Review and Photos by Tom O’Hara
STURBRIDGE, MASS. — Linda Zukas hosted for the 25th season her Antique Textile and Vintage Fashions Show and Sale at the Sturbridge Host Hotel on Labor Day, September 7. Always on the Monday of each Brimfield Antiques Market Week, this may have been the 25th season, but only the 74th show because in the first year the first show took place during Brimfield’s July run. This year, Zukas noted that there were many dealers who had been exhibiting at the very first show and several who never missed a show.
Attendance was excellent at the opening, she reported, saying, “Shoppers were arriving steadily all day after the usual early buying gate. Many were happy to be sheltered from the sun, heat and humidity as outside temps reached the 90s.”
The show has been operating long enough that in some cases there are now next-generation family members participating in the business. Susan Voake’s Forget Me Not Antiques was the first exhibit on the right in the exhibit hall. She was assisted by her daughter Devon, who had grown up with her mother’s passion for antiques and, as a child, assisted in some shows many years ago. Voake’s collection now could fit in a compact car; it is all smalls, including sewing notions, desk accessories and little nosegays. Voake also trades in handmade but unused Victorian-era valentines.
The firm 1840 House of Maine, Yarmouth, Maine, showed antique fashions fitting with the date in its name and forward through the Roaring Twenties. Among the offerings was an elegant black dress, sheer and sexy, from times gone by, and it sold quickly that morning to someone looking for the style.
Trading in Victorian wedding dresses, Maria Niforos has something of a head start as she maintains a business stall on Portobello Road in London as well as at this show. The London business gives her an advantage in picking for her collection of Nineteenth Century gowns for the brides and bridesmaids, as well as more party outfits, offered here.
Side-by-side exhibitors were both offering Asian textiles and garments. Sarajo is from Portland, Maine, with early Japanese and Chinese costumes and textiles. Next to this booth was a first-time exhibitor at the show, Artefakt Gallery, Amherst, Mass., with a collection of Japanese kimonos in silk. The dealers had just taken over their parents’ business.
Kimberly Kirker, Leesport, Penn., was at the show with a different idea of textiles. Her interpretation took things in a country direction, especially early American fashions and household objects. Among her offerings was a late Nineteenth Century log cabin quilt in unusual dark colors with an X pattern in black.
Amalgamated from Alexandria, Va., offered several booths filled with vintage fashions from the Twentieth Century.
Victoriana is Connie Mark’s business from Rocky Point, N.C., with a specialty in Nineteenth Century fashions. She was there with the usual collection for women, but she also has a great depth in children’s fashions of the period, with a great number of small accessories and notions. Her showcase was filled with the small pieces, including tiny shoes, purses, hats and more.
Raw textiles are also available at the show from several exhibitors. Marston House, Wiscasset, Maine, was showing early cottons used for rugs and other heavy purposes in the rough and also a large quantity of fabrics that were ready to be made into fashions.
Some of the dealers with Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century quilts also were showing the raw fabrics for quilts and for use in other applications. Martha Perkins, Ashby, Mass., was selling from her quilt and coverlet collection early that morning. As a general line antiques dealer, she also brought a few objects not in the fashion or textiles categories. Among her early sales that day was a doll-size collection of pearlware dishes from about 1800.
Emmons & Martin, Essex, Mass., was also selling more than just textiles. The proprietors, too, are antiques dealers and they had just days before bought out a household collection, including a great deal of silver, which they were offering. It was selling well.
Randi Ona, Wayne, N.J., had a small collection that featured children’s stuffed toys. She said most were about 100 to 125 years old and all were in excellent condition.
Vintage fashions includes jewelry. Malabar Enterprises, Ithaca, N.Y., offered a selection of Bakelite jewelry. Bakelite was developed by Belgian-born chemist Leo Baekeland in New York in 1907 as one of the first plastics for industrial purposes. Its uses were soon expanded to many other applications, including jewelry.
More jewelry was offered by Tangerine Boutique from Gardner, Mass. At one time, owner Melody Fortier had a shop, but now she has found that this show is enough for her business of selling vintage costume jewelry.
Vintage Findings, Phippsburg, Maine, was showing its collection of early Twentieth Century fashions. Hats are among the dealers’ favorites, including special purpose work hats, such as fireman’s and policeman’s headgear.
Zukas continues to keep the show strong with fresh dealers replacing retirees, and she finds new customers for each of her three shows annually. This month publisher Conde Naste was there looking for material for a feature story for one of its magazines next year. The publicity generated for this unique show helps keep building its customer base, according to Zukas.
Look for it again all three Mondays of Brimfield Week next year, May 9, July 11 and Labor Day, September 5. For information, 207-363-1320 or www.vintagefashionandtextileshow.com.