Last weekend, I put on my best vintage dress and, with local fashion designer Max Lohrbach in tow, traipsed over to the Midwest Vintage Clothing, Jewelry and Textile Show at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul. The annual event is a traveling show of all things vintage from the best vendors in the U.S., and people from all over the country congregate to the Midwest for a show you can’t find on the coasts.
[Designer Max Lohrbach with his design at RetroRama 2009 at the MN History Center]
If you’re unfamiliar with Max’s designs, which have been showcased on the stages of Voltage, RetroRama, and the Vita.mn Poolside Fashion Show, they’re all historically-inspired, whether it’s a turn-of-the-century-inspired hair-do or a 1920s drop-waist. I knew he’d be the perfect companion for the evening, being that he’s the closest thing to an expert that I know of. He spent the past ten years finding treasures in the trash at Ragstock and working under original Via’s Vintage owner Via Vento (who died in 2003), amassing such a collection he now spends his spare time selling the goods on eBay.
[A sketch by Max Lohrbach of Lucy Michelle & The Velvet Lapelles]
We got there amidst a live performance by an old-timey band during the show’s opening-night preview party, and armed with a glass of wine in one hand and a camera (or in my case, notebook) in the other, we were off to check out the goods.
Some of the shop vendors were not too keen on having us handle or even photograph their clothing, while others were much friendlier. I even was allowed to try on a fancy little brown lace bustled 1960s number from ML Fancy Antiques from Stillwater. But the pieces that really caught our eyes happened be from a couple of St. Paul-based vintage peddlers, My Sister’s Closet and Go Vintage.
My Sister’s Closet – owned by two sisters, natch - has been a longtime favorite of mine, so it was no surprise that I fell in love with this late-1940s couture faille swingcoat:
Or this darling light blue-green late-1940s nylon mesh party dress:
The show-stopper of the night was this beaded white silk jumpsuit and coordinating overcoat by Oscar de la Renta from the late 1920s.
Over at Go Vintage’s booth, we spotted this adorable swim romper with felt floral detail:
And I couldn’t go home without these white plastic sunglasses, which reminded me of something you’d see in a Devo video:
All in all, it’s a fun time and a rare opportunity to check out the finest, handpicked vintage around, so I definitely suggest checking it out next time it comes to town. For now, you can check out many of the shops right here in St. Paul.
My Sister’s Closet: 1136 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-222-2819.
Go Vintage: 1560 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-646-4455.
More St. Paul vintage shopping destinations:
Clothing and accessories:
Lula’s Vintage Wear: 1587 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-644-4110.
Up Six Vintage: 157 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul, 651-917-0470. (Also carries furniture.)
Sophie Joe’s Emporium: 453 7th St. W., St. Paul, 651-224-1357.
Succotash: 781 Raymond Ave., St. Paul, 651-603-8787.
7th Avenue Antique Mall: 2563 7th Ave. E., St. Paul, 651-773-7001.
Everyday People: 1599 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-644-4410.
Furniture and housewares:
Swank Interiors: 1910 University Ave., St. Paul, 651-646-5777.
Classic Retro @ Pete’s: 2145 University Ave. W., St. Paul, 651-224-5235.