksy’s hand-crafted 1920’s hats and headbands. I have long been a fan of MDV’s Etsy shop and it was good to see some of these great vintage pieces in person. I have also been following and eagerly anticipating the soon-to-be-launched Brooksy line of hats, created by ADSVA president Olivia Lloyd. The construction of these hats and the attention to detail is as impeccable as Ms. Lloyd’s vintage wardrobe. I am holding out for Myrna Loy’s pixie hat!
My husband’s family lives in Virginia Beach, which has many great thrift stores, but I was unaware of VB Vintage – no brick and mortar shop, but certainly an impressive enough of a display that I was kicking myself for not knowing about them before now. Their Etsy shop doesn’t even come close to displaying the number of goods they had on hand at the Gatsby picnic, which means there’s even more to come – also, the benefit of being on location for these trunk shows! Lots of great accessories, knick knacks, and a few stellar pieces of clothing from the era.
Monkey Shynes was up next, with a small selection of 78 rpm records and assorted vintage memorabilia and crafts.
Finally, on the other end of vendor’s row was MA’s Mad House of Adornment, another Etsy vendor with great feathered headpieces and eclectic jewelry. I am particularly fond of feathered headpieces made from feathers with curled ends – the effect is really stunning and the result is that they tend to lay so nicely in whatever configuration I have seen them in. I was also amused by the Scarlett O’Hara necklace – the movie came out in 1939, so we’ll humor the reference.
Your deal of the week is this cream Leluxe Clothing beaded dress on eBay, worn once by a bride to her engagement party, and is now selling dress plus slip with a starting bid of $119.00. A new dress from Leluxe Clothing will set you back $300-400 and then the matching under slip is another $50. If you are planning for a Gatsby themed dance/party, a wedding, or your New Year’s Eve ensemble, this would be a great option!
The other wonderful thing about these dresses is that they tend to fit a range of sizes because they are made of mesh. I’m trying to place the style, but it’s not matching up with any dresses on the Leluxe website – I’d probably use “The Charleston” dress as a frame of reference for sizing.
Getting specific about period make-up tends to default to whether or not I decide to wear red lipstick, but I admit that I have been curious about the more specific make-up trends from each decade. Glamour Daze has put together four make-up guides – one each for the 1920’s, 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s – compiled from period manuals and magazine articles and made available to you as an ebook. Content covers things like the right colors for your hair/complexion, makeup techniques, skin care, and some decade-specific beauty norms and, perhaps, some not-so-norms by today’s standards. Each ebook is $9.99, or you can get all four for $19.99.
Because it’s never too early to start shopping for Halloween, New Year’s Eve, or a Gatsby-themed event, this Leluxe Clothing Nouveau Tabard on eBay is just begging to be picked up by some smart flapper – with the bidding only at $75.00, this $329.99 dress (YES you read that right, three hundred twenty-nine dollars and ninety-nine cents) is a crazy steal! Fits a wide range of sizes, those beads just seem to hug in all the right places. Auction ends October 5!
I have anticipated checking out Alexandria’s Amalgamated Classic Clothing and Dry Goods since April, when I heard of its opening shortly prior to DCLX and the wonders that awaited me – rumors that the owners have a warehouse where items are pulled for Hollywood movies, that the inventory has real swing era stuff, GOOD stuff, and I was salivating. As I ditched the Saturday afternoon DCLX dance to head over to Alexandria I got a text message from Bill Speidel that the shop was closed. Oh, the disappointment!
Thankfully, I had already planned to attend the International Lindy Hop Championships in August, so I knew I’d get a second chance. I messaged the store’s Facebook page a few days prior to the event to make sure that they would be open and should I send my measuremnets. The answers were yes and yes, and I was elated.
I planned to go on Friday of ILHC and at the Thursday night dance I met Beth Midavaine, who had also planned to take a trip to Amalgamated with Bill Speidel, but Bill had bailed on her, so it seemed that fate would have it that we go shopping together. We headed to Amalgamated the next day with Jason Sager and arrived at the store at noon on the dot. The store was closed. I was frantic. We went next door to a knick knack store owner, who didn’t know why the shop wasn’t open. As we regrouped on the sidewalk, the door opened to Amalgamated and it was, after all, open for business. *phew!*
It took us three hours to get through everything in the store and try on the rack of clothes that Beth and I accumulated through our collective digging through the store. The store itself is small is square footage, but packed with everything good – there was no small rack where the few swing era items were delegated – the entire store was pre-1960’s, so 100% of their inventory was everything that you would want to see in a vintage store. It was glorious! The men’s section rivaled the women’s section in size and magnificence (who has an entire rack devoted to two tone Ricky Ricardo jackets?) and a men’s shoe section that took up an entire table, and included children’s shoes (tiny leather and mesh oxfords!). Owner Shelley White took us through boxes in the back room filled with delicate 1920’s beaded dresses, there were racks of glorious dresses and gowns, plus some very practical items that would be perfect for dancing. The women’s shoes had a good selection of larger women’s sizes, which was great for Beth, who picked up a pair of fantastic 1940’s heels.
I don’t think words or photos will do this place justice, so you’ll just have to go and see for yourself. Until then, check out some of our finds below:
I am smitten with this gorgeous 1920’s day dress, made of the sweetest lace – I’m not normally drawn to lace, but here the lace makes such intricate and wonderful patterns that it’s more than an embellishment, it’s a…textile, in the most reverent sense of the word. Paired with a cotton slip, this might be the most delightful dress for summer porch sitting or making an appearance at the Jazz Age Lawn Party. 😉
As I multi-tasked through my emails this morning, I was contemplating making some cherry bounce for the holidays, then ran across this 1920’s dress in a cherry print. Serendipitous? Perhaps if it had been in my size…
Cherry prints are very popular for reproductions and can be found in vintage clothing every so often, but are usually associated with decades other than the 1920’s. Aside from the adorable print, this dress has some nice details, like mesh insets in around the arm holes, long sleeves with gold trim at the cuffs, and an adorable gold and red scalloped trim around the bottom of the dress that runs up the back of the skirt. Just fantastic!
Credit this dress to Emerald City Vintage, an eBay seller who consistently has the dress that catches my eye amongst the hundreds of eBay vintage dress offerings.
It was another wonderful year at Richmond, Virginia’s Jammin’ on the James, both the dancing and the shopping. Some of my favorite vintage shoppers – Lily Matini, Elizabeth Aldrich, Bill Speidel, and, a new addition to my vintage cavalry, Josephine Stewart – made cameos at the event this year and it made Saturday an exciting and bustling day at the vintage shops in Richmond. I reported on my trips to Richmond’s two best vintage shops, Halcyon and Bygones, after last year’s Jammin’ on the James, but there’s always new inventory to scout.
Halcyon is my favorite Richmond store because it is so inviting – beautifully decorated, not too large/too small/too crowded, with a carefully chosen selection of garments that leaves you with the feeling that the entire store is filled with the “good stuff,” no filler. This year was no exception and I left with one beautiful 1930’s dress, but there were several other things I probably could have taken home if the budget had allowed. After we expressed interest in ties, Angelica from Halcyon pulled out the hidden rack of beautiful 1930’s ties, including one with circles and butterflies that Bill and I both claimed, but, ultimately, Bill won out because my husband wouldn’t answer his phone to tell me if he would wear the tie. Bill also scored a vintage Alexander Calder inspired tie by Carnival Jones, Elizabeth left with a lovely black faux fur jacket, and I left with a 1930’s silk dress. There were some really lovely pieces from a Richmond estate, including a 1920’s dress that must have had over 100 green bakelite buttons down the front and both sides.
Next stop was Bygones, which is famous for its window display and top of rack displays. This season’s display did not disappoint, with an Egyptian revival-themed window-dressing and an inside display of furs and faux animals that just begged for some taxidermy or, as Bill said, the barrel of a shotgun peeking out from between the furs. Josephine had great luck here, asking for tiny sized clothing and they definitely delivered. Favorite pieces included two 1940’s suits, one in light aqua velvet with quilting detail on the jacket and another in green silk velvet with amazing trim detail on the jacket.
To get 20% off any Leluxe Clothing item all you have to do is go to their Facebook page and “Like” them. It’s that simple! If you’ve been on the fence about one of these dresses, perhaps 20% off could get you off the fence and into one of these beautiful reproduction 1920’s beaded dresses? 😉
One of the biggest challenges for me this year has been finding costumes for The Carolina Fascinators, an all-girl jazz performance troupe that I organize. When I started thinking about costumes I contacted Casey Schneider of Sister Kate to find out where they had been finding costumes, because the Sister Kate girls always look so put together – and by that I mean, from head to toe, each girl looks like she is in a professional costume with a well-thought-out thematic that goes with the routine and the music. Casey agreed that this was not an easy task and that the Sister Kate girls were lucky to have some really creative and talented seamstresses in their ranks.
I’m no great seamstress, but I was determined to find costumes that would evoke the swing era and not fall prey to the “sexy” Halloween costumes or gaudy modern “jazz” costumes. Where do I find that Busby Berkeley-inspired costume today and not pay an arm and a leg for a custom costume?
I later ran into Kristen Minsky, of the Minsky Sisters, at an event she organized in Durham for her cabaret, Chifferobe. For one of her performances she wore a fully sequined dance costume that was very 1920’s and looked like it was custom made for her. In a way it was, and it wasn’t – she ordered it from Sequin Queen, an online retailer of sequin dresses and costumes, who have samples you can choose from, but then everything else, from the fit to the sequin color, is customized for your needs. If this looks like drag queen garb, that’s because it is (even RuPaul gave this place a nod on her show, Drag Race) – but if you push aside the Suzanne Sugarbaker pieces, you can find some gems here. The prices are amazing for custom, sequin dresses and some of the samples are made with a stretch base, to allow for less-restrictive movement. I’d love to see more sparkle in swing dance performances and I think some of these costumes would work well for performance teams as well as solo jazz and Charleston.
One of my favorite retailers, Leluxe Clothing Co., has listed some sample dresses on eBay, lovely reproductions of 1920’s dresses that were produced once. Will they become part of the Leluxe lineup of dazzling dresses? I don’t have the answer to that, but I do know they are lovely and you can have first, and perhaps only, dibs on wearing these gilded models for 2011.
One of the few Etsy shops I revisit regularly is Flapper Flock, an Etsy store focused solely on 1920’s and 1930’s clothing, accessories, and other odds and ends from the jazz era. Flapper Flock is a division of the seller’s brick-and-mortar store in Redlands, California called Hobo’s Vintage. While her selection is usually small, there are always one or two really choice items to fall in love with.
Couple of distinct things about Flapper Flock 1) all prices include the cost of shipping, so what you see is the total cost you will pay for that item and 2) the seller will sometimes include “throwback” items, like a 1960’s does 1920’s drop waist dress. Other sellers try to do this and fail miserably, but with the items I have seen her post in this fashion it really is hard to tell, at least from the photos. I don’t see any throwback items listed right now.
Right now, Flapper Flock has some most excellent vintage shoes and some other odds and ends:
Consider this dress the companion to the tuxedo I posted yesterday – classy, elegant, and perfect for a New Year’s Eve or Christmas cocktail party, with a starting price of $9.99 – affordable elegance at its best! I simply love beaded 1920’s dresses and this one from eBay seller malinalco is truly exceptional, with an amazing combination of beading and sequins straight from the Champs Elysees. I am at a loss for words….it’s just so beautiful!