This weekend saw the return of the much-loved Newcastle Does Vintage fair, formerly hosted by the Theatre Royal, the fair has now relocated to the Civic Centre at the top of Northumberland Street. This is a vintage fair with flair, one that puts visible effort into every aspect of its aesthetic. From choosing a theme-fitting venue, to selecting live music performers to provide era specific ambience, it’s clear that the organisers; Britain Does Vintage, are passionate about all things vintage. Having been featured in Vogue, Look, Red, Prima and various other well-known publications, it’s easy to see why people flock to this fair when it passes through Town.
The venue is like a treasure trove, full of shiny things and hidden gems, the kind you have to really dig for, it’s busy and full and there’s a great atmosphere. One of the great things about this vintage fair in particular is that the stall holders generally put a lot of effort into the presentation of their stalls, and some of them also dress to the theme which always makes me smile.
On my arrival today I’m told by organiser Alex Claydon that she’s been let down by the live band she had arranged and is worried about the ambience, there is era specific music playing from a CD player in a corner and I tell her not to worry. Sure live music would have been great, but the substitute doesn’t detract from the vibe, after all, we’re here for treasure!
There are many stalls packed into the large room, I hear lots of people commenting on the fact that the layout is far better than the previous venue and I have to agree, it’s light an airy and very easy to negotiate. Back to my mission – today I’m here to find a frock, a knockout frock to be specific. I’m attending a launch party next week and I want an original. I scour the rails with intent and I’m surprised at just how much there is here that fits the brief. First I come across this fresh and funky little number, it’s not right for this particular event but it’s definitely me and it screams Riviera:
There are various jewels and brooches packed into boxes, chain mail bags, dress clips and ear-rings galore
This fair also caters for men, always providing at least a couple of stalls specifically targeted at men, something you don’t often see at this type of event
I find a stall I’m particularly interested in, curated by a business called Flamboyance. The owner Wendy, specialises in flapper dresses, she has a huge selection made up of originals from the 1920’s & 30’s and those which are from the 1970’s and 80’s but reminiscent of the prohibition era dress type. She has the most beautiful gown on her stall, it’s by Belleville Sassoon, the first couturier to dress Lady Diana Spencer and Britain’s foremost couture label of the 1960’s. The dress is one of only two of its style and originally came from London, the detail is incredible and it looks brand new, I can’t resist trying it and it fits like it was made for me, but then, something else catches my eye; I spot two flapper dresses, one an original, one a seventies reproduction, both hugely different. After trying them on I’m sold and I leave with both. Mission accomplished.
I also picked up a tartan wool cape, very Sherlock Holmes and a few trinkets to set the magpie in me at ease. It would be easy to spend all day at this fair, you could walk round it ten times and see something different each time and there’s a real eclectic mix of people who really dress up for the occasion. There are various events all over the country organised by the parent company Britain Does Vintage, if you fancy a look, and I strongly recommend you do, check out www.britaindoesvintage.co.uk for more information on dates and stallholders.
If you’re a vintage lover and you’re in town, it’s well worth a look!