Sunday, August 18, 2013

Javits Center Home and Lifestyle Show - NY Now 8/18/13

It was an exciting day at the Jacob K. Javits Center in NYC today at the start of the Home and Lifestyle Show for NY Now, where colorful and covetable home accessories, fabrics, clothing, textiles, furniture and jewelry cried out to be purchased. I was glad that I wasn't a buyer, as I would have been overwhelmed in that giant space filled by vendors on multiple floors and would have been paralyzed by an inability to make a decision after about three hours. I don't know how they do it, as it's an assault on the senses, even in the nicest way. Eventually one is exhausted by the sights and colors, but as I was visiting a friend in her booth, I could wander around and look and marvel (and get ideas) with absolutely no pressure. Times being what they are, it's also possible to buy something as a single shopper at certain booths.

I was visiting Liz Glasgow, who was there with her company, The White Cabinet. Liz's mother, Hilda Glasgow, was a well-known fashion illustrator from the 1940s-1970s who died a few years ago. Liz, a professional photographer, has taken her mother's sketches and brilliantly turned them into a cottage industry. Notecards, prints, placemats, notepads, stamps, mirrors, gift wrap and wallpaper (!) are now available with Hilda's lovely ladies, with more items to come.

  Liz with some of her notecards, unfortunately washed out by the lighting and my camera phone. Note the wonderful chandeliers - more on those further down.

Liz is partnered by a company called Kitchen Papers Hester & Cook, which produces wonderful paper goods. The displays and the selling area were most inviting and whimsical. I love Hilda's collection and included a pic of the Collegiate Collection (lower right), whose vintage graphics are a hit with me. 

And OMG, check out the lighting! I am coveting the spoon (and teacup!!) chandeliers, the industrial fabulousness of the glass insulators incorporated into the design, the keyplates, and the recycled goodness of it all. You don't have to live in an edgy loft - these designs coordinate well with modern, vintage and shabby chic decor. I definitely want one of these at least. Made in Tennessee, US of A.

Check out the Lego-inspired books by Mark's Tokyo Edge (top left). Hopefully you can click on the pics and see them better. I loved the little colorful lights by La Case de Cousin Paul, the crab glass lamps by Standard Specialty Company, the harem-like decor of pillows and lamps, the glass bottles and Christmas home accents in this picture.

Inlaid red & white furniture, signs for every occasion ("If you're waiting for a sign, this is it" - LOL). Colorful table linens, fake blossoms, coordinated clothing and home decor by Roberta Feynman ( I have one of her bags) and the colorful tree lights.

MORE tree lights, glass peacock lamp, fairy lights, more signs, and silk patchwork carpets ( I have one like this)

Eyeglasses bottle stoppers by Umbra, Xmas gnomes with knitted caps, a mirror with metal bubbles (like many pieces of jewelry I've seen) bags, embroidered bedding that looks eastern European, and novelty chandeliers.

Close -up on wonderful bags

Reminds me of Russian embroidered textiles

Cute idea for a beach house

Clothing & Home Decor by Roberta Freymann. Why not match your home?

Roberta Feynman has a lovely boutique on Lexington Avenue.
How fresh and cool is this look?

Uber-colorful tableware by Zak!

More Zak! at the front of the space, an enviable position.

Crystal accents by Kathryn McCoy. Loved the huge bowl!

Umbra's eyeglasses bottle stoppers

Pretty fairy lights - great for a kid's room or a party setting

Love these glass fish lights - what a luxurious nightlight, by Standard Specialty Company

Witty animal-inspired furniture

Crystal? glasses with intense concentrations of color

Halloween accents

Interesting novelty light fixtures

metal chain chandelier, and lots of colored glass chandeliers

Organic, elemental styled mirror with flattened circles - resembles some trendy jewelry items

Love the historical costume graphics

I covet this musical notes lamp

I'll just move in now, thank you

My FAVORITE booth!!! Pantone merchandise, from England.

Beautiful displays in an enormous space, expensive to set up. I hope that it was worth it for these vendors!
This fair is on through the 21st of August, so if you can get there, you won't regret it. Lots of great ideas for designers!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The End of an Era

Last week I heard that a long-standing source of vintage trimmings, beads and buttons was moving and downsizing - effectively, closing for good a source of impossible-to-find-nowadays embellishments that we always assumed would be available. A restaurant will fill this space (the rent was increased exorbitantly), just one of many on this street that was once filled with bead and glass gem stores. A few remain, but many are gone.

Ribbons and trims on the wall and in antique displays

The Tinsel Trading Company opened in 1933 in NYC's Garment District. I started shopping there in the 1970s as a teenager when I apprenticed at Ray Diffen's costume shop and had to buy fabrics and trimmings for the opera and Broadway show costumes that Ray's staff built. When the original owner died, his granddaughter, Marcia Ceppos, took over, and the shop grew and moved to two different locations over the next 20 years. It's now in an airy space on West 37th between 5th and 6th Avenues that Marcia has decorated in vintage style that perfectly frames her wares. She is still uncovering treasures that have been packed away, but the shop is downsizing and moving to the east 60s, so this is the last chance for anyone to see and buy most of these lovelies. It's my understanding that Marcia is limiting her stock to paper goods, which are indeed beautiful, but the beads and trimmings that she has sold are truly one of a kind. I only wish that I could buy all of it!

The costume shops and the Metropolitan Opera have been by to purchase as much as their budgets will allow, but no one today has enough spare $ to buy what their impulses and nostalgia crave!

                                                 Tinsel Trading has exquisite fake flowers!

A wall of ribbon and trim on sale

Millinery straw and more trim

All of these beauties must find new homes!

Over the last 20 years sources for costume designers in New York City and elsewhere have closed as Manhattan real estate prices have become unreasonable and older owners died, leaving no one to carry on the business, or children with no interest or acumen to keep it going. Fabric, button, notion and trimming shops that once filled every street in the Garment District have disappeared, replaced by restaurants, hotels, The New York Times, whatever. Yes, new businesses have sprouted up here and there, but the old places linger on, ghosts in the memories of anyone old enough who is still working in the business. The Drama Book Shop now resides in the space once occupied by Art-Max Fabrics on West 40th street, and the colorful stone floor survives. Did you know that 40th street between Broadway and 8th Avenue was once a block full of fabric and trim shops? There are only two left: Elegant Fabrics and Sposabella Lace.

It's getting harder for me to find the components that I use in the city these days, and last year I made a large purchase at Tinsel Trading when I saw that things were slowing down for them, so when I heard this news, I rushed over that very day to see what I could find and grab. There's actually quite a lot left, including some fixtures like antique shelves. I buy vintage glass cabochons and beads, some 100 years old, but most of my purchases date from the 1930s to mid-century. Now that I have some metalsmithing skills, I can make sterling silver, copper, brass and bronze bezel settings that truly showcase these beauties.

My most recent purchase from Tinsel. Someone cleared out the chandelier crystals, alas!

I wish Marcia & Co. good fortune and hope that her store will flourish in its new location, but I am filled with sadness that this business will be so diminished and that our lovely places to shop and meet and chat are ever-dwindling. Stepping through the door of Tinsel Trading Co. was a mini-vacation from the concrete and glass awfulness that this city can be.