So funny story. Before Friday night, I had never heard of Manhattan Vintage. I was laying in bed at home scrolling through Instagram, when something caught my eye. Yes, you guessed it, it was an ad for MV! I bought tickets immediately and changed my tax plans for Tuesday.
I went to sleep, excited for the following day, and dreamt of vintage.
Walking into the show, I was greeted with warm and friendly faces. The passion for classic authentic garments permeated the halls and I knew this was THE vintage show. Later I found out, Manhattan Vintage quite literally is the THE vintage show to go to for designers and artists seeking inspiration. More on that later.
As I continued to walk the halls, soaking it all in, I was greeted by a lovely gentleman named Stuart.
Stuart was with Lulu’s Vintage Lovelies. We spoke for a little bit about the show while Lulu finished up with a customer. Once done, he gladly introduced us.
Lulu is the coolest. She has everything from accessories to garments. Her shop had an eclectic vibe to it and when I asked her what she looks for when scouting for new pieces, she responded with a grin, “Rock & Roll!”
I remember walking up to Heather’s shop and noticing some really cute parisian dresses. I can see why people come here for the inspiration as well as the shopping. Heather’s biggest influence is 20-40’s period fashion. She’s a freelance fashion designer which was evidenced by the measurement tape draped on her shoulders.
Psychologist by day and vintage nut by night, Melissa’s taste was super cute. The words conservative yet eccentric came to mind. She laughed and said, “That’s good! I should write that down”. Her broad taste pulls her toward everything from the 60’s all the way to the 90’s. She said that it doesn’t have to be designer to be amazing. Personally, that was so refreshing to hear.
Smiling with all her heart, Karen was absolutely lovely. She’s drawn to unusual handmade pieces, crochet, unique prints and interesting fabrics. The two pieces she’s holding up were one’s that I had personally fallen in love with. On the left is a silk cording dress. On the right was a white linen adorned with hand sewn red detailing.
Sometimes words are not enough. Lady V is one of those people who is less of a person and more of a spirit. Her love and passion is unbound and she shares her spirit with you openly. Her love of fashion has less to do with the clothing and more to do with their stories. She has pieces that range from gifts from the dearly departed to purchases from cat shops in Amsterdam. And if they don’t come with a story, she creates one. She only wants fashion that makes people say, “This reminds me of...”
The most difficult part of shopping at Manhattan Vintage isn't finding what you're looking for. With over 100+ curators and dealers, there is no short supply of fashion to feed your wildest wardrobe imagination.
The hardest part, is carrying it all out.
Amal and Annie are a super duo of young femme-powerment. These two go with their gut on vintage suits and retro 90’s flair, being drawn to staple names ranging from Coogi to Gucci. “C.R.E.A.M.!” Amal says, “ A woman in a suit is powerful, especially if it’s fun and colorful.” I can dig that.
Barbara Q Kennedy (email: BQKno1@aol.com)
Barbara is the definition of queen. She’s had a storied career in fashion having graduated from FIT, opening her first shop, “Apropos” and later changing the name to “Bouncing Bertha’s Banana Blanket” and ultimately going back to her roots with her current shop, "Barbara Q Kennedy", nothing seems to stop this woman. Not even Studio 54. When asked about her favorite style, she responds succinctly with, “Mine.”
Coming from a family of fashionistas, Bruce is a hard critic of contemporary fashion. He lovingly calls it, “Disposable fashion.” Dedicated strictly to vintage clothing he recognizes the intrinsic value of fashion from days long past. And if you look a little deeper you can understand that Bruce’s love of vintage comes from a sentimental place rooted in his childhood.
Before I met Danielle, owner of Sisters Vintage, I actually met her mother, Debbie. Debbie is an antique button dealer, so it’s clear where Danielle gets her love of vintage fashion. Danielle loves dressing in what she calls, “Subtly 70’s” inspired pieces. She’s drawn to textures and patterns and even prefers that her clothing be obscure and sans brand name.
Danielle is about to go full time with her shop, and you’ll see her touring the united states for new pieces to add to Sisters Vintage! Congratulations Danielle!!!
What can I say about Jen and Little Olive that hasn’t already been said about Shirley Temple. You just can’t help but adore them. With an eclectic mix of bohemian fun and cultural infusion, Jen is most concerned with the details and quality of construction. She draws inspiration from designers such as Ralph Lauren and Norma Kamali. In fact, she used to be a wardrobe and set director, so you’ll see some garments that bridge the gap into costume.
Malena is actually a friend of Jen’s from Little Olive and, in fact, once worked for her. Sharing a passion of vintage and well-made garments, Malena sees vintage as transcendent. “Everyone’s looking for something different. You can't describe the vintage customer; she’s ageless.” Coming from someone who’s been collecting clothing since 12 years old, I had no reason to doubt her.
Remember Ms. V? Well, I ran into her again and she said there is someone I had to meet. She introduced me to David, the producer of Manhattan Vintage, which he informed me is now a family affair, after his son took over the show. David has been producing the show since 2001 and shared his views on how Manhattan Vintage has consistently impacted the fashion industry. Names such as Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Jill Stuart, Vivienne Tam, Anna Sui, and Mary McFadden have all drawn from MV’s abundance of collectors and dealers. And with a shift to the green movement and slow fashion, MV has never been more relevant.
Thank you for sharing your time and wisdom David!
Now here’s a story that you don’t always hear. Usually a passion for vintage comes from your family or some connection to the past. Amanda wasn’t inspired by her mother, but in fact, it was her mother who was inspired by Amanda. Amanda was hooked on vintage from a young age. Forever the artistic soul, she wanted to express herself through clothing that no one else had. Amanda cherishes the period between the 20’s and 50’s, in particular, designer Pauline Trigère, Rayon dresses from the 1940's and big florals.
Amanda (Left) is wearing a 1920’s brass crown by RJ Watts with her mom, Michelle (Right).
Mallory (right) created Classically Curated after years of collecting. Her carefully selected racks of clothing became so abundant that she decided to share her fashion collection. She believes, “Fashion should not be solely trendy, but should also include elements that make an individual feel sexy, confident and classy.
Mallory thinks “Vintage is so cool because each period has its own iconic style that always circles back in current fashion.” Her personal favorites are the 30’s-60’s. When sourcing, she’s keen on quality, condition and style.
Above are some fashionistas I met while exploring Manhattan Vintage.
I had such a great time meeting everyone at MV and can’t wait for the next one. Thank you all for being so open and sharing all of your stores. I know I couldn’t get to everyone, so I hope to meet you all at the next one!
Manhattan Vintage was located at Metropolitan Pavilion on 125 West 18th Street NYC.
Upcoming Shows :
Fall: October 18th and 19th, 2019
Winter: January 31st and February 1st, 2019
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