The Manhattan Vintage Show brings fashion’s past into the future.
Upon entering the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street, before I could even glimpse at the decades of fashion before me, another sense awakened. “It smells like the pages of a beautiful, old book,” I instantly commented to a friend as we walked into the Manhattan Vintage Show. There’s something about the scent of a hundred-year-old book or a hundred-year-old gown that radiates its own kind of magic. It’s the closest we’ll get to a time machine. A step into the past.
Garments ranging from the 1800s to 1980s stuff the racks. Vintage jewelry and accessories shine within their brilliantly lit display cases. Being surrounded by relics from our past illuminates both how fashion has evolved and the timelessness of certain styles.
Examining the clothes is a treat, but the conversations buzzing around the Pavilion are just as satisfying. It’s a pleasure to talk with vendors about their pieces, their origin, and how each article is not only reflective of the trends and culture of their time but how it’s influence is still felt today. It’s equally entertaining to eavesdrop on side conversations when passing from vendor to vendor. Two men trash-talk a designer with the air of self-importance one expects from those in this industry. In the next aisle, a customer haggles with a vendor over a vintage black Fendi handbag. The vendor assured her it’s authentic as he wouldn’t dare sell anything counterfeit. When I spied a Bob Mackie jacket fit for Cruella De Vil, the kind woman told me that “it’s $200, but for you, I’ll do $195.”
Despite the generous discount offered, I had to leave it- and my heart- on the rack.
If you’re like me and don’t have $195 to drop without a thought, don’t fret! This event is still for you. Studying the detail in the tailoring and stitching feels personal and powerful. More likely than not, these garments were crafted by hand. It’s proof of an age gone by.
Today, you can walk into any store and purchase a factory-made dress or order a pair of heels on Amazon and find them on your doorstep tomorrow. The fast fashion industry is the second-largest industrial polluter behind the oil industry. Not only is vintage shopping or thrifting a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, but it’s an opportunity to own a piece of history. Your own personal time machine. And moreover, you’ve scored a look that no one else has and will last a lifetime. So when someone asks you, “Where did you get that top?” You can say, “It’s from the Manhattan Vintage Show.”
More info on The Manhattan Vintage Show can be found here. The next show is April 17 & 18 in New York City.