Published: November 21, 2006
The Manhattan Vintage Show has been a tradition at the Metropolitan Pavilion for the past 17 years. For the past four years this tri-annual event has seen each show outdo the last and this October 13 and 14 saw the attendance up 20 percent from a year ago.
In 2002 the husband and wife team David Ornstein and Maureen McGill took over promotion of the show. Their passion for vintage along with their understanding of this unique market has been the formula for growth in the show’s attendance and popularity.
As longtime veterans in the business, both as dealers and collectors as well as promoters, Ornstein and McGill both have an intimate understanding of the changing trends and clients needs.
Their enthusiasm has infused the show with excitement, and many vendors reported their best sales ever. The weather was beautiful and customers thronged the door at opening. Ornstein reported, “The October show is usually our strongest because fall is when most clothing is sold.” The room was filled with 85 booths and for two days a steady stream of shoppers perused the aisles, many attending both days.
As usual the crowd was peppered with faces from the fashion world’s designer elite. Betsey Johnson, Anna Sui, Jill Stuart and Dana Braun were seen, along with designers from Polo Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan. There was also a team from Project Runway.
Party dresses from all eras were popular but it appeared the crowd favored silhouettes that were less body conscious. Smart and tailored, perhaps even ladylike, would best describe the newest interest. The Audrey look was popular and the little black dress, particularly with better labels, did exceedingly well. A few dealers indicated Pauline Trigère as one of the hottest vintage labels of the day.
Anything with fur trim flew off the racks and mink was far and away the favorite. Sweaters in fall colors and beautifully tailored coats with interesting details were considered smart investments for the coming winter. There were so many well priced, wonderful coats available customers commonly found it hard to decide on just one and often went home with two or even three.
Accessories from every decade, particularly fun costume jewelry, belts and handbags, were popular. The accent was on unique; vintage scarves, hats and boots were also purchased with an eye for the unusual.
In addition to the trend toward more structured design, a few of the vendors reported renewed interest in Victorian and Edwardian attire. The designer label also resumed its importance at this season’s show. Sales of names like Gucci, Versace and Yves Saint Laurent from as recent times as the 1990s were strong and selling well.
For the young and hip fashionistas with more style than cash, the trend was for fun and funky, particularly from the 70s and 80s. As always, with more than 100 years of fashion style under one roof, there was something to suit everyone’s fancy.
The Metropolitan Pavilion is at 125 West 18th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. The next Manhattan Vintage Show will be held February 2–3. For more information, 518-434-4312 or www.manhattanvintage.com.
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