Quite frankly, at this moment in time, I’m ready to take it off. As I’ve already pointed out, by the time glitzy pins, belts, rings and things are being sold and advertised all over the place, not to mention (with all due respect) at such middle of the road and ubiquitous chains like The Gap and Banana Republic, you know it’s ‘over’. And hardly surprising, there was so much glitter and shine on display at the booths lining the aisles of the Triple Pier Vintage Show this past weekend, it even prompted one gentleman (who appeared to be a non professional attendee merely accompanying his wife) to observe out loud, “I’ve never seen so much glitz”.
And glitz there was, tons of glittery jewel encrusted clothing items, diamante buttons, belts, earrings, and bracelets, and naturally, loads of paste, rhinestone, and bejeweled brooches- many of which resembled Christmas tree ornaments (or were they actually Christmas tree ornaments? It was hard to tell). I must say, I was a bit disappointed with the selection this weekend, and my overall impression was that it was a predictable ‘sea’ of tweeds, plaids, fur trimmed coats, ‘Chanel’ type suits, fur stoles, Pucci, Gucci, etc. In fact, this is probably the first time I walked empty handed; I guess I felt as though I had better examples already hanging in my closets (‘been there, done that’?). I did see celebrated vintage collector and Vogue editor Hamish walking around, and when I asked if he had uncovered anything great, he said, no (but of course, it was early in the day). I also found myself shoulder to shoulder with adorable Oscar winning actress Hilary Swank, looking very informal — though not exactly incognito in — puffy jacket, jeans, and sneakers. She said this was her first vintage show and admitted she was overwhelmed!
What was not surprising given my prediction, is that what really stood out were the non-glitzy accessories: wonderful chunky beads and necklaces (my current fixation), and the booth that really personified this, catching my eye, was Philadelphia based Clive H. Ensher’s C.H.E Antiques. Mr. Ensher, told me that he specializes in “large one of a kind pieces from the 20’s through the 70’s that are not run of the mill and are not glitzy”. His amazing selection was wonderfully tactile, sculptural, and extremely modern, and was marked by bleached horn, amber, ebony, ivory, snd ‘tortoise’. Some of the pieces were fashioned out of oversized chains or elongated discs, and many were so large, they were more like ‘bibs’, and would cover much of your chest. This made them the perfect fabulous accessory to wear beneath that unbuttoned crisp white shirt, under a perfectly tailored blazer, over a shrunken cotton t-shirt or tank, OR of course, with something a bit more dressed up.
Mr. Ensher does not have a retail shop, nor does he sell online, but he can be found at the Triple Pier Antique Shows, and his chic, timeless, and understated cache (which is the perfect antidote to all the tacky glitz), in addition to his Main Line location, has put him in close proximity to a group of well heeled and elegant customers, such as the Biddles. You can contact him at 610 449 4744 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
– by Marilyn Kirschner