Tag Archives: flower

ILHC 2012 Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It was another glorious weekend of competitions, inspirational figures (young and old), and a celebration of movement to some of the hottest jazz in the US – I’m talking about the 2012 International Lindy Hop Championships, held in Washington, D.C. this past weekend. The swanky Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel was the swanky backdrop for this event and the bright and shiny decor only added to the vibrancy of the event.

Were there vendors? You bet! I only wish there had been more vendors, as it appeared that they were fewer in number from last year. The most noticeable absence was Carol Fraser and her army of My Heinies, fabulous shoes, and accompanying Model J Vintage that filled up a prominent space in the vendor area at ILHC 2011. As a consolation, I did notice that every follow who showed her heiny in a comp had it securely covered. 🙂

Dancestore’s newest version of the trumpet skirt, available in black, brown, and red – as of ILHC, not available on the Dancestore website.

Dancestore was there with an entire inventory of their staple shoes, but of serious note was the introduction of a new (wait for it)…trumpet skirt! While it’s not the trumpet skirt we know and love, it’s still a nice variation on the theme, with beautiful Art Deco-inspired seaming on the front. The twirl factor is good! The only con, in my opinion, is the material – it is a very stretchy/drapey jersey instead of the more substantial stretch suiting-type material of the trumpet skirts of my crusade. The new skirts are great if you want something to ball up and throw in your suitcase, but are not so good if you have hip, bum, or belly bumps, or if you want to tuck in your shirt. I am still eagerly awaiting the return of the more substantial trumpet skirt. In the vein of more substantial fabrics, Dancestore also had a fantastic new red wiggle dress (also not available on the website yet).

Next door, Laurie Gilkenson (also known as Nina‘s Mom), set up a table that was a mix of fabulous and/or quirky Nina clothing castoffs, fabulous vintage shoes, Mobtown Ballroom tee shirts, various DVDs from instructors, and anything else anyone else happened to want to sell. My favorite item on this table was actually the Mobtown Ballroom tee, which not only embodied the rebellious spirit of Mobtown, but also managed to be patriotic and historic – highly appropriate for an event in our nation’s capital!

Photograph of the Savoy Ballroom

Mike Thibault set up a display of his wonderful swing and early jazz prints from his Vintage Jazz Art website. I noticed a couple of new prints, including a colorful print a flapper with a trombonist and saxophonist and (most notably) another print of a photograph of the Savoy Ballroom featuring a mob of dancers and Erskine Hawkins on the band stand. Mike said that he was working with the photographer’s son and that this relationship may yield some more choice photographic prints! We’ll definitely stay tuned, especially if there is more Savoy Ballroom and trombone player goodness to be had.

Forties Forward was on hand to make sure the dancers were appropriately and florally decorated. I have several of their flowers and they are some of my favorites. These gals know that the blooms need to stay relatively flat to be practical for dancing and for this Lindy Shopper salutes you.

Last, but most certainly not least, the adorable and incomparable Dawn Hampton was intermittently manning her own table of CDs and DVDs of “The Unforgettable Hampton Family.” Sadly, I did not get photographic evidence of this!

And that’s a wrap on the vendors, but stay tuned for two more ILHC-related posts. I hope events will continue to have vendors and promote Lindy Hop commerce amongst businesses and the participants who need/want these unique products. ILHC, see you next year!

Advertisements

Floweruary 2012

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Lady Day and her gardenias

It’s that time of year again, time to don your best blooms for a celebration of cheer, color, and beauty during the winter month of February – with the blessing of Patron Saint Billie Holiday, 2012 will be another great year for Floweruary.

There’s an added challenge this year – from the Facebook invite:

“The challenge is back, everyone! Wear a flower in your hair every day of February. Feel free to post your pictures here so that we can all ooh and aah over how gorgeous you and your flowers are.

Post your photos here: http://floweruary.tumblr.com/

From Kerry & Philly:
Hey everybody, A few of us were planning on using this year’s Floweruary as a way to do some good.

The Commitment: Put away a dollar (or some amount of $, whatever you can spare) each day you participate in Floweruary. The Point: At the end of the month, we’ll give our Hair Flower Dollars to the Lindy Hopper’s Fund. It may not be a lot from each individual, but together we can certainly make an impact.

I’m not (yet) rolling in the dough, but I would love to do something to help the Lindy Hopper’s Fund. I hope you all think about joining in on this. Even if you’re a ten cent-er, go ahead and be proud with your ten cents!

Swingoutly, Kerry and the Philadelphians.”

There you have it! Looking forward to participating and seeing all the lovely hair accessories. 🙂

Be My Jazz Baby 2012 Vendors

Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society, dapper in tuxedos

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This past weekend I attended a wonderful dance and workshop weekend in Norfolk/Virginia Beach, VA called Be My Jazz Baby and blissed out on two nights of dancing to Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society. Be My Jazz Baby worked to bring in vendors, who set up their wares along the inside of the dance studio room where the Saturday night dance was held. This seemed to facilitate more interaction between the vendors and the dancers. Some of the vendors were old favorites and others were new to me.

First in the lineup, Sharon Crawford was there with her needle, thread, and supplies, whipping up custom Creations by Crawford for people on the fly, as well as vending some ready-to-wear items. Sharon prefers to create custom pieces for people, based on what they are wearing or something they own, which is entirely practical and takes the guesswork out of knowing what you’ll pair with one of her floral or feather pieces.

Next we had a new addition to our regional vendors, Norfolk-based Kelsie McNair and her collection of vintage dresses, shoes, ties, and other sundries from With Lavender and Lace. It’s always wonderful to welcome the vintage clothing community into the swing dance community and I think Kelsie was pleased with the response.

Dancestore.com, by way of Kara Fabina, was present to vend their quality dance shoes to anyone who needs or wants (or desperately needs because their shoes are falling apart) a new pair of swing dance shoes. I’m excited to see Aris Allen as a consistent vendor and events – after going through a patent leather oxford boy’s ballroom shoe nightmare this week, being able to try on the shoes is worth its weight in gold.

Also new-ish to the vendor squad (but not new to the Raleigh Durham dancers) is Hairzapoppin, the floral creations of Kristy Milliken. Kristy is probably her own best advertising, as she always has a bevy of blossoms tucked into her impeccable updo. Not to mention the Lite-Brite sign, acting as a beacon to draw you to her table…

Vintage Visage came next, which I first encountered at Jammin’ on the James in Richmond, VA this past fall. Wares include reproduction and vintage items, like hats, gloves, fans, hair accessories, ties, and purses, that little something extra you may need to complete your outfit. Kathryn Ann Meyer, the curator of the Vintage Visage collection, graciously let us use one of her hats to draw names for the competition – thanks again for that!

Finally, Be My Jazz Baby had a roving vendor – Caroline Langdon, dolled up in a gorgeous cigarette girl ensemble, peddled vintage ties and other vintage goodies from her tray instead of cigarettes on behalf of Moderlux, a vintage clothing and furniture store in Hampton, VA. Sadly, Caroline and I were both so busy that I didn’t catch sight of her wares, but she’s provided this information on the store: “Modernlux is a truly unique little store I operate with owner/founder Gary MacIntyre located in the heart of old Hampton at 47 East Queens Way (23669). We specialize in Mid-Century design including housewares, household gadgets, furniture, objets d’art, and, naturally, fashion – for both men and women!”

Thanks to Bill Speidel and Victor Celania for hosting a lovely weekend of dancing and shopping!

Some samples of Creations by Crawford - what you don't see is all the custom pieces she made on-site over the weekend!

Kelsie McNair and her goods from With Lavender and Lace

The spread of shoes from Dancestore.com

Kristy delivers the goods at Hairzapoppin'

Vintage Visage's table runneth over... 🙂

Holiday Hair Flowers

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Snowflake flower clip

It’s about that time – the time of the year where we don our holiday finery for holiday parties and dances, which means it’s time to start planning our outfits now. Regular hair flowers are great, but not always the right tone for a seasonal outfit. I’ve gone so far as to pick some unknown berries and leaves from my yard and put them in my hair because I wanted to look festive. I’m not sure if the berries were poisonous, so this year…safety first.

I’ll credit Philly dancer Caroline Gleeson for the tip about May Bell Creations, the Etsy store of Caroline’s friend, Mary Hadzimichalis. Mary has created some really lovely holiday hair ornaments, some that are more floral (like that elusive poinsettia I’ve been wanting) and others sparkle, and most do both. I think she’s done a fantastic job with the materials and making the pieces look festive without being kitschy. Here’s what I love:

Poinsettia clip

Glittering snow flower clip

Shooting star on Christmas

Falling leaves hair clip - perhaps just in time for Thanksgiving?

Parasols

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

With this summer’s record-breaking temperatures, it becomes even more necessary to either take cover or create your own cover at outdoor events. In between dances, I like to hide under my inexpensive, Asian-inspired parasol, which does more for keeping you cool and protecting you from the sun than you would think. It’s no substitute for a good sunscreen or an AC unit, but it does create shade and adds instant beauty to your mise-en-scène, without breaking the bank. Here are some lovely parasols to keep you made in the shade this summer:

Dragon and Phoenix paper parasol on eBay

Blue and white parasol on eBay

Pink, silver, and gold star parasol on Etsy

Purple Battenburg lace parasol on eBay - comes in many other solid colors, as well as solid with white panels

Japanese paper parasol on eBay

Flower shaped cherry blossom parasol from AsianIdeas.com

Red spiral paper parasol from AsianIdeas.com

Elephant parade parasol from AsianIdeas.com

Peacock parasol from AsianIdeas.com

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. 🙂

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

Lindy Focus IX Vendors

A Forties Forward hair flower display at the Expo Center, Lindy Focus

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Lindy Focus continues to amaze me. This intimate regional event has turned into one of the largest Lindy Hop events, if not the largest, in the country. Michael and Jaya Gamble turn out a flawless event every year, with each passing Lindy Focus growing in attendance, quality, attention to detail, and sheer awesomeness. In spite of this year’s severe weather disasters and subsequent travel delays, attendees persevered, going by train, bus, delayed plane, or automobile, from far and wide, determined to make it to this Lindy Hop holiday Mecca or bust.

I was a bit disappointed when I walked into the lobby and saw that Dancestore was not selling their staple dance shoes. This left Lindy Focus with no anchor vendor and dancers without that valuable opportunity to try on dance shoes in person or replace any missing, forgotten, or destroyed shoes at the event. Dancestore, we miss you! Please come back next year!

Forties Forward table at Lindy Focus

My disappointment was quickly dispelled when Forties Forward began setting up a gorgeous display table at one of the dances. Forties Forward is the brainchild of dancers and designers Erica DeBlasio and Michelle Postles, offering vintage inspired hair flowers and pins, jewelry, hats, and handbags. It was all I could do not to hover and snatch up the goodies while they were setting out the hair flowers – just containers upon containers of colorful and beautiful blooms! The prices are great, at $5 or $7 a pop, and I can attest to the quality of the hair flowers, having purchased a white lily hair flower from Erica few years ago. Needless to say, I stocked up on flowers and anticipate clusters of flowers in my hair now that the supplies are plentiful.

Lindy Hop prints on display at Lindy Focus

In the lobby area I noticed that there were some very nicely framed prints of jazz dance and Lindy Hop illustrations and photographs. I didn’t figure out they were on sale until later in the event when I was standing next to them and the vendor, Mike Thibault, introduced himself and began telling me about the prints. Mike has set out to obtain the reproduction rights to these prints and others yet to be obtained and reprinted, researching their origins and the best way to reproduce these works. This is immensely important work in preserving Lindy Hop culture and I commend him for this great endeavor. Mike is currently offering two illustrations (“The Lindy Hop” and “The Big Apple”) and one photograph (“The Breakaway”). He is also working on locating a complete, original illustrated map of Harlem nightclubs from 1932, which I am most excited about purchasing. Best of luck to you, Mike – I’ll be waiting in line, cash in hand, when you find it and get it printed!

That’s all for today…still recovering from last night. Stay tuned for another Lindy Focus post on Asheville’s vintage clothing stores!

Billie Holiday’s Gardenias

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

There’s been a flurry of Billie Holiday discussion online today, with DJs Rob Moreland (via Facebook) and Jerry Almonte (via blog) writing about danceable Billie Holiday tunes. Billie’s music is absolutely inspiring and so is her signature look. The images of Billie Holiday with clusters of gardenias in her hair are iconic – so much so, that flowers, or clusters of flowers, have become a quintessential vintage look for singers, dancers, and (as many Etsy listings tout) brides.

Billie’s flowered tresses came about by accident, according to biographer Bud Kliment (via the Human Flower Project). The story goes that “During Holiday’s tenure at Kelly’s Stable, Sylvia Sims, a fellow jazz singer, furnished Holiday with an accessory that was to become a lasting part of her image. One night before a performance, Holiday burned her hair with a curling iron. Sims, who was in the room with her, promptly went to a club down the street, where the coat check girls were selling flowers. Sims bought a big white gardenia and gave it to Holiday, who wore it that night to cover the burned section of her hair. She liked wearing the flower so much that she began to put a gardenia in her hair before every performance.”

Gardenias are beautiful, delicate white flowers with a lovely and potent scent. I was delighted to discover that the giant bush behind my house was a gardenia bush, after it blossomed with gusto this past spring. The smell was intoxicating and made my backyard a wonderful and fragrant place to be (in spite of my brown thumb and allergies to the outdoors). I plucked some of these flowers to wear at the G.I. Jive in Greenville, S.C. this past June, placing them carefully in a vase inside a cooler so they would survive the trip to South Carolina. At the dance that night, several people commented on the flowers’ fragrance and were surprised that I had transported real gardenias to wear in my hair. It was definitely worth the effort, as the gardenias achieved the desired Billie effect and fit wonderfully in the curl of a victory roll; however, by the end of the night, the June humidity and heat (as well as additional heat from dancers) caused the gardenias to wilt. I presume that all those photos of Billie with gardenias were taken shortly after she took the stage, or in winter…or that she perhaps wore a more hearty variety of gardenias.

(Side note: There is some debate in the Human Flower Project article about what it means to wear the flower on the right side above the ear or the left side above the ear. I notice that Billie wears hers on the left. I wear my flowers on the left so my lead doesn’t get a flower directly in the face when we are in closed position or dancing Balboa. I wonder if that was a consideration for her side selection…)

My gardenia bush lost its blooms several months ago, but there are a number of beautiful and practical artificial options to tide me over until next spring. Etsy has become my go-to place for hair flowers and the crafts-people on Etsy do not disappoint. Here are some options to help you achieve Lady Day’s signature look:

A lovely silk specimen from seller ellasalley

Gardenia with a pearl and rhinestone center

Bloom with a jeweled brooch in the center

Gardenia made from air dried clay

Another lovely specimen

Enough gardenias to do a proper Billie