Finds of the Fair 25th March 2012

As if enough evidence hadn't already piled up testifying to my dismal organisation skills, here's even more proof: once again I forgot to line up a special guest Finder for our Salford Museum & Art Gallery Pop-up Fair.

So I'm afraid you've got me again!

It's customary for the Finder to provide a brief bio by way of introduction but since we've already met I thought I'd give you a few trivial facts you might not know about me:

In the late 1990s I lived in a tiny room in a shared house in Westbourne Park.  The previous tenant was Dee Dee Ramone.  (I know, Ah-mazing!)

I studied graphic design and illustration at art college.  And wasn't terribly good at it.

According to an eccentric great uncle who conducted some dubious research into our family history, I am distantly related to Dame Shirley Bassey.

I was born with two front teeth and I have double jointed thumbs.

And on that bombshell, let's get on with the Finds . . .

Vanessa's Vintage
Early 1970s Pierre Cardin designed tablecloth, made by Zucchi in Italy, £45 from Vanessa's Vintage:

My first sighting of this tablecloth was folded up on Vanessa's stall, and straight away I knew this one was a winner.  As you can see, to call this something as banal as a tablecloth is an injustice.  This would work fantastically well as a wall hanging - either horizontally or vertically - where it would be seen in its full glory.  You might consider the price a bit steep, but named mid-century designer textiles such as this now command respectable prices and I certainly don't think they've reached their peak yet.

Incidentally, a Google search on Zucchi revealed their website and I found out that they collaborated with leading architects, designers and painters in the 1970s.  This tablecloth must have been part of that series of collaborations.

Barber's chair, £190 from Retrocedric Vintage Furniture:

I don't need to explain how brilliant this barber's chair is, you can see it for yourselves!

It's tricky to date, which is why I haven't put a decade up there in the title, but I would guess anywhere from the late 40s to the early 60s.  Some barber's chairs can be very high-tech and elaborate with hydraulic elevation, foot and head rests and so on, and weigh about the same as a small car.  However this example is pared down to the essentials and perfectly appropriate for a domestic setting, whilst retaining its fashionable industrial salvage chic.  As my mum used to say "it's just right for now"!

1960s Ready, Steady, Go! print apron, £35 from Dabberdecades:

How fantastic is this?  A photo print apron of the dancing audience on Ready Steady Go! - the legendary 1960s pop music TV show that launched Cathy McGowan as Queen of the Mods and a British fashion icon to thousands of teenage girls.  You can see her in the spots at the bottom.  As a garment this apron is bit baffling too, and I had an interesting discussion with Sharon of Dabberdecades about it.  We agreed that it was unlikely that a trendy young girl pop music fan would want to wear something as 'mumsy' as an apron, even an RSG one! - a factor that might explain its mint condition.

Ginger's Comfort Emporium
Sloe Gin Fizz Sorbet, £2.50 from Ginger's Comfort Emporium:

Quite possibly the best £2 I've ever spent (ok, I got Finder's discount!)  I asked Claire of Ginger's Comfort Emporium if she had any sorbets, and she dug out a tub of 'off menu' sorbet that she warned me might be too cold to serve.  However, she managed it and I'm very glad she did.  This Sloe Gin Fizz Sorbet was fabulously refreshing, with a powerful alcoholic kick and a real tang of fizz, although how she works in a carbonation effect I'll never know.  The ideal treat for a hot sunny day.  Definitely for adults only though!

1970s Confessions paperbacks, £3 each from Dabberdecades:

When I took this photo I didn't intend to include it as a Find, it was just that the covers were so hilarious.  Just look at that Package Tour outfit for a start!  Sharon Dabberdecades and I reminisced about how we believed the Confessions films - a series of ropey British sex comedies these paperbacks cashed in on - to be really rude when we were young and had never seen them.  They were the stuff of legend!  However, it's likely they were no ruder than the average saucy seaside postcard.  Yes, it's true, I've still not seen any of them yet so someone else will have to confirm that for me!

Heirloom Rose
1960s beaded and sequinned bucket bag, £15 from Heirloom Rose:

These charming and amusing ladies had plenty of delights on offer on their stall, including an incredible 1940s Cordé clutch bag that was snapped up by regular visitor and Vintage Village star Michelle Bridges (see her here in our News).

Not to worry, there remained this delightful 60s bucket bag garlanded with sequins and beads in sparkling tones of blue, green and gold.  I've not been terribly seasonal in my Finds so far (sorbet excepted) so this gorgeously summery tote makes up for that oversight.  This would make a very glamorous, and practical, addition to any girl's holiday wardrobe.

The Vintage Revolver
1960s pale blue sequinned dress, £35 from The Vintage Revolver:

If you're going to go sixties, why not go hell for leather in a real zinger such as this dazzling dress?   And unlike many vintage evening dresses, this one appears to be very easy to wear.  I'll explain: it has a high, rolled neck (no worrying about overly plunging decolletage or treacherous spaghetti straps), a subtle flattering colour (overlooking the sequin overload for a moment), deep armholes that won't dig into your pits, is pretty much a shift but lightly fitted to flatter, and is a nicely prim knee length.  Those wiggly lines of sequins might be considered de trop, but I like a bit of de trop now and then.

The Side Room
1980s Samuel Windsor handmade boots, £20 from The Side Room:

We're sometimes (ok, regularly) accused of not having enough vintage menswear and accessories at our fairs, and I'll admit that that's probably the case.  The main reason is the simple fact that in previous eras men didn't buy as much apparel as women, and tended to wear said apparel until it wore out, so there's very little surviving in wearable condition.  Plus female vintage clothing traders outnumber male vintage clothing traders by some considerable proportion, and they're not interested in menswear for the most part.

However, the sharp-eyed male buyer can sometimes find a treasure or two, and here's one (actually two, if you're a pedantic type).

These boots are handmade in the finest grade leather with an elegantly tapered, rounded toe.  What I like about these boots is their stylishly minimal simplicity and classic shape - it's all about the quality of construction and materials.  You just know that these boots will wear in beautifully, and only improve with age.  Not only that, you get an unused shoe bag and shoe horn too.  Bargain!

One of a Kind
1970s Egyptian style necklace, £8 from One of a Kind Vintage:

One of the few things I still collect is Egyptian revival stuff.  There's been quite a few Egyptian revivals from the early 19th century Napoleonic era onwards, but my favourite is the 1920s, kicked off by the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922.

However, this necklace is much later, and, quite frankly, it isn't the greatest in terms of quality and finish!  My guess is that this might have been inspired by the 1972 exhibition of Tutankhamun's tomb treasures at the British Museum.  It's loud, brash, crude, and probably historically inaccurate.  And I took it home with me regardless!

Atomic Vintage
1960s-1970s German lichen green zip cardigan, £10 from Atomic Vintage:

On the face of it, this is a pretty workaday garment and possibly a bit 'grandad'.  But it has intriguing details that made me pull it out off the rail at Atomic Vintage's stall for closer inspection.  It's a great blouson shape with raglan sleeves and a neat wide spread collar.  Plus the chequerboard style knit is really unusual, and it has a toning moss green suede strip running down both sleeves.  This would look super on slim chaps of all ages, and it's an absolute bargain too.

Suzy Loves Milo
1969 christening cake decoration, £5 from Suzy Loves Milo:

A very personal momento that can be dated precisely because it once crowned the christening cake of the stall holder's son!  Unforgivably, I've forgotten this lady's name.

It's hard to explain why I chose this  - perhaps because I have a terrible weakness for kitsch, and this is both cute and funny.  The baby trapped in the net and the hooked beak are details that amuse me.  Let's hope it finds its spot on another celebratory cake very soon.

1950s-1960s salvaged shop sign letter S, £20 from Flatiron:

Ego-tripping alert!  I could have chosen any number of things from Flatiron's astonishing selection of homeware and collectables, but their original shop sign letters really grabbed my attention.  There were a few of these perspex and chromed steel letters, and some plain steel letters in a slimmer, more Art Deco style font that Ian of Flatiron assured me were much better quality.  However, I've never claimed to have good taste - if you've scrolled down this far, you'll know that already - so it was this 'S' (for me, Sarah!) that was destined to be my big treat of the day.

And, yes, I realise now that I photographed it upside down. 

All Our Yesterdays
1920s-1930s Japanese porcelain bird napkin rings, £6 the pair from All Our Yesterdays:

I used to collect vintage Japanese porcelain - of the cheap and popular type - so these were hard to resist.  They're colourful, humorous and exuberant, like cartoons come to life in homeware!

This type of mass-produced, pre-2WW Japanese porcelain seems to have fallen out of favour right now, and these napkin rings are very cheaply priced.  I hope someone snapped them up because they're adorable.