Previewing Saltaire Vintage Fair next Saturday, December 2, Rose & Brown Vintage shows how to make Christmas great again. Words: Stephanie Smith. Pictures: Simon Hulme.
In a rapidly changing world, it’s heartening to know that there are still some places that have barely changed at all. Like Victoria Hall in Saltaire. It was opened in 1871 by Sir Titus Salt, as a “centre for recreation, culture and learning” for the villagers who worked in his grand textile mill. Today, the hall is owned by the Salt Foundation and is used for pretty much the same purposes it was built for. On the morning of our fashion shoot with Rose & Brown Vintage, classes for yoga and dance are taking place in the upstairs rooms; on the ground floor, an examination is going on, while from the basement gym there emanates the unmistakable thundering and grunting of energetic training.
Sir Titus would no doubt feel proudly vindicated, although whether or not he would have approved of his utopian vision becoming the backdrop for a pre-festive season photo-shoot, who can say? Showing us how to get into the party spirit is Caroline Brown, who runs Rose & Brown Vintage with her husband, Julian. Next Saturday sees the return of the legendary Saltaire Vintage Home & Fashion Fair at Victoria Hall, where there will be a special festive flavour to proceedings and products.
“Vintage fairs are the place to go for chic, glitzy, fun or femme fatale party outfits,” says Caroline. “Best thing, because they are vintage, they are one of a kind, so you don’t need to worry about turning up at a party in a dress that is identical to one being worn by a fellow guest.”
For those of us planning masked balls this year, Caroline promises evening gowns from the 1920 to the 1980s, made from sumptuous fabrics in glorious colours – and for the fraction of the price of a High Street ballgown.
“Or, if your party is about music, games and fun, then choose a psychedelic print 60s number teamed with coloured tights and quirky shoes,” she adds.
“The December date is always guaranteed to be full of sparkle – twinkly 80s tops and jackets or 1950s silver dancing shoes and 1930s evening purses with more sparkle than a Christmas tree.”
This event marks the tenth anniversary of Saltaire Vintage Home & Fashion Fair, bringing together nearly 50 stalls.
“The fairs have grown to more than twice the size since that first event, and they have built up a great reputation for the quality and diversity of the stallholders’ genuine vintage stock. We now hold five fairs a year at Victoria Hall,” adds Caroline.
Key fashion pieces to look out for include pure wool coats in 50s, 60s and 70s cuts; cashmere and hand-knit sweaters; leather gloves; quirky hats; sheepskin-lined boots, and elegantly twinkly party outfits. There will also be a dazzling array of costume jewellery, from 1920s glass beads through 1950s Lucite brooches to 1980s bling earrings.
You’ll also find vintage menswear, toys, pictures, books, records, luggage, vintage gadgets, glassware, clocks and ceramics from all eras, plus gorgeous retro homewares. Refreshments will be provided by Interlude Tea Room, to the soundtrack of tunes from the 20s to the 80s.
There are plenty of ideas for men too. “Vintage fairs are ideal places to find something special for that ‘difficult to buy for’ man in your life, from vintage radios that sound as good as the day they were made to vintage tweed jackets or trilbies, framed nature prints, Blondie, Byrds or Bowie LPs, silver cufflinks or vintage Yorkshire pudding tins,” says Caroline.
And consider buying joint presents for couples. It can save time and money, and thinking vintage can bring a cool, quirky touch to present-giving. Caroline’s suggestions? “Vintage champagne glasses, a French enamel house number sign, mid-century Scandinavian tureens, Art Deco picture frames. The fairs are bursting with stylish, collectable and useful treats for the home.”
Saltaire Vintage Home & Fashion Fair takes place at Victoria Hall, Saltaire, on December 2, 9.30am-4pm. Tickets on the door: £3 full price, £2 concessions, under-16s free. Go to www.roseandbrownvintage.co.uk for details of more upcoming fairs.
* All clothes and accessories: Rose & Brown Vintage – website: www.roseandbrownvintage.co.uk; Twitter: @Roseandbrown; Facebook: Rose & Brown Vintage; telephone: 07985 181120.
Location: Victoria Hall, Saltaire, www.victoriahallsaltaire.co.uk
Photographs: Simon Hulme
Styling: Caroline Brown
Hair & make-up and model: Catriona Power – Instagram: @Tronie_victorysalon; Facebook: thevictorysalon and Catriona Power
Model: Hannah Muirhead – Instagram: @Hrmuirhead; Facebook: Rose Muirhead; Twitter: @Rose_Muirhead