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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More on The Sydney Fair in the next installment…