Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Visit to the Alameda Vintage Fashion Fair with Gail Carriger

Last Friday was the annual Vintage Fashion Fair in Alameda. Being as we had heard good things, and me with my little list of necessities, we planned an excursion. "We" being my dear friend (and Beta reader), Rach, myself, and eventually the Phrannish (my other Beta reader).

Now, Rach has been into vintage long before me. The girl knows things about hats. As we trundled through she found one of the most interesting hats I have seen in a long while, the Fantopper. Here she is modeling it.

It's made of paper, isn't it cool? 1940s in origin and it could have been mine of $20, but . . . what would I do with it? I suppose I could have worn it to ComicCon. However I was more excited by this remarkable creature...

Doesn't it look like it's caught some strange disease? It reminded me of a dress I saw on one of my Gothic Lolita blogs recently.

Of course I actually did want to but this hat. It's that blush color which seams to be my obsession right now. I was a good girl and didn't: too hard to pack, very few of my events are outside,  and I already have four wide straw hats in more practical colors (white, red, collapsible cream, and grey). But so cute.

It did seem that hats were the order of the day. So many of them were so Ivy worthy that of course I wanted to try them all. Yes, Ivy gets that from me. I love hats. Fortunately I have the kind of head that can wear them. I have one friend who, poor thing, can only really get away with a cowboy hat. Words fail me.

 Rach bought that cute navy straw one.

In fact, a hat was one of the few things on my list. Ever since i purchased this I.Magnin dress down in Santa Cruz I have been looking for something for evening for my hair in emerald green to match. I also want pumps and gloves, but I had no luck there.

But I did find a feathered band in the right colors.

It's hard to see in the photo but it matches perfectly. Then I hunted for the little dress clip in gold and green for the rough end of the hairband. I'm very happy with the result. (For one thing, that band curls up into a little packable ball. Since my Europe trip pack-ability has become a major concern. You may see my at a ComicCon evening party in this outfit. I didn't snap a shot of me wearing it but this is what it looks like:

I actually used to own one just like it, I might still, only it's in storage. Mine looked like this:

I ended up giving it up because it didn't sit right and was so close to the color of my hair that it jsut made it look like my hair was all messed up. Great on a blonde though.

From Mad Men

I rather like feather evening hats, they have a quintessentially vintage feel to them because you don't see ones like them around much anymore.Of course you don't see many day ones either.

Back to the Alameda Vintage Fashion Fair. It wasn't just hats, that happened to be the center of out loot. There were dresses, and shoes, and sparkles as well. I ordered two new pairs of glasses with vintage frames. They haven't arrived yet, so you will have to tell me what you think when we meet in person. I fell in love with this ultra-long purse, too expensive and hard to pack, but you could practically fit a parasol inside it!

In fact, do you  what kind of parasol you could fit inside? A folding tilt parasol! And do you know what I manage to find and but at the fair . . . a folding tilt parasol!!!!

Ok, so technically I wasn't looking for one. And I do have nine parasols already. And the condition wasn't great. (I don't think the seller realized quite how old it was. My guess is 1820s.) But this little puppy fits into a carry on.  Just look at it!

I don't have anything for scale but that is less than the length of my forearm.

Here it is extended.

And here it is deployed.

And here it is lying flat on the ground in tilt position.

It took half a bottle of clear nail polish (to stop the silk from running) and some stitch witch to make repairs, but I think she will serve my event needs. I intend to decorate her a bit more. Accordingly, I'm looking to buy or make eight lace or crochet patches/doilies/flowers or silk ribbon pansies/rosettes to cover over the repairs. I also have a bee in my bonnet about making a holster for it to hang off of my cargo belt at steampunk conventions but I have a draft to finish first. No projects allowed right now. Of course, regardless, she's coming with me to Steampunk Expo this weekend. How could I not bring her?

All in all the Alameda Vintage Fashion Fair was a great success. You don't have to take my word on it. Stylenik has a bunch of photos of the event as well.

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.


  1. That folding tilt parasol is adorable! I really want one now! :D
    It's so pretty :)

  2. I can give you instructions for ribbon rosettes....

  3. That parasol is amazing! Your resourceful repairs reminded me that the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild is putting on a Parasol Recovery Workshop at the end of June.

    Sounds like just your sort of thing!


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