I think I need a personal day from my shopping excursion at Modern Vintage Chicago this weekend. I’m like a little kid who completely wore herself out at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and now I need a juice box and a nap. And a bigger credit card limit.
There was a lot to take in. The women who managed the event did an excellent job getting people excited about vintage; producer Sally Schwartz chatted up guests and had her daughter showing off vintage prom duds, fashion director Nena Ivon changed in and out of the vendors’ wares and got shoppers buzzing about whichever necklace she was wearing, and publicist Jada Russell was making more introductions than a speed-dating host. And that’s just the people…
I could have spent the entire day pilfering through the vintage booths. Oh wait, I did spend the entire day. I was dog-tired and hallucinating by the end of it, but with one special difference from my usual vintage safaris: I wasn’t hunting to find some hidden gems, I couldn’t stop hunting because there were too many.
Which is exactly what Modern Vintage is aiming for. As fashion director of MVC, Ivon will be helping the vendors fine-tune their businesses and cultivate sellers that consistently bring both vintage couture classics and unique, quality finds to the markets. By seeking out the best of the best resale vendors, MVC is virtually creating the Barney’s of vintage. Louis Vuitton travel trunks, Kelly bags, and Chanel suits were par for the course here, along with gobs of label-less — but finely made — items. With all of these high-end dealers, you might not find that inappropriately cheap vintage gem from a clueless shopkeeper, but you can bet what your money does buy is the highest quality.
Each vendor had something different to offer, the most valuable item probably being a mental encyclopaedia of their particular specialty. A sunglasses vendor informed me all about the history of Ray-Bans, while Antiques Roadshow regular Caroline Ashleigh could pretty much reference every shoe ever made. Even the shoppers were professionals. Ivon’s good friend Mary Schlax could talk vintage jewelry like a pro and had the necklace inventory to prove it.
I myself found some items to take home, including some 1980s shades, a Dobbs straw porkpie hat and a Tahitian blouse for $5. I was almost over the edge on a clutch made of colorful telephone cord, but I managed to cage the merchandise beast. She can be quite the ornery creature.
Another point to note was the pomp and circumstance at the event that an ordinary vintage shop lacked. Models swanned around in styled ensembles, mimosas and Bloody Marys made the rounds, while vintage seller and vintage-inspired designer Silver Moon presented their creations from an upper balcony. While not crowded, the event was a swirl of activity.
Thus, I found myself that afternoon deliriously hanging to the Route 8 CTA sign, praying that I didn’t fall into the Halsted traffic before the bus arrived. It’s a good thing the next Modern Vintage market isn’t until October. I need the time to rest.