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The Sydney Fair Inaugural Event 13 – 16 June Moore Park


Roseanne, Inger, Eloise and Katie Louise in 1920s vintage at the opening of The Sydney Fair


Eloise, Roseanne and Katie Louise wearing 1920s vintage gowns from Coutura, seated on an Art Deco lounge used in Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” – it is part of the furnishings in Nick’s cottage.

It’s not all that often here in Sydney we have the opportunity to indulge in my favourite era, but The Sydney Fair, held from the 13 – 16 June at the Byron Kennedy Hall in the Entertainment Quarter, with its focus on Art Deco, Art Moderne and Mid Century, brought together the furniture, decorative items and the fashion of the period.

I was contacted by Dianne of Online Antiques, one of my favourite dealers in antique and vintage clothing, furniture and collectables, to ask if I’d be interested in helping style some models who would be wearing 1920s gowns from Coutura Vintage for the opening night and on Saturday – the answer was a resounding yes. Unfortunately I came down with a heavy dose of the ‘flu the week before, but I was able to put her in touch with Eloise, who I’d met in a stunning 1920s outfit at the last Vintage Clothing Fair, and who has such a good look for the era. She was able contact the inimitable Katie Louise  and the very lovely Roseanne, and the trio were a wonderful ornament to the opening night as well as moving examples of Art Deco style as they modelled the gowns.


Deco girls in 1920s vintage at the Deco Diva stall

The girls are such Deco enthusiasts they didn’t require much help with their styling, so we had plenty of time on Thursday night to examine the stallholders. I knew from the list of exhibitors that the stock was going to be very high quality, and such certainly proved to be the case. Deco Diva, for example, is one of my favourite Deco stores in the world – located at the Sydney Antiques Centre, I’m always delighted when I call in and the owner is there as you could easily wile away hours talking to him about Art Deco figurines, sculpture, pottery etc.


A showstopping Goldscheider figure at the Deco Diva stall. Deco Diva provided many pieces to dress the sets in Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” – I do remember seeing a Butterfly Dancer in Myrtle and Tom’s New York apartment, but can’t recall if this is the one – I suspect it was a smaller version.

Lena, who owns Coutura Vintage, had put together a wonderful display showcasing the colour and variety of 1920s gowns, from the straight beaded chemises to the robe de styles, and a range of bandeaux, evening cloches, capes, etc. I always love taking to Lena at vintage clothing fairs as she so adores and appreciates the design aesthetic of the period – you can see the sheer joy she takes in the beautiful gowns she has and all the lovely jewellery and accessories. I saw so many people come into and out of her stall over the weekend and just discover vintage clothing that they fell head-over-heels for. I had a hard choice of wonderful headwear, but finally chose a filigree bandeaux with a faux amethyst stone.


1920s vintage dispay by Coutura Vintage

Meanwhile, my mother wanted to have a quiet word with me. She, it seems, had fallen in love herself – with a very gorgeous Limousin lamp, supported by two bobbed-haired beauties. It simply slowed in the surrounds of the rest of Dianne’s marvellous Deco surrounds. My birthday isn’t for a few months yet, but Sandra decided this was obviously the gift I was meant to have.


Coutura Vintage’s 1920s display – more on the coral dress with the rose embroidery to come in my next post…

A wonderful opening – all the stall holders were charming and found time to chat to the guests, and I haven’t seen such a gathering of interesting Deco pieces since the V&A exhibition toured here a few years ago. There were also some more contemporary pieces – the Despard Gallery was represented, and I think I would happily have walked away with a work from any of the artists represented. 


My beautiful Limousin girls from Online Antiques. Who’s a lucky birthday girl, then?

More on The Sydney Fair in the next installment…


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