by Alex R. Travers
“If what you want is to be modern all the time, you run the risk of one day going out of fashion,” Oscar Wilde used to say. Sooner or later, depending on your shopping or scavenging habits, you’ll end up finding a piece of clothing from the past that you never thought you’d wear. You’ll try it on and smile. And when that happens you might be startled by how excited you become.
While the history of fashion may seem arcane, vintage clothes themselves are rapidly gaining popularity—after all, fashion is a non-verbal language. Like a first edition book or limited edition print, owning vintage clothing gives you something that seemingly nobody else has.
Since 1992, the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show has done a fine job bringing together exhibitors who offer high styles from the past. The show, which will take place April 19 at the Metropolitan Pavilion, covers clothing, textiles, and accessories from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. On one rack may be a 20th-century lace mask. Nearby, from a similar time period, a flounced version of Gabrielle Chanel’s little black dress. At the show, your eyes will guide you to elegant and exciting designs.
This year there’s an added surprise: “#Exposed,” a special exhibition that explores the history of skin exposure, showcasing lace, crochet, and macramé from Victorian times through today. Transparency was once thought to be about softening the visible. Now its possibilities test and tease the imagination. Lace alone creates empty spaces around solid ones, but when filled with skin does something magical to the human body. In fact, there’s nothing quite like it.
The Manhattan Vintage Show is located at the Metropolitan Pavilion and will take place Friday April 19 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday April 20 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
To learn more, visit www.ManhattanVintage.com.