I’ll Take the Fifth (25th That Is)

This ‘n’ That Shop

 While the famed Chelsea Flea Market (located between 25th and 26th Streets and 6th Avenue) closed years ago (to make room for condos – what else?), you can still satisfy your vintage shopping wonder lust on 25th Street. Which is precisely where I spent a good part of Sunday morning with my good friend Madge Novel, an incurable collector and well known dealer with flawless taste and a discerning eye (I profiled her on my blog Tuesday, July 7, 2008: click here for article.  ). Always on the lookout for the best of the best, the New Jersey born, New York schooled, Washington D.C. based Ms. Novel sells everything from turn of the century through current, contemporary pieces (the name of her company is In-Style Vintage) and is available by private appointment (madgenovel02@comcast.net ).

Antiques Garage

First stop was the Antiques Garage, at 112 West 25th Street, a sprawling bi-level space filled with every imaginable item along with some entertaining dealers who are great characters themselves. While admittedly, you have to really search to find something great (and naturally, that depends on what you’re looking for, your budget, and your taste), I immediately stumbled upon an amazing architecturally shaped black vintage Geoffrey Beene jacket. It was in impeccable condition, had a Neiman Marcus label, and an asking price of $350. Not bad for couture!

Eve, a dealer whom I had recognized from the 26th Street flea market (I had purchased several Bonnie Cashin coats from her way back when), had a vintage black Carlos Falchi clutch bag (over sized, portfolio style), also in pristine condition (priced at $75). My shopping companion, Madge, scored with an eye catching Larry Vrba for Castlecliff pendant: huge, with an antique gold patina and massive chain, it had an Egyptian feeling and a large turquoise stone in the center ($200). Some great antique lawn chairs (which both of us admired and I started thinking they would look great on my terrace), quickly found a home: we spotted two men quickly carrying them out onto the street.

This ‘n’ That Gaddad Galalith Multi-Bright Squares $225

Next stop, Anita Stern’s This ‘n’ That, located at 124 West 25th Street, 212 255 0727, http://www.thisnthat-ny.com/ , a tiny jewel of a shop literally filled to the rafters with past and present collectibles, vintage jewelry, glass, fixtures, silver and bric a brac. She sells to the trade as well as retail clients. Because I am a serious necklace collector, I was drawn to some iconic pieces by Larry Vrba — the most amazing of which was a huge art deco piece in onyx, emerald, and ‘diamonds’ (about $600); a very fun and colorful piece by Goodad Galalith, $225, made entirely of multi bright squares; and an Isabel of Paris Limited Edition Clown necklace, $295.

We then headed east, to the Antique Showplace at 40 West 25th Street. This is a multi-level indoor space divided into a dizzying array of shops. You can find everything from home furnishings and collectibles in every category, from vintage clothing to accessories. Among the well known dealers who fall into the latter category, are Joe Sundlie (http://www.joesundlie.com/ ), Marlene Wetherell (http://www.marlenewetherell.com/  ), and for those specifically looking for fashion forward, pre-loved, attention grabbing costume jewelry, you can’t beat Sheri Weiss Vintage Collections, Gallery 30.

Sheri Weiss’s “Angry Monster” necklace $385

Sheri was a fashion designer, who worked for a number of moderate priced labels. When she was unexpectedly laid off, the longtime vintage costume jewelry collector turned her hobby and passion into a successful full time business. She has several on line boutiques:
http://www.boobearsbaubles.com/ .

Among her customers are retailers who naturally buy pieces from her and UP their prices dramatically, stylists, and fashion designers She told me that a designer who works for Valentino recently purchased a ruffled metal piece.

Darren Manes Waterfall necklace $500

Her motto is: “Accessories should be fun and make you smile, otherwise, what’s the point?” and her treasure trove of attention grabbing, whimsical, unusual pieces illustrates this philosophy perfectly. To wit, the Giant Fierce Looking Crowned Princess Pendant Necklace with Green Eyes ($385) which boasts curly eyebrows, what looks like a mustache, sharp teeth, and a very fierce look. The tiara has red rhinestones around it. As she describes it, this is “definitely not for someone who does not want to be noticed”. She also has a number of iconic Castlecliff by Vrba necklaces, (such as the Aztec Chief figural necklace with white glass stone and enamel). I thought the gold toned fish necklace on a multi strand pearl ‘chain’, was a perfect summer piece.

Darren Manes Byzantine Cross Necklace

Perhaps most notable and interesting, are the one-of-a-kind, hand crafted from vintage component pieces which are a collaboration with Darren Manes, a tremendously creative, talented, painter/artist who has a graduate degree in architecture. Ranging in price from about $200 to $700, they have the ancient look of something one might unearth during the course of an archaeological dig. Standouts are the massive Byzantine Maltese crosses punctuated with large stones, and the fabulous silver colored metal waterfall necklace $500.

Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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