Published: September 28, 2010
The 59th Antique Textiles Vintage Fashion Show & Sale, September 6, was a full house of exhibitors and it filled that morning with customers happy to find their latest additions to collections of antique textiles. This unique and specialized show produced by Linda Zukas for almost 20 years in the same location three times each year on the Monday of Brimfield Week has been a phenomenal success for customers, dealers and Zukas, all of whom are happy to be there and leave happier.
Zukas fills the exhibit hall, ballroom and meeting rooms with the exhibitors, replacing retiring dealers with others offering fresh style and merchandise. Exhibitors collect for this event all year long, holding special pieces aside from regular antiques show to offer here. And customers plan vacations, business travel or just take sick days from their jobs to shop the show.
Kay Charron was building her wardrobe while at the show. From Windham, N.H., she finds great delight in sourcing retro fashions in very good condition for her everyday use. She came in this time with her husband serving as her porter and offering a second opinion on her selections all around the show, including dresses, hats, shoes and other fashion accessories for her ensembles.
Having fun while his wife was shopping was actor William Sadler, trying on several hats, including a top hat from Rambling Rose Antiques of Frederick, Md., and a bowler from 1840 House of Maine. That is the nature and ambience of this show, fun and a little bit of show, for the customers buy fashions that are special to them, worthy of note and in many cases they are sold to designers to copy. In fact, there is a rule in the show of no photography in order to prevent visitors from simply pirating the design without buying the special fashions. Antiques and The Arts Weekly did have permission from Zukas, however, to take pictures for this review.
There is a wide variety of goods at this show, in spite of the seemingly limited category suggested by the show’s name. Maureen Mayer of Silver Mine Antiques, New Canaan, Conn., offered Eighteenth Century fashions for men as well as women, and among her most valuable objects were several early men’s purses. She sold one of them at the show.
Quilts, coverlets, jacquards and bedspreads were available from many exhibitors. Martha Perkins, Ashby, Mass., was selling early quilts across the aisle from Pique, a Sharpsburg, Ga., dealer with a similar or competitive inventory. Set up side-by-side, the dealers attracted customers who would review both collections before their purchases, and both dealers reported good sales, so it seems to work for them.
New Yorker Susan Parrish was showing coverlets and later bedspreads in her booth, while another New York dealer, Labor of Love, was hanging them from the ceiling joists.
Fashions were available from many dealers. Debra Pezzulo, Mahopac, N.Y., was showing ball gowns and party dresses from 1900, 1910 and 1960. The Cat’s Meow, Midland, Texas, offered prom dresses from the 1950s and 1960s. Brenda Sabbitino was into accessories from the middle of the Twentieth Century; she offered about a dozen pill box hats that day.
A rare wax head mannequin was for sale from Odds and Ends of Rutherford, N.J. The wax head was original, the mannequin in excellent condition with wooden fingers and adjustable body height. It was found at an Atlanta department store, according to dealer Pam Coghlan. For the show, Coghlan was using it to display some of the early fashions in her inventory.
With about 140 exhibitors in the show, there was outstanding variety in the inventories, collections and selections. For most, there were even enough choices in sizes and colors in the vintage fashions.
In a postshow interview, Linda Zukas said she was thrilled with the dealers “because they not only anticipate trends, they inspire them.” She added that many of the customers “buy retro fashions here to reproduce in new fabrics for the contemporary markets.”
Next year will be the show’s 20th year and May will be the 60th show. Zukas has some plans for special notice of the long success of the business and she will be giving special attention to the many dealers who have been there for all the years. For information, 207-363-1320 or www.vintagefashionandtextileshow.com .
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