Published: May 8, 2007
Planning and running a first-time show is always fraught with difficulties: having the worst Nor’easter in 15 years hit on the second day of a show, with 8 inches of rain and high winds, makes it hard; having all your newly made signs go missing the morning of the sale adds to the problems; but Vivien Cord and Ed McClure, Cord Shows Ltd, overcame all these obstacles to run what was, in the general consensus, “a great first-time show.”
The First Danbury Vintage Clothing & Accessories, Textiles & Jewelry Show/Sale n April 14 and 15, 2007, at the Police Athletic League building, with 30 dealers from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maine, had more than 400 shoppers on day one, and managed to attract 150 intrepid buyers on Sunday. “If someone is willing to come to a show, despite the weather and official calls to ‘stay home,’ then you know they are serious buyers,” said Elaine Klausman, whose Vintage With A Twist, Bedford, N.Y., booth had good sales on both days.
Dealers repeatedly expressed their appreciation for the meticulous organization and marketing that typifies a Cord show. “She is thoughtful and prepared; the site was great for loading in and out. On Sunday they let us back into the building to pack out, with help from the porters, which meant we didn’t get drenched,” said Klausman.
In postshow e-mails and conversations, dealers concurred: “The show was very well run †the setup was easy and this could develop into a strong show. We need a show dedicated to vintage fashion and textiles; there are too few of them and the market is there,” said Barbara Lambert.
Mary Hiers travels to Japan from her Hallowell, Maine, home to acquire her inventory for Floating World Silks. “I definitely will come back to this show next year,” she said. “I sold mostly Japanese items such as short jackets called ‘haori,’ which are like short kimonos.” She had many repeat customers from larger shows and even Sunday was a good day with many sales. “I have done much bigger shows, but this one was one of the best selling shows I’ve done in a long while.”
Many booths had textiles and vintage ware that were both elegant and rakish. There was vintage clothing that spanned the century †from turn-of-the-century fashions at Elegance, Hopewell Junction, N.Y., to retro and pre-1970s clothing at Funky Fashions, Brick, N.J.
Jewelry was another favorite among the buyers, who came from as far away as Boston, Utica, N.Y., and Allentown, Penn. Susan Vatell brought vintage and antique fine jewelry from her Greenwich, Conn., home. She reported, “I sold only jewelry, older Victorian and Georgian pieces, which was to my advantage since what I had to offer was quite different from the majority of dealers.”
Michal Feinmesser set up her corner booth with an eclectic mixture of jewelry, ladies accessories, clothing and purses. One sale made her smile, “My favorite sale †by no means my largest †was to a teenager who was shopping with her mom. She picked a pair of vintage sunglasses, put them on, and with a smile nodded to her mom, YES! They told me she’s been looking for glasses like that for a long time and has even gone into the city in her search.”
Another teenager came from Sharon, Conn., in search of a tuxedo to wear to his prom. He found one that fit perfectly in Funky Fashions.
Barbara Lambert brought a mixed bag of vintage clothing, accessories, jewelry and even some perfume bottles. “I sold lots of clothes; there were several buyers from New York City, and that’s who you need to have at a show like this,” Lambert explained. “It’s not just retail buyers we want to see, it’s designers and buyers who have stores and shops in the city; if they come, and I had several sales to those who did, then it’s a success.”
At Consignments Unlimited, Newington, Conn., Santina Bennett had an assortment of items for sale, from an exquisite collection of furs to some wonderful hand crocheted collar necklaces from the 1940s filled with crystal briolettes. A doll-sized wardrobe was filled with doll dresses from the same era as her handbags, scarves (which sold very well, according to Bennett) and hats.
Some of the people attending the show were clearly vintage collectors. Gwen Ackley of Fairfield, Conn., showed up in a jaunty, 1940s hat and suit, carrying a vintage handbag. She came up with her husband, Parker, in their fully restored 1915 Dodge Brothers touring car. Parker and friend Francis Tuoti from North Salem, N.Y., were spotted during the show purchasing attire that would match their vintage vehicles †Tuoti was trying on a straw cap with a front brim perfect for windy days while driving his 1927 Model T Ford.
Cord and McClure plan to run the show again. “There is no doubt that we will do the show again and have already asked the PAL manager to pencil us in for April 12 and 13 in 2008,” said Cord. “We look forward to next year when nothing can top the challenges of our first year, which started out, on setup day, with Ed having to replace 18 stolen professionally made signs.”
Cord Shows Ltd’s next antiques show is the 22nd Annual Lasdon Memorial Day Antiques Fair in Katonah, N.Y., on May 28. For information, www.cordshows.com or 914-273-4667.
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