This post was written by Lindy Shopper.
It’s been another fantastic year at All Balboa Weekend. If birds of a feather flock together, then our feathers are preened and shiny, because the Balboa people love to dress up and talk about dressing up. If you are a vintage style clothing or shoe retailer, then ABW can be an excellent opportunity to reach out to your fans, many of which come to Cleveland to shop in its vintage stores and/or pick up a pair of dance shoes from one of the ABW vendors (because it’s always great to try them on in person and to avoid shipping charges).
While it was a fantastic year, I was getting over a cold at ABW. I had many plans to do fantastic reporting on fashions, vendors, vintage stores, and take lots of pictures, but decided to take it easy and make sure I was well for the event. However, I have not left ABW empty-handed! The ABW vendors should certainly be highlighted for their fantastic contributions and much appreciated presence at the event.
My favorite vendor at ABW is Remix Vintage Shoes, which lines up their glorious shoes, some of which are not available online, in a long row that covers two large tables. Any Remix shoe can be an investment, so there’s always a delicious agony in choosing the right pair to take home.
Remix owner Phil Heath was on hand to answer questions, help with fittings, and tell wonderful stories about the shoes (or rather, the shoe of origin). I picked up a delicious pair of silver “The Ritz” shoes and Phil told me he found the model shoe (and pardon me if I butcher the story) at some sort of flea market and bought them for a song – the pair was from the 1920’s and had actual gold leaf on them. The Remix versions, while not in 24K, certainly look gilded.
I saw a number of gents pick up Remix’s answer to the white Aris Allen captoe, which have fantastic detail and come in a soft white suede. I couldn’t find these on the web site, so you’ll have to call Remix and inquire.
I’ll have more of my Remix photos at the end of this post.
Dancestore.com was at the event in force, with literally a wall of inventory in all shapes and sizes. Dancestore had two people staffing the table at times and the response for these shoes was overwhelming to wade through, with ladies and gents strewn about the hallway trying on shoes.
I saw a lot of ladies buying and sporting the Aris Allen 1940’s velvet and mesh Mary Jane heel, which looked fantastic on everyone who wore them. I was also informed that this was the ladies shoe of choice at The Experiment.
Heyday was back again this year, fresh from the UK, with owner Shona van Beers bringing over stacks of her amazing wide leg trousers, dresses, and flirty tops. If you haven’t experienced the wonders of the Heyday trousers, then you are truly missing out – they have an elegant drape, feel like pajamas, and make your bum look like a million bucks. I apologize for not having live photos of these items, and especially apologetic for not posting all of Shona’s amazing outfits that she wore all weekend – gorgeous stuff!
Toward the end of the weekend Bop City Vintage made an appearance at the end of the hall, with fresh vintage clothing for men and women each day and prices in the $10 to $20 range. There are no online resources for this company, but duly noted that it is very cool to have racks of vintage clothing for sale at a swing event!
I’ll end by saying that the Balboa community has some truly creative individuals, who came out in full force for the ABW Project Runway competition. The challenge was to create a look out of Bart Bartolo tee shirts with the slogan “Keepin’ it casual,” duct tape, and scissors. While I did not win with my pencil skirt with Bart kickpleat, pop-art halter top with chevron detailing on the back, matching purse, and fascinator, I was very pleased with the showing and with my model, Nelle Cherry, who did a smashing job showing it off. The winner of the contest made a fantastic, wearable dress with lovely goring and a twirly skirt. It may be too early for pictures – I’m hoping my Facebook friends come through with a few!
I’d like to thank Valerie Salstrom, MaryAnn Carothers, Kyle Smith, and the rest of the ABW crew for putting on a world-class event. This was my fourth ABW and, in my opinion, the best one thus far – I can’t wait until next year!