Published: September 20, 2016
Review and Photos by Tom O’Hara
STURBRIDGE, MASS. — Reports of a hurricane that never came did little to dampen spirits of the 150 exhibitors and several thousand shoppers for Linda Zukas’ Antique Textiles Vintage Fashions Show & Sale September 5 at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center. Linda said that with now just the two shows the dealers were in agreement that this show is even stronger for having dropped the July event.
The show opened with shoppers rushing to their favorite exhibits to find the freshest additions that they could acquire for their own use or to take back to their shops, or in some cases their studios to copy and reproduce.
Other buyers simply add the rare early garments to their collections. Connie Marks, Victoriana from Rocky Point, N.C., was selling Nineteenth Century children’s long white dresses and the accessories for them. These are used today for party outfits for children, fun times, sort of a Gone-with-the-Wind look for young girls to dress up. They are also very collectible for museum-like displays and store windows.
Portobello Road, London, dealer Marie Niforos, sold her lovely dresses from the 1800s to brides-to-be who will be using these vintage pieces in their own weddings. Some of the outfits were also party dresses for other occasions.
The Cat’s Meow brings enough fashions from the middle of the Twentieth Century to fill two booths. Dealer Steven Porterfield, Midland, Texas, searches various sources for his collection.
Verna Scott trading from her 1840 House in Yarmouth, Maine, does much the same, but with an earlier time, focusing on late Victorian styles. She also adds other textiles to her collection.
Carlson and Stevenson, Manchester Center, Vt., were busy all morning changing their backdrop, as it kept selling! They were using their antique quilts as the back wall of their booth and according to Phyllis Carlson, about as soon as she hung one, it sold, and this happened three times in a row. Their sales also included several baby dresses from the Nineteenth Century and a large quantity of metallic lace.
Another exhibitor with children’s outfits from days gone by was Debra Pezzullo from Mahopac, N.Y. She has been specializing here in children’s formalwear for some time, showing a variety of outfits with each change of season.
Jennifer Osner traveled the furthest for this show, shipping her collection from San Francisco. Her specialty is summer dresses for children and ladies, all from the turn of the century, about 116 years ago, that is.
Some of the dealers show textiles for more purposes than clothing. Sarajo, a New York City dealer, was offering an antique silk and cotton door detail made in Egypt. Gerry Nicher, Princeton, N.J., had a much larger entry detail, about 15 feet tall, also in silks.
Quilts were available from several dealers, including Piqué of Sharpsburg, Ga., which offered a collection featuring Southern pieces. Martha Perkins, Ashby, Mass., favored New England made bed covers.
And then there were exhibits that were accessories to textiles and fashions.
Susan Voake, trading as Forget Me Not Antiques, Norwich, Vt., sold furiously many of the little things the lady might have carried when she was out in the afternoon or evening, such as a small beaded purse or a fan. She also was selling Nineteenth Century sewing paraphernalia, including pincushions and emeries, sterling-handled scissors and more.
Malvern, Ohio, dealer Laura Townsend brought several dozen cubbyholes filled with accessories necessary to complete any outfit. This included scarves, purses and pocketbooks and shawls and sweaters.
This show brings to life wonderful collections of early fashions and contemporary styles for today’s trendsetters to enjoy and in many cases copy and reproduce for today’s retailers. It is also the place to find wonderful textiles from the past for home décor.
The show will return next year on May 8 and September 4. For more information, www.vintagefashionandtextileshow.com or call Linda Zukas at 207-363-1320.
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