Published: May 31, 2011
Linda Zukas began the 21st year of her Antique Textile and Vintage Fashions Show and Sale May 9 and said she “had the best attendance ever,” both with early admissions at 9:30 am and the regular admissions an hour later for the one-day affair. With 135 exhibitors offering all manner of merchandise relating to antique and vintage clothing, fashions and textiles, the show is a unique opportunity to obtain a piece of the past for designers and many who just love the look of earlier times.
There were ladies trying on outfits from the 1940s, wedding dresses from the Victorian period, Hollywood costumes replicating fashions from hundreds and even thousands of years ago, quilts and coverlets from the last 200 years, notions and yard goods for dress makers and seamstresses of traditional and contemporary styles †in short, something for nearly everyone.
Three times each year, on the Monday prior to the Brimfield markets in May, July and September at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center, Zukas conducts this now famous and highly regarded specialty show and sale for what has become an international audience of shoppers. There is an ever-increasing presence of Europeans gathering Victorian fashions, Asians buying campy things from America’s hippie days and Australians and New Zealanders collecting garments from the 1930s and 1940s.
Movie and Broadway stage set decorators are there for ideas, and designers buy to copy past styles for the future. In fact, there are signs posted throughout the show that no photographs are permitted, with an exception being made for reporting on the show.
Inside the exhibit halls as the show was opening, New York City dealer Susan Simon was scurrying about getting the last of her collection out, while at the same time showing several wonderful hats to the first shoppers. They took the hats.
In the back of the hall, Jane Lury sold a Spanish-American War-era blanket. During the war, injured soldiers while recovering would use army blankets as the foundation for decorative reworking, in this case, making two draped flags on the blanket with 45 stars, thus confirming the time period in the 1890s. Lury’s business, Labors of Love, is blankets, quilts and coverlets in Hillsdale, N.Y.
Connie Marks, Rocky Point, N.C., finds Midcentury designer gowns and outfits, which she offers at the show. They are sold as models for copying again, as well as to customers who may actually use the garments. At the May show, there were three outfits by Elizabeth Arden †and in the middle of all them, the underwear.
Carlson and Stevenson, Manchester Center, Vt., has been exhibiting for several years now with a collection of small textile-oriented antiques. The firm’s centerpiece was a pictorial and ABC sampler in mixed fabrics dated 1868. Their shop is open by chance or appointment.
Another Vermonter, Susan Voake, was offering her collection, Forget Me Not Antiques, which includes resurrected valentines and love notes. In addition, there were early sewing notions and a collection of lady’s writing pencils, the kind that would have been carried in a small purse.
Lynne Weaver, Wenham, Mass., was showing a large collection of quilting materials, quilts and coverlets. One quilt from about the first quarter of the Twentieth Century was in squares, each square showing different block figures †people and animals, including elephants, giraffes and cats, and there were even some buildings and trains. While Weaver said she did not know exactly the history of the piece, she noted that it came from Washington state.
Believed to be a Southern crib quilt, according to Julia Kelly-Hodenius of Pique, Sharpsburg, Ga., an eight-point star example made about 1835 was sold. The dealer was able to date it, she said, because the red dye and fabric of the time are identifiable, as later reds age differently and the weave of later fabric would have been from a more mechanical loom.
Many exhibitors were showing wedding outfits, focusing on the recent royal wedding and June brides coming up soon. Mary Troncale, Branford, Conn., had a large selection of bridal gowns and accessories available. Maria Niforos, Portobello Road in London, was selling a bride’s waistcoat, circa 1840.
Cindy Adams drove in from Denver with, among other antiques, an early Tennessee quilt called a “Seven Sisters” pattern in blue and white. There was a 10-by-8-foot canvas banner advertising a patent medicine, circa 1900, offered by Kinnaman and Ramaekers of East Hampton, N.Y. Kim Kirker, Leesport, Penn., was selling midcentury ladies’ outfits at a rapid clip.
Zukas will return to the Sturbridge Host Hotel twice again this season †July 11 and September 5. For information, 207-363-1320 or www.vintagefashionandtextileshow.com .
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