Field Trip: Vintage Fashion and Accessory Fair, Hammersmith, London

Readers,

I had conversations with wonderful vendors and bought beautiful, intriguing vintage buttons in the two and a half hours I whiled away at the Vintage Fashion and Accessory Fair yesterday.

Judeline of Gracie's Vintage kindly took my picture.

Judeline of Gracie’s Vintage kindly took my picture.

Hammersmith Town Hall’s exterior is nothing to excite comment, that’s for sure. But just step inside during one of these fairs and it’s vintage overload of the best kind.

This is only the beginning! The main floor is beyond this entry hall.

This is only the beginning! The main floor is beyond this entry hall.

And all I’m seriously interested in is (are?) the vintage buttons and buckles.If I were a customer for jewelry, eyeglass frames, purses, shoes, trims, textiles, and every kind of women’s clothing I’d pay the higher admission to get in at 8 am instead of 10 and stay till the 5 o’clock closing time.

Judeline of Gracie's Vintage. She loves buttons.

Judeline of Gracie’s Vintage. She loves buttons.

Imagine tables heaped with trays and baskets of brocanterie spilling onto the floor so that browsing resembles an Easter egg hunt, where narrow aisles are quickly clogged by browsers lost in reveries, where both vendors and shoppers are bedecked in strict period or eclectic vintage fashions and hairstyles, and you have your average vintage fashion fair.

I’ve been to probably eight such affairs now, having started three years ago when I was researching “Sewing Destination: London, England” for Threads magazine. It was at one of these fairs that I discovered vintage buttons so marvelous that they’ve pretty much replaced fabric as my favorite travel souvenir. (And they’re easier to pack.)

Gwyneth, who owned Persiflage in Alfie's Antiques. Persiflage is gone now, but Gwyneth is a regular at this fair.

Gwyneth, who owned Persiflage in Alfie’s Antiques. Persiflage is gone now, but Gwyneth is a regular at this fair.

One of the many enjoyable features of vintage fashion fairs is chatting with dealers. I’ve found that if I express the least bit of interest or appreciation they are glad to share what they know about the provenance of their wares.

I bought buttons from five dealers yesterday. Thank you, dealers, for bringing such beautiful, odd, strange, curious, and appealing buttons out of dusty old shop basements and button jars to adorn new garments.

To learn more about the vintage fashion fairs held at Hammersmith Town Hall, click here.

Some of the treasures at Lyn Boulter's booth. She also has a booth on Portobello Road.

Some of the treasures at Lyn Boulter’s booth. She also has a booth on Portobello Road.

Here are the buttons I bought, with a little information about reaching dealers.

From Gracie’s Vintage, [email protected]:

From Gracie's Vintage.

From Gracie’s Vintage.

From Lyn Boulter. She is a regular at this vintage fair at Hammersmith Town Hall and also has a stall on Portobello Road.

From Lyn Boulter. The colors are better in person. I like having the same button in different sizes for coat fronts and sleeves.

From Lyn Boulter. The colors are better in person. I like having the same button in different sizes for coat fronts and sleeves.

From Gwyneth, former owner of Persiflage at Alfie’s Antiques, who is a regular at the vintage fashion fair at Hammersmith:

From Gwyneth. A cheery addition to a dress.

From Gwyneth. A cheery addition to a dress.

From Gwyneth.

From Gwyneth.

From Gwyneth.

From Gwyneth. The white one is showing the underside.

From Sue Unwin, dealer-owner of Adawn, [email protected]:

From Sue Unwin. How long have these been on cards?

From Sue Unwin. How long have these been on cards?

From Su Mason of Blue Linen: French Antique Linens, Textiles & Clothing. (And, I may add, fantastic buttons.) Contact: [email protected]

From Su Mason. It's difficult to capture the subtle coloring. It's in the chartreuse family.

From Su Mason. It’s difficult to capture the subtle coloring. It’s in the chartreuse family.

From Su Mason.

From Su Mason.

From Su Mason. I didn't realize that the smaller buttons were a different color.

From Su Mason. I didn’t realize that the smaller buttons were a different color.

From Su Mason. I can't capture the marvelous deep blue-green here. Much better in person.

From Su Mason. I can’t capture the marvelous deep blue-green here. Much better in person.

From Su Mason, a brick orange-red.

From Su Mason, a brick orange-red.

From Su Mason. I used to go only for bright colored buttons, but now I appreciate the subtle colors I can't easily describe.

From Su Mason. I used to go only for bright colored buttons, but now I appreciate the subtle colors I can’t easily describe.

From Su Mason.

From Su Mason.

From Su Mason.

From Su Mason.

From Sue Unwin's booth for her business, Adawn.

From Sue Unwin’s booth for her business, Adawn.

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4 thoughts on “Field Trip: Vintage Fashion and Accessory Fair, Hammersmith, London

  1. Delighted to meet you and to find someone who enjoys buttons too! I’m glad you found the fair at Hammersmith to be so enjoyable and that you were able to use the photo. The fairs are usually in fab locations. I look forward seeing you again at other fairs and hearing more of your adventures and experiences of the course. Judeline

    • Carol, I know what steel cut oats are but not steel cut buttons! I certainly saw metal buttons. What are steel cut buttons and what makes them special? I may be going to more button dealers on this trip and would love to learn about them.

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