By Sabina Mollot
At the Manhattan Vintage Show, a thrice yearly event held at the Metropolitan Pavilion that last took place on Friday and Saturday, many vendors said they’d been stocking up for the resurgence of the 1970s.
The trend has also been creeping back into mainstream fashion with wide and flared pants having replaced the skinny silhouette and bright colors – a not-so-subtle hint that New Yorkers are ready for spring weather.
But in the vintage world, trends can also be kicked into high gear by period TV shows and this year, one influencer is the popular AMC show “Mad Men” (the last season of which was set in 1970).
“‘Mad Men’ is very hot and for us it means sexy secretary outfits,” said Jen Kuykendall, of Donnaland Vintage. “A lot of people have been having (themed) parties and there was an uptick in sales.”
The company had been selling many 1970s prints at the show and other recent vintage shows. “Anything 1970s,” or more specifically anything with bright colors and patterns.
Photos by Sabina Mollot
Other trends Kuykendall’s noticed are for distressed denim and gold jewelry. “Gold, gold, gold is big,” she said. “Just gold tone, it doesn’t have to be real.”
Columbia U, a shop named for the university which is located nearby, has also been seeing a lot of a demand for the 70s look, with wide-brimmed, floppy hats and bags with fringe selling.
For Donatella Quintanalle, working at the Hollywood & Vine booth, this also translated into “long (dresses), a type of chain with a pendant and a lot of lace.”
Another trend was for Victorian and Edwardian items, in particular women’s blouses, dresses and bodices in light filmy fabrics like cotton and silk in white and off white. Sandi Skeffington of Antique Wardrobe — who made a point of not carrying anything from the 1970s—“I’m trying to stand out here,” she explained — had an entire rack full.
Yet another trend was for anything inspired by “Downton Abbey.”
“People are doing Downton Abbey weddings,” said Kuykendall.
Meanwhile, some of the dealers hinted at being a little trend-weary.
While Olive’s Very Vintage owner Jen McCulloch and assistant Liz Earheart had no shortage of 70s pieces on display, both commented that they were just relieved the 80s revival is a thing of the past.
But, noted McCulloch, hopefully consumers are ready for the 90s.
“To be authentic vintage it has to be less than 20 years old, so now we’re seeing things from the 90s,” she said. “Streamlined, straight stuff, plain cuts, plain colors.” But, she added, “It’s all what your style is and how you’re going to mix and match things.”
At nearby booth Amarcord, owner Marco Liotta said for his businesses, which deals mainly with European-made clothes, vintage was less about trends than it was about personal style.
“You know how you want to look,” he said. Capitalizing on trends, he explained, is just a way to generate interest from people who wouldn’t normally wear vintage so they can emulate what they see in magazines.
“Marc Jacobs is doing 70s inspired pieces,” said Liotta. “It’s easier to sell what someone else is freely advertising for you.”
As far as trends in men’s clothes are concerned, the popularity of the show “Boardwalk Empire” has led to a demand for pieces from the 1920s and 1930s.
Heather Ramey, owner of Noble Savage — and a fan of the show, which ended its run last year – added that in general the older the piece, the better it sells. The 1940s in particular has done well for Ramey.
“Anytime I see something from the 1940s, I jump on it,” she said.
While most of her clients will wear one vintage piece with a contemporary outfit, others, she noted, commit to doing the look head to toe.
The latter group wouldn’t stand out at the at Manhattan Vintage Show, though, where attendees, a mix of vintage lovers and fashion industry types who don’t mind shelling out $20 for the chance to browse, are known for getting dressed up.
One such shopper was stylist Purely Patricia Fox, wearing blue eyebrows, round, rainbow colored glasses and a floral headpiece. A stylist who regularly hits the show, Fox said she was seeing the following trends.
“Colorful, floral. Anything bright and full and happy and mixing all kinds of patterns together.”
Fox, who also designs headpieces – she says a client is Katy Perry — noted that half her wardrobe comes from the show. She then offered the following styling tip: “Buy yourself a little something.”
The next Manhattan Vintage show is scheduled for October 23 and 24 at 125 West 18th Street.