Category Archives: Road Trip

Vintage Charlotte Holiday Pop-up Market

I first went to the Vintage Charlotte Market in June, and I liked it enough that I made the trip for their holiday show.  I was not disappointed.  The show is not just for vintage clothing, but rather, is a mix of all kinds of old stuff.  The vendors were well stocked and prepared for the 10 am opening.  By 11 the place was packed.

Many of the vendors did have clothing, and so there was quite a bit to look through.  I bought a pair of 1960s bowling shoes from the owner of this booth.

With Christmas and the Holidays coming up, there were boxes of vintage decorations.  I can remember when these could be found for a dime each at the thrift stores.  That was before Martha Stewart showed the world how to make a wreath from them.

The fishy bag was unsigned, and was a craft project, maybe.

This basket bag was not a craft project, as it still had a JC Penney tag attached.  I can remember when these were popular in the late 1960s.  I made one from a fruit basket and some red, white, and blue canvas.

The dress does not look like much in my terrible photo, but it was very nice.  It is net with appliques and an attached under dress.

And here is a close-up of the sleeve.

I had these shoes in the 1980s, and if these had been my size I would have bought them.  Made by Hush Puppies, they were the most comfortable shoes ever.  It is a bit of a bummer seeing the very same stuff you wore not too many years ago being sold as vintage, though.

From 1968, this “Misses Gay Nineties Costume” might be something to carry in the back of my mind just in case a weird “old” bathing costume comes my way!

The market was held at the Fillmore Charlotte, which is a music hall located in an old industrial building.  The only real problem with the set-up is the terrible lighting.  The room is dark, as you can see, and all the lights are extremely bright.  The lucky sellers were located near a window because they could get a little natural light.

So pretty… so distracting…

Finally, the mustache craze makes sense to me.  Isn’t this the best food truck?

At the last minute I decided to drive a few miles to Concord, NC, to two malls I’d heard of but never visited.  First up was The Depot at Gibson Mill.  Housed in an old cotton mill, the building itself was very interesting.  Best of all it is huge.  I could have spent the entire day there, and by the time I’d seen it all, I was pretty much out of energy.  I did manage a quick walk-through at the White Owl Antique Mall, which was also nice.

Concord is in the middle of cotton country, and today there are dozens of the old factories standing empty.  It was great seeing the Gibson Mill being used not only as an antique mall, but also housing offices and other businesses.  The community around the old mill consists of mill houses, many of which look to have been restored and nicely maintained.

My eight-year-old self wanted this badly.

I’m always happy to see Vera Neumann designs.  This is a tablecloth.


I’m looking at this Yuengling calendar, wondering why I did not buy it.  Why?

What is it about old letter sweaters?  I love them so much.


This beautiful old tennis graphic was glued inside an old box, which I assume held lawn tennis equipment at one time.  Still, the box was a real find and it was in nice condition except for the crack.  It also was not for sale.

More tennis, a few decades later.  This is a poster ad for tennis shoes.

All in all it was a great day.  I’ll share what I bought in another post.


Filed under North Carolina, Road Trip, Shopping

South Carolina State Museum

Click to enlarge.

Last week I drove to Columbia, SC to visit the South Carolina State Museum.  This museum is a multi-purpose institution, with exhibits ranging from art to history to science and technology.   One of the most interesting things about the museum is the 1894 building in which it is housed.  It is a former textile mill, Columbia Mills,which was a large producer of cotton duck.  The building was given to the state in 1981 after the mill closed.

Some of the original textile-making equipment was saved, and is now installed as an exhibit.  Above are spinning machines.  The museum cleverly produced the look of many rows of machines by the use of mirrors.  There are actually only two machines.

This is a dobby loom from around 1940.  It came from a textile factory in Aiken, SC.  The cloth you see on the loom is what was being made when the factory closed in the early 1980s.

The product of the Columbia Mill was cotton duck, which is a heavy canvas used for tents and conveyor belts and such.  This is one of the last bolts produced before the “Duck Plant” closed.


A lot of the museum is concerned with cotton mill village and rural life in the past.  There was a great interactive model of a large mill village which showed how the village was pretty much an extension of the factory.  And they had a “country store” set up, with all kinds of products that made me want to go shopping.

It’s my guess that most states have a museum of this sort – a mini Smithsonian that is concerned with the history and industry and natural history of the state.  (Though North Carolina has an art museum, a history museum and a natural history museum.)  All the ones I’ve ever visited are well worth the time if only for the wonderful randomness that is often encountered.

I actually had a reason for my visit.  The museum had a special exhibition of items from Springs Mills in Fort Mill, South Carolina.  The company is best known for their production of Springmaid sheets and fabrics, but beginning in 1948 the company was also known for their racy ad campaigns.   I’ve written about this in the past, and tomorrow I’ll share a few things from the exhibition.


Filed under Museums, Road Trip

And Just a Few More of New York

I’m the type of person who loves to plan.  When going on a trip I read and plan and usually know exactly what I want to do and see before leaving home.  The nice thing about this latest trip to New York was that I left some time for exploring and serendipity.  In a city as huge as New York, there is always something exciting to discover.

What else I loved, in no particular order:

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one.

The memorial to John Lennon in Central Park.

The shop windows are always a treat, and this time I especially loved the ones at Tiffany and Co.  There were little beach scenes with metal umbrellas, and a gold or silver bauble or two.

Louis Vuitton had a prehistoric theme.

There are little pockets of the luxury that existed along Fifth Avenue starting after the turn of the 20th century.  This window is by Lalique who designed the windows for cosmetics firm Coty in 1912.  The Coty building is still open, and is now home to Henri Bendel.

Bendel’s today is a shadow of its former self when store president Geraldine Stutz was breaking ground with her boutique-within-the-store concept.   It is owned by The Limited and sells mainly accessories.  Still the store is worth going into just to ogle at the windows and to think of how rich and powerful Coty was 100 years ago.

These might have been in any number of the fine jewelry establishments on Fifth Avenue, but they weren’t.  These earrings are in the Met, and are Byzantine, made in about the 6th century and found in Cyprus in 1902.

Honestly, the food stands in Chinatown almost made me wish I were a food blogger.

In the late 19th century this stretch of Sixth Avenue was known as the Ladies Mile.  All the elegant stores were located here, and so a lady could easily patronize her favorites.  Today it is home to many mass merchandisers, like TJ Maxx.

I had to laugh at this billboard about Little Edie.

I had not planned on doing any vintage shopping, but how could I pass by and not at least look?  This shop was a pleasant surprise.  With so many vintage stores these days selling nothing made before I graduated high school (1973) Ritual Vintage was a shop full of older clothing, beautifully displayed.

One of the many beautiful sweets shops

Breakfast in Bryant Park

Love, by Robert Indiana

A lunchtime friend, Baxley

I had to have a serving of vegetables…

Thanks to all of you who have read and commented on my many trip posts.   It has been fun sharing the museums and shopping with you who share my interests, and writing the posts made me sit and critically think through all that I’d seen.


Filed under Road Trip

Saturday Evening Post, July 18, 1953

Today’s post is a bit off topic, but I’ll be bringing it around to fashion before it ends.

In 1953 the two kids are all consumed by their books (I’m betting there’s at least one comic book hidden behind the “legitimate” books) and today’s kids are consumed by their smart phones and other gadgets.  But the result is the same.  Dad is lecturing about how they could read at home, and mom is taking photos to share with her friends.  In today’s world she’d at least make the kids stand in front of the pretty view so she could post the photos on her blog and write about how much fun they had.

I tried to pinpoint Point Lookout.  I wasn’t even sure it was a depiction of an actual place.  And while there are Point Lookouts all over the country, this one looks like it was taken in my part of the country.  There was a Point Lookout on Highway 70 between Asheville and Old Fort, and it very well could have been the spot.  Today, Hwy 70 has been replaced by I-40, but there is still a trail up to  Point Lookout that people can hike or bike.

And now for the fashion.  I’m sure you’ve noticed that the mom and the daughter are both wearing dresses.  I can remember taking rides on the Blue Ridge Parkway, or through the Smokies, and my great aunt and my grandmother would be wearing casual dresses, but thank goodness that by the early 1960s, little girls were allowed to wear shorts for a day in the mountains.


Filed under Proper Clothing, Road Trip, Too Marvelous for Words

Vintage Shopping – Athens, Georgia

When I hit the road for an event or museum visit, I always try to fit in a bit of vintage shopping.  Before going to Athens, Georgia last week, I came up with a list of vintage stores and antique places around the city. Athens is primarily, a college town.  The University of Georgia is located there.  It is pretty much my experience that vintage stores in college towns cater to the young, because that is their main clientele.

When it come to the vintage market, that means these shops are often heavy on 1980s and 90s clothing, along with newer vintage-inspired clothing.  And for the most part, that is what I found in Athens. But then there is Agora, a vintage a co-op, with different seller booths .  This store is an Athens vintage mainstay, with clothing and accessories from many eras, along with an impressive selection of newer designer accessories.   The staff is helpful and friendly, and the store has a fun atmosphere.  But you do have to look, and look carefully.  A 1940s dress might be stuck between a 1970s poly dress and a 1980s prom dress.  This is not fast shopping, it is a treasure hunt.

And now for the tour:

Stuff outside is always a good sign.

Look carefully to find the gems, in this case, a pretty 1940s dress.

There is a great selection of handbags…

including some high-end designer pieces.

This late 1950s dress has a pretty lace capelet and a Pattullo – Jo Copeland label.  Really, really nice!

I had to show this because THIS is the type of dress Sally Draper would have been wearing in 1968, not those silly little cotton pre-teen frocks with bows.   (Careful: spoiler alert and haughty activity)

Too bad I didn’t need this, as I already have several basket bags.

Yep, it’s an Oriental dress alright.

This was a very nice vintage  Diane von Fürstenberg wrap dress.  With the complete lack of hanger appeal of these dresses, it really is a miracle they became such a hit.  There must have been some mighty persuasive sales persons in 1974.

Smashing design on this non-labeled jacket.

Not for the shy!

And here are some general scenes to show the eclectic nature of Agora.

An off-topic aside: up the street is the Lamar Lewis Shoe store, which has been in business long enough for the mid century modern sign to look fresh once more.


Filed under Road Trip, Shopping

Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes at the National Gallery of Art

The main reason I took a side trip to Washington, DC was to see this exhibition, Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes: When Art Danced with Music.   Ever since I saw some of the costumes at the  Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut in 2006, I’ve been interested in how the costumes of the Ballets Russes influenced the fashions of the 1910s and 1920s.  So when I heard that this exhibition was to be held at the National Gallery of Art, I was pretty excited.  Originally organized by and shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, it was a big hit there in 2010.

I’m not going to beat around the bush.  This is a must-see exhibition if you are interested in the art, music, ballet, and fashion of the 1910s and 1920s.  The story of how Serge Diaghilev assembled the best of the avant-garde to transform ballet is a fascinating one, and the National Gallery tells it in a very engaging manner.  The exhibition is multilayered, with not just the costumes and props that are on exhibit, but using them in combination with the original drawings, artworks that were an influence, historic photographs, and film clips of the actual dances (but not from the original 1909-1929 productions because Diaghilev did not permit filming).

I’m not going to try to tell the entire story of the Ballets Russes, as it would make this post much too long.  For a brief  overview, the V&A site has a nice page that was made for the original exhibition.

Diaghilev and John Brown, New York, 1916. Photograph by Bain News Service. Collection of Ms. Anna and Mr. Leonid Winestein

There is a one hour film that shows continuously that one needs to view before entering the exhibition.  It tells the story of how Serge Diaghilev, who was not a dancer, not a musician, nor an artist, was able to put together his incredible ensemble.  Born into a wealthy Russian family that lost its fortune due to the political upheavals in early 20th century Russia, he left his home in St. Petersburg in 1906, and eventually decided that what Western Europe needed was a good dose of Russian culture.  He was just the man to supply it.

In Russia, Diaghilev had worked as a promoter of the arts, and had even published a magazine, World of Art.  He was friends with many of Russia’s artists composers and performers, so he was in a good position to call upon their talents.  From the beginning of the Ballets Russes in 1909, he had the support of Russians such as artists Léon Bakst and Natalia Goncharova, composers Sergei Prokofiev and  Igor Stravinsky, and dancers Anna Pavlova and Nijinsky.

The Ballets Russes was a tremendous hit, and even during WWI the troupe continued working by touring North and South America.  I find it amusing that the Ballets Russe never performed in Russia, but the people of Knoxville, Tennessee (about 90 miles from my home) were able to attend a performance in their town in 1916.

After the war, Diaghilev was able to bring in more artists to work on sets and costumes, including Picasso, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, and Matisse.  Coco Chanel was also involved,  making the costumes for Le Train bleu which were sporting clothes.

In 1929 Serge Diaghilev died.  He had never accumulated a fortune, as all the money the company made was put into the next production.  It was said that Chanel paid for his funeral and burial.

After the death of Diaghilev, the Ballets Russes disbanded and the dancers went on to be stars in other ballet companies, often using the old Ballets Russes dances and costumes.  A group called the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo was formed in 1938 by some of the former members.  The influence of the Ballets Russes was far-reaching and many of the writings I’ve read credit Diaghilev with pretty much inventing the modern ballet.

I’m indebted to the press office of the National Gallery of Art for the use of these photos of the exhibits.   Photos were not allowed, but these are much nicer than what I would have been able to take.  Most can be enlarged by clicking.

Please do not  put these photos from my site on Pinterest nor on Tumblr.

Léon Bakst, Costume for the Rose from The Spirit of the Rose, designed in 1911, fabricated 1922
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, The J. Herbert Callister Fund, the Florence Paull Berger Fund, the Costume and Textile Purchase Fund, and the Costume and Textile Flood Fund

This costume was originally designed for dancer Vaslav Nijinsky but this version is later, from 1922.  The costumes often had to be replaced due to the hard wear on them.

Auguste Bert, Vaslav Nijinsky in The Spirit of the Rose, 1911
gelatin silver print
V&A, London, Gift of Richard Buckle and Annette Page

This is Nijinsky wearing the costume as it was made for him in 1911.  The petals were applied with him wearing the costume.

Jean Cocteau, Vaslav Nijinsky from The Spirit of the Rose, poster for the opening season of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, 1913
V&A, London, Gift of Mademoiselle Lucienne Astruc and Richard Buckle in memory of the collaboration between Diaghilev and Gabriel Astruc

And here we see the costume as rendered by artist Jean Cocteau in a poster for a performance of The Spirit of the Rose.

Nicholas Roerich, Costume for a Polovtsian Warrior from Prince Igor, c. 1909
silk ground, silk ikat fabric, cotton metal disks, skullcap embroidered in polychrome thread
V&A, London

A lot of thought and care went into all the costumes, not just those of the principal dancers.  The designer, Nicholas Roerich, sourced authentic ikat fabrics for various Polovtsian dancers’ costumes, whose clashing colorful costumes were an important part of the overall spectacle.

Léon Bakst, Costume design for Vaslav Nijinsky as the Faun from The Afternoon of a Faun, 1912
graphite, tempera and gold paint on laid charcoal paper
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund

The Afternoon of of a Faun was danced and choreographed by Nijinsky, and was an even bigger venture into the avant-garde.  The costume for the Faun was mainly painted onto tights and body.

Léon Bakst, Costume for a Nymph from The Afternoon of a Faun, c. 1912
silk chiffon, paint, lamé, metallic ribbon, cotton
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

This costume was worn by one of the Nymphs.  The ballet represented characters on a Greek vase brought to life, and the movements were intentionally two-dimensional.  The first audiences to see it were understandably confused.  Along with the costumes and artwork, the National Gallery has little theaters set up throughout so that many of the dances as interpreted by more modern dance companies can be viewed.  The Afternoon of the Faun still looks very modern.

Mikhail Larionov, Costume for the Buffoon’s Wife from The Tale of the Buffoon, 1921
cane-stiffened felt and cotton
V&A, London Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Léon Bakst, Costume for a Dancing Girl or Odalisque from Scheherazade, c. 1910
rayon, silk, metallic and other paint, metallic and rayon braid, gelatine paillettes, glass beads,metal fasteners, wire
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

It was the ballet, Scheherazade, in 1910 that set off the fad for Orientalism in fashion.  Paul Poiret always claimed that the Ballets Russes had no influence on him whatsoever, but I think he was protesting a little too loudly.

Natalia Goncharova, Costume for a Red Spotted Fish from Sadko, 1916
silk with appliqué, lamé, and paint
Dansmuseet – Museum Rolf de Maré Stockholm
© 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York/ADAGP, Paris.

Sonia Delaunay, Costume for title role from Cleopatra, 1918
silk, sequins, mirror and beads, wool yarn, metallic thread braid, lamé
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Costume Council Fund
© Pracusa 2012003 Digital Image © 2013 Museum Associates/LACMA. Licensed by Art Resource, NY

If you are familiar with the work of Sonia Delaunay, then you can see her theories of color at work in this costume.  The exhibition also has the original sketch, which I forgot to request, but you can see it on the Metropolitian website.

Alexandre Benois, Set model for Les Sylphides, 1909
gouache, watercolor, pencil and chalk on card, with bamboo supports
V&A, London

Just so you will know that it was not just costumes, this is a three-dimensional model for the set of Les Sylphides.  Click to see how wonderful it is.

Natalia Goncharova, Back cloth for the final Coronation scene from The Firebird, 1926
painted canvas
V&A, London © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

My favorite object was not a costume, but was this back cloth from The Firebird.  Even if you have not clicked to enlarge any of the other photos, you must see the larger version.  When I stepped into the room where this cloth was hung, my breath was literally taken away.  It is so large that the museum had to raise the ceiling in the room.  To get a better look at its size, here is a photo with people standing before it.

This is just a very small taste of the exhibition.  I spent hours, absorbed in the world of Diaghilev and his wonderful Ballets Russes.  Then I had to buy the exhibition book.

And a little extra:

Today the costumes and set materials from the Ballets Russes are scattered across the world in museums and in private collections.   You can look at the credits of the photos I’ve used to see a few of the collections that have Ballets Russes material.  For years, many of the costumes and sets had been in storage, and in 1967 the first of many auctions was held.  Over the next several decades the Victoria and Albert Museum amassed the largest collection of artifacts, but other museums such as the  Wadsworth Atheneum and the National Gallery of Australia have noteworthy collections.  You might be interested that the Australian collection was mostly bought in 1973 by an eleven-year-old boy.  Well, sort of.


Filed under Museums, Road Trip

Shopping on the Road

One of the joys of a road trip is the knowledge that just ahead is another antique mall.  I’m not the type who can spend lots of uninterrupted hours in a car, so I plan shopping stops along the way.  It usually works out to a thirty minute stop every hour or two, which is just right.

That plan went awry when I encountered the mega-mall above.  Can you tell from my photo that this place had twenty-two aisles?  After two hours in the place, I realized that I had to just skim the unbrowsed remainder, which was about one third of the building.   And because  of it I had to skip the next few stops.  Yes, the life of a vintage shopper is full of drama.

And now for what I liked, but did not buy:

This was just an ordinary novelty print blouse, cute, but take a look at the label.

A Jack Daniels Famous Original.  I’m quite sure it has nothing to do with the whiskey.

This was really cute, but made from the cheapest materials, like they would do for teen consumers.  Kate Spade ought to re-do this one in nicer materials.

This is from a straight skirt, embroidered with raffia.  I’ve seen circle shirts with this type embroidery, but never a straight one.

One seller had a stack of deadstock acrylic Boy Scout sweaters, probably from the 1970s.  If they had been wool I’d have bought one for myself.

I hate seeing military medals for sale all jumbled up this way, especially a Purple Heart.  It just seems to be so disrespectful.

One place had the absolute best idea for displaying paper items.  It was so much easier than flipping though a stack of stuff.

And there were lots of pretty things to see.

Do any of you remember these little snap button hair rollers?  My Great Aunt Mary used them.  Don’t believe that part about “pretty in the hair.”

This is “The College Girl at Basket-ball” a print Harrison Fisher did for the Ladies Home Journal around 1908.  Note how he made the bloomers look like a skirt.

And finally, women, this herb tonic was good for what was troubling you.  Note that the alcohol was purely for solvent and preservative purposes.



Filed under Road Trip, Shopping