Category Archives: Fairs

Vaprikki-Vintage, Finland

Last weekend I went to Finland, of all places: an unexpected first travel destination. I was in Finland to visit Riikka of Harlean’s Heyday, who I met/fell in mutual vintage feminist love with when I was in London last November. Riikka took me along to the Fintage Vaprikki-Vintage weekend, and showed me a most peculiar side of Finland. For all the sightseeing I did, I’m convinced everyone in Finland has red finger-waved hair and a wardrobe of 1930s evening frocks.

It’s a wonderful thing when two instagram accounts converge; a constant photo stream was happening, @-tags going wild. It’s also a wonderful thing when two blogs converge. Riikka has already written about the weekend here, and now I must show our pictures to the world.

We met in Helsinki on Friday, immediately scouted a perfect pair of 1940s platform heels, and went along our merry way in winter wonderland ridiculousness.

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There were burlesque plans for the evening, obviously. Much preening ensued.

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So then frocked up in a DIY sequinned capelet, I enjoyed incomprehensible Finnish burlesque with Riikka for hours. Actually I think the incomprehensible Finnish monologues made it all twice as good.

This was all in a Tiki Bar (obviously), so in between performances we sipped mai tais and worried about cultural appropriation (resources on tiki culture and cultural appropriation, anyone?). We also staged elaborate photoshoots, because our fashions must always be immortalised.

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Then, the simply DECADENT Vaprikki-Vintage weekend in Tampere. En route:

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Oh, there was everything. It was a dream vintage fair, with lots of everything at RIDICULOUS prices, and lots of pretty vintage people walking around in every era. MANY VINTAGE SIGHS.

It was so peculiar to see so many 30s and 40s ensembles in the crowd, more than I’ve ever seen before. Sydney’s vintage scene is very 50s-centric, so it’s so fascinating to me that Finland gravitates towards earlier decades. The hairstyles in particular were such a treat. So exquisite, ugh! I’m used to victory rolls, not finger waves. Look, Riikka and Jirina are such visions:

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More Jirina, because don’t we all want more Jirina.

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Look, I’m mixing with 1930s girls! And everyone is wearing velvet, so I’m definitely feeling overwhelmed. This was only my second outfit change for the day, too.

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I bought the most amazing 1950s party frock, you’re all going to die. LOOOK!

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It was only 50 euro. Actually. God, if frocks like this retailed for 50 euro in Australia, I don’t even know how we’d cope. It all got a bit hazy after the first frock, but I think I brought home three or four new treasures, mostly from Jirina’s collection, because we totally share a waist size. There were also girdles involved. More on this later.

I met so many fabulous people. Check out this gentleman in a  vintage safari outfit. SERIOUSLY. Let’s just appreciate him for a moment.

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There was burlesque, and then we went home, via winter wonderland Finland. Exhibit A:

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We celebrated the Saturday night of Vaprikki-Vintage by drinking rosé out of cans in retro underthings (apparently they do that in Finland: drink rosé out of cans). This is where the girdles became important.

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And there was evening, and there was morning – the second day. Neverending vintage paradise.

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There was shopping, and there was a Charleston class, and then a Finnish gentleman took me for a swing about the dance floor (how I’ve longed to lindy hop). No adjectives left because everything was just ugh.

I left Finland, and so it is that I find myself back in Lyon, France – which isn’t too bad, either. But I’m overcome with insane urges to spend all my weekends in the Nordic countries, because it seems to me that everyone there has red finger-waved hair and wears velvet, and that’s sort of my fantasy world.

So, good times in Finland, you could say. I’ll be back soon. In the meantime, I’ll try and console myself with France.

A bientôt!

Michelle

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Fifties Fair 2012 (again)

The Fifties Fair is now nothing but a distant swishy skirted memory, but photos are still cropping up, and the world must see them. Here are two snaps from Like Johnny and June:


Rose Seidler House, and me peeking out of it.


Madness! Jesse, Renata, Regan, Laurel, moi, Elisse, Elisse’s sister, and Emma.

You’ll find more of my drivelling about the fair here.

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Fifties Fair 2012

I think the Fifties Fair sent me into vintage hibernation for awhile. The day is so intensely aesthetically pleasing, it always seems to take some time to recover. I think this is why I didn’t end up making it to the Sydney Love Vintage fair on the weekend – a girl can only take so many novelty print swing frocks (“blasphemy”, I hear you all cry).

There were some fabulous photos taken on the day, but being a terribly lax blogger, I’m not responsible for any of these. So rather than post photos of the fair myself, I’ll just direct you to some picture-laden posts put up by some others in the blogosphere. Although if they’ll allow me the photo thievery, I’ll show you some of the ladies I met in my travels.

I had the pleasure of meeting Trish of Quiet Vintage Sewing at the fair, whose blog I’ve quietly stalked for awhile now. Her posts on the fair are here and here. You can spot my wildly-dressed friend Laurel in the second post too – she’ll be the one who looks exactly like me.

I also met the lovely Bex, who writes Subversive Lesbian Anarchic Femme (yay for vintage/queer politics crossovers). You can read her post on the fair here, featuring some excellent swing dancing action shots. As a side note, I’m also looking forward to witnessing more of Bex’s ensembles at Sydney Femme Guild events, which she organises – oh, the frocked up femmes.

I was officially introduced to Bec of Black Swan’s Pond at the fair, who I actually had a run-in with at swing dancing classes a month or two ago. Apart from just generally looking picturesque, Bec also played swing dancing partner matchmaker, and made sure I managed to lindy hop at the fair after all. She put up an exhaustive three posts on the fair on her blog: here, here and here. You can spot me in the second and third posts, plus Johnny and June are in there somewhere too. Here she is dancing with Amanda, also from my swing class:

The Old Hat posse was out in full force: the glam Renata from Hepcat Vintage wrote a post here, Johnny and June were their usual adorable selves, Sarah of Chronicles of an Eccentric came in a pretty red frock, and put up three posts on the day (here, here and here), Emma of Emma Aime made an appearance with her husband Simon, and oh, just so very many people.

In a final act of photo thievery, here’s a photo of Bec’s that I love (“is that really what my hair looks like from the back?”):

And now for the official outfit shot, taken as all good outfit shots are, by my mother:


1950s frock Grandma Takes a Trip | Capelet Gumboots | Ribbon belt Lincraft | 1950s cane bag somewhere in the Newtown vintage wonderland | 1950s hat Alexandria Antiques Centre | 1950s necklace Grandma Takes a Trip | 1950s gloves Glebe

It’ll probably take me a year to prepare for next year. Thank god it’s only an annual affair – I couldn’t take any more than that.

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Fifties Fair Magic

All the Sydney vintage aficionados I know have been all aflutter this week preparing for the HHT Fifties Fair. It’s Kind Of A Big Deal, and it’s totally tomorrow. It’s like the prom of the Sydney vintage world. My hair is pin curled, my outfit is assembled, and I’m mentally prepped for some hardcore swing dancing.

Of course photos will make it onto the blog after tomorrow, but here’s a flashback to last year’s fair:

Now, to await the magic.

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Outfit Post: Aqua, December 11

I ventured out in this aqua number, sans petticoat (scandal!), last Thursday afternoon for a rendezvous to Newtown. It’s a dress I’ve had for awhile, but the length used to freak me out a little in my less adventurous sartorial days. I’ve recently rediscovered it, to great success.

The dress is by an Australian label called “Lazy Bones“. They have an excellent range of six basic 50s-inspired dresses that are all produced in an array of splendid fabrics such as this aqua floral. There are new fabrics each season, I believe. Lazy Bones also designs fabulous vintage-inspired sleepwear and slips. Check it out!

This week I’ve been:

  • Plotting the next Old Hat gathering (December 18)
  • Working at Becky Sharp’s Vintage Market (more on this later)
  • Watching too much daytime TV, especially the Crime Investigation Channel
  • Reading “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac, aka utter word porn
  • Dreaming of travels to Russia and Eastern Europe

(Kudos to Emma Aime for this inspiring this format of post)


Dress: Lazy Bones
Bolero: Blooms, borrowed from Mother
1950s necklace: Camden Passage Markets, London
1950s headpiece: Mint Condition, Rozelle
Snood: Arthelia’s Attic
1950s bag: Paddington Antique Centre
Seamed stockings: What Katie Did
Shoes: Bloch




Also, check out my superbly-dressed friends Tim and Kath:

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“The Way We Wear” Vintage Fair

I had the good fortune of stumbling upon some employment at a Sydney vintage fair recently: “The Way We Wear” fair at Marrickville on 26-27 November. Considering my “uniform” was a red and white polka dot dress with a bolero and petticoat, I wasn’t exactly a reluctant employee. Imagine my joy upon discovering I was to carry out my duties dressed like this:

Yes, “uniform” indeed.

The duties assigned to Siobhan and I were not limited to manning the door (“don’t forget to enter the lucky door prize competition”); rather, in something of a risky move, we were also billed as the “models” for the Titanic-era fashion show at the fair. Inexperience was no barrier to the impending launch of our modelling careers.

The fashion show was arranged by Fiona, who is custodian of an extensive collection of historical fashions stretching back to the 18th century. It being nearly 100 years since the ill-fated maiden voyage of the Titanic, Fiona was exhibiting an array of Edwardian gowns at the fair which we paraded around in extravagantly. I don’t have photos of the first set of outfits, but here are the three that followed:


Siobhan is wearing the lace gown of a suffragette (notice the purple and green embellishment down the front), and I’m wearing the Sunday best of a poorer passenger on the Titanic.


Siobhan is wearing an exquisite frock which was so fragile after surviving 100 years, and I’m wearing a slightly daring shorter Edwardian gown with fur and wrinkled white socks (how they stopped them wrinkling, I can’t even imagine).


The finale of the fashion show saw us in nightgowns and lingerie, much to the delight of fair patrons. On the left, you can see Siobhan’s outfit is a shout-out to the glamorous ladies who escaped the Titanic in their nightdresses and fur stoles (shame on this lady and her ripped socks). Beside her, I’m wearing the work of a very glamorous Edwardian lingerie designer: a very transparent hobble-skirted petticoat. The old ladies at the back of the hall were particularly fond of this number.

It was an excellent, but very unconventional weekend of employment spent wearing fragile 100-year-old frocks and buying hats from the beautiful stalls. “The Way We Wear” vintage fair will be on again next August, and I understand you can expect some flirty fifties fashions sashaying around the room. In the meantime, I’ll be working at the “Becky Sharp” vintage fashion fair at Paddington RSL on December 10, so if you’re there, come and say hello – I’ll be passing out flyers on the street.

A bientôt, mes amis.

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Love Vintage Fair

I couldn’t make it to the Love Vintage fair at Canterbury Racecourse for the opening night, so Sunday I went along with Jesse, Tim and Molly for the intense vintage experience. I was there for three exhausting hours – guys, shopping is hard. It was totally overwhelming, with so many fab stalls I didn’t quite know where to look.

I loved seeing the stall for the Darnell collection which I’ve had a little look at online. I met Charlotte Smith, the curator of the collection which was lovely. I also liked the Frankie Magazine stall – they were selling cute bunting, books of Frankie goodness, and a new men’s magazine called Smith Journal which I’d recommend to all the dapper males out there.

Apart from those stalls, it was all a blur of petticoats and costume jewellery, but of course a very pleasurable blur.

What I wore:


Dress: vintage 50s, from Camden Passage in London
Hat: vintage 40s, from Camden Passage markets in London
Hat pin: vintage, from Berrima
Belt: thrifted
Bag: retro (not sure of the era), from Fringe Bar markets in Paddington
Shoes: bought in Paris
Gloves: vintage 50s, bought in Bellingen

Here are my purchases:

I spied Kelly Doust from far away but was a little too starstruck to speak to her. Nevertheless, I bought her new book from Coco Repose. I’ve perused it a little, but I’ll post a review very soon.

I scoured the fair for sweater clips, asking all the jewellery exhibitors quite earnestly. I admit I’ve been looking for them ever since I started reading Andi B. Goode‘s blog as she has such a cute collection. They clip to either side of your cardigan to hold it over your shoulders – ingenious! Well I found a single gold pair. It’s a little damaged, but for $9 I decided to just quench my desire for sweater clips and make the purchase.

I have such a weakness for costume jewellery, so this purchase was inevitable. It matched my outfit perfectly – I love the pale pink chain.

This dress is so amazing. I expect you’ll see my wearing it in the near future.

I’m particularly proud of Jesse and Tim who made it into the Daily Telegraph looking adorable. Check it out here.

See you soon, friends.

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