Frock Me! I’m a vintage queen.

by Katie on March 29, 2010

I still bear the mark of ‘Frock Me!’ Vintage Fair (held at Chelsea Town Hall in the King’s Road) in the mark of a hand stamp that is proving hellishly difficult to remove. As a vintage fanatic and avid collector, I never miss the opportunity of wandering around countless vintage clothing stalls with cornucopious goodies from all over the country and ‘Frock Me’ is one of the original and the best fairs.

From the moment you enter the vast and majestic expanse of the grand room at Chelsea Town Hall with baroque decorations and opulent wall art, the space is mesmerising. Stalls are rammed in the main room, the ante rooms and the corridors (actually some of the best pitches so don’t miss these) with stalls selling everything from clothing, jewellery, shoes, hats, bags and the occasional showgirl feather fan for those seeking the ultimate in burlesque. Jewellery stalls include original YSL, Chanel and Miriam Haskell pieces while furs are sold expansively.

There are clothes from every period, from 1920s ‘flapper’, to ’40’s war chick and ’50’s glamour. There are also a fair smattering of 1980’s stalls and Chutzpah and her fellow vintage fan managed to locate the most fabulous 1980’s Ozbek original. Give it a few years and I’ll consider this again, though I did it first time round.

Prices are fair to shockingly expensive but but this very much depends on the dealer. Unfortunately, there are some who think nothing of asking £500+ for a ok’ish ’50’s dress much like (and often identical to) those available for £50-£100 from other stalls so be wary and know your game. I’d also suggest prowling the whole room and corridors first to stalk out any goodies but remember the cardinal rule, if you find something you like like either buy it or mark it with the dealer’s attention to stake your claim or you may just lose out to someone more eagle eyed as as often happened in the past. Arriving early is another good tip as the vintage queen gets first dips of the day though there are known perks for those seeking bargains late in the day as often stall holders massively reduce their prices in an attempt to make sales and rid themselves of weighty stock in their trips back home.

At Sunday’s fair, the vintage blonde (an actual real live artist’s model) and myself scoured the stalls in vain, disappointed a little, as we had seen many of these wares at other vintage fairs (such as the monthly Hammersmith Town Hall vintage fair) and the prices seemed higher, no doubt as we were in The Royal Borough where ladies aren’t so canny of a bargain. We had to fortify ourselves with a real English high tea served on stylish, mismatched crockery in the somewhat chaotic if charming tearoom that was rammed to the gills of fellow enthusiasts, some already clutching prized purchases.

Returning to the fray, I picked up a fabulous ’80’s come ’50’s Kenzo dress which is so next season for the princely sum of £10. Delighted with the bargain, I decided to splash out on a beautiful ’40’s Herbert Levy dress in mint condition that went for £90. The vintage blonde picked up a whimsical ’60’s daisy dress that’s stand out in it’s uniqueness. Now we just need an excuse to wear them.

The next Frock Me! fair is held at Chelsea Town Hall on 23rd May followed by one on 19th September. Sundays 11am-5.30pm. Entrance is £4.
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