Monday, 9 May 2011

My Bumper Sunday: Primrose Hill Vintage Fashion Fair AND Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair

Well hello there and a very happy start of the week to you all! And a big welcome to my new followers, there are nearly 50 of you now, thanks for checking in and I hope I can give you something interesting to read :)

I hope you all had a great weekend, I had a very busy one! I was worked all Friday and Saturday, so Sunday was my own to do what I wanted to do. And I wanted to go to a Vintage Fair. My old favourite, Clerkenwell Vintage, was holding a fair which I knew I had to attend, I had so enjoyed the previous one I had gone to, but there was also a fair being held at Primrose Hill at Cecil Sharp House. I have never been to this fair and I was interested to see what would be on offer. So what was I to do? Clerkenwell or Primrose Hill? Well I was feeling daring my friends, so I went to both! 

I started my vintage-fair-filled day at Camden Town tube station, trying to find my way to Cecil Sharp House with my lovely mum, who had come along for her first vintage fair experience. We got a little bit lost on the way, but we had left plenty of time to get there. We wanted to get there as early as possible to make sure we had time to spare to visit Clerkenwell later, and we ended up arriving at 10:45. We were the first people in there! It was a very strange feeling, wandering about the tables before anyone else arrived, almost like a ghost fair! And I must admit, in comparison to other fairs I have been to, there wasn't as much to see. I don't mean that the quality of what was being sold was low, on the contrary there were some beautiful things on sale, but the fair itself was on the small size. The venue was quite small, which obviously meant there was less room for stalls, and because of the lack of people there at the beginning of the fair we managed to make a couple of circuits, examining everything, in just under an hour! You can tell from that how quiet it was. A few of the vendors I had seen before at previous fairs, everyone on the vintage circuit tends to make the rounds, but there were a few I had never seen before too which was nice. One particularly memorable stall sold a selection of sewing notions, including cotton treads, buttons, lace, trims, needles and even sewing books (I  considered buying their copy of "Mrs Beeton's Book of Needlework" but in the end I left it behind).

A big selection to choose from

More lovely sewing bits and pieces

They were also selling this "Marie Antoinette" hot water bottle cover, I couldn't decide whether or not it was fabulous or hideous, I think perhaps it's both! Either way it was marvelous to see, I love to think about who might have owned this!

Marie Antoinette hot water bottle cover

I feel that one of the benefits if this fair being slightly on the smaller size and having less people than usual was that you could really take your time to browse through all the clothes on offer. It's usually quite easy, I find, to look at accessories for example bags, hats and jewelry, in a busy fair, because you can claim your spot at the edge of a table and linger there for as long as you please. With clothes, however, it can be a different matter. Basically in order to browse a rail of clothes you need to be able to move, to have space to take clothes down and feel them, and see whether they might fit or suit you, but when you're surrounded by a large group of people all wanting to see the same rail then this can be difficult. Personally I start getting flash backs of the disorganized horror and small acts of assault I have sometimes experienced at sales and I start to get palpitations! In these situations I will often just move away and look at something else. I like my browsing to be a calm experience, not a nightmarish one! However, at Primrose Hill this wasn't an issue, as I had all the space in the world to browse to my heart's content :)

Because of this amazing browse time I got a good look at the range of clothes of offer and I have to say that Primrose Hill has a nice variety of prices, you are likely to find a bargain here if you take the time to look. There was your usual selection of high priced items (everywhere seems to take 1950s dresses and automatically price them at £60, annoying!) but there were also some lovely items at really good prices. For example there were accessories:

Great selective, great prices


This beautiful 1950s dress was £30,
if it had fitted it would have been home with me right now! 

And lots of yummy bags!

These ranged from £15 to £40, not bad for an almost pristine original!

I enjoyed the Primrose Hill Vintage Fashion Fair. Admission was reasonable at £3 (although I got a free pair of admission tickets, these can be applied for on the fair's website before each fair) and although there wasn't much to see in terms of quantity the quality of what was on offer was still very good. It was quiet which made the fair have quite a subdued atmosphere, but this was probably due to my being there so early on. For all I know later after I'd left it could have been hopping! All in all I'd say that if you often frequent vintage fairs you're probably not missing anything if you chose not to visit Primrose Hill, there's nothing that really set's it apart. If you are a fair newbie I'd recommend Primrose Hill as a starting point for your vintage fair adventures because it's quieter and less overwhelming than the bigger ones, you can take your time browsing without being completely thrown by the amount of goodies on offer (something that has happened to me many a time. Seriously I develop deep seated needs for things I didn't even know existed before the fair!). Then again you might want your first vintage fair to take your breath away, in which case Primrose Hill is probably not for you. Basically, this fair is great but it probably won't knock your socks off. But hey, I still left with some goodies, so I had a big smile on my face! Just check out my yummy new red vanity box:

The perfect size for hand luggage methinks :)

After our Primrose Hill adventure my mum and I headed to Angel and had lunch (Eggs Royale, mmmmmm!) before making our way to the Old Finsbury Town Hall for the Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair:

Now I went into detail about Clerkenwell vintage in my previous post, so this isn't really an in depth review, I'm just going to share with you some of the gems I found during my browsing. As always there were some beautiful clothes, although of course the majority of these pretty things had pretty price tags too. These bigger fairs know that the right person will be willing to pay big bucks for the perfect outfit. Here are some particular favourite find of mine today (all of which were, unfortunately, beyond my budget for the day!):

An original 1940s house dress, this beats tracksuits any day!

1950s floral circular skirt

1950s blouse, love the scalloped detail on the edge!

Lovely 60s floral and gingham summer dress

If only I was made of money! Le sigh!

Some nice added extras to the day were the brilliant vintage tea room, made up to look and feel like a vintage style street party, and in this room we were treated to some brilliant singing by a fabulous trio of girls, Andrews Sisters style. Unfortunately I didn't find out their groups name so I can't credit them properly, but they really were marvelous, even their outfits were great!

Clerkenwell's answer to the Andrews Sisters!

Cake + Music = Heaven!

I also had a brilliant experience with the lovely ladies of Treasures Wardrobe

They even gave me a pretty bag, happy days!

When I was looking through their lovely selection of clothes one of them approached me and said she was sorry to bother me but I looked just like her grandmother in the 1940s! She was so taken with the resemblance that she announced that I was her new muse and she suggested several items of clothing that she thought would suit me! Now I hate being pressured into buying things, but this wasn't like this at all. I felt she had a genuine interest in what she thought I might like, and it wasn't assumed that I would purchase anything from them, it was just like a marvelous dress up session! In the end I did buy a selection of her clothes, they were just so beautiful, including a gorgeous embroidered 1940s silk blouse, a steal at just £20! And she even gave me a discount! How lovely is that? Thank you ladies of Treasures Wardrobe, you made my - and my wardrobe's - day! 

It was really good to have a day of vintage loveliness after working for most of my weekend, and also to be able to share that with my mum. What was great is that she could see first hand why I get next to no enjoyment out of high street shopping anymore. After all a day in Topshop couldn't come close to the experience and atmosphere of a vintage fair! She says that she'd happily come with me again, so who knows we may have another vintage convert! Hurrah :)

And there you have it, my vintage fair filled day! I must admit that my Clerkenwell experience did rather eclipse my time at Primrose Hill, but very few things can make my heart race like Clerkenwell Vintage, so that's not really surprising. I know that I will be back to Clerkenwell again as soon as the next fair comes along. Whether or not I'll go back to Primrose Hill, well... we'll see. If there's nothing else going on that weekend I'd much rather go to vintage fair than stay at home!

P.S. I also spotted what could be the car of my dreams on my travels on Sunday, do any of you know what it is? It's just so lovely. If like me you know nothing about identifying cars you can just admire it's beauty :)

Car of dreams!

P.P.S. There's still time to enter my giveaway! Don't miss out!


Anonymous said...

It's a 1991 Nissan Figaro. I'm a boy. I know about cars.

Anonymous said...

P.S What a great blog. I'm sorry I wasn't there.

Hannah said...

Wow you saw some gorgeous things!

Miss Marie said...

Clerkenwell Vintage Fair <3
(a) Amazing building (Did you know, that hall was used for community dances when it was first built and has a sprung floor? Sorry, I volunteered there at the London Open House weekend last year so know lots of fun facts about it!)
(b) Found the most amazing 1940s suit there when I first visited. Fitted me absolutely perfectly - was clearly meant to be. True, I don't have much need for suits but next time I have such an occasion, that bottle-green baby's coming out!

Miss Katie said...

Miss Marie - I'm so jealous about your suit! I've been keeping my eyes peeled for one of those for a while, it's difficult to find one that fits as vintage women all seemed to have such tiny behinds! It's nice to chat to someone who shares my love of Clerkenwell Vintage Fair, I think it's probably my favourite fair of them all :)

Miss Marie said...

I know what you mean about our teeny-tiny ancestors - I was definitely lucky to find a fitted suit I wouldn't split the seams of! Not cheap, as you say with most things in these places, but not expensive either when you compare it with bland suits from high street shops. When you throw in the fact it's classic and unique, there's no question about what to do, really!

Hope you find your perfect suit one day soon, or that it finds you! And maybe we'll meet one day at Clerkenwell Fair.

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