04 September 2012

Sturbridge Vintage Fashion and Textile Show

Time travel through fashion.
Labor Day, September 3, 2012, found me driving west on the Massachusetts Turnpike, I-90, to the Host Hotel in Sturbridge. Although the vast Brimfield Antique show is well known, the kick-off event is actually the Sturbridge Vintage Fashion and Textile Show, held thrice-yearly in the ballrooms and conference areas of the hotel, on the Monday of Brimfield Week.

I hadn't been to the show in a while, and noted changes in the offerings - much more menswear, for example, including lumberjack flannel shirts, wingtip Gatsby shoes, sturdy military and work uniforms, and varsity letter sweaters from the "Leave it to Beaver" era.  Less interesting to me was the explosion in the volume of costume jewelry on offer, much of it cheap-looking when it was new, and not improved by age. Still, there were plenty of antique toiles, bolts of vintage ticking, wonderful quilts, feedsacks, cashmere and beaded sweaters, and buttons galore.

Not just western items - textiles from Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan.
Designers come for inspiration, but it is a little too easy these days to take a cell phone photo of, say, a vintage blouse, and send the image to a factory in China.  Abuse of the show's resources has led to a policy of no photography without the permission of the dealer. The images in this blog are from dealers Judy Jungen, Melody Fortier, and Tom Arsenault, who gave kind permission for my photography.

Fashion plates, white dresses, fun buttons.
Click on any image to enlarge it.